A panning companion for time-lapse photography


The past year has seen the kickstarting of heaps of useful camera tools for photographers and videographers, and the hits just keep on coming. Astro joins the pack as an intervalometer and motion control device for time-lapse photography. Three stacked aluminum disks control the range, duration and interval for your shot with a design as clean as an egg timer. Astro promises to take time-lapse footage to the next level with panning for a more dynamic effect.

The usability of the device is the real clincher. Virtually any camera with a remote output can pair with Astro to control shutter release intervals if the time-lapse function isn’t built in to the camera’s software. The panning functions—range and duration—are run independently of the camera. Two buttons below the disk are used to determine the direction of Astro’s rotation and speed while mounted to a tripod. Astro is also developing an app for Android and iOS that will allow users to program a full time-lapse plan and upload it to the device directly—expanding Astro’s capability from simple panning to include accelerated and slowed movements to ease in or out of a scene.

On our recent trip to Zambia, we had plenty of chances to take in Africa’s luminous night sky, and a panning option would have helped to take in a broader landscape. While Astro has already blown its $50,000 goal out of the water after a few short days, the device has 31 more days to fill pre-order slots for an initial run of production. Currently, people can pledge to receive Astro in silver and limited edition black for $180 and $200 with delivery expected in December 2012.