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Old December 15th, 2006, 03:23 PM   #346
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so, you are indeed talking seriously about using a parallel viewfinder and that keyboard?? Oh, my God......
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Old December 16th, 2006, 05:10 AM   #347
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrey Filippov
I finished Gerber files for 2 new boards - one with 8 Compact Flash slots and the other has FPGA+DDR SDRAM (64MB) - exactly like on 353 board and 4 flex cable connectors (one - to 353, 3 - to sensor boards). It allows to attach up to 3 sensor boards to a single 353, making it possible perform some image processing there (i.e. stereo).
Very interesting! Andrey, when we can see more information on your website?
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Old December 17th, 2006, 04:47 AM   #348
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan M. M. Fiebelkorn
so, you are indeed talking seriously about using a parallel viewfinder and that keyboard?? Oh, my God......
If we think of the two types of video streams (recorded and displayed), changes in the software (switching between streams, because I'm not sure we'll be able to run both of them at the same time), additional mini-pc (or some other device) requirements, plus the need of simultaneous sound recording (I still haven't found an external usb1 device with linux drivers) then we're talking about some big changes.

First I want to reach the simplest solution and that might be a separate viewfinder+sound recorder, no matter how weird it sounds... However, what's good in the Elphel is that a lot of people can make their contributions to it so we might end up with a perfect camcorder sometime. I do my part (the raw video encoder), others can do other parts; but for the simplest solution the encoder will be enough in itself.

Zsolt

Last edited by Zsolt Hegyi; December 17th, 2006 at 01:01 PM.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 03:14 AM   #349
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsolt Hegyi
If we think of the two types of video streams (recorded and displayed), changes in the software (switching between streams, because I'm not sure we'll be able to run both of them at the same time), additional mini-pc (or some other device) requirements, plus the need of simultaneous sound recording (I still haven't found an external usb1 device with linux drivers) then we're talking about some big changes.

First I want to reach the simplest solution and that might be a separate viewfinder+sound recorder, no matter how weird it sounds... However, what's good in the Elphel is that a lot of people can make their contributions to it so we might end up with a perfect camcorder sometime. I do my part (the raw video encoder), others can do other parts; but for the simplest solution the encoder will be enough in itself.

Zsolt
So its almost like two cpu's (camera bodys) but with just one sensor. One camera doing a low compression & pumping the images direct to a hard drive. The other doing a very heavy Mjpeg compression & pumping these small images out to anything with a lan port & Linux on it?

I was able to get usable video over a wireless lan in my house to XP from the 333. Perhaps if its just for preview a wireless server would work best? Imagine using a pocket PC to watch a low bandwidth streaming video direct from the camera, being able to adjust it etc without any cables remotely? You could put the camera anywhere & get great video. Sound is not such an issue, There could be a marker button that will create a point in the video (clapper board?) that you can use to line up the recorded sound with the video images.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 04:12 AM   #350
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Stone
So its almost like two cpu's (camera bodys) but with just one sensor.
That's a good idea but I have my concerns as usual...

Andrey, can we do such a thing? Use just one sensor board, divide its output in two and sync the two cameras?

Quote:
I was able to get usable video over a wireless lan
That's what I was thinking too. The Elphel pushes out the stream onto a wireless network and you can have as many receivers as you want. Controlling the camera is a bit more tricky, one has to write some interface sw for that, but that's not very hard.

Zsolt
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Old December 18th, 2006, 05:56 AM   #351
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsolt Hegyi


Controlling the camera is a bit more tricky, one has to write some interface sw for that, but that's not very hard.

Zsolt
The 333 does have a html control screen . It takes a bit of getting used too but its all there from white balance & auto exposure to a histogram & colour correction. It does not look all that different to the one thats on the Silicon Imaging camera. Just a tad more complex as you really can adjust everything. With a laptop its a bit fiddly so I use a trackball thats taped to the laptop when filming on the move with it. But for real film making with actors etc then you will be wanting something much more simple with all the options hidden away. Perhaps a way to save the settings for different filming conditions?

