Friday, August 31, 2012

Motorized Timelapse Slider, building and testing finished!

I have been building this motorized slider for a long time now. Recently I have got it finished. Maybe it is not polished or always could be better however it does its job. Here are its features:
Weight: 9kg
Max Load: unknown :-D (lifts DSLR on fully deployed Manfrotto Magic Arm)
Travel Length: 111cm
Full length: 150cm
Travel Time: 4min - 2h
Transmission: 6mm steel screw
Speed control: PWM controller, gearbox 1:1, 1:4
Power source: 10 AA batteries (12-16V)
Motor: 12V, 0.19 Nm

  • Real speed is approximate and depends on how the batteries are used up
  • It is heavy - 9k
  • Does not fit in my car's boot

and now advantages:
  • Power source is lightweigth and easily available. It is also detachable and one can use for instance car's 12V power source
  • It is very, very stable - can hold DSLR on fully deployed Manfrotto Magic Arm in any direction
  • All cabling, control system (PWM controller) and motor are in one box inegrated with the rail
  • Can travel at any direction, even upside down (however there is no such need as the camera can traverse end of the slider usinf Magic Arm).
Music background - Max Loginov - Secret Insland

Enjoy watching!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Flowing water - Magic Lantern v2.3 firmware and timelapse in video mode

As I had the opportunity to download ML v2.3 version a little bit earlier than official release date and, while being on holidays, test one of its new features I am particularly interested in - low frame rate video mode. This could be really well suited for timelapse. And it really is! You can set up framerates down to 0.2 fps. Using such you can obtain results similar to setting intervalometer to release shutter to every 5 seconds. Combined with "low light" mode one can achieve shutter opening time almost equal to fps. For instance 0.9sec and 1fps. Such combination is really good for flowing water timelapse recordings. Below is the example I have realized with such setting. Original setting of video in camera was 25fps, so the resulting file is 25x faster. Slow shutter in "low light" mode gives great feel of flowing water.

This attempt to timelapse recording has many advantages:
- You avoid shutter and mirror mechanism wear
- no aperture caused differences flicker
- 100% silent operation
- low card storage space usage
- time saving of creating single images to video file since you have MOV file ready to put into movie edit timeline straight from the camera

There are cons as well:
- you cannot reframe the video in post without oversampling - loss of quality
- overall worse image quality - you receive compressed Full HD, not > 5K image like from EOS 600D which I use.