Archive for April, 2014

Apr 19 2014

Timelapser Project

I was visiting my buddies Rebecca and Chip in STL and he said he was working on a making a timelapse device with a RaspberryPi.  This got me inspired, so I built one too.


RaspberryPi v2

Camera Kit for RaspberryPi

The camera kit is just a floppy ribbon cable with the camera on the end of it, so it’s hard to position.  I looked on to see if anyone had created a RaspberriPi case with a camera holder that I could 3D print.  I didn’t find exactly what I was envisioning, but I did come across this:

RaspberryPi Camera Holder that slots into the Ethernet port

It’s a really cool little arm made up of 3 pieces that you connect with 2 screws.  The arm holds the camera at one end, and sticks into the Ethernet connector at the other end – no electronics, it just is the right shape to fit nicely and stay put.

Here’s my little rig:

2014-04-19 19.15.23

I had it in a box case, but I dropped it and it broke 😉  I need to get another one somewhere, or 3D print one.

Now that I had the physical setup done, I followed this blog post to set up the software:

Simple timelapse camera using Raspberry Pi and a coffee tin

The same author has a great post on using an app called BerryCam to help setup where the camera is pointed:

BerryCam – Use your iPad and iPhone to control your Raspberry Pi camera

The author goes further and gets the whole device stuffed into a coffee can with a battery pack, which I’ll get around to at some point.

I modified the python script so it names the captured files sequentially by date and time rather that the default setup.  I found this a lot easier to work with when I wanted to stuff the pictures into a timelapse video.

Now, the SD card on the RaspberryPi I have is only 8G, so it’ll fill up if I don’t drain it, so I rsync the files off to another, bigger machine once an hour with a cronjob.  I had to learn the “–remove-source-files” rsync switch and that helped a ton.

At first, I just wanted the timelapser to watch out toward the West and capture the clouds and sunset:

Then I had to idea to stick a dish of birdseed out in front of the camera to see what would happen, and I got some really neat pictures of local birds!

2014-04-19 at 01-14-21 2014-04-20 at 02-08-28 2014-04-18 at 15-19-07 2014-04-19 at 17-25-12


More pix here:



Here’s how I have the camera positioned:

2014-04-19 19.15.12


This took some trial and error, and the BerryCam software referred to above helped with positioning a lot.

2014-04-19 19.15.45


I finally secured the camera to the deck with cable ties:

2014-04-19 19.18.46


Hope this makes sense!  It was pretty easy to do, thanks to the blog posts I link to above.  I have a wifi adapter in the RaspberryPi – this might help you get that set up properly.  Also, when the camera is taking a picture, it lights up an LED on the camera board.  I thought this might cast a color on low light frames, so I disabled the LED using these instructions.

Have fun making one, and let me know if I can make this post more clear!

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