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Old May 16, 2011, 11:18 AM
Dance the skies...
Tom Frank's Avatar
United States, MA, Walpole
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My comments in BLUE below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobflyman View Post
Just thought I'd report on my test using one of these Emergency USB chargers to back up power while continuous recording.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Emergency-USB-Ch...item35b18b1832

For some reason the supplier linked doesn't post to the UK, but I found one that does, though it was a couple of dollars more. 3.28 inc postage. What a great little bit of kit. I'm amazed they can get an 'upto 500mA' 5v output from 2 x 1.2 (ish) volts rechargeables I must say!

The camera vendors have a single AA cell charger that can also put out close to 5V using voltage doubling applied twice. Your double cell charger only needs to have one voltage doubling circuit. But with each voltage doubling, the current available is cut in half (plus some efficiency losses), so your 1900 mAH cells (my Eneloop AAs are rated at 2000 for some reason) are now down to less than 950 mAH capacity.

I adapted the 'special' mini usb lead with the 5 and 4 pin connection (cut from the car lead) that I use with my external NiCad pack so I now have the choice of two power supply packs now. I used two 1900 mA Sanyo Eneloop AA batteries in the USB charger.
I cut up a 'normal' usb and used the pc end +5v and 0 and soldered to one of those little red connectors so that I can still use my NiCad pack too. The standard mini usb had 4 wires, but the 'special' number 4 wire wasn't there or I could have just switched connections and re soldered that.

Anyhow with a fully charged camera and two fully charged Eneloops I just got 2 and a half hours recording. The cam saved a file at 4 gig (1 hr 20 mins) and then continued recording for another 3.4 gig (1hr 10 mins). Pretty impressive.

My 4 AAA cell 800 mAH Eneloop pack (no voltage doubling required) gets close to the same results as you did.

The camera battery was still fully charged at the end of the test? And the usb battery pack still had enough power to light the charge light on the camera if I plugged in a standard usb cable. I'm not really sure why an 8 gig card stopped at 7.39 gig? Useful bit of kit anyway.

The card has less the full 8GB capacity becasue some of the memory is reserved for the file system data.

FWIW, there is a huge section linked in the FAQs in post #3 that covers most of this.


PS For some odd reason the clips had no audio track at all? Though when I stopped it test if it had recorded and then recorded a a couple of mins more, the sound had returned? Very odd. It wasn't a silent audio track, it just shows on VLC as having no audio track so I don't think it's something like a bad connection on the mike. Must have been something to do with the way it booted up in the first place. Anybody else had similar problems?

I've had some clips also record the video but no audio. It's some kind of corrupted file or boot irregularity... I've never been able to trace to the root cause, but fortunately is not a frequent problem with most of these cameras.
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Old May 16, 2011, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
[...] So here are my conclusions:
  • If you first take a still photo and then toggle the camera to take a video without shutting off your camera first, your video will be very visibly degraded! This is true whether your camera defaults to shooting 10K kbps or 7K kbps data rates!
Hi, I have another theory to submit to this thread's review: I could not quite find a reason why the image would be that much softer when switching to the 7K bitrate with the still photo trick. I mean, 7K is enough for crystal clear videos, so if the CMOS is able to capture a sharp image, what could the camera do to make the image so fuzzy?

Well, I believe that the CMOS is actually NOT capable of capturing a sharper image... I think that the soft image is what comes out of it, and some post-processing is actually responsible for the crisper video we get by default.

Look at the still shots below, coming from 10K and 7K videos taken in identical (and horrible) light conditions, same distance etc etc: does the sharp portion actually carry more detail? Can you read something better? I don't... but I can actually see signs of software sharpening... edges are much less smooth and noise seems to be worse as well...

What do you think? Could it be that the "still photo trick" is there to disable (some) post-processing, maybe to reduce power consumption?
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Old May 16, 2011, 11:33 AM
Low rates are for wimps
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United States, CO, Colorado Springs
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Here's a recent video taken with two HD cams, each with the new white balance firmware.

Rockstar R/C Formation Aerobatics Team - Tsunami E-RG (5 min 58 sec)
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Old May 16, 2011, 11:39 AM
Dance the skies...
Tom Frank's Avatar
United States, MA, Walpole
Joined Dec 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 120ccpm View Post
Hi, I have another theory to submit to this thread's review: I could not quite find a reason why the image would be that much softer when switching to the 7K bitrate with the still photo trick. I mean, 7K is enough for crystal clear videos, so if the CMOS is able to capture a sharp image, what could the camera do to make the image so fuzzy?

Well, I believe that the CMOS is actually NOT capable of capturing a sharper image... I think that the soft image is what comes out of it, and some post-processing is actually responsible for the crisper image we get by default.

Look at the still shots below, coming from 10K and 7K videos taken in identical (and horrible) light conditions, same distance etc etc: does the sharp portion actually carry more detail? Can you read something better? I don't... but I can actually see signs of software sharpening... edges are much less smooth and noise seems to be worse as well...

What do you think?
I think your pics show your camera was a little too close to the subject to get better focus across the entire frame. and/or the lens could use a little focus tweaking. My camera had a soft center focus relative to the edges before I tweaked the focus. And low light noise is common with this camera, BUT, I think your premise about the camera video has merit! They may very well be applying some sharpening during the recording process, with none in the still pic process since it's being upsized. My JAZZ HDV178 has adjustable sharpening during the recording process, and it defaults to the middle of the variable range.
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Old May 16, 2011, 11:39 AM
Curiouser and curiouser
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Rochester, NY, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
It will record until the card is full. The 4GB limit is imposed by the FAT32 file system, and the camera simply stops, saves the file, and continues on when it hits that limit.

P.S. This, too , is in the FAQS on post #3.
DANG! Some people NEVER learn

Thanks,
Walt
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Old May 16, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobflyman View Post
J
I adapted the 'special' mini usb lead with the 5 and 4 pin connection (cut from the car lead) that I use with my external NiCad pack so I now have the choice of two power supply packs now.
Hmm, you may try a diode on the harness of the emergency charger, so from 5V output, that it is 5.05V with fully charged NiMH actually , it goes to about 4.35V
Still it is more than 4.2V but you may try it.

If you try this then please post back:
If the sound problem is gone. (while it is present with 5V or was something randomly happened)
If the total recording time is the same. More than the capacity of the memory card in your case as your memory runs full before batteries die.
If the camera runs cooler.
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Old May 16, 2011, 11:53 AM
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@bobflyman

You can connect a single cell Li-Po there as well. As long as you have maintained the right polarity for a JST plug.
Then you`ll have 4.2V for quite a long time, before it drops.
You can even make use of a big 3-cell (or other) Li-Po but only if you use the charge plug and actually take a single cell connection. Every two sequential pins on a charge plug give a single cell`s output. Just confirm the polarity and the voltage with a multimeter before proceeding.

Just for testing.
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Old May 16, 2011, 12:28 PM
Jack
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Thanks very much for the info and good advice. I had not done anything like that yet and can't think of a reason why I would but it will certainly keep me from ever considering it now.

And it is confusing to refer to the "x" pin as the fourth pin or as pin #4. By the specs for the connector there are only the four numbered pins (1, 2, 3, and 4) and the "x" pin. And the "x" pin is between pins 3 and 4. So their arrangement looking into the connector on the camera is in the order of 1, 2, 3, x, 4.

So when you say:

"..Pin x, or for the #11 pin #4, is used by the #11 for continuous recording..."

Are you saying that it is pin "X" on other cameras, but for the #11 it is the pin that is called pin 4 (the last pin physically as seen in this image)?

Jack
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Old May 16, 2011, 12:40 PM
Just thumbing through...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
Is this just for still images? I think MAGIX can do it with entire videos.
It's mostly for video. You need to upload the side by side stereo pair in a single video(with the left video representing the right eye view). I guess Magix can do the side by side, there's some freeware that can as well.
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Old May 16, 2011, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by air_crash View Post
Hmm, you may try a diode on the harness of the emergency charger, so from 5V output, that it is 5.05V with fully charged NiMH actually , it goes to about 4.35V
Still it is more than 4.2V but you may try it.

If you try this then please post back:
If the sound problem is gone. (while it is present with 5V or was something randomly happened)
If the total recording time is the same. More than the capacity of the memory card in your case as your memory runs full before batteries die.
If the camera runs cooler.
The sound problem was just an odd one off I think?

Re the diode, I originally put one in line to reduce my 4 cell voltage, but after some advice on here removed it. It's quite happy with or without.