Last edited by Phil Stone; December 18th, 2006 at 07:01 AM.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 08:05 AM   #352
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Stone
Perhaps if its just for preview a wireless server would work best? Imagine using a pocket PC to watch a low bandwidth streaming video direct from the camera, being able to adjust it etc without any cables remotely?
Perhaps a Nokia 770 would be suitable for the viewfinder. It's based (almost?) entirely on an open-source stack and appears to be fully customizable.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 05:47 AM   #353
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Hi Phil,

I've been away from the board and the camera for too long...
I remember you talking about using the camera on the windows OS. How did you get that working?

I'm slowly picking things up, so I'll post things again when I have the time. My 35mm adapter is working fairly good with the 333 and I have ordered a wide angle lens.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 06:50 AM   #354
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lens

I gave up the thought of using 35mm lenses with converters because of their low resolution. Therefore I won't have control over depth of field, but what the heck. Image quality is more important to me.

So I began thinking about c-mount lenses: Fujinon has some new 5mpixel models with 2/3" areas. The bad news is that they've got no smaller lens than 12.5mm (except the 1.8mm fisheye). With 1/3" sensor size, this matches up with a 95mm tele-lens (in the normal 35mm film world) which is unusable in most recording situations. These lenses are expensive as well.

If we go down to the normal "megapixel" range, we can find lenses from several manufacturers down to 4mm of focal distance but usually no more than 1.5mpixel resolution. Because with 2x2 binning we'll get 1.25mpixels out of the sensor this might be enough, however, these four pixel groups won't have as great dynamic range as they could with a better lens.


Zsolt

Last edited by Zsolt Hegyi; January 6th, 2007 at 05:54 AM.
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Old January 13th, 2007, 02:28 PM   #355
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Zsolt -- you might consider taking a chance with secondhand lenses. If you get one of the better C-mount lenses (Angenieux, Schnieder, etc), but the image looks softer than you would have expected, it probably means the lens needs collimating. This can happen with the older lenses; many of the popular secondhand ones are from 16mm cameras dating from the 60's and 70's (elements can get a little loose over time). With these lenses it might be considered as part of the cost to get the lens professionally serviced (set once again to the factory ideal). This adds to the cost but might still be good value compared to some of the new HD resolution lenses...
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Old January 14th, 2007, 04:02 AM   #356
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These 16mm lenses project to 16mm image size so they would behave as telephoto lenses when applied to a 1/3" sensor. So image quality comes as second only in importance to the focus distance.

Zsolt
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Old January 15th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #357
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Sorry for saying this, but I've got the feeling that you are all going the way we follow 2-3 years ago.
Anyway you all have my support.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 02:55 AM   #358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan M. M. Fiebelkorn
Sorry for saying this, but I've got the feeling that you are all going the way we follow 2-3 years ago.
Juan, could you please be more specific? I think we all have followed a lot of threads here on dvinfo for quite a while so if you write a few things about your way then we'll understand.

But anyway I think it's clear for all of us that this Elphel-based camera of ours won't change the world as, for example, the SiliconImaging or the Red cameras do. We're thinking in smaller things than those guys and even the guys on the DIY-HD threads here. Our ambitions are modest. Personally, however, I think the price/performance ratio of this stuff -if we can make it- will beat those other cameras'.

Thanks,
Zsolt
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Old January 19th, 2007, 12:15 AM   #359
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Ok, I will try again.First try I wrote a lot of things, but don't know how they all got lost.

I will try being more "specific" :)

In case nobody knows it,I was quite involved outside of this forum at the early stages of planning/development of SI's camera.
Together with a partner we manufactured a mechanical shutter test-bed and PL mounts that we sent to Ari Presler.
Our resources were quite limited at that time so maybe our stuff wasn't the best out there but, hey, at least we did it!!
Now we have a Hass CNC machine center, much better...

Ari Presler is a really smart guy and he has a sharp sense for business.
At the beggining I was heading for FPGA compression at the camera head level.Ari decided to go for the X86 software, so he can get technical and commercial support from Intel and Cineform and even having the option of Adobe Premiere installed on camera so you can use the camera for editing, Ikegami style.
The rest of things are a really long story, and I'm not in the mood right now for writing them down here.
End of story is that after several delays because of hardware limitations because of Cineform processing requirements and waiting till the arrival of Pentium-M/ Core DUO and PCI Express the camera got ready.

