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 working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans Dolly 
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Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:17 pm
Posts: 6
Post working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans Dolly
Suzans Dolly:

I have made a very advanced yet inexpencive 4 axis camera dolly
and the best part is its controled by Blender 3d ... and open source 3d animation sweet..
this means you are able to key frame your shots and watch a 3d simulation of the dolly rig and
what the camera will see befor actualy doing the shoot.

4 Axis Camera Rig:
dolly, pan, tilt and focus/zoom

Time Lapse Mode:
-any delay in 1 second increments
-take pic while the rig is completely still
-and or take motion blur pics the shutter will be open while the rig moves

Animated Control:
- a key framed/animated model of the camera rig
in blender sends its animated motion to the real camera rig.
The real camera rig dose whatever the animated model dose.

Manual Control:
animated control is nice but far more useful
is Manual control. I recommend using a wireless key board with a neck
strap! the dolly can be moved around with the key board its positions
can be inserted at different times. This is very handy and intuitive!
It is very much like driving a remote control car! This is also the
way that professional camera rigs like Milo are key framed.

Blue-Tooth Wireless:
Operates 200 ft away from the controlling computer.

Although this rig dose time lapse it also moves quite fast and
can certainly replace an actual camera operator in many situations!

Belt Driven:
Each axis of the rig is driven with timing belts allowing you to swap
different sized pulleys for better speed vers torque and accuracy ratio

Adjustable Base Plate:
adjustable base plate allowing you to balance any dlsr camera
and a unique belt system that fits any lens enabling you to use
the 4th axis for zoom focus or even aperture!

Its quite possible to build one of these for around 400 bux!

to read more about it visite this link ...!-Suzans-Dolly

Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:35 pm
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Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:45 am
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Location: Merritt Island, Florida, Estates Unitas
Post Re: working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans D
The demo was very impressive. I'd love to see a tutorial or something showing how the blender program is run and showing the rig responding to your input to blender. Some shots of the rig would be nice as well.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:56 am

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:17 pm
Posts: 6
Post Re: working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans D

Yes my brother is going camping with the hole setup soon...
So there will be a bunch of time lapses and more footage of the rig in that video.

I also have a hi speed cammera and hope to do some intresting motion contorl shots at 300 and 600 fps, this rig can
move quite fast, its not just for time lapse!

As for now I can describe the user interface to you.
I use a wireless key board and can controll the hole rig manualy / real time with the following keys

r = record / shutter
u = half shutter/ auto focuss
p = play / pause keyed camera motion from current pos
o = type any time in seconds you wish to scrub to
oo = type any frame you wish to scrub too
j or l = scrub forward or backwords in time
i = insert key frame at current position
ii = insert two key frames a give number of frames apart\n
a or g = move doly
s or f = pan
e or d = tilt
z or b = focus
y to togle amimate_3d_view_port
v to togle verbose mode
tl to do a time lapse run.. it will ask you some questions about delay etc

You can also animate the 3d virtual rig in blender using your mouse.
all the rigs movements are graphed with bezure curves that you can manipulate easily, to keep everything perfectly smoth
or evan add custom repeateable shake, totaly up to you.

Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:40 pm
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:18 pm
Posts: 1294
Post Re: working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans D
Really like you the fact you are using blender as a controller . i use dragonframe and have been looking for a way of tying it into a 3d program . With blender and motion control compositing shots with cgi should be a lot easier . Will follow your progress got to ask though. Why is everything thing so shaky is that a hardware thing or software ?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:22 am

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:17 pm
Posts: 6
Post Re: working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans D
Yes you bring up a very good point DISPLACEMENT 1 .. when compositing cgi you no longer have to use motion tracking to figure out your camera movement. You can also do a ruff modle of your shot in 3d ahead of time and watch it befor you shoot it!

The shakyness is compleately a hardware problem, I really cheaped out on the hardware.
the rig i filmed with there has garage door bearings and cnc made timeing belt pullies on the pan axis, which are slightly off center
preventing me from tighting the belts properly.
I literly only spent like $400 on the all of the hardware, but that was my intention.. i just needed somthing to code on.
Soon ill build a more quality rig, for now im just going to smooth out the shots in post production.

Id love to see some of your work DISPLACEMENT 1 are you on vimeo ?
Did you notice the motion blur feature ... i see alot of really profetional time lapses that have that choppy look because there is no motion blur !
I evan made it so you can take both motion blur shots and still shots durring the same run.
Im hopeing to mask in motion blur only where its a problem hence also preserving the crisp look of time lapse.
Id also love to know what features are important to you with a tool like this! any suggestions?

Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:52 am
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:18 pm
Posts: 1294
Post Re: working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans D
Ah yes thought it might be a hardware problem . i am amazed you managed as much as you have for that price point . My gear is the DMoco stuff quite a few post on forum and vimeo ,same name . On with a crane at mo just to finish things off. Have a look and i will get back to you . Away at mo and on phone so bit of pain typing

Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:15 am
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:18 pm
Posts: 1294
Post Re: working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans D
Hello their again back home so typing a bit easier . Thanks for comments on my Vimeo page as i said no good at code at all which irritates me alot . Think their are others on this forum who are very good . John B always seems to like a challenge and hes been doing great stuff with a Pi . Try getting in touch with him he may be able to help .
You have obviously got the basics working. Are you working through a Arduino ? I have found people in the past have difficulty getting multi axis real time functionality out of them . Well done if you have cracked that as i say well above my pay scale .
As for wish list i am always keen on the ability to repeat moves exactly and i mean exactly . This is why i was slightly concerned about your shaky tests you just wouldn't be able to do good mats or do rig removal . But four a low cost rig you cant have everything but i do think you would be better upping the spec on your rig to make it more usable . Specially when you are approaching it from a interesting control method which seems to be working well.
If you can do real time moves it would also be good to record these so they can be played back edited and layered . Is that possible do you think . The way modern motion graphic work is by building up loads of layers which could be timelapse animation cgi video all compositeted together with the knowledge you are doing exactly the same move for each type of content . Exciting times :D
Ps I am up to about 8 channels of control and counting are you just limited to four ?

Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:57 am

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:17 pm
Posts: 6
Post Re: working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans D
Ha good timing I just got in from filming to ( time lapse of a 3d printer soon to be on the market )
Well I dont think im all that good at code ether.. but I did painstakingly write all the code so far from scratch.
.... yes im using arduino and I think I can control up to 10 axis( some will be lights instead of motors), but so far ive only tried 4 axix and 2 dimable lights

Yes multi axis was a problem, its tuf to get it to work on the arduino, I tried many methods that failed! but eventualy found one that works smoothly, evan for fast moves.

Soon I will be codeing a new rig to use the L6470 stepper driver ( it dose 128 micro steps per step!!!!)
I will use better hardware and I expect this next improved vertion to be very fast smooth and accurate!
I saw your macro lense motion control vid on vimeo( blew me away!) and yes I do understand these things need to be extremely precice esp for any work with layers or macro lenses! , will see how
my next rig dose... this one i built cheap just to have something to test code on.

ok real time moves.... I do have a plan here... steppers genarate a small pulse when you turn them by hand and that pulse can be detected.
So I do have solid plans to be able to move the rig by hand (as in physically grab the camera and push the hole thing around)
and have it do exactly what you did with it!

A second plan is to use the blender game engine. First you would start recording and then the rig would act as if it had a huge mass like a bowling ball
.. pressing the arow keys would add small forces and the end result would be a rig that moves very very smoothly.

Plan 3 .. blender has motion tracking and its starting to get quite fast.
So it is possible to in real time with the camera rolling, to pick a hi contrast object and have the camera follow it.

Thanks Ill look for Jhon B on here and pm him!

Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:58 am
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:18 pm
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Post Re: working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans D
Look forward to seeing new rig and future developments . Got me interested in your 3d printer to been looking into putting a extruder onto my CNC mill and using existing XYZ controled by Mach 3 . I think its possible but a bit on back burner at mo got to get my crane finished . ;)

Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:10 pm

Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:17 pm
Posts: 6
Post Re: working blender 3 motion control camera rig! - Suzans D
humm ill have to tell you all about the printer later.. its still hush hush

but cnc ya im working on geting blender to control both a cnc and a 3d printer also !

I didnt start this project more of a joiner but check this out

Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:37 pm
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