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One of my favorite projects in the newest issue of MAKE, Volume 24, is the Stroboscope. This simple, low-tech camera hack is a fun build and packs an impressive punch in its resulting photographs, like the one above of the authors’ friend Luigi juggling. Authors Nicole Catrett and Walter Kitundu paired a toy motor and construction paper with a digital SLR. From their intro:

We were inspired to play with stroboscopic photography after seeing photographs taken by 19th-century French scientist Étienne-Jules Marey. In the 1880s, Marey invented a camera with a rotating shutter that could capture multiple images on a single photographic plate. He used this camera to study locomotion in humans, animals, birds, sea creatures, and insects.

Marey used clockwork mechanisms and photographic plates for his contraption, but you can make a much simpler version with a slotted paper disk, a toy motor, and a digital camera. The camera is set to take long exposures while the slotted disk spins in front of its lens. Each time the slot spins past the lens, the camera gets a glimpse of your subject and adds another layer to the image. The resulting photograph is a record of your subject moving through space and time, and these images often reveal beautiful patterns that would otherwise be invisible to us.

The full project is available for you to collaborate on in Make: Projects. Check it out, make your own Stroboscope, and show us your resulting pics in the MAKE Flickr pool. And be sure to pick MAKE Volume 24, the Space issue, on sale October 26th, for a ton of other projects and features, including a helium-balloon camera that’s better than Google Earth, an electromagnetic levitator that shoots aluminum rings, and hard-shell moldmaking taught by Adam Savage, to name a few. And now for some Stroboscope image inspiration, shot by Catrett and Kitundu. You know you want to build one.

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Goli Mohammadi

I’m a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

I was an editor for the first 40 volumes of MAKE. The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. Covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made.

Contact me at snowgoli (at) gmail (dot) com.


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