Dynamin, the paradigmatic membrane fission catalyst, assembles as helical scaffolds that hydrolyse GTP to sever the tubular necks of clathrin-coated pits. Using a facile assay system of supported membrane tubes (SMrT) engineered to mimic the dimensions of necks of clathrin-coated pits, we monitor the dynamics of a dynamin-catalysed tube-severing reaction in real time using fluorescence microscopy. We find that GTP hydrolysis by an intact helical scaffold causes progressive constriction of the underlying membrane tube. On reaching a critical dimension of 7.3 nm in radius, the tube undergoes scission and concomitant splitting of the scaffold. In a constant GTP turnover scenario, scaffold assembly and GTP hydrolysis-induced tube constriction are kinetically inseparable events leading to tube-severing reactions occurring at timescales similar to the characteristic fission times seen in vivo. We anticipate SMrT templates to allow dynamic fluorescence-based detection of conformational changes occurring in self-assembling proteins that remodel membranes.