Difficult Tech Challenge - Need Small Profile Cameras for California Condor Nesting HDMI


Novice Member
This question may have no good answer but I would love a bit of advice to solve a specific problem.

Background: I produce SM and do storytelling around zoo animals and field conservation projects. I'm working with a team that is breeding endangered California Condors and we want to film some of the raising of young with close-up intimate views. The nesting caves/rooms already have high mounted, standard surveillance cameras. These are not going to do what i need, we are placing ground level cameras at eye level with the condors and chicks. To accomplish this I place cameras in the wall of the room - only a tiny lens is visible from the condor side and should be similar to the other debris and detritus in the environment.

You should know that in the past, we used GoPro 4 cameras. These worked fairly well except for two blaring problems 1) the cameras were powered by USB, but the there are frequent power outages at this location, and GoPro cameras have to be manually turned on after losing power. This is impossible once breeding season starts as humans are not allowed anywhere near. 2) The cameras would beep. You can turn off the beep, but after a long enough power outage they would sometime reset and the beep would return. USFW does not like beeping cameras.

Here are problems I'm trying to solve.
1) The lens must fit through a piece of plywood and have a very small profile
2) The cameras must power up automatically after a power outage
3) The current system uses wireless HDMI broadcasting to send the footage to a recorder. This is a very expensive wireless system, so cameras capable of HDMI out or being easily converted to HDMI out would be necessary.
4) Night vision capable, but no IR emitters. The IR light source will be separate near the top of the cave/room (coming from the existing surveillance system)
5) Super wide view similar to a GoPro
6) Good color sensor, with good auto white balance.
7) Minimum 1080p 16:9 output
8) Not expensive. After a season the cameras sometimes need to be discarded. Just think about what condors eat (dead animals) and what their droppings are like (corrosive), combined with the fact that they occasionally peck at the optic. These are not gentle pecks and the lens is usually toast after a few months.

I would actually really like to have the ability to use something like Google NEST cameras. Unfortunately, Wi-fi cameras are not a feasible option because of an extremely choked internet connection that is tenuous at best and frequently not working. I cannot ad any traffic to the existing connection. However, such a system with the ability to review and capture clips would be my dream.

Any thoughts to help my project would be amazing!


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