Most time lapse dolly systems are based on the "slider" concept which is a rail with a moving platform attached that slides the camera back and forth on the rail. The main limitations of sliders are having a finite length (usually 3-4 feet) and only making linear camera movements.
The Lil-Mule addresses both of these challenges by giving you a self contained motorized cart that makes straight or curved moves and can motor as far as the surface you set the shot up on will allow. Take a walk through a city center or park and you can rattle off many different shots in a small amount of time by rolling on sidewalks, tables, ledges, benches, anything that is relatively flat.
As an amateur time lapse enthusiast myself I find that it's challenging enough to set up your camera, compose the shot, set the intervalometer, etc. when doing time lapse. I wanted the motion control piece to be as simple as possible. The controller for the Lil-Mule is a single knob which allows you to variably control the speed you are moving in the forward and backward direction. No math equations, no menu settings, just set up your shot and twist a knob to start moving... Even the professional time lapse guys that I put Lil-Mule in the hands of for testing said the first thing they did on a shoot was drop the dolly and set it in motion and then went about setting up their other rigs...
Motion control systems are expensive! You'll be hard pressed to find one that is under $1000 and they can range to up near $20K. If you decide to make a pledge and help the little Lil-Mule project reach it's funding goal, you'll be able to add a quality american made motion control system to your creative arsenal for just over $500!
What are the rewards for Lil-Mule?
Will Lil-Mule work with my camera gear?
Very Special thanks to Thom and Vin from The Seventh Movement for all of their help in bringing Lil-Mule into being! I couldn't have done it without your help!
Thanks for taking the time to check out my Kickstarter project! If you have any questions after watching the video and reading the information above, please feel free to send me a message or post a question.
Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
The design of the Lil-Mule camera dolly is based on CNC manufactured parts for almost all of its components. What you see in the above video is pretty much what will ship to backers should we meet our funding goal. Aside from having my own CNC capable of doing light production work, I have been working in the San Francisco Bay area as a designer since 2001 and have several outlets that can help with production should the demand far exceed my expectations.
The money I hope to raise will be used to meet the manufacturing minimum requirements on the computer controller board and motors for Lil-Mule. By buying in bulk, economies of scale allow for the overall price to be as affordable as possible. Raw materials have already been sourced locally. The other hardware and even the elastomer wheels have also been sourced here in California.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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