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Old April 24th, 2011, 10:29 AM   #1
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DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Have been having another play with the DVR2.0 demo which installs over the previous DVR 1.1.681 version but leaves it intact so you can still operate in the old version should you choose to. This was my big concern, not being able to create ready-to-edit .avi files for older edit suites without them having to go through a conmversion process.

The software writers must have done something good because uncompressed files now seem to record without ramming out.
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Old April 24th, 2011, 11:35 AM   #2
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

I've been using the new DVR, recording filmscan 2, 2K, 25P for a month and had no RAM buffer overflow issues yet - it's not even come close. I like all the additional features and the fact that the record function 'button' is now isolated, rather than it being an additional zone.

The only issue I've had is that with the mini tethered to the P & S body, I have had the camera regularly drop the connection - particularly with the longer combined data/pwr cable, but also with the shorter. Often this can be solved temporarily by rebooting.

I am not sure whether this is a power issue ( P&S suggest it is - although I get it whether using IDX v-lock batteries or IDX ac/dc converter) or a software issue. When it boots, I get a two/three screens superimposed on each other momentarily, after which DVR loads normally (I haven't been able to reload the new DVR in the field as I'm without a Windows keyboard which I need to uninstall the existing DVR).
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Old April 24th, 2011, 12:40 PM   #3
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

With the Mini on a tether, I wonder if there is not a resistive joint on the Lemo pins combining with the drop when the fans kick in on startup. The fans sometimes kill the boot-up in DVR1 if the battery voltage is only just so.

Steve Rice had a Lemo plug turn inside its shield and bend the pins inside the camera dock when it was re-inserted which gave an intermittant problem until the bent pins were discovered. P+S replaced the cable.

Your IDX mains power supply? Is that a flat brown metal box with two XLR power outlets and a strap carryhandle on the side? The one here is sometimes reported by the camera as "battery low", so the power from these might be a bit on the low side under load. I had this problem with a non-genuine 12v laboratory power supply I was using.

12voltsDC from a car battery via the cigarette lighter accessory plug also gave me a problem unless I ran the engine to float the voltage up a bit.

Steve Rice also uses big black gel cells to run his camera when he takes it offshore. He leaves the batteries behind when he returns.

In meantime I'll try the tethered configuration to see if I can make the same thing happen. I use a AB Titan charger/powersupply on the camera, sometimes with a battery aboard so that any surges might be soaked up by the battery.

Last edited by Bob Hart; April 24th, 2011 at 12:41 PM. Reason: error
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Old April 24th, 2011, 01:17 PM   #4
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Mark.


Furthur to above, the camera was still out on the table so a quick test with remote camera head with DVR2 was easy.

No problem with Titan charger mounted on AB mount. No problem with the 12V automotive emergency startup battery I use via the 4 pin XLR port. - I installed a 4pin XLR panel socket in place of the cigarette lighter accessory socket on the battery pack a while back.

However the battery was still fresh although stored for about 6 weeks since last touch up. The AB batteries I have are too small and also need recelling as the charge drops away after a day or so.

It might take a day or two. - I'll give it a try on Steve Rice's IDX power supply and his V-mount battery to see if I can make it happen there.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 03:38 AM   #5
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Thanks Bob - it will be interesting to see if you can recreate it.
I first thought it might be due to voltage fluctuations in the domestic supply in Kenya ( many brown-outs and powercuts each day) but it didn't improve when I had a battery mounted as well.

The IDX power supply is IDX IA-200a which has the two XLR sockets and carry strap on the side ( mine is grey) and can give 100W. P&S support thought it might not supply quite enough power and voltage.
I also put a couple of XLR sockets on an automotive battery pack ( I think the idea came from a previous post of yours!) - but haven't really had the chance to try that with the camera yet as the camera is in Kenya, battery pack in the UK.
I did try running the camera off a cigarette lighter socket in the 206 ( I used to do this with an Arri HSR 2) but I think the current draw exceeded what the plug could handle, so I plan to wire an XLR socket into a circuit that used to power an HF radio...
P&S suggested that an increased voltage would help, but I have yet to find a voltage booster that can take in 12v and output say 8-10A at 15-16v.
As you can imagine, there is little equipment available in Kenya - so everything tends to be 'jua kali', a 'work around' -( lit.'hot-sun' - referring to roadside mechanics, who can generally get a landrover moving again with a combination of baling wire and strips of old inner-tube!)
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Old April 25th, 2011, 09:59 AM   #6
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

I think if you are trying to combine the power to the camera from both a v-mount battery and the power supply via the 4pin XLR on the right hand side of the camera, the circuit inside the camera may not permit you to draw from both at once. The AB mount and the piggybacked v-mount adaptor may have the priority.

