Almost exactly a year ago I got married, just before Halloween. It seems to be fairly typical these days to have a photobooth at the reception so that guests can take photos of themselves for you. We decided ours should have a Halloween theme.
- Guests enter a cubbyhole and sit on the chairs at one end. The space is lit by a lamp and there’s a camera on a tripod pointing at them.
- Scary props are provided, the background is decorated with spiders and bats.
- They press the big illuminated red button in front of them.
- The button flashes five times.
- The lamp goes out, a strobe starts flashing, the middle spider on the background drops down and in front of them.
- The camera takes a photo.
- The spider goes back up, the strobe switches off and the lamp comes back on.
How It Works
A tupperware box with the illuminated button on top contains an Arduino, pressing the button sets the program in motion. It uses four outputs: the camera, the lamp, the strobe and a servo which moves the spider. The camera, lamp and strobe are connected via opto-isolators. The servo uses a PWM output in the usual way.
The lamp and strobe are mains powered. To switch them safely I adapted two radio controlled sockets. The sockets have push buttons that toggle the relay without needing the remote control. I soldered wires either side of the button switch and ran them to screw terminals on top. The Arduino briefly pulses these to toggle the output.
The camera was a Canon EOS 1000D, triggered through its remote control socket.
For the spider movement I used a high torque servo which I clamped to the top of the whiteboard that formed the backdrop. The spider dangled by a thread from a stick made out of a straightened wire coat hanger, which was quite springy so allowed for quite a lot of boinging around. The servo rotated the stick through about 75 degrees, kind of like a fishing rod, casting into the booth, with a spider as bait.
I didn’t have a lot of time on the day so I set it up in daylight. Then I had to go off to do some paperwork at the registry office for a bit. When the guests got to the reception it was nearly dark, so it turned out I’d set the exposure quite wrong. It was taking 30 second exposures which resulted it some interesting blurs.
Having fixed that it worked fine and was rather popular. We printed out some of the results and sent them to guests as thank yous.