Right now the most simillar thing to what I firstly envisioned despite not liking its external design is the RED camera. (if you don't believe me just search for my posts all through almost 3 years).

Now my own opinion:

USB may sound nice at first, but it is an asynchronous crappy connection and with too limited a bandwidth.So we are forced to compress heavily using Theora.(8 bit limited BTW)
If we just had a way of connecting elphel 353 through PCI to a mobo and get a driver for it, we would have a whole system ready.
Instead of needing Theora compression, we could use a much easier compression scheme.I've tested myself an integer transform lossy compression based on expired patents mostly from the 70's, which is not computationally intensive and which doesn't produce blocky artifacts if compressing a bayer pattern.If I can do it, anyone out there can.That is why I was always asking for 10 bit raw bayer stuff with no success.
Need a little bit more compression with unnoticeable losses? You could also apply some ideas I posted here when discussing a codec with D. Newman long ago.
If Theora works on the elphel camera, this one will also.
Of course the codec SHOULD be open source so anybody out there can implement it on anything from VFW, DShow,Quicktime.So no worry about NLE support.
The old and hated PCI bus gives us at least 100 MB per second to play with so, we can send from the camera head two streams (if necessary) one is the full resolution compressed bayer and the other one could be a quarter resolution 8 bit per color channel image which wouldn't need debayering and could also be lightly compressed so to be sent to viewfinder.
Let's say Elphel 353 costs 1800 dollars, and a NanoITX which is 12cmx12cm ( 4.5 inch) goes for 400.
For 400 dollars you get everything you could need.Two VGA outputs one for Viewfinder, 3D glasses or whatever and the other maybe an external Monitor, TV encoded output (PAL or NTSC), HDTV output.Several audio inputs and outputs and the option of compressing them on many different codecs.
You don't need the biggest CPU for this tasks.
Want to use NTFS, HFS+,EXT3 ? you have it. You can install a full LINUX.
Want to use RAID X, so to avoid any posible data loss? You have it.
Want to output a DV stream through Firewire at the same time? You probably can.
Any thing you can do with a PC is at your hand.
Want to customize your camera because you know C programming? Go Ahead!!! If anything goes wrong just reinstall the software and you are ready.

As final words: This configuration isn't in fact a lot different from what SI camera is.It is just much more flexible and powerful

I hope my thinking is clearly expressed.Because I'm not a native english speaker I'm sure I made a lot of mistakes.
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Old January 19th, 2007, 04:32 AM   #360
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Thanks for the detailed answer Juan. Our projects have much in common (Elphel, fpga lossless encoder) but they're still fundamentally different at the same time.

As for PCI, the gerber files will be available so if someone has the intention it's fairly easy to design a PCI interface, make some boards and then plug one into the ITX, write a driver and a recording software for it, maybe a Premiere plugin for the proprietary format and go.

What I'm planning is much more simple: write an fpga encoder, disable the camera's streamer and replace it with a hard disk recording sw which can be controlled through USB by a numeric keypad and put a minidv camera beside the Elphel to function as a viewfinder. And I need a Premiere plugin to process the recorded data but I've already written that.

I don't think that one of the projects should stop. Neither of them are futile. I think that the more people, the more projects are involved in modifying the Elphel the better the chance that someone will come up with a usable result, so I'm glad that you too are working on it. Moreover, if we have two types of encoders for the fpga then we can test both of them and choose the better of the two.

Quote:
Let's say Elphel 353 costs 1800 dollars
The planned price won't be much different than the 333 which is around $800.

Quote:
You don't need the biggest CPU for this tasks.
I'm not sure about that. The ITX boards have a fairly limited CPU performace compared to the desktop ones and if you push huge data in through the PCI bus although you have the chance to record it without involving the CPU but if you want a real-time viewfinder image then you must do a lot of computations on the fly. If you're going HD then you might find the ITX boards too weak. Have you got any test results so far?


Zsolt

Last edited by Zsolt Hegyi; January 19th, 2007 at 11:27 AM.
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