Install a CHDK Intervalometer on Your PowerShot

In a previous post, I talked about installing the free CHDK software onto your PowerShot in order to access a bevy of new features. This follow-up post completes the installation process by showing how to download a small script that will allow you to begin making time lapse videos.

The script was written by Keoeeit for the PowerShot S3 IS but has worked on other models of PowerShot.  All instructions are for PC users.

Insert Your Memory Card

If you followed the directions from the CHDK post, your camera’s memory card should now have the CHDK software installed and running.

Insert your memory card into your computer’s card slot and open it in “My Computer.”

UBASIC Ultra Intervalometer Script

Ultra website

Next, you’ll need to visit the CHDK website to copy the Ultra Intervalometer script.  If you’ve never seen raw programming language, this might be intimidating, but most of the work has been done for you.  All you have to do is copy the script from the box at the bottom of the page.

Paste the Script Into Notepad

Open Notepad by clicking on the “Start” button, selecting “All Programs,” “Accesories,” and then “Notepad.”  Paste the script from the Ultra Intervalometer website into Wordpad.  Make the file name “ult_intrvl.bas”.  Make sure to change the file type to “All files”.  Save the file to your memory card’s scripts folder under CHDK>Scripts.

Saving script to folder

The file should now appear on your memory card in the “Scripts” folder.

script in folder

Adjust Setting in Your Camera

Remove the memory card from your computer and put it back in your camera.  Run CHDK and go to “Scripting Parameters.”

Select “Load Script From File,” and then select “ult_intrvl.bas”.


Now you should see “—-Ultra Intervalometer—-” at the bottom of the “Scripting Parameters” screen. (Please ignore the settings–they haven’t been set correctly)

All that’s left is to adjust the settings to your liking.  I’d suggest using a three second delay, in order to prevent movement in the first frame, and then changing the number of shots to more than you can possibly need.  Alternatively, choose no delay and then set the intervalometer to endless. After experimenting with this script, I’ve decided that the endless cycle is too fickle to use.  An endless loop with a delay will cause a delay during every cycle.  An endless loop without a delay will skip the set intervals between the last and first shot every time it cycles.  The only way to use endless effectively is to set the delay to the same time as the interval time.  If I just lost you, don’t worry.  Just change the number of shots and you’ll be ok.

Close the CHDK menu and set up your camera.  You’re ready to begin taking photos for a time lapse video.

There are several programs designed to turn a series of photos into a video and I’ll discuss a few of them over the coming months.  The most popular is probably QuickTime Pro ($30), but the free Windows Movie Maker 2 works pretty well and comes pre-installed with Windows Vista.

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