Time Lapse Photography

Cam2Com can be configured to automatically take pictures without user assistance with specified intervals between pictures. Combined with saving files using FTP or passing pictures to another application for extra processing, this feature can be used for web cams.

With Time Lapse Photography, Cam2Com always takes pictures with all connected cameras. If you want to take a picture with only a few cameras, disconnect the unneeded cameras from the computer. Basically, if you close a camera window, only the cameras whose windows are still open would take pictures. However, if you disconnect or connect another camera, and Monitor camera connection and disconnection events in the General tab of the Options dialog is selected, Cam2Com will open windows for all connected cameras again.

To start automatically taking pictures, select Camera|Time Lapse Photography... or click button on the toolbar and the Time Lapse Photography dialog box will appear.

In the dialog, select the number of pictures to take and the time interval between pictures. Alternatively, select the Custom Intervals tab and type the path and name of the file with the custom uneven intervals. You can also press the button with "..." and use the Windows file dialog to navigate to that file. The format of the file may be found here. If some custom picture take time happens to be in the past, Cam2Com skips it and proceeds with the next one.

The Time Lapse Photography dialog displays the current method of saving pictures (Files or FTP) and the "root folder" in which all pictures will be saved. If the camera ID is selected as a folder name (as opposed to the prefix of the file name), folders named after every camera ID will be created in that "root folder".

Press the Configure button to select save method, select "root folder," and to set other parameters for saving pictures like automatic rotation of every picture by 90 degrees, preventing pictures from being displayed (this saves about 1 second per picture), etc.

Now press the Start button. Cam2Com starts taking pictures with the current settings and specified time intervals for every camera.

Cam2Com can be configured not to overwrite existing files (this does not apply to FTP). If a file name collision happens in this case, the picture is lost. However, Cam2Com continues taking Time Lapse pictures.

In general, in Time Lapse mode Cam2Com ignores any errors and continues taking pictures. Errors are logged and can be viewed in the special dialog box.

Command Line Option

If Cam2Com is started with the command line parameter /AUTOSTART, it immediately starts taking time lapse pictures using the settings that were configured last time in the Time Lapse Photography dialog and the current exposure settings for every camera.


"Time Lapse Photography" dialog:

Equal Intervals Select this tab to enter number of pictures to take and interval between pictures.

Number of pictures to take Enter the number of pictures (from every connected camera) you want to take. Enter 0 to take an unlimited number of pictures - until stopped manually.

Interval between pictures Enter the interval between pictures in seconds. The interval is measured from the beginning of one picture to the beginning of the next. Because taking picture takes some time, the entered interval may be too short. In this case Cam2Com will indicate the problem in the status area.

Custom Intervals Select this tab to open a file with prepared custom intervals.

Filename with list of intervals Type full path and file name in which custom intervals are saved here.

Button "..." Use this to navigate to the file with the custom intervals instead of typing the file name.

Initial counter Every picture will have a counter as part of its file name. Enter the value of the counter that the first picture will have. After this the counter will increase by one for every next picture.

Save Counter If selected, the next series of time lapse pictures starts with the counter one more than the last counter in the previous series.

Do not increment counter If selected, the counter number does not increase and every next picture overwrites the previous one. This may be useful for a web cam, which displays every picture until it is overwritten by the next one.

Folder Root folder in which all pictures are saved. If the camera ID is used as a folder name, folders named after camera IDs are created in the root folder. The Root folder is created automatically if it does not exist.

Method Current save method. File or FTP. In the future, other methods may also be supported.

Configure Click to configure the Root folder, save method, whether to rotate every picture before saving, etc.

Display This button is only visible if an error was encountered when taking Time Lapse pictures. Click it to display a dialog with the list of the errors.

Save Click to save the current Time Lapse settings for the future. This is useful if you want Cam2Com to start taking time lapse pictures automatically right after the start of the program but you do not want to take any time lapse pictures right now.

Start Click to start taking pictures. If Equal Intervals are selected, the first picture is taken immediately. If Custom Intervals are selected, Cam2Com waits for the beginning of the first custom interval. This button becomes the Stop button when taking pictures is in progress.

Cancel Closes the dialog. This button becomes the Pause button when taking pictures is in progress and the Continue button when paused.