In the Field: How to Check Your Camera
Updated: Sep 24, 2021
It’s camera check time!
Here’s a helpful reminder of:
what to do and what essential supplies to bring with you into the field.
What to bring with you to be ready.
Generally, when you’re in the field, you don’t have a lot of time to waste. So, to check your camera as quickly as possible, it’s important to have the appropriate supplies readily available.
Fresh brand-name batteries, Energizer Max (article)
An extra SanDisk Ultra card (article)
Tip: Store your batteries in either a ziplock bag or upgrade to an organized Think Tank storage battery holder. Cards should be stored safely in a protected mSD holder.
Our typical procedure is to replace both of these at the same time. Replace the batteries and replace the card for saving/archiving the contents.
Read on for the extra items to bring or feel free to jump to the essential camera check steps
mSD USB cord *
Power brick *
Extra clamp mount, a good thing to have if it's been over used heavily.
Field bag to contain all the goodies. (Optional)
* The mSD USB cord and power brick are necessary if Afidus has an update for their app. These firmware updates must be done with the camera powered on and attached to a power brick. Firmware update procedure here.
In the case where heavily-used mounts are exposed to inclement weather, it’s not a bad idea to have an extra one handy. It’s a good item for the field bag.
Speaking of field bag...well, we have a few recommendations.
Recommended Field Bags:
Now, keep in mind that this is the bag with all the extras. It’s like that diaper bag filled with tricks and toys and food meant to placate any combustible situation. This bag should hold the solutions to all of your in-the-field scenarios.
Both bags will hold everything you need: extra clamp, power brick, USB cord, zip-ties, batteries and cards. If you happen to purchase an extra silicone sleeve and band, those will fit too. And snacks. Granola bars are awesome, and because you just never know.
Why do we love the Think Tank Hubba Hubba Hiney 3.0 bag?
Because it has a rain fly that doubles as a workspace protected area. It’s storytime friends, “We were on a job that had us perched two stories in the air on scaffolding, when the wind blew right at the time of the card change. Lucky for us, the wind blew the card down into the rain-covered workspace, and we were able to retrieve the content for future use. That content was later used in the RPU chimney tower demolition job.”
Why do we love the Sling Bag?
Pure function. It attaches to the body and doesn’t flop around everywhere. Plus, you can swing it from the back to the front when you’re up on a ladder and you have everything handy.
A great tip:
When you discover the capabilities of the Afidus time lapse camera system, consider a second camera. Either as a back up and simply change out the cameras or use as a second camera position on site. This fits too in either suggestion.
Essential Camera Check Steps
Assuming you’re using the “minute-to-win-it” method for your interval recording work days, then monthly checks are recommended. If you’re using any interval less than one minute, then you’ll need to plan on more frequent checks.
1) Check the LED
On-site with your camera we recommend doing a visual check first. Check the status of the LED at the top of the unit to determine the status of the camera. More information of the LED is located in this supporting article.
2) Stop your camera’s recording
Stop your camera’s recording with a short press of the power button. You will hear a long beep and the LED will appear solid green. At this time you can connect the camera to Wi-Fi.
3) Check the batteries
If you see two bars on the battery level, we recommend you change those batteries. One of our pro-level requests to Afidus is to switch to a percentage monitor for battery health to make it easier to read this information.
While you have the app open, take a snapshot. This will allow you to use image alignment to match the frame. See our Alignment Video as a camera app feature to refresh.
4) Verify your footage
Check the footage from the gallery. In our field practice, we confirm clips were recorded. Rarely, do we download clips to a phone as this process takes too much time, 3.5 minutes per 537 MB clip. If you choose to download to phone here's our refresh article on that procedure.
5) Check the card
If more than 75% of your card is full, then change it pronto! This is especially important if you used about 10 Gb in the last month on your card and you are doing monthly checks.
6) Change out that card and batteries.
If your batteries are at 1 or 2 bars and the card is more than 50% used, power down your camera with a long press of the power button, change out the batteries and replace that card for archiving.
Now you can power the camera on with a long press of the power button.
Follow our Preflight Check list for refresh tips on deploying your camera.