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 Mumford Rotary Table 
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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:04 pm
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Post Mumford Rotary Table
Great site, about three years ago I tried to find information about techniques and equipment for making timelapse movies with dslr or point and shoot cameras and came up with next to nothing. I work on a huge construction project east of San Francisco and my boss wanted me to document progress. I ended up buying something (I think it was called a digisnap controller) that worked with old point and shoots such as discontinued Nikon coolpix cameras. The only way to program this thing was to hook it up to a computer with a serial port, which meant digging up an old laptop I had laying around. I bought a setup with a weatherproof container for the equipment and a small solar panel on the roof for an outrageous amount of money-- I got one good 12-hour movie out of it at the beginning, after that the thing never worked.

I have a side-business as a photographer so my interest in timelapse never waned, it was just dormant for a few years. I saw some of Lucasberg's stuff on Vimeo recently, which got me wondering how he did it, which caused me to buy a TC-80N3 shutter release yesterday. My mind is racing with timelapse ideas! Among other things, it seems like a great way to shoot an event, such as a circus performance.

Okay, so the immediate question is this: I looked at the discussion regarding the Milapse-inspired rig for panning, using the motorized head for a telescope. I bought one of these inexpensive telescopes from Costco once so I am a bit familiar with them. (I had to take it back, one of the pieces was missing.) I also saw some references to the mumford rotary table, am I correct to assume that's a reference to this?

Other than the price, can anyone explain the main differences between these two systems? Does the Mumford table only work if you are also using their "Time Machine" device? It looks like there's no battery option for the Mumford, other than a car battery. The telescope motor looks like it might be choppy.

Thanks in advance for your help, and for the inspiration with all the amazing timelapse productions.

DB


Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:24 pm
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
The main difference is that the Mumford system (your link is correct) can move the camera BETWEEN frames, which is very important for long-exposure night photography. You don't want the camera moving while the exposure is being taken. The mumford system is also a very accurate motion control system. Yes, you need the time machine to control it. Power is an issue. You can run the whole system off a 12V battery and an inverter, or do as I am attempting and just use all DC power.

As Grant pointed out, timelapse is all about power. Power, power, power. :mrgreen:


Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:07 pm
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
timescapes wrote:
The main difference is that the Mumford system (your link is correct) can move the camera BETWEEN frames, which is very important for long-exposure night photography. You don't want the camera moving while the exposure is being taken. The mumford system is also a very accurate motion control system. Yes, you need the time machine to control it. Power is an issue. You can run the whole system off a 12V battery and an inverter, or do as I am attempting and just use all DC power.

As Grant pointed out, timelapse is all about power. Power, power, power. :mrgreen:



byran sent me an example of how he powers the table using a makita rechargeable battery - he says it'll run up to 7 hours, now some electronics whiz needs to come up with an easy way to hook up two so you can switch batteries without shutting the system down - the enhanced version of the table will ramp up from a stopped posistion rotate a certain distance and then ramp back down to a stop.

timt


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Tim T
Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:29 pm
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
DB1 , Do you have that constuction timelapse or a short version anywhere ?

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Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:44 pm
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
I use Sony NP1 batteries to power the Mumford Table for day time shots. They are pretty standard batts for use with portable video monitors, small and relatively light. I've had them adapted so that the power cable plugs directly into the side of them. With Bryan's new lower geared feathering motor, they last at least three times longer than they used to. Easily get five very hefty moves per batt, after a lot of panning back and forth to line the shots up. I've got four of them, and can go for days without running out of power.

For night work you have to go larger though. I use a brick style batt from Maplins / Radio Shack that's about the size of four packs of butter. Quite heavy, but lots more amp hours and definitely portable in a back-pack for rugged locations.

On ANCIENT SKIES I recently used them, and the table, when the temperature dropped as low as 1-2 degrees. The moves are smooth as glass, and there's power left over.

The tables are also pretty heavy, but the trade-off is their amazing reliability. I've had only two problems with them ever, and one of them was my dumb programming!

All that said, Milapse gets some great stuff with his system. Different strokes....

I'd love to post some examples of the Mumford feathering capability....but we're getting to the business end of the project now and I have to wait til the trailer reel is premiered later this month. But I can tell you right off that, for the money, it's amazing. Almost indistinguishable from true logarithmic.


Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:39 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
PMW Creative wrote:
All that said, Milapse gets some great stuff with his system. Different strokes....


I don't think the ol' DS 2000 can hang with a good stepper motor and controller like the Mumford (and the price reflects that!). I've got to re-investigate the stepper motor world some day. I simply have a hard time devoting the time and resources into steppers. The cheapest programmable stepper controller I could find was $250 and the knowledge required was a little over my head.

Like Tom points out if your looking to do 'really' long exposures the ability to pause during exposure is quite important to keep your subjects sharp. It is possible to program this into a tethered Autostar but keeping the shutter and movement in sync would be the bigger challenge here...


Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:15 am

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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
Wow, that Mumford Rotary Table setup is pretty sweet. I love it with the Time Machine.

