Adventures in Time Lapse

I’ll conclude my Ebertfest posts this week (hopefully tomorrow and Wednesday), but for now, I’ll just post a little something I did on April 25th:


When I drove from Morgantown, WV to Champaign, IL, I strapped a Plantcam to the passenger seat, just to see what it could do. I attempted to use it once before (at B-Fest), and didn’t get very good results (as it isn’t made to shoot in low light), so I figured I’d give it another shot in daylight. As you can see, I at least got something usable this time.

Plantcam pros:

    • Extremely easy to use
    • Sturdy and weatherproof (which doesn’t come into play inside a car, but can definitely be useful elsewhere)
    • Cheap to buy
    • Can run on batteries or via plug-in
    • Plenty long-range shot rate options

Plantcam cons:

    • Poor image quality
    • Useless in low light
    • Doesn’t have steady shot rate under 1 shot per 30 seconds

Also, as you can see in the video, the Plantcam didn’t make it all the way to Illinois. For unknown reasons, it just stopped taking shots after Indianapolis. While I initially thought the batteries had just run out, they seem to be okay now. Ah, well.

So, I’ll need to find a completely different project for the Plantcam, and figure out some other solution for road trip time-lapse movies. So far, the iPhone has given the best results…


…but that means I’m without my iPhone for the entire road trip, and that sucks for a lot of reasons.

I’d love to find a timer and car mount for my Sony DSLR, but so far, I’ve been unable to find much in the past. (That said, a cursory search reveals that Opteka now makes a Sony timer for about $30. I may need to do some more homework.) I’ve also considered buying or borrowing a used iPhone 3Gs and just dedicating it to road trip work, but the Sony would by far give the best results.

When I find a good solution, maybe I’ll do a road trip that takes me in a giant circle around the United States — from Minnesota to Oregon to California to Florida to Maine then back. Or I’ll drive to Alaska. Or I’ll drive to the southernmost tip of South America. Clearly, I’ll need to Kickstarter some gas costs…

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