The Raspberry Pi Camera Board

More for fun than anything else, I bought a Raspberry Pi Camera Board about 10 days ago. Yesterday it arrived. It’s time to play 😉

The first thing I did was connecting the Camera Board to one of my RPi’s. It’s relatively easy to do. The connector that has to be used is the one between the HDMI- and Ethernet-connector. Gently pull it up and insert the cable so that the silver-colored side is facing the HDMI connector. When the cable is inserted, push down the connector again. (there’s a video here explaining it all in more detail).

I started with a fresh SD card (I have to start labeling them!) and opened an SSH session to the RPi. The following sequence of commands are necessary to get your RPi into shape (i.e. fully upgraded) so that it can handle the Camera Board:

sudo apt-get update

This will synchronize the package index files on your RPi, so that once this command has completed, your RPi ‘knows’ all about the available packages. This is necessary to perform the next command:

sudo apt-get upgrade

This will install the newest versions of all packages currently installed on the RPi, based on the information retrieved with the previous command. You can get yourself a cup of coffee now, this will take a while 😉

sudo raspi-config

To enable camera support, which is not enabled by default, you’ have to run raspi-config, enable camera support (menu option available in the main menu) and do a reboot after that.

From here you can use the Camera Board, capture jpeg images, videos and so on. However, assuming that would all work out of the box and because I wanted to stream video to my PC, I also installed VLC:

sudo apt-get install vlc

OK, all is still going smooth… I found a nice How-To that helped me to get raspivid & cvlc produce a video steam on port 8090 of the RPi:

raspivid -o – -t 99999999999 -hf -fps 25|cvlc -vvv stream:///dev/stdin –sout ‘#standard{access=http,mux=ts,dst=:8090}’ :demux=h264

Now all that was left to do was starting VLC player on my PC, tell VLC where to get the video stream (http://<RPi-IP-address>:8090) and there it was:

VLC snapshot

The image above was created with the snapshot-feature of the VLC player; clicking the image will show the full-res HD snapshot of 1920 x 1080 pixels, converted to jpeg to reduce the file size a bit. Not bad… I mean, I’ve seen worse on >100 Euro IP cameras.

So, what’s next? Setting up the Camera Board was easy and I like what I see, so what am I going to use it for… cause this camera board is to neat to end up on a shelf! But first I have a couple of things I want to explore further. For instance, I would like to have a somewhat longer ribbon cable between the board and the RPi; how to reduce the lag in the video stream; and I also want to be able to control the Rpi/Camera remotely (start/stop streaming, taking snapshots triggered by whatever goes on in and around our house, etcetera); adding PT (Pan & Tilt) control to the camera would be nice too, like I did some years ago with Arduino & XBee modules. Easy access to the images and captured video from my network would be handy too. Oh, and a time-lapse video is something I’d also like to try.

But before all that, I first need to find a way to protect the Camera Board from wet cat noses, cause with 3 curious cats running around in our house I know that leaving it unprotected will result in a short life of the Camera Board. In short: enough things to keep me busy for quite some time!

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2 Responses to The Raspberry Pi Camera Board

  1. Pranjal says:

    Hello there, I am about to purchase a RPi soon and I will be using it to process images, currently I need a green board cam that can shoot at 30 fps or higher and a nice shutter control, probably 1/2500. Do you think this RPi cam is good for that and programmable ? I need to process high speed motion approx speed of 25 m/s moving objects. Please reply and suggest me something good.
    Thank you

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