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15 Month Construction Time Lapse?

  • 26 Replies
Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #20 on: 30 / May / 2012, 18:46:13 »
Nice !
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #21 on: 01 / June / 2012, 22:11:57 »

I'm hoping that this will hold out for the duration of my project.  (96 photos a day, 5 days a week, 60 weeks = 28,800 snaps).  The ultra-long duration of this project is why I want everything on the camera powered down as much as possible so it minimizes not only wear and tear on individual components (LCD for example) but also minimizes heat and things like that. 

You are putting a lot of confidence - in a suction cup. Changing weather can cause condensation on windows - frost and or ice during cold periods and sweat condensation due to cooler air inside and warm air outside during warmer months.

My thoughts on this - LOL!! - if it were me I think I'd opt for a tripod - anchored (the legs might be set into 1 gal paint buckets filled with sand AFTER the leg is in) so that it can be adjusted and set. Also the camera could be fitted with a quick release plate - and using a file - that plate could be "keyed" for exact repositioning each time. This would allow a very minor interruption - say every 1st of a month - to dump the photos for processing and allow a quick return to service. Also - should the camera have any type of problem - another camera could be easily substituted in EXACTLY the same position without too much fuss. But that's just how I am.  60 weeks sounds interesting - long term project of over a years "work" for 16 minutes of video (30 fps). I am impressed!! LOL!! And I mean that in a sincere way!!


You are putting a lot of confidence - in a suction cup.
My thoughts exactly !

It's a fair criticism, but I had to make a judgment call and pick what I felt to be the lesser of two evils. 

The location of the camera isn't tenable for a tripod, and for a couple of reasons.  1) it's in the back of a large chapel with clerestory windows.  These windows have electric shades that draw down when they need to use the projector and such.  This is in the furthest clerestory window toward the end of the chapel, on a ledge.  The shade CAN be set to draw down and unhooked to make it  STAY down for the duration of the project.  They did NOT, however, want it to remain up the entire time.  It's also a ledge that can be easily accessible by students if they want to screw with things.  Even given this factor, I'd say that a suction cup has less chance of getting moved than a tripod would, just because of student shenanigans.   Additionally, if it were on a tripod, some nasty reflections from the other windows in the auditorium can be seen throughout the day.  The only solution for this setup was to get the camera as close to the glass as possible, block out all the light from that pane but a 2" hole (I used gaffer's tape to black out the entire window which not only helps with potential reflections, but also heat...the tape is white on the sticky side and black on the backside), put a hood over the camera, draw down the shade BEHIND the camera, hiding it better from the students, and cross my fingers, say a prayer, and hope for the best. 

Is it ideal?  nope, not at all.  But considering there are virtually no quality expectations from anybody, even if I have to re-mount the camera I'm not going to consider the project "ruined" ...That being said, however, you seriously haven't seen this suction cup! It's damn hefty, with a lever that holds it really freaking tight.  I picked the best one I could find, and I have a fair amount of confidence it will work okay.  And, like I said, if not, I had to make the best decision I could given the limitations of our budget and location.  To properly mount an external weatherproof camera setup was going to shoot the cost up and present further problems with using CHDK...like, if power were lost, I'd have to get on a scissor lift to get things running again.  again, I come back to the word "untenable"

When you work for a nonprofit who is penny-wise and pound foolish, there's nothing you can do but try your best and hope for the same. 

FWIW, here's a quick-n-dirty preview I threw together with shots taken between wednesday mid-morning to friday at 5:30PM.  During the three days this was shot I did a lot of changes, dealing with attenuating some reflections, re-framing the shot (I consulted with somebody who was planning it and they told me I was too far to the left--it was going to have extra space on the left, while cutting off part of the builidng on the right), etc, etc.  This scrap of footage probably won't go into the final rendering, but hopefully now, after three days of testing, its' ready to go on its long run starting monday.  Crossing my fingers.   

Oh, yeah, the link:  Week1Test

Here are some photos of where this camera is located. 
Inside view, from the stage looking toward the back of the auditorium (camera location marked in red)

Exterior view of the side of the chapel, camera location marked: 

So, a too-long answer to a simple, and fair, criticism, lol.   I'm flying on a wing and a prayer here, but given limitations that are prohibiting me from "doing it right" I am having to do it in as "least wrong" a manner as  possible, if that makes sense. 

Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #22 on: 01 / June / 2012, 22:42:43 »
So I'd suggest cleaning the window really well where you intend to mount the suction cup with IPA. Add some fiducial marks with tape so that you can remove and relocate the suction cup precisely.  Then maybe "reload" the suction cup every month or two ?
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #23 on: 01 / June / 2012, 23:26:57 »
I cleaned it really well with our denatured alcohol that we use for cleaning electronics in the department, so that part is done.  I love the idea of marking it though, that is a really good idea.  Will do that on monday.  I'm not sure how comfortable I am "resetting" the cup periodically just for the heck of it,  but I think I will check now and then to make sure it still feels as tight as day one, then re-[admin: avoid swearing please] the lever if need be.  I would almost think that any condensate, if the cup is creating a good vacuum, would actually form on the outside of the suction cup instead of underneath, but we'll see. 

fun stuff, yikes!  lol.

