Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Nestboxcam Up and Running!

The bottom line for this update is that we have the nestboxcam up and running and the new ledgecam was installed yesterday. Currently, the live streaming option for BOTH cams is working but the refreshed image option for both cams is still down. We continue to attempt to restore the still image options. With the new cameras, viewers may notice that the images provided by the new cameras are slightly different from what we are used to--that is mainly due to each camera having a different kind of lens than what was on the old cameras. There is also different sized gravel in the nestbox this year than last which could cause a different appearance as well. One further issue with the ledgecam is a few times today it has glitched and gone into a flashing mode which we do not know the cause. We appreciate everyone's patience while we continue to tweak the new cameras to provide the best views.

Now for those that are interested beyond just looking at the birds, some further information on what we've been dealing with:

When the new nestbox camera was installed earlier this month we also ran new cabling that was to transfer the video directly to the internet. At the same time we ran the new cable, we removed the "old" cable that we used with the "old" system that transferred the video to a computer and then to the internet. (The intention with the new system is ultimately to bypass the PCs.) However, since unanticipated software issues were preventing us from going completely with the new system we decided to reinstall the "old" cable to utilize the "old" computer system. This would at least allow us to see the nest and ledge using the same system as last year. So, yesterday we ran the "old" cable back out to the nestbox camera housing and hooked it up to the "new" camera. This, combined with a new computer restored the view of inside the nestbox, albeit using the "old" computer system. Hopefully soon we will be able to switch over to the new system. Ultimately, it doesn't make any difference to you, the web user, which way the video ends up on our site. The main reason for the change is that we were told that transferring the video directly to the internet will be more reliable than going through the PC.

After we were finished with the nestbox camera we ran the new cable for the ledgecam but also kept the "old" cable in place. As with the nestbox camera, the new ledge camera was installed and hooked up with both the new and the "old" cables. Currently, we are also using the "old" computer system to transfer the image to the web for the ledge view.

VIEW: Again, both cameras have different lenses than we've used in the past. We are currently evaluating the new view. From what I've seen so far today, the ledgecam view looks a bit wider and might be an improvement. I'm not as happy with the nestbox view--it seems as if there isn't the level of detail inside of the box. We'll continue to evaluate in different lights and looking at things when the birds are present. If it is possible and we deem it necessary, we may tweak the view if we have time before there are eggs.

SOUND: On the ledgecam, we are still using a separate microphone on the ledge. Once we switch to the new system that mic will be inactive. There is a built-in microphone on the camera but being sealed inside of a protective camera housing we aren't sure how well it will perform. We'll have to wait and see on that. For the nestbox camera, the old microphone was removed so any sound you hear is being picked up by the built-in microphone on the camera that is sealed inside the camera housing. Again, we'll have to wait and see how well it performs.

This is a lot of detail for one update but I wanted to give some background so everyone would have an idea of what all is involved in this process behind the scenes.