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Old January 3rd, 2007, 10:03 AM   #1
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Elphel 333 (practical thread)

Hello everyone,
I started this thread because the 'big' Elphel thread has a lot of general discussions about the camera and its future models etc.

I'd like to discuss specific techniques on how to actually use this camera for film making. Some of us (including me) on this board own the camera and are struggling to make it useful for our purposes.
I have put my time so far in the optical side of the project.. rebuilding my microwax 35mm adapter for the Elphel 333. I made a bright macrolens from the Elphel lens cap (really), a 8mm filmcamera, and the iris of a projectorlens.

The software and LiveCD is giving me lots of difficulty, because I'm not a programmer (or anything like it, I don't even know how they look or if I ever saw one).
I can capture the output stream to my laptop, but in a difficult way. And the 'worst' part is that I can't seem to save any settings, so I'd have to adjust everything like framesize, compression quality, FPS, etc. etc. every time I start up the LiveCD.

Any suggestions to make this process easier to use are welcome. I'd also like to use this thread for posting results..good or bad.. and getting more people interested in using this camera.

Last edited by Oscar Spierenburg; January 3rd, 2007 at 12:35 PM.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 10:26 AM   #2
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I like this idea. I spend lots of hours searching for this kind of stuff and receantly find this page. If you look carefuly at phil-tacx q&a you will probably find what you need.

https://sourceforge.net/forum/forum.php?forum_id=371579
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 11:35 AM   #3
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I have posted on the sourceforge.net forum myself, but didn't get much response. This forum is more dedicated to filmmaking and much more active than
the Elphel support sites, that's why I posted here.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 12:50 PM   #4
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You just have to write down all the settings & practice! It only takes about 10minutes to get recording but thats a price worth paying I think. it used to be much worse (20minutes) with all those command lines that had to be entered to optimize Linux for recording, then more command lines to record etc. Now its fairly easy I think once you have done it. I keep a partition on the laptop recording hard drive with XP on it so can quickly convert link all the ogg files with Vdub into avi & format the linux drive before recording anything important. Could probably do all this in Linux but there is a learning curve that Im not all that interested in climbing unless I have to. Going to start work on the footage I recorded in Rome with the camera this week so I maybe able to show some clips of places many of you will recognize soon.

You maybe able to set some of the default settings by adjusting a file thats held on the elphel camera. Been a long time since I did this but I think there are instructions on one of the forums for the 301.
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Old January 3rd, 2007, 01:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for your reply Phil.
Do you use the liveCD or is there a way to boot linux from the harddrive?
Also, do you use this control panel?: http://wiki.elphel.com/images/3/34/Control_panel_1.jpg
It seems to be a lot easier than the new one: http://s08.picshome.com/d29/panel.jpg

I only found something like the first panel when I flashed the camera with elphel333-6.3.9-flash.tar
But then I can't do anything. I get this screen with 'preview not implemented'
http://s08.picshome.com/d29/snapshot1.jpg

I'm looking forward to your Rome footage.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 03:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscar Spier
Thanks for your reply Phil.
Do you use the liveCD or is there a way to boot linux from the harddrive?
Also, do you use this control panel?: http://wiki.elphel.com/images/3/34/Control_panel_1.jpg
It seems to be a lot easier than the new one: http://s08.picshome.com/d29/panel.jpg

I only found something like the first panel when I flashed the camera with elphel333-6.3.9-flash.tar
But then I can't do anything. I get this screen with 'preview not implemented'
http://s08.picshome.com/d29/snapshot1.jpg

I'm looking forward to your Rome footage.
I use the new complex one, its not so hard to use its just got a lot more functions that you can mostly forget about. I would set the frame rate at 25fps or what ever & record the video 4:3 & then cut it in post. This way you can pan about with your editor in post.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 11:25 PM   #7
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New software - 6.5.3-RC1

You may want to try new firmware that has better "gamma" table

https://sourceforge.net/project/show...kage_id=151844

http://elphel.cvs.sourceforge.net/el....v?view=markup
...
384 // modified table data to increase precision. table_base[9:0] is now 10 bits (2 extra).
385 // The 10-bit interpolation will be rounded to 8 bits at the very last stage
386 // 8 bit table_diff will be "floating point" with the following format
387 // now "signed" is 2's complement, was sign, abs() before
388 // table_diff[7]==0: table_diff[6:0] - signed data [-64,+63] to be added to table_base
389 // table_diff[7]==1: table_diff[6:0] - signed data that will be left-shifted by 4 [-1024,+1023] to be added to table_base
...
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Old January 11th, 2007, 11:41 PM   #8
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Elphel wiki

You are welcome to add a new section on Elphel wiki (http://wiki.elphel.com) dedicated to these applications. Wiki might be more convenient to organize information than the forum format is.

