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Scheduling – Setup and Features

Introduction to Scheduling

With the release of APEX firmware comes an updated Config page with a new and powerful tool: Scheduling.

Scheduling allows you to take full control over your timelapse schedules with Capture, Upload and Check-in sessions. Configure when and how your controller behaves throughout the week. Capture upcoming special events or requests with custom configurable events.

For a setup walkthrough, read the Setting up a standard shooting regime section below, or skip ahead to What is Scheduling? for a detailed breakdown.

You can also watch the video below for a quick tutorial on how to set-up a standard 6am-6pm shooting regime on weekdays, as well as how to set up Event Schedules for unique events and overnight shooting sessions.

You will need to select the Pro Shooter Cloud Services plan or higher for access to the full feature-set of Scheduling. See our Cloud Services page for more information.

Setting up a standard shooting regime

To help you get set up quickly, follow this section’s setup guide for a basic shooting regime that will suit the majority of timelapse projects that run during business hours  on weekdays.

For more detail on any of the elements in this setup guide, jump to their respective section using the links at the top of the article.

Below are all the settings you will need to set up a standard shooting regime; this guide will look at each one in more detail:

  •  Weekly Schedule – Standard Shooting Regime, Mon-Fri
    • Capture Session: every 15 mins, 06:00-18:00
    • Upload Session: every 15 mins, 06:00-18:00, Upload as many photos as possible
    • Check-in Session: every hour, 00:00-23:59:59
  • Photo File Handling:
    • Files to upload to cloud: set to JPEG only
    • Files to transfer to SSD: set to JPEG + RAW
    • Start deleting old photos from the external drive, when its free space drops below 2%: tickbox checked
    • Start deleting old photos from the SD card, when its free space drops below 64MB: tickbox checked

Below is an image of what your Config page will look like once you’ve followed all the steps outlined in this section.

First, set up how photos are processed. Set the Photo File Handling section to the recommended settings below:

  1. Files to upload to cloud: JPEG
  2. Files to transfer to SSD: JPEG + RAW
  3. Start deleting old photos from the external drive, when it’s free space drops below 2%: Checked
  4. Start deleting old photos from the SD card, when it’s free space drops below 64MB: Checked
  5. Lastly, select Save file handling settings
Now, set up a Weekly Schedule, which will specify the days of shooting and house the individual Sessions.

  1. Select +Weekly Schedule in the Weekly schedule section at the top of the page
  2. Select M, Tu, W, Th, F as the operating days
  3. Select Create schedule with no sessions
  4. Lastly, select Add schedule
Next, create some Sessions inside the Schedule you just created.

  1. Go to the Weekly Schedule section
  2. On the right side of your new schedule, select + Session
  3. Select Capture from the dropdown menu
  4. Set the Session time block to 06:00-18:00
  5. Set the Capture photos every 15 minutes intervals.
  6. Select Add session.
You will see your Capture session inside your Weekly Schedule. Now, make an Upload session to upload your photos at regular intervals.

  1. Select +Session once again
  2. Set the Session time block to 06:00-18:00
  3. Set Start uploading photos every to 15 minutes
  4. Select the Upload as many photos as possible option
  5. Select Add session.
Your Weekly Schedule will now have a regular session for uploading photos. Now, create an hourly Check-in session for the system to provide regular status updates and apply system changes (if any are made).

  1. Select + Session once again
  2. Select Check-in from the dropdown menu
  3. Set the Session time block to 00:00-23:59:59 (all-day)
  4. Set the Check-in every interval to 15 minutes
  5. Select Add session
The weekly schedule has now been filled up with sessions. Last, select the Save all weekly schedules button located in the bottom left corner of the Weekly Schedule section.
Your new schedule will now be applied when your unit does its next Check-in. Your Config will look like the image below.

