automatic picture taking at sports event

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by I_dunno_anythin, Oct 1, 2003.

  1. I am looking for some guidance and pointers to assist me in a new project.
    What I wish to achieve is the following.
    A sports event will take place with about 5000 participants. Each one
    carries an electronic tag which contains a microchip with information about
    the person . At the end of the race, I want to take a picture perhaps a few
    pictures of each participant as they complete the course. I then want to
    print out these pictures together with relevant information such as the
    finishing time. My question is, how do I do the picture taking
    automatically? Should I be using a digital camera with some sort of
    electronic switch or should I consider using a digital video recorder? I'm
    really looking for advice to get me going on the right track. In an ideal
    world, the microchip would trigger the picture taking as the participant
    crosses the line and would then automatically upload two or three pictures
    to the central database with the other information carried in the chip such
    as the time, name etc.
    I_dunno_anythin, Oct 1, 2003
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  2. I_dunno_anythin

    Giorgis Guest

    Hmmm ... we are watching you, pretty scary stuff :)

    What are you going to do with the picture ?
    If it is to print them for an album, I doubt you can get any good ones
    without a human.

    I would attach a camera to a PC with a hardrive. As they are approaching
    start snapping (automated), and even as they pass the line.

    I would have the means to record exact time of line crossing from the
    tag. Then I would go through and screen the photos for the respective

    lets see, considering 5000, most would cross the line in groups So I
    would say about a photo per person is more tha enough. Because we can we can
    have say 5.

    25,000 photos at 3 megs each 75GB hardrive. That is a pretty standard
    hardrive, make it 120G.

    In fact I would have two cameras, 20 meters behind the line. One camera
    at 50 degrees to the finish line, and one at 5 degrees.

    Giorgis, Oct 1, 2003
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  3. Yep it's a challenge allright ! The pictures are to be printed out using an
    onsite mini lab preferably with the time of the runner and some other facts.
    Something for them to take away on the day .
    How to achieve automatic picture taking ? I have free reign on price and
    equipment to use.
    Kid in the candy store in many ways
    I_dunno_anythin, Oct 1, 2003
  4. I_dunno_anythin

    Jeff Guest

    Since they are microchipping the racers, they must have a computerized
    timing system that you could link to for the database information and
    triggering the cameras.
    You may need custom software written to superimpose the database
    information on a picture file automatically.
    Many races have a clock posted at the finish line. If you include that
    clock in the picture, you could get away without using a computer to add
    the time afterwards.
    I'm not sure how fast a minilab prints, but I would think you would need
    more than one to print the pictures fast enough to get them in the
    competitor's hands before they leave.
    An alternative would be to copy the picture files to a floppy disc
    instead, along with a small text file containing the database
    information. The racers could then print them later at home or at a
    minilab as they see fit.
    Jeff, Oct 1, 2003
  5. Yes you are absolutely correct. There is a computerised timing system which
    writes the info into a database. I am trying to find out how to use this
    system to trigger the picture(s) taking as the runners arrive at the finish.
    As they cross the mats the chip is triggered and fires off info into the
    system > But how to harness this action into a picture taking action also?
    What sort of camera do I need? Video or Still ? These are the areas of
    advice for which I am seeking help.
    The minilab is capable of up to 1400 picutes/hour so as the race will take
    up to 6 hours for all runners to finish, there should be just enough time.
    I_dunno_anythin, Oct 2, 2003
  6. I_dunno_anythin

    Jeff Guest

    Contact the manufacturer of the timing system to find what outputs their
    system has for triggering external equipment. They should have
    provisions for a "photo-finish" camera at the finish line.
    A video camera connected to a capture card in a PC would likely be the
    simplest, if not the best quality, way to get pictures if you work out
    the triggering situation. The timing system manufacturer may already
    have thought of this and have the necessary hardware and software
    available. A human at the PC may be needed to transfer the image file
    to the minilab.
    A still camera that has a wired remote (Kodak DCS720, for example) could
    work. You could take several pictures then swap memory cards when there
    is a sufficient gap in the runners and take the card to the minilab for
    printing. Manual focus would be needed to avoid the autofocus time lag
    after triggering the exposure.
    You could also contact the organizers of other races to see if they have
    tried to do this and what their solution was.
    Jeff, Oct 2, 2003
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