This time lapse is a failure. 

But even as a failure, it is the most important timelapse I have done to date. The subject is a Nepenthes Sanguinea.

When I started to film this plant, I had a rough guess as to how the plant was going to behave. I have a lot of trash footage, because unfortunately as much as I want to predict the plant, they often have a way of surprising me and either growing out of frame, or out of focus, and when that happens the entire shoot is trashed. The longer the shoot, the bigger the risk of failure, and the larger loss of time.

I have been working on a technique I call Interactive Timelapse, which is a technique that allows me to follow the plant, so if it grow outside the area in focus, I can make live adjustments on the fly and continue to film. An entire year of building Otto, learning Dragonframe, working out the bugs, improving my workflow, and learning how to resolve issues mid-shoot has led up to this failure of a time lapse, and I have never been so excited about the work I am doing.

First off, thanks to the team at Dragonframe, all the bugs are finally worked out. Otto is running perfectly. A huge thank you to Dyami for his time and energy in helping me resolve these. Once Otto was finally running 100% rock solid, I was finally comfortable to take filming to new lengths and increasing the intervals to an Hour and longer.

This one first failed about 240 frames into the shoot. I was filming the closest pitcher with the intent to move the focus to the tip on the growing leaf, then follow it through its entire pitcher development. Around frame 240 the “nub” drifted out of focus. So I stopped the routine, moved Otto about 20 frames ahead, corrected the focus, then moved back to the last frame taken, and re-started the system.

It failed again about 50 frames later, same type of issue, same type of fix. And then again right before the nub makes contact to the ground, I had mis-predicted the location it would land and had to make more adjustments. After the pitcher was growing, the grass it landed in ended up pushing it to grow away from the camera, so another focus adjustment.

All of these were corrected, so why is it a failure? My stupid BCM failed to shut off the grow lights after 3 weeks and I got about 20 frames in a row where the grow light contaminated the images, that one I can NOT recover.

However, this is a proof of concept that I CAN in fact chase plants, respond to realtime changes, and alter the program on the fly, and to my knowledge this has never been done before. 

This is a preview of things to come.

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