PS Thanks for the blue comments on that post too Frank. The Eneloops say typically 2000 mA, min 1900mA on mine. I was aware of the fact that storage cards need space for files etc., but I was surprised at a 0.6 loss of space?

@ air crash, I'm just about to repeat the test with two fully charged cells and a fully charged camera to see if it was anything to do with the supply voltage or a just a one off glitch, though from Frank's previous comments re this I don't think it matters if it's slightly above the nominal 5.0v.
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Old May 16, 2011, 01:05 PM
Dance the skies...
Tom Frank's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobflyman View Post
The sound problem was just an odd one off I think?

Re the diode, I originally put one in line to reduce my 4 cell voltage, but after some advice on here removed it. It's quite happy with or without.

PS Thanks for the blue comments on that post too Frank.
Yes, some clarification is needed. The USB plug connections on the camera are designed to accept 5V input... there is adequate voltage regulation inside the camera. And if you add a diode to an exteral 5V pack, you will be reducing the voltage at the END of the discharge cycle as well as the beginning. The former will cause the external power to prematurely drop too low to power the camera, and you will lose recording time. And the latter is totally unnecessary as just mentioned. In short don't add any diodes!
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Old May 16, 2011, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobflyman View Post
Re the diode, I originally put one in line to reduce my 4 cell voltage, but after some advice on here removed it. It's quite happy with or without.
I don`t know if it was you but someone had measured the output voltage of the car charger, which is meant for continuous recording.
He found it supplies only 4.375V or so.
It sounds right if this pin (x pin of the mini USB) is connected in parallel with the battery inside the camera.
I can`t know. I have not measured my two car chargers. In fact I don`t know even if they work at all.

The diode in a 4 NiMH/NiCd pack does not work the same as with the emergency charger.
The max voltage of a 4 NiMH pack is 5.6V, so about 4.9V with the diode.
This means that even with a diode you power the camera with high voltage (if it should be powered with only 4.2V for continuous recording)

But when the batteries get almost fully discharged then it drops as low as 4.9V, so about 4.2V with the diode.
On the other had the emegerncy charger has a max voltage of 5.05V
So about 4.3V with the diode.
But this stands true with or without fully charged batteries.


PS. Never mind. I will not use the continuous recording anyway.
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Old May 16, 2011, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackerbes View Post
Thanks very much for the info and good advice. I had not done anything like that yet and can't think of a reason why I would but it will certainly keep me from ever considering it now.

And it is confusing to refer to the "x" pin as the fourth pin or as pin #4. By the specs for the connector there are only the four numbered pins (1, 2, 3, and 4) and the "x" pin. And the "x" pin is between pins 3 and 4. So their arrangement looking into the connector on the camera is in the order of 1, 2, 3, x, 4.

So when you say:

"..Pin x, or for the #11 pin #4, is used by the #11 for continuous recording..."

Are you saying that it is pin "X" on other cameras, but for the #11 it is the pin that is called pin 4 (the last pin physically as seen in this image)?

Jack
This is made clear in the FAQs (external power link) in Post #3. Since the mini has 5 pins, we have been referring to them as pins #1-#5, with pin#4 being the pin "X".
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Old May 16, 2011, 01:58 PM
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Hi air crash, I too was worried about the high initial voltage, and had measured something like 4.2v from the car lead, hence I added the diode. I've had good results with and without the diode though. I don't use continuous recording either, just wanted sufficient power reserve for a couple of hours recording!
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Old May 16, 2011, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isoprop View Post
The special cable is what it is, and it works, that's all there is to it
Apparently not!

Today I bought a plug (2,5mm jack mono female) to connect to a standard USB cable of which the mini USB connector is cut off. I connected the jack plug to the cable. Then I plugged in the tiny cable of my single AA power supply. When the tiny cable is connected to the AA power supply, it works like it should. I can power the camera and start recording while giving it power from the single AA.

Another strange thing: I tried the short USB cable which worked for me yesterday (but later last night it didn't) again. Guess what: connected to camera and USB port from my laptop, my laptop didn't recognise a 'mass storage device' but dit power the camera. The camera could start recording while connected so 'JAY!!!' it worked again..... and now? Exactly the same cable (I gave it a good visible mark by putting blue tape around it, it's the only cable with blue tape I have so no mix up is possible) now does show my camera as mass-storage device but my camera just won't start recording when connected with excactly the same cable!

Another strange thing: I read about the 10k/7k trick. Since I own a 10k #11 (first recordings were all 10k; shown in 'details' of the video files)
I wanted to give it a try. But apparently last week my camera took video files, all at somewhere between 6.7k and 7k. No 10k anymore

My camera is playing tricks on me
Quote:
Which cable had a resistor between pin 4 and 5? Not a #11 supplied cable I hope.
No, that would be a small cable which I got with a solar power supply.
Quote:
You should only use standard cables with this camera, or the special cable if you want continuous recording.
AFAIK some cables CAN be used for both things (my 'blue marked cable' for instance (very likely the one I got with my #11)). However, it seems like 'russian roulette'; I just don't know when it behaves like the one or the other.

Quote:
I don't know why your cables that previously worked no longer work. You may have a similar problem that I had where the power switch was making intermittent contact with a nearby resistor. See post #1799

Also, a lot of those cheap USB cables are not reliable. I have thrown out many.
I'll take a at both, starting with the resistor (and just to make sure check all other connections on the circuit board)

Thanks anyway
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Old May 16, 2011, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by air_crash View Post
I don`t know if it was you but someone had measured the output voltage of the car charger, which is meant for continuous recording.
He found it supplies only 4.375V or so.
It sounds right if this pin (x pin of the mini USB) is connected in parallel with the battery inside the camera.
I can`t know. I have not measured my two car chargers. In fact I don`t know even if they work at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobflyman View Post
Hi air crash, I too was worried about the high initial voltage, and had measured something like 4.2v from the car lead
Hi bobflyman.
So it was you!

Well, I said I had to check if my charger works anyway. At least one of them.
So I set the test and found that the following seems logical: It sounds right if this pin (x pin of the mini USB) is connected in parallel with the battery inside the camera.

Cause:
  • The manufacturer must took in mind there is no point to use 5V as the heat would go up. So instead of supplying 5V to the charging circuit, he passed away this components that only waste energy to convert 5V to 4.2V
  • It would not be needed to use a special cable. Ordinary cable would do the job.

So there is the test itself.

#11 key camera car charger voltage (1 min 53 sec)



BTW. I had to hold somehow the key camera as well...
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Old May 16, 2011, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
I think your pics show your camera was a little too close to the subject to get better focus across the entire frame. and/or the lens could use a little focus tweaking. My camera had a soft center focus relative to the edges before I tweaked the focus. And low light noise is common with this camera, BUT, I think your premise about the camera video has merit! They may very well be applying some sharpening during the recording process, with none in the still pic process since it's being upsized. My JAZZ HDV178 has adjustable sharpening during the recording process, and it defaults to the middle of the variable range.
Yes, I was a little too close. But the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the sharpness of the 10K video comes from post-processing.
Here below are a couple more samples... if you increase contrast/brightness/sharpness of the 7K frame in a photo editor, you end up with something very similar to the 10K frame.
I'm wondering at this point if it's better to take non-sharpened videos, given that I run them through AviDemux to lower saturation/contrast...
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Old May 16, 2011, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfvn View Post
...
Another strange thing: I read about the 10k/7k trick. Since I own a 10k #11 (first recordings were all 10k; shown in 'details' of the video files)
I wanted to give it a try. But apparently last week my camera took video files, all at somewhere between 6.7k and 7k. No 10k anymore
...
Were you using different Flash cards? If you've been reading recent posts, you know that the camera can be toggled by changing the formatting block allocation size on the card. Is that the trick you were referring to, or the "take a picture before a video" trick to toggle down to 7K data rate? And with the latter, we now know your video quality will take quite a hit when you use that method.
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Old May 16, 2011, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
Were you using different Flash cards? If you've been reading recent posts, you know that the camera can be toggled by changing the formatting block allocation size on the card. Is that the trick you were referring to, or the "take a picture before a video" trick to toggle down to 7K data rate? And with the latter, we now know your video quality will take quite a hit when you use that method.
I was referring to the 'take a picture before a video' trick (which doesn't work since it only shoots at 7k at the moment).

But it looks like I'll have to read back a bit since I surely have used different SD cards but don't know which one I used with what video. I just know I destroyed a 4GB SD card a while ago and am now using 2GB SD cards so big chance that's te cause.

