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TimeFlow Intervalometer Customer Reviews

"Just want to drop you a note, and say thanks for such a great product. I bought your TIV-300B and took it to Hawaii as I mentioned. What I like about the Intervalometer was that it was compact, and fast to set up. I carried the assembly (camera and TIV-300B) in a small cloth bag, and could be set up on location in seconds anywhere.

I have been shooting time lapse for about 14 years now, and feel that your product is the best out there. I can get it through the airports easy, and it sets up in seconds. There is nothing like it anywhere. You get 10 times the machine for a fraction of the cost of the other brands. "

Rick Clark, Reporting from Hawaii. Rick has stepped up to 35mm and you can see his Arri II rig and 35mm footage.

"The [Bealieu] Intervalometer I bought this summer works wonderfully! Pictures are very steady."

David McCallum, Kingston, Onterio, Canada

"I just got some footage back from the lab and it looks great. What an amazing tool you've designed!'

Sean Morris, Alaskan Nomad Productions, Anchorage, AK

I have used the TimeFlow TIV-300B intervalometer with a couple of H-16 Reflex Bolex cameras and the results were great. NCS makes two types of intervalometers, the TimeFlow line and the Revolution line. The Revolution line is motorized for Eyemo and Arri S cameras. The TimeFlow line uses either a Bolex or K-3's internal spring to physically advance the film. The TIV-300 is their top model and it is very versatile and '"field friendly." The Bolex model is nice because the Bolex is very versatile and because the Bolex has a beam splitter prism and not a mirror shutter.

Matthew A. Petrosky, North Carolina.

The TIV-300 has been working great. I'm a documentary director here in the UK and have been using it on my Bolex for numerous long-exposure time-lapse shots on a feature documentary I've been making for the BBC and other funders. I recently did the telecine and was pleased to see that the TIV/Bolex shots stood up against all the ARRI 3/Zeiss lens material.

Kevin MacDonald, Director, London.

I've been using an NCS Products "Timeflow" TIV-300 intervalometer with a S16 Bolex SBM for some time with excellent results (just sold a shot to the BBC!).

Here are some user notes Pro & Con:

  • Low & flexible power requirement - it can be run from any 8-16v source through a standard 4 pin XLR - and the neat little connection supplied allows a 9V battery to be used if all else fails. It's good to be independent of mains supply. [1]
  • Preset 90 is handy. Set to 90 and the TIV starts up using the same settings as the last time it was used. Excellent. It's also possible to store up to 10 custom presets—so if you're mostly using the same range of interval/exposure settings it's not necessary to program every shot.
  • Time exposures are consistent and the external mechanical operation gives a visual reassurance that all's well, although I tend to listen to the motor for the slight sound of the hold position when I first switch on a new sequence.
  • The Bolex mechanical shutter doesn't need a capping shutter, so long exposures aren't a problem.
  • It's possible to program bursts of up to 99 exposures rather than single frames, to delay starting, and to chain presets and set differing durations between shots. Endless possibilities.
  • It's easy enough to connect & disconnect the pushrod to the side release on the camera, but the screw is fiddly and sooner or later I know I'll drop it—probably in the middle of a field ten minutes before the sunset. I only think of figuring out an alternative to that tiny screw and my Leatherman when I'm half way up a mountain, leaning into the trunk of my car, disconnecting the TIV to bag up and load another roll. [2]
  • The unit is secured to the camera - or rather the camera is secured to the unit - by the tripod bushing passing through the TIV baseplate into the camera [3]. In other words the camera is sitting on the TIV baseplate and the two are held together by the tripod bushing. This is not a problem if you use a detachable tripod plate (which I do), because the entire unit detaches from the tripod head. However, if you want to switch cameras, or lift the camera and use it handheld, there's a de-rig involved.
  • The numerical entry method—two thumbwheels—is solid and chunky, which is good. Each entry is followed by a single or double press of a button. A pair of LEDs flash according to the numerical input - which I find requires constant reference to written instructions (if you vary settings according to the requirements of the subject, if you're doing time exposures, or burst...etc.).
  • The supplied documentation is thorough, but not especially clear. The precise instructions given are stuck to the base of the unit [4] and therefore are useless in the field. I use my own instruction bullet list (much more user friendly) which is fixed to the top of the unit.


