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The Process

Updated: 1 March 2024

tl;dr version

EvoCam takes picture every 30 seconds, uploads it to a web server via FTP. EvoCam also holds on to the images until just before midnight when it creates a video from the stills and uploads the resulting .mp4 to the same web server. The rest is all done outside of EvoCam using Shortcuts, crontab, Dropbox, and Zapier, etc.

If you enjoy the Vermont Farmcam, please consider a little tip toward the beer fund.

Thank you.

How It All (Mostly) Works

The process has been hacked together over years since I first pointed a camera out the window and fired up EvoCam. I have used at least 4 computers over the years to run EvoCam, but it’s been the consistent part of the process. Which kinda sucks because the makers of EvoCam, Evological, went dark years ago, and I have been unable to find software that does the things I need it to do. I am trying to keep everything running, but ideally I want to find another solution.

If you are a software developer and want a project, please contact me.

I am having a hard time deciding where to begin. So here are some bullet points to flesh out soon by transfering over blog entries from another site. Read the tl;dr above and then these bullet points:

  1. EvoCam is taking still images every 30 seconds. It is simultaneously uploading the image to be presented here, and adding each image to files which it will later turn into (.mp4) videos — one for the 24-hour version and one for the daylight-only. This most-recent version of the process can be found in detail in a blog entry.
  2. At midnight EvoCam saves the local video files and uploads the same files to this site via FTP.
  3. Shortly after midnight an iOS Shortcut (previously completed by an Automator application) runs — triggered by a crontab job — which moves the daylight-only video file to a Dropbox directory.
  4. The Dropbox file’s presence triggers a Zapier applet which uploads the video to the YouTube channel, adding the title with the previous day’s date, a description, and tags.
  5. A short time after that another iOS Shortcut (previously accomplished with an Automator application) moves the file out of Dropbox (to save storage space!) and gives it a new chronological name for archives.
    • There is also a cron to compress each month’s worth of daily videos, and move the old files to the trash to save local space.
  6. A few hours later a Zapier applet creates a new post to this website’s WordPress blog. The blog is federated using the ActivityPub WordPress plugin, meaning that a new Mastodon post is made as well. This allows people to follow the project from whatever federated service they may use, such as Mastodon. One can follow the Vermont FarmCam on Mastodon for daily reminders.