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So, I am back on the project of video-tracking crickets, only this time I have (slightly) more leeway in picking out a camera.

...which is kind of a problem, because shopping for a camera on the interwebs seems like a monstrous rabbit hole to fall down.

I am really tempted to just pick this one. While running this experiment I should probably also figure out a way to share more videos with the universe at large.

In other cricket news, we're doing some work with juvenile crickets here. I need to draw some illustrations of the last two juvenile instars. I also want to make some illustrations of the willow leaf beetles we work with. Both the juvenile crickets and willow leaf beetles are very cute.

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( 6 remarks — Remark )
randomdreams
Feb. 9th, 2016 02:09 am (UTC)
What sort of things do you need from it?
I'd be somewhat tempted to try a used cellphone, insofar as they have an awful lot of resolution for the price.
rebeccmeister
Feb. 9th, 2016 11:41 pm (UTC)
That's an intriguing thought!

My goal is to do monitoring of cricket activity and feeding over a 24h time window. So that will include infrared recordings at night in addition to daylight recording. When I was doing this in Texas, the tracking software I used worked best with a frame rate of around 2 frames per second - I sped up my recordings by downsampling from the original videos (recorded with a webcam at 100 fps). That original webcam was pretty crappy, though. Lighting was uneven at night, and lens distortion was atrocious. The camera linked above was used to make a time-lapse film of an ant colony, and looked like it would have decent infrared capabilities (not shown in the video, however):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qGd7kG6r0Q

S was suggesting looking at CCTV cameras, which would give me good image quality, but then I would also have to shop for a DVR system or a DVR PCI card of minimal crappiness (if such a thing exists), and figure out how those things work on top of setting up the camera and fiddling with it.
randomdreams
Feb. 10th, 2016 02:44 am (UTC)
You need darkness to get the crickets to do their thing, right? so you can't really control the lighting entirely.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-a-Night-Vision-Webcam/ comes to mind: remove the IR filter that most webcams have, and supply a big fat IR light to illuminate them like mad. (I have a ton of IR LED's that I could easily turn into a light. It could run all the time or it could just run at night, the latter taking more finesse as regards having to be controlled somehow by an external time-aware system, or by adding in something that just detects low light levels, which I could do if you don't mind that at some points it'll be flashing on and off because the light level is right at its triggering point.)

I know you don't need another project. I'm trying to figure out an easy way to do this one that won't require a ton of stuff that really doesn't apply to your situation. Let me poke it around more.
rebeccmeister
Feb. 10th, 2016 11:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, we do need darkness. One of the advantages of working with modern security cameras is that many have reasonably good IR light arrays and will automatically switch to night mode.

In Texas I bought a little supplementary IR light unit that would overheat itself and shut off after about 15 minutes. It would be pretty simple and straightforward to just put any supplementary IR lights on a timer. I'll most likely run this in an incubator again.

After some extensive discussions with scrottie about merits and drawbacks of various options, I'm actually still leaning towards the IP camera in the original post as a decent starting point/compromise, although I will have to double-check about focus range.
twoeleven
Feb. 9th, 2016 02:40 am (UTC)
Camera specs are written for people who know how to use them. I'm not sure there's any way around that, just as there's no way around using scientific jargon when writing papers.

That said, what features are you looking for in a cricket-cam? :)
rebeccmeister
Feb. 9th, 2016 11:42 pm (UTC)
To avoid redundant answers - I posted a more involved response to randomdreams's related question.
( 6 remarks — Remark )

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