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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Time lapse shooting - moving into more professional results...

While the first videos seemed pretty cool in spite its mediocre quality (maybe because of the time domain wonder of perceiving things that we normally wouldn't given the different time scale we live in), now I had to move one step further.

The idea was to use a better camera, one offering photographic quality in every single frame.

So I took my bridge camera out of the closet (a Fujifilm S9600) and started to investigate how I could operate it continuously, with an abitrarily high number of frames being captured at constant intervals.

Unlike many modern SLR cameras, this one didn't have a built in intervalometer, so I had to get a way of obtaining this function from somewhere else. I learned that the camera had in its mini-USB connector, an extra pin (on of the 5 pins of the connector) dedicated to the shutter function (normally for the USB standard only 4 pins are used). From reading some documents on the web about this pin, I found that triggering the shutter would be a simple matter of closing the circuit between this pin and the ground in such way as to produce different voltage drops depending on the
required function.

So with this in mind I elaborated a circuit driven by a PIC, powered by a battery, and using Bipolar transistors to provide the appropriate switching for the camera.
The circuit will be better described in a later post. For now I will just stick to the results, with the video below having been caught with the intervalometer triggering the camera shutter every 30 seconds. For nearly 24 hours the camera was kept shooting photos at this pace. This resulted in 2698 2 megapixel photos.

Using virtualdub, these were combined into a video to be rendered at 30 fps. This means each second corresponds to 15 minutes of real time. The entire 24 hours are as such narrowed down to 1 min 30 seconds.