60 day time lapse DSLR at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > High Definition Video Acquisition > Photo for HD Video (D-SLR and others)

Photo for HD Video (D-SLR and others)
HD from Nikon D90, other still photo cams (except EOS 5D Mk. II, LUMIX GH1).


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 24th, 2011, 10:27 PM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 1,385
60 day time lapse DSLR

Hi
I've got a project to do a 60 day time lapse of a construction site. Have to do about 30 images a day for a minute of final video. Can go up to 60 images a day. They have to be stills of course. It's going to be about 40 degrees Celcius during this time, rain is a possibility but a remote one.

Has anybody done such a project? I'm looking for issues, techniques, anything I need to know in terms of technology and pricing. I've googled a bit and found a few companies that specialize in time lapse equipment. Some are cheap, others are not. I would appreciate any specific help in this regard. Thanks.
__________________
Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
Sareesh Sudhakaran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2011, 07:54 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Walworth, NY
Posts: 291
Re: 60 day time lapse DSLR

The least expensive way that I have found that still gets you very good quality is with a wildlife camera. I have tried quite a few different kinds and the one I would recommend is a Stealth Cam with a 12v battery. Here's a link to the camera and it sells for $169 dollars US, the extended 12v battery runs about $50.

Stealth Cam Digital Scouting Cameras - Sniper PRO

I have had five of these cameras out straight for over two years in rain, freezing weather and snow and have had only one failure so far.

The camera also takes 8 c cell batteries so in combination with the 12v you could easily have enough power for two months of photos without having to touch the camera.

The only downside which hasn't been a a problem for me is that there must be movement at the site to trigger the camera. So a union job might be problematic :)

The camera is programmable for interval and number of shots. For instance you can program it to take 1 picture with a 10 minute delay amd you would get 6 pictures an hour as long as there is construction going on. No movement no photos. You can also program these cameras for daylight use only but there's always the chance you will catch somebody at night trying to steal something.....

This camera takes color photos at night but they also make a version that uses infrared technology and those photos are black and white but the infrared range is about half of the regular flashes range of 50ft.

The only other thing you may want to get is a lock system. Tthe one they sell for the camera can be thwarted given enough time and consists of a face plate and very heavy cable, but it would stop the casual thief from just grabbing it and running. Also mounting higher on a post or something will help.

I have attached three still images from the same camera. The first one shows a daylight photo and the ladder you see is almost exactly 120 feet from the camera. The crop is from a few seconds later and the night photo will give you an idea of the flash range and at 120 feet the ladder is barely visible. On the bottom of the photos there is the date, time, temperature and moon phase which makes for an interesting timelapse in itself or you can crop it off if you don't want it to be seen in the final product.
Attached Thumbnails
60 day time lapse DSLR-stealth2.jpg   60 day time lapse DSLR-stealth1.jpg  

60 day time lapse DSLR-nontype2.jpg  
__________________
Dave Chilson
www.loc.org

Last edited by David Chilson; March 25th, 2011 at 08:26 AM. Reason: forgot to attach photos...duh!
David Chilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2011, 09:21 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Walworth, NY
Posts: 291
Re: 60 day time lapse DSLR

As a side note the camera does video but only at 640 X 480 so the quality probably isn't what you need, here's a short clip.

__________________
Dave Chilson
www.loc.org

Last edited by David Chilson; March 25th, 2011 at 09:52 AM.
David Chilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2011, 12:12 PM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 1,385
Re: 60 day time lapse DSLR

David - that's a fantastic option! I can't take the risk of it not recognizing movement on a site. Maybe I'll have to make a fast dash across!
__________________
Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.

Last edited by Sareesh Sudhakaran; March 25th, 2011 at 12:19 PM. Reason: typo
Sareesh Sudhakaran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 26th, 2011, 07:43 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Walworth, NY
Posts: 291
Re: 60 day time lapse DSLR

Sareesh,

Well that's all I have for inexpensive options for this type of work and unfortunatley the costs jump quite a bit for the next level up. They involve point and shoot and dslr cameras, housings,batteries etc and you have to weigh the chances of losing these items to thievery against how much you need to charge to offset those risks. Because when your camera is stolen at day 45 you have a unhappy client, you lose your equipment and no chance of finishing the job or getting paid. This doesn't have to happen too many times before your eyes start fogging over whenever you are asked about a construction/long term time lapse.

If it's a big job I put out two cameras at the beginning of construction and this gives two views of the progress and backup against larceny. If appropriate and safe once the building is enclosed I will move one to the interior.

Right now I have a site that has two cameras with wireless transmitters that send pictures every ten minutes to an email account so the client can view progress from out of state in almost real time. This is expensive because he is incurring cell phone charges and the units themselves are not cheap. Unfortunatley the quality of the photos is not good enough for a timelapse (the camera is less than 2 megapixel to lower the cell phone time) but that would be the ultimate in time lapse convenience and monitoring, you could build the time lapse as you went along and when you start getting pictures from the bed of a pick up truck in your email, you know you have been robbed.
__________________
Dave Chilson
www.loc.org
David Chilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 26th, 2011, 08:32 AM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 1,385
Re: 60 day time lapse DSLR

David, thanks a lot for taking the time to help me out.

