Camera dollies hacked together by stop motion filmmakers

A little bit of technology goes a long way when it comes to stop motion animation. In this case it’s a trio of simple camera dollies built during production of a short film called The Maker.

A Dolly is a method of mounting the camera so that it can be moved smoothly during a shot. Of course with stop motion the movement actually happens between the shots so it’s even more important that the camera be moved accurately. The video after the break shows off how they added CNC control for the camera. The first dolly was built from a pair of PVC pipes with a sled that moves along them. A motor moves a loop of 35mm film which is attached to the dolly. This is a great choice of materials since it doesn’t stretch and it’s free (one of the filmmakers is a projectionist). The next dolly is made from a flatbed scanner, and the final offering is seen above. Built from a bicycle wheel it provides a stationary platform above the hub for the models, while the camera rotates on an arm attached to the wheel. You can watch the complete film here.

If you’re looking for more inspiration check out this dual-axis PVC dolly project.

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Focus fix for non-reflex 35mm camera

For camera fanatics the acquisition of an old camera is a thrilling event. But if you’re going to collect them, you’d better have some repair skills so that you can also use them. [Fernando's] latest find was this Minox 35mm camera. The aperture needed cleaning, and after reassembling the unit he realized the he had not marked the focus ring when taking it apart. This is not a reflex camera, so you can’t look in the view finder to adjust focus. He came up with his own method to get the focus ring calibrated.

The focal point needs to focus on the film. He simulated this plane using some magic tape, which removes easily without leaving a residue. When the shutter is open, you can see the image projected on this translucent surface. He then set up the camera with the lens 90 cm from a bright light bulb. By adjusting the focus to create a sharp image on the temporary screen, he knows the focus is calibrated, and can reset the focus ring to the 0.9m mark.

Need some help developing that exposed film? You could always give the coffee and vitamin C hack a try.

Build your own panoramic pinhole camera

panoramic_pinhole_cam

While it seems that the digital camera is king, some people still love shooting with good old 35mm film – [Costas Kaounas], a high school teacher and photographer certainly does. He recently published plans for a great-looking 35mm pinhole camera over at DIY photography that we thought you might enjoy.

[Costas] put together a set of simple hand-drawn plans for the camera, that you can easily replicate with a bit of free time. The camera is built mostly from card stock, both in 1mm and 3mm flavors, also incorporating popsicle sticks and an aluminum can. The popsicle sticks are used to create a manual shutter for the camera, while the pop can is used to form the pinhole aperture.

It’s a pretty simple hack as you can see, with nary an electronic part to be found. It will take you a bit of time to construct however, since you’ll need to let the glue dry between certain steps.

Love it or leave it, you’ve got to admit that the panoramic shots it takes are pretty nice!

If we’ve piqued your interest in pinhole cameras, be sure to check out this Lego pinhole camera as well as this beer can pinhole camera.

[via Lifehacker]

Yashica Electro Shutter mod

We saw this picture on Flickr this morning and started getting really curious. The caption says that [Steffanhh1] modified the Yashica Electro Shutter camera to be fully manual. We’re not camera experts so we had to do a little research to see what was going on here. The Yashika Electro got its name due to how the shutter speed is controlled. You have two little LEDs that light up depending on which direction you need to turn the dial (based on ambient light?). [Steffanhh1] really wanted full control, so they hacked in a dial with a knot of resistors under it. The first test photographs are downloading developing, so we’ll have to wait to see the results.

From cinema to stills, camera lens gets new life

[Timur Civan], with a beautiful merge of past and present, has taken a 102 year old camera lens (a 35mm F5.0 from hand cranked cinema cameras) and attached it to his Canon EOS 5D. While this is not the first time we’ve seen someone custom make a camera lens or attach a lens to a different camera, such as when we brought you plumbing tilt shift or iPhone camera SLR or Pringles can macro photography, the merge of old tech with new warms our empty chest cavities hearts. Catch some additional shots of 1908/2010 New York City after the jump.

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DIY audio interconnects


This is one of those things that has annoyed me for so long, that I’m putting it up. I have despised, no, I have friggin loathed the quality of 1/8″ (3.5mm) cables. Cables are pretty easy; just clip, strip and solder away, right? Right. If you grew up cursed with the junk that rat shack carries, you know my pain. So, if you hate those crappy cables as much as I do, go check out this lovely little write up on making quality interconnects. (Now if I could just find a 2.5mm connector like that switchcraft 3.5mm to fix this spare apple power supply)