Two-axis Panning Time Lapse Rig Built From Lego


[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.

[vimeo w=470]

14 thoughts on “Two-axis Panning Time Lapse Rig Built From Lego

    1. The second axis exists where this editor swings the fulcrum located at the intersection of his arm and shoulder during the process of slapping his own forehead.

      I’ll totally take the blame for the terrible and inaccurate description. I watched the sled move while the clouds swept across the sky and in my head went, “That looks pretty cool – motion in two planes”

      Thus, two axes were burned into my brain, which caused my hands to type it into the keyboard.

      You’re not missing anything, it was me.

  1. Good stuff! I’m a little surprised that a single transistor and 4V is enough for the Lego motor (I presume it’s a 9V one, and I needed two transistors in a Darlington pair to switch mine on) and a little worried by the apparent lack of a back EMF suppression diode but it certainly appears to work. :-)

    I used Lego and a PICAXE to take 360° photos by rotating an object on a platform and taking photos as it goes. Unfortunately, my camera only supports remote capture through a fairly horrible piece of Windows XP-only software, so it’s a little inelegant, but it gets results.

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