Sorry about not reading. I wasn't aware that those posts were not about image quality.
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Old May 16, 2011, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 120ccpm View Post
Yes, I was a little too close. But the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the sharpness of the 10K video comes from post-processing.
Here below are a couple more samples... if you increase contrast/brightness/sharpness of the 7K frame in a photo editor, you end up with something very similar to the 10K frame.
I'm wondering at this point if it's better to take non-sharpened videos, given that I run them through AviDemux to lower saturation/contrast...
Is the 7K photo one that was recorded following a photo, and then sharpening added with Avidemux? I can see better resolution in the 10K pic, e.g. look at the window shutters just below the sign.

Using Avidmux, I have normally diminished saturation down to about 65 setting, diminished contrast down to 90 setting, then added sharpening using the "asharp" filter with its default settings. But I start out with the default 7K video, not the one that degrades after taking a photo.

Are you suggesting the 10K video data rate increase is ALL from more sharpening? I haven't looked at the data rates of normal, after a still, and after my normal processing to see exactly how much the data rate changes, but I don't think it will be more than +or- about 0.2K or so.

But even though I can see a very small improvement in your two still frame images, I doubt I would notice any difference when the videos are actually playing back at normal speed.
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Old May 16, 2011, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfvn View Post
I was referring to the 'take a picture before a video' trick (which doesn't work since it only shoots at 7k at the moment).

But it looks like I'll have to read back a bit since I surely have used different SD cards but don't know which one I used with what video. I just know I destroyed a 4GB SD card a while ago and am now using 2GB SD cards so big chance that's te cause.

Sorry about not reading. I wasn't aware that those posts were not about image quality.
Even though the "pic before vid" trick doesn't change your data rate, it WILL still degrade the picture as you'll see when you read those posts. Apparently that trick turns off some on the fly sharpening the camera does while recording, making for very noticable decrease in sharpness. This finally explained why on occasion I would accidentally toggle the picture mode, then immediately toggle on the video mode and continue to take a video without turning the camera off first. And that correlates maybe to why some videos were noticeably more blurred than others for some unknown (at the time) reason. Now that I know, I will never take a video following a still image without first cycling the camera off/on.
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Old May 16, 2011, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by wfvn View Post
Apparently not!

Today I bought a plug (2,5mm jack mono female) to connect to a standard USB cable of which the mini USB connector is cut off. I connected the jack plug to the cable. Then I plugged in the tiny cable of my single AA power supply. When the tiny cable is connected to the AA power supply, it works like it should. I can power the camera and start recording while giving it power from the single AA.

Another strange thing: I tried the short USB cable which worked for me yesterday (but later last night it didn't) again. Guess what: connected to camera and USB port from my laptop, my laptop didn't recognise a 'mass storage device' but dit power the camera. The camera could start recording while connected so 'JAY!!!' it worked again..... and now? Exactly the same cable (I gave it a good visible mark by putting blue tape around it, it's the only cable with blue tape I have so no mix up is possible) now does show my camera as mass-storage device but my camera just won't start recording when connected with excactly the same cable!

Another strange thing: I read about the 10k/7k trick. Since I own a 10k #11 (first recordings were all 10k; shown in 'details' of the video files)
I wanted to give it a try. But apparently last week my camera took video files, all at somewhere between 6.7k and 7k. No 10k anymore

My camera is playing tricks on me

No, that would be a small cable which I got with a solar power supply.

AFAIK some cables CAN be used for both things (my 'blue marked cable' for instance (very likely the one I got with my #11)). However, it seems like 'russian roulette'; I just don't know when it behaves like the one or the other.


I'll take a at both, starting with the resistor (and just to make sure check all other connections on the circuit board)

Thanks anyway
Have you looked at post #3? Click on the 7th link down and you'll find everything that you want to know about the #11 special cable and which cable does what.

I think you may be confusing the #11 special cable with other special cables. The #11 uses only two wires in the special cable:
Pin #1 is not connected
Pin #2 is not connected
Pin #3 is not connected
Pin #4 is +4.2V to +5V
Pin #5 is ground


In a standard USB cable:
Pin #1 is +5V
Pin #2 is Data or not used
Pin #3 is Data or not used
Pin #4 is not connected
Pin #5 is ground

You should not use cables that have different connections. Although these may work, they could also cause malfunction or erratic results. To avoid problems, don't use them.

Personally, I don't like the terminology pin x. It is confusing, and up to now we have always referred to it as pin #4, which is much more logical.

Physically inspecting the cable is of no use. You need a voltmeter to check the wiring. The wires very often come lose inside the sealed casings and you can't see that from the outside. I always mark my special cables so I know which one is which.

I take it that you are connecting your camera directly to your laptop? What you are saying sounds very much like a malfunctioning USB hub to me! Try another USB socket on your laptop.
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Old May 16, 2011, 04:30 PM
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For me, changing the mode of 10K or 7K is when:
When you start the camera when it is in STANDBY mode
click the button shortly ON/OFF,
wait 1-2 seconds and then click again the ON/OFF,
wait one second and once again click ON/OFF.
Press the VIDEO/CAMERA until the yellow light will blink 3 times.
The recording starts under 7K. To stop recording you briefly press the VIDEO/CAMERA.
No need to take pictures to go with the mode 10K to 7K.
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Old May 16, 2011, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by smoothvirus View Post
Thanks... It's definitely locking in but the shutter button still isn't working.
Wow.. turns out it was the SDHC card I was using all along. I had a PNY 4GB class 4 card, and I can't get that one to work with the camera, it won't record to it at all.

I was almost certain that I had a defective cam.

As a last resort, I bought a PNY 8GB class 10 card to try on it, and it works!

Funny thing is the only reason I bought the class 10 card is because everywhere I went was sold out of the 4GB cards. I wanted to test a non-PNY 4gb card but could not find any in stock anywhere.
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Old May 16, 2011, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isoprop View Post
Have you looked at post #3? Click on the 7th link down and you'll find everything that you want to know about the #11 special cable and which cable does what.

I think you may be confusing the #11 special cable with other special cables. The #11 uses only two wires in the special cable:
Pin #1 is not connected
Pin #2 is not connected
Pin #3 is not connected
Pin #4 is +4.2V to +5V
Pin #5 is ground
Thats what I found on my supplied car adaptor, just pin 4 and 5 like above.

However, I have 4 small USB-miniUSB cables. I tried all. Just one (the one I gave a blue color) works. Then again, sometimes the same cable keeps on working as a data cable. Since this is the only small cable I have which has worked as powering and recording at the same time, this has to be the supplied cable. But this cable does have pin 2 and 3 in use since I also managed to have data transfer with this cable (which is impossible if pin 1, 2 and 3 aren't connected!). The other 3 cables also can be used for data transfer. So only my 'blue' cable can do both.
Quote:
You should not use cables that have different connections. Although these may work, they could also cause malfunction or erratic results. To avoid problems, don't use them.
That sounds fair. But why does also the supplied cable have issues (even data transfer)?
Quote:
Physically inspecting the cable is of no use. You need a voltmeter to check the wiring. The wires very often come lose inside the sealed casings and you can't see that from the outside. I always mark my special cables so I know which one is which.

I take it that you are connecting your camera directly to your laptop? What you are saying sounds very much like a malfunctioning USB hub to me! Try another USB socket on your laptop.
Tried different USB sockets (my laptop has three). Second port: first it works as power/record, second time it worked as data connection. Third port connected with data transfer.

Next thing I tried was plugging it into the USB port in my velomobile. The blue cable worked as it should (power/record at the same time). Strange thing:
The supplied car adaptor suddenly didn't work at all! Green LED on the adaptor was on but my camera didn't show a red LED. When changing to the blue cable, the camera LED did turn red.

I'm starting to think my camera itself has issues. Your resistor problem doesn't seem the problem with my camera. But there has to be a cause.

Luckily I ordered another (second) camera. I'll make sure to mark all new supplied cables with that camera so I'll be absolutely sure they're the supplied (and supposedly be the right) ones.
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Old May 16, 2011, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
Is the 7K photo one that was recorded following a photo, and then sharpening added with Avidemux? I can see better resolution in the 10K pic, e.g. look at the window shutters just below the sign.

Using Avidmux, I have normally diminished saturation down to about 65 setting, diminished contrast down to 90 setting, then added sharpening using the "asharp" filter with its default settings. But I start out with the default 7K video, not the one that degrades after taking a photo.

Are you suggesting the 10K video data rate increase is ALL from more sharpening? I haven't looked at the data rates of normal, after a still, and after my normal processing to see exactly how much the data rate changes, but I don't think it will be more than +or- about 0.2K or so.