I need to figure out a way to get some grant $$$ and utilize that technology in my project. Very sweet.

Tell me what the 'true logrythmic' is. You lost me with that one.

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Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:16 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
Grant, I cannot wait to see Ancient Skies.

Is this going to film festivals? TV? Will it have a US premiere?

BTW, as long as I've got you here, are you still using the Circis DC power adapter, or have you given up on it? I've been doing some tests after my epic power failure at Mt Whitney, and I'm starting to think it was the fake battery coupler that was the cause - just as you warned me about. I wasn't using the grip - just straight into the bottom of the 350D. It was tilted damn near straight up, so there should not have been a lot of gravity pulling on the battery. Plus, I jammed that cable in there pretty good. I'm definitely bummed about this, because my only other short-term option now is to go back to my AC adapter from Canon. I'm going to talk to Circis this week.

tom


Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:32 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
great feedback. thanks again.

lucasberg, I need to hunt for that timelapse, I have it somewhere. not very impressive though. in the meantime I posted my first one done with a dslr to vimeo (and will add it to the showcase discussion).

having done my first experiment, I see another advantage to the rotary table-- stability. I started at twin peaks and the wind was bouncing my camera around on a very stable manfrotto mini-tripod. it's not easy to get away from the wind in this town.

db


Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:24 pm
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Post Mumford Rotary Table vs Cercis vs ANCIENT SKIES
Dear Tom, Jay an' all,

RE: ANCIENT SKIES.....it's being shot for Planetarium 'FullDome' projection with tru circular fisheye lenses...well...about 30% of it is, and we're in the very early days so far. The kit has all been put together and about 60 mins. of material shot to create a demo / trailer in 4k by 4k. I'm actually in Amsterdam at the moment, working with my long suffering post-production guy, and we've been hard at it for 7 straight days just trying to get a 6 min. film together. The computers are crying under the strain. We hope to have the reel ready for the annual planetarium conference which is being held in Chicago next week, and we have a screening as part of the 'DomeFest' competition.

I'm also planning an 27 min. HDTV version, with a very different twist to it....just images and music (by current and former Tangerine Dream members Thortsen Quaeschning and Johannes Schmoelling).

Both projects are 'in progress' as they say, as the hunt for full finance continues. So, TV screenings? US Premiere? Yeah, hope so...sometime....!

CERCIS...Cercis, Cercis, Cercis....all I can recommend is that you customise and super solder and coil cable and gaff tape the living hell out of every little bit of the entire set-up....cos they are really not very good straight out of the box. And scratch the contacts on their 'fake' battery and gaff tape the batt door shut on the camera....and then test it in all possible mount conditions and temperatures. (In the end I had the entire moco system running a table and camera from Cercis power in my fridge for 10 hours before I would trust it!!!! And it still let me down with the camera pointed straight up) I found talking to them to be fairly pleasant, but ultimately useless. I mean, a) it took them 2 months to deliver the boxes in the first place with the wrong size input plugs, and b) another month for them to deliver the right ones, and endless hassle ever since.

LOGARITHMIC.....Fricke and my partner Lee Parker have this, as do all high-end moco systems. Basically if you are panning the head, say over the course of ten frames, and you want the pan to gradually come up to speed, you use a logarithmic curve. Kinda like...Frame 01: moves 0.3 degrees / Frame 02: moves 0.45 degrees / Frame 03: moves 0.7 degrees / Frame 04: moves 1.1 degrees, etc etc....so that there's a gradual smooth curved increase in the acceleration. The Mumford table isn't quite as high end, so accelerating over this same 10 frames isn't a smooth curve, but a series of linear steps. Basically Frame 01: moves 0.3 degrees, Frame 02: also moves 0.3 degrees / Frame 03: moves 0.7 degrees / Frame 04: also moves 0.7 degrees, etc etc

But the increments of each jump from one linear batch of movements to the next are so small that it's very hard to tell it's not a true curve.

Btw, if there's ever a European Timescapes Meet-Up, any feathered Mumford Table users owe me a beer!!! Bryan upgraded the system after I persuaded him to see BARAKA (which, amazingly, he never had) and to use a finer motor and introduce feathering into the electronics. Hats off to him....it was only about six weeks after we traded various e-mails back and forth about it that he had a working system. Within 2 months it was on sale.

On the third portion of the SKIES shoot I really put the tables through the wringer, and they performed absolutely beautifully. Got a couple of humdinger shots....fully feathered ramps, one tilting down..the other panning.. over Callanish stone circle at night, stars and moon in motion, 15 sec. exposures, 18 sec intervals (gap of 3 secs to let the camera settle after each move, and to write the RAW file) and mmm mmmmmm....perfexione!!! Here's a still from the tilt shot...

