Timescapes - Digital Timelapse Discussion
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JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller
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Author:  John_S [ Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:12 am ]
Post subject:  JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Hi all,
Long time lurker, First time poster. I am a pilot by trade, and recently purchased a Canon 60D. In my spare time I have been working on a project for my timelapse hobby. It is a feature loaded bulb ramper and integrated motion controller based on the Arduino microcontroller. I don't have much sample footage just yet, but I am very pleased with the results of the bulb ramper.


In the shot above, I did both ISO stepping and Aperature stepping. Start exposure was 0.2s, f22, ISO 100, and final exposure: 1.36s, f4.0, ISO400 (that's almost 10 stops). No post production stabilizing or antiflicker was used.

I've started a blog: http://jsrintervalometers.blogspot.ca/. It is still in progress, but you can see the full list of features and a couple photos of the finished unit. If anyone is interested, I hope to publish the code soon and a parts list so you can build your own.

Author:  timeless [ Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

hey, this looks great!! i would prefer no aperture changes, though.

keep up the good work!!

Author:  John_S [ Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Thank you for your comment. On the JSR, you have the option of either manually stepping the ISO or aperature. All you have to do is manually adjust the camera (aperature open one stop, or ISO up one stop) and at the same time press the "+ISO" button on the JSR, which will cut the shutter speed in half.

In the video above, I had to start at f22 because the sky was so bright. I prefer to keep the shutter speed and ISO as low as possible to reduce the grain. If I had left the aperature at f22, I probably would've ended at ISO 1600 and shutter speed of 10.5 sec, which would've likely still been acceptable quality.

Author:  Jack Ripper [ Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

I have to say that looks pretty darn good!

Author:  Divinitii [ Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

That looks great. You said it includes an integrated motion controller -- I can't wait to see the results with that, not to mention the ability to manually adjust the settings.

Author:  John_S [ Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Right now, I'm finalizing the PCB design. I expect to have them available in a few weeks. I'm planning to offer them for sale (thinking about $25), as well as post the code and parts list. If you have an Arduino, know how to read resistors, and know which end of a soldering iron to hold, you could probably build a basic JSR for around $60.

Author:  Divinitii [ Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

John_S wrote:
Right now, I'm finalizing the PCB design. I expect to have them available in a few weeks. I'm planning to offer them for sale (thinking about $25), as well as post the code and parts list. If you have an Arduino, know how to read resistors, and know which end of a soldering iron to hold, you could probably build a basic JSR for around $60.

I think I may have just set aside $25.. although building one myself is tempting.

Edit: nice touch with the integrated LED flashlight.

Author:  Jack Ripper [ Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Do you use any sort of shutter monitoring?

Author:  John_S [ Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Jack Ripper wrote:
Do you use any sort of shutter monitoring?

No. The JSR only sends a timed pulse to the camera. It is "open loop" in that it does not monitor the hotshoe for a shutter trigger.

I have had good results with it this way. I don't know if it makes any difference, but I set the focus trigger for about 0.5 seconds before it fires the shutter to get the camera ready (even though I use MF for all timelapses). Also, on my 60D, the bulb mode is unreliable with a shutter speed of 0.2 seconds or less (major flicker). I try and keep it above 0.3 seconds for that reason. I've tried the JSR a little bit with a T3i which I think it is more reliable at faster shutter speeds, but more testing would be required to confirm a minimum shutter speed.

Author:  John_S [ Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Just an update on progress:

I've been looking into shutter monitoring, and it's become obvious that's the way to go. After the controller triggers a photo, there is a shutter lag of between 80 - 300 ms before the exposure starts (average is around 150 ms). After the controller ends the exposure, the camera takes about 40ms before it closes the shutter (this delay is fairly consistent on my 60D, but I expect it varies among camera models). The result is that a timed pulse on the shutter cable (say 700ms) will actually result in an exposure of anywhere between 660 ms and 440 ms. For an accurate 700ms exposure, the camera has to be triggered, wait for the shutter to open, then the controller has to close the shutter BEFORE the exposure is complete.
Attachment:
Shutter timing.png
Shutter timing.png [ 5.38 KiB | Viewed 22893 times ]


Right now I'm working on the coding for the JSR to include shutter monitoring. I plan to run it "closed loop", in that it will wait for the shutter to open before it starts timing, then learn how long your camera takes to close the shutter and use that in timing subsequent shots. Also, it will display the desired shutter time, as well as the actual shutter time.

