Lately I haven’t had a lot of modeling time, but I find it easier to squeeze in a bit of photography or videography. As part of making train videos, I felt the need for a better way to create smooth tracking shots and/or point-of-view video. Both of those can be accomplished with a car to carry my phone around (as that’s my preferred video capture method).
I started with the notion of doing smooth tracking shots. To do that I wanted a computer controlled method of moving the camera car, and it gave me an excuse to play with some microcontroller stuff that is popular these days: an Arduino.
Here’s the stuff I gathered:
- An Arduino board, specifically an Uno R3 [link]
- A stepper motor: Nema 17 bipolar [link]
- A board to drive the stepper motor: Ardafruit motor/stepper/servo shield [link]
- A cellphone holder with a ball joint [link]
- And a few miscellaneous things (cables, etc.)
Here’s the electronics wired up to together and hooked up to the stepper motor:
I also downloaded the open source (i.e. free) developer environment for writing code for the Arduino, but so far I’ve been able to get by just doing slightly modifications of example code supplied with the Ardafruit stepper “shield”…
And here’s a super short video showing the stepper motor running with a 3D printed spool attached (and a toothpick so you can see it running). It is running near top speed, and I’ll probably slow it down the the real videos:
Today I built the car out of some leftover redwood, a couple of trucks I had laying around, and some kadee couplers so I could hook it up to a locomotive for point-of-view video:
Next up is getting the stepper motor connected to a piece of track and hooked up to the car and try taking some video. First video I want to do is a slow pan across the details in my Surry Parker log loader.