General Thoughts

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 11/30/2020 at 01:560 Comments

When the Raspberry Pi Foundation released the first camera module, I didn't really care. Same with the second one. They just didn't really fit any of my camera needs. Resolution and quality was just too low for me to actually do anything with. When the HQ module released, I checked out the specs and knew I had to get one. Wasn't sure what I'd do with it, but needed it. That's how it usually goes. I guess it's the curiosity and excitement for all the new possibilities that makes me crave the new toys and tools. 

When I was a child, I was obsessed with animals, animal documentaries, and any kind of educational programming I had access to. I remember my thrift store tv, with a dead speaker, in black and white. I had to tune every channel manually. Still loved the stupid thing. I remember watching a penguin documentary on the tv in my Dad's van on the way to the big city. Those programs, and the technology surrounding me shaped me. My dad used to give me his old cell phones back in the 90s. I used to charge them up and just play with and collect them. These days, I find myself wanting to create, rather than consume things. I particularly want to create my own documentaries and educational things. I miss watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. I miss the not so great image quality. It seems this camera project is a good way for me to bring everything I enjoy together. I get to tinker with all kinds of technology and make a tool I'll cherish forever. It's good enough quality for me to make fun videos, and has a whole bunch of 90s flare to it. The 90s were my favorite days, as that's before my life was destroyed and everything became painfully serious. This camera is a way for me to experience something I could never have dreamed of as a kid, now on my own terms. To own a video camera back in the 90s, was something completely out of my reach. I'm very happy to have one now. I went on a 5,200 mile road trip to the west coast recently, and got to swim with the sealions. I got to live out a childhood dream by filming wild animals in their natural habitat. It was unreal. I felt at home out there. If I were being paid for that experience, I'd have been truly content. My camera for that experience, and my first ever video camera, is a GoPro Hero7 Silver. The lady and I sold our bikes and bike rack on that trip to lighten the load, and it helped partially fund that camera purchase. I mounted it to a snorkel mask I'd been holding onto for almost a year(it actually has a GoPro mount on it), and got into the water to see under the ocean for the first time. This camera would have never survived such a harsh environment, and I'll never try to make it waterproof, but that's what multiple cameras are for. This camera is just a tool I'm building to make my documentary process as easy and fun as possible. I could go on endlessly, but I'll end it here. I hope someone reads and enjoys this particular log. I've shared this incredibly important success with friends and family, and no one seemed to care. I hope we friendly fellow hackers will appreciate my work on this odd project.