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 My Timelapse Focus Controller 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 7:14 pm
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Post My Timelapse Focus Controller
Here are some pics of focus controller for use during timelapse. Its made with a ServoCity 1rmp motor, speed controller, and servo driver. It attaches to my jag35 rails via a bracket that came with their electronic follow focus. It works very well, is small, portable, and light weight. I did one test of it and it worked pretty well. Its a little fast (macro to infinity on 24-70 lens too about 35 min), but thats mainly because the focus throw on these canon lenses is so short/small. Im working on getting a larger gear for it, or somehow making it run alot slower for astro timelapses. As soon as i get my DP dolly this sucker is going on it for a test drive.
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Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:05 pm
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
peppino wrote:
Im working on getting a larger gear for it


Very cool. Keep us posted. Don't you mean a smaller gear? Or did you mean gear ratio?


Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:33 pm
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
peppino wrote:
As soon as i get my DP dolly this sucker is going on it for a test drive.


How is it going? Do you have your DP rig for this yet? Tested it with the mx2???
Give us an update! :)

Thanks!

Love it btw! ;)

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Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:01 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
No DP system yet. Im waiting on another motor so i can motorize a Konova slider and then im going to test it on there. I did a static test of it on a tripod but its pretty boring so im not posting it. I just ordered a smaller gear for it to slow it down. Its not gear reduced so i needed a smaller gear. Once i get that i'll give it another test and get some footage up

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Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:26 pm
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
That is a very compact setup. Its a lot smaller than the one I was working on. I used the JAG35 rails and the same 1 RPM motor from Servocity. The lower (black) part of your bracket looks like something from JAG35 as well. Did you take the motor off of their servo based follow focus and use their clamping part to attach to the rails? Or do they sell the clamping bracket separately? Their site is pretty disorganized. There is no place to find a complete list of their products. I keep finding products I never knew they sold because they are listed as related products to something else, but they are not in a general list of all products. What do they call the clamp that goes on the rail? Or is it only available as part of their electronic follow focus?

When your Dynamic Perception dolly arrives, try plugging the 1 RPM gearmotor directly into the MX-2. Set the MX-2 to make very small moves in interleaved mode. 0.03i is a good speed to begin with if your lens is like mine, requiring only a quarter turn to go the entire zoom range. This way you don't need the ESC or the servo controller for the timelapse zooms. Keep the ESC and servo controller for motorizing full speed moves when shooting 30 FPS video. For that I use the same type of motor except with the ten to one gearing.


Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:13 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Hello!

I'm researching a follow focus system for my 3D timelapse rig at the moment. I'm just about to try out the DP Dolly and MX2 and I'm looking for options to follow focus driven by the MX2. I saw this:
http://jag35.com/new/products/jag35-ele ... us-system/

Would that system work directly with the MX2 controller i.e. is it a DC motor, or does it need modifying?

Thanks
R

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Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:45 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
I have their electronic follow focus. It uses servo motors which will not work with the mx2. So I used the bracket that came with their follow focus to mount it onto rails and attached a motor from servocity.com. The servocity,com motor will work with the mx2.

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Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:53 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Awesome! Great idea to use the lower RPM motor. That makes a lot of sense for slower movements.

After I experimented with a much less compact rig, the only solution I found for slow focus pulls with the standard 8.75rpm motor that ships with the DP kit was to hack the RPM rating in the MX-2 controller. Setting it to a higher pseudo-RPM setting of around 70-80 allowed me to get really slow S-M-S movements while working on a fern time-lapse (using dolly movement & focus racks). Hopefully I'll find the time to release the results on Vimeo soon. Ultimately, the major problem with this type of set-up is the lack of control. You really need feedback from the motor to allow quick and easy set-up. Some of my test shots took hours to get right (determining how far the focus would shift over a set amount of frames) and then I would change the interval from 1 second (test mode) to 10 minutes or so and let it run for 2-3 days at a time as the fern unfolded. When I was done, I told myself I would NEVER use this follow-focus rig again until I had motor feedback and the ability to easily set A-->B points and tween between them based on the set interval. Otherwise, IMO, it's all a guessing game and it is an incredible waste of time.