Stay tuned.

Author:  Jack Ripper [ Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Gotta be honest, i really like what i am seeing here. Its good you are going the extra step, i dont think many others have done so.

80ms should be about the average for the shutter lag on the 60D

you are doing your testing with manual focus correct? 80-300 is a big big variance.

keep us posted.

Author:  John_S [ Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Yes, Manual Focus for all the tests. The higher end of the range is when the camera was sleeping. It seems to take 300 ms to wake up and open the shutter. However, I found that the "Shutter Open" delay varies somewhat as well. Here's some test numbers (all numbers in milliseconds):

Code:
Desired Shutter time:   Actual Shutter Time:   Shutter Open Delay:  Shutter Close Delay:
     1000                     999.8                 91.8                    39.1
      900                     900.5                 152.7                   39.7
      800                     799.3                 150.1                   39.0
      700                     700.9                 153.8                   39.9
      600                     599.4                 149.6                   39.3
      500                     500.0                 153.5                   39.3
      400                     400.3                 149.2                   39.6
      300                     299.4                 152.9                   39.0
      200                     200.8                 148.8                   39.8
      100                      99.1                 153.2                   38.9

If I trigger the shutter fast (every second or so) the Shutter Open Delay is in the 80-100ms range. If I trigger the shutter slowly (every 10 seconds or so) the Shutter delay is in the 150ms range.

Author:  Jack Ripper [ Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Yeah that makes more sense

When i was working a camera nudge feature in Chronos 2.0 I had to give it nearly a second in advance or it would intermittently not shoot.

it certainly seems you are on the right track with this

I think you will find this lets you bulb ramp at faster shutter speeds with better results. 1-2 miliseconds wont make much of a difference on a 200ms shutter speed, but it will start being noticable at the 50-60ms shutter speeds.

Author:  John_S [ Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Here's a bulb ramp timelapse I did last night. It was a test of the shutter monitoring, and despite the ugly lens flare near the end and the minor bumps from me adjusting the camera, I think it's a success.
Start: 0.1 sec, f22, 100 ISO
Finish: 4.3 sec, f8, 1600ISO


In other news, I got a question inquiring about using the JSR for plant timelapses. Is there any way to have it turn on a light before the exposure?

The short answer is no. Plant timelapsery was not the purpose when I designed the JSR. However, there will now be an external plug directly connected to a pin on the microcontroller (intended for the hotshoe monitoring during bulb ramping). With some simple changes of the code, this port could be used for turning on an external light, or using a limit switch on your trolley rig, or any general purpose I/O that you need (2nd camera, 3rd motor, remote start, ect)


I thought I'd make a flowchart to illustrate how the JSR program runs:
Attachment:
JSR flowchart.png
JSR flowchart.png [ 36.54 KiB | Viewed 22824 times ]

I think it is pretty self explanatory.
1: Optional Self timer.
2: Pre-focus. Used if you use AF or need a "wakeup" for the camera
3: Camera Time. During normal timelapses, the camera trigger is "live" for the entire time. During bulb ramping, the camera trigger is live for the required time at the beginning of the cycle. It is important that the Camera Shutter time is greater than the maximum bulb ramp time you plan to use other wise the bulb ramp time will be capped.
4: After Camera Delay. Use if you need a delay before the motion starts (maybe to allow the shutter to close or if you need to get the overall timing right)
5: Motor Run time. Normally the motor will run for the entire time you set here. Therefore, if you want a short movement, set a short time, and vice versa.
6: After Motor Delay. Use to allow the rig to settle before an exposure starts.

To figure out the number of pictures per minute that you're taking, you need to add up all these times and divide that into 60. For Example, if I have a camera time of 6 sec, and a motor time of 4 seconds (total of 10 seconds per cycle), it will be taking 6 pictures per minute. If you want a shorter motion travel per shot, yet the same pictures per minute, add a delay either after the camera or after the motor.


Here's another diagram, this time illustrating how the motor ramping works. When you set up the motor ramping, you set 4 parameters:
-Motor up delay
-Motor up ramp
-Motor down
-Motor down ramp
Attachment:
JSR Motor Run time.png
JSR Motor Run time.png [ 10.93 KiB | Viewed 22824 times ]

Say you had a motor run time of 1.0 seconds set, a number of pictures set to 50, and for each of the parameters above you set 10.
The first 10 pictures the motor wouldn't move.
The next 10 pictures the motor would move for 0.1 sec, then 0.2 sec, then 0.3 sec, ect.
The next 10 pictures the motor would run for the full 1.0 seconds.
The next 10 pictures the motor would start at 0.9, then 0.8, then 0.7, ect.
The final 10 pictures the motor would be stopped.

