Monday, May 23, 2011

Another crazy idea?

I have been looking into methods of making M9Tether more remote. To be able to control it (on the PC) through Wifi. It's for a specific need: those lightning shots.

I want to place the camera and laptop outside, but control the whole setup from inside.

You have no idea what mosquitoes can do (or perhaps you have...) if you don't move around. And these photos take extended periods of time trying to stand still, waiting for the moment... in the meantime I'm being sucked dry by these pesky creatures.

The first thing you think of obviously is the iPod (or a really long USB cable, but that's rather impractical).

But there's two problems with the iPod: I don't like Apple's App Store policy (in fact I don't like Apple at all... they surpassed Microsoft with their control issues). You actually have to pay them to develop for iPod... and you need an Apple computer (perhaps not anymore, but it's kinda handy).

So I thought: how to utilize the iPod without actually writing an application for it?

Now, Apple wrote quite a neat remote for iTunes, so that got me thinking.

What if I supply an M9Tether album, with the tracks having command names? So you'd have in the album for instance 'M9TetherShoot.mp3'. Than if you play it, through the remote, the camera would shoot...

Yes I know, it sounds kinda out there, and rather improvised, but I think it would work... You could actually control the whole camera that way.

I already got M9Tether to play tracks from iTunes, not that practical... now what I need is the reversed. If iTunes plays a track, M9Tether's got to act...

[Edit1: well, this actually works! It's not very sophisticated yet, but whenever I start playing a song in iTunes - also through the remote - the camera snaps a photo...]

[Edit2: It's a little bit more sophisticated now. Whenever I play a track with the name 'M9T_Shoot' it snaps a photo, then it rewinds the track after the camera is done... it's indeed a crazy idea, but it works beyond expectation and it's now possibile to not just shoot, but also adapt the settings, e.g. with a trackname like 'M9T_SetISO400'... I think I might be able to drag this even further into bizarro land, because it should also be possible for the endresult (the photo if it's JPG) to show on the iPod, if I can immediately set the album artwork...]

[Edit3: Well, setting the album artwork actually works, but it's not refreshed properly on the iPod (you have to click around a bit before it shows) and it makes the whole setup unstable, so I'm going to leave that one for now. In the meantime I can shoot remote and set ISO remote. It works like a charm, although through my Wifi router there is some lag. That's gone when I connect the iPod directly to my laptop, the intended setup anyway. Now just a matter of extending the album and this feature is finished...]

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