Dynamic Perception Stage Zero dolly versus the Stage One Slider

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Everyone can create time lapse movies. It's not that hard. There are even apps available that turn a smart phone into a time lapse camera. You see time lapse movies in almost every documentary. But most movies are taken with a static camera. The camera is not moving when the time lapse movie was shot. This is where motion control comes in. You can use motorized equipment that moves your camera automatically during the creation of a time lapse movie.

ElysaVisuals is specialized in the distribution and use of this motion controller equipment. Dynamic Perception is the market leader in affordable open source motion control equipment. ElysiaVisuals distributes all Dynamic Perception products. The main products that we carry are the Dynamic Perception Stage Zero dolly and the Dynamic Perception Stage One slider. We get many questions if the Stage Zero will be discontinued or what the difference is between the Stage One dolly and the Stage Zero dolly. The new Stage One Slider is not a replacement for the Stage Zero dolly. Both products have their use and we will continue to provide both the Stage One and Stage Zero from Dynamic Perception including all available accessories.

The Stage Zero dolly is the most affordable dolly that we offer for a sharp price. The Stage Zero Dolly Bundle holds everything that a time lapse photographer needs to create dynamic time lapse movies while the camera is moving on a track. This bundle includes a battery, the MX motion controller and a cable to connect your dSLR camera. The Stage Zero dolly has been on the market for a while and it has been the default choice for many time lapse enthusiasts. The Stage Zero dolly is in stock and can ship immediately. We also offer all accessories like limit switches or ultra light support legs; these are on stock as well. The Stage Zero dolly is built around a 6' feet rail that is strong enough to support two camera's. We ship the Stage Zero in two boxes. One with the complete assembled Stage Zero hardware and electronics. The second box holds the rail which is packed very well in order to protect it during shipping.

The Stage One Slider is a slider that can be used by time lapse enthusiasts and videographers. We offer this Stage One Slider in various options that are explained in more detail in: The Dynamic Perception Stage One Slider System. The Stage One can be used as a slider by videographers. In that case it is not always necessary to use a motor; the cart can be used by hand as well. The big difference / advantage of the Stage One Slider is that this is a collapsible portable slider. The stage One Slider can be setup with two different motors. The 8.75RPM motor is suitable for time lapse photography. The faster 25RPM motor is faster and can be used to get those real time tracking shots.

The MX2 motion controller that we offer together with the Stage Zero and Stage One is needed to control both the motor and the camera. All major camera's from Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Olympus and Pentax are supported. There is no difference between the supplied battery that you get with the Stage Zero Bundle or the Stage One bundle.

You only need an allen key to assemble both the Stage Zero and the Stage One dollies. This tool is supplied with the Stage Zero hardware. For the Stage One you only need this tool when you use the slider in combination with a motor. The tool is therefore supplied together with the Stage One motor upgrade kit.

Dynamic Perception describes the difference between the Stage Zero and Stage One as follows:

Stage Zero is the work-horse, it will take massive amounts of abuse, and can be easily "refreshed" into a practically new dolly with a handful of inexpensive, easy to get parts (linear bearings, bushings, standard rail bought on amazon, etc.) you can literally run the thing through mud and it will continue to work. It is designed to effectively carry strangely balanced payloads, like a telescope head and big lens. It is designed primarily for time lapse work, and primarily only to be driven by a big-ass motor.

Stage One is the ultra-light, ultra-portable dolly/slider. It is designed to pack up as small as possible, and be as light as possible, for those that travel a lot. To get it there, compromises had to be made relative to the Stage Zero - it has a lot of threads, which can be damaged and must be kept clean, it has moving parts which are completely custom and cost more to replace, it cannot handle as heavy loads that are off-center like the Stage Zero, and damaging any core part on it will require a replacement from us. It is designed to support normal video slider use (i.e. w/ no motor) as much as it is designed to support motorized time lapse.

Some key differences:

  • Stage One is all custom parts, we are the only vendor for those parts
  • Stage Zero has many off-the-shelf parts for which replacements can easily be found locally when on a shoot
  • Stage One breaks down compactly, but can not be transported assembled
  • Stage Zero length does not break down, but can be transported as one assembled unit
  • Stage One is more expensive
  • Stage Zero is very inexpensive
  • Stage One can be used as a manual slider (no motor)
  • Stage Zero is designed primarily as a motorized slider
  • Stage One weighs less, but is designed to carry only a dSLR
  • Stage Zero is stronger, holds off-camber loads better, designed to carry more items, like telescope heads, etc.
  • Stage Zero is faster to setup than Stage One for run-and-gun shooting

Our next blog will be about our affordable Dynamic Perception Stage Zero dolly. We will show that this time lapse dolly can be used to create dynamic time lapse movies. We will also explain the basics of the MX motion controller.