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I will be moving into a tiny house next summer. As part of the experience, I would like to try to document daily life as candidly as possible. The plan is to install a number of small cameras in a variety of places/angles that we use frequently (by the kitchen, facing the couch, etc) I'd like to be able to use a remote to trigger the shutter. In a perfect world I could control each camera via the same remote. If ALL cameras trigger at once that would work, but controlling individually would be better. Depending on price, anywhere between 3-6 cameras is what I'm looking into.

My question really IS "how would I set up the ability to capture stills remotely from multiple angles/locations" but that is inseparable from the question of "what kind of equipment will make this possible" because I honestly don't even know how to research this - all I keep finding is camcorders and dslr remotes. Just trying to determine if anyone has sniffed out some other solutions. Willing to do some of my own research on getting this set up but not really sure where to start.

I realize it sounds a little wacky but art school is pretty good at turning you wacky...

  • Do you want pictures or video? And yes, there is a certain creep factor that comes in my mind when reading this. – SailorCire May 22 '15 at 21:28
  • Specific equipment recommendations are off-topic, but I think the general "how might one set this up?" subject is on topic. Can you rephrase to focus more on that aspect? Then, answers may help narrow down specifically the kinds of photographic equipment to look at and what your options might be. – mattdm May 23 '15 at 13:55
  • Just looking for photos. Remote camcorders are easy to find and almost the only thing I AM finding in my search for a remote CAMERA ...not looking to totally big brother/surveillance myself, but there are some photos I want to see taken and would be ruined by the distraction of having to go set up a self-timed camera. I know there are a remotes FOR a DSLR - but I don't need 5 expensive full-service cameras mounted on my walls for an art project. So I know I COULD get some surveillance video-recorders or I COULD get multiple remotes for multiple DSLRs...but I'm looking for something a little mo – user40055 May 23 '15 at 18:54
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If you can post a budget, will make answering this a bit more targeted.

There are some good answers here: How can I trigger multiple cameras to fire simultaneously?

Another option is to look at motion triggered camera setups that are used to capture wildlife.

Another option is to use interval shooting on a couple of high-resolution DSLRs with wide angle lenses. Not knowing much about the tiny house, I'm not sure if this would be suitable, but to cover all bases, a wide lens could cover more than one area.

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In such situation - if you really prefer cameras instead camcorders (which could work continuously and later you could cut off frames) - I would pay good radio technician to produce 3 sets of paired short range radio sender and receiver which would not interfere with radio frequencies used in the described place. The are able to do it easily. The point is, that the main problem is to differentiate signal between cameras, and radio technician can solve the problem. Other method, much cheaper but not that flexible, is to use cable release stuff and trigger cameras from one place. Maybe there are cheaper methods, but the above described one would work as expected. On top of that, after the project is completed you could easily sell the remote control set getting back your money. So, it is not that expensive solution as it looks. My experience is, that it is better to avoid dirty-cheap approach for some rather serious projects.

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You could use some things you can get cheaply for a decent workaround:

Tethering the cameras from a computer.
You can connect multiple cameras to Lightroom for example, see answer 7: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/928776?tstart=0

This means: getting some usb extension cables or extending existing cables on your own: http://www.instructables.com/id/Extend-USB-Cables-Using-Phone-Jack-Cable/

However, in practice you might be limited to 5m length of the cables, due to USB limitations. You could also buy some cheap radio triggers, e.g. from yongnuo, or expensive ones like the pocketwizards. You can switch channels or put all cameras on one channel (and I see this has been mentioned in the previous/linked post already).

To fire USB tethered cameras, you could imagine tethering into the PC by an iPad app (or similar, maybe SSH), firing the individual shutters.

However, as an additional remark, you will still have to take care of the power supply for the cameras, which might involove some tricks with power supplies and soldering again. Or you can switch batteries on a regular schedule, depending on how much you shoot the cameras

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The "trigger" plug of a camera was a cable release in the old days, but is now just a switch that you close to shoot.

So run simple wire pairs to all the cameras, so closing one switch makes the connection to all cameras.

If they don't like being in series that way, you can isolate them using a simple relay (or solid-state equivilent).

Some cameras have an IR remote built in. If they are all the same, one remote would set them all off! Use a common "ir blaster" for home theaters if the remote only works where you aim it.

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Depending on the required image quality, a raspberry pi with a camera module might be a good solution.

  • it is cheap enough to buy multiple units (compared to a point&shoot camera or DSLR/mirrorless)
  • it can be connected via wifi, which means you only have to set up a wifi router to connect them all, you can access the captured images via network
  • it is a real computer, which means you can do all kinds of customisations from image processing to self timing
  • power is supplied via USB similar to smart phones (maybe you can even run it on batteries)

Triggering via interval would deliver the most candid shots. If you want to set up a remote for individual pis, I'd do that via network. Your phone or tablet would be the remote

I found that setting the pi up as a web server is relatively convenient way to communicate with it. The benefit is that you do not have to write a special app for your phone. Connect to the network and open the website provided by the pi. Clicking a button on that website would cause the pi to capture an image. Note that you could open that website from anything that is connected to the network and that has a browser, which includes your laptop or your partner's phone.

Depending on how far you want to go you could even add functionality to modify settings of the pi via that website.

That all can of course be a huge obstacle if technical things and programming are not your thing. On the other hand, you get a lot of possibilities.

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