Action Camera with Raspberry Pi

Hi guys, this time I’d like to show you how I built my action camera with Raspberry Pi, my idea is to put a camera on my sky helmet and use it as action camera.

All the action cameras that you find on the internet are quite expensive so I decided to create my own with a low budget, let’s start!

Material

-Raspberry Pi Zero (about 5$)

-Raspberry Pi Camera (I like the fisheye camera for this project about 13$ on aliexpress)

-Powerbank or Raspberry Pi battery module (I use the same powerbank that I use for my phone so 0$)

-SD card (I bought a 64Gb sd card to have a large storage but you can also use 8/16/32 Gb so the price depends on what you want)

-LCD screen if you want (I don’t use it)

Operating System

The first thing that you have to do is install Raspbian OS, if you don’t know how to do it go to my Beginning Page. If you decide to use a LCD screen I recommend you to use a 2.8” TFT + touchscreen but in this case you need a specific type of Raspian OS that you can download here:

Use this link for PiTFT RESISTIVE TOUCH screens
Use this link for PiTFT CAPACITIVE TOUCH screens

after the download install it on your SD card (you can find it on my Beginning page). If you use one of the previously OS (not the classic Raspbian) be carefull!

IMPORTANT: performing an ‘apt-get upgrade’ on a working system will BREAK PiTFT SUPPORT. Don’t do this. We’ll update links for newer images as soon as they’re available.

If you want to see more informations about this OS and how to use it visit my Raspberry Pi camera article.

Now you have to install the camera:
With the Raspberry Pi powered off connect the camera to the specific connector on your Raspberry Pi board, connect the PiTFT screen with the GPIO header (or not if you don’have it). Connect also a keyboard and power Raspberry for the first time: after it go to the configuration pannel through this command (write it in the terminal):

  • sudo raspi-config

After it you found the option Enable Camera, select it and click yes.

If you want to use a Screen follow the installation and configuration options on my Raspberry Pi camera article.

Configuration without screen

For an action camera I don’t use a screen so I replace all the function that you can do with the touch screen with tow buttons!

  1. First button to start recoding
  2. Second button to stop recoding and to power off the Pi

The script for this button in on github at this link.

Buttons connection:

  1. The first button that you use to start recoding it must be connected between GPIO 23 adn GND
  2. The second button to stop recoding and power off it must be connected between GPIO 24 and 3V3

The second button can be used with two functions, depending on how long you press it  >1sec stop recoding, >3sec power off.

The script that you can found at this link on github  can be used only after you type this command in the terminal:

  • sudo python picamrecoder.py

Design

As you know I decided to use the configuration without screen, so I integrated the Pi camera on my sky helmet and with an appropriate cover I leave the camera wire along the Helmet and I place the Raspberry Pi zero with the powerbank in an internal pocket of my jacket. You can also make a little hole in an external pocket of your jacket and place camera Raspberry Pi and battery here.