Make a Time Lapse Spinner for your camera (no tools) for about $10

So I kept seeing all these cool time lapses that had motion, the camera would rotate as the time lapse was created. Casey Neistat does a lot of these since some company sent him a rotating tripod head for his GoPro. They look so cool!

So first I went to buy one. I like to buy things! But most of them seemed made specifically for the GoPro, or were more than I wanted to invest. Like, this one got good reviews, but was $99.  This one was $788! I went back to Casey’s Mail Time video where he got this one as a gift to see if I could get one like that, but it turns out it was made by this YouTube guy who was like, “…first step, get out your drill. ”

Yeah, nah. I am not handy in that way, I am not mechanical, I don’t have any tools, I don’t like to disassemble and drill things – this was not for me.

Then I saw this video from COOPH, and again it’s about a GoPro, but I was pretty sure I could adapt the idea for me (it’s the first “hack” mentioned):

So I went to IKEA and got this kitchen timer for $5.99.

Ordning Timer

Then I went on Amazon and I ordered this tripod head for $5.88 

It's important that it be totally flat on the bottom.
It’s important that it be totally flat on the bottom.

and I got some Scotch permanent mounting squares from Target for about $2.00 (I only used three of them, so really it was pennies – for this project.)


and then I stuck them all together and got this:

From the top, you can see the mounting squares.
Close up of the tape in there.
In action. Holds up my Canon G7x with no problem, although it would blow over in a strong wing.
In action. Holds up my Canon G7x with no problem, although it would blow over in a strong wind.

I wouldn’t set this on a high ledge on a windy day, but it certainly does hold up this camera and turn it with no problem. The timer is a piece of crap though, even with nothing on it I don’t think it turns in a really predictable way. I don’t know if I got a wonky one, or if that’s what you expect from a $6 timer. It seems to go really quickly at the beginning, and then smooth out to something reliable, so it’s good enough for what I want to do. I wouldn’t take this thing out on a paid job, but for hobbyist purposes it does work.

I took it out to play this morning and the park, and here’s what I came up with. These scenes are about 5 min—cut down to 30 sec in Premiere Pro—click to watch them in 1080p, it makes a difference:

I wish there had been some interesting cloud action, but you take what you get.

In this second one you can see the huge speed jump right at the beginning, that’s the timer settling in to its groove. So you have to kind of play around and be prepared to edit some of the front footage.

Now that I’ve got proof of concept, I am going to experiment more and see what I can do. I think I want to get a spare quick release and use the same adhesive strips to mount this thing on a tripod so I am less worried about it blowing over. Those strips are pretty strong, I see no sign they will fail, but of course do this at your own risk.

I am pretty excited that I spent $10-11 and came up with a workable thing to do what I wanted AND I didn’t have to drill or unbuild or rebuild anything.  So if you’re like me and you don’t want to mess with all that, this quick and dirty solution might work for you.

Hope you enjoy this, let me know if you try it out!

3 years ago

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