Today I received these PCB's in the post. I designed these myself. That was a difficult road since I had never done this before. Electronics is a hobby of mine, but designing and producing my own boards was always something that I tried to prevent. In the end it wasn't that hard. The board is designed with Eagle, a software package that is free to use for small non commercial boards. The boards were produced in China. The only drawback of that is that you have to wait six weeks before you get your results back.
I have mentioned the technical aspects of exposure ramping with a Nikon camera before on my blog. The has resulted in a lot of work for me the last month. The result is a ramping solution that works on both Nikon and other brands like Canon. The video that you see on this article is the first real outdoor test of my ramping solution. You are seeing the Maasboulevard, one of the main roads that bring you into the center of Rotterdam.
This is the first test I did with my dolly that is converted to the NanoMoco electronics. The sequence was taken at one of the most popular dive sites here in the Netherlands. My "old" electronics consisted of an Arduino, a custom made shield to control the camera and a stepper motor controller. I am currently beta testing the new OpenMoco NanoMoco board. This is a small 1.5 " x 1/5 " electronics board that holds everything you need. The boards holds an AVR micro controller, a stepper motor controller, electronics to control your camera and an RS-485 chip.
I gave an elaborate explanation about timelaps exposure ramping in my last blog called Bulb ramping with a Nikon dSLR - The technical story. I am very interested in exposure ramping timelapse photography. These are movies where you for example see a sunset while the exposure of the movie stays more or less the same. My previous blog describes a solution for a problem that Nikon camera's have when you use them for this complex technique.
I hate it when Canon users say that a Nikon is not capable of something. Well there is one thing that Canon camera's do better. Exposure ramping or bulb ramping. Imagine you want to create a time lapse movie of a sunset. Normally you would do that with a fixed shutter speed. But then your movie will become darker and darker when the sun sets. Wouldn't it be great if you can make the shutter speed longer after each frame? Then the day will go into the night and the night will have the same exposure. This is where bulb ramping comes in.
Here is the third field test of my time lapse dolly. I am finally getting a grip with this machine. This short video is not perfect yet, but I am close. I unfortunately made some miscalculations while setting up my rig. That resulted in an 8 seconds sequences which was a bit short for this test. This is the first test where I put a subject really close to my camera. I used a 14mm lens for this sequence. The movement of the dolly is smooth, but will be better next time.
I just returned from my very first field test of my OpenMoco based time-lapse dolly. The dolly worked great and gave me no big issues at all. I might have to change the points where the rail is put on the two tripods, but that is only 10 minutes of work. Just more holes to drill and more wire to tap. This sequence was shot in RAW with a Nikon D700 and a Nikon 14-24 lens. I have used this combination before for time-lapse photography. I find it really annoying that I see a lot of flicker in the beginning of the sequence. I normally don't have that with this lens.
I have been playing with time lapse photography lately. This has resulted in my MicroEngine for studio time lapse photography that I have published earlier on my site. There will be some more hardware related posts about time lapse photography in a month or two.
Ok, I promised some hardware projects that I would publish on my blog. This is certainly photography related, but a bit technical for most of you I guess. The first piece of hardware is my studio time lapse photography engine. More projects will follow, but not all of them will be open source, open hardware like the MicroEngine. The software that I have written for the device is open source under the GPL license.