Picture of Remote Canon DSLR Video Trigger
UPDATE: You might want to check out my newer, simpler, cheaper version of this device.  Just as effective, but less complex and much cheaper: http://www.instructables.com/id/Long-Range-Canon-DSLR-Video-Trigger-V2-greatly-s/

If you are still interested in this version, read on!

I had a problem that I needed to solve:

Remotely and wirelessly trigger the video recording on my Canon 60D DSLR camera, non-line of sight, from further than an IR remote would allow.    

This would eliminate a lot of dead footage when shooting solo or when you want to be in the shot with other people.  

As anyone who has looked into this knows, there are NO commercially available systems (or even really any hacked together non-commercial systems that I could find) available for doing this.  Still pictures, no problem, but Canon doesn't have a way to do that for video without an IR remote (which is about 10ft, line of sight range).   I looked into what I had (both materials and skillset), and decided on building a solution.  This should work on any Canon DSLR that shoots video (T2i, T3i, 60d, 7d, 5d Mk2) but I have only tested it on my camera.

My solution uses an atmega328 chip on proto board (basically just a scratch built Arduino), a commercially available RF photo trigger and an IR LED to trigger the camera to record.   

The basics of the solution are this:

1: The commercial RF shutter trigger sends a signal to take a photo, which the Arduino reads (as a state change on the input pin).
2: The Arduino triggers the IR LED in a sequence which tells the camera (thru it's IR receiver) to take a video.
3: The control box beeps once to provide an audible alert that recording has fired off, and the power LED starts blinking
4: When the RF trigger button is pushed again to stop recording, the same sequence happens again, except the box beeps twice, and the power LED stops flashing and returns to solid.  

Now I have a trigger which will allow me to start video recording from at least 150ft away (the RF trigger claims 300ft, but I have only tested it out to 150ft so far).

My apologies ahead of time, this is not really a step-by-step "How to", but more of an overview of how it was built.  I am bad about taking pictures during building something, I usually think of it after I am done.   

This could also be done with a custom-built RF solution, but for simplicity, time and cost effectiveness, I chose to do it with a readily available commercial solution.   I also realize what I am doing here is a fairly simple thing for an Arduino to do, and there are probably much simpler, cheaper, more elegant ways to do this.  This is how I knew to do it, and the tools I had available.  If you come up with a different (better) way, please post a link to your Instructable in the comments.   


Here is one controlled with your smart phone's built in WiFi, with laser, light, motion, sound high speed trigger


recwap1 year ago

Hi, nice work!

I made something similar using Arduino, I added IR and wire trigger onboard sound and light sensor:


Well Done! Thanks for the hard work. I'm going to make this my weekend project. I'm working on a linear motion device for my T2i and this will be a great way to trigger the video. I'll reply again and maybe post video.
herx (author)  Sixstrings633 years ago
I would love to see it, sounds like a cool project. If you want an even more simple video trigger, check out my other Instructable, it's way more simple, cheap and quick to build. (However, if you are looking to integrate the trigger into a larger Arduino driven motion control system, this is the better one).

Dankhimself3 years ago
Hey, very clever dude!! I have an arduino, but it's the only thing im not great with when writing code. Is there any way I could have at least some sample of the code written for this? I would like to trigger shooting on my atv in a combo with my GoPro. The 7d is just way nicer video, and I can use the slightly less crisp GoPro video as a first person view simulator.

Basically, I just hope you can help me out. I have everything and then some to get this moving, I just get all flustered with lines and commands. thanks for any info, great writeup man.
herx (author)  Dankhimself3 years ago
I am not a programmer at all either. It just takes some careful reading thru and understanding it piece by piece. Make sure you have a basic understanding of how the program structure for the Arduino works, that will help a lot. There is a lot of great info on the Arduino site. All the code that makes my project work is posted in Step 4 of the Instructable. I tried to comment the code decently so you can tell what is going on.

Good luck! Sounds like an interesting project.
Ah jeez, I am a brand new user, I didn't even see the step links. I just readit the first one and though THAT was an awesome post. QUADRUPLE kudos to you! haha. I have The Arduino kit that comes with most of the standard parts, and Microcenter is right near me, they have a decent selection of the Arduino advanced components. If not I can just order parts from an onlin electronic component distributer. Thanks for the reply, and I will make a similar write up when I get it done. Thanks again!
lukeD4 years ago
can I use this to make a trigger to make photo's of water drups?
herx (author)  lukeD4 years ago
No, this is a video only hack. If you need to record video of waterdrops from 100ft away, this is your ticket. If you are just looking to capture photos of water drops, there are a number of Instructables about that on here. (like this one: http://www.instructables.com/id/Laser-Triggered-High-Speed-Photography/)