Arduino Vine Time-Lapse Rig


Vine is a bit of a rage at the moment, and I have to admit I find it kind of cool. Except the whole making a 6 second video isn’t really my thing, as they are not the kind of ideas that come into my head. One of the most used type of videos I make are Time-lapse. I make them with my DSLR for when I’m working on projects, and have even made a slider rig using an Arduino(I will post in the future). I wondered if it would be possible to do a time-lapse on the Vine app. I haven’t seen it done yet(I didn’t look very hard, as to not discourage my motivation) so I came up with an idea to make it work. Since you are confined to using theĀ Vine app, and for those who have not used it, you have to touch the screen to record video, and when you stop touching it the recording stops. This makes doing scenes and cuts really easy, but hard to do anything but simple video. Instead of making quick videosĀ I had the idea to make stills instead. The design would have to be something that would mimic a quick tap of the screen with a finger.

First thing I did was hack apart an old project box and set it up for mounting an arduino. Since this was going to be a quick hack, and I wasn’t using this for anything, I don’t need a new box. (Notice the random holes and a mark of a previous event of “letting the smoke out”).


Arduino mounted to old busted project box.

Next I used my favourite dremel tool and cut some holes for a screen, servo, and my old busted iPhone 4, which I will be using to do the vine time-lapse. The servo will have a stylus mounted to it to mimic a finger touching the iPhone screen.


Underside Screen and Servo Mounted


Screen, Servo and iPhone in Place.

Randomly as I was doing this I remembered I had a el-cheapo iPhone dock that I never use sitting around somewhere. I figured I could hack it apart and use it to charge the iPhone while its inside the case, this will also add a bunch of support to the phone for when the servo hits it. Notice the broken screen. This is a backup phone, great for this project.


iPhone dock cracked open.


iPhone plug installed in case. Random hole existed already.

After I got the thing partially together I threw together some Arduino code to make it run. At this point I hadn’t introduced a system to change the time length yet, so in the code you would just have to replace the time length you desire. The screen will be used for selection and letting you know how much time is left for the timelapse to run. I had to manually tap the screen using the vine app, with my finger to count how many taps you could actually do. Surprisingly it would count 120 taps pretty continuously. This means you could have 120 frames in your video. The way the program works is it take the amount of time you want for the time lapse, say 10 minutes. Converts to seconds — 600 seconds divided by 120 frames gives you 5 seconds/frame, which means it will tap the screen every 5 seconds.


Working code.

I destroyed an old $2 stylus from and modified it to allow it to mount to the servo. It worked perfectly but I found a weird issue with it. When it would just tap the screen suddenly and quickly, it wouldn’t register. If it was held on the screen it would. Then I realized when I placed my finger on the stylus while it was running, it would register quick touches. I quickly came up with a solution which I’m surprised even worked. I took the 3V3 voltage from the Arduino and wrapped it around the mounting screw for the stylus. For whatever reason adding a voltage to the stylus made it work wonderfully!


Stylus added with red 3v3 signal attached.

Update:Added the Tripod mount.

1 Hour Vine of my Backyard.

10 Minute Vine of me cleaning my room.

I love how the noise the servo makes and the way it only records when it touches the screen makes a typewriter sound.


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