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 Ultimate BRamper. 
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Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:29 am
Posts: 587
Location: La Crescenta, Ca
Post Ultimate BRamper.
Recently I worked with a company that built their own beta Mega-BRamper. It was a nice little 7"x3"x1.5" box and a small laptop that handled 5 cameras (though I was told it could easily be designed to handle more).

From this shoot I saw that the box could run off an uploaded prebuilt CSV file that was built in Excel thus generating a complete daylight to daylight ramped exposure.

Using published times for
1) Civil Dusk
2) Nautical Dusk
3) Astronomical Dusk
4) Moon Rise
5) Moon Set
6) Civil Dawn
7) Nautical Dawn
8) Astronomical Dawn
9) Civil Noon

And a given "good exposure" for 1-9 above, (Predetermined by the site or the best guess of the photographer) this was input into each variable in the spreadsheet and an entire exposure curve was generated for the shot (or until their 128Gb cards were filled).

While it was still missing the data for the "golden hours", the end result was impressive, and could be left unattended over the entire length of the exposure (there were even automated ND filter flip down doors). They even said the laptop work could be integrated into the little main box, but that it was too early in production to do so yet.

Sadly, they were not interested in producing it as a commercial product, as I was told "its just not our thing, and we would'nt want to actually support users". Okay, I get that.

Does anyone know if this is this something that is already on the market that can drive an exposure curve (Laptop or not), or might be brought to market soon?

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Mon May 30, 2011 1:22 pm
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Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:36 pm
Posts: 45
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Post Re: Ultimate BRamper.
That sounds bad ass.

Though I've never heard of anything like that commercially made, I know a guy who programmed an arduino to act as his intervalometer. If your into learning basic electronics, I can't see it being that hard to program in the ramps if there is predetermined data already available. The chipset would probably also let you use a small motor to flip down filters into a matte box.


Mon May 30, 2011 1:40 pm
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Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:34 pm
Posts: 626
Post Re: Ultimate BRamper.
That sounds like a seriously advanced gadget, especially if the box itself has USB control over the camera.

Are you familiar with Eclipse Orchestrator Pro? The developer Fred is very receptive to its use for time-lapse. It allows scripted camera settings, and with some sort of shutter cable it can also do Bulb exposures (I've not tried that), although it lacks the feedback that allows for very precise bulb timing. With some care, that might be largely mitigated.

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Link to Time-lapse FAQ


Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:02 am
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:16 am
Posts: 417
Location: Wishaw, Scotland
Post Re: Ultimate BRamper.
I've found generating exposure curves on the fly to be not that tricky with the Arduino. Enter a start value, enter an end value, and it works it all out in up to 1/128th stop increments (basically due to the 2^128 limit of the Arduino - I might try it at some point with a LeafLabs Maple as it's got a 32Bit MCU instead of an 8Bit one to see if I can get higher resolution increments).

Sadly, the Nikon bodies I've been testing it with don't work in anywhere that fine increments (D300s is 40ms increments over 1 second, and the D200 is a whopping 120ms increment! - although the new GBDeflicker app beta does a damn good job of fixing that). Just waiting on some cables to arrive and I'll do some testing with the more recent D7000 to see how that does, as well as some Canon bodies.

Automatic flip-up/down of ND filters sounds pretty neat. Wonder if I can hack a Cokin & servo motor to do that for me. :)

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Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:41 am
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:58 am
Posts: 2
Location: Maastricht, the Netherlands
Post Re: Ultimate BRamper.
It’s good to see that I’m not the only one who wishes a more advanced BRamper.

So that's why I'm working with a friend on a program that can do just that, gradually adjust shutter speeds, ISO values, AF values and focus point over time and/or let them work together.
(for instance: use a minimal shutter of 1s until a max ISO is reached of 1600 and from there raise slowly the shutter length)

and equally important, control your rigs servos and stepper motors for tilting/rotating/panning your DSLR, positioning your slider on the rail.
Control a servo that can flip ND filters is easy to add to the program, so I’ve added it to the todo list.

We're designing the program so it can easily run on a Beagleboard.
And it will control your DSLR over usb.


Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:00 am
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:38 pm
Posts: 585
Location: Exmouth, Western Australia
Post Re: Ultimate BRamper.
What camera are you using that allows remote control of an infinitely variable ISO and focus? Sounds like you've found the Holy Grail? Is it as expensive as it sounds?


Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:20 pm
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:58 am
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Location: Maastricht, the Netherlands
Post Re: Ultimate BRamper.
Kitwn wrote:
What camera are you using that allows remote control of an infinitely variable ISO and focus? Sounds like you've found the Holy Grail? Is it as expensive as it sounds?


Haha, no, I don't have a really fancy DSRL just a T2i/550D, don't get me wrong it's a great camera.

It's the software that will slowly adjust the ISO value and focus but it's not infinite, the camera is the limiting factor here. but that should be a problem at all.

When you play around with Canons EOS Utility software, you'll find that you can adjust all of these settings form your computer when you put your DSLR in Manual mode.
The software should work with every (somewhat newer) Canon EOS DSRL


Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:03 am
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Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:29 am
Posts: 587
Location: La Crescenta, Ca
Post Re: Ultimate BRamper.
And AstronomerRoyal, you might as well throw in HDR functionality too... I just spent over $300 for a Promote...

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Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:54 pm
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