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Suggestions needed....

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Suggestions needed....

Postby boxerman » Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:06 am

Wasn't really sure where to post this one so if any Mods feel it would be better elsewhere please feel free to move it...

As many of you know, I'm busy filming at a local badger sett and getting some fair video (lighting quality could be better and I'm still working on ideas for that). The last couple of batches of videos I've picked up from the sett, despite a cam playing up, have clearly shown that with days getting longer they are now beginning to emerge around dusk and I reckon it'll only be a few weeks before they're out in daylight so I'd like to start getting some good still shots of them using a half decent camera. Clearly to get good results I need to be there and in a hide or such and the two main issues are scent and noise - scent shouldn't present an issue as they must be used to my scent by now with the batteries, tripods etc and throwing a used T-shirt on the fence for a week beforehand should prevent a panic over that but the issue I need to sort is one of camera noise - I can minimise by running in manual mode, I can turn off the beep, I can silence mirror operation but there is no way to prevent shutter noise.. What I need to do is record random shutter noise and have it playing back around the sett for a week or two to get them used to it but I can't figure what the hell to use to do it. It probably needs to be waterproof and be able to run for a week at a time (I could get away with a mains system as there is a power socket in the greenhouse) - it also needs to be cheap 'cos these badgers are costing me a fortune......

Any suggestions would be appreciated..
Phil

https://twitter.com/boxermanphil for my Badger videos
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Re: Suggestions needed....

Postby Wendelspanswick » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:00 am

Have you played with Arduino's at all, it would be straight forward to have an Arduino with a motion detector set up to play a camera noise through a small speaker.
Another option would be a PIR linked to a digital dictaphone on loop.
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Re: Suggestions needed....

Postby SimonFisher » Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:40 am

Is it preferable only to have the sound play when badgers are detected moving around or could you have the sound playing regardless of whether badger activity is detected?

What budget do you have for this? How about a cheap MP3/CD player (http://bit.ly/1LUG06W) playing off the mains and housed in a waterproof box?

Just seeing what noise my own kit makes (a Canon EOS 40D) - with the mirror locked up, the shutter is fairly quiet. Maybe the shutter noise won't be as big a problem as you think. How about going straight in for a session with your camera after allowing them to get used to the hide and scent?

Alternatively, do you have access to a non-SLR which would operate silently?

Simon
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Re: Suggestions needed....

Postby boxerman » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:20 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, both.

Having never heard of Arduino's I did a quick search on the net and after 5 minutes of looking at the site my eyes glazed over...... :? I'm an engineer not an electronics expert and wouldn't know where to start. - probably all a bit complicated for what I need.

Budget is as little as I can get away with 'cos these badgers are costing a fortune to watch what with cameras, batteries, lighting etc. and that's all money out of the woodland funds..

No, providing I can find something that will run off mains for a few weeks I don't feel it needs to be PIR controlled as long as it can run on a continous loop of random noises - clearly this requires digital and mains power. There is one power socket in the greenhouse so could use that for a couple of weeks tho Mum may complain about the couple of £'s of electric it'll use... Camera is a Nikon D3200 and, whilst the shutter is not overly loud for normal usage I do think it would give me problems if they aren't used to the noise - I suspect that if I could film from 40 or 50 ft with a zoom lens it wouldn't be an issue but the problem is the restrictive layout of the garden - absolute furthest I could be from the sett would be 20 - 25 feet and I'm convinced the sound would be too loud.

Player needs to be digital but sound quality really doesn't matter - an MP3 player looks ideal IF it's possible to run direct from mains power but no ads I can find say that's possible, just that they are rechargeable. The boom boxes you linked may have possibilities but the info is rather vague as to how they work or internal memory - they may play MP3's but if they need to be written to CD that may give issues re looping the files for a week or two. Anyone have experience of this??
Phil

https://twitter.com/boxermanphil for my Badger videos
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Re: Suggestions needed....

Postby SimonFisher » Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:35 pm

boxerman wrote:The boom boxes you linked may have possibilities but the info is rather vague as to how they work or internal memory - they may play MP3's but if they need to be written to CD that may give issues re looping the files for a week or two. Anyone have experience of this??

If they can play an MP3 or a CD with a 'repeat' function that should solve the looping problem.
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Re: Suggestions needed....

Postby smojo » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:46 am

I would look out for a cheap guitar looping pedal, microphone and cheap practise amp. Get one that takes a mains adapter. Record the shutter going off a few times on the pedal, then play the loop back through the amp. It should continue over and over as long as you want. When choosing one, the important thing is to look for the length of looping time. Some only do about 30 seconds but that's probably all you need. A simple one that gives about 5 minutes is the TC Electronics Ditto Looper. That would allow you to record several different sounds on the same loop or to space them out over longer periods. They have just brought out the Ditto 2 so the original loopers are going quite cheap now on E-bye-gum Bay. There's a new one on at abut £70 so you can probably bag a used one for £40. If you want to sell it on again you won't lose much, guitar pedals are a buoyant market. A small amp can be picked up for a tenner or less. You only need a cheap mic - another tenner maybe, make sure it has a standard 1/4 inch jack plug to fit the pedal. Loopers are great fun too as you can overdub the original recording with more layers. The cheaper ones don't let you save it though but if you get a good recording you want to keep, just play it back and record it onto a tape recorder. Then play it back into the looper via your mic when you want to use it. That way you can have a stock of different sounds for variety. A good pedal that allows you to save loops is the Digitech Jam man Solo XT. They are about £100 new. They fetch good prices secondhand though. Prob about £75-80 used.
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