I did check the website and found one interesting option: Archer's choice. It had a time-lapse option but I can't find the manual because they haven't mentioned what the model number is! It's an 8 MP camera and should be great for my work.

The Sniper Pro is also a fantastic option. I should be fairly close to the construction site, and in your opinion, is it a dependable solution to record motion at 20 minute intervals without supervision? What if it had frequent supervision, would it be the perfect system? The price is fantastic, and I would love to make it work somehow.

Another issue is how good is the image quality? If the camera is not fully manual, I will have a big headache in post production trying to remove flicker. How good is the focus? I'm sure a lot of these issues are explained in the manual but I just don't know which ones to download!

Luckily for me the client is taking care of security, and if something happens, they are reimbursing me for any losses sustained.
__________________
Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
Sareesh Sudhakaran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 26th, 2011, 11:39 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Walworth, NY
Posts: 291
Re: 60 day time lapse DSLR

Sareesh,

Good find. I called a distributer and he said that New for 2011 he will be having four cameras that have the time lapse feature! About time. Two had still not arrived but they received a new Bushnell thursday and the Archer's choice has been in stock for a few weeks. I ordered one of each (The Archer's choice was only $135 bucks by the way) to test them.

I was told that you can set the interval from 1-60 minutes and it will run until it's out of juice. Early feedback on the Archer's choice is a little bit of dissastifaction with the battery life. I have an early version of the Bushnell and from prior experience the picture quality might be a little lacking for timelapse but battery life is much better. I should have them both in my hands by the end of next week and could send a couple of full size images if you want.

The item number for the Archer's choice is STC AC540IR and a online manual is "coming soon".
__________________
Dave Chilson
www.loc.org
David Chilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 26th, 2011, 04:11 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 498
Re: 60 day time lapse DSLR

If you want to go the DSLR route you might consider a used Nikon D2X. I've seen these as low as $800 (originally $5000 new). As long as you can find constant power (works on batteries or external supply) this camera should have all of the accessories you need and has great picture quality. It's also reasonably weatherproof without any kind of housing and I have tested it in sub-zero temperatures.

A nice Nikon prime can be fitted at reasonable cost, though they tend to be less weatherproof than the zooms.

I've done time lapse lasting weeks with mine by using the Nikon WT-2A wifi adapter. It can transmit the files to a laptop when the network is available and delete the files automatically from the CF card. When the network is not available (when your laptop is not nearby) it will accumulate the images on the card until the next time the network is available.

One downside is that the camera can only be set to shoot 999 intervals before needing to be restarted through the menu. But each of those intervals can be bracketed up to nine stops, which is a very rare and useful feature, especially given the unpredictability of outdoor lighting.

When I have the luxury I shoot a nine stop bracket at every interval. These can then be merged into high dynamic range exr files using Photomatix and de-flickered and extensively color corrected in post.

I'm not sure if this is all overkill for your project, but it's unlikely that you will find anything at any price that looks better than HDRs from a Nikon DSLR. Whereas the newer bodies are even better than the D2X, bracketing makes up for this and the D2X has all of the pro features and ruggedness at a reasonable cost.
Eric Pascarelli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 26th, 2011, 11:33 PM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 1,385
Re: 60 day time lapse DSLR

Hi Eric
One of the options I am looking into is a D5000 - it has the time lapse feature and is probably the cheapest Nikon to do so. I don't think it is weatherproof.

The Wi-fi Idea is great! I'm going to do some research on that - I hope it can be connected to the D5000. If I connect the wi-fi, can I also connect a remote at the same time?

When you mean 9 exposures per interval with bracketing- let's say I need 999 frames - Do I get 999x9 frames without having to touch the camera? The D5000 can also go up to 999 frames.
__________________
Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
Sareesh Sudhakaran is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 27th, 2011, 12:22 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 498
Re: 60 day time lapse DSLR

Sareesh,

Yes, 999x9 frames = 8991 frames. But the way the intervalometer is set up the 9x frames really can't be used for anything except extra brackets of the same interval.

I'm pretty sure the D5000 will not let you do 9 stops of brackets - I know that my D7000 will only do +/- 2 stops (total three brackets).

The D2X wifi attaches to the bottom of the camera and plugs into the USB port on the side. The accessory port is still available for remotes etc. Not sure of the wifi implementation on the D5000.

fyi - D5100 is rumored to be coming out in April, specs as yet unknown:

Nikon D5100 currently being shipped to Canada | Nikon Rumors
Eric Pascarelli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 27th, 2011, 02:39 AM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 1,385
Re: 60 day time lapse DSLR

Thanks Eric! That's great info. Any bracket is as good as no bracket. I'm going to download the D5000 manual and take a quick read. I can't find a good D2X in Mumbai, India. Either way, I was planning on buying a used D5000 since I have no idea what's going to happen at the end of 60 days.

Thanks again!
__________________
Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
Sareesh Sudhakaran is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > High Definition Video Acquisition > Photo for HD Video (D-SLR and others)

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:20 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network