Build hack: I used the Brinno GardenWatchCam to timelapse my house build

In November last year, my new home has risen from an empty lot, to a beautiful new home. This is our forever home, so knowing this is a one shot...

In November last year, my new home has risen from an empty lot, to a beautiful new home. This is our forever home, so knowing this is a one shot deal, I want to capture the event for our own memory and to show the build process to our future kids. Using the Brinno GardenWatchCam, 4x extended life AA batteries and a USB drive, I was able to capture a timelapse of the build.

The camera offers a variety of interval options, its here we need to remember we’re really using the camera for something unintended by its creators. This is really meant to be used for capturing the growth of flowers and plants, but a house build lasts months. Before starting the timelapse, I had to consider the setting I would use to ensure a frame was taken often enough to show progress, but infrequent enough to preserve battery life.

I settled on 1 hour intervals. This strikes the right balance and would deliver a video short enough to hold people’s attention, as nobody wants to watch a 10 minute timelapse full of incremental changes.

The camera is pretty straight forward to operate, just install a thumb drive (FAT32 formatted) into the back, close the cover and press and hold the button on the front to get started. Perhaps the hardest part was finding a method to secure the camera to the pole. While it provides a standard tripod mount at the bottom, that wasn’t an option, so I went with a metal hose clamp to ensure it wouldn’t move during harsh weather.

While I was fortunate to have a street light adjacent to attach it to, the camera doesn’t allow any remove display to your mobile, so its impossible to know if you have the framing right. You can tell the positioning was slightly off, but on the whole, it captured what I needed it to.

When you press the button to stop the timelapse, the series of images are combined into an AVI file. Yep, its not your modern MP4 with h.264 compression, but it gets the job done. I decided to double the speed for the final video, just to make consumption for others, but each frame contains the necessary detail to see the stages of the build happen.

Of course I took plenty of photos, even flew a drone over the house during different stages, creating many, many gigabytes of data around the build, but this timelapse is one of the more unique things I’ve been able to capture. Most never have this opportunity, so I’d like to give a special shout out to my friend Celicajim who lent me the camera.

For those playing at home, the house is built by Metricon, the Fortitude 32 floorplan and has the Vogue facade. As a new home in a greenfield estate, I’ll be getting FTTP NBN at the new house, expect plenty more details on that soon.

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Hardware

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