Timescapes - Digital Timelapse Discussion

half second Intervalometer
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Author:  Sparkyj [ Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:09 pm ]
Post subject:  half second Intervalometer

Does anyone know of a source for an intervalometer that can be programed to half second intervals? My goal is to have my motion slider move for 1/2 second and shoot during the 2nd half second. This would allow an exposure every second.
Thanks for any replies!

Author:  amongstmyselves [ Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer


Just a question really. If you have a motion slider which is going to move for 1/2 second, stop, wait 1/2 second before moving again, how were you planning on synchronising the intervalometer to it ? I would have imagined that such a slider would have a intervalometer built into it ? If not and it's your own design then surely you could make up a camera controller for your camera.


Author:  Sparkyj [ Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

Thanks for the reply.
I'm not sure I understand your question but maybe this will explain what I'm thinking.
The controller I'm using does not have a built-in intervalometer. I plug one into the controller, which is more of a motor speed control device with a few other functions. I can't find an intervalometer that has intervals faster than one second - meaning the slider carriage moves for one second, pauses one second, moves one second... allowing an exposure every other second. With a second intervalometer on the camera, I time the exposures to happen shortly after the slider becomes stationary to reduce potential camera shake.
So - If I can find or make an interval timer that can do accurate half second intervals I'll then be able to take exposures every second which is as fast as my camera's buffer can handle for extended periods. If you or anyone knows where I can look for an interval timer that will do 0.5 second intervals or the parts to make one, that would be great!
Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 7.39.10 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 7.39.10 PM.png [ 29.62 KiB | Viewed 3895 times ]

Author:  amongstmyselves [ Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

So the intervalometer wouldn't be triggered by the motor controller. Apart from the issue of not having a less than 1 second intervalometer the other issue here is that the motor controller and the intervalometer would not be synced and they would slowly go out of sync to a point where the exposure would start during the move. Do you see what I mean.

That said I'm one to experiment and it might work just fine but it depends on the number of shots you plan on taking.

Another consideration is that time it takes for the photo to be saved to the chip. CF cards are much faster than SD cards.

Out of interest, what is the camera you are using ? I ask this because there is the option of installing the magic lantern o/s for Canon cameras which would do what you want in camera.

I can think of several ways of doing the intervalometer speed you want but it's down to making something yourself.

Sorry this isn't solving your issue.

Author:  cinewrangler [ Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

How you do this normally is to trigger the camera with the intervalometer in a 1 second interval. Then use the camera's hot-shoe or flash sync plug to trigger the slider. You need to set the camera to fire the flash on "second shutter curtain" to make sure the "flash" fires at the end of the exposure. That way the slider starts to move as soon as the exposure has finished. No need for two intervalometers, which would - as pointed out before - run out of sync at some point.

Author:  Sparkyj [ Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

...second shutter curtain "flash". I'll take a look at that. Thanks!

I'm using a 5D ll. Originally I was having issues with the buffer and one second intervals. Solved it first by using magic lantern but over time I felt ML was too cumbersome so went back to the native software. Once I upgraded the CF card and changed some of the settings in the camera I didn't have buffer issues anymore with the one second intervals.

I was sort of expecting it, but I've been surprised so far that I haven't had sync issues with the two intervalometers -- yet.

I forgot about this -- Lrtimelapse.com has plans for a DYI inervalometer. https://lrtimelapse.com/lrtimelapse-pro-timer-free/ If cinewrangler's suggestion doesn't pan out maybe I'll go this route.

I'll post whatever I find in case others have the same question.

Thanks again!

Author:  Sparkyj [ Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

cinewrangler wrote:
You need to set the camera to fire the flash on "second shutter curtain" to make sure the "flash" fires at the end of the exposure.

I'm not able to set the camera to second shutter curtain. Looks like I need to have a speedlite attached in order to get the correct menu. I don't use a speedlite.
This is the message I get:
This menu cannot be displayed. Incompatible flash or flash's power is off.

Any other thoughts?

Author:  geraldft [ Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

If you just want a basic on/off timer look up "555 timer". It's the most common IC device for that purpose. There are heaps of circuits online... intervals can be set by using a capacitor/resistor combination. By using two devices you can create more complex sequences if need be...