*eta*....I love automatic swear filters.  Re-C.o.c.k ...
« Last Edit: 01 / June / 2012, 23:32:09 by matt314159 »

Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #24 on: 01 / June / 2012, 23:41:57 »
I would almost think that any condensate, if the cup is creating a good vacuum, would actually form on the outside of the suction cup instead of underneath, but we'll see. 
There is a small amount of air under the cup which will have moisture in it.  But as I normally "wet" suctions cups before sticking them to my windshield for my GPS, I would not worry about that.  The failure mode in what you are doing is slow air infiltration - no seal is perfect and "nature abhors a vacuum". 

Update :  I was trying to figure out what brit-slang caught the attention of the swear filter - didn't guess re-C.o.c.k
« Last Edit: 02 / June / 2012, 00:01:04 by waterwingz »
Ported :   A1200    SD940   G10    Powershot N    G16

Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #25 on: 02 / June / 2012, 04:17:38 »
You've been thinking about this!  Your suction cup sounds like one Panavise sells as an optional base for their vises.  Should hold solidly on glass for a long time, but I'd still want to leave a pillow under it.  Of course, I'm influenced by having only one camera to lose.  I couldn't bear to give it up for a year.
Whatever you clean the window with for better seal, rinse thoroughly with water.  Alcohol, oils, or detergents caught under the suction cup may harden the rubber or turn it to goop over time.
It's fun to see someone with a real project, as opposed to the random experimenting that I do with CHDK.  Good luck.
S3 IS with LensMate filter/hood adapter

Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #26 on: 02 / June / 2012, 14:09:51 »
The suction cup design is very similar to the Panavise, withe the lever that you flip down to engage the suction.  But it has a longer, 8" neck that can be adjusted, and the head is better articulating than most.  The neck is really difficult to bend, and I am confident it's not going to change positions or sag over time, etc.  (especially when the entire camera weighs only 6oz). 

I'm cautiously hopeful that this will work well for the duration of the project, but it's a little scary having the whole thing hinge on such compromises, you know?  but when we approached administration with the proposal that would have cost $1500 (DSLR, weatherproof heated/cooled enclosure, solar-powered, the works, totally self-sustaining) they kicked it down without a moment's thought. So we had to go cheap.  This whole thing, including the S90, power adapter, eye-fi card, and camera mount, has cost just shy of $300...the bulk of that being because I decided I wanted a wider FOV than the 570IS was giving me and bought the $225 S90 (camera + power adapter).  cost could have been under $150 if we'd used my cheap-o camera I bought at first. 

I'm still unsure of some settings;  I have the camera set with MF right now, which is fine, but it's just in program mode at present.  I was thinking I should probably be shooting in aperture priority, but then wasn't sure what aperture to set it at.  My first instinct was to go with something like f/8, but then reading on some other forums, they say that can introduce more flicker than if you shoot wide open.  Well, wide open is f/2 on this camera, and even at ISO 80, i would think that would just be too wide for daytime shooting.  So I may go back and tweak those as I find more information, but in the meantime, it's shooting. 

I'm also not sure if I should be shooting in higher resolution than I currently am.  Right now I"m using M2 (2,272 x 1,704) which would easily let me crop a 1920x1080 frame out of it, but wonder if I'd get better results by shooting in higher resolution and then letting lightroom scale down the photos.  I'm guessing the difference would be miniscule, at best.   

The thought of shooting raw mode was rather appealing at first, since we have an essentially endless memory card, but the thought of processing 30,000 raw files sickened me.  even at the M2 fine jpg setting, the photos are a little over 1MB each, so I'll be looking at 30GB of photos when the project is done.  RAW would be 10x that, easily. 

I've got to say I'm really loving this eye-fi card. it's an 8GB card, so using the M2 resolution, it can hold about a month's worth of photos, but I don't even need that, it turns out.  I was able to stick an old GX620 PC (it's the model we retired last year so surplus inventory) up in the sound booth, and equip it with wifi in addition to its wired ethernet.  It's sitting up there right now, headless (just a tower, power cord, and ethernet connection, no monitor, kb, or mouse, all administration is done remotely) whose sole job it is to download the photos from the eye-fi card via direct-mode wifi after each shot is taken.   The folder that those download to is shared out to me in my office, and so I see each photo within a minute of being taken. 

Our webadmin is going to write a script that constantly pulls the most recent photo from the folder and displays it on our webpage as a sort of "construction cam" for the PR department. two birds, one stone, i suppose. 

Last thing I'm still not sure of is the interval.  I'm using 5 minutes right now, but I'm tempted to knock that down to 3 minutes to slow down the biweekly videos a little bit.  But that adds a lot to the total photo count in the end, and I'm not sure I want to do that or not. 


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