A time lapse can be great, but a smooth pan of the camera throughout your time lapse is just awesome! Personally I wouldn’t invest in an out of this world expensive motorized panning head. They’re just too expensive to justify, although they can be a great deal of fun. One of the best most affordable solutions is the Genie Mini at around $250 USD. You can even interconnect two of them for a complete solution running under $1K with all the bells and whistles.
Personally I opted for the super-budget solution, a solution that I can bring to the 2017 PhotoChallenge for all of us to have fun with. THE IKEA EGG/KITCHEN TIMER! Perfectly built with a flat top and bottom it can be quickly modified to give you a 360-degree rotation in 60 minutes. Naturally weight limits are an issue and there is a slight wobble in the mechanism but it remains surprisingly stable as long as the winds cooperate. For the price (About $6 USD) it’s just as good as many cheap Chinese units found on the internet for up to $50.
With a little creative spirit, you can combine two of them for a vertical pan in addition to your horizontal pan. In vertical mode, camera weight is even more of an issue. You’ll need to use a small bridge, your phone or a tiny GoPro-style camera. A DSLR is just too heavy for this timer. Keeping its horizon level can be a challenge as you have to deal with two units who both have a slight flex in the mechanism.
Here’s an example taken with two IKEA KITCHEN/EGG TIMERS panning on two axes, horizontal and vertical.
You can even transform your panning time lapse into a tiny planet for an out of this world visual effect.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
Kitchen Timer with Flat top and bottom to facilitate mounting hardware. I chose the IKEA model due to its perfect shape and solid build.
- A few pieces of 1/4 inch hardware (Bolts, nuts and washers) from your hardware store
- Drill or adhesive (I used 3M automotive tape) to mount hardware to egg timer
- A mount for your phone or camera (Dollar store has the cell phone mounts with selfie sticks)
- A tripod to keep your rig steady
- A lightweight camera (I used a GoPro clone at $40 USD)
TO COMPLETE YOUR CHALLENGE :
One thing I noticed in previous time lapse related challenges was the use of accelerated video. To create a time lapse you must shoot images and not a video. The end result of assembling your images together can be an animated GIF or a video, but you must start with a series of images at a preset interval. (I.E. 1 second) You may want to use a time-lapse app if your phone camera settings don’t support interval shooting or time lapse.
If you have the ability to lock exposure, experiment with that especially under moving cloud conditions
A 1/2 hour of shooting at a 1 second interval should give you around 15 seconds of content panning 180 degrees. This should be sufficient for this week’s PhotoChallenge.
VERY IMPORTANT : Make sure your tripod is level. Not just the camera in one direction. It needs to remain level in all directions to maintain a straight horizon.
The rules are pretty simple:
- Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+, Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2017
- The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
- Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.