Now that most cars are off the roads the skies are super clear I'd like to set up a camera which records from a stationary position for multiple weeks to see if I can capture the difference as cars return to the streets.

These are the requirements as I can think of them so far:

  1. Set up the camera so it can remain in a fixed position the entire time
  2. Power the camera so it does not rely on battery
  3. Send each phone to a cloud storage immediately

I have some cameras already but I am not sure I can set up any of them to capture photos in this way over time. I am looking for a solution which has already made this project easier to complete successfully.

My apartment building has a rooftop and I could arrange to mount a camera up high with power. There is also WiFi on the rooftop which may work well enough for this purpose. I could also collect the photos all day and after sunset I can have the system switch to uploading and it can take all night do that if it is necessary.

I've got multiple 4K action cameras which have watertight cases which could be used for this purpose, though the batteries won't last long so I may need to keep them powered by connecting the USB port to an outlet. And I do have a Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Perhaps if I were to connect these 4K cameras I could remotely control them and direct the cameras to upload the photos on a schedule and clear space for the next day.

There are older answers which reference products and devices which are now quite outdated. I'm looking for a modern solution.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What kind of cameras do you have? If you have a Canon DSLR, you could put it on a tripod and use Magic Lantern to take photos every X seconds. For the battery, you could use a dummy battery that you could plug in an AC outlet or a USB power bank. You could use 2 SD cards for the storage, and you would swap the cards every evening. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tornado 77
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


You have a photo system engineering problem. Without having a list of your specific equipment on hand, the quality of the resultant product desired and other parameters, it is quite difficult to provide an effective answer.

In a general sense, you want to maintain consistency with your location, reduce ambient and environmental effects (like nosy people sticking their face in front of your lens), environmental (temperature, moisture, vibration, etc.), security (will anyone steal your equipment on a rooftop) and so on.

You acknowledge that an issue will need continuous power, and in the past I have used with great success smaller format AGM 12 V batteries, which can be regulated down, and run to a pseudo-battery insert into your camera, should that camera not have an external power adapter connector. The AGM batteries can be rotated or charged in situ, without needing to handle the capture device.

Without capture requirements, it is hard to address the specifics of storage. Using SD cards, I would select the largest your devices can use, and rehearse the reload sequence, so that reload can be accomplished with minimal frame losses.

If you want a more specific system solution, you either have to provide us with your available resources, or accept solutions that may be out of budget, excessive for your desired solution, or perhaps fail to address major concerns which are not clear from your stated requirements.


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