Over 13 minutes. BT’s “13 Angels On My Broken Windowsill” playing. And nothing but timelapse footage of starscapes above fields and farms on Planet Earth. All of this could be corny, and yet…

Nope. It’s a breathtaking virtual-stargazing love song to the Milky Way.

Clever use of DSLR cameras makes the unseen realm of our starscape home beautifully clear, thanks to expert photographer Randy Halverson. Halverson not only cuts through light pollution to make the star-crowded cloud of our galaxy easier to see, but creates a theatrical sense of depth in layers of relief. BT, whose music here is spacious and dramatic in just the right way, comments on the collaboration:

When we started working on concepts for the ’13 Angels On My Broken Windowsill’ Music video, I was drawn to Randy Halverson, because I was amazed that he came up with a technique that could extend the range of viewable light normally visible to the naked eye and create new photography techniques to capture breathtaking visuals of the universe through stunning time-lapse and nature observation.”

How about that process of extending the range of viewable light? Halverson gives up the basics of his technique on his site – think SLR plus dolly:

The night time astro timelapse are shot with Canon DSLR’s. The timelapses shot since Sub Zero were shot in RAW full size format. RAW allows for more adjustments in post. Most shots go from 20-30+ seconds per frame, with three second intervals and run continuous for 3+ hours. Most of the shots utilize Dynamic Perceptions Stage Zero Dolly for the motion, see photos below. An Orion head (aka Merlin or Celestron) can also be mounted on the dolly, for a slide move with panning or tilting.

And yes, this is really all nighttime, which means caring for the cameras:

All the timelapse is shot at night. If it looks like the sun setting or rising, it is actually the moon.

For dew and frost prevention, I use hand warmers held on with a rubber band.

I also cover the camera with a plastic rain coat, and recently started using Storm Jacket covers, which are a much better method. In extreme cold, it is best to let the camera warm up gradually, by covering it with a heavy coat, inside a cold cooler, etc. before bringing it inside. This will help prevent condensation on and more importantly inside the camera and lens.

In fact, watching Halverson’s timelapse of a camera shooting timelapse is as breathtaking for photography nerds as the original video:

Well, hello, dolly.

Wonderful stuff. More on these artists:
Randy Halverson: http://dakotalapse.com
BT: http://www.btmusic.com/

The music video, from the album If The Stars Are Eternal, So Are You And I, is available from iTunes.

For those of you playing the CDM Drinking Game at home, yes, I did make yet another 2010 reference. Another shot. Actually, it’s Thursday night, so: tangible open source projection mapping OSC Ableton Berlin iPad. There. That counts as seven more. I hope this is Red Bull (Club Mate?) you’re drinking.