So adding the V-mount battery may not be helping the 12v source via the 4pin XLR. You might be working off the v-mount battery until it actually goes low. Whether the D-tap on the side of the AB base will allow supplemental power back in I don't know.

Ari at SI might be able to advise if this is fact or fantasy on my part. There may be a workaround if there is a priority switching arrangement in the camera or it may be possible to trim a little lower, the threshold when the camera senses a low voltage and switches off.


The touchscreen monitor screen brightness is a rough indicator of the state of the power supply. It may flicker a bit as the camera boots up. If the flickering is deep and if it takes a big hit when the fans kick into high speed, your power might be a bit low.

Up north years ago, when our mains power 240V 50Hz AC meant anything between 190V and 230V plus or minus up to 3Hz either way, a friend used what was called an autotransformer with temperamental machines like 16mm motionpicture projector.

It was basically an upright barrel shaped thing about the size of a welder, with an adjustable power tap and a voltmeter. They permit a band of volatage adjustment below and above the mains supply voltage. I understand they can also be dangerous as they may not be earthed.

My understanding at the time was that these things were popular in third-world countries. One of those might solve your mains power problem and might just help your battery problem too if the charger is not floating the camera batteries up to full charge due to low mains supply.

It would be prudent though to also have an overvoltage trip in there somewhere, so when the hotel freezers switch off in the night and the town's diesel generator over-runs because nobody thought to impose a baseload on the system, the surge does no harm. However I guess in Kenya, there will always be airconditioners attempting to function somewhere so overvoltage might not be an issue.

Regarding the 206 and HF radio. Is the power 12v or 24v? I am a bit out of date with these things nowadays. The lighter socket might be routed via a dropping resistor, or from one of two 12v batteries wired in series for 24v for supply to other items. It might be prudent to check the voltage first.

You are much more likely than I to know what's going on in there so please do not take too much heed of my comments.

If you are personally digging into the wiring loom where the HF transceiver power tap comes from, take care to avoid disturbing any skinny metal tubes attached to back of instruments like oil and fuel pressure gauges.

I think these gauges are mostly pure electric these days. The feedlines to bourdon-tube type mechanical gauges are easy to injure.

With the cigarette lighter plug, you may find that tinning with solder, the tip of the retracting pin and the contact faces of the two side springs where they press against the barrel, might give them a bit more of a chance to conform to the shape of the surface they all contact against.

This broadens the actual conductive surface areas beyond the hard pinpoint touchpoints in these plugs and thus reduce resistance. The soft solder wil get grubby fairly quick and may melt off in droplets into the socket if you put too much on and the load heats things up to melting point. Count on having to redo it every now and then.

If the lighter socket has been used for lighting cigarettes, then the centre conductor in the bottom of the socket is likely to be rusty and the spring steel flaps which hold the lighter itself in place until it heats up, long gone.

With firstly the power switched safely off, you might be able to use a hardened screwdriver blade or a strip of wet and dry silicon carbide abrasive paper wedged into a split end of a piece of dowel to scratch some of the rust off the surface of the rivet head which forms the centre conductor of the socket in most instances.

You might also need to rig some sort of retainer, even if it is a piece of motorcycle tube or speargun rubber, to keep the cigarette lighter plug firmly pushed in, not just riding the tip conductor on its spring pressure alone as this eventually works the plug loose in a vibrating environment.

Hopefully I have not sent you on a goosehcase with these speculations.

Have you had a chance to ride in Australia's own GA8 Airvan yet? There's a few over there and one featured in the movie "Blood Diamond".

Last edited by Bob Hart; April 25th, 2011 at 10:04 AM. Reason: error
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Old April 25th, 2011, 11:09 AM   #7
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Furthur to the above, there was apparently an airworthiness directive in 2008 related to overvoltage protection units.

