Wednesday, December 04, 2019

GBTimelapse 4 Long-Term Unattended Operation

Timelapse Workflow

Windows 10 Task Scheduler starts a GBTimelapse session with the name of a project file at set times-of-day (and/or days of week).  It also starts GBTManager at a later time each day.

GBTimelapse controls the camera and captures images according settings stored in the project file.

GBTManager starts FirstCutTimelapse to make a video for each new GBTimelapse session. It also manages drive storage to delete old session images and videos - much like a digital video recorder.

Google Drive uploads the videos and/or images to the cloud.

Zapier publishes each new video to YouTube or Vimeo.

What you need:

·         GBTimelapse 4 Pro, includes GBTManager ($199)
·         FirstCutTimelapse ($29)
·         Canon EOS camera (EOS M200 $499)
·         Windows 10 Mini-PC or laptop ($189 ACEPC)
·         Remote Access Software (TeamViewer free account)
·         Cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive…free)
·         Zapier to auto upload to YouTube or Vimeo (free)
·         Optional: Outdoor enclosure
·         Optional: Wi-Fi extender

GBTimelapse 4 Pro Version

A GBTimelapse project file can be configured to start and end at fixed times per day or times relative to local sunrise and sunset times. Windows Task Scheduler can start GBTimelapse with a named project file, so you can run multiple projects per day or different project on different days resulting in one or more time-lapse sessions per day. The included GBTManager invokes FirstCutTimelapse to create a video for each time-lapse session.


FirstCutTimelapse reads the session images and creates a video file. You specify the video aspect ratio, dimensions, cropping, and optionally other watermarked information.

Canon EOS camera

GBTimelapse4 is compatible with virtually all Canon EOS models. For long-term operation mirror-less models (EOS M200, EOS RP, & EOS R) are best because they don’t have a mirror mechanism that might malfunction after 100,000 or more images.

Windows 10 Mini-PC or laptop

There is no need to have a full size Windows PC. A mini-pc inside an outdoor enclosure or small laptop for an indoor installation are both perfectly capable. The PC should run Windows 10 and must have at least 4GB Ram, 64GB C-Drive, Wi-Fi or Ethernet, 3 USB ports, HDMI display connection. You will also need a keyboard, mouse and HDMI monitor for initial setup. After that you can connect and configure using remote access software like Team Viewer.
The PC should be configured to auto-boot on power on. That way if the power ever fails the PC will reboot and resume operation when the power returns.
The  ACEPC-AK1 ($189) is a proven platform this workflow. Its 64GB C-drive is sufficient for small projects, but for longer sessions or RAW capture it’s best to add an internal D-drive like the Samsung 860 EVO 2.5” SATA 250GB ($59).

Remote Access Software

You need remote access software to configure and monitor the PC while it is running remotely. You can get TeamViewer free account or you can configure Windows Remote Desktop.

Cloud Storage

Google Drive is a good solution for uploading the videos and/or images to the cloud. A free Google Drive account can accept up to 15GB. We recommend getting a Gmail account and Google Drive account for each long-term installation. Just set FirstCutTimelapse to output videos to the Google Drive folder.


Use Zapier to create a “Zap” to automatically publish a video to YouTube whenever a new video is added to your Google Drive folder.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

DIY Motion Control - "Loco Moco"

With some inexpensive hardware you can build a simple motion control system for your time-lapse work.

The interface between the computer and the locomotive uses two inexpensive Phidget devices.

You can get these parts directly from Phidget...

Phidget Interface Kit 2/2/2

Phidget SSR Relay Board

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Restoring an Icon - GBTimelapse Involved in Unique Project

Enjoy a front-row seat to the restoration of the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat and America’s Ship of State.  GBTimelapse user Greg Cooper was retained by the USS Constitution Museum to document the three-year restoration project. 

Constitution Cam
The Constitution Cam displays photographs from a unique vantage – outside a third floor window of the USS Constitution Museum. The image will automatically refresh every few minutes.

About the Restoration Project Using Time-Lapse Photography
Read about the project and the use of time-lapse photography and GBTimelapse in Greg's documentation in his own words below...

The USS Constitution Museum retained me to document the three-year restoration of the USS Constitution which is taking place in Dry Dock 1 at the Charlestown Navy Yard. I chose to document this historic event using time-lapse photography in order to generate a time-lapse movie of the event. The equipment includes a Canon DSLR camera and a mini computer running Windows operating system with an internet connection in an all-weather housing. The higher end Cannon DSLR cameras do not have a built-in intervalometer to capture images at a predetermined time and requires an external shutter release with a built-in intervalometer. Basic intervalometer devices can control the interval at which images are captured, for example, once every five minutes. However, they cannot control the times of day when images are captured, for example, only between 6am and 10 pm. There is little to no activity at the dry dock during the evening hours. Images captured during this time would be unnecessary and require extra data transfer, storage and management. I needed a tool that could control both the interval and the time of day that pictures are captured. I found Granite Bay Software to be the best solution. I run Granite Bay software on the mini computer to remotely control not only the interval and timer period of image capture but also to modify the script that controls other camera settings. With Granite Bay Software, I can also transfer images using its built-in ftp protocol to an offsite server. That server has custom viewing software that I developed and which allows the visitor to view images from specific dates and times. In addition, the website dynamically builds a video clip of the restoration progress each night for client viewing. The museum continually showcases the most recent image on their blog during the restoration process and provides a direct link to the viewing software website. The capabilities of Granite Bay Software enables me to provide these services to my client.

About the USS Constitution
The 2015 restoration marks the first time that USS Constitution has been dry docked in the 21st century. Dry Dock 1, in the Charlestown Navy Yard, is the second oldest operational dry dock in the United States and Constitution was the first warship to enter that dock on June 24, 1833. The work of this restoration will include replacing the lower hull planking and caulking; removing the 1995 copper sheathing and replacing it with 3,400 sheets of new copper that will protect the ship’s hull below the waterline; replacement of select deck beams; and on-going preservation and repair of the ship’s rigging, upper masts, and yards. The cost of the restoration is expected to be $12-15 million and will be paid for by the U.S. Navy.