Archive for the ‘timelapse’ Category

Public Media Systems Workshop, Wednesdays 7-9pm in November, Cambrij

October 30, 2011

An informal workshop and working group around media systems.
What will happen?
We will discuss media systems. Things like television, internet, magazines, blogs, etc. We will view them with several lens including consumption/production, parallel/serial, horizontal/vertical, local/global, centralized/distributed, community/personal. We will then discuss small actions and cover how any new or old computer can become a local information server, a shared public appliance. Using free software, we will go over several ways you can accomplish this. You can do some physical building of a structures to house your device and we can talk about local venues that might house your unit as well. From cafes, music venues, to occupy boston.

Things you can learn to make if you want:
A videobooth, a public timelapse server, command line video remixing, computer timelapse self surveillance, youtube upload scripts, a public text box, and lots of good low level stuff about shell scripting and installing linux, systems thinking, etc.

What you should bring:
Your current computer or an old computer. Any old pc(win2k+) or mac (osx+) can probably be turned into a public information appliance. So bring one of those if you have it.
If you have an old webcam, bring that. If you have an old point and shoot camera from this list, please bring that:

Where: Industry Lab coworking space. 288 Norfolk St, 4th Floor. Near Inman Sq, Cambrij.
When: 4 Wednesdays in November, 7-9pm. Nov 9,16,23,30

RSVP to dan:

If you are interested but can’t make the time, you can still email and maybe some additional one-off sessions will be held at other times.

All Asia Timelapse Twvee

February 18, 2011

Just installed a new timelapse twvee set at All Asia Cafe in Cambridge MA.
Each day it makes a audio and video timelapse movie.

youtube channel=

The scripts are similar to those used in the Timelapse memory server. It also has an audio component which is similar to the methods described in this post.

The machine is an old hp pc(~$140 from craigslist) with ubuntu 10.10 (free if you don’t count internet to download and cd to burn it on) on it. Webcam is a playstation 2 eyecam(~$40). I spent some money on lumber to build a box around it but mostly used scraps.


The machine also uses the youtube uploader stuff described in this post.

A twvee(twee-vee) set is sort of like a tv set except that it’s 2 directional. Maybe it should be a 2V set?

using motion now to capture frames. other incomplete notes here

a related experiment from a machine shop. some more theory too.

How to make a timelapse shared memory server

July 14, 2010

The basic idea is this. You’ve got an old computer lying around. You’ve got a webcam or something else that can take pictures. So you can make yourself an information appliance. A simple one function shared device.

Can a timelapse server for a shared space serve a purpose like a logfile for a shared software development project?

1. Old pc/mac that is sitting a closet somewhere.
2. Capture card + external security cam OR usb webcam
3. optional web connection

Our current system is an old Dell Dimension running Fedora 11 Linux. Should work fine with most any linux distro.
Set up the machine:
1. install streamer(xawtv), ffmpeg, imagemagick, scrot(optional)
2. install scripts

The script for making timelapse movies is here:
File includes many old comments but it’s a rather simple script.
Basic functionality:

initialize to a daily directory.
while [ 1 ]
if (new day)
then {make movie with ffmpeg, reinitialize to new daily directory}
write timestamped jpg to daily directory
wait 20 seconds

The script for playing back the movies(

#! /bin/bash
while [ 1 ]
#mplayer -loop 0 -fs -shuffle /home/timelapse/Videos/copies/cam*.mp4
# vlc works too
mplayer -fs -shuffle /home/timelapse/Videos/copies/cam*.mp4
sleep 2 # this line is to make it easier to break out of.
# esc to leave playing. ctl-c to break out of script which will restart after 2 seconds.

don’t forget to make the scripts executable.

chmod 755 *.sh

If you’d like the movies to upload to a youtube channel automatically every night, you can do that as well. Instructions here.

A sample movie from the system:

Another earlier overview that shows some more detail about the actual connections:

another slight modified version that is at mit csail machine shop.