Another side project : the photo-mirror
Axel, a long-time friend, changed his professional orientation a few years ago to launch “La Scène” in Aix-en-Provence. It is a family friendly place where you can spend a moment after work during the week, over a drink and some tapas. There are concerts, theatrical improvisations and much more, as La Scène is intended to be a place for artistic events and much more.
With one of his acquaintances who happened to be a photographer, Axel has integrated a photographic mirror, low-tech descendant of the “photo booths” that you have certainly used during a wedding or another festive event.
The main idea is to allow people to take pictures of themselves in the evening, but in the eclectic, retro-grandmother and resolutely low-tech style from La Scène. Thus a solution without a electronic display, without diodes, without lights and without coloured plastics has been designed. The integration carried out at La Scène is particularly successful. The camera is setup behind a large mirror in a frame with golden mouldings, the tain of which has been removed in the middle in order to allow the camera to see through it.
The camera is a Nikon 3100, equipped with an 18-55mm lens and an external flash.
A button at the end of a cable allows customers to trigger the camera. the whole things produces this kind of professional quality photo:
However, a number of additionnal features were expected for such an environment:
allow to retrieve the photos in order to project them on a giant screen in the main room (web slideshow provided),
allow customers to view the photos on their smartphone,
upload the photos to flickr or to an FTP site to make them available to the public the day after,
add a text and/or graphic watermark to each photo.
Upon Axel’s request, I developed a small box based on a Raspberry Pi that connects to the camera via an USB cable and to the local wifi in order to provide these features. If you want to get a more precise idea, the user documentation is visible here.
The chosen Raspberry Pi is a 3B+ model which has the particularity of having an integrated wifi. The wifi is configured to access the LAN and to provide a a captive portal allowing customers to access photos from their own smartphone. The OS is Arch linux, configured to use the repository http://tardis.tiny-vps.com/aarm/ in order to be able to obtain a known and tested configuration.
The software (photo manager and web interface) is written in python 3.7.
The other software used are:
gphoto2 (and its python binding) to retrieve the photos,
dnsmasq + hostapd + iptables + ngninx for the captive portal,
sphinx for documentation. Robotframework coupled with selenium are used to automatically extract screenshots from the configuration web application,
sigal to generate the photo gallery,
py.test for testing,
bottle for the web server of the configuration and administration applicatio,
grafana, prometheus and prometheus push gateway for monitoring,
tor to provide ssh access for maintenance and troubleshooting (at least on the test version of La Scène),
Here after is a random sample of the photos taken at La Scène:
They are all visible on the Flickr space of La Scène.
And then what?¶
A number of improvements or new features are planned. I also consider switching the software licence to open-source in order to to benefit other people.
To be continued…
Feel free to contact me if you need more information.