Apr 19 2014

Timelapser Project

Published by at 10:12 pm under Declan,Photography,Tech,Uncategorized

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 Thingiverse.com 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!

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Timelapser Project”

  1. Danon 27 May 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I’ll never forgive you if one of these cute videos ever ends in a cat.

  2. Jim Mooreon 06 Oct 2014 at 4:41 am

    Hey great post and nice use of the RPi for capturing the images of the wee birds. Thanks too for the shout out an mention of BerryCam and the Coffee Tin Timelapse posts on my blog 🙂

    Need to get back into the Pi stuff… I was combinging both timelapse and BerryCam into a single app / web app that runs on any device.

    Keep up the good work!!

  3. Declan's Blog » Timelapser v3on 09 Apr 2016 at 8:10 am

    […] Timelapser Project […]

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