Tuesday, December 10, 2019

GBTimelapse4 Long-Term Indoors

Raw Fit Training Gym Case Study

Time-lapse of a Gym's classes automatically created and published to YouTube.

A local gym owner wanted to keep track of the morning classes every day so I installed a camera and GBTimelapse4 Pro (GBT4) inside his gym with a clear view of the floor. GBT runs on a ACEPC mini-PC and controls a Canon T2i DSLR.

I created three GBT4 projects, one for each of the three morning classes (5AM, 6AM, and 8:30AM). Each project was set to a 4.5 second interval, a start time to match the start of the class and an end time 55 minutes later. Each project was also set to automatically start and to exit GBT4 when completed.

I then created three windows Windows Task Scheduler tasks, with each one starting GBT at the class start time and with the name of the corresponding GBT project file. Each task was set to only run on the weekdays when the gym is open.

I also created a Windows task to start GBTManager (GBTM) later in the morning after the classes were done. GBTM runs FirstCutTimelapse (FCT) on that mini-pc to make videos (full-frame HD) for each of the three classes.  FCT is configured to overlay the date/time, a RawFit watermark, and other info on the video.

The videos are created into a Google Drive folder and a Zapier "zapp" publishes each new Google Drive video to the owner's YouTube page.,

GBTManager manages the mini-PC's storage much like a digital video recorder. It keeps all the images and videos until the drive gets full and then deletes the oldest ones. This PC has a 256GB SSD enough to keep a history going back over 120 days. A drive up to 4TB could be installed for a much longer history.

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.