We have been world leaders in HD and above time lapse and monitoring for over a decade, during which time our technology has transformed how construction and engineering projects are viewed and managed.
Whilst the latest off-the-shelf digital cameras offer basic time lapse features, none are able to capture events for years at a time and provide the sort of feedback, control and monitoring requirements that our customers expect and receive from our world-beating platform.
To provide these abilities, our New Product Development team continuously develop our camera technology, taking into account customer feedback, advances in technology and insights gained from our monitoring software.
We've shared the background behind our technology below - and a fair dollop of crustacean code names - beginning with the Lobster Pot.
The Lobster Pot
The Lobster Pot is more than just a camera. Each hand-built unit contains the following key components:
- The Crab - Monitoring and control
- The Processor - Computational power
- Communications - Telemetry and data
- An SLR camera and professional lens
All are held within our weather tested, IP66 rated, 'MR1' camera enclosure, meaning you can be confident your shots will be captured time and time again, whether you're in the Arctic Circle, the Middle East, or Milton Keynes.
The Crab - Monitoring and control
Our patented control, monitoring and telemetry device forms the core of the Lobster Pot. In contemporary parlance you might call it an 'Internet of Things (IoT)' device, but over the last seven years we've been doing 'IoT' we've lovingly referred to it as the 'Crab'.
Early in Lobster Pictures’ history we discovered that the majority of the issues we diagnosed were related to power supply. Therefore the Crab can independently send a 'Help, I'm losing power!' alert, before gracefully shutting down and awaiting restoration of power.
But the Crab can do so much more than that.
Via its built-in GSM 'telemetry' connection (code-named 'Little Claw') it is able to monitor the status and quality of the power source and local temperature, alerting us to potential issues before they happen. Our Lobster Pots are battle-tested, but few electronic devices can cope with continuous power-offs over many months. This monitoring allows us to proactively contact sites and troubleshoot any issues, heading off costly revisits to (often inaccessible) camera positions.
The same telemetry allows us to remotely control power of varying voltages, the camera itself and the shooting schedule, allowing us to disconnect, cycle/reboot and schedule power supplies to the components of a Lobster Pot – i.e. the camera, computer, router and heater.
Finally, in demanding situations, the Crab can take full control of the system, shutting down un-needed components to preserve power and allow for high-speed shooting of such events as the new year fireworks in London (pictured below). All without leaving the comfort of your office!
Using a low-power, high-speed ARM based processor, similar to that in your smartphone, we're able to provide even finer-grained remote control of the Lobster Pot.
In particular, we have full remote control of aperture, ISO, intervalometer and schedule settings via our camera control interface.
This allows us to respond instantly to client requests to capture once-in-a-project events, whether that's the arrival of mega-cranes or the opening of a venue by royalty, we've seen it all.
It also provides us with extremely detailed monitoring, via (you've guessed it) our 'Big Claw' software monitoring system.
The unsung hero of the Lobster Pot - but key to our ability to provide near real-time monitoring of your site - are our data and telemetry modems. The latter, the Urchin, is pictured above. These continuously and securely upload the latest images to Lobster Vision and transmit monitoring data to our systems.
Both are capable of communicating at full 3G and 4G speeds and you can be sure they will work wherever you are. We've installed and managed remote cameras in over 20 countries, across six continents.
Finally, each of our bespoke components come together to support the most important component of the Lobster Pot: the digital SLR camera.
The use of professional-grade SLRs, paired with super-sharp lenses, allow us to capture high-quality images in conditions that video, CCTV and webcams cannot compete with.
These cameras can provide images at 4K (Consumer HD) quality, all the way up to and beyond 8K (UHD). We were the first company to deploy this technology in 2012.
But why stretch to a resolution consumer TVs are yet to support? The answer is choice. Within the 33 million pixels that make up an 8K image are 16 possible HD quality shots (an example is highlighted in the image below). This wealth of options gives us a huge amount of freedom to zoom, pan and otherwise produce highly creative videos that would not have been possible with a lower resolution camera.
See more examples in our 'Super Hi-Vision' video.
Actual Lobster Pot 8K image
Not all time lapse cameras systems are created equal. A decade of research and development is behind every Lobster Pot camera that we deploy.
And we don't stop there. We're always inventing. Not content with just our patented control and monitoring system, we constantly develop improvements in our hardware and software, ensuring that you see the absolute highest quality results, time after time.
Would you like to know more?
Download our free infographic here showing how easy it is to implement time lapse on your project, or get in touch here for a chat, or below to book a demo - it would be great to discuss how we can benefit your project, with our technology.