High Speed Photo Arduino : HighSpeeduino !





Introduction: High Speed Photo Arduino : HighSpeeduino !

Today is High Speed Photography day !

The concept is to take a 'long' exposure photograph, 4 seconds say, in a (very) dark room (a bathroom in our case). You end up with a completely black picture, right ? If you burst a flash (about a millisecond for a standard flash) then you get a picture made of 4 seconds of 'dark' and one millisecond of 'light'. Are you still with me ?

The trick is to burst the flash at the right moment so that the millisecond of light you get illuminates an interesting scene. A popping balloon for example...

This project uses the sound an exploding balloon makes to trigger a flash.

I used:
- a DSLR camera (Canon 450D) + tripod.
- an arduino duelaminove + 9v battery.
- a sound sensor (from www.flamingoeda.com). Or better yet (if you don't read japanese): http://stores.ebay.com/FunRobo/_i.html?_nkw=Arduino+Sound+Sensor+Module&submit=Search
- a relay module (on ebay search for 'relay module arduino', sort by price, pay about 5$ for it).
- a cheap flash (paid 10$ for this one).

- a (convenient) sensor shield + cables.

Enjoy !

Step 1: Put It Together.

It is a very simple setup, yet pretty effective...

The sound sensor returns a 0-1024 value, the relay can be controlled by a digital pin.

I cracked open the flash, removed the shoe and soldered a couple of wires instead.

Some will probably argue that a relay is too slow. Well it turns out it isn't...
To be fair I, too, thought it would be too slow so I have tried and used an opto- isolator. It burned (as well as my atmega328, :-( ) during my first try. The voltage in the shoe of this *very* cheap flash is probably too high for my opto-isolators.

As I have no idea what kind of voltage I am dealing with here (I just know it hurts if I put my fingers !), I took the easy route and used a relay. It works, so... problem solved !

Step 2: Arduino Code

The code could not be any simpler.

When the sound sensor gets above a certain threshold, send a 'high' signal on the relay pin.

A small trick is to then ignore the sound sensor entirely so that the flash will not be triggered again.

Press the 'reset' button to re-enable the system.

Step 3: Set You Camera

You need to install a tripod in a dark room. The point is to be able to take a 4 second picture that comes back completely black.

Set your camera to 'manual focus', 'stabilizer off', 'priority to Time'.

You are all set. Press reset on the arduino board, switch off the light, take a picture and pop a balloon within the next 4 seconds....

Step 4: Results !

Here are some examples of what we were able to do with this setup.

This was a project done with the kids so it had to be fast-paced. Hence the improvised background...


Step 5: Some More...

...for your viewing pleasure.



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The flash Is connected to the relay, not the camera... Arduino and camera are separated

Very nice!!!
Can it be used with infra-red sensor like Arduino Active Infrared sensor module V2, to make a barrier that triggers the camera instead of the flash?
Can you help me with the code?
Thank you.

Thanks !!

I have done a project with a laser and an infra-red module which I still use every now and again. I will try and make an instructable out of it if it helps...

In a nutshell though, a relay, which is handy to control high voltage devices like a low-tech flash, is too slow for your kind of application. For my project I used an infrared sensor connected to the arduino which in turn is connected to the camera through optocouplers.

I blind the sensor with a laser and when said laser is cut (sensor goes to 'LOW') I trigger the camera. The trick is to take the diffential of the sensor signal (through software) and simpy trigger when the differential is big (and negative).

As a bonus I used the very same project to take photographies of lightning bolts by simply pointing my sensor at the sky and triggering on a (big) positive differential.

Good luck with your project !


Nifty coloured flash by the way


Really nice project! But could be made even cheaper!
$5 for a relay "module" is a bit too much. I made mine for $1 5v relay from eBay, a 10 cents diode (could be even cheaper if bought in bulk) and a cheap NPN transistor (100 pieces in a $2 bulk). You can also scrap these from some old PCB.
Here is the wiring diagram http://www.arduino.cc/playground/uploads/Learning/relays.pdf

Also, you can make your own sound sensor for a few bucks.
I made myself this one http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/docs/picaxe_sound.pdf
If you know some basic electronics, you can play a bit with it, like making a time delay, or controlling the sound buffer, which might be useful with some other projects.
Also this way you don't need the sensor shield.

Hope this helps :)

Yep, you could also argue that a micro-controller is way overkill for this project...

I tend to value having to solder as little a possible so the project can be put together / prototyped quickly.

You have a point though that a 'production' version could be produced for a handful of dollars...

You are right ofcourse, but the microcontroller makes things a lot easier.

With regard to rge relay, yeah I wld solder that up myself coz it is a lot easier than go to ebay, search, order and wait ;-)

I admire FallenSub's guts in considering the sound sensor himself ;-) One look at the schematics and I thought 'oops'

One look at flamingoeda.com however also made me think 'oops' as it is in Japanese ;-)

I don't read Japanese ! I got the sensor from this shop on ebay:


I hope this helps,