Peter keeps pestering me to post this video, so here you go:
This was shot in my Pentax *ist DS, with an old, beat-up, 50mm F1.4 lens I picked up in Vietnam. The “intervalometer” in this case is even more ghetto than the electronics kit I put together a year ago. It’s a 2.5mm stereo mini jack with the cable release side soldered to ground. Plugging this in makes the camera think the shutter is held down constantly. Put the camera in “burst” shooting mode and it will happily fire off a frame every ~1.7 seconds until it runs out of battery or SD card space. Drop the resulting series of JPGs into a folder, import as footage into After Effects, resize, crop, done. Pretty timelapse.
The actual shooting of this was similarly simple: The popcicle stick was attached to the tripod of a dual-500W work light with a strong magnet. 1000W of lights are sitting just out of shot, accellerating the melting process.
Advantages of this method: This is a relatively cheap way to get extremely high quality source material. The resulting video is natively 3000×2000 pixels, and shot on a camera and lens which would cost well under US$1000.
Disadvantages: I’m not sure how much of this treatment the shutter of an SLR is designed to take. Fortunately Digi SLRs are generally more professional gear, so they should be able to take a reasonable amount of punishment, and plenty of professional shooters will snap off thousands of images in a day, they’re just not quite holding the shutter down constantly for 45 minutes. I’ve used the camera on probably 20-30 of these shoots, rolled over the shot counter several times, and haven’t seen any smoke or blue sparks yet, so hopefully it will continue to work out.