Your unit will now do the following every weekday:

  • Take photos between 6am-6pm, every 15 minutes
  • Upload as many photos at possible between 6am-6pm, every 15 minutes
  • Check-into provide a status update and to download any config changes, every hour, all day

Setting up a schedule for a unique event

The previous section explains how to set up a standard 6am-6pm shooting schedule on weekdays. But what if there is an event such as a concrete pour on-site at the end of the month that requires a different configuration to your Weekly Schedule?

You can keep your regular Weekly Schedule and configure a one-time event schedule using Events

Events can be set to occur on a particular day, or a range of days, and will run their unique schedule instead of your standard Weekly Schedule. The Weekly Schedule will resume once the event date has passed.

Be aware that an Event replaces the entire day of activity during its designated time period, not just the blocks of time that differ from your Weekly Schedule.

Example:

There is a Weekly Schedule that does Capture, Upload, and Check-ins from 6am-6pm on Mondays. An Event on Monday that only has 2 minutes of shooting scheduled and nothing else, means that all that would happen that entire Monday is two minutes of shooting.

Therefore, you will want to include your standard daily Capture, Upload, and Check-in sessions inside your Event schedule.

To create an event schedule:

  1. Go to the Events section
  2. Select + Event
  3. Either copy sessions from an existing schedule or create an event with no sessions
  4. Select Add event
  5. Lastly, select the Save all events button in the Events section

Setting up a schedule for an overnight event

The previous sections explain how to set up weekly schedules, sessions, and events.

But what if you need an event that runs past midnight? This requires a slightly different configuration in your Events. You will need to create two separate, consecutive event schedules that meet at midnight.

For the sake of example, the hypothetical overnight event runs from Tuesday 25th to Wednesday 26th.

  1. Go to the Events section, and select + Event.
  2. Name your event something clear like Overnight Event Part 1 of 2. Schedule it to occur on Tuesday 25th.
  3. Add Capture, Upload, and Check-in sessions with your desired settings that all run until 23:59
  4. Create another Event using + Event.
  5. Name you event something clear like Overnight Event Part 2 of 2. Schedule it to occur on Wednesday 26th.
  6. Add Capture, Upload, and Check-in sessions with your desired settings that all run from 00:00

You have now created an overnight schedule. When the Overnight Event Part 1 of 2 ends at 23:59 on Tuesday 25th, the Overnight Event Part 2 of 2 on Wednesday 26th schedule will begin, having been scheduled to start from 00:00.

What is Scheduling?

This section takes a detailed look at what Scheduling is and how it works.

Every day a Schedule will run. Each Schedule can contain any number of Sessions. The Sessions tell the controller what functions will occur, at what intervals they will occur, and for how long the activity will last.

The Schedule can repeat every week when created inside the Weekly Schedule, or to run every day during a set date range when created in an Event Schedule.

Weekly Schedules can have a unique schedule for each day of the week, a single schedule repeated every day, or a combination. Days can be set to have no Schedule, and the Weekly Schedule can have all 7 days containing no schedules.

An Event Schedule repeats the same Schedule every day for the designated date range.

Event Schedules will run instead of the repeating Weekly Schedule and can be used to plan a different behaviour for special occasions that require different photography settings than standard days.

What is a Session?

Sessions are a type of activity that will occur over a block of time. There are 3 session types: Capture, Upload and Check-in.

Capture Sessions

Capture Sessions will take photos during the set time range at a set interval. Low-Power Mode and Remote Camera Control are both advanced features available when setting up a Capture session.

The fastest recommended shooting interval for Tempo is 1-minute; Low-Power Mode should be used for faster intervals.

Low-Power Mode

Low-Power Mode (LPM) is an advanced option available for Capture sessions. Read our knowledge base article on using Low-Power Mode with a Tempo before using it on your project.

LPM is designed to be used for short periods of fast interval shooting where power needs to be conserved. It’s primary use is to capture high-activity site events, such as a concrete pour.