But even though I can see a very small improvement in your two still frame images, I doubt I would notice any difference when the videos are actually playing back at normal speed.
Sorry, I think I confused you, so let me re-explain: the "10K" image comes from a video recorded BEFORE taking a still photo (camera records at 10000kbps), while the "7K" image comes from a video recorded AFTER taking a still photo (camera switches to 7000kbps). Both videos were unedited, I simply extracted two "I" frames and posted them for comparison.

Now, we all agree that the 7K video looks worse, as it's more blurred. I think we also agree that this lower quality is NOT caused by the lower bitrate.
The point I'm trying to make is that it's not the 7K video that is worse, it's the 10K that LOOKS better because the camera does some post-processing. But if you look closely, the 10K video doesn't seem to actually carry more information, it does not have more detail (it simply enhances the detail that is there).

I absolutely don't think that the 10K bitrate is directly caused by the increased amount of contrast, but it's possible that the manufacturer chose the higher bitrate to account for the enhanced video quality. In other words, maybe they thought that with in-camera sharpening disabled (video taken after still photo), 7000kbps was enough, but with post-processing enabled (video taken before still photo), the higher contrast would require 10000kbps.
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Old May 16, 2011, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfvn View Post
The supplied car adaptor suddenly didn't work at all! Green LED on the adaptor was on but my camera didn't show a red LED. When changing to the blue cable, the camera LED did turn red.
How do you know it "suddenly" didn't work? The red light NEVER comes on while using the supplied car adapter.

Also, if the red light came on while using the blue cable then it is a normal usb cable. Nothing "special" about it.
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Old May 16, 2011, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 120ccpm View Post
I absolutely don't think that the 10K bitrate is directly caused by the increased amount of contrast, but it's possible that the manufacturer chose the higher bitrate to account for the enhanced video quality. In other words, maybe they thought that with in-camera sharpening disabled (video taken after still photo), 7000kbps was enough, but with post-processing enabled (video taken before still photo), the higher contrast would require 10000kbps.
But if you use a card that only shoots at 7 Mbps, it shows that same kind of digital sharpening on the first video (in fact, it looks a heckuva lot like the 10 Mbps one), and then much less sharpening on the video after going to photo mode. So I really don't think bitrate has anything to do with it, intentionally or unintentionally. I'd bet that it's just a bug: The sharpening settings get changed by the photo mode and not restored when you go back to video mode. (And actually, I'd guess that the fact that it goes to 7 Mbps after shooting 10 Mbps is really a similar bug. It's hard to think of any reason why that would be done intentionally.)
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Old May 16, 2011, 06:20 PM
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As I said I would, I retested my camera while externally powering using the USB 2 Cell Emergency Charger and with a fully charged camera. In two tests there was video with a sound track, so it appears it was just a boot up glitch or something. ie nothing to do with the 5 v from the charger device.
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Old May 16, 2011, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 120ccpm View Post
maybe they thought that with in-camera sharpening disabled (video taken after still photo), 7000kbps was enough, but with post-processing enabled (video taken before still photo), the higher contrast would require 10000kbps.
It would be interesting to see the Novatek data sheet to see what's switchable and post-processing capability.
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Old May 16, 2011, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jantares View Post
For me, changing the mode of 10K or 7K is when:
When you start the camera when it is in STANDBY mode
click the button shortly ON/OFF,
wait 1-2 seconds and then click again the ON/OFF,
wait one second and once again click ON/OFF.
Press the VIDEO/CAMERA until the yellow light will blink 3 times.
The recording starts under 7K. To stop recording you briefly press the VIDEO/CAMERA.
No need to take pictures to go with the mode 10K to 7K.
Ok, right you don't need to actually take a photo, but your button sequence does put the camera into photo mode, then back to video mode, which drops the data rate down to 7K, and (I will assume) also toggles the poorer video quality (even if it was only at 7K when the camera boots up, like mine..
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Old May 16, 2011, 09:43 PM
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new hd key cam on EZ hawk

new hd cam on ez hawk low flying due to the soccer practice



ez hawk with hd key fob (27 min 21 sec)
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Old May 17, 2011, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by xamindar View Post
How do you know it "suddenly" didn't work? The red light NEVER comes on while using the supplied car adapter.
I'm rather sure I've seen the red LED work with the car adaptor connected. However.... I've tried so many thing, I may be mistaken. I'll give it another try by first shooting video for an hour without external power supply to 'drain' the internal battery, then connect to the supplied car adaptor and see. Then I can be sure whether or not the LED will light up.

[edit]
I just did. And you're right (ofcourse). Camera wouldn't start after draining the battery and without any external power supply. Now I've connected the car adaptor. Green light on the adaptor is on. The LED on my camera remains off until I press the power button, then the LED turns yellow (meaning it DOES have power at this point, which has to come from the adaptor since the battery was drained)
[/edit]

Quote:
Also, if the red light came on while using the blue cable then it is a normal usb cable. Nothing "special" about it.
I guess so. That also means I didn't get any special cable with my camera except for the car adaptor which does have a mini USB connector with only pin 4 and 5 in use (+5 and ground) for sure (checked it by measuring)

Thank you, I have something more to try so I hopefully can solve my problems.

[edit2]

I guess I'll have to cut the car adaptor cable so I can use it to plug into an ordinary USB port to solve all my power problems.
Thank you for helping and making things clear.

BTW,

This is my first try on a Sky Surfer:

Stadshagen vanuit de lucht (2 min 57 sec)
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Old May 17, 2011, 12:56 AM
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Bristol,UK
Joined Feb 2007
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I thought I'd post another video shot from my DragonFly EPP pusher. This is pre-crash so still has the spot on the lens. A tight take off and landing approach from a skate park in a local surburban park. Fairly early so sun is lowish in the sky causing some lens flare and some jello which varies with the revs.
St George's Park, Bristol from DragonFly EPP pusher RC plane, aerial HD vid (2 min 35 sec)

Head
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Old May 17, 2011, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwoollia View Post
Here's a recent video taken with two HD cams, each with the new white balance firmware.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4gmVtX01z8
Very engaging, well edited PIP video.. I kept thinking the mid-air would occur any second.. beautiful country up there too..

What video editor did you use? and are these planes still alive and flying?
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Old May 17, 2011, 04:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDH View Post
But if you use a card that only shoots at 7 Mbps, it shows that same kind of digital sharpening on the first video (in fact, it looks a heckuva lot like the 10 Mbps one), and then much less sharpening on the video after going to photo mode. So I really don't think bitrate has anything to do with it, intentionally or unintentionally. I'd bet that it's just a bug: The sharpening settings get changed by the photo mode and not restored when you go back to video mode. (And actually, I'd guess that the fact that it goes to 7 Mbps after shooting 10 Mbps is really a similar bug. It's hard to think of any reason why that would be done intentionally.)
Yes, if you use a card (<= 8GB) with 32K cluster size, the camera always records at 7000kbps AND seems to apply some digital sharpening, as the videos look identical to the 10000kbps ones.

Going back to the 10K/7K "feature" - regardless if it's intentional or a bug - what I was wondering was whether we would ultimately get better quality starting from the "sharpened" 10K video, or from the "blurred" 7K video. I did a couple tests, processing both videos with AviDemux, and came to the conclusion that the 10K is the best choice: the in-camera sharpening does a good job in bringing out the details without creating too many artifacts, and lowering contrast is all you need to smooth things out a bit. You can get very similar results starting from the 7K video and carefully using the asharp filter, but I actually don't see any advantage in doing so.

Now, since cards with 32K cluster size cause the camera to always record at 7000kbps (without any apparent quality loss compared to the 10K video), I decided this is the way to go, at least for me. If only the manufacturer could release a firmware with lower saturation/contrast levels, videos would be perfect out of the camera...
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Old May 17, 2011, 04:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwoollia View Post
Here's a recent video taken with two HD cams, each with the new white balance firmware.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4gmVtX01z8
What's this white balance firmware update you mentioned?
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Old May 17, 2011, 05:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AleG View Post
What's this white balance firmware update you mentioned?
FAQ in posts #1 - #4
Mike
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Old May 17, 2011, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by empeabee View Post
FAQ in posts #1 - #4
Mike
Oh, I did look at page one but somehow I missed the link to post #3999 that has the firmware file.

So is it worth it to change the firmware? how much better is the white balance that with the original one?
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Old May 17, 2011, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AleG View Post
Oh, I did look at page one but somehow I missed the link to post #3999 that has the firmware file.

