Saturday, 8 June 2013

Long duration (3 day) time-lapse photography on Android with Tina Timelapse

Time-lapse photography is a cool thing to play with and can be useful in many situations such as watching plants grow or paint dry or clouds fly past - all very interesting things when it happens hundreds of times faster than in real life!

But how to do it on the cheap with a spare android device and how to surpass the issue of running out of space?



I've got a spare Android device lying around at the moment, a Samsung Galaxy Ace. The device is not spectacular at all and was filled with horrible Samsung apps (Why can't I uninstall these?). As a result I ended up installing the latest stable Cyanogenmod Android to the device just to see what it is like. Cyanogenmod was awesome! Fast, clean and stable. I wish there was a stable release for the Galaxy Ace 2 I own as my main phone.

Meanwhile, back to time-lapse photography. Having a look around the Google Play store showed up a few interesting apps, but one caught my attention: Tina Time Lapse (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tina.time_lapse&hl=en). It was simple, fast and free, but most importantly it does what it says on the tin - time-delayed continuous shooting.

I tried this for a simple test for an hour one morning and it worked well! Then I wondered if I could set it up and leave it running for an entire day. Quickly I realised the Samsung Galaxy Ace with its very small internal storage and 32GB maximum SD card size simply would not store enough photos, then there's the challenge of getting them all off the device! So a new challenge arose, how to store the photos.

Luckily Android is based off of Linux and as such has many things available to it that I can take advantage of. A quick search of the internet showed an app called CifsManager (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ws.plattner.cifsmanager&hl=en). This app would theoretically allow me to connect to a Samba share and mount that anywhere on the device. This was perfect! I could mount my home file server over WiFi to the device then leave it to click away...

3 days later and 25,000 photos (50GB) I now have the evidence that it works! TODO: Video results due to be added here..

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