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Creating a movie of home construction

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Anonymous
June 28, 2004 4:11:27 AM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.webcam (More info?)

Work on my new house will start shortly, and I would like to create a movie
of the construction. Ideally taking a picture every 20 minutes, then
creating an MPEG file to play back.

I live 1/3rd mile from where the house is being built, and I'm trying to
figure out which option would work best; Obviously I'm trying to limit the
budget, but if needed I can push up to 1,000$, especially if the equipment
can be reused for home monitoring later on.

Analog wireless camera with directional antenna, connected to my home PC:
Pros: limited equipment on construction site, safe picture storage on home
PC, easy to monitor and restart if anything goes wrong
Cons: not sure if quality will be good enough due to interference; necessary
transmitter power might require license

Laptop with webcam on construction site, in a waterproof, ruggedized
enclosure
Pros: quality, ease of setup, reliability
Cons: need to buy cheap laptop to dedicate to the task, need to dump the
content from time to time to another PC, risk of getting expensive equipment
stolen, as I will be unable to completely secure the enclosure

Wireless IP cam sending to a laptop in a neighbor's house
Pros: can use a relatively cheap Dlink (or similar) camera
Cons: need an open-minded neighbor :-) and access to the house

Standalone IP camera like the Toshiba one
Pros: can save to SD card automatically
Cons: expensive (and at risk of being stolen), need to access the card from
time to time, firmware still seems unreliable, based on online reviews

Wired IP camera connected to a laptop in a neighbor's house
Pros: lot of models to chose from (I'd love suggestions here, btw)
Cons: need to run an ethernet cable to the camera (but, then again, can use
Power over Ethernet and avoid a separate power line), need an open-minded
neighbor

Any suggestion/idea/camera model? Thanks in advance, Rob
Anonymous
June 28, 2004 7:07:38 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.webcam (More info?)

>
> Wired IP camera connected to a laptop in a neighbor's house
> Pros: lot of models to chose from (I'd love suggestions here, btw)
> Cons: need to run an ethernet cable to the camera (but, then again, can use
> Power over Ethernet and avoid a separate power line), need an open-minded
> neighbor
>
> Any suggestion/idea/camera model? Thanks in advance, Rob

You can try a TrackerCam to get pan/tilt/zoom solution. We have USB
extension kits to get you a good distance away from a computer, and
also have a wireless solution.

http://www.trackercam.com
Anonymous
June 28, 2004 7:55:46 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.webcam (More info?)

Rob,

> Work on my new house will start shortly, and I would like to create a
> movie of the construction. Ideally taking a picture every 20 minutes,
> then creating an MPEG file to play back.

I did this very thing while we were building our own house. I found that
taking a picture every 5 minutes was a good combination between catching
details, minimizing storage space, and providing smooth video.

> Laptop with webcam on construction site, in a waterproof, ruggedized
> enclosure

After experimenting with a number of options, I bought a used Dell laptop
and a used Olympus D360L digital camera. I chose the 360 because it had the
older serial style interface (longer cable distances than USB) and it
produced better pictures than a web cam.

I used a free program called CAME
(http://park2.wakwak.com/~tsuruzoh/index-e.html) to control the camera and
take the time lapse photos.

I built a small weatherproof box for the camera out of a plastic Rubbermaid
container. I cut a hole in the bottom and siliconed in a piece of glass
from a cheap ($1) picture frame. I mounted the camera inside the box, then
dismantled a cheap $15 tripod for mounting the box to a post on top of my
nearby storage shed. I put Rain-X on the glass and screwed a scrap of vinyl
gutter (because I had it) to the top to help keep rain off the glass.

I setup the laptop and a power adapter for the camera inside the storage
shed (which has power). I then used a length of CAT5 cable and appropriate
adapters at each end to connect the camera to the computer/power. Two wires
were used for the serial connection, and I doubled up on wires for the
power supply.

Because of the cable length (about 40 feet in my case) I limited the
transfer speed to 19200 baud (faster speeds resulted in transmission
errors). This limited me to about one picture every 3 minutes, but it
wasn't a problem since I opted for every 5 minutes anyway.

