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I want to make photos in real-time ( i.e. select settings, position camera, trigger shutter ) with a camera that is miles or continents away from me.

I cannot find any system that would allow me to do this.

Has anyone done this ? How ? I have some ideas ...

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  • Remote controlling video cameras is common. People at video.stackexchange.com may know the answer.
    – xiota
    May 16 '20 at 22:21
  • @xiota Thanks for the suggestion, but I could not find a suitable answer on video.stackexchange.com
    – Shauno
    May 16 '20 at 23:41
  • @scottbb By "position camera" I mean direct the motion of the remote camera to get it to a good position or angle for taking the shot
    – Shauno
    May 16 '20 at 23:44
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This can be done with a DSLR, USB tethering & skype/zoom/teamviewer with screen-sharing & a regular webcam for your 'live' communication. The remote user has to be able to operate it at least to basic level, the director does a lot of talking, the DoP does a lot of remote twiddling to the tethering app.
The resulting stills/video are then sent by a more pedestrian route [email, wetransfer etc], not live.

It starts to get just a tad expensive if you also want to be able to move the camera position remotely. You then need a robotic head, like this - https://www.aerialcamerasystems.com/smarthead-remotes

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  • Those remote heads from Aerial Camera Systems are cool, and I guess with say TeamViewer would allow control from miles away, and if they were on a trolley pushed around by someone they could allow movement all around a venue
    – Shauno
    May 17 '20 at 9:29
  • It's all dependant on budget. You have the budget, you can do most things. A standard camera dolly, used by pretty much every production world-wide, will start at around $£€ 80,000 The robo-head, you can get a cheap one for less than 4 grand, a good one 5 or 10 times that. That's one reason everybody rents ;)
    – Tetsujin
    May 17 '20 at 9:43
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A video security system? A webcam? There are some with integrated movement that can be controlled using your phone.

If you need to move the camera around, set up the illumination, you probably need an assistant or get a robot.

On a normal DSLR, the answer is NO without a custom made solution. The answer is simple, the batteries run out, even with a DLSR connected to the grid system, in case of a blackout there is no way if it will reliably turn on.

The memory will get filled, but of course, you could connect it to a PC and save it there. Or even you could manipulate the PC using a remote control system on your computer.

But this is a bit naive. There are security or webcam solutions that will be more reliable.

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Applying Tanenbaum’s maxim by analogy, Hire a local photographer with a cell phone.

For clarification, Tanenbaum’s Maxim:

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.

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