Cheers,
Grant


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Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:20 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table vs Cercis vs ANCIENT SKIES
PMW Creative wrote:
Dear Tom, Jay an' all,

Btw, if there's ever a European Timescapes Meet-Up, any feathered Mumford Table users owe me a beer!!! Bryan upgraded the system after I persuaded him to see BARAKA (which, amazingly, he never had) and to use a finer motor and introduce feathering into the electronics. Hats off to him....it was only about six weeks after we traded various e-mails back and forth about it that he had a working system. Within 2 months it was on sale.

Cheers,
Grant


I can't pay pay for the beer after upgrading my system to the finer motor and the feathering software ;) - Umh... I mean thanks for talking Bryan into the new system.

timt

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Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:10 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table vs Cercis vs ANCIENT SKIES
PMW Creative wrote:
blah blah blah....mmm mmmmmm....perfexione!!! Here's a still from the tilt shot...


Wow, thanks for the education. I think I understood most of that.

I thought I recognized the stone circle. Very nice still BTW...

Do we get to be 'Beta Testers' for the new film? I wanna see it!!!!

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Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:21 pm
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
That screen capture is looking freekin epic, Grant.


Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:11 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table vs Cercis vs ANCIENT SKIES
PMW Creative wrote:
Dear Tom, Jay an' all,
to use a finer motor and introduce feathering into the electronics.



Cheers,
Grant


Hi Grant,

I have been the Mumford Moco for about a year now, it has the 'ramp' and the finer motor. Is the feathering feature you mentioned 'new' since the ramp or is it the ramp by another name?


Cheers

Murray


Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:31 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table vs Cercis vs ANCIENT SKIES
Murray Fredericks wrote:
Hi Grant,

I have been the Mumford Moco for about a year now, it has the 'ramp' and the finer motor. Is the feathering feature you mentioned 'new' since the ramp or is it the ramp by another name?


Cheers

Murray


I'm not Grant but I know the answer - feathering = ramp - they are the same thing. You've got the latest and greatest! what I want now is an iphone app that allows me to input the information and then get the specific setting for the speed of the table.

timt

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Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:50 am
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Post Mumford Rotary Table + Beta testers
Dear Murray,

Tim has it correct sir....

Can't remember why I call it feathering as opposed to ramping.....think UK pioneer Maxim Ford coined the term. He had a great 3 axis Camflex based 35mm rig, but he's retired now.

I'm just waiting on permissions from my sponsor to post some stuff from ANCIENT SKIES. Probably gonna cut a little dedicated reel of some sort.

Tim....are you seriously wanting to actually call your moco on the phone and program it remotely? Or have I totally got the wrong end of the stick?

Paulo's crane drives me nuts! What an amazing piece of kit!


Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:05 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table + Beta testers
PMW Creative wrote:
Tim....are you seriously wanting to actually call your moco on the phone and program it remotely? Or have I totally got the wrong end of the stick?


sorry I wasn't clear. I really wanted an app that will take the place of the "panning sovler" excel spreadsheet - so I could input the numbers I want and have it tell me the numbers the time machine controller wants me to input to set up a ramping shot in the field - I really could just figure out the math from the spreadsheet and use the calculator on my ipod touch to get the numbers - I'd just love to have the ease of inputting the numbers like I do a home on the computer.

timt

ps but now that you mention it - having an intervalometer on either the iPhone or iPod touch would be way cool also. we just need the software and a ipod to n3 connector

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Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:08 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
I've got a Mumford Enhanced Rotary Table, and I'm trying to get the Excel spreadsheet to run on my iPod Touch. I just purchased the Spreadsheet app from the App Store, but I can't seem to import the PanPlanning.xls to it...I'll keep you posted if I get it working.

I've gotten tired of carrying my laptop in the field with all the other gear, and I thought about buying an old PDA of eBay, but hopefully the iPod will work out!

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Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:51 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
Steven M. Bumgardner wrote:
I've got a Mumford Enhanced Rotary Table, and I'm trying to get the Excel spreadsheet to run on my iPod Touch. I just purchased the Spreadsheet app from the App Store, but I can't seem to import the PanPlanning.xls to it...I'll keep you posted if I get it working.

I've gotten tired of carrying my laptop in the field with all the other gear, and I thought about buying an old PDA of eBay, but hopefully the iPod will work out!


That's what I was looking for so I could figure out the panning solution in the field or studio without having to go back and forth from the computer - it'd be nice if there was someone who would program that simple formula into a ipod touch/iphone app - albeit for a very small market.

timt

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Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:58 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
OK, I got the Mumford PanPlanning spreadsheet to work on the iPod Touch - just had to export it as an XML, and then fix on little error where it tries to round a number. The Spreadsheet app cost 7.99 from the App Store, which is well worth it to not have to carry my laptop!

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Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:42 am
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Post Re: Mumford Rotary Table
Steven M. Bumgardner wrote:
OK, I got the Mumford PanPlanning spreadsheet to work on the iPod Touch - just had to export it as an XML, and then fix on little error where it tries to round a number. The Spreadsheet app cost 7.99 from the App Store, which is well worth it to not have to carry my laptop!


coolio - I'll have to check it out

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