Turn your camera into an awesome high-tech time-lapse machine using a Raspberry Pi and a PiTFT for quick control! This is a great advanced project for camera + Pi geeks with motors, displays, and beautiful video output.

For example, here's a video I shot of the lovely Irish landscape - you can see how the motorized slider adds a dynamic motion to the timelapses!

Things You’ll Need:

  • Raspberry Pi computer, the Model B is probably easier to set up and get going, but of you are comfortable with the Model A, then that will work fine. You don't need any USB ports, and once set up, you don't need the Model B's ethernet port. The Model A save you on power, allowing you to run longer timelapses .:)
If using WiFi and/or a Model B Pi, you’ll want a robust battery pack that can provide 1 Amp (some are limited to 500 mA max). If you want to use a Pi-controlled motor-drive slider, you'll also need:
You can also do without the motor driver, if you can live with switching the direction of the motor using a switch.
  • A couple of NPN transistors and a couple of 1K resistors (for driving the shutter release of the camera.
  • 2 DC Connectors, DC Switch, 3.5mm stereo jack socket
In some situations a USB to TTL Serial Cable may be the preferred way to log in and configure the Raspberry Pi, if a spare keyboard and monitor are unavailable.

Some additional parts, tools and skills are also required: soldering iron and solder for connecting the header to the PiTFT display; some means of holding all the pieces together — could be as simple as a few rubber bands, to a drilled-out plastic electronics enclosure, to an elaborate custom 3D-printed case. This all depends on your available resources. Read through to see what’s involved in the project and come up with ideas along the way.

This guide doesn't cover the building of the time-lapse rail or dolly, for that you can check out David Hunt's blog.

This guide was first published on Jan 27, 2014. It was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Jan 24, 2014.

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