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The most intuitive, compact and simple intervalometer + motion control for timelapse photography
Created by

Oscar Ramírez

1,946 backers pledged $412,998 to help bring this project to life.

Some great news!

These past weeks have been crazy! we are completely blown away with all the support we have received from you so far and we have to say we didn’t imagine how big this project was going to get. That has got us working really hard, and trying to make Astro an even better product than we actually planned.

Originally, we were using a motor that had to be modified to give the precision and torque needed. This was okay for the 300-500 Astros we were expecting to make, but now we have over 1600 pre orders! This is a big challenge, but it is also an opportunity to make something much better. All this support actually gives us the chance to make improvements, and we decided to focus on the motor. We got several samples the last few weeks, and last friday we finally got the perfect one! It’s a stepper motor that has the same angular resolution, but much more torque and way better energy performance. We have been testing since we got them and the results are great!

Astro will now be able to hold a much bigger load of equipment; we need to finish the new prototype with the new motor to determine the exact number, but it is definitely going to be a lot more, this motor is really strong!

And that’s not all of it, we had been getting lots of comments about an external power source and we were considering it, but portability is very important for us. We spent some time looking into different alternatives, and this cool new motor gave us the answer. With its super efficient energy management, Astro will have a much longer battery life.

WIth our old motor we reported a battery life of around 15 hours using our test settings (3 hours, 120 degrees, 3 second interval) With our new motor, we get more than 100 hours using those same settings. That’s more than 30 three-hour time lapses! The motor practically doesn’t consume energy between shots, this means that the bigger the interval, the longer the battery life. We think this is a much more elegant solution than external power, and we are really excited with the possibilities!

The downside is that this decision will affect our maximum speed. Even though Astro is a timelapse device, some of our backers showed interest in using it for video. With the new motor, the speed is close to 6 degrees/second, instead of 30. This was a difficult decision for us, but due to the results we are obtaining, we are confident this is the best way to go. We would be happy to hear what you think, in the end this is about making the best product possible for everyone and we are working hard to do that.

We have another announcement: we decided to limit our first production run to 2000 units, this way we can focus on keeping our deadlines under control. The rewards will appear as “sold out” when we reach 2000 pre-orders. Once the campaign is over, Astro will not be available for pre-order until the full Kickstarter production is delivered.

Thank you for making all this possible!

Comments

    1. Creator Kenneth Preston on August 23, 2012

      I think this is a great upgrade! I'm really looking forward to getting this product. I agree, be great at the one thing you're designing for. Can't wait, Can't wait.

    2. Creator Felipe Gordillo Corvalán on August 23, 2012

      6degrees per second is a minute for 360º, you can figure out the speed seeing a watch, normally they are going at 6º/s

      I didn't liked so much the change, because i hoped to use astro also for video, anyway i expect i will be able to use it for TL and video with the change

    3. Creator Kelly Shipp on August 23, 2012

      Congrats on the success. I did pledge $15 early on, but have missed purchasing the Black Special Edition (you're sold out), so I'll have to wait for regular production sales...

    4. Creator bsbeamer on August 23, 2012

      Oscar - when should we expect to see the video demonstration of the new motor posted? The campaign is winding down quickly.

    5. Creator Bauranda on August 23, 2012

      i'm perfectly happy with the changes and looking forward to getting astro hands on.

    6. Creator Roger Harman on August 22, 2012

      I'm quite happy with the speed as I will use the Astro for night timelapse. The upgrade suits me as I will be using Nikon D3/D4 with a reasonably weighty telephoto lens and with the new stepper motor, I should have no problems. I don't really have a need for video panning, although I might have used the unit for panoramas if it had been a little quicker.

    7. Creator Russell Stewart Ekin on August 21, 2012

      Would really like an infinite option on the time selection especially for Zero movement time lapse.

