Dashboard camera advice needed (not to film insane stuff)
July 14, 2014 2:56 PM   Subscribe

We are driving cross-country and I wanted to record the trip. Basically, I want to take a still image every minute we're driving. Later, I want to stitch it into a time lapse video. I want something that has good image quality, can plug into car cigarette lighter, and has enough memory so a daily download of eight hours of images is enough. I see a lot of dash cams on Amazon, but none of them have enough information to tell me whether the still photo idea will work.
posted by soulbarn to Technology (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
A GoPro will do it.
posted by sanka at 3:04 PM on July 14, 2014

You can probably do this easier with an android phone
posted by pyro979 at 3:20 PM on July 14, 2014

It's true, a gopro will. You can also probably get a regular P&S camera to do it, I have before. I used a small canon P&S that was compatible with the CHDK firmware and wrote a simple script to do timelapses. If you took one per minute that would be only 480 pictures (a rather short timelapse tbh, you'd only get 24 seconds at 20 fps). That would only be about 1.5 gigs if your pics were 3 megs each (jpegs prob aren't bigger than that?) With a 16Gig card you could do a frame every 10s with room to spare and that would get you 144 seconds of video at 22 fps
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:23 PM on July 14, 2014

Note that even with a pic every 10 seconds, at 20 fps, this would be 200x speed, I'm not sure it would be watchable *at all*. I think anything over 10x would be nauseating/incomprehensible. Taking a pic every 10s and playing back at 1 fps would do that but it would look pretty choppy.
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:24 PM on July 14, 2014

Taking a picture every second and replaying it at 10 fps would probably be a good sweet spot. That might rule out using a P&S though since probably you can't get one to do a good consistent 1 picture captured per second. The hero can though I think.

(Sorry for spamming the post...)
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:25 PM on July 14, 2014

And to continue the spam, sigh. I can't ever think coherently for minutes at a time.

The android is a good choice for a first run at it - take some samples driving around town and on the highway. There are loooots of perfectly reasonable android timelapse apps. This will give you a good idea of what you can get for different capture intervals and playback rates. I've done a lot of work on timelapses, up to and including writing custom software to do long term timelapse captures. It's as much of an art as a science, to get something someone will actually want to watch.
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:29 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I understand, now, the issue of shooting one per minute. A couple of differing opinions here about every 10 seconds. Would five seconds work? I have an oldish Android phone that I'm not using; can anyone suggest an app?
posted by soulbarn at 4:11 PM on July 14, 2014

Can't really recommend an app. As for interval length, the shorter the better. You'll also want to start thinking about how to compile them into a movie. I use my own programs, ffmpeg is an option if you're familiar with command line apps (Linux or cygwin usually). There are probably some Windows apps
posted by RustyBrooks at 4:47 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I bought this somewhat inexpensive Panasonic Lumix P&S camera recently for a vacation because it's waterproof, but... it also will take time lapse photos. You can control the interval and how many photos it will take. I played with the feature a bit and it worked pretty well.
posted by orme at 5:17 PM on July 14, 2014

Most movie editing software lets you import a series of images as if they were a single video file. Premiere, After Effects, iMovie, MovieMaker, et al.
posted by signal at 8:28 PM on July 14, 2014

You could do this with the bang-up-to-date Sony HDR AS100V action cam, which can be configured for usb power. The capture capacity for a modest 8 gb card runs to 7700 images so its easily possible. Edit the files with Sony Playmemories software (free online from Sony support where you could also get the instruction manual). This software is pretty intuitive and allows flexible timeline preview, option to display gps data and handle multiple camera input in case you wanted more than one point of view (well you didnt say what your budget was) and oh the camera(s) can be controlled remotely with a compatible android phone or the separate live-view wrist monitor.. whew!
posted by panini at 12:16 AM on July 15, 2014

This guy -http://www.keepturningleft.co.uk - posted a time lapse video of a drive from his home to his boat. He recorded using an inexpensive video camera in a normal mode and did the time lapse in software. (Video is his business.)
posted by SemiSalt at 8:15 AM on July 15, 2014

« Older Cost of Living in Brussels/Strasbourg?   |   Help me understand Disability benefits (social... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.