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Thread: Controlling a RunCam2 Camera Directly from an Arduino

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    rgsparber's Avatar
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    rgsparber's Tools

    Controlling a RunCam2 Camera Directly from an Arduino

    A RunCam2 camera is popular with people that build and fly hobby drones. It is low cost and high performance. However, it has buttons to be pushed before it can start recording video or stills.

    A Pro Micro is an Arduino compatible computer system that is popular with computer and electronics hobbyists. It is low cost and high performance.

    What could be a more natural pairing than to have a Pro Micro control a RunCam2? Well, it turned out to be a fun, and useful, challenge.

    If you are interested, please see

    https://rick.sparber.org/electronics...lingRunCam.pdf


    Your comments are welcome. All of us are smarter than any one of us.


    Thanks,

    Rick
    45 Best Harbor Freight Tool Modifications

    Rick

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    garage nut's Tools
    Great project, I love to build little projects with Arduino boards.

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    Supporting Member tonyfoale's Avatar
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    Nice job Rick.
    I have a question that maybe your knowledge and researches can answer, but maybe it is outside of what you have looked at.
    I want to get a fast video camera controlled by an Arduino or similar, preferably +120 fps although +60 fps would do. That is not too difficult to find if I only want to start and stop videoing. The crunch is that I want to go beyond that and use the micro to control the timing of each frame.

    Say I have a 60 fps device, it will take one frame every 17 ms. when free running. What I want to do is for example, take the first frame (on orders from the micro) then at some future time (greater than 17 ms) the micro will order another frame. During a single video the variation between the timing of each frame will not vary much. That is, the micro might order a string of frames like 18.1, 18.05,18,......,17.9, 18.01..... ms after the preceding frame.
    The software is already done, it takes input from an external source, does some calcs. and spews out the orders
    So my questions boils down to "Do you know of any of these small cameras that can have each frame fired from an external signal, or be hacked to do that?

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    Supporting Member Christophe Mineau's Avatar
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    Hi Tony, I don't know if it will meet your specs but for sure the easy and flexible tool for doing that is a Raspberry Pi with its built-in camera which is quite good. But your fps rate expectation may be a bit ambitious.
    Anyway, on the Pi, recording can be started with any parameter by a simple script, which can also interact with the external world through the gpio.

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    Supporting Member tonyfoale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christophe Mineau View Post
    Hi Tony, I don't know if it will meet your specs but for sure the easy and flexible tool for doing that is a Raspberry Pi with its built-in camera which is quite good. But your fps rate expectation may be a bit ambitious.
    Anyway, on the Pi, recording can be started with any parameter by a simple script, which can also interact with the external world through the gpio.
    I was half expecting that I would have to go with the Pi, which is why I mostly used the word "micro". I have no experience with the Pi but that could be rectified easily enough if necessary. If my frame rate requirement was low there are many cameras which have "high" repeat rates for taking stills which are easy enough to control but the repeat rates are just too slow.
    You say that recording can be started by the Pi, but is that possible on a frame by frame basis?

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    Supporting Member Christophe Mineau's Avatar
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    I'm not sure to fully understand what you want to do, but the Raspy allows to capture stills photo as well as video streams, I don't know much by myself about the details, but there are a lot of documentation available.
    If controlled basically by the shell, you can use the raspistill or raspivid commands, but if you control it with python or cpp, you can do much more things.
    It's the open world, so several drivers are available and you can develop your own if you wish.

    In my experience, (I use the black camera for night wildelife photo captures), you need to control the exposure time and capturing too fast can lead to some disappointing results.
    When you say 120 fps, I fear this would be too fast, but actually, with good light, maybe it's possible, I couldn't say.

    Anyway, it's a lot of fun playing with that, especially if you pay interrest to OpenCV, which is a lib able to recognize shapes on the captured images.
    Cheers !
    Christophe
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    rgsparber's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by tonyfoale View Post
    Nice job Rick.
    I have a question that maybe your knowledge and researches can answer, but maybe it is outside of what you have looked at.
    I want to get a fast video camera controlled by an Arduino or similar, preferably +120 fps although +60 fps would do. That is not too difficult to find if I only want to start and stop videoing. The crunch is that I want to go beyond that and use the micro to control the timing of each frame.

    Say I have a 60 fps device, it will take one frame every 17 ms. when free running. What I want to do is for example, take the first frame (on orders from the micro) then at some future time (greater than 17 ms) the micro will order another frame. During a single video the variation between the timing of each frame will not vary much. That is, the micro might order a string of frames like 18.1, 18.05,18,......,17.9, 18.01..... ms after the preceding frame.
    The software is already done, it takes input from an external source, does some calcs. and spews out the orders
    So my questions boils down to "Do you know of any of these small cameras that can have each frame fired from an external signal, or be hacked to do that?
    Tony,

    You have an interesting problem. Glad to see others coming forward with great answers.

    Rick


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