    8. Creator anpena on August 20, 2012

      I think all changes done are a good balance, anyways 6degrees/second still good speed, I understand now limited for certain applications, but the reality is that your device seems very promising and useful in photography world, battery life also important. I'm excited looking forward for final version. Thank you for update

    9. Creator Oscar Ramírez on August 20, 2012

      @ Sent fan Wyærda
      We cannot offer 2 different versions, the new motor is not a trivial upgrade, we modified the internal design to fit the new motor. It would require for us to build 2 completly different products.
      It was a hard decision but we feel is the right thing to do. With the old motor, an external power source makes sense. However, with the new motor and 100+ hours of battery life we don't think its needed. As we said before, we want Astro to be GREAT at one thing, so we removed every thing in the way of a GREAT timelapse device.
      @ bsbeamer @ Steven Kiehl
      We will post a video of the new motors before the campaign ends.
      @ Gareth
      I updated to make clear the video is not realtime
      Thanks everyone for your support !! it's nice to see so much support from our backers !

    10. Creator Sent fan Wyærda on August 20, 2012

      Edit: supporting an external power source would be an improvement! Mini-USB 5V?

    11. Creator Sent fan Wyærda on August 20, 2012

      I would like to change my pledge to "the old motor"; besides the manual control option and design, it was REALLY the radial-speed and usability that favoured above the Radian. And with an Canon 7D + lens + mic I'm below 1kg and do mainly HDSLR. I would choose for an 'Astro Original' instead of the 'Heavy Astro' (they should have picked the Radian when they would like to equip 7kg!! And Astro did come with a way to charge, so you could extend batterylife with a cabel/solarpanel). To me it is not an improvement, but for those who think so: give people the option to upgrade heavy! And create the product you intended and the one you "improved".

      **Could 'Astro Original' and 'Heavy Astro' become a pledge option? As an unannounced reached stretch-goal?**

    12. Creator bsbeamer on August 19, 2012

      @Roger D Williams this even more of a reason we need to see updated video and examples of this new motor in action! part of the sell of this product is the panorama mode - it's clearly sold that way directly on the main product page of this campaign. this motor/specification change is more than just a manufacturing change, it's fundamentally changing how we can use the product. it looks like it will be awesome for time-lapse, but uses beyond that will be quite limited it seems...

      again, please post updated video and examples using this new motor! we need to see the fastest 360 degree pan in action. we are running out of time to make our final decisions before this campaign is over.

    13. Creator Roger D Williams on August 19, 2012

      Well, I never thought of Astro as limited to time-lapse photography because it was so suitable for stitched panorama photography, where you want to take accurately spaced shots around the 360-degree circle. Now I can see that although the new motor will be great for time-lapse photography, it's going to limit the usefulness for panoramas. If you take shots 60 degrees apart,for a total of six around the complete circle, then there's going to be ten seconds between each shot. That's far too slow for all except stationary subjects--a major limitation. Even cameras like the Sony NEX series that take panoramas by sweeping the camera around are probably going to find this panning too slow. So from my panoramic point of view this is a major step back in usefulness. Too bad...

    14. Creator Joseph Wuestemberghs on August 18, 2012

      Bonjour Oscar,
      je ne parle pas l'anglais mais je pense avoir compris que tu a modifiés le moteur et la gestion de l'énergie,très interessant et très bon travail......

    15. Creator Adam Blom on August 18, 2012

      I agree with the choice of the new motor as well. As others have said, the purpose of the Astro is for time-lapse. While in its original design spec it had some functionality that could be used for panning for video, overall design decisions should be made about what the product is intended to do, not based on what it could do. Therefore I'm still all in.

      However, I think the concept of a well made small panning device for video would be interesting and it certainly would make for a great follow-up product to the Astro. It could either be a 2nd generation Astro that has both capabilities for time-lapse photography and panning for video or a separate product with design and features designed specifically for video users. While it would be nice to only have to buy one product, it sounds like there are limitations with available motor selection and further evaluation or design changes could come at the cost of serious delays or cost increase.

      I think by letting everyone know about the change now while they still have their ability to change their mind about a pledge is responsible and shows you are still putting thought into your product and the majority of your backers. I also think some demonstration videos would help those who are on the fence, but even without those I still look forward to when the product is finished.

    16. Creator Jeremy Wilker on August 18, 2012

      Hi Oscar and team - Cool update news and I am very excited. I was also planning on using the Astro for video and I'm only a couple miles from you. If I can help out at all with a big rig (non-DSLR) test, just let me know!

