Sunday, 31 March 2013

Canon Camera Setup

Screen shot of the setting up.
So this morning we woke up and took our camera out of the freezer, as you do. We left it there overnight to test that it can work under freezing conditions. It is a Canon PowerShot A810 and has had the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) installed so we can upload a script to continually take photos on a loop every few seconds. The kit itself runs directly from the SD card of the camera, without actually touching the existing firmware. This only works on Canon cameras and for each camera there is a specific file to download. A full 'how-to' can be found here.

There are a few example scripts around on the Internet but nothing that exactly fitted our needs, so I wrote our own. It's quite simple in that it takes photos on a loop, with the ability to change the time period between the photos on the camera itself.  You can see the script here on our GitHub!

We also thought that this blog was lacking a graph, so here we go:

One of the other great benefits of the CHDK is it has the ability to write log files. This means we can see what the camera got up to while in the air - including making use of the thermometer within the camera! This graph shows how the temperature dropped over time against the amount of photos taken. We managed to take over 2000 photos over the four hour time period. The period between the shots was 12 seconds, but I think we could reduce this, maybe by half. We might try this test again to see how it fares. Another thing to bare in mind is that our home freezer only got to -15C, where as in the Stratosphere it can get to -50C.

As you may have seen in our Payload Part Two post, we will have the camera facing down, the idea being that we get some good ground shots of our fantastic Forest of Dean scenery on the way up in addition to some general 'Earth' shots when we are up at 100,000ft. With the GoPro on the side, hopefully we have all angles covered!

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