El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Uses Timelapse+ VIEW

Time-lapse operator, Jesse Heidenfeld chose the Timelapse+ VIEW to create all the time-lapse scenes for Netflix’s “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie”. We recently got a chance to chat with him.


Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

I’m an International Cinematographer’s Guild Local 600 2nd Assistant and Loader. I’ve been in NM for 15 years, 10 in Albuquerque. I went to the University of New Mexico for Cinematic Arts with a minor in Psych. Started in the business as an office PA on the first season of Better Call Saul and since, thanks to the kindness of the wonderful group behind the BrBa universe, I’ve been given some fantastic opportunities. Most recently loading and shooting timelapse for “El Camino” and loading “Better Call Saul Season 5.”


What was your gear setup?

 The setup for “El Camino” was as follows: Two A7RIII’s and two Timelapse+. The cameras shared a 16-35 Sony zoom, some Xeen primes, and a Nikon E Series 100mm 2.8. Used in conjunction with a Dynamic Perceptions NMX head. Lenses were mostly out of necessity. A day or two before the shot, I would go out with The Photographer’s Ephemeris and Cadrage viewfinder and try to line up what was asked of me, and grab some screenshots to show the sun’s path. Bringing that back to Marshall Adams, ASC (our DP) and Vince Gilligan, they’d crop in on the shot and chose a size. We’d come back with locations and a PA to manage people and lookyloos, set up the shot and fire away. 


Why did you choose the Timelapse+ VIEW?

The pickings are pretty slim in terms of simple straight forward bulb ramping tools. I needed something that integrated with the Dynamic Perceptions slider we carried over from BCS, and could pair easily with the Anton Bauer batteries we used for our main cameras. With the Timelapse+ View, I was able to power the cameras D-Tap to dummy battery, and the view charged off of the USB port on the battery. We shot in the cold of winter, which in New Mexico proved to be close to 0°F for most of the sunrises. Using hand warmers and monitoring via WiFi from a warm car made the process a breeze. 


What was the most challenging part of capturing the time-lapse for the show?

The timelapse community often seeks massive star laden timelapses, but when approaching a grounded narrative those are harder to sell within the aesthetic of the rest of the show. The timelapses in “El Camino” relied heavily on the graphic and stylized visual language of the Breaking Bad universe so much more planning went into using the geography and movement of shadow than featuring celestial bodies move through the sky. The first timelapse featured was probably the most daunting. Scouting during the day and lining up a shot with adequate light is easy, but going back and recreating that in the dead of night was incredibly unnerving. The city was a blur of lights at 3 am. Luckily, being familiar with Albuquerque and having a mirror less high res camera, I was able to use digital zoom to orient myself and line up the shot. Moral of the story, there’s never too much prep.