A gentleman called Jim Moore, owner of the company Fotosyn.com, has come up with a clever little idea for a Raspberry Pi controlled time-lapse camera. Whilst working on one of Fotosyn’s iphone apps ‘BerryCam’, Jim thought it would be cool to make a simple time-lapse camera that is suitable for outdoors. It would take pictures over a period of time, and then be put together to create a short video clip.
As he lives in Scotland his first thought was. What would be robust enough to house his camera, to survive Scottish coastal weather, and secondly what would be big enough to fit a Raspberry Pi, camera module and battery pack?
His thought process led him to decide on a ‘Illy’ coffee tin, as it is strong, watertight and has ample room for all the components.
His final list of parts for this small project consisted of:
- Raspberry Pi – model A or B (A has better battery life)
- Raspberry Pi camera module installed and set up
- Illy coffee tin or similar sized container. Watertight and metal is best
- Some clear plastic, taped to outer tin over hole
- Plastic holder for camera. Jim used the plastic case from a set of 4 AA batteries
- Elastic bands to hold the camera and cable in place
- Battery pack – a 4xAA unit is best size to power rating
- The raspiLapse Cam.py Python script
Jim used the elastic bands to mount the camera on the plastic case, to allow for ease of handling, and used velcro tabs to mount it to the inside of the tin. The Raspberry Pi and battery pack easily slid in behind the camera, and everything was accessible for easy removal.
A list of instructions for setting up Raspbian to control the camera is on the Fotosyn site and on Instructables, along with a guide of how to use the camera, post capture and editing.
It is not an overly complicated project and in our view these are the best, as they give you the foundations you need to build on and improve. You can change how it works and add to it with some sensors maybe? Why not use temperature and humidity sensors to gather environmental data, or capture wildlife in action at night with a PiNoir?
In any case it is a cheap, simple project, ideal for beginners or those on a budget. Have a look at the video, and if you like it, give Jim a vote on Instructables.