Raspberry Pi Time-lapse – in the field!

Finding myself shivering in a field I wondered what else this credit card sized computer would be responsible for.


I was testing my new time-lapse setup with Raspberry Pi, a camera and PiFace Control and Display. When I do talks to teachers about why they should use a Raspberry Pi I point out you can put it in places you couldn’t put a PC, and I was certainly following my own words as I trekked up a hill overlooking Manchester. I’d previously tried pre-programming a Raspberry Pi that I could leave on a hillside to take pictures, but found I needed to change settings in the field. Taking a keyboard and monitor out with me was impractical, and sometimes it was hard to know if the Pi had started taking pictures.

Youtube compression isn’t great and doesn’t do justice to how reasonable the Raspberry Pi camera is.

Using PiFace Control and Display I could easily set the time between pictures and how long the time-lapse should cover. This is useful as often before I start taking a time-lapse I don’t know how much I want to speed the action up by, or how long to keep taking pictures for until I’m ready to start taking them. The display shows when the camera has started and how much room there is left on the SD card. It makes it really easy to take time-laspse with the Raspberry Pi. So much so I think I’m addicted!

The software is really easy to install – just type

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install python3-snap-camera

There’s a quick video walking though setting it up from scratch and showing another time-lapse in the city centre.

It’s opensource and available on github, so hopefully between us and the community we’ll get more settings for the camera added. We’re also wondering about re-writing it to use Dave Jones’ python libraries for the Raspberry Pi Camera, or adding features like scheduling the time-lapse to start at a particular time.

For more info on things to do with PiFace visit our guides http://www.piface.org.uk/guides