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Although I am rusty, I've got a decent amount of programming experience, a lot of web programming experience and a decent knowledge of Unix/linux. Although its been a while, I am slowly getting knowledge back after switching one of my PC's to Ubuntu.

I've seen the Raspberry Pi for a while now and I'm thinking about getting one or two to play with. ONE thing I would be interested in is using several of them linked together with video cameras where I can start, stop and pause all of them at the same time. I've seen that someone has linked something like 64 of them together and used them as a 'supercomputer' but I'm wondering if I would be able to use on of them to control, say six or maybe 8 others so that all of them begin recording video at the same time? Could they then also be networked together and transfer their video data to a PC or hard drive so that I could take the video and edit it together?

I know this is an oddball question, but I am, among other things, a fishing guide and I was planning on buying additional GoPros (I have two so far) to use on the river so that when we get a fish on, I can hit record and have all of them begin recording 360 degrees around the boat. While this would certainly be easier, it is not at all cheaper (although I haven't factored in the exact cost for the additional video camera, etc for the Pis) and I would still have to manually pull the video off of each one to compile together.

I was thinking that If I could dedicate them to the sole task of recording video and control all from one location that I could mount them in a waterproof box and use them this way?

It would certainly be much more fun than the GoPro's and considering I keep having problems with the GoPro software, it may be less of a headache once it's all together.

Sorry for the long post, but these little guys fascinate me and I'm really interested in learning and playing with them.

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Your project sounds feasible , but will probably involve some programming. You might want to check out the CompoundPi Python library which has been designed for this specific purpose .

https://compoundpi.readthedocs.io/en/release-0.4/

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It's been a wee while since I last checked, but I don't think that GoPro's are easily usable as webcams. They're fantastic as stand-alone units but they don't have a USB out that can be used to send real-time video to a Pi. That's going to be a problem if you're trying to reduce the manual labour element of things.

A reasonable approach would be to use Pi Zeros (make sure you get the brand spanking new ones with the CSI connector) with Pi cameras and WiFi dongles. You can use something like Flask to build a web-accessible Python script that could be triggered from, say, a phone. Connect all of the Pis and the phone to a small portable WiFi router (I love the TP-Link WR702N for this kind of thing), or use a phone mobile hotspot. Send the control signals from the phone, the Flask scripts pick up the instruction and trigger the cameras.

One thing to be aware of is sync. It will be almost impossible to achieve flawless synchronisation between the cameras (and any audio captured) without a reliable master clock signal, which will be impractical in a boat. For a lot of use cases this isn't a big deal, but it's definitely worth bearing in mind.

  • I think I confused you on one part. I never meant to use the GoPro with the Raspberry Pi, but the Pis instead of GoPros. That being said, you have answered my question as you also told me the how! The videos would simply be clipped together. For example, switching from one view to the next. It wouldn't matter whether they sync or not as only video from one of the camera angles would be used at a time. The reason for the 360 is so that I can easily start all cams at once and late choose the video I want. Thank you! Also, is Python a decent language to focus on for the Pi? – DocGil Jun 17 '16 at 9:20
  • Got you. Pi's should work fairly well for your application, although I would say that the Pi camera boards aren't fantastic in low light. It would be worth taking one for a test run in 'normal' conditions to check that the footage is going to be viable. Python is a great language to pick up for Pi work. It's got a relatively low learning curve, bundles and bundles and bundles of community support, works nicely across different platforms, and is generally very capable. – goobering Jun 17 '16 at 9:23

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