Dave Hunt’s time-lapse touchscreen controller

Regular readers will know Dave Hunt well. He’s behind some of the…no, scratch that; he’s behind THE most beautiful posts we’ve featured here. (There’s a new example of Dave doing something beautiful with the Pi in this post: you’ll have to read to the bottom before you get to it.)

Dave is a photographer, and he’s used the Raspberry Pi in several different rigs to replace much more expensive specialised hardware. His water droplet photography rig is easy and inexpensive to set up, and it produces extraordinary results. His focus-stacking Pi solution will save you around £600 on a clean macro photography setup; his rising/falling time-lapse rig has taken video that will have you running to the travel agent to book tickets to Ireland as soon as you’ve watched it.

A quick reminder of some of Dave’s previous work with the Pi. Click the image to find out how to take a photo like this yourself.

Dave said last year that he was looking to add more elements to the time-lapse rig (amazing, really, given that it already has features like a little heater to evaporate any dew that threatens to condense on the lens). The rig already raises and lowers the camera in tiny incremental stages as the time-lapse is being shot, so the camera moves as the footage is being taken, which adds a lot of interest to the shot. Dave’s now refined that action by adding touchscreen controls using Adafruit’s PiTFT Mini Kit (which we saw recently being used by the good folks at Adafruit to turn a Raspberry Pi Camera Board into a touchscreen point-and-shoot camera). He adapted Phil Burgess’ graphical user interface (GUI) from that project to create one that controls the length of the pulse sent to the motor, the delay between shots, the number of shots and the motor’s direction.

All this means that where previously the Pi-powered time-lapse rig had to be sent commands wirelessly via a phone or a laptop, it can now be controlled directly from the touchscreen panel mounted on the Pi itself.

The user interface he’s built allows you to position the dolly on the rail via the motor control buttons; change the motor pulse duration between shots; change the delay between shots; change the number of shots; see what time is left for the current sequence; and start and stop the time-lapse.

Dave has provided, as always, a parts list (the whole controller, including the Pi and the screen, will come in at around $100), full instructions, and all the code you’ll need on his website. And the results? We think they speak for themselves.