The Photo file handling will occur every parameter is specific to Low-Power Mode and determines the interval when the system processes captured photos, unlike normal shooting where this happens automatically. Photos won’t be able to be uploaded via an Upload session, or transferred to the external drive (SSD) until they have been processed.

Photo file handling will occur every interval of 30 minutes is recommended for most projects. You may require a longer interval if you are shooting in a low-sunlight/winter environment on solar power, to manage your power more conservatively.

Remote Camera Control

Remote Camera Control is an advanced option available for Capture sessions. Read our article on Remote Camera Control before using it on your project.

It allows you to remotely make changes to whatever settings your camera supports by directly editing the JSON code. Common uses of Remote Camera Control include:

  • Optimising for the different lighting in the morning, afternoon, and evening
  • Optimising settings for a particular site event
  • Fixing small settings mistakes remotely

Using Remote Camera Control to change camera settings can result in inconsistent photos if used incorrectly; exercise caution just the same as changing any camera’s settings midway through a timelapse project.

Upload Sessions

Upload sessions will upload photos during the set time range at an interval. There are 3 upload options; Upload latest photo only, Upload as many photos as possible, and Upload up to # latest photos.

To lower data usage, you can use Upload latest photo only to keep the gallery up-to-date, but collect all other photos from the local SSD.

Check-in Sessions

Check-in sessions will connect to the photoSentinel server during their Session time block at their set interval. Check-ins let the system provide a status update and apply any changes made in Config. Regular Check-in sessions are essential to monitor system health and status.

These sessions occur in addition to the automatic check-in that occurs every 6 hours, and any check-ins that occur when the controller connects to the network for upload sessions.

What is a Schedule?

A Schedule contains a set of Sessions that will occur during a day. There are 2 schedule types: Weekly Schedules and Event Schedules.

A Weekly Schedule is a set of Sessions that will occur every week. A Weekly Schedule can be empty.

A Event Schedule is a set of Sessions that will occur every day during the set date range. An Event Schedule will replace the Weekly Schedule for the duration of the date range.

Current Schedule

Today’s Schedule displays the schedule your installation is currently running today.

Tomorrow’s Schedule displays the upcoming schedule that will run tomorrow.

Events

Timezone, displayed in the Events header, shows your installations current configured timezone. Your sessions will run based on this time, not based on your computer’s local time.

Event name will be displayed as the title for your event schedule in your list of events.

Event date range displays the date your event will start and end. To set an event for a single day, you will need to set the same date for each field.

Copy sessions from schedule allows you to copy the sessions from another schedule. This can be from a Weekly or an Event Schedule. This is useful if you would like a day to shoot as normal but have a unique configuration for a window of time during the day.

Create event with no sessions allows you to create an empty schedule with no sessions. You can then configure your shooting settings from scratch. 

Weekly Schedule

Time-zone, displayed in the header, shows your installations current configured time-zone. Your sessions will run based on this time, not based on your computers local time.

Schedule name will be displayed as the title for your event schedule in your list of events.

Sessions to run on allows you to set the days of the week to run the schedule you are creating.

Copy sessions from schedule allows you to copy the sessions from another schedule. This can be from a Weekly or an Event Schedule. This is useful if you would like a day to shoot as normal but have a unique configuration for a window of time during the day.

Create schedule with no sessions allows you to create an empty schedule with no sessions. You can then configure your shooting settings from scratch. 

Photo File Handling

Your settings in the Photo File Handling section of the Config page determine how photos are processed.

Files to upload to the cloud – These files will be sent to your photo forwarding locations such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or your FTP server.

Uploading RAW files will dramatically increase your data usage due to their large file size. Therefore, it’s recommended to upload JPEG files to the cloud, and collect RAW photos from the SSD manually, or use a LAN connection to upload from the unit.

The photo gallery displays JPEG images only, so you will need to upload JPEG files to the cloud to view them online.

If your camera has not been set to take either RAW or JPEG files, then they will not appear even if you set the correct upload settings.