I don't check forums too often, so emailing directly to support at elphel com can get to my ( or somebody else of our people) attention sooner.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 10:41 AM   #9
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I have quickly scanned this thread, so if I am going off the wrong track, please forgive me.

If the settings are set by command line before filming, why not write a batch file to set them up. An editor and live controls that are saved would be better, but this is a simple start if it takes you ten minutes to feed things in to get started.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 01:30 PM   #10
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How do you actually get this camera?

I emailed elphel twice requesting info on the 353 and never got a response. If nothing else I would really like to order a 333, but I don't know how to go about getting one.

I am excited about the potential of this camera.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 01:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Morellini
I have quickly scanned this thread, so if I am going off the wrong track, please forgive me.

If the settings are set by command line before filming, why not write a batch file to set them up. An editor and live controls that are saved would be better, but this is a simple start if it takes you ten minutes to feed things in to get started.
I think you could also change & save the settings on the actual camera. At least you could with the older 313 camera. Most of the 10min time is taken up loading up the live CD (I could just install it on a partition) optimizing the hard drive (a setting in the start menu), making the hard drive writable, loading up the recording software onto the now writable hard drive etc....its Linux....its free. If you had it installed then this would be a no issue. For me I just found linux a learning curve that Ive never had time to climb. I know just enough to do what I need to film with the 333/313 & really nothing more.

I even boot up XP to Format the 7600rpm laptop recording drive (with some specialized software) before any filming trips! All you then need is Vdub to convert the ogg files into avi using stream copy (on mylaptop it does this at about 200fps)& edit them in any software. the Mjpeg avi's are extremely fast to work with on a modern PC. Nothing like HDV hell. You can watch the ogg files via VLC also but converting to avi takes just a few minutes & then they play in everything if you have a Mjpeg codec.

The only problem just now is the recording utility is a bit flaky & the Auto exposure changes in big steps, think once thats been smoothed then the camera would work great for film making.
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Old January 22nd, 2007, 06:43 PM   #12
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Phil, I'd like to install the Linux to the hard drive, next to XP, but I've read somewhere that the knoppix linux versions can mess up some times (unable to boot XP or something like that) Any one know more about this?
I too think it would make a very good HD film camera (I use 900 x 1600 pixels with the 333), and I look at its limitations as a challenge to use it artistically. (when there was only black and white film, they made some beautiful movies)

One other issue that needs to be discuss (here) is: sound.
What options do we have to synch the sound to the video files?

Daniel, I just wrote an email to Andrey and he sent me the camera... maybe he has been very busy the past months.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 03:42 AM   #13
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Oscar -- I think you put that very well: "When there was only black and white film, they made some beautiful movies." There are limitations with these various box cameras (compared to a compact all-in-one camcorder solution), but I think we're all in this because we believe the potential quality of the images is worth the inconvenience. When you consider the huge blimped cameras they used to use, which turned them into something the size of a padded wardrobe sitting on a lathe bed, then I guess we can shoot something with a camera tethered to a laptop. Compared to current HDV (which I imagine is our main yardstick to keep ahead of), I like what the box cameras don't do: no rectangular pixels, no fixed frame size/shape, no auto gain (no auto anything). I think it's going to take some time for commercial camcorders to provide some of the features which we have even started to get used to; for the near future hopefully the sensors in box cameras will get better and faster, and maybe the software connection easier to use. Wonder what Forrest is up to...

Last edited by John Wyatt; January 23rd, 2007 at 04:57 AM.
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Old January 24th, 2007, 09:52 AM   #14
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to Phill and Oscar:
I don't have the camera so maybe what I'm saying is wrong but looking at the instruction on the elphel wiki page I've understand that to access the camera you need to insert command line in firefox (e.g. http://192.168.0.9/axis-cgi/jpg/imag...compression=30 ---->to obtain an image with the assigned set of parameters)
so why not make a html page with in the top part a frame in witch we put the complex control panel (http://s08.picshome.com/d29/panel.jpg) and down this the button with link the exact order of the command line we have to enter to set up the camera and all the button we have to use more to control the camera like :
-record
-stop
...or all the button of the Nikos GUI (http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/attachmen...3&d=1169591374)
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Old February 5th, 2007, 05:48 AM   #15
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MicroWax...

Hi Oscar,

how about posting some info (maybe even images??) of your groundglass solution for the 333 on the elphel wiki??

I am really curious of your work...as I plan to get the 353 and build something similar...and I bet there are a lot of other people out there that would find your work exciting too!

thanks

//O.
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