Hyperlapse Makes Your HeadCam Videos Awesome

hyperlapse First person video – between Google Glass, GoPro, and other sports cameras, it seems like everyone has a camera on their head these days. If you’re a surfer or skydiver, that might make for some awesome footage. For the rest of us though, it means hours of boring video. The obvious way to fix this is time-lapse. Typically time-lapse throws frames away. Taking 1 of every 10 frames results in a 10x speed increase. Unfortunately, speeding up a head mounted camera often leads to a video so bouncy it can’t be watched without an air sickness bag handy. [Johannes Kopf], [Michael Cohen], and [Richard Szeliski] at Microsoft Research have come up with a novel solution to this problem with Hyperlapse.

Hyperlapse photography is not a new term. Typically, hyperlapse films require careful planning, camera rigs, and labor-intensive post-production to achieve a usable video. [Johannes] and team have thrown computer vision and graphics algorithms at the problem. The results are nothing short of amazing.

The full details are available in the team’s report (35MB PDF warning). To obtain usable data, the fisheye lenses often used on these cameras must be calibrated. The team accomplished that with the OCamCalib toolbox. Imported video is broken down frame by frame. Using structure from motion algorithms, hyperlapse creates a 3D models of the various scenes in the video. With the scenes in this virtual world, the camera can be moved and aimed at will. The team’s algorithms then pick a smooth path that follows the original cameras trajectory. Once the camera’s position is known, it’s simply a matter of rendering the final video.

The results aren’t perfect. The mountain climbing scenes show some artifacts caused by the camera frame rate and exposure changing due to the varied lighting conditions. People appear and disappear in the bicycling portion of the video.

One thing the team doesn’t mention is how long the process takes. We’re sure this kind of rendering must require some serious time and processing power. Still, the output video is stunning.

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Hackaday Reader [David] Wins a Camera from Make and Nikon

 

Make the shot fixed[David Schwarz] whipped up this moving time-lapse camera rig and won himself a sweet Nikon setup. You might remember our post about the Nikon Make:The Shot Challenge. [David] saw our post, and started thinking about what he wanted to enter. Like a true engineer, he finally came up with his idea with just 3 days left in the contest.

[David] wanted to build a moving time-lapse rig, but he didn’t have the aluminum extrusion rails typically used to build one. He did have some strong rope though, as well as a beefy DC motor with a built-in encoder. [David] mounted a very wide gear on the shaft of the motor, then looped the rope around the gear and two idler pulleys to ensure the gear would have a good bite on the rope. The motor is controlled by an Arduino, which also monitors the encoder to make sure the carriage doesn’t move too far between shots.

[6__pulley_systemDavid] built and tested his rig over a weekend. On Monday morning, he gave the rig its first run. The video came out pretty good, but he knew he could get a better shot. That’s when Murphy struck. The motor and controller on his rig decided to give up the ghost. With the contest deadline less than 24 hours away, [David] burned the midnight oil and replaced his motor and controller.

Tuesday morning, [David] pulled out his trump card – a trip to Tally Lake in Montana, USA. The equipment worked perfectly, and nature was cooperating too. The trees, lake, and the shadows on the mountains in the background made for an incredible shot. Once the time-lapse photos were in the can, [David] rushed home, stitched and stabilized the resulting video. He submitted his winning entry with just 2 hours to spare.

Click past the break for more on [David's] time-lapse rig, and to see his final video.

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Self-contained time-lapse rig braves elements from thirty feet

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Perspective is a bit hard to grasp in this image, but all of this hardware is mounted thirty feet above the ground. This time-lapse photography box makes use of the sun and a Raspberry Pi to document the goings on. The rig is one of three that were built by [Patty Chuck] to record progress on a seventy acre construction site over the course of eighteen months. The gallery linked above shows off the project well, but a much more in-depth text description is found in his Reddit thread.

