Photo Booths

We'd been talking about building some kind of digital photo booth for DNA Lounge for years, but never got around to it, and in the last month I've heard about two different people who've actually done it! They're both pretty awesome.

  • First there's Photoboof, a mobile Burning Man project that dispenses actual photos as well as (later) uploading digital ones. (Warning, insanely slow server.)
  • Then there's the a photo booth at a new SF bar called Shine that auto-posts the photos to Flickr (which means RSS feeds: shinephotobooth.)

I don't know the technical details about how either of these work, but if we ever do get around to building one of these ourselves, here's what I was thinking:

<LJ-CUT text=" --More--(48%) ">

  • There's a big wooden box with a seat in it, probably upstairs next to coat check.
  • There's a CRT monitor in the box, and a USB webcam, behind plexi.
  • Bouncing text on the screen says "press button to begin".
  • There's a big red button, wired up to a cannibalized mouse.
  • Pressing the button tells the software to:
    1. Trip a relay to turn on a 100 watt bulb;
    2. Display a live video image, and a 5 second countdown;
    3. Take a picture;
    4. Turn off the lightbulb;
    5. Display the picture for 30 seconds, or until the button is pressed again.
  • Then the image gets uploaded to the web site.

I know that most digital still cameras can be remote-controlled via USB, but I think a webcam and a lightbulb is probably sufficient; I doubt we need a "real" flash for this.

Hardcopy printouts would be nice, but too much of a hassle. Printers have a lot of moving parts in them, and I'd need this thing to be bulletproof and require pretty much zero maintenance for it to be worth the hassle.

I guess it's traditional for photo booths to take 3 or 4 pictures in a row, so maybe it should do that instead.


The main reason I never started messing around with this is that it involves one of my least favorite things in the whole wide world, talking to devices from Linux. E.g., I don't have the slightest idea what webcams are well supported by Linux, and the thought of even trying to figure that out makes me nauseous.

Tags: , , , ,



The iPod controls are in the detachable wand!
Tags: ,