I did do a mo-ramp and a b-ramp combo last week, but I bumped into the rig half way through, effectively making the result rather useless :oops: . I will try and have an example of motion+bulb ramp in the next little while.

Author:  pentaxguyz [ Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

What happen to John? Long time never heard from him. Hope everything is alright.

Regards,
Tommy

Author:  John_S [ Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Hey, everything is good. Just away on vacation while I wait for parts to arrive. Hopefully I'll have the first batch of JSRs shipped within 3-4 weeks. :-)

Author:  pentaxguyz [ Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Good to see ya again, John.

Author:  John_S [ Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Sample footage taken with the JSR.

Author:  Jack Ripper [ Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Very Nice! Excellent and smooth ramps! I couldnt help but laugh at the cows, SO DRAMATIC! MOO

lol

Great job, so are these up for sale then?

Author:  John_S [ Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

It's getting close to being available. I have the PCBs and most of the components but I'm still waiting for the LCDs, batteries, and project boxes. Things are being slow, dealer quoted me at 3 weeks for the project boxes to arrive, and that was 6 weeks a ago :-( . I'm going to look into it though, can't wait forever...

Author:  unozig [ Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

John_S wrote:
It's getting close to being available. I have the PCBs and most of the components but I'm still waiting for the LCDs, batteries, and project boxes. Things are being slow, dealer quoted me at 3 weeks for the project boxes to arrive, and that was 6 weeks a ago :-( . I'm going to look into it though, can't wait forever...


There are a ton of project boxes on ebay .........

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid= ... &_from=R40

Author:  John_S [ Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

The thing is I built the final project around the project box I'm using, which is available locally. They just had to order them in.

The LCDs I've ordered from ebay... still waiting...

Author:  unozig [ Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

John_S wrote:
the project box I'm using, which is available locally. They just had to order them in


They probably ordered them in from China ;-)

Author:  John_S [ Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

So as many of you know, I've had to face a few hurdles getting these units built and functioning. I must say the interest and ideas from the timelapse community has been fantastic, so thank you.

However, the process of getting the JSR Intervalometer out has been more hassle than I was expecting. The assembly was taking longer than I had planned (around 6 hours for each unit - 3 circuit boards and about 300 solder points). It is very tedious and pernickety as well, mostly due to the design fitting in a project box that was locally available. I made the mistake of using some parts that are only available on ebay, and some intermittent software bugs took up many hours to sort out. The final straw was the batteries/charger combination that I'm using. It was frustrating, to say the least.

I hope the JSR Intervalometers I have shipped out will serve you well. I am fully confident in the bulb ramper system, and I would appreciate any feedback for future projects.

I'm finishing up the orders I have, and then I will sit back and rethink what is really required in an intervalometer. Sometimes simpler is better, and that would likely mean no project box or internal batteries.

Stay tuned.

Author:  sciencelookers [ Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Making anything by hand tends to work out that way. Even simple things take time. What seems like a series of simple operations will drag on and on. Imagining it seems easy. There is always something you didn't count on to add more and more time to each build. You can't compare these things to products made with all the automation and tooling that goes into all the mass produced products we use every day. None of the things I make are "worth it" compared to Chinese mass produced stuff. Some people still buy, and they get a chance to do shots nobody has seen before because the market isn't flooded with the stuff needed to do them. I think you've made something amazing. Maybe you're not charging enough for them. Now that you've made some, figure out a no-BS estimate of what it actually takes to make one and reprice them accordingly.

I didn't get an order in soon enough, can I buy one? What do you think a fair price is given your build experience? I can solder. Are there any unpopulated boards left that I could buy and do the assembly myself?

Author:  John_S [ Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

sciencelookers, I've sent you a PM.

Quote:
Now that you've made some, figure out a no-BS estimate of what it actually takes to make one and reprice them accordingly... What do you think a fair price is given your build experience?
Interesting question for sure. The total cost is a sum of many factors.

