October 31st: First Major Update

A project log for 90s Raspberry Camcorder

Upgrading a 1993 RCA CC540 VHS camcorder with a Raspberry Pi, HQ Camera module, modern storage, power, and features.

DustinDustin 11/28/2020 at 23:100 Comments

Picked up a camcorder from 1993 at Goodwill last night for $7.50. It uses VHS tapes, but I'm gutting it to install a custom digital camera and computer. I just got the lens working with the new Sony camera sensor, and recording video without sound using software I wrote for it. Once the lens is mounted to the sensor, I can install the computer(Raspberry Pi 4) and lens into the body and press a button to record. There's still a ton of work to do though. This is a big project I've been ever so slowly working on for a while. I've always loved documentary films, and I enjoy making videos. Wanted something slightly retro, with a shoulder mount form factor. All the nice professional used cameras I found for this were at least $100. This thing is big, comfy, cheap, and easy to work with. A bit of fun in the morning.

Update 11/1/2020:
Yesterday I determined the CRT viewfinder is fried, so I'll be going with an LCD touchscreen of some sort. Am working on a way to mount the lens to the camera sensor. I realized that the Raspberry Pi foundation will probably introduce a 4k camera sensor at some point, so I could possibly update this old VHS camera to 4k. I've got good quality test videos out of this already, and the 24x optical zoom is really neat. More updates to come. I don't know of anyone else designing an entire camera system like this. The goal is to have it be an all in one filming and editing station as well. There's plenty of room inside for a secondary computer that can edit the videos as soon as they're filmed. I love modern technology.