Jump to content




Photo

Upgrading Moviecam SL video assist to HD?


  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 12 April 2016 - 01:06 AM

I have a two week job coming up with my Moviecam SL. I'm considering having the camera in the B&W standard def video assist upgraded to HD.

Anyone done this before? Would any technicians happen to know which model of video camera is in the B&W tap? Would either of the HD cameras used in the Arricam video assists be a good fit?

Thanks!
  • 0




#2 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 12 April 2016 - 01:10 AM

Here's the SL B&W tap I'm referring to:

image.png
image.png
  • 0

#3 Kenny N Suleimanagich

Kenny N Suleimanagich
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 843 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York

Posted 12 April 2016 - 10:26 AM

I've looked into this for my 416. The Arricam and 435 HD-IVS units were produced in pretty small numbers and therefore are themselves uncommon, and pretty bespoke to those cameras. 

 

You might be able to do it if you wired in a new camera and made the BNC out into an HD-SDI, but you might lose some of the functionality (if any) of the built-in circuitry (the 416 features an extensive menu). 

 

I'd love to know what you work out. Many people have told me it can't be done, but I hesitate to believe them, mostly because when the 416 came out in 2007 the GoPro and Flip cameras weren't really widely adopted. 


Edited by Kenny N Suleimanagich, 12 April 2016 - 10:27 AM.

  • 0

#4 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2350 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 12 April 2016 - 11:02 AM

I can't think of a reason it can't be done. You just need to find an imager and chip set with full logic control from china. A lot of companies on Alibaba, will send you samples and there are many of them on their. The big catch with a film camera is not to have AGC. You need manual gain control, which can be done by a switch on the side if you can get the right chipset with a decent pin out. Imager placement and size are critical, but if you measure the housing and imager you have now, it shouldn't be that difficult for a machinist to mimic what already exists and buy an imager that's identical size to the original one. It would need to be a whole new housing, not just modifying what already exists. Also, you probably will struggle to find an HDSDI output chipset, most of them are mini-hdmi. Mini converters are pretty cheap and small today, so you could buy one, strap it onto the side of the camera and get 4 HDSDI outputs from a single HDMI input.

I wish camera manufacturers stuck to ONE style of video tap. But if you did find a chip set that worked, it could lead to quite a market of building HD video taps. Though unless you did all the work yourself as a pet project, I can't see any of this being very inexpensive.
  • 0

#5 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 12 April 2016 - 02:16 PM

Thanks guys, that's about what I figured. I opened the tap up the other day to check it out and it's full of circuit boards, so it doesn't seem to be as simple as just replacing the camera. It's frustrating as the video camera functionality is so simple. There's no overlays or metadata, just the image out of composite BNC, a power switch, and an iris control.

I'm talking to Greg Defoe at Defoetech who is local and has build Moviecam taps, but he doesn't seem to think it will be so easy.
  • 0

#6 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 6767 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 12 April 2016 - 03:12 PM

I think what you'd need really is just an adapter of some kind to bolt a new housing onto the existing. This really doesn't sound all that difficult; I bet you could find a machine vision camera somewhere which has roughly the same chip size as what's already there. Everything else is just wiring in inputs/outputs or even making converters to power the thing and get the ____ to HDSDI.

Even if you needed an optic i don't see what as impossible to find-- it would just take some tinkering.


  • 0

#7 Kenny N Suleimanagich

Kenny N Suleimanagich
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 843 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York

Posted 12 April 2016 - 04:38 PM

I'm keen to know what you figure out Satsuki.


  • 0

#8 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2350 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 12 April 2016 - 04:47 PM

I'm talking to Greg Defoe at Defoetech who is local and has build Moviecam taps, but he doesn't seem to think it will be so easy.


A good machinist and some chinese electronics should be all you need. If I had the money, I'd make one for my Aaton, but it would be expensive to machine properly.
  • 0

#9 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 12 April 2016 - 04:56 PM

The trouble is the job starts in two weeks, so I don't really have time to tinker with it myself. Oh well. Worst case, we'll have a few AJA A-D boxes velcro'd to the director and client monitors...
  • 0

#10 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2350 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 12 April 2016 - 05:40 PM

Yep, just run the boxes for now.
  • 0

#11 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 12 April 2016 - 09:09 PM

Some stills from my prep today. Don't know why some of them are showing up here upside down.

image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
  • 0

#12 Kenny N Suleimanagich

Kenny N Suleimanagich
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 843 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York

Posted 12 April 2016 - 09:39 PM

Looks like whatever those ribbon wires are going to is an imager attached to the optical block which likely controls the iris function too. 

 

Can you tell if the IRIS dial is mechanical, or fly by wire? If it’s the former then my money is on you being able to rig something up pretty simply, with almost the same functionality. 

 

When I fly my 416 the steadicam op usually has had an HD sled, and we use an AJA box to switch everything. 

 

You could probably rip one of these open, and strip it down to the bare minimum. Then find an elegant way to mate the imager to the optics, along with power. 


  • 0

#13 Satsuki Murashige

Satsuki Murashige
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3081 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco, CA

Posted 12 April 2016 - 10:20 PM

I think it's a simple mechanical iris control:

image.jpeg

There is an auto exposure function working simultaneously that I can't turn off. Don't know if it's actually the iris that is opening and closing, but I think that it is. Thanks Kenny.
  • 0

#14 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2350 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 12 April 2016 - 11:36 PM

Yea mechanical iris. The auto iris changes the gain most likely.
  • 0


Visual Products

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

Zylight

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Pro 8mm

Rig Wheels Passport

Paralinx LLC

rebotnix Technologies

CineLab

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

Technodolly

CineTape

Abel Cine

Technodolly

The Slider

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Pro 8mm

Rig Wheels Passport

Zylight

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

CineTape

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS