Jump to content


Photo

Possible to control camera speed with a laptop?


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Hans Engstrom

Hans Engstrom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 195 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Sweden

Posted 16 February 2007 - 08:02 PM

Is it possible to make a program that can crystal control the speed of a Aaton LTR/XTR with the use of a laptop? I´m thinking about connecting the computer serial -> amphenol on camera or something like that. What I would like to know is the principle that the existing speed controllers use. I´m guessing that they send out a signal in different intervalls depending on what speed is set on them, is that correct? Every computer works on a specified frequency so that should make it reliable, or? It´s late over here and I could be totally wrong so if I´m wrong then please correct me.
  • 0

#2 Mark A. Rapp

Mark A. Rapp
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 58 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 16 February 2007 - 11:50 PM

Not sure, but is this what you're thinking of? I ran across this tonight.

http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem
  • 0

#3 Hans Engstrom

Hans Engstrom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 195 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Sweden

Posted 18 February 2007 - 10:48 AM

I´ve never used that but I belive it´s for programming camera ramps and sending them to the camera (435, 535 and Arricam). I´m thinking of something that could be used the same way as a speed controller and in the same time it should be able to be used as a digital footage counter.
  • 0

#4 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1582 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 19 February 2007 - 01:29 AM

I´ve never used that but I belive it´s for programming camera ramps and sending them to the camera (435, 535 and Arricam). I´m thinking of something that could be used the same way as a speed controller and in the same time it should be able to be used as a digital footage counter.



Correct, the Arri LCC system will control speed, shutter angle, iris, focus, zoom and allow programming of ramps and such I used it on a 535 a long while ago but I do no think it can control a older camera (like my LTR) but maybe speed on a Xtr.

-Rob-
  • 0

#5 Mitch Gross

Mitch Gross
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2873 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 20 February 2007 - 12:07 PM

It may be possible, but why would you? Crystal speed boxes are fairly simple and inexpensive.
  • 0

#6 Hans Engstrom

Hans Engstrom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 195 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Sweden

Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:18 PM

It may be possible, but why would you? Crystal speed boxes are fairly simple and inexpensive.


I have to much spare time right now and enjoy constructing things. It´s 1 month untill next feature and -25c outside so I´m climbing on my walls in boredom, but I see your point. However with a program I could have the laptop give the correct apperature on the screen in case I´d like to ramp, would make it easier for the ac to pull t-stop during a ramp. Also I belive Tobin doesn´t make the controller with digital footage counter anymore. The only other one I know is CP and it costs a lot more. Are there any other affordable speed boxes out there?
  • 0

#7 Richardson Leao

Richardson Leao
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 363 posts
  • Other
  • Stockholm, Sweden

Posted 21 February 2007 - 07:08 PM

I have to much spare time right now and enjoy constructing things. It´s 1 month untill next feature and -25c outside so I´m climbing on my walls in boredom, but I see your point. However with a program I could have the laptop give the correct apperature on the screen in case I´d like to ramp, would make it easier for the ac to pull t-stop during a ramp. Also I belive Tobin doesn´t make the controller with digital footage counter anymore. The only other one I know is CP and it costs a lot more. Are there any other affordable speed boxes out there?


if you can't get any official interface, use a data acquisition card, there are very cheap national instruments one (usb based). They are fairly easy to program and you can generate virtually any pulse and receive any feedback from the camera. You just have to know what kind of signal you are dealing. Cheers
  • 0

#8 Clive Tobin

Clive Tobin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 402 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Spokane Valley, WA, USA

Posted 21 February 2007 - 08:54 PM

...Also I belive Tobin doesn´t make the controller with digital footage counter anymore. The only other one I know is CP and it costs a lot more. ..

We still have a few of the TMC Tobin Milliframe Controller without counter. There are not many left. We are out of the TMC2 and TMC2-LCD models with footage counter (there was never a model that would count meters.) I believe that Media Logic and Haflexx are defunct. I don't know about Cinematography Electronics.

The market pretty much died when people figured out they could film from plasma and LCD monitors without needing special speeds.
  • 0

#9 Mitch Gross

Mitch Gross
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2873 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 22 February 2007 - 11:44 AM

If you want to ramp speeds with aperture control to maintain exposure, AZ Spectrum in NYC makes a fairly inexpensive box which will mate to your camera.
  • 0

#10 Nathan Milford

Nathan Milford
  • Sustaining Members
  • 692 posts
  • Director
  • New York, NY

Posted 22 February 2007 - 12:20 PM

I don't think he is looking for pre-existing solutions, but more of a project to work on. Something to learn from in addition to expanding the capabilities of his camera kit.