So is it worth it to change the firmware? how much better is the white balance that with the original one?
In the last couple of week dozens of comparative clips have been posted to help us to make up our own minds, 'cos everyone has their own preferences.
Mike
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Old May 17, 2011, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jims123 View Post
Tom
thanks a lot, .. I'll try to get motivated to try optimize one for How-To's but would like to be more sure of something.. the distances on the chart would suggest it's possible, but how big is this chart? are you supposed to just print it on 8.5 by 11 inch paper.. if the chart is that small I bet it would be a good challenge to focus on it.. do you know if this chart came from the sensor vendor alone, or perhaps as importantly, the maker of of the adjustable mount for the sensor with that particular No.11 sensor mounted in it? JimS
Jim,

Instead of refocussing, you might find a suitable add on lens. The Jelly lens I tried is way too macro, but I was thinking of flying a big plane with a cam in the cabin filming a GPS screen. The clip was captured with vDub in webcam mode, and it's hard to get in focus, but if you know the right distance, it then becomes easy. I would try a low power reading glass for what you want. Why risk permanent damage?

v
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Old May 17, 2011, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfvn View Post
....
I'm rather sure I've seen the red LED work with the car adaptor connected. However.... I've tried so many thing, I may be mistaken.
....
I guess I'll have to cut the car adaptor cable so I can use it to plug into an ordinary USB port to solve all my power problems.
....
Yes, I reckoned that you had a cable mix-up. A short "special" cable is not normally supplied. It is only supplied if you also purchased some type of emergency battery pack bundled with the camera. This could, of course, change in the future.

You can never use the "special" cable for data transfer, because it only uses two wires. I have modified the cable guide to make this clear. Since this "special" cable can only be used for the #11 (there may be other devices that use +5V on pin 4 because this pin is not defined in the USB standard) you should mark it accordingly. I use white heat-shrink tubing because once shrunk it's very hard to remove.
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Old May 17, 2011, 10:30 AM
Low rates are for wimps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jims123 View Post
Very engaging, well edited PIP video.. I kept thinking the mid-air would occur any second.. beautiful country up there too..

What video editor did you use? and are these planes still alive and flying?
Thanks! The video editor is Kdenlive (http://kdenlive.org/) with some of the 3D titles done in Blender (http://www.blender.org/).

The planes are still alive and well, although that's probably more due to luck than any skills that either of us have. That was our third formation flight, we're hopefully moving to Velocity-RC T-33 EDFs soon. A bit faster, with poorer acceleration performance.
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Old May 17, 2011, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AleG View Post
Oh, I did look at page one but somehow I missed the link to post #3999 that has the firmware file.

So is it worth it to change the firmware? how much better is the white balance that with the original one?
Hi Aleg,

I think the reference to the firmware as a "white balance" firmware is misleading. The most recent release is better referred to (and was in my post) as a better exposure control fix, and it does this very well, eliminating the annoying switching back and forth (i.e. "hunting") of the exposure setting when the video has some light/dark areas within it's exposure metering area. I don't know if the fix merely widened the exposure metering area from maybe a spot or center-weighted metering approach to a wider area averaging, or whether the change was done to the speed and/or steps the metering goes through as it adjusts. But the bottom line is it is much more stable with the latest firmware, which also removes the date stamp and adds the continuous recording function.

But you may have noticed that the white balance also seems linked with the exposure. I posted a video a short while ago that shows how there is still a problem with white balance even WITH the new exposure control firmware. When the scene is brighter (like with part sky and part ground, there is a yellow tint to the colors, and when the scene is darker (like all ground or with dark overcast skies, there is a blue tint). My video which showed a panned view lasting only about 20 sec. or so clearly show this white balance shift.

And along with that, there is also some exposure-linked effect with the color saturation, with darker scenes having fairly decent saturation and bright scenes being quite over-saturated to my eye.

So the bottom line is with the better exposure control, the linked white balance and color saturation side effects are probably slightly diminished, but still not well controlled and might benefit if the firmware could tweak these.
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Old May 17, 2011, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwoollia View Post
Thanks! The video editor is Kdenlive (http://kdenlive.org/) with some of the 3D titles done in Blender (http://www.blender.org/).

The planes are still alive and well, although that's probably more due to luck than any skills that either of us have. That was our third formation flight, we're hopefully moving to Velocity-RC T-33 EDFs soon. A bit faster, with poorer acceleration performance.
Awesome.. hope your team's luck holds out .. and if not .. you catch it on video.. very nice job on the editing..
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Old May 17, 2011, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 120ccpm View Post
...
I did a couple tests, processing both videos with AviDemux, and came to the conclusion that the 10K is the best choice: the in-camera sharpening does a good job in bringing out the details without creating too many artifacts, and lowering contrast is all you need to smooth things out a bit. You can get very similar results starting from the 7K video and carefully using the asharp filter, but I actually don't see any advantage in doing so.

Now, since cards with 32K cluster size cause the camera to always record at 7000kbps (without any apparent quality loss compared to the 10K video), I decided this is the way to go, at least for me. If only the manufacturer could release a firmware with lower saturation/contrast levels, videos would be perfect out of the camera...
The 7K video has been my choice all along given the similar video quality as the 10K, with the 43% smaller file size being the deciding factor.

I agree some contrast and saturation tweaking is also needed, but I'd also add the need for better white balance control as mentioned in my prior post. These color issues seem linked, and maybe we are butted against the limits of what the video processor IC or CMOS module controller can adjust.
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Old May 17, 2011, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jims123 View Post
Tom
thanks a lot, .. I'll try to get motivated to try optimize one for How-To's but would like to be more sure of something.. the distances on the chart would suggest it's possible, but how big is this chart? are you supposed to just print it on 8.5 by 11 inch paper.. if the chart is that small I bet it would be a good challenge to focus on it.. do you know if this chart came from the sensor vendor alone, or perhaps as importantly, the maker of of the adjustable mount for the sensor with that particular No.11 sensor mounted in it? JimS
Jims,

Looks like I missed this prior post of yours. I believe the charts are sized to be printed on A4 paper, which we don't see here. You could print on legal size and trim the excess, or resize size slightly to fit on 8.5 x 11 in. I printed one page when I got this and shot a short clip to see how it was rendered from the distance specified (1.5M), and it's pretty challenging to resolve the closely space lines as you guessed.

I got this info from the one of MyCameraGals, and I'm sure she got it from the camera developer. The CMOS module model number on the chart (OV9712) led me to think it came from the CMOS manufacturer, but if they didn't also supply the integrated lens holder, then it's anybody's guess where the chart came from.

FWIW, during my focusing efforts, it was clear the focal plane of the lens is not perfectly flat, but slightly curved (spherical). So while it is possible to move the focusing distance in and out slightly, the edges and center are never perfect at the same distance. And there seems to be a "sweet spot" for best "apparent" focus across the entire video frame (corner to corner). Once you go past that spot in either direction, the difference between center and edge focus becomes more pronounced. When I first focused my camera, I was concentrating on getting better corner/edge focus, and ended up with a soft focus area in the center of the frame which was more visually annoying than having the corner/edge areas slightly off. I think I now have my lens in the "sweet spot" and it can give a pretty nice image at infinity down to about 18 in. away!
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Old May 17, 2011, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by victapilot View Post
Jim,

Instead of refocussing, you might find a suitable add on lens. The Jelly lens I tried is way too macro, but I was thinking of flying a big plane with a cam in the cabin filming a GPS screen. The clip was captured with vDub in webcam mode, and it's hard to get in focus, but if you know the right distance, it then becomes easy. I would try a low power reading glass for what you want. Why risk permanent damage?

v
Vic,
good ideal I will try to get one.. I'd rather do that than open the cam up anyway.. soon as I do I'll likely mess-up and zap something or get dirt and stuff in it .. besides refocusing it back to normal means a second trip I'd rather avoid too.. I haven't clicked the link yet but hope there is a MACRO one.. JimS
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Old May 17, 2011, 01:15 PM
Low rates are for wimps
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jims123 View Post
Awesome.. hope your team's luck holds out .. and if not .. you catch it on video.. very nice job on the editing..
Thanks! The editing is becoming challenging because my hardware is about 5 years out of date and I can't do it in real time with HD video
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Old May 17, 2011, 01:48 PM
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I'm sure somewhere in these pages this is answered, but searching for trim/split has had be going around in circles - so apologies if this is old ground.

I want to trim and join some of my files without reencoding. I've seen that mp4cam2avi allows you to split files at predefined sizes - but is there something that lets you select a custom size/length?

I also want to be able to join some files together - can the original files whether in mov or avi container be stitched together without reencoding? App names for doing either of these (Win7) would be really appreciated.

Thanks
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Old May 17, 2011, 03:29 PM
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Joining and Trimming Files Without Re-encoding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiffy82517 View Post
I'm sure somewhere in these pages this is answered, but searching for trim/split has had be going around in circles - so apologies if this is old ground.

I want to trim and join some of my files without reencoding. I've seen that mp4cam2avi allows you to split files at predefined sizes - but is there something that lets you select a custom size/length?

I also want to be able to join some files together - can the original files whether in mov or avi container be stitched together without reencoding? App names for doing either of these (Win7) would be really appreciated.

Thanks
There's some of this info in the FAQs link about editing - see post #3.

Without re-encoding, MP4cam2AVI can join files after it converts from .mov to .avi container, but cannot further trim or edit. But then you can use VirtualDub to do simple trimming or joining other .avi files, and output in "Direct Stream Copy" mode to bypass any re-encoding. There's also a program called AviTrimmer that does nothing other than cut and rejoin segments from an .avi video. You mark the portions you want to trim out to keep (or to delete), and the program will reassemble the pieces together with no re-encoding. If does not load and join separate .avi files, however.

AviDemux can join and do basic trimming, then output in "Copy" mode for no re-encoding. Avidemux has some issues with sound output in copy mode, so may need to re-encode just the audio. It can also do further editing with re-encoding (similar to Virtual Dub) - see the FAQs for more info.

Any editing with any utility other than trimming (e.g. codec change, color tweaking, sharpening, rotating, etc.) will alter the original, and therefore must be re-encoded when output. Changing the output container from .mov, to something else, like .avi, .mp4, etc. can usually be done with a direct copy after trimming with no re-encoding.

MP4cam2Avi is the only program that will chop a file into pre-defined lengths, though, and you won't know where in the video the breaks are until you play them back. Any other file size limiting would have to be done by re-encoding and specifying a final file length, letting the program adjust the quality to fit that size. I'm curious how you will use the chopped sizes where larger clips might be more difficult?

All programs mentioned run fine under W7 (64 bit). I hope this helps.
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Old May 17, 2011, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
J.. I think I now have my lens in the "sweet spot" and it can give a pretty nice image at infinity down to about 18 in. away!
18 ' is fine for Bench How To's in fact the ones I took with the stock No 11.. focus on each of a couple different cams I used were fine except for the really fine details.. i should edit them up and post it here.. it's a How to make an underwater baggie with a glass lens.. problem was i felt obligated to op test it too.. and have been busy and I kinda chickened out on that fairly crucial part of the experiment
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Old May 17, 2011, 05:50 PM
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Rochester, NY, USA
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Originally Posted by headlessagain View Post
I thought I'd post another video shot from my DragonFly EPP pusher. This is pre-crash so still has the spot on the lens. A tight take off and landing approach from a skate park in a local surburban park. Fairly early so sun is lowish in the sky causing some lens flare and some jello which varies with the revs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dq5vkRVyEXE
Head
Great way to clean a lens - I found your vid showing the floating harbor - Ha.
I watched the first one to see if I could recognize anything because my wife and I spent a couple of months at U of Bristol and stayed in a townhouse they let to us up the hill near the commons. Didn't see anything familiar but then found your vid of the floating harbor. THAT all looked familiar - I think you were just across the harbor from a museum that had the prototype SST cockpit in it. Nice place. I didn't spot the small building out of which I used to buy and eat yummy egg and bacon sandwiches - I'm sure I brought home lots of cholesterol from that experience - they sure are hard to stop eating

Walt
Edit:
Just looked it up on Google Maps satellite view - actually found the skate park a couple of miles East - we were about a mile West near Westbury Park.
Edit again:
Ha - Found Brunel's Buttery, Bristol Industrial Museum, and The Great Britain (is she floating now - was dry in 1999)
Thanks for the memories.
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Old May 17, 2011, 05:53 PM
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The Mysterious 7K and 10K Modes Revealed

I thought a single post was in order that summarizes what we have learned about this camera's ability to record at either (nominal) 7,000 kbps (7K) and 10,000 kbps (10K) data rates. I tried to capture a concensus since there are some differences in the perceived results.

1. What forces the data rate to change?

Based on user input, it appears all the #11 cameras can be coerced into recording in either 7K or 10K modes by the way the flash memory card is formatted with the required the FAT32 file system! But this is where it gets tricky, because difference capacity cards and cards from different manufacturers seem to have different triggering effects. For cards up to and including 8GB capacity, it appears that if the card is formatted with small 4K (4096 bytes) allocation blocks, the camera will record at the (nominal) 10K average total data rate. Increasing the block allocation size to 32K (32768 bytes) will coerce the camera to step down to the (nominal) 7K average total data rate. For larger 16GB and 32GB cards, the consistency seems to end. One user reports toggling his 16GB card to record at 7K by formatting with 32K block allocation size, while another user reports he could not get his 16GB card to record at 7K with ANY available block allocation sizes! And for his 32GB card, only 64K block allocation would toggle to the 7K rate. So trial and error may be necessary to get your card to toggle the camera data rate. It is unknown why this happens, but since the flash card has no direct control of the camera, it appears the camera reads the card format or other flag the formatting sets in the card's reserved information space, and the camera then modifies it's settings on it's own.

2. How can the formatting be done?

Elsewhere in this thread reference is made to a special SD card formatting utility that was developed specifically for this media by the SD Assoc. The utility is called SDformatter and can be downloaded here if desired. This utility does not format the SD card's reserved "security area", which may be one difference from the normal computer formatting process. Other than that, the only reason this utility might be preferred is the SD Assoc. claim that "Using generic formatting utilities may result in less than optimal performance for your memory cards."

We do know that this utility defaults to the 32K block allocation size and cannot be changed, so using it may not enable you to change your camera data rate.

To get a block allocation other than (or including) 32K, you must use your PC's built in formatting process, where you can specify the FAT32 file system and set the block allocation to a size you select. No known adverse affects have been identified yet when using the PC formatting for the flash card.

3. What do the different data rates do for video quality?

The higher 10K data rate will theoretically allow more detail to be recorded, although a 7K data rate should be more than enough to produce a high quality 1280x720 video shot with the H.264 video compression. User feedback has shown comparison examples of the same scene shot with the same camera and same flash card, with the only difference being the data rate between the two clips. Viewing individual still frames from those videos may show some minute improvement in detail in certain portions of the 10K frame, but not generally across the entire frame nor in every frame. And in general, the differences aren't visually obvious to most viewers when the videos are played back at 30 fps. One reason for this is the camera's inexpensive CMOS sensor and lens cannot deliver a high enough quality image for the higher data rate to provide any visible benefit. Another reason is the H.264 codec during it's compression of the images can introduce it's own impact on detail sharpness, sometimes overriding any quality differences from the higher bit rate.

The concensus seems to be that the 7K data rate can give visually equal video to the 10K data rate. This is also my opinion, but each viewer can decide for themselves.

4. What other impact might the higher data rate have?

The higher 10K data rate will immediately take up an average of slightly more than 40% more space on your flash card, reducing the recording time available on the card by the same percentage.

The larger 10K file size will take more time to transfer to your PC and to upload to a web hosting site.

The 10K data rate will require more work to be done by the camera video processor during recording, thus using a bit more power from the battery and generating a bit more heat. The effect this has on battery recording time or camera temperature has not been quantified, however.

The 10K data rate will also require more computer processing time decoding the 10K video during playback. On older PC's, this might result in pauses or stuttering of the video, where the lower 7K data rate might not have this effect. A similar, but worse, effect can occur during editing of the HD video, which places even more strain on the PC's resources than simple playback of the video.

5. Can the 10K and 7K rates be toggled without reformatting the flash card?

A flash card that causes the camera to boot up in 10K mode can usually be toggled back to the 7K mode at any time after power up simply by first toggling on the still picture mode (pressing the power button once from standby mode), and then toggling back to video mode (pressing the power button again). This normally forces the camera into the 7K mode for unknown reasons, whether you take a picture or not. The camera will revert back to the 10K mode the next time the camera is powered up. A flash card that causes the camera to boot up in 7K mode cannot be toggled up to the 10K mode by button presses. Only the flash card formatting can do that.

BUT, there is a price to be paid by this still picture toggling sequence, and it affects not only the 10K mode, but also the 7K mode! When a video is shot after going into and back from the still picture mode without powering down in between, the resulting video is very noticeably blurred compared to a video shot directly after turning on the camera.

This anomaly was discovered during the user bit rate testing, but now explains what I had seen on random occasions, probably after one of my accidental pushes of the power button when I intended to start a video. It is suspected that when going straight into video mode there is some on-the-fly sharpening of the video being done by the camera to enhance the image. Some other HD cameras do this by default. It is also suspected that this sharpening is turned off when going into still picture mode, since those images are upsized, and sharpening before hand can create some unwanted artifacts in the still picture. And when then going back into video mode, the sharpening is not restored (a bug), hence the more fuzzy looking video image.

This is speculation on the cause, but the bottom line is to always shoot video directly from a cold boot sequence. If you intentionally or accidentally toggle on the still picture mode, always turn the camera off, then back on before shooting a video if you want the sharpest picture!
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Last edited by Tom Frank; May 18, 2011 at 02:03 PM. Reason: updated flash card sector size info
Old May 17, 2011, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
.. If you intentionally or accidentally toggle on the still picture mode, always turn the camera off, then back on before shooting a video if you want the sharpest picture[/U]!
Great Write up .. Now how 'bout pressing a few more buttons and toggling in the 60FPS with MACRO and optical Zoom modes too Ok? jimS
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Old May 17, 2011, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjbite View Post
...
Didn't see anything familiar but then found your vid of the floating harbor. ...
I used to buy and eat yummy egg and bacon sandwiches...
What is a "floating harbor"?

I'm sitting here starving... one of those bacon and egg sandwiches sound like just the ticket!
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Old May 17, 2011, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jims123 View Post
Great Write up .. Now how 'bout pressing a few more buttons and toggling in the 60FPS with MACRO and optical Zoom modes too Ok? jimS
We'll have to hold our breath a bit longer on any improvements, but the macro mode wouldn't be that difficult to implement. My JAZZ HDV178 HD camcorder has a fixed focal length lens, but rather than being in a threaded boss, it has two slotted ears on each side which straddle two posts on it's precision lens holder. Small springs on each side hold the lens down firmly against the stop which perfectly sets the distant focus. Then sliding a small slider on the camera body rotates a small ring with a precision ramped surface under the lens. This lifts the lens a fraction of a millimeter away from the CMOS chip, and moves the near focal point from about 2 feet out down to about 8 inches, again in perfect alignment. Returning the slider back allows the springs to re-seat the lens on its fixed distant focus setting. Very simple, very cheap, but very accurate!
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Old May 17, 2011, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
What is a "floating harbor"?

I'm sitting here starving... one of those bacon and egg sandwiches sound like just the ticket!
Sorry that I got WAY off topic, but that interesting floating harbor in his vid AND the linking of the floating harbor with remembrance of the taste of a bacon and egg sandwich from "The Buttery" was just WAY to much to cause me to suppress my urge to get off topic
Bristol England has a tide of 37' ( second only to The Bay of Fundy - about 42', I think). The entrance to their harbor flows through a navigation lock which is only open near high tide. So the boats and ships are able to "float" as opposed to drying out twice a day. I could go on and on about the interesting parts of that but will only finish this illegal message by saying that a hot English bacon (not American or Canadian Bacon) sandwich is to kill for.

Drooling,
Walt
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Old May 17, 2011, 07:23 PM
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Thanks Tom. I wasn't able to see how to join files with MP4Cam2AVI - there must be a button or menu configuration I am missing. Can you advise?

Looking at your reply, I think MP4Cam2AVI is out of contention for the 'trimming' aspect since I was the trims to be more accurate than the options it offers. So I guess I will use the app just to convert to the avi container. Then I can use VirtualDub to dot he required trims and joins.

Quote:
I'm curious how you will use the chopped sizes where larger clips might be more difficult?
Basically I want to save disk space. There is often a load of junk recorded before or after the a bit of footage I want to archive. I might have a 20min file with only 2mins of footage that I want to keep. I want to be able to keep it in its original max-quality form - hence the trimming. Similarly there are times when footage I want to keep is in the 20th minute of a file and on to the 1st minute of the next. So in those cases I'd like to join the avi files (even though there will be a skip of a couple of seconds).

Does my idea to use VirtualDub sound like it will work?

(Thanks for that great post you've just made on the bitrate modes btw, that will save me disk space )
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Old May 17, 2011, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjbite View Post
Sorry that I got WAY off topic, but that interesting floating harbor in his vid AND the linking of the floating harbor with remembrance of the taste of a bacon and egg sandwich from "The Buttery" was just WAY to much to cause me to suppress my urge to get off topic
Bristol England has a tide of 37' ( second only to The Bay of Fundy - about 42', I think). The entrance to their harbor flows through a navigation lock which is only open near high tide. So the boats and ships are able to "float" as opposed to drying out twice a day. I could go on and on about the interesting parts of that but will only finish this illegal message by saying that a hot English bacon (not American or Canadian Bacon) sandwich is to kill for.

Drooling,
Walt
No problem... an occasional brief excursion now and then keeps the thread from from getting totally boring!
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Old May 17, 2011, 09:15 PM
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See my comments below in BLUE

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiffy82517 View Post
Thanks Tom. I wasn't able to see how to join files with MP4Cam2AVI - there must be a button or menu configuration I am missing. Can you advise?

I have attached a screen grab of the MP4cam2AVI window with the area circled in red where to select the option to join files. The files you have highlighted will be joined. You can also add a prefix (like 1, 2, 3, etc.) to the file names to order them in the sequence you want them joined, or alternatively, turn on the timeline mode and just drag and drop the file names in the order you want them joined.

Looking at your reply, I think MP4Cam2AVI is out of contention for the 'trimming' aspect since I was the trims to be more accurate than the options it offers. So I guess I will use the app just to convert to the avi container. Then I can use VirtualDub to dot he required trims and joins.

It's a two step process if you use that method, but it will work. I've found that AviDemux can pretty much do what Virtual Dub can do, but unlike Vdub, it can also import the .mov files directly, bypassing the MP4cam2AVI step. There you can trim, cut out sections, move them around, etc. as much as you please, and use the Video "Copy" option for outputting your clips without re-encoding. The only thing you may need to do is mute or re-encode the audio in the process (I use .mp3), which goes pretty fast. Or you can replace the video main track with a music file of your choice. You can output into an .avi or .mp4 container from there... all with just one program!

Basically I want to save disk space. There is often a load of junk recorded before or after the a bit of footage I want to archive. I might have a 20min file with only 2mins of footage that I want to keep. I want to be able to keep it in its original max-quality form - hence the trimming. Similarly there are times when footage I want to keep is in the 20th minute of a file and on to the 1st minute of the next. So in those cases I'd like to join the avi files (even though there will be a skip of a couple of seconds).

Does my idea to use VirtualDub sound like it will work?

Yes, but there's a simpler way as I described above.

(Thanks for that great post you've just made on the bitrate modes btw, that will save me disk space )
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Old May 18, 2011, 01:16 AM
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Walt
glad you enjoyed the video and the memories it brought back. The Industrial Museum is just coming to the end of a major re-fit so should have even more goodies in there when opened. Brunel's Buttery is further along the harbourside towards the SS Great Britain. The old girl is still in a dry dock although she appears to be floating as they have installed a glass panel covered with shallow sea water. http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/news...award_2007.htm
When this wind finally abates I plan to shot some more footage from opposite the SS Great Britain and Cabot Tower which should include some shots of the Uni of Bristol buildings. The Hobby King DragonFly is an ideal platform for the #11 Key Cam in tight urban environments. Cheap too!
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...dProduct=11439
Head
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Old May 18, 2011, 01:17 AM
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#11 Cams back in stock & new firmware

MyCameraGal (Diana), aka hxelepro360, has advised me the #11 cams are back in stock.

I also got from her some new firmware billed as having "saturation control". I've loaded it but it was dark outside so I don't have any daytime video to see what it does. The indoor shots are still dark and grainy with about 20% dropped frames like the last exposure control software, so I need some good light to see what might have changed. I'll report more on this tomorrow.
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Old May 18, 2011, 04:45 AM
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Hi Tom, your camera gals are very helpful, but it would be great if there was some indication from the led to show when the camera was actually recording. As you know you press the shutter button, 3 quick flashes and the light is off. Might be recording, might even be switched off or dead! A continuous slow flash when recording was in process, as was the case with my MD 80 mini dv, would be great. Just an idea?

(A while back I actually risked updating my MD80 with the 808 date removal bin file and it worked, so unfortunately it now does the 3 quick flash and gone sequence! I did check beforehand that it was the same processor, etc.)

PS I only seem to drop 2 frames out of 30 with the latest firmware. 1/15 say 7%.
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Old May 18, 2011, 06:25 AM
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i've finally succeeded in cloning the eeprom! my second camera is back to life!

I'll post all the details and the dump files later on !
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Old May 18, 2011, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giorg View Post
i've finally succeeded in cloning the eeprom! my second camera is back to life!

