When Sandy was about to hit New York, @jorgenb came up with a great idea. Download the images from the NY-times webcam and make a timelapse of it. A few minutes later I had a very simple script ready, and could leave my server to the task.
The video I posted on thomas.bensmann.no quickly passed 160K views on Vimeo, after being featured on several news-sites, and several people have since asked how it was made. Therefore I am posting the script that downloaded the images, which really is very simple.
<?php //folder to store images in $folder = "/files"; //url to latest webcam image $url = "http://graphics8.nytimes.com/.../latest.jpg"; //get folder contents so far $array = scandir(dirname(__FILE__) . $folder); //i stored the images as 1.jpg, 2.jpg, etc. //the first two elements found in the folder are "." and ".." $num = (count($array) - 1); //create the new filename $filename = dirname(__FILE__) . $folder . "/" . $num . ".jpg"; //get the image $ny_times_image = file_get_contents($url); //save the image file_put_contents( $filename , $ny_times_image );
Here is the cron job i added to create an image every minute:
* * * * * /usr/bin/php /var/www/labs.bensmann.no/html/ny_times_fetch.php
When the pictures were gathered I used an old version of QuickTime to put them together in a time lapse video.
Quick tip: Don’t forget to remove the cron job! My last image was called 116327.jpg, do the math.