First off, here is the results of my Blue Oyster test footage. Ran 2 cams, Nasty flicker up front, bad lighting source. Other than that i am pretty happy with how things came out.
Time for Mushroomery
Everything in this hobby revolves around time and the passage of time. It also takes a lot of time. Time seems to be at a premium these days. I am not getting results as fast as I want, but I need to be patient. The first batch is a little bit of a bust I suppose. I inoculated 8 jars, and only three of them have any growth in them. I assume this is my fault, I drilled the holes in the lids of the jars awfully small, and really had to shove to get the needle through it and into the substrate. I dont know if i shook up the syringe well enough, and i think i dumped almost all the spores in the first couple jars. But those spores are so small, I should have seen at least SOME growth in the others. The good news is i know my sterilization process is working, so far the jars that show no growth show absolutely NO growth. No black mold, no green mold, nothing. That in itself is sort of a victory.
So right there is over a month. Very very slow progress. About a week ago new spores arrived. This time instead of a single syringe inoculating 12 jars, I used four. I also massaged the amounts of various ingredients for the substrate. That was about 5 days ago, and already i see growth in 9/12 jars. I think the other 3 may still show growth, after all the first three I had from the first batch took over 2 weeks for anything to happen at all.
Above: One of the new jars inoculated 5 days ago. Already we can see mycelium taking hold as the slightly cloudy areas on either side of the bottom of the jar.
And here is the incubator. The three on the left are the ones that had been going for the last month. The 9 on the top are the new ones that are showing growth, the 3 on the bottom are new and so far show no signs of activity, and on the far right we have 2 labeled E which are NOT inoculated, and used as a monitor to see if anything starts to grow. Last and least, the one on the far low right was one of the first to be inoculated and shows no growth to this day. I am keeping the temp right about 80f and the humidiy about 60-70. In this pic the humidity dropped because it was open and i was moving junk around.
Time for Equipment Building
I love building things! Especially things that work. The chromakey screen i have been using is fantastic but achieving consistent even lighting has proven to be difficult.
I already have one LED panel which I use for fill lighting with excellent results. I have decided that LED is clearly the way to go, because it is steady even light that takes very little power and generates little heat. However, they are a bit pricey in my view. I did not want to spend $400 for a pair of cheap LED’s, so rather I decided to build my own using this guys recipe. I must say, hats off sir, very well done video, It works like a charm!
I used the main guts that this guy suggested, but substituted a couple parts with stuff i had laying around. In the end the panel ran me about $50 to put together and i am very happy with it.
Being February in Colorado, it is cold. word working my my drafty garage is not a fun was to spend my time. I have used foam board in the past, and it is very quick and easy to use, while these lights would probably not survive being packed up and shipped/moved from location to location, I am confidant they will give me years of excellent service in the biolapse studio.
Same basic idea. You cut the LED strips into smaller strips. I opted for a 2 ft x 11 inch panel. They will be placed on either side of the subject facing the chroma key backdrop. he soldering was a real bitch. Honestly i have never used magnet wire before and did not realize it was coated and hates solder. I ended up using the file on my leatherman to score up and rough up the wire so it could be soldered easily. Later i found our running it under a lighter also gets rid of the coating. That should make the next panel go a bit quicker.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I love hot glue! It cools down and sticks to damn near anything. It is non conductive and you can glue electrical components right onto the back of the panel. I also glued a large block on the bottom that can be drilled out so you can attach it to a light stand.
I ran electrical tape over the wires to keep them from being exposed, then cut out some 2 inch strips to wrap around the edges and form it into a box. Foamboard can warp pretty easily, so this step is very important and will ensure it holds its shape.
Using more of the 2 inch strips i worked out a box that will cover the electronics in the back. I still need to drill the hole in the wood block, after that I will cover the back panel to hide the electronics
And here it is. A 24×11 inch dim-able light panel. Once the second one is finished that should offer all the light i need to get even lighting across the Chromakey backdrops
Time for Videos????
Another thing I am working on is a video showing how to build a small modular set for very little money that will give an excellent impression of being outside. I was planning on doing a video covering the light panel construction, but it seems awfully redundant as the person who made the original video did such an excellent job. And those videos take time to make. Filming, editing, rendering, uploading, it all takes quite a bit of time. So i scrapped the light panel building, i may also scrap the set building video and just blog/write about it with plenty of photos. It depends on how my time bank is looking.
Time for… The Chronos Project?
I have been awfully quiet with The Chronos Project. Mainly because I have been trying to figure out what to do with it. I will admit the last couple years i have been getting a bit burned out. Our sales have really dropped off which I am actually very happy about.
I never intended on having a business. The Chronos Project (or Project Chronos as I used to call it) was supposed to be an online DIY recipe for a high quality professional grate timelapse motion control system. I had looked at the offerings at the time (this was about 3 years ago) and you really only had a couple brands. The “affordable” stuff just felt/looked like a cheap DIY kit that should sell for a few hundred dollars. I thought the interfaces were junky, and i felt you had to spend way too much time figuring out how fast something was moving, how many shots you would get, etc. I thought it was silly to concern yourself with DC motors (which everyone was doing) which vary speed depending on the payload. I did not see any online DIY recipes so Kyle and i set out to create something that anyone with some basic skills could build.
The problem is enough people saw it and wanted one but did not want to build one themselves. Before long we had two rails and a focus control system and a business.
And no time for anything else.
So a bit about me personally, I am a single father and I have a great career in telecommunications. I make a pretty comfortable income, and I cannot see how I could possibly afford to pay myself enough to quit my day job, which means TCP will always be a side gig for me. I also have some medical concerns with my son which require health insurance, which is extremely expensive to buy privately. It would easily run thousands a month (stupid privatized american health insurance companies). So it is far more worthwhile for me to keep that day job, and there is always some overtime that has to go into that.
Lets also take a look at the state of affairs with time lapse equipment today. There are a lot of excellent systems on the market built by companies that can afford to do this sort of work full time. It is a much different game than it used to be for sure. It seems everyone has a multi axis system. But I am not interested in”keeping up with the Jonses”. If I’m not doing something new, I don’t have much interest in it. If i dont have much interest, then i find it extremely difficult to manage my time in ways to allow myself time to work on it.
So are we done?
Not at all.
In fact there are now three of us. It used to just be Myself and Kyle, and now we have Creigan. He is an old friend of mine, and much like Kyle and I he is always building and creating things, and he is probably the smartest person I think i have ever met. He has a very impressive skill set to bring to our small company. We have some irons in the fire that are quite outside the realm of time lapse and more into monitoring/automation systems.
However. We are NOT done with Time lapse. We are actually in the process of developing a new system right now. I am not ready to spill the beans, but if you are looking for a multiaxis controller and a pan/tilt that is not the route we are going. There are already plenty of excellent systems out there that handle that. We are going in a new direction with something that has not been done yet. It is not something people will expect, and it is something I think that a LOT of people are going to want. I have a good feeling about this. Sometimes things just go together very well. Chronos HD, Chronos Lite, The Lens Apparatus all seemed to almost build themselves because they had this flow about them. I already get the same feel about this system.
I suppose that is enough rambling for now.