Time-lapse Video with the Raspberry Pi

Last Thursday I taped the Raspberry Pi Camera Board to the glass, pointed it towards the sky and just let it run for 24 hours… the result is at the bottom of this post.

Camera taped to the window

I updated the RPi to the latest firmware, because I read that this would bring back the feature of turning off the camera LED with the ‘disable_camera_led=1′ setting in config.txt. And since I had never done a firmware update before, I thought this was a good reason to give it a try.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install rpi-update
sudo rpi-update
sudo reboot

There’s another workaround for disabling the LED though, which is a small Python script. I mounted a NAS share on my RPi so that I didn’t have to worry about the size of all the stills that would be generated by this time-lapse adventure, for that I had to edit /etc/fstab and add the following line:

192.168.10.1:/volume1/exch /mnt/exch nfs nouser,atime,auto,rw,dev,exec,suid 0 0

… and of course I had to add the appropriate privileges on my NAS for the RPi.

On Wednesday around 23:00 I started the time-lapse run:

cd /mnt/exch/stills
raspistill  -o still%06d.jpg -t 999999999 -tl 10000 &

This will start raspistill and put it in the background. I closed the connection to the RPi, shut down my PC and went to bed. The next morning I checked the ‘stills’ directory on my NAS from my Android phone with ES File Explorer and saw a couple of thousand files – it’s still working, great 😉

Thursday evening, after 10 o’clock or so, I killed the raspistill process and I had about 8000 stills. But unfortunately no time to do something with them, for that I had to wait until Friday evening.

For creating the time-lapse video from the stills I used Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD and opened the huge set of stills this way (Project > Import Media):

Opening the stills

This way you’ll see all the stills as 1 single ‘file’ in the Project Media. I dragged the media to the Video track, set the rendering quality I wanted to use and about 8 minutes later the video was ready, 547 MB in size. Uploading to Youtube took a bit longer though… about 5 hours…

It was very cloudy that day, so the video is not really that entertaining.. but it was fun to do; let’s hope the weather this summer will give me the opportunity to make some nicer videos than this one… 😉

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