A long while ago, I made a foot switch trigger for my Nikon camera (using this tutorial), perfect for taking overhead photos with both of your hands active in the frame. Now that I have a Panasonic GH4, a new foot switch strategy is in order!
There's no infrared sensor on the GH4, but a wired solution is just fine for my use. The remote trigger that is available for the GH4 is nothing more than a few plates of metal that connect at various points of a resistor circuit. You can make your own wired foot switch from scratch, or mod your existing remote trigger to fire at the press of the foot pedal.
For this project you will need:
- foot pedal switch
- 2K resistor
- soldering iron & solder
- wire snips & strippers
- third hand tool
- heat shrink tubing
- 2.1mm barrel jack
- 2.1mm barrel port (get both of these in one cable and cut it apart)
- small phillips head screwdriver
- mini stereo plug or regular remote trigger for GH4, or this hobbyking cable
Step 1: Solder Resistor and Barrel Port
Open up the remote body by removing the two small screws on the back and prying the enclosure pieces apart. The Panasonic remote trigger connects metal plates that bypass a few resistors. I used a multimeter to evaluate the resistors involved and found the undepressed resistance to be 40K ohms. When the button is depressed half way, it bypasses one resistor and the total is __ohms. When pressed fully, another bypass drops the resistance to 2K ohms.
Strip and tin the wires of the 2.1mm DC barrel port and solder a 2K ohm resistor to one of the wires. Then solder the other resistor lead to one of the two wire connection points on the trigger circuit board, and solder the other wire to the other connection point on the circuit board.
To make room for the wire to come out the bottom of the remote body, I removed the rubber stopper and widened the holes with my soldering iron (but not the shiny tip!).
If you're making this trigger from scratch, use alligator clips to connect to a 2K ohm resistor and set up your mini stereo plug wires (stripped and tinned) in a third hand tool. Clip to short various wires with this resistor to figure out which wires trigger a photo to be taken (you can do this with a multimeter or by leaving it plugged in to your camera). Then solder these wires to the 2.1mm barrel jack (don't forget the heat shrink).
Step 2: Solder Jack and Close Up Remote
Strip the wires on the foot pedal switch and use a multimeter to verify which wires are shorted when the switch is depressed (for me it was red and white). Use heat shrink tubing and solder these wires to the 2.1mm barrel jack (I cut mine from a 9V battery connector). Snap the remote body back together and put the screws back in.
Plug your remote in and use the foot pedal to take photos! Let me know what you're shooting in the comments below.