Time-lapse Collaborative Installation Piece

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Ben pointed me to some software (Mac and PC) to stitch still photos into video and I re-discovered free camera control software (Mac/Nikon - sorry PC and Canon users) to drive my D80 so that I can now make time-lapse.

If you watch the video above you'll notice some tracking going on. I'm wondering if there's a cheap (and good...) way of achieving this?

I'm also wondering if there's any interest in putting together some kind of group project centered around time lapse. I'm not that much of a video person, but I sort of see this as a chance to test out the potential for collaborative art (which is something I am hoping that being a member of DMS will lead to.)

So, I don't have anything specific in mind... but I would love to identify some people that are interested in working on something that has a "finished piece" as a end result.

A few things that have been bumping around my head that might work well with this kind of project...

1. Multiple camera TL each going at a different speed - but set to standard music timing structure (See Michelle Gondry's video for the Chemical Brother's "Star Guitar"

2. Multi-media projected imagery - Combine True video, time-lapse, projected still photography, film loops, film strip projectors (interactive?) into an installation piece

3. DIY bullet time

4. Comparative study - separate time-lapse set-ups recording different people doing the same thing in different places (eating breakfast, solving a jigsaw puzzle, Warhol-ish "film test") that are then shown side-by-side...

5. Slow motion? (How fast of a camera do you need to do slow motion of any quality?

Thoughts? Ideas? Go Away?

Anyone else I should include?

If there's enough interest I'll set up a project page on the DMS wiki to further develop the idea (DMS membership not required)

-Steve Reeves

PS: Links

Time Lapse software: http://www.squared5.com/

Camera Control Software: http://www.sofortbildapp.com/

Michele Gondry/Star Guitar @wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Guitar

Star Guitar video: http://www.thechemicalbrothers.com/ click on "videos" in the upper right and select "Star Guitar" from the menu on the left.



From Anne:
This is something I've sort of been doing in a different way with plants and nature stuff. I have a book that I self-published on Blurb that contains image series of scenes changing over time. I didn't make a video of them as I didn't have enough images to work from and I wasn't as exacting about placement of my camera. My series was more about observing change over time and was inspired by an exhibit I saw of Olafur Eliasson's multi-image photographs of scenes displayed in gridlike fashion (check out a sample here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/4gtr8cw or his website at http://www.olafureliasson.net). I will try to remember to bring the book on Thursday.

But I have been wanting to take time lapse/change over time observation to the next level. I attempted something with leaves changing color that I had planned to make into a video at the outset, but ended up not having enough images from each leaf that I followed, partly due to unexpected conditions that would sometimes cause the leaves to fall away and not finish their change from green to brown. The finished project was more of a slideshow of the leaves changing. This year, I would like to follow a few buds on our mandarin orange tree from bloom through fruiting and ripening and make a time lapse project from that.

I used iMovie for my slideshow project of leaves changing over time, but it would work well from what I can tell for stitching together thousands of frames. The movie then could be exported into a movie format that we could then sync with music. Garage Band is a possibility and so is Audacity, but Audacity doesn't allow you to have the video in the window as you fit the sound to it but I believe you can with Garage Band. I have both programs. Audacity is open-source. Ideally, we'd use Final Cut Studio to edit as I know how to sync music to video using Soundtrack Pro and Final Cut as I did this for various projects in my Sound Design class. It is simple to use and intuitive.

From Steve Rainwater: One thing of interest on this project would be CHDK, the Canon Hack Development Kit. It's basically replacement firmware for Canon's consumer digital cameras. It's free software (free as in speech) so we can make modifications necessary to integrate it with a motion control system. It already has a lot of interesting features include motion-detection shutter triggers, intervalometer modes, HDR timelapse, time exposure intervalometer mode, and weirder stuff like focus bracketing.


At one point we were talking about getting a used Canon that could run CHDK for the kite photography project. I still think that would be a good start. Get a camera, load the software, starting doing some stationary timelapse, then work on an inexpensive way of adding motion.

Lots of possibilities for the motion. One easy one is a holonomic drive robot to give us X and Y, with a camera lift for the Z axis. VEX has off the shelf parts to build a small holonomic bot - Greg has already built a couple:


That sort of thing would only work on flat surfaces like parking lots or sidewalks but it's a start.

Also, it's no problem assembling the images into video, lots of free/open software to do that. I found a lot of good stuff when I did that time lapse of the makerspace open house from the security camera images.