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Old December 14th, 2006, 04:06 PM   #1
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Continous Shooting > 1000 frames?

I'm looking for a digital still camera that can capture at 3 or 4 fps, continuous shooting without any lapse for 1000 or more frames. I developed a technique with an old 35mm SLR but would like to expand it as 36 frames is very limiting.

I can't find any info yet on if tethered DSLRs can capture in continuous shooting mode via remote control or only to flash mem. I don't need auto-focus or exposure nor image preview while shooting (but do need an optical viewfinder for framing. Need to be at least 3000 X 2000 pixel images. JPEG okay but RAW better.

You can see this 10 second short I did using ONLY still images + After Effects w/ Twixtor here:

http://www.sv2studios.com/clients/testing/cyf.wmv.

Any ideas?
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Old December 15th, 2006, 01:16 AM   #2
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Stephen,

I didn't try what you are suggesting so I can't say for sure. But here are my thoughts anyway.

Firstly, the camera must allow you to take pictures without a flah card inserted, otherwise you would be restricted by the speed of the flash card and the size of the camera buffer memory. All my Canons can do that. Then it depends on the connection to the laptop (USB2, firewire or WLAN) and the hard drive of the laptop. Let's assume about 8 MByte per RAW frame, then we have a data rate of 24 MByte/sec (at 3 frames per second). I don't think the average hard drive would be able to handle such a data rate (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong). However, if you shoot JPGs at, let's say, 1.5 MByte per frame, you have about 4.5 MByte/sec (at 3 frames per second). This is about the data rate of DV and that should be no problem (assuming that the average frame is indeed only 1.5 MByte)

However, you could run into thermal problems. After all, a DSLR is not designed for 1000 frames at the max. frame rate. One of my 20D bodies had a serious thermal problem after about 25 to 30 frames. It just quit working and I had to wait about 15 minutes before it would work again. But since this happened with one body only, it was probably a malfunction. Anyway, I think you should be prepared.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 06:33 AM   #3
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Nice video, but unfortunately you're gonna be limited by the speed/size of the memory card and the buffer of the camera. I have a D200 and even with Extreme III cards in JPEG, the camera starts to bog down after 25-30frames. This is due to the speed of the camera writing to the card, and the only way to get what you're looking for is with a camera that doesn't exist yet with a much larger buffer and a faster processor that can write the images to the card faster. Also you'd probably need a 16GB Extreme IV card or something to store that many images depending on the resolution.

But honestly by the time you get the camera and card that meets those needs, you might as well have bought a nice fluid head tripod and HD camera to shoot the exact same video with less hard work.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 09:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Hoffmann
Stephen,

This is about the data rate of DV and that should be no problem (assuming that the average frame is indeed only 1.5 MByte)
Yeah, I'm aware JPEG data rates are much more cosy, but I have RAID 0 drives that support about 50 Mb/s and since you don't need a perfectly steady rate - RAW still might work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Hoffmann
However, you could run into thermal problems.
That's possible, especially longer takes, but since I see several cams out there designed to shoot either video or continuous "until card is full" I assume there are cameras without thermal issues.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 09:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah Hayes
Nice video, but unfortunately you're gonna be limited by the speed/size of the memory card and the buffer of the camera.
I'm very aware of that - thus that's why I posted looked for cams that might shoot tethered to a computer.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah Hayes
But honestly by the time you get the camera and card that meets those needs, you might as well have bought a nice fluid head tripod and HD camera to shoot the exact same video with less hard work.
But it won't shoot anything like "the exact same video". HD is 1920X180 or 1280X720 pixels, usually very compressed unless you get a camera with 4:4:4 uncompressed and still, 3 CCD video stills are pretty low quality compared to DSLR stills.

Plus, I'm waiting at least 2K but preferably 4K resolution not HD rez. Right now, those motion camera are over $100,000 and some approach 7 figures. The RED camera would do it, but that's $20k without lenses and still in development.

