Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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!