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long term time lapse


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#1 Jeffrey Griffiths

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 04:49 PM

Does anyone have any experience with long term (about 1 year) time lapses. I need to document the construction of a building and am looking for info about the best camera head and recording system to use for this type of work. Also any pitfalls to be aware of.
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#2 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 03:25 AM

Does anyone have any experience with long term (about 1 year) time lapses. I need to document the construction of a building and am looking for info about the best camera head and recording system to use for this type of work. Also any pitfalls to be aware of.



I know of a few people who do this professionally at a high level with both dslr and 16mm, I think it really depends on how much detail (i.e. interval) you want and how complicated you can make the taking rig. The Bolex/Norris is a classic but a HD camera head with a PC and can be flexible but be aware of long term power issues, where do you intend to rig the taking camera? will that location cahnge?

-Rob-
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#3 Jeffrey Griffiths

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 11:55 AM

I will have 2 or 3 fixed locations, one of which will be the roof af an adjacent building. The others are yet to be determined but will be fixed. I HDV would be a good target for resolution. I think we will hardwire everything and send it to a central computer hard drive. May also need to remotely access images.
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#4 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 04:37 PM

I will have 2 or 3 fixed locations, one of which will be the roof af an adjacent building. The others are yet to be determined but will be fixed. I HDV would be a good target for resolution. I think we will hardwire everything and send it to a central computer hard drive. May also need to remotely access images.



If it is a HD image you are going for I would skip the HDV camera route entirely and look for a set of camera heads with HD-SDI outs to use with a PC/MAC based disk recorder. You could also think about using a camera like the SI-2k (siliconimaging.com) which is a raw hard disk recorder based system with a removable head that you could package as a whole in a case with a battery backup and then possibly connect to direct power on the pole and have a wifi connection to monitor the camera/recorders over IP.... and maybe even download files too. The camera is basically a PC with a camera head and I would bet the software guys at SI would be able to configure and customize your cameras for your needs.

For something more proven a set of super16 modified 100' load camera like a Filmo or Bolex and the addition of a motor like the Revolution (intervalometer.com) a battery and a/c power to maintain battery life. Then come around and change out the 100' rolls every few weeks... no computers to crash runs hot or cold...go for any transfer you like...SD, HD 2K.....

-Rob-
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#5 Daniel Sheehy

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 06:30 PM

Does anyone have any experience with long term (about 1 year) time lapses. I need to document the construction of a building and am looking for info about the best camera head and recording system to use for this type of work. Also any pitfalls to be aware of.

I am also looking into this, I'm hoping to persuade a client to document the building of a hydro-electric dam.. so I'll share what I've found out so far.

There are 3 basic ways to do this: DSLR in a self contained weather-proof unit, needs regular checking and downloading, good for short term or areas where access is really easy.

DSLR in a self contained unit with remote access via RF, microwave, satellite or mobile network, for image uplinking and monitoring. Really good for long term projects as it only needs periodic maintenance for the housing, and if the DSLR runs into shutter trouble.

Industrial camera tethered to a small OS, or with remote monitoring same as above. This is a really good option for set-ups where re-timing of the intervals might be nice, or if you need real-time video on certain days - (allows you to shoot less frames of slow days, and get real-time footage of interesting days eg, blasting etc..)

There is a unit being sold on-line for the 1st set-up, contains a Pentax D100 running off a battery & a solar charger, nifty for short projects, but in order to download the images, you need to move the camera... not a good idea in my mind. The housing is a little less than perfect, but it's fiberglass, so can be re-modelled if needed.

Whatever system you go with, you'll have to think about security (theft, vandalism etc), power (either tie into existing location power or set up a standalone solar/charger system) You'll also have to think about the climate for you housing... humidity control in a weather proof housing can be interesting..

Also with placement, take into account sun set & rise locations, and the possible issues with lens flares and deep shadows.

All the best and please let us know how it goes.
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#6 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 04:14 PM

I looked at the Specs for the SI-2K and SI Mini I think they would be ideal for electronic long term timelapse with modification to ruggedize the camera and recorder and they already support WiFi and IP connectivity for remote management.

You will want to get a copy of SOLII for the Palm and Sunpath for Mac/Win to be able to calculate sun and moon movements and sunset sunrise times and transit paths. Just google Sunpath software and Star Pilot for the palm os...

Good luck..

-Rob-
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#7 Sander van de kerkhof

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 06:26 PM

I did a similar thing once for 6 months, the construction of a swimming pool.

What we did was we bought a DSLR (i think it was the canon eos 300D) we rigged it very solid in an appartment building that faced the building site, locked the frame so nothing could shift it and used a prime so it couldn't accidently zoom in or out.

We then showed the buildings caretaker how to make 2 pictures a day at fixed times, as a return he could keep the camera when the project was done (just to keep him motivated).

we went down there once a week to change memory cards and to check if it was still framed and focused right.

mixed perfectly with digibeta footage.

Sander,
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#8 Tom Lowe

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 11:34 PM

I think Harbortronics makes some turnkey solutions for this type of thing.
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