Finally, turning 4 fps into 24 fps gives a certain unrealistic look/feel - a dreamy, unusual quality due to the lack of registrations (though digital may even that ought). It's this looks of 4fps turned into 24fps that I like. You could sort of create it in post from 24fps footage, but you would need 4K 24fps footage which brings us back to my solution.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 02:59 PM   #6
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Since you're probably on a budget, try landing a used Nikon D2H for somewhere in the $1000-1500. It delivers a 4 MPixel image at 8 frames/second into a 40 image buffer (JPEG) . Nikon Capture software does control the camera remotely, but I haven't tried it myself. So, I'm not sure you can sustain 8fps into your computer, but this is a good path to check out. You can also program the frame rate.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 03:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis
Nikon Capture software does control the camera remotely, but I haven't tried it myself. So, I'm not sure you can sustain 8fps into your computer, but this is a good path to check out. You can also program the frame rate.
That's the big question - does it sustain even 4fps into the computer. I would really like to know before dropping $1000 or more.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 08:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen van Vuuren
But it won't shoot anything like "the exact same video". HD is 1920X180 or 1280X720 pixels, usually very compressed unless you get a camera with 4:4:4 uncompressed and still, 3 CCD video stills are pretty low quality compared to DSLR stills.
Are you outputting to film or another super-high rez format? I tried hooking my D200 directly to my macbook pro, then i realized Nikon hasn't shipped intel drivers yet so I can't test it out for you...anyone else on here wanna try this out for Steve?
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Old December 15th, 2006, 09:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah Hayes
Are you outputting to film or another super-high rez format? I tried hooking my D200 directly to my macbook pro, then i realized Nikon hasn't shipped intel drivers yet so I can't test it out for you...anyone else on here wanna try this out for Steve?
I'm working on high rez (4K) digital film called "Outside In" (www.outsidefilms.org). If someone can actually test this out, I will include them in the credits, copy of film and two tickets to a premiere.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 04:18 AM   #10
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Stephen, I'll give it a try this afternoon (Central European Time). I'll use my 20D and a notebook, but probably I'll limit the test to 100 frames or so.

I'll keep you posted.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 06:49 AM   #11
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Sorry Stephen, I can't test it at the moment because my EOS capture software does not start for some %$?&% reason (I haven't used it for eons). I uninstalled and installed it twice but it just won't work. As soon as I have solved the problem, I'll try to shoot a few dozen pics.

Sorry for the delay.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 09:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Hoffmann
Sorry Stephen, I can't test it at the moment because my EOS capture software does not start for some %$?&% reason (I haven't used it for eons). I uninstalled and installed it twice but it just won't work. As soon as I have solved the problem, I'll try to shoot a few dozen pics.

Sorry for the delay.
Thanks so much for you help! I hope it's not a serious problem.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 11:12 AM   #13
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Stephen,

I solved the problem with the capture software. Obviously I had updated it some time ago but didn't update the firmware of the 20D. So I just used the EOS 5D.

Here we go: I fired about 150 frames (JPEG, average file size 2.4 MB) at 3 fps. It worked without problems, all 150 frames were stored on the laptops harddrive. No problems whatsoever. However, I had to remove the CF card. If the CF card remains in the camera, the camera attempts to write the data on the CF card and the hard drive at the same time and you are then limited by the size of the internal buffer.

So there only remains the overheating issue. If it is an issue at all. I really didn't want to put this to a test.

So, when you choose a camera for your work, make sure, that the camera allows shooting without a CF card inserted.

Please keep us informed about your future work. I would really like to know about this thermal problem that I anticipate.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 11:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainer Hoffmann
Stephen,

I solved the problem with the capture software. Obviously I had updated it some time ago but didn't update the firmware of the 20D. So I just used the EOS 5D.

Here we go: I fired about 150 frames (JPEG, average file size 2.4 MB) at 3 fps. It worked without problems, all 150 frames were stored on the laptops harddrive. No problems whatsoever. However, I had to remove the CF card. If the CF card remains in the camera, the camera attempts to write the data on the CF card and the hard drive at the same time and you are then limited by the size of the internal buffer.

So there only remains the overheating issue. If it is an issue at all. I really didn't want to put this to a test.

So, when you choose a camera for your work, make sure, that the camera allows shooting without a CF card inserted.

Please keep us informed about your future work. I would really like to know about this thermal problem that I anticipate.
Thanks so much for the information - that's very encouraging.

I also am still worried enough about the overheating issue since I calculated I will need 9 -10 ten minute takes. At 3 fps that's 18,000 images and I have two actors, so that 36,000. I had not really considered the thermal issues when coming up with this idea.

I'm not sure how to test the thermal without potentially ruining a camera - I don't know if they shutdown automatically or not.

I may have to break down and shoot 1080p 4:4:4 uncompressed and uprez the footage (double) though I'm worried how good that will look.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #15
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PS. If you send me your complete info offline (my contact info is at sv2studios.com or outsideinfilms.org), I will be sure to include you in the credits and keep you updated on the film. I hope it will tour Germany when released...
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