Filmmaker Daniel DeArco is big fan of DIY. If you follow his social media, you’ll see that he comes up with all kinds of self-built solutions to overcome the challenges he faces in his productions. Not all of these projects are to solve a technical problem, though. Sometimes it’s for visual effect. And in this video, he talks about three of the practical effects he made for a recent video.
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If you’re like me, and you shoot mostly on location, power is an issue. For photography I solved those issues by switching to Godox strobes with light battery packs or integrated batteries. For video, though, power for continuous lights can be troublesome. Or at the very least, expensive. Some lights will allow you to use relatively inexpensive Sony NPF batteries, while others require expensive V-Mount batteries.
I’ve found another solution to my continuous power problem, though. RC lipo batteries. I had a few left over from my DJI Flamewheel F550 drone after the controller was stolen. So, I figured why not put them to good use elsewhere? They’re also great for powering cameras for battery-draining long exposure timelapse sequences, too.
It’s not that difficult to add computer control to a microscope. Now I realize this is not a huge need for the general photographer, however, some of us use photography in our profession, not weddings or models but in my case, I’m a geologist. We tend to take lots of pictures in the course of our work. We also need to look at samples utilizing a microscope.
Usually, we examine rock samples by slicing them into very thin sections, grinding them down to a few microns, and then passing polarized light through them in our weird geological microscopes. Now sometimes, we need to look at items in three dimensions. Especially with very small fossils. The problem with photographing them is that the depth of field for most microscopes is extremely narrow, so you end up with only a small slice of the fossil in focus. The ability to do focus stacking has revolutionized our visualization of fossils. The problem is that most macro rigs don’t offer the magnification needed without going through a lot of bother.
Edelkrone’s SliderONE, whilst small, is still quite mighty. The SliderONE was introduced back in 2015, and it’s proven to be popular with those who own one. Last year, they added motors and motion control. Now the whole thing’s been updated with a slightly longer SliderONE Pro. But it’s also received some pretty cool app updates, too, offering some great motion control options to let bend time to your will.
The Edeklrone Wing also sees a second generation update, along with a new Wing PRO. While not a slider, it offers slider-like motion, allowing for a lot of movement in something that takes up very little space. This, too, has seen an update, offering higher load capacity, as well as more stabilised movements.
The renewed interest in film lately is fantastic for those who have an affinity for film. It means that the films and products we love will continue to live a while longer. Well, as long as they’re not made by Fuji. It’s resurrected old film, brought a few new ones, as well as the occasional product mixing the old tech with the new.
Now, though, the first newly designed 35mm fully manual SLR in 25 years is coming. It’s called Reflex, it’s completely modular, and supports 5 different lens mounts. It’s being funded through Kickstarter, and it’s almost hit its goal already after only one day.
One of the biggest advantages of mobile photography for me is geotagging. An iPhone has been my go-to location scouting camera for about the past five years now. In an instant I can bring up a map of the world. Then scroll through it to find my images and where I shot them. More recently, I’ve switched over to using a DSLR with built in GPS. Flicking through Google maps with a mouse is ok, but it’s just not the same.
Well, Switzerland based designer by the name of Caroline Buttet has come up with an amazing solution. She’s made her own interactive touch-sensitive globe that controls the images shown on her monitor. All you do is tap the country you want to see, then spin the globe to browse the images.
Almost any sensor yields more interesting results if mounted on a moving platform. Remember scanning thermometer? It’s time to mount TOF LIDAR (Time Of Flight / Light Imaging, Detection, And Ranging) on two precision rotary stages arranged for pan and tilt operation. Rig provides real-time position data along with distance to an obstacle. Using simple math we can calculate the position in Cartesian coordinate system. Data is collected point-by- point to reconstruct 3D object model.
Since initially discovering the Arduino, Eduard Puertas has spent a lot of time experimenting with it. It’s all an attempt to make his working life easier. As a stop motion animator, anything that makes his life easier is welcome. The Arduino allows him to automate many tasks that would be difficult to achieve manually. At the very least they’d take him a very long time to get perfect.
Eduard has built many automated motion control systems for his work based off the Arduino, including a slider. Now he’s revising his previous slider design to help improve things a little. He wants to keep the low weight while allowing for a larger load capacity.
The problem with mobile phones is that if you need lights, you’ve usually got two options. The first is to simply deal with the underpowered, far-too-close-to-the-lens built in LED. Unless you’re using in the front camera, in which case that’s usually not an option. The second is to lug around all the usual LED lighting gear you’d use with regular cameras. In which case, you probably might as well just use a regular camera.
The folks over at Adafruit, though, have come up with a great project to help solve this. A 3D printed smartphone case with a built in LED ringlight. Not only does it wrap the light around your lens instead of being right next to it, but it also offers a fair bit more power. That it’s controlled by an Arduino also means that you can reconfigure the lights to give some neat effects.
I’ve been a huge fan of the Arduino for quite a few years now. It allows me control cameras and lights in ways that would be otherwise impossible. As an open source project based on the Atmel AVR microcontrollers, compatible boards come in all shapes and sizes now. One such incarnation is the Adafruit Trinket, a tiny Arduino clone based on the ATtiny85. It’s extremely small, and ideal for projects like this one.
To show off the Trinket’s abilities, the folks at Adafruit built a tiny timelapse camera. Using a mini spy camera module with a built in microSD slot, the Trinket controls all the timing for when shots are taken. The whole thing fits inside a matchbox, but Adafruit are a little more practical than that. They designed a custom case for 3D printing and made the plans for that available, too.