1980’s Ingenuity Yields Mechanical Intervalometer

DIY Intervalometer

Let’s go back in time to the 1980’s, when shoulder pads were in vogue and the flux capacitor was first invented. New apartment housing was being built in [Vince's] neighborhood, and he wanted some time-lapse footage of the construction. He had recently inherited an Elmo Super-8mm film camera that featured a remote control port and a speed selector. [Vince] figured he might be able to build his own intervalometer get some time-lapse footage of the construction. He was right.

An intervalometer is a device which counts intervals of time. These are commonly used in photography for taking time-lapse photos. You can configure the intervalometer to take a photo every few seconds, minutes, hours, etc. This photographic technique is great when you want see changes in a process that would normally be very subtle to the human eye. In this case, construction.

[Vince] started out by building his own remote control switch for the camera. A simple paddle-style momentary micro switch worked perfectly. After configuring the camera speed setting to “1”, he found that by pressing the remote button he could capture one single frame. Now all he needed was a way to press the button automatically every so often.

Being mechanically minded, [Vince] opted to build a mechanical solution rather than an electronic circuit. He first purchased a grandfather clock mechanism that had the biggest motor he could find. He then purchased a flange that allowed him to mount a custom-made wooden disk to the end of the minute hand’s axle. This resulted in a wheel that would spin exactly once per hour.

He then screwed 15 wood screws around the edge of the wheel, placed exactly 24 degrees apart. The custom paddle switch and motor assembly were mounted to each other in such a way that the wood screws would press the micro switch as they went by. The end result was a device that would automatically press the micro switch 15 times per hour. [Read more...]

Keeping an old 8mm projector alive with high-power LEDs

There’s a certain mystique about old home movies and 8mm film; whether it’s footage from a family gathering from 40 years ago or a stop-motion animation you made when you were 12, there’s an immediacy for film that the VHS tapes from your family’s first camcorder can’t match. [Teslas Moustache] has been getting into 8mm cameras and projectors, so when he came across a 8mm/super 8 projector that needed a bulb, he knew he had a worthwhile project on his hands.

To replace the burnt-out and very expensive to replace incandescent bulb, [Teslas] sourced a very bright star LED from Jameco. This 1 Watt LED puts out more than enough light to project a frame of film onto a screen and fortunately doesn’t get as hot as the stock bulb.

To power the LED, [Teslas] used a cell phone charger powered from the 120 VAC incandescent socket to supply the requisite 5 Volts at 1 Amp (Ohm’s Law works on coffee) power for the LED. Right now, there’s still the matter of fabricating a nice enclosure to mount the LED and charger in the bulb socket, but once [Teslas] figures that out, he’ll have a very nice 8mm projector on his hands.

Converting 8mm film to digital

Many of us have these old 8mm family videos lying around and many of us have lamented at the perspective cost to get them converted to digital.  [Paul] came up with a pretty slick way of digitizing them himself. He cracked open an 8mm projector and replaced the drive motor with one he could run at a much slower speed, allowing him to be able to capture each frame individually with his digital camera. He’s rigged his remote shutter control to the shutter of the projector so that it would be perfectly synchronized. There’s a video of it in action on the flickr page, and a video of the full 16,000 frame clip after digitization here.

[via Make]

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