Help me build a small, light, battery-powered time-lapse photography rig?
April 8, 2008 10:02 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to do a time-lapse movie of photos taken every 30 seconds during a week-long, 500 mile ride I'm doing later this year. But the rig has to be small, light, automatic, and run for hours a day without a recharge. Is this possible? (something tells me Make Magazine probably already covered this at one point)

I have a small front rack like this one that I could mount a camera (up to a digital SLR) on, but I'd like it to be fully automatic so that when I turn it on, it starts taking shots every x seconds until I turn it off. Ideally, I'd want this to weigh less than a couple pounds and the other big limitation is that I'm on a bike so there's no cigarette lighter to plug into. This would have to be battery-powered and run for anywhere from 4 to 8 hours a day between nightly charges.

Consider money is no object and I'll buy the largest CF cards available so memory storage shouldn't be a problem either.

In the end, I'd love to have a <5 minute movie of my entire week, seen as I saw it, off the front of my bike as I ride across Oregon.
posted by mathowie to Technology (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The "hacked" CHDK Firmware for Canon PowerShot cameras supports arbitrary time lapse with scripts found on their site. Picking a random Canon camera, the spec given is 400 shots off of two NiMH AA batteries, which covers nearly 8 hours at one shot per minute - and that's with the LCD on. If you switch off the LCD, one pair of NiMHs (well, two, just in case) should cover you easily for the day. Overall weight is well under a pound, and the camera will include a handy tripod thread in its base, too.
posted by pocams at 10:16 AM on April 8, 2008

Not a complete answer, but maybe this can get you started on one track... the CHDK hack for Canon cameras let's you set up automatic unlimited interval shooting.
posted by jerryg99 at 10:17 AM on April 8, 2008

Response by poster: Oh man, that's pretty good.

I forgot to include a couple links. I found one mention of a guy doing very 7 second shots and making movies, but it's pretty complicated and I'm not really into tearing cameras apart or rigging up controllers. The photojojo site has a guide as well, but a tiny canon with hacked firmware sounds great. I'll have to see if the canon point and shoot I have can take the firmware and I'll test this out.
posted by mathowie at 10:19 AM on April 8, 2008

Pclix seems like it might be what you are looking for. Its quite small and plugs into the remote.

"With a fresh set of AAA batteries this little device can instruct your camera to take an image every two seconds all day everyday for about a month."
posted by phirleh at 10:31 AM on April 8, 2008

I assume you want better resolution than the Mr Lee Catcam can give you?
posted by jessamyn at 10:39 AM on April 8, 2008

you should totally post the resulting movie too--i think that sounds like a cool idea!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:40 PM on April 8, 2008

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