Tutorial: Creating Time Lapse Videos with a Graphing Calculator

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by WhineAndDine, May 14, 2009.

  1. WhineAndDine

    WhineAndDine TPF Noob!

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    Materials

    You will need a Canon DSLR and a TI-84 graphing calculator. You will also need the wire that originally came with your calculator. It looks like a stereo headphone jack except its much smaller (2.5mm). Chances are you have lost it, but its not too hard to find. Radio Shack has them, and you can get them ONLINE.

    Canon “E3” style remote adaptor
    EOS 30 33 50 50E 300 300V 3000 300D(Rebel) 350D(Rebel XT) 450D (Rebel XSi) 400D(Rebel XTi)


    If your camera is in the above list and has the 2.5mm jack for its remote function, then you only need a Male-Male cable and you’re ready to go.

    Canon “N3” type remote adaptor.
    EOS 1V, 3, 1D, 1DS, D30, D60, 10D, 1D Mk II, 20D, 1Ds MkII, 5D, 30D, 40D, 1D Mk IIn , 1D Mk11


    If you have a Canon from the above list that has the 3 pin N3 remote port you will need TWO cables. First search Google for “2.5mm Male Female Cable”. Then you need to get a hold of a Shutter Release Extension Cable. I got mine from GadgetInfinity for $7.95. You need both these cables or it will not work. If Canon had kept the same connection on all their cameras, all we would need is the 2.5mm jack. Being someone who upgraded from a Rebel XT to a 40D, I found this to be quite an incredible annoyance. But never-mind that, weve got time lapse movies to make.


    Why not use Canon’s Remote Timer?
    For starters, it costs about a million dollars. Also, Photography as an expensive hobby/profession, so if you have the calculator lying around the house, why not utilize it for something that is Super Super cool and geeky. Trust me you will feel ultra techno chic using your calculator to control your DSLR.

    Software
    Let me first say that I did not create this program. I found it online by a guy identified only as “Timmerman”. He originally posted his App on a forum, but now the link has gone bad. So I extracted the application from my calculator and have now made it available for you to download.

    EOS TI-84 Plus.8xk

    Use the TI-Connect software to load the application onto your Calculator. Connect all the appropriate cables from the Calculator to your Camera. Launch the Program by pressing the APPS button. Navigate to the application and launch it.

    There are three different modes for you to choose from.

    Time Lapse
    Remote Shutter
    Bulb Trigger


    To make a time lapse movie, were obviously going to use the Time Lapse mode. Setup your camera on a nice quality tripod and point it up at the sky. You want to make sure its not on any auto modes. I put it on full Manual. Take some test shots. Make sure your settings are all correct. Make sure flash is off. Make sure Image Stabilization is off. If the clouds are moving quickly, you’re gonna want to set the TimeLapse mode to take a picture every 2 or 3 seconds. If you space the pictures out too far apart, your end result will look choppy. If the clouds are moving slow as snails, you have the luxury of setting it to take a picture every 10+ seconds. MAKE SURE you auto focus for your test shots, and then PUT IT ON MANUAL FOCUS for the sequence. Once youve got it crisp, your distance from the clouds isn’t going to change, so there’s no need for Auto Focus. AF will slow your camera down and mess up the entire intervalometer sequencing. Also make sure Image Stabilization is off as well.

    The rest is pretty simple, point, connect to calculator, start the program and go do something for at least an hour. It’s going to be extremely tempting to stop it after 200 shots because it seems like its enough but trust me 23 frames per second means 200 shots = an 8 second movie.

    I recommend using the AC adaptor for your camera. I also recommend setting your camera to take relatively small pictures. There’s no point in taking pictures 4000 pixels wide. You’re just wasting valuable memory. Also no point in shooting in RAW. Just good old plain JPEGS will do just fine.

    Once you have all your pictures taken, import them into a folder on your desktop. Then open up Quicktime.

    Choose
    File> Open Image Sequence

    [​IMG]
    Then Select the FIRST IMAGE IN THE SEQUENCE
    [​IMG]

    Then choose how many frames per second you want. The higher this number, the SMOOTHER your movie will be, but also the shorter it will be. Experiment with different choices until you find one that works for you.
    [​IMG]

    Then let quicktime do all the work for you. You can put a nice song to go along with it, or leave it alone. Creativity knows no boundaries. Here’s a clip I made. The time lapse sequences are the ones with the clouds flying around. Everything else was done with a regular video camera.


    <object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/1pkeqV7kPGA&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/1pkeqV7kPGA&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>



    This full tutorial, as well as a video of the calculator App in action can be found on my site:
    Creating Time Lapse Videos With a Graphing Calculator
     
  2. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wow, that looks absolutely brilliant. It's just a bit of a shame that you need a rather specific calculator (or is it pretty much any TI graphing calculator with a 2.5mm jack?). A brilliant discovery, there. And you can do your homework at the same time! :D
     
  3. Unmanedpilot

    Unmanedpilot TPF Noob!

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    Had to buy that calculator for school... about time I used it for something productive!!

    Awesome tutorial!
     
  4. smn_xps

    smn_xps TPF Noob!

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    all of the TI graphing calculators use the same programming "language" but as the models get newer there are some added functions and features available to the programmer. so depending on the code it may run on an older TI model. MAY being the big question!

    cool idea though,
    jerry
     
  5. WhineAndDine

    WhineAndDine TPF Noob!

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    ya as Jerry said, they are all basically the same code but with twists. if you have a ti graphing calculator, why not download the software and give it a shot, if the application loads, you're good to go!
     
  6. Ejazzle

    Ejazzle TPF Noob!

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    that made me lol

    hahaha
     
  7. ieetsababies

    ieetsababies TPF Noob!

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    Does anybody have a copy of that program/a link to a similar program? I'd love to try this out.
     

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