Jul 21, 2014

Syrp Genie Motion Control Review

Several weeks ago LEAPframe was approached by Neltner Small Batch to collaborate on a documentary project. It involves capturing the "making of" a seventy foot mural with a gigantic beer glass. We love our city, beer, and art, so it made perfect since for our Cincinnati video production company to participate. We discussed several different methods of using time-lapse photography to capture the monstrous painting in progress. We settled on shooting multiple motion controlled time-lapses from different perspectives versus one long time-lapse from a fixed perspective. Ultimately this gave me a good excuse to buy the Syrp Genie.

After a successful debut on Kickstarter, this magic little box has made its way onto many digital filmmakers wish list. For the low price point of $890 it offers filmmakers a variety of options that otherwise would cost a small fortune. Its user friendly interface makes it easy to use for beginners, but offers an advanced menu for those who really want to tweak the settings.

My set-up pairs the Genie with the Rocket Slider from Aviator camera gear. Its small compact size makes it easy to transport and set up virtually anywhere. After some experimentation, I decided to use electric conduit available at any hardware store. Compared to plumbing pipe, the conduit is very light weight and keeps its rigidity up to about eight feet. Although the conduit comes in ten foot pipes, it begins to bow a little bit and the added length makes it hard to fit in a standard size car or SUV.  

Upon receiving my Syrp Genie I was impressed first by the box it shipped in. The packaging was a foreshadowing of the well constructed robotic wonder. It was super easy to set up and prep for use. Within hours I was on-location setting up my first motion control time-lapse. It was an eight foot move from right to left. The move started tight on a brick wall and the move revealed the giant mural work-in-progress showcasing Cincinnati’s Over The Rhine neighborhood alive with people and traffic.

I kept my Canon 5D Mark III in auto focus so that both my foreground object and back ground object would be in focus. I set the Genie for a duration of 4 hours and dialed in a desired playback time of 15 seconds. My wish was granted as the black box crunched the numbers and determined both the interval at which it would shoot and how fast it would dolly from right to left. I was amazed at how easy it was to set up.

After dumping the images I prepped it for playback as a time-lapse in Adobe Premiere. I was blow away at the results. The Syrp Genie was definitely worth the investment and I would highly recommend it as a great video production tool to have in your digital film tool-kit.

Brandon Faris

Brandon Faris

Film Director