An Original Musical By MIT Students

HPT In Sala

This covers almost every moment of Hack, Punt, Tool in Sala, from the beginning of Put-In to Opening Night, other than long boring patches at night that were edited out, a number of camera crashes, and a few times that people were working and the camera didn’t get started.


Both time lapses were taken using a Canon A495 mounted on a GorillaPod Joby with an external power supply (total cost <$100 from Amazon).  The A495 was running CHDK open source firmware and the Ultra Intervalometer script.  Images were then renamed sequentially using a simple .vbs script. After iPhoto/iMovie miserably failed to build a time lapse from even a few thousand images (and I had tens of thousands) I used Time Lapse Assembler on OS X to create the movies, and edited the Sala movie using iMovie.

The whole process was relatively straightforward, but there were a few hurdles:

  1. The camera would sometimes run for days with no problems, and sometimes turn itself off every few seconds.  I haven’t identified whether this is an issue with the Ultra Intervalometer script, with the CHDK beta version running on the camera, a problem with the physical power supply, or something else.
  2. The Ultra Intervalometer script uses a simple timing loop that is configured for a different camera model, and I didn’t take the time to experiment and tweak it for the A495, so an interval of “10 seconds” ended up being more like 15 seconds.  Not a big deal for this project.
  3. Dealing with about 50,000 individual files is not convenient on any OS, even if they’re each a small 640×480 image.  On OS X, simple “move” operations are very slow in the Finder, but using the terminal or a bash script is much speedier.  iPhoto isn’t real happy about importing more than a few thousand images at a time, and may crash, or think it has succeeded but have some blank images.  And iMovie is great for making a time-lapse from a handful of photos… but even a thousand makes it bog down to unusability, even on a modern high-end iMac.  Time Lapse Assembler had no trouble with the same task.
  4. Several parts of the process would probably be much easier with a dedicated device like a Brinno TLC200, which was announced in early January but isn’t available yet.

-Alex Flagg French ’05 (Technical Director)

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