How we pulled this shot off:
- To keep the lighting consistent, we covered all of the windows with tin foil. We had several “day light” fluorescent bulbs set up on stands that provided consistent lighting throughout the two weeks the flowers were blooming. That lighting setup works great for multi-day shots because the fluorescent bulbs stay cool.
- The camera is controlled by an intervalometer. Each time the camera takes a picture, a red LED light on the back of the camera illuminates. This light lets you know that the shutter is open. (For this shot, we took 3-bracketed images every third minute.)
- An Arduino Duemilanove controls the whole operation. We taped a photoresistor (a simple light sensor) over the camera’s LED light. The photoresistor reacts to the light emitted from the LED, and creates a signal that the Arduino board can measure when the LED turns on. Each time the camera’s shutter opens while capturing an image, the Arduino board knows it.
- As soon as the Arduino board receives the signal that a photo has been taken, we programmed it to wait for 60 seconds–this delay was added to ensure that the dolly will not move while the shutter is open for long exposures. After receiving the signal from the camera and waiting, the Arduino board activates a high capacity H-bridge called a Spike for five seconds.
- The Spike then powers a 2 RPM gear motor connected to the winch. The winch either pulls or lowers the dolly up or down the curved pipe tracks, which are mounted on top of fully adjustable saw horses. The gear motor runs at a fixed speed, so the duration of its runtime determines how far the dolly will move between shots.
- The robotic control of the dolly manages two variables: the frequency of the shots (set by the intervalometer) and the distance covered by the dolly between each shot (set by the Arduino board). Because the track length is fixed and the runtime of the gear motor determines the distance the dolly moves between shots, the run time essentially dictates how many images the camera will take while traversing the track. A consistent number of images means that the length of the final video will depend only on the runtime of the winch. Thus if we want to create a 10 second time lapse with shots covering three hours or ten days, we only need to adjust the intervalometer. This greatly simplifies the field programming of the dolly.
While I was working on my mobile website with Craig Rentmeester and having cocktails on the rooftop of The Cafeteria on a sunny summer day, we came up with a crazy-awesome idea to build the ultimate party invite.
I had just finished up an elaborate home theater project that I was super excited about, and I was in the mood to throw a big party. In addition, I was sitting on a boatload of great time-lapse footage that I had filmed throughout the entire process of the project for my demo reel. The party invite was a great opportunity to double dip, and use the footage twice.
This invitation was much more than just the video. It was a full-screen website, and it also had a mobile redirect for people viewing the invite on smart phones. More importantly, it was an all out marketing campaign. This is where Craig’s brilliance came into play. Craig is the ultimate salesman/internet marketer/fun-guy-to-work-with. He has talent, check him out: (www.relevantemarketing.com)
Craig created a custom page within my full-screen website that listed all the party information, as well as Google Maps embedded for people who needed directions to the party. There was also a link within the page that said, “Invite a friend”. When you clicked on the link, it automatically opened your email application and impregnated the body of the email with a prewritten message. All you had to do was type in your friend’s email address and press send. Pretty slick.
All in all, the party invite was a huge success. Between the website and the mobile redirect, the video was viewed over 200 times. More importantly, my portfolio got a few looks from a couple people in the industry that I really wanted to see my work.
The Finished Product
Click on the images below to view the custom theater built in conjunction with Admit One Cinema and Annie Tropple.
I’m so excited about this project, I’m going to throw a huge party!
Working with Admit One Cinema and designer Annie Tropple was a really great experience. This kind of work is what I live for. The custom millwork on the walls is amazing. It’s filled with glass beads and LED lights. Quite simply, it’s off the hook. We’ll be photographing the finished product soon, more stills and video to come!
Lance and Annie have talent, check them out:
Home theater project
Currently, we are working on a similar theater that is going to be equally awesome. This time I’m doing all the woodwork, including a giant oval ceiling molding that’s going to have built-in LED lighting.
The oval molding measures roughly 11′ X 17′. The LEDs will give off a soft blue glow to the interior of the oval ceiling, which is designed to look like stars.
The oval parts were drafted in AutoCAD Inventor by my pal Mike Prom, and were cut out of 1″ MDF using a CNC router. Mike also helped me out with a uber complicated hidden drawer mechanism that I built into a custom bookcase in 2010.
I’m really jazzed to be a part of this project, it’s going to be rad. I’m looking forward to filming the final product with my buddy Joshua VP when it’s totally completed.