Autonomous time lapse with a video camera throwie

When [Matt] came across a small video camera made to fit onto a keychain, the first thing that came to mind is a time-lapse video throwie. Like the LED + coin cell battery + magnet we’ve seen we’ve seen before (and deployed…), [Matt]’s video throwie would be deployed in interesting spots for a few days and shoot a time-lapse video until the battery ran out.

The camera [Matt] picked up has the capability of shooting video or still pictures and writing them to a microSD card. To make his camera film a time-lapse video, [Matt] connected an ATtiny45 to the camera shutter and power buttons and uploaded a short bit of code that would snap a picture ever 15 seconds.

Right now, [Matt] is having a few problems with his video throwie. When the camera is turned on, it iterates through the SD card to find the next unused file name. This eats up a few seconds, so the current setup will slowly speed up the time-lapse video. This isn’t an insurmountable problem, so we’re looking forward to the very interesting videos these tough little cameras will film.

Check out [Matt]’s video of ice melting after the break.

12 thoughts on “Autonomous time lapse with a video camera throwie

  1. I saw something similar to this but they was using a Atmega168 (overkill) and a PIR sensor. I did how ever shrink this down to a Attiny13 and it works well but also have the same problem of it slowing down after so many photos! if needed i can post code a wiring detail!

    1. Cool, though I was thrown (no pun intended) by the word “glider” and the sound of a motor(?) on the video. I wish you’d placed a disclaimer cautioning viewers who are easily motion sick.

      Now make a recording from with the “plane” chasing a man in a business suit along side a cornfield a la “North by Northwest”!

      1. You are right, but since this is only a small scale model (2m wingspan), it can’t “glide” properly, so it has the shape of an ASK-21 glider and has a motor to enable the flight. The camera was mounted just behind the propeller, hence the black lines shown in the video. Please forget my broken english.

  2. If only those nice ultra-cheap 808-type cameras could be easily reprogrammed…

    Why don’t the manufacturers open source the code or at least provide detailed programming info, datasheets, etc.? They could sell even more products to all kind of hobbyists.

    It’s a shame, there’s a ton of Chinese-made, cheap electronic devices that are available for hacking, but it’s always a challenge to get anything done with them.

    I suppose that’s part of the fun — to a certain point though :-)

  3. Could you put the AVR (one with SPI) in line with the SD card as a pass through, then manipulate the filenames on the way to/from the SD card?

    You could make the card always look empty, then write to whatever filename you wanted.

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