Good luck!

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Mon May 23, 2011 7:57 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Upthinklab, Would a stepper based focus motor allow the kind of control you want? What about something where the part of the lens motor that holds the gear which engages the lens gear has two shafts so an encoder could be added to the other output shaft? If I make, would anybody want?


Thu May 26, 2011 12:45 pm
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Just a reply about the gears that are used. I am an underwater photographer (www.elysia.nl). You can easily get gears that fit zoom or focus rings of your lens. We use these gears in underwater housings. Gears can be expensive, but Ikelite gears are cheap and easy to use.

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Thu May 26, 2011 1:38 pm
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Thanks Cronix, I'll check out Ikelite gears. Maybe they have something thicker than the ones I've used. Could also use something with a smaller diammeter (less teeth).

Upthinklab, Check out the extra output shaft. This could be used to run a position encoder. A version of this that uses stepper motors will be done soon. That should have a lot of precision and be able to do repeatable moves. Would either of those options make it user freindly enough? Do you have any other suggestions about how you'd like to see this made differently? You seem to have more experience with this kind of lens moco than I do at this point. Any suggestions would be apreciated.

This uses the same 1 RPM gearmotor that Peppino and others have been working with, but adds an additional 10:1 gearing in the right angle drive at the top. The total gearing is 30,000:1 which really slows it down. A typical zoom can now be made at 0.30i instead of way down at the slowest end of the MX-2's range (it was 0.03i with direct drive). This gives it a lot of room for ramping into or out of a move if you want. Running the new gearing, a setting of 0.05i produced a zoom so slow its getting difficult to see it move in the resulting video. It could go a lot slower but I'd need a bigger battery in the camera as well as more flashmemory. These go as slow as anyone would ever want them to.


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Fri May 27, 2011 9:06 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Have you guys seen this?

http://www.briandorey.com/post/Acuter-M ... -zoom.aspx

The video is at the end.


Fri May 27, 2011 9:19 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
I hadn't seen it until I followed your link to it. Thats pretty cool for regular 30 FPS video. If they are selling those things, it probably makes an economical solution for people interested in full speed 30 FPS video. A few people had problems with other systems that used hobby RC servos. If the battery isn't fully charged, they can get a bit jittery. That one looks great though. It could be competition for the regular 30 FPS video application.

You'd need to do some more work on the Briandorey lens mover you showed before you could use it for timelapse. It needs to plug into the MX-2 for shoot move shoot control, or it needs some sort of controller that coordinates exposures and very, very tiny moves. This is actually the fifth variation of the lens mover I've made in persuit of something slow enough to do these lens moves in timelapse. It can be difficult to get anything going slow enough. This is both slow, and plug and play compatable with all the MX-2 controllers out there.

If you don't think this is slow or precise enough, wait till ya get a load of the stepper version. The stepper itself is 200 steps per revolution. The controller can go full, half, quarter, eigth or sixteenth steps. So potentially 3,200 steps per revolution of the motor plus a ten to one gear reduction in the worm drive gives you 32,000 steps per revolution of that small gear on the lens mover. That has to make several revolutions to get the lens to turn once..... Your results will vary because weird things are sure to happen with such microscopicly small steps. Bottom line, precision so high that the lens helicoid or softness of the plastic lens gear will become the new limiting factors. Its basicly near-perfect repeatability for compositing several moves together in post.


Fri May 27, 2011 9:59 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Here's a link to the demo film showing it in action.

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4632


Sat May 28, 2011 5:40 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Hello just to add to the pull focus zoom thing hears my solution

I Have a small rig that fits in a ruck sack so try and keep things as compact as possible although a do mange to fit a Cokin X Pro filter holder on it and a mat box.( See pics)
Attachment:
Focus puller3.jpg
Attachment:
Focus puller2.jpg
Attachment:
Focus puller1.jpg


Just a little stepper really .

See test


Sun May 29, 2011 3:18 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
That pretty sweet! What matte box is that?