What’s not shown in the image is a solar array which powers the box. When they were installed there were no utilities on site. To guard against power-loss there’s a hardware RTC that keeps ticking. The Raspberry Pi uses GPIO pins to switch the Nikon D7100 camera on once every five minutes during the work day. It snaps a photo before powering it down again. It also monitors a temperature sensor and actuates circulation fans if necessary.

He’s planning to post the videos once the project’s done in 18 months. If you see them and remember this post, send us the link and we’ll post the update.

GoPro panning time-lapse with Ikea egg timer

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[Sebastian Schuster's] weekend project was to turn his GoPro camera into a panning time-lapse rig. You’ll notice it’s in a waterproof case as his demo for the hack was an outdoor session and the weather’s not the best right now. He put this together quickly, easily, and on-the-cheap thanks to the Ikea egg timer and a 3D printed camera mount.

An egg timer is a popular choice for panning hacks. Any type that includes a dial that spins on the horizontal axis will do. The Ikea Stam egg timer has that raised handle which is easily gripped by the 3D printed part. You can get a hold of the design files through a web service which is new to us. [Sebastian] used Tinkercad for the design, and shared it in his project post linked above.

This is just one more tool in his collection of camera hacks. A couple years back we looked at a motorized pan and tilt platform he built.

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Vine app hack on iPhone makes time-lapse movies

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The Vine app is all the rage these days. It lets you shoot six-second videos on your iPhone and easily post them on the Internet. The problem is that [Sean Hodgins] doesn’t find the time limit to be useful for traditional video. But you can cram a lot more info into a half-dozen seconds if you make it a time-lapse video. The rig above is his solution to making the Vine app act as a time-lapse recorder.

The trick is in how the app itself works. It only records video when you’re touching the screen. So you record one second of video, then remove your finger and it ‘pauses’ the recording until you’re ready for the next scene. [Sean] automated this by adding a servo motor and a stylus. An Arduino drives the servo, making quick taps on the screen to get as many different frames into the six seconds as possible. He had a bit of trouble registering quick taps at first. His solution was to inject 3.3V into the stylus he gutted for the project. Click through the link above to see some example videos, or watch this embedded video to see the hardware at work:

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Time-lapse dolly uses some stock parts and a bit of machining work

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[Ben] just finished building this time-lapse dolly and decided to share his experience. We think he struck just the right balance of diy and commercially available materials to create a rig that is stable yet relatively inexpensive.

The project was inspired by Project Chronos. It gives a lot of details about the drive electronics and code used, but there are some gaps in the instructions for building the track itself. [Ben] forged ahead, purchasing linear bearings and a double-guide rail from IGUS. He didn’t mention the price on that item but we found 1000mm of the stuff (about 40 inches) for under $75 so it’s not outrageous. The part he couldn’t get for a reasonable price was precision thread bar. He ended going with regular threaded rod and a couple of nuts combined with a spring mechanism to keep the sled steady. That seems to work just fine. You can see the rod bouncing a bit in the clip after the break but it doesn’t harm the stability of the captured images.

The end stops including the one to which the stepper motor is mounted are his own work. It sounds like they required a bit more fabrication work than he was planning on but we figure if you don’t challenge your skill set you never get any better.

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Automating a key fob camera for time lapse

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If you’re lofting a digital camera high into the stratosphere with a helium balloon, you really can’t do better than one of those key fob spy cameras. Being extremely lightweight with decent resolution, they’re the perfect camera to take to near space. If you’re bringing someone along to snap the pictures, that is.

[Román] wanted to take his 808 spy camera to new heights, but not wanting to manually reset the thing when it’s 100,000 feet in the air decided to use a microcontroller instead. An 8-pin PIC12F675 takes care of taking 60 pictures with a 4-second interval, then switching to movie mode and recording a 20-second video.

The entire device can be powered by 6 to 9 volts with the help of a voltage regulator. [Román] found the camera hangs after taking about 1600 photos, so a connection from the microcontroller to the reset switch was added. Everything works on the ground, so we can’t wait to see what happens miles above the Earth’s surface.

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