webcam suggestions for travel timelapse

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by plaidhippo, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. plaidhippo macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Hi everyone,
    I am planning a trip to Europe this fall and I'm hoping to be able to do a timelapse from my hotel room looking out the window. My macbook pro has an isight built in but I would rather have an external webcam attached via usb or firewire instead so i don't have to leave my actual computer in the window! Can anyone suggest good web cams for me which work on the mac, allow either autofocus or focus control, and preferably a high resolution image to allow a good looking time lapse to be created? I hear you can do this with a DSLR but I will be taking my camera with me while I run around Europe, and want a webcam to do the timelapse work for me!

    Any suggestions on good mac compatible models, especially travel friendly ones, would be much appreciated!


    PS - if this post needs to be moved to another forum, please do so. I thought this forum made sense but may be wrong! :)
  2. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    I don't know about mac compatible webcams. There weren't many to begin with, and probably even fewer since Apple has moved to built-in iSights.

    However, if you have a spare point-and-shoot you can use something like iStopMotion as a software intervalometer. If your camera is supported, you set the interval and it shoots away. You can get a long USB cable and leave the laptop on the floor or on a table and put the camera in the windowsill or on a tripod. The quality is going to be much higher than with a webcam, although the battery life will be an issue. To help eek out extra juice, set the camera to the lowest resolution, and turn off the lcd screen once you get it composed the way you want.

    Just a thought.
  3. RickSchmelz macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2008
    Any webcamera that meets the UVC spec should work fine with OSX. Many of the cameras will say they support it on the box/in the docs that come with it, but in general if it says "Works without drivers" it meets the UVC spec.

    I found this a few weeks ago when I was doing similar research -

    It's not comprehensive by any means, but it has some decent info.

    I'd agree with iStopMotion as a good option, software wise. Hope this was helpful.
  4. plaidhippo thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2007
    great advice so far!

    Thanks to both of you for your quick responses. I was torn between the following two models and was wondering if either one may be much better than the other.

    Creative Live! Cam Socialize HD

    Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro

    I can find the creative one online for half the price and it seems to have similar features and has the UVC and mac support mentioned here. Any opinions on video/still quality differences between the two? What about focus controls? I noticed a lot of cams offer "autofocus" but is that only when using their special software? If i'm using something else (like EvoCam, for timelapse), will I still be able to control the focus of the camera? That is something I'm a bit worried about. I appreciate the help so far!

    Thanks all!
  5. RickSchmelz macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2008
    Honestly I don't have any experience with either model, but on reading the specs, the Creative cam is fixed focus, not autofocus.

    The Logitech specs make it sound like the autofocus is not dependent on the software, but they never explicitly say so.

    At this point I'm not sure how much more help I can be, sorry - when we start getting into specific products, I hate to make definitive statements since I've never used either one.
  6. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    If I was to do a time lapse from a hotel room, I wouldn't be leaving my expensive computer in the room. I'd look into getting one of those Canon cameras that can be hacked. The software has an intervalometer. The quality of the pictures will also be way better than from a webcam.

    As for software for your computer, I used iStopMotion for this driving video. The software was overkill, and I wish I had one of the Canons instead.
  7. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    Why don't you just buy a cheap Samsung camcorder that has this feature (time-lapse) built-in?
  8. MacInTO macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2005
    Canada, eh!
    You might already gone and returned from Europe, but Pika is right, a cheap camcorder with a time-lapse feature is simpler - especially in a hotel room.

    However, one can also make a time lapse video is with a Nikon. They have several cameras that have the feature built in to take a photo at regular intervals.

    As far as I know, the following D-SLRs from Nikon have the software built-in...

    D200, D300, D700, D3

    The following point-and-shoots have the software built in...

    Coolpix S500, Coolpix S220.

    The S500 has been discontinued for some time. However, the S220 was only recently discontinued but you can get the S220 for under $100. You'll also need the associated AC adapter for it which runs about $30 at J&R or B&H.

    The coolpix cameras can also record to a quicktime movie in the camera but it only comes out as one file and I can't change the settings.

    I"ve been making time-lapse videos from still images for several years now and I'v used both a D200 and the S500 to make them. I started with the D200 but then realised that after processing and then uploading to the Internet, that the image quality wasn't that good. I was also worried about the wear and tear on the camera. I then started to use the S500 to make them and the image quality did not suffer so I continued with it.

    You can see some of my work here...

    My S500 has been in continuous operation since November 2009. I've got it setup to take a photo every 30 minutes. Here is the result of that project thus far...
  9. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.

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