Monday, 2 February 2009

a post of many parts

Firstly, Halfie asks how I'm doing with my time lapse camera; to be honest, haven't done anything much, apart from wish I'd had it last summer. ;-) The aim is to mount it in a relatively secure & weatherproof box, with access to a 12v supply, so basically it can be started every morning on a cruise and left all day. It's more or less in one small box what I've been meaning to build for myself for years.

Poking around blogs (via Lucky Duck, I think, this one), I found Robin of NB Uisce posting videos made up from webcam images recorded by a laptop, assembled into a video file afterwards. A more complicated setup, but notable from the fundamental point that the viewpoint is from the back fo the boat, the way the steerer sees the world anyway. I'd been working on a clear view of the canal, from the bow (what I suspect the Waterway Routes videos do), although I did quite like the test run on NB Alnwick, that had a little of the prow in shot. So food for thought, there. Also noting that Uisce and Waterway Routes are both boats with electric propulsion - yes, back to that again... ;-)

I also wanted to note that I got to have dinner with Keith & Tim from NB Floss, who I met properly at Calcutt locks, but we seem to have more or less followed the same route around the country at more or less the same time, and being more observant than me must have spotted a daft little red boat here and there. No link, as they keep some kind of 'log' on 'paper' - who knew that was possible? ;-) I still maintain this blog is mainly for me, I'll lose a notebook easily enough, more easily than I'm likely to break the entire internet. Next time I'll blag a look around FLoss, and their famous gardner engine. Actually, if I did go electric I could have great fun recording various old engines, and playing them in through the boat back deck sound system (yet to be properly installed) when passing impressible boaters. It's a thought, albeit a daft one.

Tortoise deserves a paragraph, at least; I'm finally replacing the original fuse distribution with a neat circuit breaker & switch systen, mounted into a double gang electrical socket pattress plate; a second one will hold metering - more to come, and pictures, in another post. Plan for first half of the year is blacking in March, then getting ready for an initial BSC inspection at the start of May, giving me two months to get things right before I expire in July. Thankfully High Line do the second inspection for free, unlike whoever Carrie is using... ;-( Also I'm booked in for Little Venice again on May Day bank holiday, hopefully sheperding along Catherine & Will on Benbulben, along with the rest of the High Line convoy; PMR radios, chaps?

And finally, I've even splashed out on doing some work on the house - insulating under the front room floor, which has made a huge difference to the temperature (and temperature gradient) of the room. The newish woodstove is doing sterling service on evenings in, burning slowly on larger pices of wood and pumping out the heat with thinner pieces of wood. There's three loft conversions going on locally at the moment, yielding lovely old roof supports & joists, and in one case some strips of oak that will come in very useful on Tortoise. I've got enough Kingspan left to do the rest of the ground floor, currently sitting under a tarp (and snow, at the moment) in the garden. I just need to make the time to pull up the floor in the hallway & back room...


Anonymous said...


Robin here. There was no laptop involved: it was an IP camera linked by an ethernet cable to a router and 3G modem to the internet. The pictures that make up the video were uploaded live as we went along.

By the way, I've just finished installing underfloor heating on Uisce, part of which involved insulating under the floorboards with 40mm foil-faced insulation. Even when the heating isn't on, the insulation makes helps more than I expected. At 20°C room temperature when the marina is frozen, uninsulated bits of floor are at 14°C. Unheated but insulated bits are at 16°.


Simon said...

thanks - I realise I misread your email! You must have had a remote PC somewhere archiving them, though?

Tortoise is v-bottomed, and only the middle 3rd of the floor is flat, for maximum headroom. ;-) The sprayfoam insulation was extended to the outer thirds, which is largely under built in furniture.

Underfloor heating sounds great, and may well feature in a future boat, if there is one... ;-)

Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

After some early experiments on Waterway Routes we now use a conventional camera recording at normal speed to its internal hard disc. We do the speeding up during the editing and vary the speed between 10x to 60x times depending on the scene.

On the southern Shropshire Union the long straight sections can be shown quite fast, while the bends of the Staffs and Worcester need to be much slower or you get sea-sick.

We can also slow it down at interesting places like junctions.

Our first serious attempt was recorded in time-lapse at 25x and we soon learned that a fixed speed wasn't appropriate.

They are also all recorded and edited in High Definition so we are ready to release high definition Bowcams as soon as the market is ready - and I'm sure it makes for better quality when released at conventional DVD resolution than just filming at standard definition.

Have you seen our latest Bowcam masterpiece covering the whole of the BCN?


Anonymous said...


No pc: they go straight onto an internet server in Chicago!


Carrie said...

Hey Simon, I forgot I was going to comment on your electrickery post, so I'll put it here where you'll find it:
One of the things my boat failed its BSS inspection was "wires by-passing battery master switch. Install an in-line fuse near battery on neg. side beacuse master switch is on neg." I'm sure all that makes sense to you and you've probably already got it sorted ;-)

Simon said...

don't worry Carrie, comments get emailed to me (albeit to an account I don't check constantly) so you can leave them where you like.;-)

Interestingly I did used to have a dodgy single master switch on the neg side, replaced by two on the positive of each system. The charging circuit, going straight to the domestic positive will have a circuit breaker about two inches from the mater switch anyway, hopefully that will be up to the job. Currently I'm assuming that if I install things to be safe by default I shoudl be OK, but I
ll do some careful checks against the BSS site soon.

Simon said...

Paul - that's interesting, thanks - I work in broadcast video myself, so understand that what works for personal use isn't always up to a professional job, that sometimes you just have to do things properly. ;-)

Funnily enough I've been meaning to get down to a big library to photocopy the magazine article about your boat published about 18 months ago... do you carry genset equipment, or completely reliant on charging points/pubs etc?

Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

In response to your comment: If you work in broadcast video then I’m sure you could teach me a lot, as I’m entirely self taught. I produced a “Granny Buttons Sails the Severn Seas” DVD for blogger Andrew Denny when he took his boat from Bristol up the Severn to Sharpness. He showed it to lots of people and I got so much good feedback on something I had just thrown together I decided I could produce marketable stuff if I spent a little more time on it.

As for our electrics, I can save you a trip to the library

We have a conventional Beta 43 diesel installation with an additional pulley on the prop shaft. That way we get two (almost) completely independent installations so if either diesel or electric fail we can be sure the other will still work. It also meant we had two independent contracts for building the boat so there could be no blaming each other – although there were no problems so this didn’t matter.

Very roughly – every hour the electric motor is turning we have to run the diesel for two hours recharge the batteries. When you remember that at locks the electric motor is idle most of the time then in terms of cruising time it’s much less then one hour of cruising on diesel for each hour of cruising on electric.

For example, if we go through the Wolverhampton 21 on electric it only takes the diesel 15 minutes to replace the charge for >3 hours electric. We only charge from a shoreline when at our home marina, in Sherborne Wharf in Birmingham.

The big batteries also provide the 240v so I can spend hours editing of an evening or wet (non-filming day) without running the diesel.