Time lapse photography

Thought I should post an update as to what i have been doing lately…

I had seen a lot of time lapse videos on Youtube and coupled with my interest in electronics I decided to attempt to make a time lapse rig of my own. I made a shopping list and even though i had a couple of the items already instock I still had to obtain a couple of missing parts from eBay, approximately 4 weeks later I had the materials required to complete my timelapse rig. I tried to document my project as best I could although looking back I wish I had had the foresight to break the project up into smaller chunks including the software side of the development as this was something I had to do pretty much from the ground up, and to be honest i really enjoyed the challenge. It was also interesting how I went from a fixed speed device to a device that could be adjusted and tailored to suit any situation using IR remote control this made the interface almost entirely software.

Once completed I only had to wait for some good weather, my first time lapse went reasonably well although I was more focused on hardware and forgot my photography head. Looking back I feel I should have spent a little more time on composition instead of the hardware.

Still moving on I tested the slider further and found that the little stepper motor needed a little more poke and therefore a slightly upgraded power supply. So back to the drawing board i upped my motor voltage to about 9.5v instead of 5v this improved the sliders accuracy and also allowed me to traverse the camera uphill more reliably. I learned a few more lessons in terms of stability as you can see in the next video i placed the camera on a wooden bridge and I found out halfway through the slide that the camera was moving every time someone walked on a loose plank on the bridge and this resulted in an unstable timelapse.

So steady base and good composition are essential, but as I need to do these timelapses in full manual on the camera, also very important is exposure, not just at the start of the slide but at the end as well, particularly with sunsets. This means i have to try and predict what the light will do, this took a little trial and error to master but I think I cracked it in the end as you can see from this compilation of timelapses.

I find people and animals interesting but also the movement we don’t see such as the movement of the clouds and sky, I intend to explore this more and more in the future. I have some good ideas for timelapse subjects and having done the process once there are a couple things I would do differently if I were to do it again. A bigger drive motor for sure, a slightly longer rail but not bigger than 1m and a couple of small software changes to allow longer shutter times, otherwise im more than pleased with the homemade slider.

Ok so what does the finished product look like well here it is…


if want to see more timelapses you can find them on our YouTube channel

Maybe I have inspired you to create your own timelapse slider, if so then you can find instructions to my first prototype slider on an instructable I created for this purpose although if I were going again I would go for this mechanism as the backbone, its longer with a more powerful motor and comes with ready made motor mounts. The only issue here is there are no tripod mount or legs provided so your would have to engineer your own. if you do decide to make your own then feel free to make contact I would be more than happy to help with the process and would love to see your slider and your timelapses.

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