Vacation project, a time laps panning rig from an egg timer and a bottle.

A positive thing with being on vacation is that you have more spare time than usual. A negative thing with being on vacation is that you are far away from your lab and tools. Luckily, creativity is not confined to any particular place and there is always something that you can use to build something. During one of my spare time moments, my eyes fell on an egg timer, and I remembered seeing someone using an egg timer to make a time lapse panning rig. This seemed like the perfect vacation project! Two plastic bottles, a board, a screw, a few minutes work and the time lapse rig was finished. tlr_final_sunset

How to build it

Materials

  • An Oval egg timer
  • A plastic bottle
  • A knife and a pair of scissors
  • A piece of string
  • A marker pen
  • An iPhone with the app iMotion or any other time lapse app.

Optional, for a make shift camera support.

  • Another bottle
  • A board
  • A screw

tlr_materials

Step 1, fitting the bottle on the egg timer.

Use the string to find the circumference of the egg timer by wrapping it around the the egg timer and cutting it so the ends of the string meets. Now wrap the string around the neck of the bottle and mark the spot to cut, then cut the bottle’s neck at the mark. You might have to use the scissors to trim the size a bit to make it fit snuggly on top of the egg timer.

Step 2, cutout to fit the phone.

Cut the bottom of the bottle. Place your phone on its long side in the center of the bottle, then mark the thickness of the phone. Next, use your phone to mark its breadth to know how far to cut. Once you have made the marks, use the scissors to cut the bottle to the right shape.

Step 3, Setting up the shot

Launch the iMotion app and set the timer to take at least one picture every 2nd second. If you use less frequent shots the footage will be a bit choppy and not the fluid motion we want. On the 360 degrees shot at 1:09 in the video I set iMotion up to take one picture every third second and that turned out a little choppy. Wind up the egg timer and place the phone in the bottle, start the iMotion and wait.

Step 4, Optional, the camera support board.

I quickly realized that you often want to tilt the camera a bit, or that the wind knocked the camera over. To remedy this, I built a camera support. The camera support is just a piece of board with the bottom of a bottle screwed on to it. The bottle was cut to fit the bottom of the egg timer. This makes it more easy to place the rig on an uneven surface or to tilt it to take a shot at an angle.

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