15 Month Construction Time Lapse? - page 2 - Creative Uses of CHDK - CHDK Forum

15 Month Construction Time Lapse?

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Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #10 on: 09 / May / 2012, 07:42:51 »
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Some recent cameras require you to open a rubber flap in the camera base and insert a dummy battery connected to an AC adapter.

It is more convenient to use cameras that have a DC socket.

For them, you can often use a standard multi-voltage AC adapter as long as the current it can source is about 1A or more.

Such as Ebay # 190674176721

(interesting, has a USB port, handy for charging my EVO 3D stereo camera/phone battery).


David


Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #11 on: 09 / May / 2012, 09:48:08 »
Thanks folks for the feedback.  Waterwingz, ebay #160795334159 would be an example of a sub-$50 unit. okay, after shipping it would be like $53...but for our project, heck, 7.1MP should be fine. 

Here's what I'm thinking so far. 

CCTV Heated/Cooled outdoor enclosure:  $45 shipped
Silica Gel to help keep the enclosure dry inside:  $9
Eye-Fi Mobile 8GB SDHC card:  $60
AC Adapter: $10 (I'm leery of the chinese knockoffs...I've tried the cheap laptop power supplies and they die after a few months...might have to buy a couple and keep a backup on hand.

As far as what kind of camera, I was thinking an A series powershot but newer--DigicIII model probably, they explicitly state they work with SDHC cards.  That can still be had for around $60 or so, used, on eBay. 

In the CCTV enclosure the mounting post inside is the size of a tripod screw but it's permanently affixed to the center of the enclosure--you can move it forward and backward only.  The Canon's mostly have their tripod mount off to one side on the bottom, so I may just forego using the internal mount and get one of those peel-n-stick dash-mount camera holders, I could shear off half a side and epoxy it right where I want it.   

With this setup, once working, I should be able to just walk out there with my phone or an iPad or laptop and suck all the photos down off of it every now and then.  an 8GB card, saving 3.2MP photos (or whatever a 'medium' type resolution is, that's still larger than 1920x1280) should be able to hold 3-4 weeks of photos, at any rate.  We should be able to just stick it up on a pole. 

I was thinking of using this script, but if there's a better one, I'm all ears.  If there's one that's designed to minimize flicker somehow, I'd look into that, but above all, I want reliability.  I don't want to have to take it down and reset/restart the script every other week, I'd like it to just snap away in perpetuity if possible.  I understand that there may be some bugs to work out in the beginning, but I'd like it to last for awhile at least. 

I could still see this setup killing cameras just because of the weather, but if I could get 6 months each of of them or so, I'd be happy with that.  The enclosure has temperature control, it has a blower to keep air moving inside of it, and a heater that kicks on at like 55 degrees F, so I think that could help prolong the life of things as well. 

What do you think, worth a try?  Anything else to add?   

« Last Edit: 09 / May / 2012, 09:55:32 by matt314159 »

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Offline SkyWalker9

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Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #12 on: 09 / May / 2012, 11:17:40 »
I was thinking of using this script (Ultra Intervalometer)...I want reliability...I don't want to have to take it down and reset/restart the script every other week, I'd like it to just snap away in perpetuity if possible...
15 months x 30 days x 24 hours x 12 photos each hour = 129 600 photos

Since that many photos will be hard on most cameras, I'd recommend using the Selective Intervalometer script (http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=6105.0). It will allow you to reduce needless shots. Since there are several mods available in the posting, recommend reading all of the postings to see which would suite your situation the best. How would the Selective Intervalometer script help in this case? Here are a couple of examples:
  • If a typical construction day is 10 hours instead of 24 hours, you could reduce the number of shots by 58% (15 months x 30 days x 10 hours x 12 photos each hour = 54,000)
  • And if you knew that there would be no construction on the weekends as well, you could reduce the number of days to about 22 and reduce the number of shots by almost 70% (15 months x 22 days x 10 hours  x 12 photos each hour = 39,600)
Good luck on your project!

