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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:59 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:26 pm
Posts: 26
ok we saw that IPI studio has a video recorder, now on another post the admin asked me if I found another way of capturing videos and make them ipi compatible to share, so I did that now here is how:

BTW the optics on this cameras are way better than on most webcams.

1- I Used 2 Cannon Powershot Cameras ( low end cameras an A590, and an A560 )
2- I place them on tripods and adjusted the viewfinders to the location I wanted to record.
3-I started camera1, then camera 2, ( there's a way using a hacked software to make the powershots start recording with a trigger attached to the USB port however I did not use that, but you can sync the start and the end right from the cameras, or use motion detection
4-I saved some video, 320x240, the quality of it compared to the webcams was WAY different.
5-I Downloaded the video files to my PC ( this cameras make them avi files )
6-I Loaded both files on an old Video Editor Software I have called Ulead Video Studio ( V6.5, they have newer versions now )
7-I did a manual sync of the videos
then I set the output to 640x480 ( 320x2 X 240x2 )
8-Using motion I locked video 1 at position 0,0 ( so it would cover the first 320x240.
9-Then using another motion filter I locked video 2 at position 320,0 ( so it covers the second half of final video )
10-I rendered and saved the file
11-I opened the file with IPI studio, and it recognized the recording as 2 different cameras.

now this is a good way to make this into a very portatil unexpensive way of recording without the need of having a laptop or anything at all really, just the cameras, however the only "problem" right now is the syncronization of the cameras, doing it by hand is somewhat slow, but I will try to make the USB cable to press the start button at the same time on both cameras, so they get auto synced.

Chuby


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 7:52 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:03 am
Posts: 33
Just to clarify,

When you combine two video sources (320x240) manually, as you describe, the final output is 640x240, not 640x480. If you use 640x480 as your output size, you either distort your video image (because the source footage is only 240 high), or you end up with black bars in the bottom half. I don't know how iPi DMC would react to this, but it sounds like you got 640x480 to work?

To synchronize cameras, you could use a film slate, or turn a flashlight (visible by all cameras) on. Any other method that provides a clear visual start/stop (hand clap, for example) should work.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:37 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:26 pm
Posts: 26
yes sorry the output file is 640x240 :)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:20 am 
iPi Soft

Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:13 pm
Posts: 804
Thanks for sharing your experience.
We (the developers) never tried that but in theory your method should work good.

We recommend webcams because they seem to be the easiest way of synchronized video recording. However, other synchronization methods are perfectly valid. By the way, if you use Canon PowerShot cameras you can try recording at higher resolutions, since you are not limited by CPU speed for recording. At present, iPi Studio processes video at 320x240, but we may add higher resolutions in the future.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:11 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:03 am
Posts: 33
I tried Chuby's method with two video cameras before I purchased webcams and can confirm that it works.

Michael, when you say "iPi Studio processes video at 320x240" do you mean that you shouldn't use higher resolutions (for example 640x480 for each camera) in iPi Studio, or that iPi Studio would simply downconvert that higher resolution footage internally for processing?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:41 am 
iPi Soft

Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:13 pm
Posts: 804
iPi Studio downscales video internally to 320x240 for processing. Input video can actually be any resolution. But it must have 4:3 aspect ratio (current limitation).


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:28 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:26 pm
Posts: 26
Ok I made the button to sync both cameras, they got synced to >1ms ( thats the error ), now I have to find some long USB cables to set them up, after that I'll perform the first captures, I'll post my results here, but I have to say that the quality of the video that the regular cameras give is MUCH MUCH better than the video that I get of webcams, and as stated before I can just save them on the memory of the cameras. so it becomes portable.

I hope that today I can find a place open that carries the USB extensions so I can make the recording !


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:25 pm
Posts: 14
Thanks, this is the info I'm looking for. So what are the technical specs of 3 or 4 cameras? Is the final composite 320x3 wide in the case of a 3-camera shoot, or do you make it 640x480 in a quad kind of setup?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:27 pm 
iPi Soft

Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:13 pm
Posts: 804
dpolcino wrote:
So what are the technical specs of 3 or 4 cameras? Is the final composite 320x3 wide in the case of a 3-camera shoot, or do you make it 640x480 in a quad kind of setup?


The final composite is 320x3 wide. (All camera images side-by-side).


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:36 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 12:26 pm
Posts: 26
sorry I have been busy with other things.

I have kept using the Canon Cameras actually I use 2 different ones a
A590
and
A560

I also got them modded with a different firmware ( the firmwares are NOT permanent ) you can get them here: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Downloads

basically they allow to program different functions on the camera but you can use the camera USB input to send a voltage and they do a hardware syncronization ( they all

start at the same time )

if someone is interested I can post the script there that I use to start the cameras.

also since the cameras are a bit far I got myself a set of USB cable extenders so I can get the data to the cameras all at once so they sync.

I keep them at tripods and well as you might know recording with a dedicated camera is MUCH MUCH faster and has less artifacts than recording with a webcamera.

Also as stated before you get portability independent of a laptop or anything as long as the cameras can get the +5 volts on the USB port you can start them ( I have

sucesfully started them with simple USB power sources that cost like 3$ )

after you have everything of course you have to make the calibration video, since I don't have that much money to spend I also did a DIY calibration light.

(I'll post pictures here if someone is interested )

basically it's a 0.03cents led and a small battery, however the amount of light it produces is A LOT and I mean A LOT, if you can get a hold of one of those LEDS from an

old LED flashlight that is ideal.

when you have all that you can shoot the calibration video anywhere even with BRIGHT sunlight.

now when you have everything recorded you go to post production to any software that is capable of pasting video just make a blank document depending on the amount

of cameras you use it can be:

2 cameras: 640x240
3 cameras: 960x240
4 cameras: 1280x240

since this goes into a video edition software you can play with edge smoothing if required, remove artifacts if any or any other pre-processing filters you might want to use.

I found one quite usefull for the calibration video, since the led I use is VERY bright, I can lower the contrast up to a point where everything is basically dark and the only

thing you can see on the scene is the small point of the light.

it makes the calibration a snap ( well that can be done with webcam recorded videos as well )

Right now in the near future I am waiting to see if I can get a marker of some sort and a filter ? program ? that can cut the video when the marker is found, that way I would be

able to avoid using the hardware syncronization method.

if that is possible you could combine different cameras:

Picture Cameras
DV Cameras
Web Cameras
I guess even a phone with a good camera would work.

but the issue is that to cut the video at the EXACT moment on all of them.
if someone has an advice/program filter whatever that using a marker can cut a video at an exact time that would open up to using basically any fairly good camera you

have , or that you could even borrow.

Also I am looking to get another canon camera an A590 or an A560 but I have to save a bit and wait, right now my finances do not allow me to do that, but that's something I

want to do ASAP.

maybe I would be able to write a formal document or help file on how to use IPI studio with other cameras that are not webcams.

plus the cheap DIY components.

I know this can be done, I have done it, and lightdog was able to do it as well, it's really not difficult, and allows the portability to go out and shoot anywhere.

so basically now if anyone knows of a program that can sync videos using software, that would be the BEST.

the setup would be just:

1-find cameras
2-setup cameras
3-get a marker
4-Click the record button on them all (manually)
5-start the marker
6-record calibration video
7-record movement
8-post process
9-feed it to IPI
10-:) :) :)

OK I guess I wrote more than what I wanted to, and made this much longer than I wanted.

however if someone is interested on the DIY parts the scripts or other stuff please tell me so I can make a good how-to or document explaining all of this.

thank you all !

have fun capturing.


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