Monday, December 29, 2014
Sunday, November 2, 2014
One of the tweaks that I needed to do to get the time lapse rover working was come up with a coupler that went from 8mm to 1/4" so that the stepper motor shaft would connect to the 1/4" D-Shaft. I originally could only find ones that didn't have a set screw, and the shaft would slip under any torque from the motor.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
It's not often you get a chance to watch the University of Wisconsin Badgers from the suite level. I brought a GoPro HD Hero 3 with me thinking that I may be able to get some time lapse footage of the game. It's still a fun little camera, as they don't let you into the stadium with professional level photography gear, and it's not worth the hassle of walking back to the car if you get turned away. The GoPro gives a really wide angle of the stadium and crowd, but can't zoom in on the action. Perfect for some time lapse.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
When I originally built the time lapse rover to work with the eMotimo TB3, the only option that I could figure out was to have the gears outside the frame, and have the stepper motor mounted parallel to the back axle. This wasn't pretty and based upon that original design, the rover was only 1-wheel drive.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Save money by making your own floating wall mounting blocks for aluminum metal printsThe 2014 Art Fair season is almost here, and I'm making last minute preparations. I ordered a number of aluminum metal prints to add to my collection, but didn't order them with mounting blocks. It adds an additional ~$8.50 per metal print depending on vendor, so I decided to try and save some money by making my own floating wall mounting blocks. I already have a plunge router, so all I really needed was the router bit, template, and template guide.
- 3/8-Inch Keyhole Router Bit with 1/4-Inch Shank
- PORTER-CABLE 42046 5/8-Inch Template Guide
- Scotch Exterior Mounting Tape, 1-Inch by 60-Inch
- Rockler Picture-Hanging Keyhole Template
m2 Photography will be participating in a number of summer art festivals. I will keep this page updated if I am accepted to any more. I hope to see you at one of these events!
Saturday, May 31st - Sunday, June 1st, 2014
Saturday, July 12th - Sunday, July 13th, 2014
Friday, August 1st - Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
Saturday, August 9th - Sunday, August 10th, 2014
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
I took a day trip to Chicago yesterday to play with my DIY time lapse rover, and captured one of the most iconic Chicago landmarks; Cloud Gate. I believe that most in Chicago refer to this as "The Bean" and is heavily traveled by tourists. Great place to test the longevity of the rover, and capture a ton of movement due the high volume of foot traffic in the park. The cool thing about the bean is that it's basically on giant mirror, so in essence, this is my and the rovers first time lapse "selfie."
Unfortunately, I had to stand guard over the rover as it made its way around the bean, as I didn't want anyone tripping over it. Therefore, I'm in the reflection of the bean too. It wasn't a great day for clouds in Chicago, but there was some whispy clouds that showed up better in the reflection. The eMotimo TB3 drove the rover hundreds of feet in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I captured an image once every 10 seconds on 3 different cameras. The 2 GoPros were there to document the journey, and my Canon 5D Mark III was pointed at the bean. I had about 15 people come up and ask me what I was doing, and some aspiring photographers interested in the rig. The problem with the rover is the time for set up, as I have to drive the entire distance that the rover is going to take, and it wasn't designed to go very fast. So for this sequence, it probably took almost 20 minutes to set up.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
What sort of Kite do I need?
What kind of camera do I need?
Do I need to build my own suspension rig?
Sunday, April 27, 2014
I've had a few opportunities to test the eMotimo TB3, as I want to ensure that when I really need to set up a time lapse sequence, that I know what I'm doing. The TB3 makes it really simple, as I've used it on a tripod, on a slider, and my DIY time lapse rover. Below you will see some preliminary examples of me setting up the TB3 for time lapse sequences.
TB3 on a Tripod only using pan and tilt, no 3rd axis, from the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas
Holy grail sunset time lapse testing with Dynamic Perception StageZero dolly, on my front porch
Time Lapse Rover testing at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
The rover traveled over 90 feet on this sequence. The goal was to have the rover hit the mid-point when the Milwaukee Art Museum's wings on the Quadracci Pavilion opened up. Unfortunately, the winds were too high for the Burke Brise Soleil to open. Since there weren't many clouds, and the signature wings did not open, this time lapse is a bit boring. However, it was still good practice and I let the rover span the almost 100' arc in just over 2 hours. What I did discover is that even though the rover is low to the ground, it doesn't escape movement caused by the wind. Being virtually next to Lake Michigan, the winds were above the 23 mph threshold for the wings to open, and caused some shake to the camera on the rover. I'm definitely going to attempt this sequence again, hopefully with better conditions. The wings open at 10:00am, close and open again at 12:00pm, and then close at 5:00pm.
I also put a GoPro on the front of the rover to capture the arc across the cement in front of the museum. Not too exciting, but definitely shows when the rover in motion, and this camera isn't even linked to the TB3.
One other interesting tidbit is that many people stop to ask about the rover. I politely try to explain what I'm doing, and people smile bewildered. You'd think that with the sound of the shutter, and a camera mounted to the rover it might be common sense for people to not stand right in front of it. Apparently not. One person even made the comment, "That is the coolest photography accessory I've ever seen!" I know, the rover is kind of a big deal!
Sunday, April 20, 2014
The motor on my custom DIY eMotimo TB3 time lapse rover was replaced with a 14:1 stepper that has a good combination of torque and speed. (Speed relative to the original 27:1 motor) I did some testing over the weekend and headed down to Lake Geneva. This series stretched 30 feet with 845 images over 70 minutes. Outside building a ridiculously long slider, this type of time lapse wouldn't have been possible without the DIY Rover. I have some ideas to try a time lapse sequence where the rover travels over 100 feet!
I also attached a GoPro HD Hero 3 to the front of the rover during this sequence, and set the camera to capture every 10 seconds. You can definitely see when the rover's direction is altered, as the GoPro is mounted to the front axle. Interesting perspective, without needing a dSLR. I certainly get better image quality out of my Canon, but the GoPro is a great addition. What I learned from this session is that I need to be very precise in setting the angle of the rover axle, or I need to find locations where I'm not limited to a 4 foot sidewalk.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Monday, April 7, 2014
Spring seems to finally be here. I needed to spend some much needed time cleaning up the garage, so I decided to put the new DIY time lapse rover to the test and let it run while I was busy doing other things. I really wanted to test this thing outside, and snow sort of put a damper on that until recently. The amazing thing about this custom rover, is that you're not limited to short distances like you would be with a slider. This test footage was captured over about a 30 foot stretch of sidewalk for 1.5 hours taking a picture every 8 seconds. The destination is outside my house, and not very exciting, but keep in mind that this is a only a test.
eMotimo only offers 2 options for 3rd-axis stepper motors on their website, the (5:1) for faster moves needed for video and the (27:1) which offers more torque but slower speeds for time lapse. Unlike my Dynamic Perception slider dolly with quick release mount, it takes a bit of time to get the motor mounted to the rover. So, I've ordered and installed a permanent (14:1) stepper motor specifically for the rover, and hopefully, it will have a good combination of speed and torque and I'll never have to take it off. Special thanks to Gunther at LRTimelapse for posting the proper wiring instructions.
This initial test, I set up the rover to go in pretty much a straight line down the sidewalk. Since the sidewalk wasn't completely level, the rover did drift a bit. I look forward to setting up a time lapse using a circle or arc, which wouldn't be possible with a slider. I used Actobotics parts from ServoCity to build the rover, and it allows me to set the angle of the front tires. Each time there is a break in the sidewalk, the rover dips when each of the wheels traverses the crack, causing a bump in the video footage. I'll need to keep this in mind when finding suitable locations for the rover, and try and get as smooth of a surface as possible. I'm not sure if there is a limitation to the distance the eMotimo can handle, but I plan on creating something this summer that is at least a couple hundred feet.
Headed to Las Vegas for a business trip this week. Just need to decide whether to bring the rover to capture a time lapse of the Vegas lights, or stop by the NAB show!