« Last Edit: 09 / May / 2012, 11:22:57 by SkyWalker9 »

Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #13 on: 09 / May / 2012, 11:38:40 »
Thanks Skywalker, I appreciate that.  I was thinking it would be nice to have it not shoot at night (7am-5pm or something like that only) but wasn't aware there was a script for that.   So long as that script is reliable, I think I'd like to plan on using that...needless to say, I have some reading cut out for me ;-) 

I'm actually not that worried about 129,000 actuations, it seems P&S cameras are more tolerable to stuff like that than a DSLR (in fact, in the ultra intervalometer section of the wiki, they mentioned testing A series PowerShots for 4 months straight @ 2 shots per minute, over 300K actuations, and the camera was still functional afterwords), I have a feeling what will kill the cameras is being in the outdoors 24/7...in spite of being in an enclosure.  I may be wrong about this, who knows.  I think a weak link will be the chinese power supply as well, I can see that failing early.  I was thinking I'd prefer a camera with a 1/1.7" sensor as opposed to the smaller 1/2.5" sensors on the A series cameras;  To me there is a noticeable improvement in sharpness, but considering 1) I'll be shooting through the glass window on the enclosure and 2) I'll be sizing the final product down to 1280x1920, I don't think it's worth the extra cost, especially when factoring in the fact that i'm almost using these as disposables.  I think I'll get two identical units and configure them the same, and have one waiting in the wings as a backup for if/when the first one fails. 


Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #14 on: 10 / May / 2012, 23:10:14 »
Thought about using a UPS but then that's just one more thing I have to try to keep weatherized  :'(.  This is going to be out in the middle of the campus quad up on a light pole (all the poles have AC outlets, thankfully) so right out in the thick of the weather. 
Something like this might fit in the back half our your CCTV enclosure though : http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=soho&cs=ussoho1&sku=A1716823&SMCID=702&CAWELAID=286007877&dgc=SS&cid=27722&lid=628335

The CCTV enclosure we're buying has about the interior capacity to hold a 12" subway sandwich.  4.5" x 3.5 x15 or some such.  Also included in that is a small heater and exhaust fan at the back. 

This is the enclosure we're planning to order.  We have one similar to it already but that one is 10 years old;  this is new (so the seals will be new) and includes the heater/blower. 


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Offline SkyWalker9

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Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #15 on: 12 / May / 2012, 15:23:12 »
@matt314159
I've updated the Selective Intervalometer script. The latest modificaton will make it easier for you and others to use the script (Days of Week selection). I edited this posting http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=6105.msg85318#msg85318

Here is the first of two postings with the newest version of Selective Intervalometer: http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=6105.msg85376#msg85376

If you have the CHDK autorun option selected, the DOW parameter will enable anyone to power up the camera and automatically start running. This should help in the case of a power outage.

Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #16 on: 23 / May / 2012, 20:03:04 »
I did see that, Skywalker, thank you!   Sorry--I have been out of town last week.   

We demoed the A570IS running your script (the updated version) today as a matter of fact, with the demolition of a building: 

Both youtube and vimeo added a nasty moire on the brick building when they transcoded it, the original, rendered out of lightroom 4, doesn't have that. 

At any rate, some things I learned from today: 

1) your script works, is easy to use, and runs GREAT! for today's shoot, I set it up the night before, left it in place, and just told it to start snapping at 6:30 AM.  When I finally got to work at 8, I checked on it, and it was snapping away happily. 

2) the eye-fi card doesn't seem to download the photos while the script is running.  not sure if I can get around this to make a truly 'endless' card or not.   

This was shot indoors through a window.  It worked so well, actually, that we changed the design to bring the whole camera system INDOORS!  There is an out-of-the-way window with a clear view of the construction site right above where we were going to put the external enclosure.  Bringing it indoors lets lots of amazing things happen.  1) I can use a UPS.  2) I don't even NEED the eye-fi card;  I can just run up there and swap SD cards every month or so.   3) I can probably go with a bit nicer camera since I don't feel so much like I'm going to ultimately kill it with the weather.

The demo video has glare because I simply shot with a tripod and didn't do anything to attenuate glare.  I plan to use a suction-cup window mount, blacken the camera with gaffe tape, and drape a black shade behind the camera to get rid of most of the glare we saw in this video. 

Without an external awning/shade of some sort, I expect glare to be more of a concern than it was in the enclosure, which had a 3" bill on the top and sides to shade the lens from glare,  but it should still be manageable. 

I think I'd like to find a camera with at least a 27-28mm (35mm equiv) field of view--the A270IS is only 35mm, and it seems all the A series powershots are that way.  When some funds become available next week, I might do like a Powershot S90.  Camera is black already, compact, sharp, wide angle lens, uses the 1/1.7" sensor, etc, etc.  I think it will work as a great replacement to a true DSLR setup, with nearly the same image quality when all is said and done. 