1. Parts
2. Assembly
3. R&D to this point (divided over a certain number of products)
4. Marketing and PR
5. Shipping and Handling

Taking into account all these factors and pay myself minimum wage for the time I've invested, a realistic cost per unit is close to:

$910 each if I build 10 units
$275 each if I build 50 units

Considering the JSR is a combination of the Little Bramper, MX2, and Trigger Trap, $275 seems realistic.

Author:  txrpls [ Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Two questions;

Are these still available?
Will it work with Nikon?

Author:  John_S [ Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

I will know shortly if I have any available.
Bulb ramping will not work with Nikons. IR and regular intervalometer functions will work.

Author:  agour [ Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

John_S wrote:
sciencelookers, I've sent you a PM.

Quote:
Now that you've made some, figure out a no-BS estimate of what it actually takes to make one and reprice them accordingly... What do you think a fair price is given your build experience?
Interesting question for sure. The total cost is a sum of many factors.

1. Parts
2. Assembly
3. R&D to this point (divided over a certain number of products)
4. Marketing and PR
5. Shipping and Handling

Taking into account all these factors and pay myself minimum wage for the time I've invested, a realistic cost per unit is close to:

$910 each if I build 10 units
$275 each if I build 50 units

Considering the JSR is a combination of the Little Bramper, MX2, and Trigger Trap, $275 seems realistic.


If your going to try and reach 50 units, launch a kickstarter project!

Author:  John_S [ Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

I might consider it for the next batch, depending on the feedback I get from these units.

Author:  John_S [ Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

I will be assembling 3 final units to use up the parts I have in stock. They will not have batteries, so you will have to supply your own power source to use it. Price will be $215. Email me if you would like a unit from the final batch. Estimated shipping time is in the new year.

Edit: 0 available now.

Author:  ToweringPictures [ Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

John_S

I have just seen this post and I'm blown away! I can't afford your box right now but would love to have one in the future! Well done on going the extra mile! I have a little bramper and it really is fantastic but your little box is now my next "want" :-)

Bravo!

Author:  John_S [ Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

So I have sold the last 3 in a matter of hours. I was not expecting that :D

ToweringPictures if I do another run, I will let you know. Unfortunately at this time all the units are spoken for.

Also, if there is enough interest, I might do another run sooner than later. I've got another project in the works that is taking most of my spare time. Stay tuned ;)

Author:  Jack Ripper [ Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Ill sell mine for $300

lol

Author:  Jack Ripper [ Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

No but seriously, you were not charging enough for these.

I have spent a bit more time with it, I still have not figured out the ramping and such. I'd like to get a chance to discuss some aspects of this with you and impressions I have.

Author:  apsphoto [ Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Why not do a Kickstarter project and raise the funds first. I would be in for one of those....

Alan

Author:  apsphoto [ Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Now that I am thinking about it why not do a Kickstarter and possibly integrate the command and sequence ability with a Astro-timelaps for full pan and tilt and mx2 compatibility, that would be awesome and I would pay $300 for that... just a thought and I now it add some more software but....

Astro timelapse:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/153 ... on-control

Alan

Author:  John_S [ Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

Quote:
Why not do a Kickstarter project...
I've been thinking about this. Part of the reason I probably won't is I don't want this to become a full time job (which it easily can turn out to be). A kickstarter project from start to finish could be as long as a year. Realistically I don't know if I'll still be at my same job by then. Right now I have a lot of free time, but I can't say that will always be the case. I just don't want to get started in something I won't have time to finish.

Building the JSRs is time consuming. Lately it's been taking 2 months for parts to arrive from ebay, then each assembly is taking about 5-6 hours. I haven't recently entertained the option of making kits because the assembly is so difficult, it wouldn't be worth my time to write instructions, then offer support when it "doesn't work". If there is enough interest, I could simplify the PCB (it won't fit in a project box), offer it for sale ($ to be determined), and publish the parts list. It wouldn't be a beginner's project though; I can't teach people how to read resistors or use a soldering iron. Let me know if there's interest in this approach.

Author:  apsphoto [ Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

A board and parts list would be fine by me. I have built and soldered several arduino's and controller boards, a couple of motor controllers, so I think I can handle that part...

Thanks,
Alan

Author:  unozig [ Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: JSR Intervalometer. Bulb Ramper and Motion Controller

apsphoto wrote:
A board and parts list would be fine by me. I have built and soldered several arduino's and controller boards, a couple of motor controllers, so I think I can handle that part...

Thanks,
Alan


I'll second that :-)

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