Picamera is a python interface for the raspberry pi camera board, created by Dave Jones (aka waveform80), think of it as the python equivalent of raspivid and raspistill. Using picamera you can 'programmatically' take videos and images and is much easier way of capturing video/images in your python projects.
There is some great documentation for Picamera at picamera.readthedocs.org, which includes detailed instructions about how to install picamera, getting started and a complete reference for the module. You can also find the code at github.com/waveform80/picamera.
sudo apt-get install python-picamera
Take a video
The following code will record a video and save it to 'foo.h264'.
import picamera with picamera.PiCamera() as camera: camera.resolution = (640, 480) camera.start_preview() camera.start_recording('foo.h264') camera.wait_recording(60) camera.stop_recording() camera.stop_preview()
Take a picture
The following code will take a single picture and save it to 'foo.jpg'.
import time import picamera with picamera.PiCamera() as camera: camera.resolution = (1024, 768) camera.start_preview() # Camera warm-up time time.sleep(2) camera.capture('foo.jpg')
There is much more information on http://picamera.readthedocs.org and its well worth a read.
There are also some great functions such as split recording, capturing images while recording and pulling out data from the encoder while the video is recording (such as frame number).