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Timelapse photography the easy way

I’ve always wanted to create my own time-lapse movie, but never had the money to invest into the equipment. With the CHDK firmware add-on for Canon’s Digic II, Digic III and Digic IV cameras it is now possible for anyone with a Canon camera to do it. The CHDK firmware add-on has been around for a while, but only recently supported my Canon SD600 Digital Elph point & shoot camera. Ever since I’ve been trying to find the time and conditions to shot one. Germany’s cloudy summer weather was perfect.To make my movie here’s what I did:

  1. Checked to see if my camera was supported by the CHDK firmware update here and download the firmware for it (I downloaded the Powershot SD 600 1.00D version).
  2. Unzip the software onto your SD card (I’d back up any existing pictures just in case).
  3. Download and save this file into the CHDK/SCRIPTS directory of your SD card.
  4. Adjust the picture quality settings so that you can at least 300 pictures.
  5. Turn your camera off, switch to picture viewing mode, and turn it back on.
  6. Press menu and scroll down to firmware update where it says update firmware to to and click OK (don’t worry you are not permanently altering your cameras firmware. To go back to your camera’s standard firmware, just turn it off and on again).
  7. Now you’ve installed CHDK and can use it’s features by pressing the printer button on your camera. Once you press that button your cameras standard menu’s will disappear and be replaced by CHDK’s menu’s. No your function button will bring up a folder menu where you can load a script. Load the timelapse.bas script.
  8. The script has a few parameters you can change to your liking (the frequency of the shots, how many total, the initial delay, etc). I adjusted my delay to 2, the frequency to 10 and the total to 300 keeping battery life in mind.
  9. Pressing the shutter button will execute the script and your camera will continue taking pictures until you hit the shutter button again to interrupt the script. Just pick a location and let her rip.
  10. Simply drag the pictures into Windows Live Movie Maker.
  11. Select all of the pictures and click the Edit tab. With all pictures selected enter the shortest duration (0.03 seconds) into the duration window manually with your keyboard.pt03secs
  12. You can preview your movie but mine didn’t preview correctly in some sections (probably a bug in WLMM). Either way it doesn’t matter if you export the movie now it’ll work fine once it is in WMV format.

Here is the movie I made in a few minutes (well, plus the 1.5 hours of letting the camera acquire the pictures):

June 27, 2009

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