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Long-term unattended weatherproof time-lapse solutions?


sgreszcz
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Anyone have experience with long-term, unattended, weatherproof time-lapse solutions?  I've been looking at this quite a bit for a project where I need to leave some cameras unattended in the wild but only want to do field maintenance every couple of weeks.  I also don't want to have the solution too big or expensive (as people might find/steal them).  Here is what I've looked at so far:

1) Go pros and go-pro clones.  Pros: can be externally USB powered, small, weatherproof, good image quality.  Cons: they are constantly "running" so drain even large USB battery packs quickly.  The shot interval is too short (too many unnecessary frames).  There is a commercial solution by https://cam-do.com/ that provides an timed power on/off switch for go-pros, but on the internal batter still only will last about 3 days and cost about $300.  So far this is my best plan.

2) Brinno (£180) has some good stuff, but you can't get the jpeg still images and it only makes a series of 720p AVIs.  It is waterproof and small and lasts forever.  You can get larger (17cm x 17cm), more expensive (£600) "construction" time-lapse kits from Brinno that do 1080p, but still no still images to process on your own, AVI output.

3) Wildlife trigger cams (many different types on Amazon).  Work for a long time on AA batteries, not that expensive, waterproof, you can get still images to make your own time-lapse, not too big.  Unfortunately poor image quality - might be good enough depending on what you need to do.

4) TimeLapse Pro mobile App (iOS and Android):  This is a great, customisable time-lapse app.  I tried this on old Motorola G Android and iPhone 6 devices.  I think that this is one of the best solutions as you have the screen to frame and they are quite small.  Unfortunately I found the app slightly unreliable (more on the Motorola) with crashes causing me not to want to trust it for long-term.

5) I'm now trying my old GX80s in a waterproof casing with dummy USB-powered battery to see how long it can last with e-shutter and sleep modes.  I'm not sure that this will give me enough time to swap out the USB battery and I'd hate to have the cameras stolen even though they would be cheap on e-bay these days.  I also need to find an inexpensive micro-43 lens too as don't want to use my good ones.

6) I'm looking at building my own time-lapse device using a Raspberry Pi Zero, and a hat that controls the power-up / power down of the device (as Raspberry Pis aren't really "low powered").  There are pretty decent 4k cameras available now for taking the still images.  The only problem is finding a small waterproof case where I can pack in the zero, the hat, and the camera.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of long-term time-lapse video project on a budget?

 

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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I've been using the Camdo BlinkX with GoPros for a timelapse that has been going on for over a year. They also sell a waterproof enclosure for it. Not a cheap solution but it's been working great.

https://cam-do.com/products/blinkx-time-lapse-camera-controller-for-gopro-hero5-6-7-8-cameras

It's connected to a voltaic battery and solar panel. With a large memory card I only have to check it every other week. It's taking one image every minute, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. You can schedule it to shoot video too.

Ted

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not sure if you are aware of http://www.timescapes.org/   they have forums on building your own and the are a couple of companies that do  long term solutions. Some searching on that site may help and perhaps things have progressed since i was there last. Only problem is its pretty quiet there, not as active as it used to be.

 

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On 2/22/2020 at 3:08 PM, ted1000 said:

I work for a conservation organization. The long term time-lapse is of our prairie restoration. I also study sandhill and whooping cranes and use the video features for them. Attached is an image of the time-lapse set-up.

2K9A6726.thumb.jpg.797eeb32c443f8c800c0c0d72d2760e9.jpg

Thanks for the information @ted1000.  I've been looking at the cam-do solutions with the GoPros.  I think that they are the best "budget" solution, but even so your setup there costs around $1500.  There is also the Afidus ATL-200 camera that I think I will give a shot.  You can't get at the still images, but it does 1080p and has a motion sensor which could be cool for nature.

I'm working on a long-term environmental development documentation of outcomes project and part of it is building new sand environments for the sand martins to hopefully nest.  Another project is restoration work of a historical phone booth and also some massive willow head mounted in a tree (as the nature/seasons pass).

 

 

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I did a couple of DIY solution back in the days with Gopro and battery pack but I recently got this for review (product sent to me by the manufacturer):

https://enlaps.io/produit/tikee-pro2/?lang=en

I'm testing it at the moment but so far I'm pleased with this product and it seems to be a good value. It's been running for 2 weeks on my balcony day and night taking a fair amount of rain already. The battery is still very high thanks to the solar panel. The next step will be to  check the app and marge the pano pictures from the two cameras.

 

 

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On 2/24/2020 at 11:14 PM, OliKMIA said:

https://enlaps.io/produit/tikee-pro2/?lang=en

I'm testing it at the moment but so far I'm pleased with this product and it seems to be a good value. It's been running for 2 weeks on my balcony day and night taking a fair amount of rain already. The battery is still very high thanks to the solar panel. The next step will be to  check the app and marge the pano pictures from the two cameras.

That looks cool, but very $$$.  I found an open-box Afidus ATL-200 which I'm going to test now.

On 2/25/2020 at 1:54 AM, buggz said:

Anyone use these?

https://timelapseplus.com/

I think I want one for upcoming beach vacation.  This and the Syrup Mini Genie II in tilt and pan.

I've got one, but not had great day-to-night or night-to-day weather to try it with.  Might attempt through a window.

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15 hours ago, sgreszcz said:

That looks cool, but very $$$.  I found an open-box Afidus ATL-200 which I'm going to test now.

I've got one, but not had great day-to-night or night-to-day weather to try it with.  Might attempt through a window.


Personally, I think that the price is fine considering the technology and the niche market this is. You got a weatherproof ready to go package with 2 MFT sensors, a communication module (Wifi and Sim card slot), a huge battery and a solar panel. There is an app to control all this an upload the images remotely.
It's not cheap if you just want to have fun but for professional production I would pay this off on the first job I got. You can charge premium for long terms time-lapse.

But let me review this unit first, right now this is too early to tell and I need to make sure this things works as it's supposed to.

As for the day to night, I quickly tried the timelapseplus and it works fine most of the time. Nowadays the metering system of the latest Sony camera is really good and it would be unnecessary on those. Personally, I tend to do my holy grail manually and post process with LRTimelapse.

 

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