Can’t all the robots just get along!?
This is a video about ice melting.
Yes, I’m totally serious, because as you probably know, I only make serious videos.
Actually, this video came about when we had the big snowstorm back on February 2nd, 2011. Everything was shut down, so the Doctor and I stayed home and did a whole lot of shoveling. We also played in the snow a bit, and she brought in these huge icicles I knocked off the house. We put them in the sink to melt, and as usual, I figured I should put Time Lapse Bot to use and record things. Little did I know it would take so long…
It took 27 hours for the ice to melt. It probably helps that our house is usually between 55 and 60 degrees. If you see any water splashing onto the icicles, it’s just due to the fact that I had to wash dishes at some point. Other than that, we were able to pretty much leave them undisturbed, though next time I’ll probably set things up in a tub in the basement.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this video of ice melting… even though it took 27 hours to film it, you should be able to watch it all in about 20 seconds.
This was 100% my wife’s idea. You see, we have two cats, and because her cat seemed to be losing weight (and because my cat eats like a pig) we were concerned that her cat was not getting any of the food we left out all day long. So when I was told to “Get your time lapse thingy!” I sprung into action and set it up to capture a day’s worth of footage of the cats eating food.
We learned that my cat certainly eats a lot (but doesn’t eat all the food) and my wife’s cat is getting a chance to eat throughout the day, so I’ll call this experiment successful.
I built the original “Time Lapse Bot” in September 2009 before BarCampMilwaukee4 happened. I managed to get an old office chair that someone was throwing away and thought I could put it to good use to move around the iMac and camera rig I had attached to it. You can see the original Time Lapse Bot post for more info.
The main issue with the original Time Lapse Bot was that if you unplugged it, you had to boot it up again, set the clock, and then restart the image capture. We thought about a UPS to give it a bit of “unplugged” time, but never added one.
Next up was Time Lapse Bot 2 which used an old clamshell iBook in place of the old iMac. This made everything much lighter but because the battery couldn’t hold a charge we still suffered the inability to unplug it and move it while it was running. (We typically solved this problem with really long extension cords.)
Time Lapse Bot 3 is the next step in Time Lapse Bot technology. We’ve taken an old PowerBook G4 (donated by Matt Gauger) which has a good battery in it, and paired it with a Canon ZR800 MiniDV camera, which also has a good battery. The result is a unit that can run on battery (at least for a few hours) and starts charging the batteries as soon as you plug in the AC power cord.
The entire unit is housed in a custom case which allows for easy transport. By “custom case” we’re referring to the plywood box that I constructed and painted black. That’s what we consider the pinnacle of “custom cases” around here.
The software that runs Time Lapse Bot is EvoCam by Evological. It’s $30 and well worth it. It’s feature packed, and rock solid. If you’re putting together a Mac-based time lapse rig that uses a video camera, or a web cam, or whatever, I highly recommend it.
Here’s a few of the time lapse videos we’ve made with the help of Time Lapse Bot.
We’ve finally reached a point where we are fairly pleased with Time Lapse Bot and it’s performance, so this is obviously not the time to sit still and relax. We’re currently working on a few upgrades to Time Lapse Bot, and hope 2011 brings even more Time Lapse Bot goodness to all the folks who enjoy time lapse videos…
(Thanks for reading this. If you’re reading it on Facebook or Google Reader or somewhere else it got syndicated to, consider visiting the original post, especially if you’d like to leave a comment.)
Time Lapse Bot was quite proud to be called into service to help create this time lapse video of the process of assembling and lighting the Christmas Tree at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
I realized that I never got any good photos of Time Lapse Bot 3. I’ll have to schedule a session and get some shots… We’re also planning a series of upgrades for Time Lapse Bot, with the goals of: better mobility, better picture quality, and more interesting time lapsing abilities. 2011 should be the quite the year for Time Lapse Bot technology.
If you’d like to have Time Lapse Bot capture one of your events, get in touch with me.