Arduino Intervalometer for my Nikon d40

After seeing this project from cibomahto a while ago, I finally got my act together and bought a $1 IR led from radio$hack so I could build an intervalometer for my SLR.

For those who don’t know an intervalometer is, it tells your computer to take a picture every given interval. This enables you to shoot video with a still camera over a long period of time. Sometimes you have two intervals on fancy ones. Those allow you to use the bulb setting on your camera. Right now it has two potentiometers to indicate seconds and minutes between shots. It is run from a nine volt battery, and I expect it to have fairly good battery life. Only time will tell. The IR LED can’t take too much juice! It has a status led to show when it is firing (for trouble shooting) and not a whole lot else.


This currently needs a housing and a interface. I am debating the merits of a small lcd vs just using a printed label to mark the pot positions. It’s pretty much spray and pray right now. At least it is adjustable!

arduino d40 ir intervalometer

arduino d40 ir intervalometer


I’m thinking about getting one of these and eliminating the pots completely.


lcd shield from nuelectronics.com

lcd shield from nuelectronics.com

Which would end up making my project very similar to this one but for a nikon.


One last thought is possibly adding the functionality to use the bulb setting and then add a bracketing ability. Isn’t technology wonderful!

Time Lapses

I had a lot of time to kill over break, so I shot a bunch of timelapses. Here they are!

This is from a coffeeshop that I spent a lot of my time in.

This is of some clouds at dusk. This one has two separate positions, and it is really interesting to see the color shift towards the end of the video. I also have it on auto-something(ISO?), so it isn’t very consistent frame to frame.

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7 questions for my avid fans

Seeing as how I am constantly inundated by media requests – I figured I would use my podium here to ask the readers a few questions. I look at it as distributed googling really, and hopefully finding some vetted answers in the sea of confusion that is out there.


1) has anyone used CHDK here? It is a modified firmware for certain cameras, and seemingly it allows you to get very low level access to the camera. With it you can enable time lapse mode, Raw shooting, video, motion detection, and I think they are working on time travel. This seems like an amazing project. Does anyone have any success with it? Does anyone have any recommendations on cameras? Im kind of looking at the SD1100 and the SD600.

and lastly, does anyone have any recommendations on where to find said camera cheaply? I’m running dd-wrt on my home router and have a hacked xbox, so this seems like it is within my reach, just looking for people with experience in it.


chdk interface

chdk interface


2) does anyone know of any good anti flicker plugins for after effects (or anything else (on a mac)) that will remove the frame-to-frame luminance variations of a dslr time lapse?


3) does anyone know why frame-to-frame luminance variations happen on my d40 running in complete darkness with a manual lens and a flash?


4) does anyone know of a good guide to moving an arduino project towards a mass producible item? Lets say I would like to make a one board version of my arduino rss reader – how would I go about doing that?


breadboard arduino

breadboard arduino


5) How much does the average human heart weigh?


6) Does anyone know of a comparison between the online stock video sites from a submitter’s perspective? Does anyone have experience with any specific sites? (feel free to email me if you would rather not post publicly – “r” at this domain, no prefix.)


7) Enough about me – Why are you here? What kinds of projects brought you here, and what kinds of projects would you like to see here?


Thanks for your time, and hopefully your answers!

powering a nikon d40 from an ac outlet

I have been shooting a lot of time lapses lately. The biggest problem with that is battery life. I have a very ghetto hack to power the camera from a cell phone charger, but I am looking for a more permanent solution. I found a fotodiox battery grip on amazon that has an internal battery, and is able to charge from the wall. Getting the right answers out of the vendor has proved to be difficult, so I’m afraid that I may just have to buy it and try it. Does anyone out there in internet-land have this already? And can anyone tell me if it will run from ac power? I am looking at multiple day long shoots, so changing batteries (and bumping the camera each time) just isn’t an option.


Here’s the link to the grip – Any opinions?


Print contact sheets / thumbnails from video footage

This is a task I don’t like doing, but it is certainly useful if you have a lot of footage to sort through and not everyone is very technically inclined. It allows you to print a contact sheet from every x frames/seconds/minutes of a video file. That helps when you are looking for a specific shot in a bunch of reels, and it helps to very quickly show an art director what the footage you have looks like.

You’ll need either Quicktime or FCP, and Photoshop for this.

1) open your video file

2a) in quicktime hit export / movie to image sequence. Select “advanced options” and put in a frames per second number. If you put in 1 then you will still end up with 60 frames per minute! Luckily Quicktime will let us deal with decimals here. A value of .016 will give you around one frame per minute and usually works out well.

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8 tips for Time lapse photography

Here’s a few things I have learned while sitting in fields waiting for my camera to finish working for me.
8 tips for shooting SLR time lapses

 

1) Put your camera on full manual – otherwise the still will flicker from one to the next.

 

2) Try to pick objects that are still, or are far away enough that they won’t be overly distracting (trees are great in the background, but tend to look bad in the foreground because they move so much.)

 

3) Set your camera to a fixed iso – mine was on auto iso (even in manual mode) and it took me a while to really figure that out.

 

4) Sometimes you will have to make concessions for the brightness / amount of motion blur issue. Either get more light, a faster lens, or a more realistic view of what is possible.

 

5) Set your camera to be as energy efficient as possible. Turn the auto preview off, and turn the auto focus off (after focusing) It is uncanny how much power holding the mirror up takes. If you are planning on shooting all night you’re going to need to be running efficient.

 

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time lapses – getting to know your intervalometer

I’ve been inspired to shoot more pictures lately. Like everything else in my life I tend to go for quantity over quality, so I shot a LOT of pictures. I acquired a battery/intervalometer for my Nikon D40 a while back and didn’t even notice the intervalometer settings until recently.

 

I’ve shot quite a few tests with it and I’ll post them below. The first was clouds through my kitchen window.

 


The second was more clouds from the roof at my work.

 

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Unserialize/Reserialize Final Cut Pro & Why does apple hate me?

Here’s two quick video related snafu’s I’ve run into today.

I have had to unserialize a copy of FCP and then put in a new (the correct one, technically) serial number. It turns out that unless you want to reinstall everything, then the file to find is located in Library/Application Support/ProApps and it is called “Final Cut Studio System ID” Delete it with fcp closed, and then open it up again

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Some AFX tests

Here are some recent tests I did with vector line effects in After Effects.
This first one is from a tutorial I found by bill O’neil on the creative cow site using the shine plugin.


This is the simplest one, cloning out the tracing effect once I liked it, and tweaking to add depth.


This one adds a camera move spinning the logo.


This one uses camera moves through the logo.

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