Panning time-lapse rig

Here’s a simple camera setup that lets you make your own panning time-lapse videos. It uses a couple of motors driven by an Arduino to snap successive still images which can later be rolled into a video format.

[Acorv] was not thrilled with the fact that his new Lumix LX5 didn’t have a time-lapse option built-in. But luckily it does have a standard connector on top for an external flash. He saw on a forum post that someone had built a jig which mounts to the flash bracket and uses a servo motor to depress the shutter release button. He recreated that and had half of this hack done.

The panning portion is facilitated by the Gorillapod. This particular model offers a swivel feature. This is automated by connecting it to a stepper motor with a piece of string. As the stepper turns the string is wound on a spool and gradually pans the camera. Simple, and it seems to work great. Check out the video after the break to see a test which was shot at sunset on the shores of a lake.

If you have a camera which offers an IR remote shutter release the time-lapse portion can be handled with an IR intervalometer, making the mechanical build a bit easier.

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Extending battery life while taking time lapse photos

msp430_camera_control

[Peter] loved using his GoPro HD camera, but he found the time lapse functionality a bit lacking. It wasn’t that there were not enough settings to satiate his needs, but that the camera would run through its batteries in just a few short hours.

He found that the camera did not turn off or enter any sort of sleep mode between shots, wasting precious battery life. He could have simply added a bigger external battery pack to the camera, but for the sake of portability, he had a far better idea in mind.

The GoPro has a pretty well documented interface called the “Hero Bus”, so all it took was a little bit of online research before [Peter] had all the information he needed. The camera has a neat feature that immediately snaps a picture when it is powered on, so he decided that he would use a microcontroller to turn the camera on and off at specific intervals, rather than using its built-in time lapse function. He chose a Texas Instruments MSP430 for the job, since it is very well known for being a power miser.

Once he had his code up and running, he connected it to his camera and found that it worked perfectly right off the bat. Now, he can take anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 shots before the batteries run out, instead of the measly 200 he was getting without the modifications – quite an improvement!

Build cheap panning camera mounts for time lapse photography

diy_ikea_panning_camera_mount

Panning time lapse photographs always look pretty cool, but there’s that whole “making a panning time lapse” rig that gets in the way of all the fun. [Getawaymoments] put together a tutorial quite a while ago showing how to use Ikea egg timers as cheap and dispensable panning units, and has updated his instructions with a pair of refreshed designs.

He stumbled upon two new egg timers at Ikea, the Stam and Ordning, which sell for $1.99 and $5.99 respectively. The Stam is a small plastic model that can be fitted with a set screw, to which most cameras can be mounted. A small bushing can also be installed in the timer’s plastic base, allowing it to be mounted on any standard tripod.

The Ordning is a beefier unit capable of withstanding more abuse than its plastic brethren, hence the larger price tag. A few minutes on the drill press makes room for a metal bushing, allowing the Ordning to be installed on any tripod as well.

The hack isn’t high tech, but we’re impressed with the results he was able to get with these simple kitchen timers. For the cost and time required to build them, they are sure to give most other panning rigs a run for the money.

Continue reading to see a short instructional video demonstrating how to build one of your own.

[via Make]

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[Bunnie] mods Chumby to capture epic time-lapse video

When [Bunny] moved into his apartment in Singapore he was surprised to find that a huge building project was just getting started on the other side of the block. Being the curious sort, he was always interested in what was going on, but just looking in on the project occasionally wasn’t enough. Instead, he set up a camera and made a time-lapse video.

This isn’t hard, you can find a slew of intervalometer projects which we’ve covered over the years. But being that [Bunnie] is one of the designers of the Chumby One, and frequently performs hacks on the hardware, it’s no surprise that he chose to use that hardware for the project.

Luckily, he’s sharing the steps he used to get Chumby capturing images. He mentions the hardest part is finding a compatible USB camera. If you have one that works with a 2008 Linux kernel you should be fine. The rest is done with shell scripts. Mplayer captures the images when the script is called from a cron job. Once all the frames are captured, he used mencoder to stitch the JPEGs into a movie. See the result after the break.

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Using an MSP430 for time lapse photography

vistaquest_keychain_timelapse_msp430

Hackaday reader [onefivefour] had an old VistaQuest VQ1005 keychain camera kicking around, and wanted to do something useful with it. A while back he hooked up a 555 timer and did a bit of time lapse photography, but he wanted more control over the process. Specifically, he desired the ability to tweak the delay between shots in a more granular fashion, as well as way to prevent the VistaQuest from going to sleep after sitting idle for 60 seconds.

His weapon of choice to get this task done was an MSP430, since the microcontroller can be found quite cheaply, and because it is relatively easy to use. He added a few header pins to the LaunchPad board wiring them up to the camera’s trigger as well as the on/off switch. When the wire connected to the trigger is pulled low, the camera snaps a picture. The wire connected to the on/off switch is always held low, ensuring that the camera is on and ready to go whenever it’s time to take a shot.

It’s a relatively simple project, but definitely useful. While there are many ways to build an intervalometer, the MSP430 is a great platform to use, especially for beginners.

Stick around to see a quick video [onefivefour] put together, showing off his time lapse rig’s capabilities.

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Two-axis panning time lapse rig built from Lego

2_axis_lego_timelapse_dolly

[Jochem] wrote in to share a neat time lapse camera dolly he constructed out of Lego bricks. He is a big fan of the two-axis panning time lapse effect where the camera moves while recording images. He figured it would be easy enough to construct one of his own, so he dug out his pail of Lego and got to work.

The rig consists of a stationary motor platform which pulls a movable sled using a simple gear and string. The motor platform is controlled by an Arduino, which pulls the movable sled along every so often, snapping pictures along the way. [Jochem’s] Nikon D80 supports shutter release via IR, so he programmed the Arduino to send a quick IR pulse each time it has finished moving the dolly.

The rig looks like it works pretty well as you can see by the video below, but [Jochem] says that it still needs a bit of work. We just can’t wait to see what other time lapse movies he puts together once he finds an “interesting” time lapse subject.

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If you’re photographing and you know it clap your hands

If you’ve ever tried to take pictures of yourself you’ll know that it can be a pain. It’s especially hard to get that perfect shot of your godly features when you’re out of breath from sprinting across the room. OK, yes, they have remote controls for that. But what if you lost your remote or you just don’t want to have to carry it? [LucidScience] put together a sweet, um, “hands free” alternative.

Essentially this hack emulates the IR signals sent by a Nikon remote, either to take a picture right away or to take time lapse photographs at regular intervals. We’ve seen a similar time lapse remote using an arduino before and a really thorough one using an AVR, but they don’t take the same approach as [LucidScience]‘s design in terms of monitoring a microphone input for triggering. The project includes several status LEDs and adjustments for ambient noise and triggering, and it can be mounted to the camera body. We wonder how many of the Nikon’s features could be controlled using clap encoding, and how detailed your timing would need to be to have a kind of hand-made (get it?) pulsetrain syntax.  You’d probably need to have world record clap skills.

Check out the demo vid after the break.

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