With the TIV-300 and a good lens on my Bolex SBM (I use a Canon 8-64mm and sometime Nikon fit Sigmas for long telephoto shots) I've produced Super16mm timelapse material which is as good as any I've seen from Arri's or Aatons. The TIV-300 has more sophisticated features than many high end units and its limitations are really attributable to the cameras it's designed for—clockwork Bolex and Krasnogorsk.

August 1999 Update

Back from ten days around Ireland shooting Super 16mm scenics with the TIV-300 on our Bolex SBM.

The new pushrod is a big improvement on the old fixed version, with the major benefit being the ease with which it comes out to allow bursts of real-time filming.

Obviously this is great when changing the film - no more unscrewing the pushrod attachment, stashing the fiddly screw and then having to do it all again when the new roll's in.

My method of using the TIV may be different to most. I keep it attached to the camera at all times, by means of a Bolex tripod/handgrip bush. This then fits a Bolex pan/tilt head which I have mounted on a sturdy Bilura tripod.

So when I get to the end of a roll, I lift the camera and TIV (together) off the pan/tilt head, and because it's Super 16mm, the whole lot goes into a changing bag. The film can be canned and a new one loaded using normal motor speeds.

Out of the bag, after run-up, the new pushrod slips back into the nylon slot and the camera is ready to go.

Between shots I usually remove the lens, so before I do that I can slip the rod out, run on a few frames at normal speed, and not lose any of the timelapse frames I've just shot. (Previously, doing this entailed the whole unscrewing operation).

On a more general note I've also had occasion to notice that time exposures with the TIV-300 are remarkably consistent.

The electronic intervalometer we use on our Aaton has given us some variable exposure, ruining some shots (it's a camera thing I think - something wrong with the shutter - we'll get it fixed). But similar subjects with the same lens and film on the Bolex gave a direct comparison with these inconsistent images. We always used a minimum of 0.5 secs exposure and found that exposures up to 5 secs were even. We tested a star shot last week with 30 secs exposures which we have yet to see, but I felt confident that the TIV-300 was up to it. (The good thing about the Bolex is that there's no need for an external capping shutter for longer exposures/intervals).

Dave Johnston, Miracles Production, Belfast, Northern Ireland
(TIV-300 owner since March of 1998)

The unit I used was a TIV-300B (Bolex version). It is a stand alone unit. It connects with a small screw at the side plunger of the Bolex. There were no modifications needed to connect it, and once the length of the pushrod was adjusted, it didn't need to be reset again after I removed and reconnected the camera a few times. I haven't used the Norris Intervalometer Light Priority unit but for 1/8th[5] the price, this unit seems to provide the same abilities as the older SCC300.

First off, the unit is not a timelapse motor that replaces your existing motor. It is a separate unit that controls the single frame switch on your camera. It was very easy to go from "timelapse mode" to "normal" mode. The controls are very straight forward: type in duration, time, frames, etc. and off it goes. The unit worked flawlessly. I even ran out of battery power at one point and instead of trekking back home to grab another brick battery, I used the included 9V adapter. I pulled the battery from my Cinemeter and was up shooting in moments. If you are looking for an inexpensive unit to try out timelapse, this system gives a hell of a lot of bang for the buck.

Denis Moran, Playa Del Rey, California.
(TIV-300 owner since December of 1998)


[1] TIV's now are powered by an on-board 4AA battery pack.

[2] This has been solved with the New Pushrod Attachment method!

[3] TIV's now have two holes in the baseplate, and include a 3/8" screw which can be used with flat-base Bolexes (the ones with two 3/8" screw holes) for easier attachment of the TIV and Camera. They are still compatible with older Bolexes with the round base and one tripod hole.

[4] Responding to Mr. Johnston's feedback, all Bolex TIV-300s now have an quick-reference label on the *top* of the unit.

[5] I believe the Norris units cost $3K or so, which makes the TIV-300 (at $595) approximately 1/5th the price!




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