CTS Blog

News, updates, and other miscellaneous tidbits related to natural resource conservation

Time-Lapse Seed Germination: Part II

Capturing time-lapse video using a digital SLR camera.

This is the second and final post regarding our first timelapse project. If you haven't read part one yet, you can find it here.

Final Results

The below video represents the final results of our first timelapse project.

Technical Details

This project made use of a Canon 7D, an 18-55mm lens, powered with a AC adapter battery, a tripod, and a Raspberry Pi 3. Lighting was provided by an 11 Watt 1050 lumen LED bulb similar to this one.

The camera itself was triggered using the gphoto2 command line utility running on the Raspberry Pi which itself was connected to the DSLR camera via USB. You can …

First Attempts

As stated above, our first attempts made use of a micro servo to manually control the camera. The results of this attempt can be seen in the animated GIF below. It shows a 'Blue Lake Stringless' garden bean germinating over a 5 hour period. That's about as long as we were able to capture images before we realized the servo method wasn't going to work for the long-term.


Even after transitioning away from the servo method, we ran into a few technical problems using the software method. The first major problem was that the camera needed to stay on indefinitely to respond to the software image capture signals every 15 minutes. Obviously, leaving the camera on continuously quickly drained the camera battery. This problem was mitigated in part using an AC battery pack, which allowed the battery to be plugged into …