This Intervalometer Hack Will Improve Your Timelapse Workflow

January 16th, 2016
This Intervalometer Hack Will Improve Your Timelapse Workflow

As a passionate timelapse shooter, I always strive to improve my personal skill as well as perfecting the workflow of my projects. This neat intervalometer hack, provided by Gunther Wegner over at lrtimelapse.com, instantly boosted the reliability of my setup.

Still Photography vs Timelapse Shooting

When shooting timelapse, I always use an external intervalometer to control the shutter.
Unfortunately, that intervalometer will always trigger the autofocus function of the camera before the shutter is released—even if the lens is set to manual focus or with a full manual lens attached. Since timelapse is normally shot with a fixed focus, this behavior just eats up precious time between shots. The autofocus signal may be useful for still photography, but it’s completely useless for timelapse shooting—it actually causes more trouble.

The Problems

My current setup consists of a Canon 5D mk2 with a TP-Link router on top. The router is connected to an iPad via wi-fi, on which qDslrDashboard carries out its duty. It’s a great tool to accomplish so-called “holy grail” shots. Anyway, the shutter always gets triggered via the intervalometer.

Now, as the autofocus signal totally blocks the camera, the behavior of the intervalometer makes the situation even worse. More than once, the connection between tablet and router was interrupted and the whole shot went south.

Another bugging issue is revealed when choosing very short intervals, such as 2 seconds. There is no chance to catch a glimpse of the picture just taken, as the autofocus signal of the next shot immediately turns the screen black.

On top of that the camera buffer might fill up when choosing short intervals because, again, the autofocus signal blocks the camera and it is unable to write the picture from the cache to the card quickly enough. As a result, the camera will stop taking pictures.
intervalometer-hack

The Solution: A Simple Intervalometer Hack

As simple as it sounds, the solution is to eliminate the autofocus signal. You don’t need it anyway. In order to do that, you’ll need the following:

  • side cutter
  • multimeter
  • soldering iron
  • shrink tubing
  • confidence

Only do this if you have at least some experience with soldering and you know what you’re doing! This could damage your camera and/or intervalometer if something goes wrong.

As I am using a Canon 5D mk2, my intervalometer has a Canon N3 connector. See the images below for information on how the pins are assigned and how the wires are soldered. Note: The colors of the wires might be different in your intervalometer, so use a multimeter to check the correct wiring!

intervalometer hack - Canon N3 connector

intervalometer hack wiring

For performing this intervalometer hack on Nikon cameras, head over to Gunthers Blog for all the details. He has a fantastic step-by-step guide available for both Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

I tried this intervalometer hack for myself and it works like a charm! No more black screen. No filled up buffer. No connection breakdowns whatsoever. No problem!

17
Leave a reply

guest
Filter:
all
Sort by:
latest
Member
May 28th, 2016

Before cutting the wire of your intervalometer, why don’t you put the AF switch of you lens to off?

Member
January 20th, 2016

while this is a simple fix for your workflow, I would say just get a better intervalometer. the one I use has a delay setting for auto-focus where it simulates a half depress shutter button which you can turn on and off or set to 0ms.

Member
January 21st, 2016
Reply to  Jules Du Peza

Can you possibly send us the model or link?

Member
January 22nd, 2016
Reply to  Olaf von Voss

I use the one one from Konova Photo that was part of their motion control slider bundle (I didnt realize how nice the intervalometer was till now).
http://konovaphoto.com/slider/motion-control.html
I’m looking at it now and it doesnt seem like they just sell just their controller which is sad since I have used it without issue with Nikon, Pentax and Canon for a number of years now. I really only pull it out for more complicated or very long lapses. Most of the time I just use the built in interval shooting modes that both my Nikon and my Pentax have built in and set manual focus.
That’s another question I have since I don’t have a Canon, but if you put switch the camera over to manual focus does it still listen to the auto-focus signal from the intervalometer? because I don’t know if I have ever shot a time-lapse with AF on.

Member
January 18th, 2016

Or you could have a look at PULSE (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alpinelabs/pulse-your-camera-upgraded) which seems to be the same thing just refined.

I am waiting on my order to come through in April hopefully, but I do like the idea or DIY’ing it, I have been looking into things like this using a Raspberry Pi

Member
January 19th, 2016
Reply to  Olaf von Voss

I was a backer of Camsformer https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/969220052/camsformer-high-speed-triggeringwireless-camera-co
but it turned out to be a REAL SCAM !Nothing received, no answers etc.
I am writing this just to remind people Kickstarter can’t guarantee functional product nor delivery dates

Member
January 18th, 2016

Here’s your “holy grail” AKA bulb ramping with Magic lantern http://www.magiclantern.fm/forum/index.php?topic=1004.0

Andy Khwairakpam
Guest
January 17th, 2016

we dont need it because we have magic lantern

Johnnie Behiri
Admin
January 17th, 2016

Andy.

Can I edit “We” to “I”? (unless you are absolutely sure everybody is using ML and nobody needs to explore other options).

Thanks!

Johnnie

Member
January 16th, 2016

How do you connect the router? Is it battery powered? Why would you need an intervalometer if you use an app in ipad?

Sebastian Kammonen
Guest
January 16th, 2016

Easier to just use Magic Lantern software, at least that’s how I shot timelapses on my 5D mk3.

Filter:
all
Sort by:
latest

Take part in the CineD community experience