The construction industry is changing. Previously focused on concrete, steel, glass, wood, and power tools, construction managers are now using digital technology to document and plan building development. Digital cameras are regularly used to document construction process.
Recently, inexpensive 360 cameras have come on the market. These new cameras dramatically reduce the time and hassle of documenting a construction site. Instead of taking 6 shots at different angles, a project manager can take a single shot and capture a full 360 experience.
The shots from a 360 camera are in equirectangular format. They can be viewed in a web browser similar to Google Streetview. Standalone applications can also be used to view the images and integrate them into a construction workflow.
As timelapse is such a popular way of taking images, the camera I use, a RICOH THETA V, comes with a mobile app that can be used to configure the camera to automatically take timelapse pictures.
Unfortunately, some people do not like to use it onsite as they are trying to streamline a workflow. Some phones may have problems with connection to the mobile app. There's also times, when environmental factors such as heavy rain make it inconvenient to use the mobile phone. You can seal the RICOH THETA V in a TW-1 case, but your mobile phone may be exposed.
To experiment with different solutions to this problem, Marco Herbst of Evercam developed a plug-in workflow, that allows construction managers to train staff to put the camera into timelapse mode by pressing a single button.
The THETA camera can be powered indefinitely on a construction site with a portable USB power source.
This saves staff the hassle of downloading the mobile app and getting it to work with the camera. In this scenario, you can just give the camera and USB power adapter to a staff member on site at a construction area with simpler instructions - "press lower button" and confirm LED is "yellow," You can even put an arrow sticker on the camera to indicate which button to press.
Marco's app can take 4,500 timelapse pictures with a RICOH THETA. It enables switching between timelapse and single still image mode without the use of a mobile phone.
As this plug-in will be open source, it can be a base framework for custom workflow modifications. In the future, people can change the delay and number of pictures in the code and have different plug-ins for different workflows.
- 60 second delay between pictures
- disables automatic off and sleep during use
- Does not require mobile phone
- Can switch back to single shot mode by pressing the lower mode button to take camera out of plug-in mode
- Open source. You can use as a base for your customized construction workflow
- connect camera with USB cable to power source over 2 amps
- put into plug-in mode
- press shutter button once
- press shutter button again to stop the timelapse. You can restart the timelapse by pressing the shutter button again
- press the lower mode button for more than 2 seconds to stop the plug-in
- if you want to take thousands of pictures, delete all other media from your camera prior to use.
- if you want to adjust the shutter volume, use the RICOH THETA mobile app.
- Wi-Fi LED blinks yellow when plug-in is in use. Speeds up at 30 and 15 seconds prior to shot
- Short audio beep at each interval. Cannot turn off the audio beep right now, but if you need a silent mode, please put a comment on community.theta360.guide and I'll add it in.
- when pressing the shutter botton to stop picture taking, the yellow Wi-Fi will go away, but one more picture is taken.
- currently, the faster blinking yellow Wi-Fi continues after the last picture.
The great advantage of this project is that it is open source. If someone already has the camera, they just need Android Studio to get started modifying it.
Evercam Community Team