Kurt Schaefer over on his Blog, Retro Tech Journal / Tales of Creation and Recreation, has posted how he went about building an Arduino based motorized camera rig. After having mixed results playing with a dead inkjet printer, Kurt looked to making motion happen a different way.


I started to think about what a serious system with substantial time investment would have. It could be bigger and have at least two-axis camera motion. It would need a bunch of software with some way of key-framing the camera motion, maybe an LCD display, maybe a pendant control for stepping/snapping frames without jiggling the camera. What else? A way to power and auto-trigger the camera for time lapse. All in all a much, MUCH bigger project. OK, if that’s the end goal, what’s a good first step? I’m always wary of physically big projects. As the size goes up, costs go up. Big projects are harder to get into/out of the car, take up more workbench space, and ultimately collect dust in a bigger way. If I can fit a project into a single project box, life is simpler.

Arduino based Motorized Camera Rig

An Arduino based Motorized Camera Rig

So instead of embarking on a large two- or three-axis rig, I decided to build a very small one-axis rig. Heck, I already had a small one-axis slide. This way I could get my feet wet with the software, LCD, motor controllers, and all the other fun stuff, but without as much schlepping.

Crystals Time Lapse

I decided to try shooting a time lapse of crystals growing. I shot this over 10 hours at 1 frame every 2 mins. The code moving the stepper motor/shooting the frames is running on an Arduino Nano.

It was over-exposed and didn’t have great focus, but the kids thought it was cool. Success!

Read the full and complete write up from Kurt about his DIY Arduino based motorized camera rig.

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