Author:  Kitwn [ Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

Wow, this thread takes me back to the early days on Timescapes when heaps of us were building all sorts of exciting projects...


PS Can't get the Vimeo embedding to work, you'll just have to cut and paste.


Author:  amongstmyselves [ Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

Ahh the glory days Kit !

Author:  Sparkyj [ Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

Kitwn wrote:
Wow, this thread takes me back to the early days on Timescapes when heaps of us were building all sorts of exciting projects...


PS Can't get the Vimeo embedding to work, you'll just have to cut and paste.


That's just cool. Thanks for posting!

Author:  Kitwn [ Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

There's a mountain of information on making your own gear on this forum, you just have to find it! Much of the useful stuff dates back 5 years or more but is still relevant.

It's actually quite easy to build a timer yourself, either an analogue design with a 555 chip as mentioned above or a digital version using the now-ubiquitous Arduino. You will learn new skills that can be used in all sorts of projects. Connecting to your camera is not as daunting as you might think either, that's all in here somewhere as well. Try searching on 'intervalometer' for starters.

Happy hunting!


Author:  cinewrangler [ Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

I find it amazing that the available intervalometers are still so limited. Probably because they are just copies of the Canon/Nikon ones and the guys copying them didn't really think how to improve their product apart from making it cheaper.

Some time ago I needed an intervalometer for long-term timelapse that would stop shooting at night. Couldn't find anything with a real-time clock inside so had to make my own using a PIC and an off-the-shelf RTC chip (meant for use with Raspberry Pi).


Based on the date it calculates the time of sunrise and sunset (using a look-up table and some interpolation because that small PIC can not really do the trigonometry required to do the full calculation) and then simply doesn't trigger the camera from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise. Didn't use an Arduino because I wanted the lowest power consumption possible (the LCD display gets unplugged after initial setup and I even removed the blue LED on the DC-DC converter).

But back to the original poster, even if you would find an intervalometer mith 1/2 second interval, how would you connect that? Because then each other "trigger" is meant for a different device. I.e. the first time it "fires" you want to trigger the camera, next time the slider, then the camera again. This would need some extra logic IC (plus optocouplers) added that would "route" the 1/2 second triggers to two seperate outputs.

Author:  Kitwn [ Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: half second Intervalometer

Nice work! You're right about having to make something for yourself if you want more than the 'vanilla' options. That's why I'd encourage anyone to learn a little electronics, a little microcontroller programming, buy a soldering iron, a few inexpensive tools and components and have a go. It's surprising where a little learning can take you, I started learning about stepper motors and how to control them to make a slider from this forum and ended up using the same knowledge to design and build a CNC router which is now the core of much of my hobby work!

One problem you may have with 1/2 second intervals is the lack of time for the slider to settle after each brief move. This can lead to jerkiness in the final video. You may do better to have continuous, smooth movement of the slider instead. This does away with the need to synchronise camera and slider and any slight motion blur in the frames will improve the impression of smooth motion in the final result.

If you do decide to build your own timer the tricky bit is connecting it to the camera. The simplest option is to buy a cheap $20 intervalometer from eBay with the correct connector for your camera and use the cable that comes with that. I think all the common camera makes are the same in how they work. The remote trigger has three wires, one 'ground' and two signal. Shorting one signal wire to ground is the 'half press' that wakes up the camera and the auto-focus and shorting the other fires the shutter. Cameras do differ in whether they must have the half-press contact made before the main one will work but you can work that out easily enough. As long as you do not connect a battery to the wires, you cannot damage your camera by experimenting with which wire is which.

Connect your timer to the camera cable with 'optocouplers'. These devices isolate the camera from your electronics and prevent you accidentally applying volts where no volts should go. Google will find you plenty of suitable circuits for a 555 timer circuit (including an explanation of what on Earth a 555 timer is) and how to wire the optocouplers. RS Components, Element 14, Digi-Key and many others will sell you all the parts and all the tools you need.

PS I've also used the knowledge I first learned to make a timelapse slider to build a motor driven, semi-automatic weaving loom for a partially disabled weaver, so you really never know where these thing might lead you!

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