The Timelapse Motion Project

Few things make a video sequence more eye-catching than camera motion. Unfortunately, commercial motion gear optimized for timelapse is bulky, heavy, and costs thousands of dollars now (and didn't exist at all when I started the project). I had a bit of experience with electronics, programming, and building stuff, so I endeavored to construct my own rotary table (which rotates the camera through tiny fractions of a degree between images) and dolly (which slides the camera on rails). I use an open-source microcontroller, motors and gearing harvested from discarded printers, and other scavenged parts.

In the early days of the project, the dolly was buggy, the rotary table was borderline non-functional, and the logic breadboard was prone to falling apart. There was much confusion, many questions asked, few answers found, and lots of magic electronics smoke as things failed. Now, the motion equipment is reliable, has a nice user interface, and even fits into a shoebox for travel. The story of the project's evolution over the last three years is below.