Friday, February 3, 2017

Canon 5D Mark IV (Mark 4) and USB Follow Focus Devices

Canon DSLR cameras can have their focus controlled via the USB interface and the EOS Utility provided by Canon.  Devices were created by several manufacturers to simulate this interface via USB to control a Canon camera's focus, recording and other settings. Up until the 5D Mark IV the USB interface was the same and consisted of a USB 2.0 plug on the camera.

With the 5D Mark IV Canon has upgraded to USB 3.  I have confirmed that these devices do in fact work with the 5D Mark IV just as they have with the previous bodies.

USB Follow Focus devices include the Okii Follow Focus Okii Systems FC1 USB Focus Controller and the Manfrotto MVR911ECCN .  I was able to control the 5D MK IV with both of these devices.  For the Manfrotto you will need to buy one of these USB A to mini-B 5pin and one of these USB 2.0 A Female to A Female Coupler Adapter

While the 5D Mark IV has superb AF, being able to control it manually may still be desired as well as being able to start/stop video recording. These devices work great when attached to stabilization devices such as the Movi.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Manfrotto Magic Arm 244 Disassembled

My Manfrotto Magic Arm 244N stopped working a few months back.  One of the ends would refuse to loosen when you loosened the knob. After two attempts, one of which involved taking the entire thing apart, I was able to fix it.  I had over-tightened the knob causing one of the 2 sections inside the arm to slide and push a hole right through the washer.

Here is the arm completely disassembled laid out in order of how it would be reassembled.

Here is the washer that I pushed a new hole through. The smaller piece was wedged inside one of the two arm sections as you can see in the first photo.

Here it is reassembled with out the small hole piece. I might try to get Manfrotto to send me a new orange washer.

The metal piece that sits inside the knuckle has a indentation in it to hold the ball bearing. When you tighten the arm, you cause the bearing to move up out of the indentation putting pressure on the long pin and the piece at the end which puts pressure on the ball.  If the part in the nuckle doesn't go back out, then the arm will fail to work as it had for me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lightroom 6/Lightroom CC and AMD video cards

Lightroom 6/Lightroom CC (same thing) came out last week and has several nice features including performance.  Installing it at home on my machine running Windows 8.1 with AMD Radeon HD 6950 I was hoping to see how the new GPU performance would perform.  Unfortunately the GPU was failing to initialize properly.

After talking to a friend, who also had a much older AMD /ATI video card, I soon discovered that the 14.4 driver works just fine with Lightroom 6/CC but, the 14.9, 14.12 and beta do not.

If you want to use acceleration, and you do because its nice, you'll need to revert back to this older driver.

Why they release a product that only works with a year old video driver, I do not know.

Just to be clear the following DO NOT WORK.

But this one

does work.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

3D Mic Pro, Zoom H4N and recording volume.

I have been learning to use the 3D Mic Pro, together with my Zoom H4N to record sound whenever I film.  I been learning how to properly set the volume level for the recorder in louder environments. Below is some of my findings when recording loud sources, or close to loud sources.

Scenario 1

The following set of audio files was recorded using my Zoom H4N and the 3D Mic Pro. The 4CH005M track was the built in audio recorder microphones. The 4CH005I track is the input from the 3D Mic. The 3D Mic was connected using the XLR inputs. The tracks were recorded simultaneously. The Zoom H4N mics were set to a recording level above 20. The 3D Mic recording level was set to 0.5

The recording is of Christmas Bells. The Christmas bells are electronically controlled but contain mechanical mechanism that causes them to ring.  The bells start up playing the scale up and down.  The bells were strung along an archway. The   3D Mic Pro was mounted right above the Zoom H4N.  Both were centered between 2 to 3 feet below the bells.

I recommend right click and save to play.

I can hear what sounds almost like it being maxed out, in the second scale. Here is what the tracks look like normalized.

Question: Why did I have to lower the 3D Mic Pro to below 1 but the Zoom H4N mics were fine with it in the 20+ range? ( I don't specifically remember what the range was but it was above 20 for sure, it could have been as high as 50).

Scenario 2

Scenario 2 consists of the same setup as scenario 1 for the audio connections.
  • Zoom H4N Mics on the "M" track. 
  • 3D Mic on the "I" track with XLR inputs.
  • Volume levels of both the Zoom Mics and the 3D Mic have been set somewhere between 10 and 30. I do not recall off hand. I know for sure the 3D Mic was level was not less then 1. 

The sound is really loud. I recommend right click and save.

The recording was at a party in which there was a group of people playing one of the Rock Band games on the play station with others talking.  It was a louder environment but not uncomfortable to the ears.

Here's how they appear each track normalized.


Why is the 3D Mic seem to sound like its getting clipped during recording despite the DB levels not being very high?

Why is there such a drastic difference between the Zoom H4N mic's and the 3D Mic?

In loud environments I find I have to set the audio recording level for the 3D Mic to less the 1 on the recorder limiting my options for controlling the audio level.  The audio still tends to sound clipped.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fader ND Vignette Analysis

I recently borrowed a LightCraft Fader ND filter. I wanted to see how a variable ND filter would perform, specifically on my 10mm-22mm Canon lens.

The following test was performed at 10 mm using a continuous florescent light source.  Min and Max refer to the markings on the filter, which did correspond closely to the lightest and darkest settings.  At 10mm the filter has significant pattern issues on the dark end.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DSLR Slider's/Dollies/Tracks

I have been investigating the various slider's available, their pricing and features. I have narrowed my choices down but I thought I would share what I found in my research.

Has  a brake?
Supports vertical?
Indie slider
Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly
41.5/29.5" (105.4, 75.9)
Atlas 10 DSLR Camera Slider
Glide Track Hybrid
(50, 100)
K2 Products
Konova Slider
Pegasus Carbon DSLR Camera Slider
39" (100)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

EOS Utility Remote Viewing Performance

The Canon 7D (and other cameras) come with EOS Utility. This software lets you remotely shoot from a computer. It also allows you to view Live View via a computer.

I tested this out on my old laptop, and the performance was quite poor. The frames per second (FPS) was barely usable. I was still considering this as an option for a Video Monitor, but need to confirm what sort of netbook/laptop will be required to provide enough performance to make this viable.  I performed tests on several of the PC's I have around the house with the following results

  • Intel Core I7 - More then capable of handling the video feed. See the following belo
  • Intel Core 2 Duo - Handles the FPS fine, but the CPU is running high at 70 to 80.
  • Pentium 4 3 Ghz - Frame rate was quite a bit lower. CPU still not capped.
  • Pentium M 1.8 Ghz - Frame rate significantly too low.

So it is possible to get a good frame rate and very little delay from a usb remote connection, however I have not yet determined if a netbook is capable of a useable FPS. (I do not own a netbook).

All tests were done with a 31 foot in total length USB cable run. I had to use a repeater
USB Active Extension/Repeater Cable and then a 15 foot Male to Mini-B 5Pin cable to get the length.
15 foot Male to Mini-B 5 Pin Cable. The repeater is important as USB only supports a maximum of 16 feet without one. See this video for more information