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I recently upgraded my time lapse arsenal with a new eMotimo TB3 robotic panoramic head. I've really gotten into time lapse photography in the past year, and wanted something that would work on a slider, in addition to 2 axis moves on a tripod. In addition to time lapse sequences, the TB3 can be used for video sequences as well as creating gigapixel panoramics.
- Support of camera and lens combination up to 6 pounds.
- Built in HDR Support using bulb mode on Camera
- Programmable delay before sequence starts
- 2 Axis motion control
- Android app with Bluetooth integration. Also works with Pocket PC or legacy windows mobile.
- External triggers can be added such as motion detection, light beam interruption, or Noise detector.
- Ability to create and save custom programs
- The automate grabs your GPS coordinates and emails them to you.
- Automate works with the Promote Control with separate 2.5mm to 2.5mm stereo cable.
The app for Automate has not been updated since I purchased my unit. The product might be a lot more useful if they opened up the programming with an SDK, or made the code open source. There is an auxiliary port that could be used for 3rd axis motion via a slider, but the app would need updates for this to happen. For the price, it's hard to beat, but you have a longer learning curve.
- Retail $995
- Works with almost all dSLR Cameras
- Support up to 10 lbs
- Included Stitch Software
- Parallax adjustment
- Remote Trigger port
- Multiple Triggering option for bracketing
- Promote Control integration for HDR or Focus Stacked panoramics
SummaryOk, a lot of information has been presented, and I'm sure I missed a ton of features that warranted attention. Each of these units works well, but also fill their own niche. The Automate is packed with features, but has a steeper learning curve and inconsistent results in my tests. However, for photographers who want to add a time lapse machine that also can do gigapixel panoramics, and stay within a $300 budget, Automate has a lot going for it. I think if the owners of Automate opened up the software for further development, it would benefit everyone who owns one. The GigaPan EPIC Pro is a workhorse for creating GigaPixel panoramics, and can carry very heavy lenses. The ability to create panoramic time lapse sequences is a cool idea, but not sure how often I'd use that. The real winner in my opinion is the versatile TB3 by eMotimo. Simple and user friendly interface makes setup quick and easy. Time Lapse, Video, or panoramic sequences gives me something I can use in many of my photography workflows. For me, being able to use it on a slider as well as my rover for time lapse sequences make it something I can't wait to play with once the weather in Wisconsin breaks.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Update: Rover Drive Train Update #3
Update: Drive Train Update #2
I use the term DIY loosely on this, as the only thing that is custom is the rover itself. The eMotimo TB3 is a time lapse robot that is normally used by itself, or in conjunction with a slider. I do have a 6 foot T-slot slider that I'll by using with the TB3 and Dynamic Perception stage zero hardware with quick release. The problem is that the slider limits the distance you can make the camera travel. After my recent DIY Actobotics projects, including the Slow Motion Cable Cam, Mini Auto-Reverse slow motion slider, and adjustable width slow motion ladder dolly, I came up with the idea that a hyperlapse rover would be a complimentary addition to my Time Lapse fleet. I call it a "hyperlapse" rover only because it has the ability to cover much larger distances, time and patience permitting.
I used Actobotics parts from Servocity.com to build this simple rover that uses a stepper motor and RC Monster Truck wheels to push itself forward. The eMotimo TB3 allows for 3-axis moves in 2 or 3 step sequences, where you select a start point and then drive the rover to the end point. Once you set the interval and how long you want the sequence to take, the TB3 takes over and drives back to the start point to begin the sequence. Unlike my ladder dolly, which moves very slow, but never stops, the eMotimo Rover takes a picture, then moves forward and stops, then repeats until you get to your end point. Very simple set up.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
When starting my slow motion cable cam dolly, Servocity.com coincidentally was running a contest for people who were creating custom projects using Actobotics parts and HiTec servos. I entered my DIY time Lapse cable cam. I won first place! Awesome.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
The photo booth was set up this morning for the 50th Annual Camp Jorn Pancake Breakfast. Fun group of Camp Jorn staff, alumni, and campers who participated in the photo booth. This group made full use of the prop selection, and had a great time.
Click the image below to watch slideshow!