If the voltmeter shows the system has a tendency for going high or spiking, it might be prudent to switch on the landing lights to load the system down a bit before connecting the camera and of course remember to switch them off afterwards.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 03:06 PM   #8
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Thanks Bob

That is all really useful information.
I think you may be right about the battery - from memory I think the camera draws power from the battery first, then the XLR connection - I wish it was the other way around, so I could use the battery as back-up rather than as the primary provider.
Our 206 is one of the last of the 12v models. We no longer use the hf radio but still have the power lead wired in ( somewhere underneath!) , so I figured I would just repurpose it and terminate in an XLR. If you send me your email (mark@deeblestone.com), I'll send you a pic of the 206, rigged with the strut mount and si2k mini.

I will check out the connections when back in Kenya, but think a retainer is an excellent idea to maintain a good contact - another use for strips of old inner tube I think (!)
I've never flown the airvan - but it looks the ideal aircraft for our part of the world ...
Our current problem is availability of avgas - it has just appeared again ( @ $2+ / litre) but for the last 3 weeks the country was dry (!)
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Old April 25th, 2011, 11:36 PM   #9
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Mark


You may not conveniently have the extra bits and pieces over there to do it now. - It might be workable to make a short branch lead with XLR socket on one end and XLR plug on the other with a D-tap plug on a second branch. This would bridge between the AB base and the 12V supply into the side of the camera.

Otherwise just open up the XLR lead at the camera end plug and solder in a short lead to go to the D-tap socket to do the same thing.

Furthurmore, unregulated power back into lithium V-Mount batteries might be a bit risky unless the battery is already fully charged and the camera is pulling from both sources. With the camera switched off, the battery should be disconnected. This would hopefully give you a bit of a hedge against mains power dropouts. From memory I think the V-mount batteries have their own D-tap socket which is what they are charged through.

I would seek advice from Ari at SI or P+S before bridging the power sources. There might be something sensitive in the camera body which might start smoking in a bad way.

If there are any dead desktop or tower computers over there, maybe pull out one of the power supply boxes and see what voltages you get off that. There will be 5V that I know of, maybe a good solid 12V. There is also a diabolical mix of positive and negative voltages, all clever stuff I don't have the knowing of.

I do know the owner of a Christen Eagle was using one to charge his radio and instruments battery a few years back and he didn't burn the place down so it can't be all bad.

Your 206? If there is any sign of old red paint under what is on it now, a belly pod and signs of a southern cross on the fin having been painted over and a rear tiedown bent slightly to the left, and a key switch which has to be held back a little from fully turned against the end stop for the starter to work, it might be one from over here living a new life.

Last edited by Bob Hart; April 25th, 2011 at 11:45 PM. Reason: error
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Old April 26th, 2011, 01:57 PM   #10
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Bob

I have a couple of d-tap plugs so that sounds a good idea. I also have a laptop power supply on order that should boost 12v to 16v at 150 W that I'll try as well.
Thanks for the link - it's amazing what those high powered tail draggers can do on tundra tyres! Our 206 is an ex floatplane - hence the window brace you spotted, but we bought it in Calgary some 12 years ago and had it ferried over to Kenya. Besides hauling us and our gear around it is a stable platform for aerials.
The flats people get in the bush in Kenya are principally from hyenas taking a liking to the rubber!

I've got dutch adjustment on the second wing mount - also tilt and pan, all with micrometer positioners. I don't quite know how they'll stack, but I have been pleasantly surprised by how stable the wrap around mount is, and I have had no vibration problems yet. I'd have liked to try the si2ks for the 3D as I find the si3d system very elegant and user friendly and it's great to have the extra pixel headroom that 2K gives you compared to HD.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 11:07 AM   #11
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Mark.


This one may be of interest, not in your league of production value and not shot on the SI2K as that was in NZ on a 3D test. I had to cut it short and race madly back home as there was a fire threatening.

YouTube - PLANE JUNKIE EXPORT 02.wmv

Bob Grimstead among other things is an aviation magazine columnist as well as a retired BA 747 pilot. He uses his Maule as a camera platform for air-to-air stills for the articles. One of the transparent planels in the rear which has a small section cut out in the middle for camera work.

This one was shot with the SI2K with a Sigma-for-nikon 50mm - 500mm zoom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVHX0kJxGjU

It is poor res as I had to assemble it in SD due to some tech issues with my computer. The cockpit view camera was a little stills camera with video capability. Bob now uses a GoPro.

The orientatable sidefinder on the camera is a bonus for tracking. On a vertical axis it is dead-on accurate with the camera optical axis and horiztonal axis can be lined up easily which makes aquiring and holding on, the easiest of any camera I have used for this task.

