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 Simple Panning Intervalometer 
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:29 am
Posts: 140
Location: Seattle, WA
Post Simple Panning Intervalometer
I've had an Astro on order since the beginning of its Kickstarter campaign, however it will not arrive before I leave for my trip to Chile at the end of December. I'm looking for a simple, relatively compact alternative. For me, the simple controls and integrated panning functionality of the Astro were a very high value. I'll be backpacking around 90 miles, as well as three short segments of kayaking. I don't have the option of carrying anything larger like a panning head with controller.

The only other integrated solution I know of is the Genie, but $1000 is a steep price (though it puts some very nice features in a package that has yet to be matched elsewhere). This is a primary concern of mine now, so I'm turning to everyone here for some guidance. I've spent hours searching, including here of course, to no avail.


Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:23 am
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:45 am
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: Simple Panning Intervalometer
If you've already got a regular intervalometer for making timelapse, you could always try the kitchen timer panhead method.

Get one of those mechanical kitchen timers where you rotate the dial to set a time up to an hour in most cases and the dial rotates back to zero then rings a bell. The "build" can be as simple as pulling the knob off, drilling a hole for a 1/4-20 screw to hold the camera and sticking the knob back on. You can build up a wider platform on the knob if necessary using a paste type epoxy such as gas tank sealant or any claylike epoxy. If you're not happy with it just sitting somewhere and turning, find a simple way to attach it to a tripod, or attach a magnet to it so your vehicle roof can serve as a support.

If you're handy with tools, a far more capable panhead could be cobbled together using a dolly controller like Chronos or the MX-2. Use a geared DC motor from Servocity if you use the MX-2 or use a geared stepper from Phidgets if you use Chronos. Your build is similar to the kitchen timer one, make something that attaches the motor to the camera and to some sort of support.

If you plan to make something, do it as far in advance as possible and test it out in case you need to adapt the plan or find another way.


Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:35 am
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Location: Seattle, WA
Post Re: Simple Panning Intervalometer
sciencelookers wrote:
If you've already got a regular intervalometer for making timelapse, you could always try the kitchen timer panhead method.

Get one of those mechanical kitchen timers where you rotate the dial to set a time up to an hour in most cases and the dial rotates back to zero then rings a bell. The "build" can be as simple as pulling the knob off, drilling a hole for a 1/4-20 screw to hold the camera and sticking the knob back on. You can build up a wider platform on the knob if necessary using a paste type epoxy such as gas tank sealant or any claylike epoxy. If you're not happy with it just sitting somewhere and turning, find a simple way to attach it to a tripod, or attach a magnet to it so your vehicle roof can serve as a support.

If you're handy with tools, a far more capable panhead could be cobbled together using a dolly controller like Chronos or the MX-2. Use a geared DC motor from Servocity if you use the MX-2 or use a geared stepper from Phidgets if you use Chronos. Your build is similar to the kitchen timer one, make something that attaches the motor to the camera and to some sort of support.

If you plan to make something, do it as far in advance as possible and test it out in case you need to adapt the plan or find another way.


I considered the kitchen timer method, but I would like more precise control over the movements as well as the ability to shoot for several hours without interruption. I have four weeks until I leave, and not enough time to build something more complex myself — though I plan to in the future. I'm apprehensive about the cost of the Genie, however its ease of use and integrated panning/unlimited distance motion control capabilities are certainly a plus.

I'm speaking with someone tonight who may have some input on this, but I'm going to keep thinking about what I could use for the kitchen timer method.


Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:58 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:58 pm
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Location: Denver, Colorado
Post Re: Simple Panning Intervalometer
I dunno, i thouight the introductory price of 600 was a lot for a genie. 1000 is way high IMO. I saw the videos on the kickstarter, I was not overly impressed :(

If DIY is off the table, what about an eMotimo? it is about half the price and offers 2 axis over 1.

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Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:16 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:29 am
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Location: Seattle, WA
Post Re: Simple Panning Intervalometer
Jack Ripper wrote:
I dunno, i thouight the introductory price of 600 was a lot for a genie. 1000 is way high IMO. I saw the videos on the kickstarter, I was not overly impressed :(

If DIY is off the table, what about an eMotimo? it is about half the price and offers 2 axis over 1.


The GUI menus with full presets are helpful (though not immensely impressive). I liked the ability to work without the need of a rail/dolly/belt setup; the Genie would work very well for the cable-cam setup I've been putting together. It's more expensive than other solutions, but has many features (such as smart-device control and motion/light/sound sensor triggers) that I would have to build into most other systems. Regardless of the price, it's an option. But because of the price, I'm looking for other options.

The eMotimo looks great -- I hadn't seen it before, and thank you for giving me at least another option. ;) I would, however, need to get a set of rails and a method of motion control. I don't have the time to do any major work myself; I would have to be able to buy it, perform basic assembly do a trial run, and be content with running it in Patagonia powered by one of these.

If I use the eMotimo, I have to fit the rails/dolly and any other motion controllers in less than $270 (price of eMotimo TB3 subtracted from price of Genie). I think that any Dynamic Perception gear would be out of range.

Any suggestions? :-)


Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:41 am
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Post Re: Simple Panning Intervalometer
well the eMotimo will control another stepper motor as a 3rd axis. I have not used the eMotimo myself, but my understanding is you can get it to work.

Here is a link to get some hardware, this has pretty much everything you need to throw together an inexpensive dolly.

https://www.inventables.com/categories/ ... ccessories

using the TB3 to control the last axis, you have a workable 3 axis system.

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Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:40 am
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:29 am
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Location: Seattle, WA
Post Re: Simple Panning Intervalometer
Looks good, I'll review it today and start putting together some plans. Unless my budget suddenly increases substantially, it looks like this is my ticket to motion control.


Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:04 am
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