    17. Creator wasaru on August 18, 2012

      as already said, a video would be very appreciated to be posted before the deadline, including the max speed for video purposes.

    18. Creator R. Kneschke on August 18, 2012

      I am planning to use this device more for video instead of time lapses, so more degrees per second would be great though...

    19. Creator Diego Truyen on August 18, 2012

      That's great news! I'll take power over speed any day (especially for a time lapse device). Now if only you could find a different way to turn on and off the device, I'd like to permanently put a quick adapter plate on the astro.

    20. Creator Nick Fiendx on August 18, 2012

      Very good news! If you now deliver also an 3/8" adaption to the existing 1/4" screw connector, it will be perfect ;)

    21. Creator FlippinJax on August 18, 2012

      I support the new motor. Astro is already a better product than the Radian. Astro doesn't require that I carry another device with it such as an iPhone or computer for it to work. It's smaller and it's NOT made from "Lego" plastic (ABS) like the Radian. The increase in battery life means it is significantly more portable than the Radian. The Radian's solution to extra battery life is to tether something else to it. I'm sold and that's why I'm getting two black ones! Glad the Astro team is focused on quality =)

    22. Creator Markus Remmler on August 18, 2012

      One of the main reasons I chose Astro over the cheaper Radian project was the much faster slew speed of the Astro, to be able to use it for video pans as well.

      Load is of no & accuracy of little importance for me, so reducing the speed down to 20% of the original spec is a major setback for me. I will reconsider my pledge.

    23. Creator Ryan Capulong on August 17, 2012

      Oh... just saw the video for the vertical movement. Ignore my inquiry on that. :)

    24. Creator Ryan Capulong on August 17, 2012

      I love that you have decided to do a better motor to support a greater load! And I don't really mind having the slow speed as well. I think this is too much to ask but have you tried using the device vertically? I think that would be so much fun. But again, as I've said, it's too much to ask.

      Can you update the video to include the latest modifications you will do. I agree with Gareth that you should make it clear to all backers, not just those who have already backed you up but to future backers as well.

    25. Creator Rick Robertson on August 17, 2012

      Thumbs up to the motor improvement. As I am in it for the time-lapse function, anything that improves its functionality in that direction, I'm all for. Panoramas will take a bit longer but not a big deal in the grander scheme.

    26. Creator Gareth on August 17, 2012

      You need to remove the Vimeo video in update #3 as the device no longer does that. A lot of backers would assume, quite rightly, that the device is suitable for video. Personally I still love the Astro and will be buying two but think you need to make this clear to all backers.

    27. Creator Kenny Friedman on August 17, 2012

      I agree with the majority on this one. It's a time lapse device and I like that you're focusing on that. I read the chatter of video and thought it would be interesting but I'm a time lapse fan and probably never use it for vid.

      Great updates, love the direction this is going.

    28. Creator Felipe Gordillo Corvalán on August 17, 2012

      awesome, i'm already impatient
      i appreciate you limited the maximum of units to respect the timelines, thats is responsable
      About the motor change, will affect in video, but i trust you is the best option
      Great work guys

    29. Creator Bishwa Oakes on August 17, 2012

      Great work guys, more than happy with your decision to upgrade to the new motor.. go for it!

    30. Creator Jason Cartwright on August 17, 2012

      Great work on finding a new motor, the extra battery life will enable new kinds of time-lapse videos. Overall I think the tradeoff (degree/s) isn't an issue. Still really glad I backed this one.. just can't wait to get my hands-on it :)

      I posted about the update over at my site - http://www.techau.tv/blog/astro-time-lapse-motion-control-update-now-does-100hrs-up-from-15/

    31. Creator Alex P on August 17, 2012

      You positioned Astro for time-lapse, and I therefore agree with your new motor decision: better control, more power/load and longer battery life are more important than rotation speed for me.

