Camera Geekery – GoPro rotator

It just feels right that I should be messing about with super glue and stuff as I enjoy shooting time lapse videos, I’m a bit of a geek, and I have a couple of GoPro cameras. That would be a couple of GoPro cameras that I want to use to make time lapse videos where the point of view changes over time.

Hence, the need for a camera rotator.

GoPro,time lapse,geekery,video,photography

I’m pretty certain that I could purchase a camera rotator at one of my favourite camera stores, but I’d rather spend the money on something more useful such as wine, pizza, and treats for the kitty, and besides, this is one of those things that I’ll use a few times and then get bored with it.

This project was simple – I took a plastic tripod ball head, stuck it to the top of an outdoor water timer, and then glued a 1 inch flat washer to the bottom of it. When the washer was good and glued, I took some super glue and glued a 1/4 20 nut to the washer and let it get good and glued, which in non-geek speak is to let the glue set. The 1/4 20 is the exact size that you need to attach things to a tripod base plate – get the idea?

The top of the water timer is actually the front, which is the piece you turn to set the time you want the water to flow out and water your grass or flood your neighbours basement. If you are clever, you could align the tripod mount so it is inline with the numbers that tell you how long water is supposed to flow for, but I am not clever, and it really does not matter as you can just give it a right good twist and not worry about the time.

You do, however, have to worry about a few things, and they’re directly attributable to Murphy’s Law and the sneaky way that advertising people come up with fancy names for crap products and cleverly distort reality.

  • According to the instructions that came with the plastic tripod ball head, the adhesive mounts on the base plate can be stuck to almost any surface. That much is true, but what is not mentioned is that the adhesive can become unstuck from any surface. This would really suck if your camera is attached at the time and goes for a fall down a mine shaft, drops off of a suspension bridge, or lands in the water and you notice 15 minutes later.
  • Super Glue used to be called Crazy Glue. That’s because you have to be crazy to think that it has super powers and is invincible like Super Man. Super glue, which is usually methyl 2-cyanoacrylate, or ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate, was placed on the face of the Earth to amuse Murphy and Darwin. It’s sneaky ass stuff that appears to form a super bond until you are just out of reach of your camera, at which point it will fail and cause your camera to be dashed to destruction.

I stuck a mini camera on the finished project to stress the mounts and the timer, and sure enough, it fell off twice. The moral of the story here is to use a tether on your camera, tie the tether to your tripod and make sure that your tripod is not going to tip over if subjected to a huge gust of wind or a curious kitty.

My little geeky project works, but it’s far from perfect as the timer rotates through 360° in 60 minutes, or 6° per minute. I typically shoot time lapse videos at 1 frame per second, resulting in a finished video where things happen about 30 times faster than normal, and the camera appears to rotate at a rate of 3° per second.


© 2013 CKB

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