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Making a DIY Movie Wigglegram Lens from 3 Disposable Cameras

I’ve acquired to confess that half of the explanation I purchased a movie digicam was to put up cool-looking photos on Instagram, so after I noticed these items referred to as “wigglegrams” on Instagram, I instantly needed to make my very own.

I came upon that they’re sometimes made with a Nishika digicam which has 4 lenses to seize 4 separate photographs, which may be animated right into a 3D-looking video.

Sadly, these cameras have skyrocketed in worth over the previous couple of years (as a consequence of movie normies like me), and are additionally infamous for his or her horrible construct high quality. I wasn’t able to spend a pair hundred {dollars} simply to make my Instagram feed look a bit much less boring, so I as an alternative began to design my very own Canon FD mount wigglegram lens to make use of with my Canon A-1.

Squeezing 3 Pictures into 1 Body

The Nishika digicam that I used to be attempting to emulate took 4 images throughout 2 frames of movie (thus creating 4 half-frame photographs). Nevertheless, since I needed to make use of this lens on a traditional unmodified movie digicam, I as an alternative determined to squeeze three photographs into one body. This, sadly, creates a reasonably skinny wigglegram so framing is a bit exhausting – particularly since there isn’t a viewfinder (extra on this later).

It additionally implies that the lenses are nearer collectively: the gap from the rightmost to the leftmost lens is 24mm on my wigglegram digicam in comparison with the 54mm of the Nishika. So to get an excellent wigglegram, you need to get fairly near the topic.

Here’s a wigglegram straight from the lab. You may see the three separate photographs on one damaging.

Digicam Lenses

The one components of this lens that aren’t 3D printed are the three plastic lenses and some screws. The lenses got here from expired disposable cameras I acquired for filth low-cost on the Hong Kong model of eBay. After passing out the disposable cameras at a celebration, I used to be left with 3 rolls of fairly horrible images and three plastic 30mm lenses. It’s fairly simple to get the lenses out of the digicam, you simply want to tear it aside till you attain the lens (and when you’re at it, salvage the flash module and construct a small digicam flash!).

Disassembled disposable digicam with its lens

The Design

I modeled up the lens in Fusion 360. It’s a reasonably easy design, but it surely was a little bit of a ache to determine how distant the lens ought to be from the movie airplane to get the picture in focus. I needed issues from about 0.2–1.5m to be in focus since I might be primarily taking pictures issues near the lens.

At first, I attempted to calculate the gap to make use of, however ultimately I simply determined to make a ton of designs to slowly hone in on the precise distance. The lens has a comparatively small aperture of f/10, so it doesn’t must be tremendous exact. The ultimate distance from the lens to the movie airplane was someplace round 30mm (clearly, for the reason that lens has a focal distance of 30mm), which meant that the lenses are recessed into the digicam physique by about 10mm.

To maintain the three photographs separated, there must be a divider between every lens that extends into the digicam all the best way to the movie airplane. This was a little bit of an issue for my Canon A1 since it’s an SLR digicam – that means that the mirror for the viewfinder is in the best way.

Some SLR cameras have a “mirror lockup” characteristic that permits you to flip this mirror up and out of the best way (usually used to forestall digicam shake when taking a photograph), however my digicam doesn’t have this. I as an alternative simply kinda push the mirror up when placing on the lens, being cautious to not smudge the mirror within the course of. Sadly, this additionally implies that you don’t have a viewfinder to preview the picture, however that’s a luxurious I can stay with out.

You may see the 2 dividers which can prolong into the digicam’s physique.
Pushing the viewfinder lens out of the best way.

Stitching the Pictures Collectively

A typical grievance of wigglegrams is that it’s a ache to animate the frames collectively in Photoshop, however fortunately there may be really one other technique that nobody actually appears to speak about.

Just lately, an organization referred to as Reto Undertaking launched the Reto 3D, a wigglegram digicam that takes 3 half-frame photographs. Alongside this product, additionally they revealed an app that permits you to simply create wigglegrams. It prices just a few {dollars} but it surely’s positively price it.

Some Examples

I’ve put a few roll of movie via this lens and I’ve been actually impressed with the outcomes. It turned out much better than I anticipated, and the plastic disposable digicam lenses are surprisingly sharp. A number of of the images didn’t prove, primarily as a consequence of unhealthy framing (there must be a really effectively outlined foreground, midground, and background)

An extended publicity mild portray of the rainbow led dice I made (go try my weblog put up about it!)
Right here’s an excellent instance of a definite foreground, midground and background.

Movie Boomerang?

It is a fully sudden (however very welcomed) characteristic. The shutter of my digicam strikes from proper to left, that means that the rightmost body is uncovered barely earlier than the leftmost body (in all probability by solely 10ms or so). This implies that there’s a slight “Instagram boomerang” impact. This actually is the proper lens for Instagram! This boomerang impact solely occurs when not utilizing flash, nevertheless, for the reason that digicam flash exposes the entire body on the identical time.

Look how cool that’s


I’m extraordinarily impressed with how effectively this venture labored out – even when I used to be given the choice I might nonetheless select to make use of this lens over a Nishika. I used to be impressed by this comparable creation by George Moua, however his model is for digital cameras and you need to pay for the 3D recordsdata (you will get the recordsdata for this venture totally free on my GitHub repo!)

Concerning the creator: Joshua Chook is a photographer and pc science undergraduate pupil on the College of Cambridge. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the creator. You will discover extra of Chook’s work on his web site. This text was additionally revealed right here.

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