Welcome to the live, infra-red bunny cams! Currently there are three cameras available. To view a live picture, simply click on one of the images below:
Note: The images on this page are static. To view a live image you need to click on them to open the cam in a new window. This is done to conserve bandwidth. It is perfectly possible to have all three cameras open at once, but I would ask you to try and close any that you aren't interested in. Just one camera being viewed by one person generates about 10 Gigabytes a month of traffic!!
Frequently Asked Questions about the bunny cams
I clicked on the image, but nothing has happened. Where are the live cams?
Why can't I see any bunnies?
Presuming you are looking at a live cam, and not just the static images on this page, then there could be several reasons:
- The bunnies are out in their run (through the pipe seen in camera 3). I plan to have a fourth camera inside the run eventually and have even run the wiring for this, but it is taking a back seat as I have more important stuff to do (Like getting mains power in the shed, and insulating it for the winter)
- They are out of view of the cameras. There are a couple of blind spots with the current setup. Chiefly the litter tray and hay rack is directly below camera 2 so you won't see any bun sat in the tray (although you can normally see the tips of Flump's ears!). Also the far right of the back section is not covered by camera 1, but the buns rarely go there.
- I am working from home, or it is a weekend so the bunnies are out and about in the garden.
Why are the cameras "Offline"?
I have an ADSL connection which means I only have 25KB/sec upload capacity, which the cameras easily max out. If I need that capacity for other things (eg work, p2p etc) then I will turn the cameras offline.
So when is the best time to see them?
- Not during weekend daytime, or between 5.00pm and 10pm weekdays as the buns are usually out in the garden.
- Usually after 10pm-ish when they go to bed. In theory the cameras will be on all night, but this may not happen in practice for a while until I get the system setup exactly how I want it.
- Weekdays are your best bet, but I work from home two days a week so I will need my bandwidth to connect to work (and the buns will be out if I'm at home anyway). Unfortunately the days vary, but I am always in work on Wednesdays.
Why do the bun's eyes look so wierd?
Remember that you are seeing an infra-red image. In reality it is pitch black inside the shed, so the bun's pupils are wide open, and they reflect the infra-red light from the camera very nicely!
Why are the cameras black and white?
Again due to it being an infra-red image. The cameras do have colour capability, but it is usually so dark inside the shed even in the daytime that they never switch over. Even when they do switch, the infra-red light from the sun tends to wash out the colours somewhat.
Where exactly are the cameras situated?
Take a look at The Shed page to see the layout of the hutch and cameras.
Why are the camera images so fuzzy / blurred / bad?
There are many reasons for this. Primarily the amount of compression I am having to introduce in order to fit the images into my upstream bandwidth. On top of this though there are a few other reasons:
- The cameras are cheap CMOS ones with auto exposure (hey, I'm not made of money!). The relative darkness of the shed tends to make them over expose and as a result the lit objects get burnt out. Mishka and Sparkle's hair seem to reflect the IR light really well which exasperates the problem.
- The cameras are fixed focus and don't seem to have very good focal length for nearby objects. Camera 1 is worst for this if a bun is next to the camera.
- Due to a technical problem and subsequent fudge, I am having to compress the images to MPEG4 and then decode them again before applying the JPEG compression. All of which degrades the image quality.
Why do the cameras update so slowly? I thought they were going to be streaming?
Until the advent of IPv6 and multicasting for the masses, streaming is simply not an option. My home network uses about 50KB/sec to stream one camera as MPEG4. That is twice my available upload bandwidth. It would be feasible to reduce the quality and get a single stream out, but that would enable just one person to see one camera at a time.
I have had some thoughts of writing some software to maybe get around this using a p2p model where each user uploads the stream for the next person, but in all honesty I doubt I will ever get around to writing this. Even then I'd only be able to stream one camera.
Some hosting companies have push/pull services where you upload the stream to them, and then their server pushes it out to however many clients need it. The drawback to this is it costs a whole lotta moneytm (which I don't have!)
Hopefully I'll be making some improvements to my software which should push the framerate up slightly, but I'm primarily constrained by the speed of my host's FTP server.
The cameras are "Online" but they are not updating!
I also plan to make the "online" status more intuitive when I get 5 mins. Currently it does no checks to make sure the images are actually being uploaded.