Thursday, 12 June 2014

My Timelapse Is On Motion Slider!

Assalamualaikum wbt

AlhamduliLlah, after months of trial and error, I am now a proud owner of DIY motion slider. At 6 feet long, it was long indeed, I can barely put it in my sedan, occupying the entire left seats in the process. My car is now for 2 persons only, haha!

I have lusted after the motion slider for quite sometimes, since the camera motion can add impact to the timelapse that no amount of "motion effect" in post-processing can replicate (not to my limited knowledge, anyway). Sadly the costs of owning one is quite prohibitive!

I am being who I am, I resorted to the DIY route. First, research at Youtube to get an idea of how to do it. There are many tutorials there, from the simplest hand-pushed slider to the ultimate programmable stop-motion slider. I settled for a simple continuous motion slider. Since my slider is long by the shop standard (all sliders that I window-shopped are in the region of 60cm -120cm) I figured that a very slow motor will do just fine for my needs.

Long ago, (February)I bought one DC 12v, 2rpm (yes, TWO revolution per minute) motor at e-bay for approx. rm55/-, and a speed controller for rm40/-. Then I bought four circular bearings for rm80/-. For the slider I figure out I could buy the stainless steel pipe at the local hardware shop.

Unfortunately the bearing was 16mm inner diameter, while the smallest diameter stainless steel pipe that I could find is also 16mm. A very tight fit, and to make matters worse, one of the pipes was slightly bent. The sliding action was not smooth at all.

There the matter ends for some time, the DIY-ist in me laid dormant..until suddenly it awoke with renewed passion. Ha!

Last year I bought a skater for camera (I can't figure out why I did) so incorporated it into my design. I bought L-shaped aluminium as the slider, and reinforced it with wood. For drive system, I coupled the motor with fishing reel as pulley, and used the fishing line as to reel the platform.

here's how it looks :

It was very bulky and unwieldy, but suprisingly it works! Here's the slider at shooting location :

The test result can be seen here at my facebook. The longest time I could achieve is 1 hour, good enough for sunset/sunrise but not for milky way.

Of course I was not satisfied. The slider was wobbly, and the skater's alignment was never true so the camera was not moving in single straight line, rather it would veer off to one side resulting wobbly video that needs to be stabilised. Plus, since the skater/camera combo was not secured to the slider, it could topple over easily, which could leads me to ruin since this is the only camera/lens that I have!

Back to drawing board. I ordered 4 new bearings, this time 20mm inner diameter. I also ordered timing belt and pulleys, in order to get longer running time. When the bearings arrived, I bought 3/4 inc diameter stainless steel pipe, and it fits in bearings nicely. For camera platform, I used my wife's chopping board (it the only thing that I could think of that time, plus it was available in the kitchen - oh  if you could see her face when she found out! hahahaha..).

After repeated tests at home, it was time for on-field test. The behind the scenes video here at my facebook.

And it works..beautifully! The longest duration now is 1 hour 35 minutes, and it was steady, I hardly need to do any post-shoot stabilisation.

Of course there's a room for improvement..I already working on the better design and I also now slowly reading the Arduino programming lessons for the stop-motion, but for now this DIY slider fulfils my needs nicely :)

In the meantime, do enjoy these videos :

Do watch in HD for maximum viewing pleasure :)

Some still image from the sequence :

Until my next post,


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