The Raspberry Pi Action Camera

Action cameras like the GoPro, and the Sony Action Cam are invaluable tools for cyclists and anyone else venturing into the great outdoors. These cameras are not really modifiable or usable in any way except for what they were designed for. [Connor] wanted a cheaper, open-source action camera and decided to build one with the Raspberry Pi.

[Connor]’s Pi action cam is built around the Raspberry Pi Model A+ and the Pi camera. This isn’t a complete solution, so [Connor] added a bluetooth module, a 2000 mAh battery, and a LiPo charger.

To keep the Pi Action Cam out of the elements, [Connor] printed an enclosure. It took a few tries, but eventually he was able to mount everything inside a small plastic box with buttons to start and stop recording, a power switch, and a USB micro jack for charging the battery. The software is a script by [Alex Eames], and the few changes necessary to make this script work with the hardware are also documented.

This was the most intensive 3D printing project [Connor] has ever come up with, and judging by the number of prints that don’t work quite right, he put a lot of work into it. Right now, the Pi action cam works, but there’s still a lot of work to turn this little plastic box into a completed project.

23 thoughts on “The Raspberry Pi Action Camera

    1. Hi, please check the sample files in the drive link. The video is a screen recording of the actual footage which I had issues editing. The quality is exactly what you’d expect from a raspberry pi and camera module.

      1. The clarity is OK, but the trees and objects get the enormous slant, and for an action cam that’s a bit of a bummer.

        But it’s not a complete loss as a portable camera of course, it just can’t replace an action cam. But there are still plenty of uses, and you can correct the video in post-editing if the slant is constant like from a steady moving window to the side. But action cams move in irregular patterns so it can’t be fixed properly for action cam use.

    2. I knew they couldn’t source a quality sensor before I even opened the entry in HAD.. Plus they need a decent DSP and quality algorithms for auto adjustments.. Those are mostly under patents and copyright..

  1. That is NOT an action camera. It’s more a “no-action-at-all”-camera, as the readout speed seems to be too slow to even capture something like 30fps.

    To me an action camera has a very high framerate (anything below 120fps I do not consider an “action” camera), next-to-no rolling shutter (i.e. a very high read out rate from the sensor array), a very fast shutter (i.e. a very light sensitive sensor in the first place), a very good compression algorithm (or a fantasy SD card that can store raw data at real time), a resolution of at least HD (i.e. not necessarily, but preferably 1920×1080) and NO 3dprinted case.

    Sorry to be nitpicky – but calling a blue whale an UFO just because to you it is an “unknown fish-y object” is not good journalism.

          1. Incidentally, I don’t know if it’s the correct rule, and I don’t care, but this thing of saying ‘an’ LED annoys the hell out of me, it makes me say it in my head and it just doesn’t sound right.

            And I don’t know why there would be a opposite rule to normal for acronyms anyway, I guess you have to have the weird mind of one of those people who are language experts – and who cause so many issues..

            So sure, I too say ‘a UFO’, but I’m not sure the ‘official’ rule would agree, but yes it sounds odd to say an UFO.

          1. Andrew is correct. Try saying “an UFO” aloud in a sentence and see how daft you sound. It should be an “a” pronounced like a capital A and not lower case. The vowel rule only applies to words.
            Or you could say “an unidentified flying object” if you could be bothered say or type all that.

          2. Old subject but nevertheless, to djsainty: Now try to say ‘A IED’ and then try saying it to someone else and see if they understand what you said. They will probably say ‘either AIED or A IED’ leaving them bewildered. It seems odd to simply always attempt to say a.

    1. I agree. The Sony Action Cam has a well-documented HTTP API you can control remotely over Wifi (as do some GoPro models.) A clever hack [Connor] could use this hardware for would be to broaden the feature set of these cameras and add missing capabilities in software without attempting to duplicate what real action cams are already very good at.

    2. I apologize for the video, it was a screen recording of the original footage which I had trouble editing. The quality is what you’d expect from the raspberry pi camera module, which can do 1080p30 and 720p60.

  2. It is actually “a UFO” even though you say “an unidentified fishy object”. This site is about interesting hacks and I for one do not want it to turn into a flame war site.

      1. Actually I have been reading this site for years, and have commented before, but could not remember my login info. One of the problems that go with getting old ;)
        I get quite a lot of ideas and info from Hackaday. It is part of my morning ritual to read the entries.
        This hack is a very good example of what Hackaday is about. Involving “hacking” bits off the RasPi to modify the hardware. Then there is the 3D printing (I’m having great fun with my Deltaprintr) and software. The crowning touch is all hacker’s Best Friend, hot melt glue!
        Well done Brian. I may have a go with a similar project too.

  3. How about adding streaming video capabilities over a 4G dongle? One-way would be fine. That way, you could have a remote wireless camera anywhere – even with no WiFi connection. The connection should be low-latency however.

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