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Old November 13th, 2007, 01:02 AM   #1
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VX2100 (Used on Jetranger Helicopter).

G’day from Australia – I operate a helicopter (company) with several cameras onboard a Bell 206 Jetranger helicopter – We use the camera system for Helicam type DVD’s for our scenic flight passengers – Filmed in real time with a Kramer switching unit recorded onto a Toshiba DVD recorder within the aircraft. Have been using Elmo camera’s for the last few years with success (terrible in low light though!) – However I recently added my VX2100 to the belly of the helicopter in a specially made box (see photos below - VX on the left / 35mm Digital camera on the right).

I’ve been using the VX2100 in 2 ways… (1) For recording onto our DVD system (only way I can get the camera to stay turned on is to leave the tape out – Any other ideas here as I’m sure it’s not good for the camera? (Apart from recording over & over again onto a DV tape whilst also recording onto the DVD)… The camera can be on for 3 to 4 hours at a time when we are flying…

The VX2100 signal is being fed into the Kramer switching unit via an RCA lead and then into the DVD (the VX2100 (bellycam) makes up 1 of 5 other cameras (one on the tail / one looking back and two in the cockpit). Any ideas for improving the quality of the signal when recording direct to DVD (in real time) via the RCA lead?... I'm limited by the RCA input (Vrs Firewire) due to the current system that we have (as the other video feeds going into the recorder are via BNC connectors & the Kramer switching unit which doesn’t have firewire anyway).

(2) On occasions, we’ll record onto DV tape in the VX2100 as normal... No big problems here, apart from the question below which effects the way that we record in both cases (1 + 2).

I know that the next question is difficult to answer, however… I’ve have limited use with the camera and I’ve been experimenting with different settings - The biggest problem is that the camera seems to get some kind of interference (like an occasional flair or strobing effect) on all settings that I’ve tried – I’m nearly 100% sure that the iris is hunting because of the range of view that it’s trying to record… (The lens is set on full wide & covers land/buildings/ocean etc)… I’ve established that it’s not EMI from the helicopter as at sunset when (the light is not so harsh), the image isn’t too bad – However as we fly on different days/times in various weather, I need to set the camera to one setting if possible??? (As it’s a 10 min job to take the camera out / change the settings and then put it back)… I’m hoping to find a “One size fits all” approach - What would be the best way to here do you think???

All “positive” input very much appreciated…

Many thanks.
Mark (Sydney, Australia).

PS – Only just got the camera recently so I apologise in advance if the questions appear simplistic!
Attached Thumbnails
VX2100 (Used on Jetranger Helicopter).-vx2100e_belly_mount.jpg   VX2100 (Used on Jetranger Helicopter).-zmf-promo-shot1.jpg  

Mark Fitzsimmons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 13th, 2007, 05:05 AM   #2
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Mate I dont know your answer and by the sound of your knowledge you will work it out. But how the hell do you fly the thing and take footage.

Regards
Simon
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Old November 13th, 2007, 05:51 AM   #3
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VX2100 (Used on Jetranger Helicopter).

Hi Simon
It's actually very easy... I turn the DVD recorder on with a remote before I take off... the control for the camera's is on a "cooly-hat" on the cyclic (this is the control held in the pilots right hand) - I then just switch cameras with my thumb! I also have a 2.5inch monitor in front of me too so I can see the shot. On landing I just finalise the DVD and the ground crew take the DVD to show the pax in our reception...

Kind regards,
Mark

In the attached pic, you can see the DVD recorder in front of the (left) co-pilots seat... The cooly-hat on top of the cyclic... The monitor & one of the Elmo camera's on top of the console.
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VX2100 (Used on Jetranger Helicopter).-0734569.jpg  
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Old November 13th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #4
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Sounds cool. To try and answer some of your questions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fitzsimmons View Post
only way I can get the camera to stay turned on is to leave the tape out – Any other ideas here as I’m sure it’s not good for the camera? (Apart from recording over & over again onto a DV tape whilst also recording onto the DVD)… The camera can be on for 3 to 4 hours at a time when we are flying…
I don't think there's any way to keep the VX2100 from powering off after 5 minutes with a tape in it. You can use a LANC controller to turn it back on, though. And I think the camera is just fine being turned on for 3-4 hours with no tape. The pro version of this camera (the PD-170) will stay on until the battery runs out even with a tape in it, but Sony apparently thinks people buying the consumer version don't know what a power switch is.

Quote:
The biggest problem is that the camera seems to get some kind of interference (like an occasional flair or strobing effect) on all settings that I’ve tried
To answer a question with a question: are you running in full AUTO mode, or constant shutter? Also, I'm pretty sure if you record to tape and play it back in your VX2100 it can tell you what the F-stop and shutter speeds were at the time of recording. So if you have some tapes that show this effect, what were the F-stops and shutters?

-Terence
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Old November 13th, 2007, 02:30 PM   #5
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If you think your camera is hunting for focus go full wide like you said, then set the focus to manual infinity.(upon re-reading you mention nothing about focus but I'll keep this in there anyway)

If you want a better quality signal, the vx has an s-video. I've never used the s-video on mine, but it should give you a higher quality than composite. You may also be able to take a laptop up with you and run a firewire cable to it and record on the computer. If you are limited to composite...maybe get gold plated cables(no clue if this will really help)

For the strobing effect, I would lock the shutter speed at 60 or above. A higher shutter speed will give the effect of strobing. It's all just experimenting.


Do you think you could post a video of what the strobing looks like?
Or any footage really. I would love to see it.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 12:59 AM   #6
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Thanks Mark,
You get to fly and also film... how cool

Cheers
Simon
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Old November 15th, 2007, 07:36 AM   #7
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I've compressed the attached file down... Of course the problem now doesn't look so bad - On reviweing the footage, you can see the "Flairing effect" only in the shot of the winding road and the ocean on the left...

I've just had another thought this evening... Even though I change the camera to shutter priority (set 1000th of a sec - Not sure if this is correct but this is what I'd set if I were shooting stills???) - Anyway the auto shutter is still set up I think in the menu setting - Would this overide my manual setting???

Kind regards,
Mark

Last test was manual shutter (1000th) focus set to maunal with the infinity button pushed prior to departure. Sharpness normal.
Attached Files
File Type: mov VX Footage_web.mov (548.4 KB, 200 views)
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Old November 15th, 2007, 12:35 PM   #8
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I assume the flaring effect you are talking about is when the image goes darker for like a frame somewhere between 15-17 seconds? If that is the case, then I have no idea what is causing it. I've seen the same thing from my camera a time before. I had my aperture locked for the shot and I think I also had the shutter speed locked(but this was 3 months ago so I'm not 100% sure).

Turning the autoshutter on and off in shutter priority seems to have no effect.

1000 would be alright for shooting stills.....although you are going to see the interlace lines, unless you shoot in progressive mode, however you will be limited to about 15 frames per second, so not to good for video.

I'm sorry I'm not more help.
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