Last edited by Bob Hart; April 27th, 2011 at 11:25 AM. Reason: error
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Old April 29th, 2011, 02:11 AM   #12
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Now that made me feel a bit inadequate when I leave the 206 unattended for months in a highly humid, tropical atmosphere full of wind - blown salt!

Interesting to see your use of the Sigma 50-500. How do you find it in terms of quality? - it would seem to be a great focal length for wildlife. Presumably you use it with a Nikon-IMS adapter.

When I used to do a lot of wildlife long lens work ( 300/600mm on S16) from a camera vehicle in Serengeti, I used a 'finder' to speed up acquiring the subject - esp if it was moving fast, like a cheetah, already into its stride.
At its simplest it was a piece of malleable wire strapped around the lens hood which I would adjust (with my head to the viewfinder) until I could place the tip on the subject with my left eye open, which would put the subject in the viewfinder for my right eye.
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Old April 29th, 2011, 03:20 AM   #13
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Mark.


Reply below has been heavily edited. I shall have to get reading glasses as much of the reply was prompted by "S16" not "f16" that I read incorrectly. Much of my reply therefore was rubbish.

The Sigma 50mm - 500mm would probably not come up to BBC standard for sharpness on a 2/3" sensor, especially at the 500mm end. Also it is not a fixed aperture zoom and goes from f4 - f6.3. I use a home made IMS-Nikon mount with genuine Nikon spring.

If you have a look at these clips, you will see that it darkens up at the long end quite noticeably.

For a 500m or 1000mm with an optical doubler it is very compact. The biggest downfall with this lens is that it is a telescoping structure and the design physically pumps environmental air and thus also dust in and out. At f16, the dust is clearly visible. The same pumping action also pumps dust onto the sensor as you will readily observe.

YouTube - YSEN YMUL.mp4

YouTube - CITY LANDING.mp4

YouTube - CHIPMUNK DUO.mp4


To aquire the subject I have been using two cameras with zoom lenses, one as a sighting camera and for backup wide shots, the other with the longer lens on it. The view of both cameras is harmonised at the changeover point where for a short range on both lenses there is an overlap.

A wire ringsight or boresight is another means. I set one up for my left eye to look through when my right eye was against a carefully adjusted eyepiece.

The wide-view camera is of limited utility as beyond a certain wide setting, something like an aircraft flying a display at a safe height is too small to be resolved in the LCD screen. With a hard sky and no clouds, searching with the bare eye is difficult. This one is a view through both of the wide and long cameras, both Sony Z1, one direct-to-camera, the other with a home made 35mm adaptor with a long lens on it. On that day I think I was using the 200mm Nikon f2 with an optical doubler on it.

HELICOPTER ROTOR STRIKE ON AIR PYLON By Bob Hart On ExposureRoom

The vignette on the bottom of the long view frame is the edge of the groundglass disk. I forgot to lock the tripod and the head went over and disrupted things a little.

Have you tried the Schneider 750 True Cut IR filter + ND3 or ND6 with your SI2K. It also seems to yield a slightly more faithful green and yellow-orange with NDs.

I have been trying to talk Steve Rice into taking his SI2K to one of the sports OBs he lays optical cable for for in the hope of hanging the Mini on the back of one of the big B4-mount box lenses to see what happens. Some have a reach like a sick dog ( 2400mm with doubler ) and good light performance as well. Mind you, I would not be so keen to bullock their awkward 48 lbs plus carry container up a hilltop out in the bush. AU$70,000 or so per used sample does not encourage me much either.

Last edited by Bob Hart; April 29th, 2011 at 10:32 PM. Reason: error
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Old May 7th, 2011, 11:50 AM   #14
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

Loaded the DVR2 demo on Steve Rice's camera and he is a convert.


The first thing he observed was the much sharper image on the screen during record, which deals with one achilles heel of DVR1.0. - His words - "a whole new camera".

It is remarkable how much more efficient the new version has made the existing hardware become.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 10:19 AM   #15
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Re: DVR Version 2.0 911.10

We had a play with DVR2 today in a real-world environment, a pro-bono, shot in a pine forest for participants in the current PACSCREENWORKSHOP course.

It seems to be more tolerant of a low battery voltage condition. The monitor itself will shut down before the camera goes down. Auto-recovery of damaged files which get munted by a low voltage shutdown is a welcome development.

We only used one monitor on the camera. Two screens are desirable if the on-screen "slate" display is to be kept up to date by a dedicated assistant, otherwise a paper or laptop log is more convenient.
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