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Raspberry Pi Filming Rig Creates and Tweets Vignettes of Life

Andy Adkin's Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W filming rig.
(Image credit: Andy Adkin)

The Covid-19 pandemic affected people in all sorts of different ways, and for British novice coder Andy Adkin it spawned a project that’s taken him all over the country, filming short vignettes with a Raspberry Pi camera and posting them on Twitter.

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What’s especially clever about Adkin’s '5into15' project is that it compresses five minutes of images into a 15-second video clip, automatically, using a Python script that takes 300 JPEG stills at a rate of one per second and turns them into a 20 FPS movie file at 720p resolution. Twython then takes over, interfacing with the Twitter API to post the finished vignette to the site. Adkin's targets have included the Manchester Cycling Centre, the Lamplighter festival in the Yorkshire town of Todmorden, and sunrise over the sea from Pant Yr Hwch, Wales.

Adkin, who admits his projects are "tiny but interesting, if perhaps pointless", has used a couple of different Raspberry Pi boards, along with two Zerocam Fisheye cameras, having damaged one. He began with a Pi Zero, but the processing time for the video was too long, so he moved up to a full-size Pi 3B+, followed by a Zero 2 W to make the system more portable. The electronic bundle is powered by a rechargeable power pack, and controlled from Adkin’s phone over SSH, which also provides internet access via its personal hotspot. He hopes to upgrade to a Pi 4 and HQ Camera module (the Zerocam being tricky to focus) in future, and to keep the electronics in a waterproof case.

“I know very little about computers and programming,” writes Adkin. “This was mostly researched via Google with some additional input from users on a Pi discussion thread on London's friendliest cycling forum. My motivation was to take time to stop and enjoy my surroundings, as well as to capture moments of movement that may otherwise go unnoticed.” 

If you feel like having a go yourself, Adkin has put more information, and a dummy script, on his GitHub page. 

Ian Evenden
Ian Evenden

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.