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Author Topic: Slow framerate consumer camcorders  (Read 224 times)

Robert Roaldi

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Slow framerate consumer camcorders
« on: July 21, 2022, 10:01:40 am »

I am years out of date in my knowledge of camcorders. The last time I bought one, we were in a 1080p world.

I am looking for a cheap and crude way to provide photo backup to RF chip finishing times at low-budget grassroots gravel bicycle races. Our local gravel races may have up to 200 competitors but they are spread among many categories. The effect is that back markers might arrive at the finish up to 2 hours after the leaders. Timing is primarily done by RF chips mounted on the bikes with visual manual backup. We were brainstorming a system whereby a camcorder could be set up at the finish line to capture video at 5 fps (or something, this needs to be fine-tuned). This would give us time-stamped jpgs of finish line photos (after extraction from the video stream). It would also give us cheap and cheerful photos of all the riders at the finish line without having to station a photographer there. I checked my two old Canon camcorders and no such slow fps option exists. Does anyone know of any models that provide this?

An alternative would be a stills camera (or camcorder in stills mode) set up with an intervalometer to take rapid fire photos. I'm not sure that any cheap p&s exists that can handle that.

I just wanted to explore dirt cheap options before looking at other solutions like motion-sensor (or other method) triggered cameras.

Thanks.
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Robert

Joe Towner

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Re: Slow framerate consumer camcorders
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2022, 04:01:46 pm »

Something like a GoPro that can do photo timelapses. Weather & condition ignorant, it's a set & forget.  Grab a still of a clock with the seconds exposed on the first few frames & adjust accordingly.

What level of detail are you looking for - 5 fps is kind of wonky, either do 1 fps as a photo, or do low res video at 24fps.  As these are just backup of the rf based system, what fraction of a second accuracy are you looking for?
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Slow framerate consumer camcorders
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2022, 06:00:27 pm »

Something like a GoPro that can do photo timelapses. Weather & condition ignorant, it's a set & forget.  Grab a still of a clock with the seconds exposed on the first few frames & adjust accordingly.

What level of detail are you looking for - 5 fps is kind of wonky, either do 1 fps as a photo, or do low res video at 24fps.  As these are just backup of the rf based system, what fraction of a second accuracy are you looking for?

Thanks. Good questions but it's a work in progress and I can't answer them yet. The guy running the series asked me for advice and I came up with some ideas. I don't believe that he really needs an accurate system to serve as backup to the RF chip timing capture. It's more to get finish line photos without needing another photographer. He owns a trail camera and will do some tests to see if that gets him what he wants. I knew very little about GoPros but a friend gave me a description and I read some manuals. The most obvious solution is doing a time lapse at 1/2 or 1 sec second intervals and hoping for enough useful pics.

I only thought of the camcorder idea in case I was missing something cheap and obvious. A 1 fps at high shutter speed might capture enough frozen motion photos to satisfy him, was my thinking. That's not going to work. An alternative was a 24 fps video running for 3 hours, again at high shutter speed, which might work, but at the cost of doing a lot of editing, first to get rid of footage with no bikes in the frame, followed by a cull of the jpgs. I don't think w'll go that route.
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Rhossydd

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Re: Slow framerate consumer camcorders
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2022, 09:26:31 am »

It's more to get finish line photos without needing another photographer.
Grabbing freezes off video isn't going to give acceptable quality compared to normal stills photographs.
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Slow framerate consumer camcorders
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2022, 09:35:30 am »

Grabbing freezes off video isn't going to give acceptable quality compared to normal stills photographs.

Thanks. Of course you're right, but the end use may only be for social media anyway. At the moment, the whole idea is exploratory, the organizer and I need to sit down and talk details. This is by way of a favour on my part, there's no real money at stake and he knows enough now to understand what to expect.
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Robert
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