DIY motorized panorama head
My makeshift automated panorama rig. Mostly made from spare parts and junk.
[updated 2012.07.24] It seems this made it on hackaday: hackaday.com/2012/07/24/motorized-camera-rig-makes-panora... Greetings! I'll try to get some documentation together and post the code somewhere in the coming weeks.
Movement is handled by two servos at the top, mounted to some scrap wood using screws and wood glue. That mounts to the tripod via a 1/4-20 clawed T-bolt. The camera secures to a set of overpriced plastic servo pan/tilt plates.
The servos are controlled via an Arduino Nano (Atmel AVR 328p) powered by a 9v battery for the microcontroller(μc), and 4xAA batteries for the servos. The clear housing was saved from the trash, and holes for the wires and switch were cut by using a heat gun on an exacto knife. The case secures to the tripod using velcro and elastic. An IR receiver, mounted on top of the case, takes input from a small generic remote control(not pictured).
Several quick programs are accessible with only 2 key presses for the most commonly used angles. Manual angle input and adjustment are also available, as are startup delays and repeating functions. It can also be re-configured in the field, via the remote, and allows the changing of camera specs, such as horizontal and vertical field of view, h/v overlaps, servo speed and end stops. The μc is programed to, on it's own, determine the number of shots, and the best angles to shoot, in order to capture the requested area. There's also some rudimentary duplicate avoidance written in, which skips photographing areas that would significantly overlap with previous photos, such as in the polar regions.
There are plenty of problems with the version as shown. For starters, it doesn't center its rotation around the shutter, which causes parallax errors. The current servos aren't strong enough for anything heavier than a compact point-and-shoot. There's no shutter control yet. A third servo lead is tucked in back, and the code written, but at the moment, it's just synced with the camera's internal 10 second repeat auto timer. The code was quick and sloppy, but it does the job. I should probably clean it up and open source it at some point. So far, though, it has performed far better than I expected. Most issues could be resolved without much work, but at the moment, I'm just going to enjoy using it.
Except for the Marigot Bay panorama and the Marblehead harbor fireworks panorama(which were done by hand) most of the panoramas and stereographic "little planets" in this photostream were taken using this rig with a casio ex-g1 point-and-shoot.