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What would be the best exposure settings to help minimize flicker in the final video?  I don't want it to vary too much if possible between slightly differently lighted scenes (if some clouds roll by, etc) and if it auto-meters each shot, flickr could become an issue.  On the other hand, I can't really do full manual exposure either, since it would change on a bright sunny day versus a day we're having a massive storm.   I'm all ears as far as feedback on what some good settings are for exposure.  until then I'll just use program mode and let the camera meter things every shot. 

I do plan on doing manual focus so it's not having to refocus every time it takes a shot (and if there happens to get a spot on the window, I don't want it to AF to that by mistake) but anything else I'd love some feedback from the gallery.  I don't think the test video came out too bad using standard settings (even autofocus) but I want to optimise this as best I can. 
« Last Edit: 23 / May / 2012, 20:05:33 by matt314159 »

Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #17 on: 25 / May / 2012, 06:46:18 »
Hi Matt.

Aliasing artifacts often happen when resizing video with a low quality scaling algorithm. If you output your video from your editing package at 1280x720 or 1920x1080 your video will be crisper then if Youtube or Vimeo does the scaling for you.

...Both youtube and vimeo added a nasty moire on the brick building when they transcoded it, the original, rendered out of lightroom 4, doesn't have that. 

For the final output of your timelapse you will probably want to use a deflicker plugin in your video editing / compositing package as well.

What would be the best exposure settings to help minimize flicker in the final video?  I don't want it to vary too much if possible between slightly differently lighted scenes (if some clouds roll by, etc) and if it auto-meters each shot, flickr could become an issue.  On the other hand, I can't really do full manual exposure either, since it would change on a bright sunny day versus a day we're having a massive storm.   I'm all ears as far as feedback on what some good settings are for exposure.  until then I'll just use program mode and let the camera meter things every shot.   
Canon SD780IS


Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #18 on: 25 / May / 2012, 17:08:12 »
Aliasing artifacts often happen when resizing video with a low quality scaling algorithm. If you output your video from your editing package at 1280x720 or 1920x1080 your video will be crisper then if Youtube or Vimeo does the scaling for you.

Yeah, it's funny because the MP4 Lightroom 4 rendered out for me was 1280x720 (720p), so it seems youtube and vimeo both played with it somehow.  Same file uploaded to facebook plays back flawlessly. 


Re: 15 Month Construction Time Lapse?
« Reply #19 on: 30 / May / 2012, 18:25:11 »
Well the S90 came in, and I've got it installed in the window with it happily shooting during the day on weekdays and uploading files directly to a nearby PC via direct-mode wifi.  The card is set to endless, so when it reaches 90% capacity, it will delete all downloaded photos automatically.  The PC is on our wired network, so it's as simple as navigating to its shared folder and pulling the files to edit in LR with the help of LRTimelapse to render out incremental videos.  Theoretically, so long as it never loses power (A UPS will be installed soon) it should just be completely hands-off for the duration of the project. 

TO help minimize glare, I actually blacked out the whole window pane with gaffer's tape (white on the sticky side and black on the topside).  The entire window is taped off except for a 2" hole where the camera lens is looking out of. 

I think I will need to fashion some sort of lens hood for it though because once the ball of sun starts to directly get into the frame, you a flare that moves across the frame.  But I don't think there's a really good solution for that, so might just deal with it. 

Here's a partial day's worth of test-shooting: 

http://youtu.be/YNr-37HhxsI

That's from 7AM to about 3PM when I went in and installed the eye-fi card.  I just had it shooting with a regular SD card for most of the day. 

This is a 3 second video @ 5min intervals. 

With 5 min intervals, I will end up with 4 seconds of video per day, 20s per week.  20 minutes by the end of the 60 week project. 

I think we will render out incremental videos every 2 weeks, which would make each video 40 seconds long.   When we go to render the final build start to finish, I think I'll be shooting for 5-7 minutes max, otherwise I think it would get boring, so at that point I'll jstu select every 'nth' frame and render it that wya. 

Playing with LRTimelapse, it's crazy good, I love it.  You select keyframes throughout the photo set to edit in lightroom for each different scene, then when you import that back into LRtimelapse, it will apply gradual changes to transition from each set of edits to the next.  Then you can apply a deflicker algorithm that smooths out changes in luminosity.  Very powerful (and free) program.  As we get further into this project, I'll probably shoot the author some money Amazing software for free. 

 

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