Virtual Sunset Museum
Virtual Museum of Sunsets, Allegan County, MI

About Scootercam


A weather station and webcam on the shore of Lake Michigan, about halfway between South Haven and Saugatuck.

Virtual Sunset Museum

Twenty minutes before sunset, Scootercam begins taking its sunset images - one image every ten seconds. About 20 minutes after sunset, the camera triggers a script which renders those images into a timelapse MP4 video. Another script transfers the video to the web server and posts a copy to my Twitter.

What it does

Scootercam is an Amcrest 2MP camera wired to a restored Dell business-class computer. Blue Iris manages the camera's operations. The camera captures images for the timelapse every :30 seconds (or every :15 during the sunset hour) but only sends a fresh image to the web server every two minutes. Blue Iris also positions the camera throughout the day. For the most part, the camera's movments are tied to sunrise and sunset times. Sometimes we can catch a nearly-full moon set over the lake.

How it does it: Other applications do other stuff.

  • Scootercam depends on front-end scripts on my computer here in Michigan, and back-end shell and php scripts running on the web server down in Texas.
  • FFMPEG assembles the captured images into an MP4 video file. The current setup is 30 frames per second; one image every thirty seconds means we capture 60 images per half-hour, so a half-hour timlapse takes :02 to play back.
  • Batch scripts keep the trains running. Every half hour a series of scripts moves the latest images to a work folder, creates the MP4, transfers the MP4 to the web server, and archives the images.
  • The web server receives the :02 MP4 file and appends it to "today's" MP4 timelapse, which builds throughout the day. The server handles archiving for the web site - rotating files to the archive every 8 hours, then asembling each day's archive MP4.

Scootercam on twitter

Scootercam images and videos are posted to my Twitter account - an image and the latest weather update every hour, and a sunset timelapse each evening.



The site's namesake, and just the coolest cat you'd ever know.

Your Host Rick Xaver