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Old December 18th, 2007, 04:14 PM   #1
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HDV for timelapse

Hello!

Presently I am using DV camcorders for timelapse.
This gives me 720*576 pixel images (PAL).
DV frames come on the firewire connection from the camera and are easily input and processed (custom software) in a Windows PC.
Only a firewire port is needed on the PC.

What are my options for getting live high definition frames from a camcorder?

I believe that I can use a camcorder width HDMI output and have a HDMI capture card in the PC.
But is there a solution where I can get live digital video using Firewire or USB, not needing any special capture hardware in the PC?

If I want better (higher resolution) images than DV for a time-lapse project, I believe that my options are
-Using digital still cameras (discussed elsewhere in this forum)
-Using HDV video cameras

Digital still cameras are tempting, but have drawbacks.
HDV, well I haven't yet tried it, but I feel that I must buy some equipment soon and start learning...

/Johan S
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Old December 18th, 2007, 04:34 PM   #2
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The stuff I've seen from DSLR time lapse is pretty amazing.

It seems like that would make more sense to be honest...
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Old December 19th, 2007, 01:47 AM   #3
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The stuff I've seen from DSLR time lapse is pretty amazing.

It seems like that would make more sense to be honest...
Agreed, the image quality that you can get from a DSLR is superior.

However, using a DSLR in a large-scale time-lapse project has some issues that I am not fully comfortable with.
Among them:
-Robustness of capturing software.
I must build something that works more or less unattended for weeks.
(And survives a restart after power outage)

From inital tests with a digital still camera (Canon powershot) I am not convinced that this can be done.

-Robustness of the camera
Over a year, there could be more than 100000 pictures taken.
Does a DSLR camera handle that amount, given that it has some moving parts?

So, I want to investigate both alternatives (video & still) further.

/Johan
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Old December 19th, 2007, 04:10 AM   #4
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I think a DSLR would stand up a lot better than an HDV camera...

It's recording to flash memory, and Nikon's are incredibly reliable.

The only issue I could think of is running out of space/battery but I assume you have some way of getting around that.

Have your DV camera setups been able to do all that you stated (restarting after power outage) and whatnot? Then possible an HDV camera could be a better alternative, because in reality they're just DV cameras with a different compression method and larger sensors.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 05:56 AM   #5
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Have your DV camera setups been able to do all that you stated (restarting after power outage) and whatnot? Then possible an HDV camera could be a better alternative, because in reality they're just DV cameras with a different compression method and larger sensors.
Oh yes,
A DV camera (with the switch in the "camera" position) will start pumping out DV frames as soon as power is applied.
There is no need for any connect/negotiate procedure between PC and camera as seems to be the case for still cameras.

Also, there is no need to "order" the DV camera to take a picture. You just wait for the next one and use that...


However, when it comes to programming for still (e.g. Canon) cameras, I am on the early part of the learning curve....
Right now, I am experimenting with a few commercial products (trial versions) for remote control/time lapse for my Canon S2is.

I happened to own a Canon so I started with that, but I understand that similar functions for remote control are available for other brands (Nikon, Olympus etc.)

/Johan
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Old December 19th, 2007, 08:12 AM   #6
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IMHO using a DSLR makes much better sense than using an HDV video camera for time-lapse work. Especially long term time-lapse. I'm still using my old Canon EOS 10D with perfect results.
Once it gives up the ghost I'll get a new 40D, or 50 or 60D if the shutter keeps going strong like it has been.

Do a Google search.
There are companies that have DSLR time-lapse packages that include weatherproof housing, solar batteries and so forth.

Good Luck with your project!
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Old December 19th, 2007, 09:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Johan Staeck View Post
So, I want to investigate both alternatives (video & still) further.
This question cropped up on the CML list too. Overwhelming support from professionals doing this kind of thing day/year in/out was to go the DSLR route with a camera, remote Power Supply, intervalometer, and only the need to perhaps change CF cards (daily, monthly, etc).

Intervalometer choices include:

https://bmumford.securewebsites.com/photo/camctlr.html
http://www.pclix.com/pages/pclix_main.html
http://www.harbortronics.com/products2000.asp

In the above list, you'll see weatherproofed boxed solutions, remote sensing options (loved the bite sensor), millisecond timed solutions, optically triggered solutions, and so on.

And then there's the world of stepped motor tripod heads, racking focus over days, and so on. Google DSLR time lapse, sit back and enjoy/read.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 02:00 AM   #8
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This question cropped up on the CML list too. .
Matt!

Thank you for the tip about this list.
I didn't know about it.
I subscribed to the "cml-hd-prosumer" forum and found lots of valuable info there.
(Can you recommend any of the others forums for this issue? The search function (if I understand it correctly..)) only works within the forum you are subscribed to...)

I am now convinced that still camera(s) is the way to go for initial image capture.

/Johan
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Old December 30th, 2007, 04:04 PM   #9
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Johan,

Don't forget an Unninterruptable Power Supply (UPS). A UPS will save your derriere many times over.
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Old December 30th, 2007, 05:29 PM   #10
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with few 10$ electronic kits, you can build a system that power up the digital camera, take a picture and power down the camera, take pictures only at daylight.
with decent compact flash (or SD) , lets say 2gig , you can save few thousand pictures. adding a solar panel charging li-ion battery would give you weeks of unattended work.
these systems can be purchased ready made. (usually for wild life photography).
a 200$ digital camera will do the job and you will not regret it if it is stolen or damaged.
pansonic is doing nice little camera with 1920x1080 picture format, just like HD video.
choose a camera with a power switch you can slide on-off , that has an external power supply plug (if possible standard, no proprietary plug), that reset properly when switched on/off (with lens cover open, that can use an Eco mode (LCD off), accept big memory card (2 or 4 gig).
I got a lumix dmc-lz2 that is pretty close to this ideal camera.
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/lz2.html

with a 2Gig SD card this camera record more than 3000 pictures in 1920x1080 HD mode

the only problem with these cheap camera is most of them reset the setting when loosing power (zoom position, flash setting, lens going back to body). So avoid the one that have all by menu. choose the ones that have a button.
Or if you can afford, go with a DSLR that has full manual mode (focus and zoom) but it will cost a lot more
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