I had to disable the camera flash (using the CAME software) to avoid a
bright flash off the glass of the weatherproof box. Otherwise, I used the
cameras highest resolution and stuck with the cameras automatic exposure
settings.

Even though the 2 gig drive on my old laptop would probably hold a month or
so of pictures, I brought the laptop in every week or two and transfered
the photo's to my desktop PC. This allowed me to delete nighttime pictures
or pictures where there was no building activity. It also allowed me to
"peek" at the ongoing progress... Ha Ha.

I used a free program called JPGVideo
(http://www.ndrw.co.uk/free/jpgvideo/index.html) to convert the series of
JPG images into an AVI file.

I used VirtualDub (http://www.virtualdub.org/index) to resize the 1024x768
AVI into a smaller DVD compliant 720x480, DV format AVI file.

I used Adobe Premiere to add sound and video effects.

Then I used TMPGEnc
(http://www.tmpgenc.net/e_main2.html) to produce a DVD compliant MPG file.

Finally, I used DVD-Lab (http://www.mediachance.com/dvdlab/) to author and
burn the DVD.


My setup didn't necessarily "look" all that attractive, but it ran for over
a year with very few problems. Other than having to reset the camera a
couple of times after a power outage or something, everything worked great,
and the resulting video is an extremely valuable memory of our house
construction.

The only real problem I encountered with the whole process was the
"flashing" variations as the outdoor lighting conditions changed during the
day. We have lots of trees surrounding our house, so the moving shadows and
whatnot really complicated the photography. Cloudy overcast days actually
produced the most pleasant video frames.

And, I had a couple of camera "shifting" problems when a small limb fell on
the box, when heavy snow weighted down the box, and when the summer heat
softened the Rubbermaid container allowing it to droop. They were easily
enough to correct, and I later added stiffening brackets to minimize any
movement to the box. In any case, the shifts are barely even detectable in
the final video.

Good luck! It's a fair bit of work to set everything up, but it is awesome
to have a time lapse of our home construction.

Take care,

Anthony
Anonymous
June 28, 2004 10:01:36 PM

Archived from groups: alt.comp.periphs.webcam (More info?)

just get the cable company to put your modem/internet connection in the
portapottie and add a network cam up in a bird house/ tree house / square
flashlight or somewhere.

"Roberto Cazzaro" <robca@foo.com> wrote in message
news:p mJDc.12145$x9.1465@nwrddc01.gnilink.net...
> Work on my new house will start shortly, and I would like to create a
movie
> of the construction. Ideally taking a picture every 20 minutes, then
> creating an MPEG file to play back.
>
> I live 1/3rd mile from where the house is being built, and I'm trying to
> figure out which option would work best; Obviously I'm trying to limit the
> budget, but if needed I can push up to 1,000$, especially if the equipment
> can be reused for home monitoring later on.
>
> Analog wireless camera with directional antenna, connected to my home PC:
> Pros: limited equipment on construction site, safe picture storage on home
> PC, easy to monitor and restart if anything goes wrong
> Cons: not sure if quality will be good enough due to interference;
necessary
> transmitter power might require license
>
> Laptop with webcam on construction site, in a waterproof, ruggedized
> enclosure
> Pros: quality, ease of setup, reliability
> Cons: need to buy cheap laptop to dedicate to the task, need to dump the
> content from time to time to another PC, risk of getting expensive
equipment
> stolen, as I will be unable to completely secure the enclosure
>
> Wireless IP cam sending to a laptop in a neighbor's house
> Pros: can use a relatively cheap Dlink (or similar) camera
> Cons: need an open-minded neighbor :-) and access to the house
>
> Standalone IP camera like the Toshiba one
> Pros: can save to SD card automatically
> Cons: expensive (and at risk of being stolen), need to access the card
from
> time to time, firmware still seems unreliable, based on online reviews
>
> Wired IP camera connected to a laptop in a neighbor's house
> Pros: lot of models to chose from (I'd love suggestions here, btw)
> Cons: need to run an ethernet cable to the camera (but, then again, can
use
> Power over Ethernet and avoid a separate power line), need an open-minded
> neighbor
>
> Any suggestion/idea/camera model? Thanks in advance, Rob
>
>
!