Time lapse photography (Intervalometry) and motion detection project


I want to take some awesome time lapse videos but I don’t want to spend allot of money. To be specific I don’t want to spend more than $100 in total. My goal is to keep the whole rig around $50.

Im going to try this with CHDK. CHDK is a Canon firmware hack that adds all sorts of geeky features to old canon point and shoot cameras. These features are motion detection, timelapse, scripting and remote control. The motion detection is pretty awesome and fast enough for pictures of lightening strikes.

For the camera to be in budget I’m going to have to resort to ebay. On ebay you can search by section or category and then choose options like only show point and shoot. From there  you can choose the search term canon. Sorting the listings by lowest priced first and buyitnow helps keep the sorting to a minimum. From this point you will only have to sort out the cameras with problems. Click here and this link will do all that work for you. ( Yes people sell broken cameras. Not everything is thrown in garbage cans when it breaks.)

The next parts of the project will be for power and storage. I can make it real simple and just buy a High capacity SD Card and purchase some strong batteries. But what fun would that be?  For storage We can add an eye-fi card and virtually have unlimited storage and get to see and collect the pictures as they are taken. The only problem with this is that eye-fi cards don’t have the write protect switch that is needed for CHDK. Greg Klein’s blog has a great solution for this on his blog. Basically he modified his eye-fi card so it will work.

Power can be an issue if during the span of time lapse your battery runs out. I can think of a few solutions. I have an idea of taking large battery pack and stepping down the voltage and wiring the leeds into the battery compartment. Thats a bit crazy but can be useful if you plan on taking your rig to a remote location with no chance of power. Solar power can be a great idea but its both expensive (out of budget) and a theft risk if you plan on leaving your rig out unsupervised. Another solution is to buy a simple external power cord and plug the camera directly to a wall outlet. This works because most cameras have this option. Another very similar idea is running the power supply to a power inverter in your car or buying a power supply that has a cigarette plug. You can find all these power options on ebay.

So thats the plan for now. I will post more when I get it to building. Also Checkout this life hacker article for more info.

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