Arduino triggers a camera to start recording

I've already made an Arduino device which detects the trigger event, but now I want it to trigger the recording and storage of video when this event occurs. If the camera could be wirelessly triggered a few feet away from the Arduino unit, that would be optimal, but I can settle for running wires if need be.

I'm looking for suggestions because I'm on a limited budget for this project. I want to avoid reinventing the wheel and ordering parts which I can't get to work with an Arduino.

I'm considering the use of this camera.

This is my first Arduino project. Any help or suggestions are very welcome.

Almost any camera can be used, so long as you're prepared to open it up and solder wires to the start/stop switch. That camera looks like a good choice if you want to avoid damaging a camera.

For wireless, I would use just any remote shutter available from your favourite photographic store (eBay) and do the solder-wires trick on the transmitter. Of course you can get 43MHz modules from SparkFun to do this but that will cost more and take more effort to package into a box.


I suppose my question can be summarized by asking, "what is the best way for an Arduino to turn another device on or off?"

In the case of wireless, since I'm trying to use the camera to video record, and I'm trying to get the Arduino to automatically start recording once it registers the trigger event, I'm not sure how the remote shutters are of much use. All the ones I've seen use an input from a human operated push button remote.

Is your suggestion to remove the push button on the remote and somehow solder the leads to the Arduino unit? Back to my original question, does an Arduino module exist which would turn complete this circuit (formerly operated by the button)?

I'm really trying to avoid dead end troubleshooting because of budgets and time constraints, otherwise I'd just spend a few weeks tinkering.


Did you read the manual of this camera. Looks like it takes quite a long time from "push the button" to "start recording":

... push the switch down for under one second and release. ... It could take up to 8 seconds for the camera to turn on and start recording for the same reason a computer takes time to boot up. We know that a lot of important footage can be lost in 8 seconds but there was really nothing we could do to decrease the boot time.

Depends very much on your project if this is an issue... I habe been using automatic video recording in several projects in the past, but this camera would never have made me happy. With my projects it was always like: the event takes place - video recording starts immediately (OK maybe 1.3 seconds later...).

Would a "normal" webcam (much cheaper) and a laptop be an option? You could use a Leonardo (or Micro). They can act as a USB keyboard (or mouse), to control software on the laptop.

(Almost) everything that can be done with a USB keyboard can also be done with Leonardo or Micro. You could work on command line or control some software.

The simplest method is to find the camera ground, connect it to the Arduino ground. Then find the voltage on the shutter switch when it's not pressed and then connect that to the Arduino. digitalWrite(CameraPin, LOW) will probably do it.

However, this approach has a high risk of damaging the camera, the Arduino or both if the voltages aren't compatible. You can use either an optocoupler or a relay to take the place of the switch, under the control of the Arduino. A relay is pretty darn simple although it does take more power, which may be an issue if you're trying to do this on a coin cell battery.

You want wireless and you only want one or two buttons? Then a remote shutter is the cheapest and simplest way to buy such a radio system. If you don't need wireless, then don't do that.