    32. Creator Torstein Dyrting on August 17, 2012

      Keep strong to your first goal and make the best timelapse device you can. If a tougher motor makes it better then do it. Dont water down your ideal and try and please every one, you will only end up dissapointing yourself

      all the best for a great project

      Torstein Dyrting ACS

    33. Creator bsbeamer on August 17, 2012

      Initially I was interested because of the time-lapse, but I also wanted the video use. Like MANY other people are requesting, can we please see updated examples? Real-time video of a 360 degree pan would be greatly appreciated. An updated time-lapse at the fastest pan possible would also be appreciated. Yes, the new motor may be stronger/better, but changes in specs mean re-evaluation for several backers.

      I backed Astro, but as you are well aware there is another option out there. Keeping the lines of communication frequently updated goes a long way. The total lack of updates for over three weeks does not sit well with many people, especially with all of the production delays that have happened on recently successful campaigns. Another update this weekend or Monday morning would go a long way to ease any of those concerns.

    34. Creator Jeremy Galanes on August 17, 2012

      I was interested in video use and now have some concerns about the new motors

    35. Creator Sent fan Wyærda on August 17, 2012

      Like wasaru I was also very interested in the out-of-the-box capabilities for video, and was hoping (for example) to capture 360° in 11 seconds (shorttrack) or 27~33 seconds (long-track) at 50fps: wide-angle shot of an athlete/ice-skater on track combined with deadcenter-focus on virtual competitor, or overlay rest of field. Now we are back to manual. I'll be considering next 7 days if I will do really a lot of time-lapses... I mainly do video.

    36. Creator Steven Kiehl on August 17, 2012

      Could you provide a video demonstration of the new performance speeds and perhaps explain the amount of weight the new torque rates could be pushing? I'm primarily interested in this as an intervalometer, but would like to know what kind of rotation we'd see for video purposes. Perhaps a video of the camera rotating as well as a clip from the camera while it's rotating?

    37. Creator Quentin CAUDRON on August 17, 2012

      I'm really happy to hear the news about the new motor. This new efficiency will greatly improve portability. Having no interest in video, I'm perfectly happy with the lower speed. Thanks for the hard work - can't wait to receive my Astros !

    38. Creator Damion Rodriguez on August 17, 2012

      This new stepper motor modification is great news. I was a bit worried about stressing the motor out with a D800 & 14-24mm lens. Now I have no worries, thanks for continuing to add polish to your product, I can't wait to get it in my hands.

      Maybe add a small slip gear that would engage more rapid movement? Toggle high and low speed. Metal gears only though. :)

    39. Creator Gareth on August 17, 2012

      I am very happy with the extra weight the new motor will allow but I did intend to use it with video as well as time-lapse. I'm still in with buying two Astros but I would like to know if video panning is smooth or noticeably jerky at 3 seconds per 6 degrees. Thanks for getting back to us Oscar

    40. Creator Millard Taylor on August 17, 2012

      I, for one, am very excited by this change. I think this will be a better product for time-lapse photography ( my interest). It's always a hard lesson, but no product can be all things to all customers. There's a lot to be said for focusing on one thing and doing it exceptionally well. Best of luck (since that means I get a better Astro) :-).

    41. Creator emerika on August 17, 2012

      I am happy with the changes to the motor. The slower speed is fine for my work.

    42. Creator Oscar Ramírez on August 17, 2012

      Yes, you can cancel your order by clicking on Manage pledge and then on the cancel pledge button at the bottom of the page. I know this decision will disappoint some of you, Im really sorry.

    43. Creator wasaru on August 17, 2012

      I'm one of those interested "only" for video purposes.
      what do you mean for 6 degrees/second instead of 30 (In your "Tilt" video ( https://vimeo.com/46345749 ), it seems it's lot more than 30 degree by second since it rotate of 360° in less than 4 seconds)
      If it's really 6 degree/second (1 minute for a 360°), can I cancel my pre-order ?

    44. Creator Damion Rodriguez on August 17, 2012

      This new stepper motor modification is great news. I was a bit worried about stressing the motor out with a D800 & 14-24mm lens. Now I have no worries, thanks for continuing to add polish to your product, I can't wait to get it in my hands.

      Maybe add a small slip gear that would engage more rapid movement? Toggle high and low speed. Metal gears only though. :)