Writing the software would be easy, debugging the interface with the camera (probably through the amph9) and not frying the electronics of the camera would be more tricky.

It is all in the schematics which you should be able to get from Aaton, but I am sure we could sell you if they are unable to produce them. I might also be easy enough to buy a used speed control and hijack it to interface with whatever card you use in your computer.

I doubt it would be all to difficult... have fun and remember, LTR electronics are not replaceable there are no spares and you cannot modify XTR electronics to fit in their place cheaper than the cost of buying another LTR.
  • 0

#11 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1582 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 22 February 2007 - 02:45 PM

LTR electronics are not replaceable there are no spares and you cannot modify XTR electronics to fit in their place cheaper than the cost of buying another LTR.



Maybe something for Clive Tobin? a Board update?

Just thinking out loud.

-Rob-
  • 0

#12 Hans Engstrom

Hans Engstrom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 195 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Sweden

Posted 22 February 2007 - 07:09 PM

I don't think he is looking for pre-existing solutions, but more of a project to work on. Something to learn from in addition to expanding the capabilities of his camera kit.

Writing the software would be easy, debugging the interface with the camera (probably through the amph9) and not frying the electronics of the camera would be more tricky.

It is all in the schematics which you should be able to get from Aaton, but I am sure we could sell you if they are unable to produce them. I might also be easy enough to buy a used speed control and hijack it to interface with whatever card you use in your computer.

I doubt it would be all to difficult... have fun and remember, LTR electronics are not replaceable there are no spares and you cannot modify XTR electronics to fit in their place cheaper than the cost of buying another LTR.


"Something to learn from in addition to expanding the capabilities of his camera kit" sums it up pretty good. The fear of frying the electronics is propably what will make me go the easy route and not learn anything. Buying a used speed controller and hijack it is a really good sugestion and a safer route to take. Thanks everyone for sugestions and keep on brainstorming.
  • 0

#13 Nathan Milford

Nathan Milford
  • Sustaining Members
  • 692 posts
  • Director
  • New York, NY

Posted 22 February 2007 - 11:05 PM

Maybe something for Clive Tobin? a Board update?


Well... I don't know how the economics would work out, but I don't think Jean-Pierre would disapprove of after-market base electronics and anyone can get the schematics to produce new boards and possibly even improve upon them. But, I find that many LTR owners can barely afford to own thier LTR, let alone invest in an electronics upgrade and would be more likely, in the event of an electronics meltdown to abandon the camera than be able to fix it. So, the economics don't quite pan out unless you can provide, for not much overhead, additional features that would make the low cost of an LTR body ($5-10K, include an overhaul in the price) combined with some sort fo LTR-evolution package rival a plain XTR that can be found for $10-15K.

You'd want more accessory ports, all crystal speeds, maybe a side-display, (it'd be an easy mod on the panel that covers the mag latch mechanism), bluetooth cell phone remote software and detachable ninja star firing mechanism.... With a silent, recently overhauled body that would make a fine kit and with a decent plug tap like the visual products or AZ spectrum you'd have something to rival a modern Aaton in creature comforts.

---

On that note, I disassembled your camera today, Robert. You have a very odd one indeed. It is the first LTR7 I have EVER seen with AatonCode (albeit, not functioning) electronics, fiber bundles and LEDs installed. Someone had modified the base to add C1500-series XTR-style electronics, with an AatonCode I prom. It all looks like a factory modification too... Someone dropped a load of money to get that done.

I will probably have to remove the TC bundle if I can't get it to properly fire up as we can't support it and it may fry the rest of the electronics like the old light meters used to do. We'll see.
  • 0

#14 Hans Engstrom

Hans Engstrom
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 195 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • Sweden

Posted 23 February 2007 - 06:20 AM

and detachable ninja star firing mechanism....


I want that ;)
  • 0

#15 Robert Houllahan

Robert Houllahan
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1582 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • Providence R.I.

Posted 23 February 2007 - 04:05 PM

I will probably have to remove the TC bundle if I can't get it to properly fire up as we can't support it and it may fry the rest of the electronics like the old light meters used to do. We'll see.



But you are still going to install the atomic power source, the 400fps motor and the throwing stars, right?

Oh OH and laser beams! I need laser beams!

-Rob-
  • 0


rebotnix Technologies

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Metropolis Post

Opal

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

Visual Products

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Glidecam

The Slider

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Willys Widgets

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Abel Cine

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

CineLab

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Paralinx LLC

CineTape

Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC