Timelapse camera feedback from Jean-Dominique Lamy, Director for the company Imagine Créations in Rochefort.
“My experience with timelapse cameras goes back more than twenty years.
At the time our company, based in Dubai, was monitoring the construction site of the Burj al Arab, the highest hotel in the world.
Every month we would go up to the building opposite with an electronic level, camera and stand to take a video sequence of the progress of the construction site…
Times have changed, and the arrival of small, stand-alone cameras has greatly simplified the process!
I’ve tried a little bit of everything in this area, except for the extremely expensive solution of the DSLR in a waterproof subscription housing. The latter represents an investment of more than 10K€, which seems to me to be considerable for the use, not to mention the subscription sold in addition!
So I started with the small BRINNO systems:
- Cost: 200€.
- Autonomy: several months with 4 batteries
- Reliability: autonomous system
- Very poor quality in 1280×720
- Moisture problem in the chamber in the morning making the images unusable.
Then, on an indoor construction site for Airbus, I installed a GoPros based system, connected to the mains, but without a timer.
I had to come on site every 2 weeks to take pictures because the map was full and the pictures taken day and night.
- Cost: the price of a GoPro
- Quality: taking high-resolution photos
- Shooting time limited by the GoPro to 64gb
- No programmable interval, so day and night.
- The staff would pull the plug, which would shut down the camera…
- SD card bug forcing me to reset it with a gondola… handy at 50 feet.
- No remote control
I then had a contract for the follow-up of the renovation of the Rochefort ferry bridge for 2 years.
I therefore needed a reliable and autonomous system.
The complete Cam-do box
I chose Cam-do products, American, they were a good solution for a reasonable budget.
I bought two solar boxes each composed of a GoPro, a “blink” box connected to the GoPro and which manages the intervals and a good capacity battery recharged by the solar panel.
The panel then recharges the external battery, which recharges the GoPro’s battery.
The blink box turns the GoPro on at each programmed interval and then turns it off.
Sounds a bit like a gas factory, doesn’t it? And it is!
Experience has shown that the more systems you have that work in cascades, the more likely you are to have a failure …
- Reasonable cost, $1000 without the GoPro
- Solar power supply
- GoPro Image Quality
- No remote control (Wifi not available on site)
- Repeated GoPro bugs (SD card, internal battery…)
The system was still on top of a pole, I had to stick my ear to the pole every week and listen to the GoPro beeps to see if it was still working… and often not, so I had to take a ladder to do a reset… having lost images of the project in the meantime…
- Cam-do now offers a system with wifi to send a status of the camera but we can not configure a network with login and password “visitor” as on a hotspot, so it is useless.
Given my setbacks I looked for something else.
Cam-do has released in early 2018 a small “ShootX” solution that offers for about 400€ a tennis ball sized all-in-one camera, battery operated, autonomous and configurable with a smartphone.
Great! I’m buying two for this project to fill the gaps of the previous system.
- Price : $400
- Battery can last 2 months at 1 image/10mn/day approx.
- Acceptable quality (2K)
- Not waterproof despite what was announced!
- The 2 cameras took water after several showers and I lost the images.
- Cam-Do recognized the bad design of the product sold at the time as waterproof and sent me back 2 cameras.
- The ShootX camera in its waterproof “housing”.
I had to make them makeshift boxes out of plastic.
- Didn’t test that story very well…
With all these problems and the construction site that was going on I was very annoyed… and I was looking for another solution!
But there aren’t that many brands in this field!
My associate then also started looking for the Grail knowing that the material budget was already largely exceeded with the purchase of 4 cameras for 2 budgeted …
She then finds the TIKEE from the French company ENLAPS.
I look at the specifications and on paper it looked promising and well designed.
I contact the director and tell him about my many setbacks and we find an agreement for a TIKEE on our project.
A few days later, in February 2019, I receive the device.
At unpacking I am pleasantly surprised by the quality aspect of the product, and I start to set it up without any problem by adding a SIM card to be able to remotely control the Tikee. A real plus!
The Tikee in position
Since then what can I say? Except that, unlike all the other solutions, I have not had any setbacks!
The Tikee installed on
For several months the camera has been working without a hitch, the solar panel provides all the necessary energy, the SIM card allows me to know at all times if everything is working by giving me the possibility to change the shooting intervals remotely.
Note that for the SIM card I benefit from a twin chip from my SFR operator which costs me nothing, and whose data are deducted from my main package … a great saving!
The quality of the images is excellent and allows me to zoom in on the picture for an HD project. This makes the realization more dynamic.
It is even possible to send the images directly on the ENLAPS server from the TIKEE.
Option that I do not choose for my project in order to optimize the use of the battery due to a high rate of shooting.
The technical support is also very reactive, even if I only had to contact them in the first week for basic questions.
Since then, it works, and that’s what I wanted: to be able to “forget” the camera without telling me every day “does it work”? ».
To get back your timelapse, you have to download the files on the ENLAPS website and the creation is then done automatically.
A free subscription allows to recover the video in HD, and a paying subscription allows to recover it in full resolution, 4K or 6K.
I regret that it is not possible to do the operation directly on one’s workstation, but this is due to the 220° format taken by the two objectives which must then be brought together.
I thus strongly recommend the company ENLAPS and the TIKEE camera for its ease of use, its reliability and the quality of the images obtained.
Find the original article here.