You may be able to change your camera photo file type settings remotely via the Remote Camera Control function if your camera supports it. Visit the Remote Camera Control knowledge base article to find out more.

Files to transfer to SSD – The file types you select here will be transferred onto the SSD if you have one connected.

Start deleting old photos from the external drive when its free space drops below 2% – It is recommend to enable this feature to ensure that there is always room for new photos on your SSD.

The oldest photos will be deleted first. If this feature is not enabled, then new photos will not be saved once the drive reaches its capacity. There is no way to recover photos deleted off the SSD.

Start deleting old photos from the SD card when its free space drops below 64MB – It is recommended to enable this feature to ensure your SD card does not become full.

When the SD card fills up, the camera takes more time to process all the files and operations can slow down. The oldest photos will be deleted first, so there is always free space for the latest photos.

SD card behavior is different when using Low-Power Mode. Read our knowledge base article on using LPM with Tempo to learn more.

Advanced Settings

On next connection, delete all photos from camera CF/SD card – This will clear all photos from your camera’s CF/SD card when the controller next connects to the network.

On next connection, format SSD – This will format your SSD when the controller next connects to the network. 

Voltage threshold to trigger Alert – If you have enabled your Alerts to send you notifications, you will receive an Alert when your system’s voltage drops below the set threshold. For more information view the knowledge base article on Alerts System, and/or Configure Alert for AC Power Disconnected.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many sessions can I create in a schedule?

You can create as many sessions as you like, however multiple sessions of the same type cannot occur simultaneously. Different types of sessions (Capture, Upload and Check-in) can have overlapping time blocks.

Can each day have different sessions?

Yes, you can create a unique set of sessions for each schedule.

How do I disable check-ins?

The controller will always check-in every 6 hours, which allows it to detect if there is an issue (such as the voltage is dropping, which could be an indication that the AC power has been unplugged).

If you don’t want your controller to take photos, or upload, but would like to prevent the controller checking in every 5 minutes: Create and save a weekly schedule with no sessions.

When the controller next connects, it will now check-in only every 6 hours to provide a status update and apply any new changes made in Config.

Can I set multiple schedules on the same day of the week?

No; only one schedule can run per day, however, you can create many sessions within a single schedule.

If you attempt to save a new schedule on a day of the week that already has a schedule, the day will be moved from the old schedule to your newly created schedule.

You can create multiple Capture sessions within a single schedule, allowing you to set different shooting configurations in the same day.

What happens if there are no events scheduled?

If there is no event scheduled, your Weekly Schedule will run if you have created one.

What happens when there is no weekly schedule?

If there is an event scheduled within the next 7 days, the controller will automatically check-in every 6 hours, when it will apply any new schedules that have been saved.

If there are no events scheduled within the next 7 days, the controller will automatically check-in every 5 minutes, when it will apply any new schedules that have been saved. You will also receive an Alert if you have them configured.

What happens if nothing is scheduled?

If there is neither an Event, nor a Weekly Schedule, the controller will begin to check-in every 5 minutes instead of 6 hours. This will allow it to apply new schedules quickly once you have saved them. It will also shoot and upload every five minutes.

You will also receive an Alert if you have them configured.

What happens when an event runs?

The Event will run its schedule for that day, replacing your Weekly Schedule.

Does an Event just replace whatever is different from my Weekly Schedule? 

No. Be aware that an Event replaces the entire day of activity during its designated time period, not just the blocks of time that differ from your Weekly Schedule. Refer to Setting up a schedule for a unique event for more information.

What happens when an event has concluded?

The Event will be listed in the Events section for 7 days, and will then be cleared. The Weekly Schedule will resume once the Event date range has passed.

Can I schedule multiple events on the same day?

No; only one event schedule can run per day, however, you can create many sessions within a single event schedule. You can set different shooting configurations in the same day by creating multiple Capture sessions with different settings.

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