Hack Attack: DIY 360-degree egg timer panning mount

About The Author

CNET Editor

Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolour. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET.

Welcome to Hack Attack, where we take a light-hearted look at building your own photographic tools on the cheap.

Photography is an expensive hobby. With new toys being released all the time to make you lust after pricey photo gear, Hack Attack provides the wallet-friendly version of doing it yourself. Over the coming weeks, you'll be able to watch the projects grow in complexity, and possibly see some epic DIY fails along the way.

This week's build is something so simple, even a fully-grown adult can do it — a 360-degree panning egg timer mount. For this hack, you will need:

  • An egg timer that can rotate 360 degrees

  • Small compact camera with intervalometer functionality, or a smartphone with an intervalometer/time-lapse app

  • Blu Tack.

This hack is pretty useful if you want to shoot an epic time-lapse, but don't want to manually move a tripod head or the camera around a set axis every time you take a shot.

An intervalometer is a feature that is built into some cameras, such as the GoPro, which tells the camera to take photos at set intervals in time. If your camera doesn't have this feature and you are using a Canon compact, use the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) by downloading it and running it from your memory card. Then, run the Countdown Intervalometer script.

You can also be a bit more sneaky with this hack by deconstructing the egg timer and installing a 1/4-inch screw so that the camera sits more securely on the base. The Blu Tack is a lot easier, however, and it works just as well.

See more how-to and DIY videos from Hack Attack here.

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Im Batman posted a comment   

Again, splendid work Lexi, shocked that the camera didn't fall off the egg timer.
Its like my old spinning lens panoramic camera... but modern!!

What no sample images of round the office.

I can sort of picture what a time lapse pano might look like... but i am drawing a bit of a blank at how well images will map with the long time gaps.

If the egg timer was slower, maybe you could get some interesting transitions at sunset etc.


Lexy Savvides posted a reply   

You'd be surprised, the Blu Tack holds incredibly well. Tested it for an hour spin and it didn't budge one bit!

I'll give the office a spin-around for you :)

I guess with those transitions at sunset, you could probably just use a static mount on a tripod and set your camera to timelapse away. Then to get some transitions and movement, you could crop in on the individual frames in post, then this makes it look like there's some sort of pan going on (especially if you are only cutting for 1080p or 720p, you have so much extra resolution to play with from the still images!)

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