1/4 Mile Remote Activation

Hello All,

So quick rundown of the situation. Where I live we have a Buffalo roundup once a year with 1000+ buffalo. They have to go through a specific gate so it’s the only guaranteed spot to get a shot of them. I’d like to place a Theta S right in the middle of that gate and my boss is willing to buy the camera. The problem is activation.

I will probably have to set the camera up a few hours before the buffalo are actually there and after set-up the closest I will be is around a 1/4 mile away. So first, can the Theta S be attached to a battery pack that will keep it running for the few hours? And second, is there any way to start the video remotely from 1/4 mile? I’m in the middle of a field, so no power or wifi outside of what I can take with me. I would just let it run the 2 hours, but the 8GB internal would fill up way too fast.

Anyone know of any solutions?

1/4 mile are 402 meter we have shot via WiFi from 150 meter iPhone 6
402 meter will maybe do i you use a laptop as operator (THETA S REMOTE) with an external directional antenna
and free sight!
if you have the latest firmware installed an external battery are supported good luck

Regards Svendus

Yes, with a normal USB battery pack. We use this often at events with the THETA. I works fine. Test this before deploy. You’ll need to disable offDelay and sleepDelay

There is hopefully an app that can this for you so you don’t have to program the camera through the API. If you do, here’s a video tutorial on how to do it.

The API has startCapture and stopCapture. It would seem likely that there’s an existing application to start and stop the video based on triggers such as time or motion.

here’s a video we created for a demo to show the THETA taking a picture from a Raspberry Pi using the GPIO pins. The idea was to show the GPIO pins of the RPi in use and then give people the inspiration to connect something like a motion sensor to the Pi.

You could also set it to start at a certain time or after a certain time interval. @jcasman was working on this and he may have finished it.

If you or your friend can program, you can build this in half a day. Or, just use a laptop and put it close by the THETA.

I’m assuming that there is an existing program that can do this. Might be worth looking around for a pre-built option.

Our mission with the videos was just to show people what was possible and to inspire them to build a product accessory to the THETA and bring it to market. I haven’t kept up to date with all the apps and accessories out there.

The WiFi of the THETA will not be strong enough to transmit 1/4 mile. It is a weak signal.

Feel free to ask more questions. I’m not sure if the THETA will work in your project with existing applications. You may need to program something, which may or may not be a problem with your team.

This is another video of the demo for control of the camera.

The man in the video, @jcasman, was working on a timer with Python at my house and he had it working last month. Did you ever finish your video timer program with that kick-ass tutorial? You published it, right? Maybe you can edit it to start the video at a specified time the future and stop it?

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Would the wifi be strong enough at that distance if I have a laptop and cantenna aimed right at it? I’ve never used a cantenna and not sure of the range.

Programming isn’t totally out of the realm for myself but time is the main issue there.

it is possible to increase a 2.4 GHz WIFI signal with a Yagi directional antenna and reach up to 3ooo meter
i do not think you can transfer the images from the THETA S to the laptop at that distance but it should be possible to start - stop recording

Have you thought about waiting until the buffalo arrive and then sending a drone out with the camera already recording?

I would hate to see you in a position where the buffalo arrive and you can’t start the camera record. Can you test it prior to deployment?

The mount for the camera is a 1/4" 20 thread per inch bolt. You can also use a flexible tripod and bend the legs around the drone.

I can test it prior to deployment, but the drone is out of the question. It’s a highly regulated event and they don’t allow drones outside of their own. Plus I’m hoping for an on-the-ground sort of perspective.

Right now I’m looking at getting a Cantenna or making one and targeting it at the Theta hoping to pick up its wifi. Even if I lose reception once the buffalo start being in between me and the camera, it should keep recording as long as I can hit start.

Has anyone used the Theta S Remote for Ricoh Theta Cameras app in the app store? It’s made by Harald Meyer. I’m curious to know how well it works before purchasing it.

HI Naaberle
we have the app installed on my Macbook Pro late 2013
i check the the WiFi distance to morrow

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Just want to make sure you know that RICOH also provides free applications for mobile phones.

I think you probably want a camera controller on a laptop, similar to what Svendus is using. It would seem easier to add the antenna to the laptop than to a mobile phone or tablet.

Feel free to share the video of the buffalo if you get it working.

Ya, I definitely need a laptop as I haven’t found a reliable way to add a directional antenna to an iPhone yet, and even the local apple store couldn’t think of anything 3rd part that would work. So I’m thinking if a cantenna is required than a laptop is the only way. I’m hoping I can just order the equipment and test it.

I think svendus has that exact setup.

I hope you can just plug it in and get it to work as well. These Cantenna
(untested) look fairly easy to make.

We’re in the pioneering stage of these types of video journalistic
adventures. I’m sure that in 6 months to a year, there will be more stuff
that you can just buy without have to cobble stuff together yourself.
Hopefully, you find the hacking fun and rewarding.

For the laptop, you can also try and use DHC
send the API command to start the video, maybe as backup in case the
desktop application fails to connect. The Unofficial API Guide
http://codetricity.github.io/theta-s/index.html might help if you take
this route.

The camera can also connect to something like a Raspberry Pi (or another
cheap laptop) with either WiFi or USB. So, if you can’t connect to the
THETA with the cantenna, you can try to connect another laptop with dual
WiFi adapters that is next to the THETA to another Cantenna and then send
the signal Cantenna to Cantenna. If you get that far, you’d have a fairly
awesome rig to take pictures of different types of wildlife events.

Wish I had an easier answer for you.

There’s also the possibility that @jcasman finished his code for a very
similar video application. Is that Python tutorial finished?

Here are an article how to
Improve Your Laptop’s Wifi With A Wifi Antenna Booster

I hope he can just plug in that $20 antenna and get the signal he needs. I
have my suspicions that the WiFi signal from the camera may be too weak.
It’s a small camera with a no WiFi antenna and the camera’s WiFi signal is
weak. Though, it may just work.

There’s also the strategy of using a $10 PIR motion sensor connected to a
Raspberry Pi to trigger the camera when the buffalo pass.

There are different adapters some you can connect to external antenna

the db gain in the antenna are also working on receiving

First, thanks for all the help everyone!

Second, so far I’m looking at picking up this.


As a solely mac office I worry about driver issues with other USB wifi antenna’s and my friend owns an apple store and recommended quickertek. If anyone knows of any others that are cheaper with mac support I’ll definitely look into that.

So the plan is to buy that and the cantenna and connect it to one of the antenna ports for long range directional support.

Any comments or critiques on this setup? or does it sound like it should be able to pick up the Theta’s small wifi signal?

the WiFi or Airport are very unstable on older Macbook pro it is only becoming better with an adapter
You can always make it directional
with alu reflectors made from halved beer cans
Drone pilots often use this for stronger signal on their radio transmitter

it is raining here so we could not test the application

I like the wood interior.

Buffalo are little shy animals
We tested the THETA S Remote application on my Macbook Pro late 2013
wonderful hardware but the driver for the Broadcom Airport are rather useless i could not shoot from 50 meter distance
i am running a clean install of Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon on an older 32 bit Intel Macbook Pro and the Broadcom driver for Linux are no way better [quote]Apple do not believe in magic :cry:[/quote]
iPhone 6 has stronger WiFi we shoot from 260 meter distance!
witch i think should do, we can easily get into an Älg here on that distance with the wind at our back :camel: NOTE: Älgs are not afraid of cars we get quite close some times on the road.

Regards Svendus