I just saw that jag35.com is coming out with the d|zoom. It looks like it can maybe be repurposed for a motorized zoom/focus puller.

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Sun May 29, 2011 5:54 pm
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Home made wouldnt want to pay the price people like jag asking (i have access to a vac former)


Sun May 29, 2011 6:09 pm
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Hey guys,

Awesome looking rigs!!! Somehow I managed to loose track on this post, but I'm back. Once one of you release a commercially available unit to us, we'll all be out spending our hard earned cash on CP-2s and other high-end D-SLR compatible cine lenes that do not breathe as much as Canon's while racking focus. ;-)

Sciencelookers: Having the encoder w/ a stepper motor would definitely make the unit user friendly for precise focus pulls. I recently spoke with Jay about doing something similar once they release future DP control units. Honestly, I do not have the time at the moment to keep experimenting with the focus rig on my end, so I'm interested to see how your final units turn out. Your demo video with the zoom control is excellent proof of concept. Personally, I'm not as interested in zoom control as I would be with focus-- but it's essentially all the same. Good luck!

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Tue May 31, 2011 6:11 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
I've been trying not to say too much about it because I have no idea how much info is for public issue and how much has been shared in confidence. The stepper version of the lens mover is specificly designed to be plug and play compatable with the new DP controllers of which you speak.

I can't speak about the release date for the new DP stepper controllers. Expect to be able to pre-order any of the three versions of my lens motor by the end of this week.

DC motor timelapse version - is just like the one in my demo film, plug and play compatable with the Dynamic Perception MX-2 controller.

Stepper version - uses a little bipolar stepper motor with a four wire control configuration, plug and play compatable with the new DP stepper controllers. Should also work with Kessler's Oracle controller or Dittogear controller with an appropriate plug. The incredible speed range and precision of the stepper should allow this one to be used for timelapse as well as 30FPS realtime video applications.

DC motor realtime 30FPS video version - same as the DC motor timelapse version except with a 303 RPM motor and a 1:1 ratio gearbox.

The DC gearmotors are available with gearing for any of the following max RPM output;
1,2,3,4,6,10,15,20,30,37,40,42,51,81,101,168 and 303 RPM.

This goes through the right angle drive which itself is available with an additional 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, 1:4, 1:5, 1:10 or 1:20 gear reduction. With all those choices, there is definitely something that will work for you. All right angle drives are user-interchangable, as are all the DC motors. There will also be an inexpensive conversion kit to user-adapt a DC motor based lens mover to stepper based and vice versa, so you can buy just one lens mover chasis and swap in any motor or right angle drive you need.


Tue May 31, 2011 7:45 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
Lots of options.... I love it. Keep it coming....


Here's a link to a few test shots I attempted with the MX-2 Focus rig last month:
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/24487172[/vimeo]

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Tue May 31, 2011 2:20 pm
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
As an alternative to external motors to change focus (and focal length on zoom lenses) one alternative that I just got to work (sorry no video yet) is to control the focus distance directly via the usb connector. Oleg/Alex from circuits@home created an USB 2.0 host board for the Arduino and an USB/PTP library which allows you to (some, not all) cameras directly via the USB port, including control of the focus distance.

On my EOS D500 with 17-55mm lens at the smallest stepchange it takes around 95 steps to change from the shortest focus distance 0.35m to 3m and then another 10 steps to infinity. This matches with a normal 90deg swing of the focus ring. In addition you can control the aperture to create less (or more) depth of field. 100 frames from completely out of focus to in focus should be good enough for time-lapse, so this could be pretty awesome

Check circuitsathome for supported camera's (mostly Canon DSLR's but support is increasing for other cams too)

I'll be posting videos once this whole project is getting complete.


Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:15 pm
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
http://blog.lytro.com/news/the-light-fi ... by-ren-ng/

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Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:45 am
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Post Re: My Timelapse Focus Controller
upthinklab wrote:
http://blog.lytro.com/news/the-light-field-revolution-by-ren-ng/


I believe this is an earlier stage of its evolution (2007)

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Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:25 am
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