I'll post all the details and the dump files later on !
Congratulations.
Did you reprogram the origional eeprom, or did you fit a new one?

Mike
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Old May 18, 2011, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by empeabee View Post
Congratulations.
Did you reprogram the origional eeprom, or did you fit a new one?

Mike
The original one .. the one that was bricked
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Old May 18, 2011, 07:38 AM
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to : Tom Frank

Mi bet your camera gal(Diana, aka hxelepro360) is a dude,
so as mine (Emma, aka eletoponline365) However, she said the "#11" is coming back in stock after 20th May
Cheers,
G
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Old May 18, 2011, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tushev View Post
to : Tom Frank

Mi bet your camera gal(Diana, aka hxelepro360) is a dude,
so as mine (Emma, aka eletoponline365) However, she said the "#11" is coming back in stock after 20th May
Cheers,
G
I ordered another #11 from my Dear Emma last night and she wrote me that they will not be in till the 20th..
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Old May 18, 2011, 08:01 AM
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Oh, dear dear, sorry my dear
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Old May 18, 2011, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tushev View Post
Oh, dear dear, sorry my dear
YES,,,, I'm sure that's my Emma....
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Old May 18, 2011, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giorg View Post
i've finally succeeded in cloning the eeprom! my second camera is back to life!

I'll post all the details and the dump files later on !
Wow.. as you know I had my doubts.. it's amazing what one can do with the right motivation tools and technique .. good-show!
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Old May 18, 2011, 09:00 AM
utx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
I don't think the WINDOWS/LINUX issue makes any difference if they both copy the file name verbatim to the card, which should be the case, I'd think, whether the file names are case sensitive or not. And since the camera's OS is doing the reading, that's the only one that matters when it comes to the file name being upper/lower case.

At any rate, I'll change the file extensions to upper case on my firmware archived files linked here, and we'll see what problems may develop going forward.
They don't copy file name verbatim. Both Linux and Windows now use VFAT file name extension ("long file names") by default. VFAT file name extension may write "short file name" in an arbitrary form, and associate it with an extension that defines the "long" file name presented to user. Some systems store short file names all-uppercase, some systems store it as it is.

The camera apparently does not understand VFAT file name extension. It uses just the bare FAT32 8+3 file names (in Linux it is known as "msdos" file system). If you write TIMESET.txt in a mode that creates VFAT file name extension, camera deletes just the file, but not the VFAT filename extension (you can verify the fact with a file system checker started on the card after setting the time).

Different systems handle 8+3 file names differently (both Windows and Linux). Linux has the mount option shortname={lower|win95|winnt|mixed} to control that:

lower: Force the short name to lower case upon display; store a long name when the short name is not all upper case.

win95: Force the short name to upper case upon display; store a long name when the short name is not all upper case.

winnt: Display the shortname as is; store a long name when the short name is not all lower case or all upper case.

mixed: Display the short name as is; store a long name when the short name is not all upper case.


Firmware file name (i. e. short name on the FAT32) has to be all-uppercase, as the camera bootloader seems to be case sensitive.

It explain, why combined case file names work for somebody and somebody else reports failure.
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Old May 18, 2011, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
....
We do know that this utility defaults to the 32K block allocation size and cannot be changed, so using it will always result in your camera recording in the 7K mode.
....
A really great post, Tom.

However, this only holds true for SD cards smaller than 16GB (i.e. 1GB to 8GB).

I know someone found that 32K clusters also set the data rate to 7 Mb/s with 16GB cards, but with both my cameras there is no way that I can format a 16GB card for recording at 7 Mb/s.

The only way that I can format my 32GB cards to give me 7 Mb/s is with the standard Windows Format and a cluster size of 64GB.

I have just repeated the tests to be 100% certain.
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Old May 18, 2011, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giorg View Post
i've finally succeeded in cloning the eeprom! my second camera is back to life!

I'll post all the details and the dump files later on !
That's great news, and much quicker than waiting for a replacement (chip or camera) from China!

The dump will be interesting and could be useful for others with a bricked camera and soldering skills and a programmer at hand.
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Old May 18, 2011, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isoprop View Post
A really great post, Tom.

However, this only holds true for SD cards smaller than 16GB (i.e. 1GB to 8GB).

I know someone found that 32K clusters also set the data rate to 7 Mb/s with 16GB cards, but with both my cameras there is no way that I can format a 16GB card for recording at 7 Mb/s.

The only way that I can format my 32GB cards to give me 7 Mb/s is with the standard Windows Format and a cluster size of 64GB.

I have just repeated the tests to be 100% certain.
OK, thanks... I kind of lost track of all the different combinations and permutations that have been tried. I guess I'll just suggest using what I stated for cards up to 8GB, and give your results as suggestions to try for the larger cards. It appears that there are differences between same sized cards from different manufacturers that are impacting this as well. Pretty confusing...
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Old May 18, 2011, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isoprop View Post
That's great news, and much quicker than waiting for a replacement (chip or camera) from China!

The dump will be interesting and could be useful for others with a bricked camera and soldering skills and a programmer at hand.
I wrote a quick post .. you can find everything here : http://g--labs.blogspot.com/

hope it helps someone else!
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Old May 18, 2011, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobflyman View Post
Hi Tom, your camera gals are very helpful, but it would be great if there was some indication from the led to show when the camera was actually recording. As you know you press the shutter button, 3 quick flashes and the light is off. Might be recording, might even be switched off or dead! A continuous slow flash when recording was in process, as was the case with my MD 80 mini dv, would be great. Just an idea?

(A while back I actually risked updating my MD80 with the 808 date removal bin file and it worked, so unfortunately it now does the 3 quick flash and gone sequence! I did check beforehand that it was the same processor, etc.)

PS I only seem to drop 2 frames out of 30 with the latest firmware. 1/15 say 7%.
The camera developers monitor this thread, so your suggestion of an intermittant flash should be apparent to them. But I wll reinforce this since I think it's a good idea to briefly flash the LED maybe once a second to let you know it's still recording, so long as it doesn't impact the camera recording process in any way.

I'm confused, though, on the MD80 and firmware issue. I guess you are not referring to the firmware for the #11HD being flashed into the MD80 since it's a totally different camera.
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Last edited by Tom Frank; May 18, 2011 at 01:04 PM.
Old May 18, 2011, 11:57 AM
Curiouser and curiouser
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Rochester, NY, USA
Joined Oct 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
The camera developers monitor this thread, so your suggestion of an intermittant flash should be apparent to them. But I wll re-inforce this since I think it's a good idea to briefly flash the LED maybe once a second to let you know it's still recording, so long as it doesn't impact the camera recording process in any way..........
Maybe the marketing gals will drag their feet at making the light blink during recording - after all, how are you going to take stealthy SPY videos if your have a little black box that is going - blink....blink....blink....blink....blink....blink ....
Kinda a give away, eh?

Walt
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Old May 18, 2011, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giorg View Post
I wrote a quick post .. you can find everything here : http://g--labs.blogspot.com/

hope it helps someone else!
Giorg
very impressive.. well written article with good photos too.. and I'm glad you pointed out some of the lessons learned along the way.. Yes I think buying a second No 11 cam, at the same time negotiating a RMA return for a bricked one in-hand is the better way for most of us.. it's very hopeful to see this was possible and that you were successful too.. did you do a file compare between the ExpCtrl .bin file we've all been using, and the SPI eeprom chip dump? see any patterns?. I'm assuming that they would be identical (if that was in the cam after it got bricked.. except perhaps for for the embedded checksums.. is it clear where these checksums are stored and what their values are?

JimS
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Old May 18, 2011, 12:12 PM
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The poor low light performance needs an improvement.
But if it is to sacrifice the daylight performance then a separate firmware would be better.
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Old May 18, 2011, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by headlessagain View Post
Walt
glad you enjoyed the video and the memories it brought back. The Industrial Museum is just coming to the end of a major re-fit so should have even more goodies in there when opened. Brunel's Buttery is further along the harbourside towards the SS Great Britain. The old girl is still in a dry dock although she appears to be floating as they have installed a glass panel covered with shallow sea water. http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/news...award_2007.htm
When this wind finally abates I plan to shot some more footage from opposite the SS Great Britain and Cabot Tower which should include some shots of the Uni of Bristol buildings. The Hobby King DragonFly is an ideal platform for the #11 Key Cam in tight urban environments. Cheap too!
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...dProduct=11439
Head
Thanks for the links - real interesting.
I fly my one ounce cameras 808 #1, 808 #3 , lighter, 5-in-1, and now will fly my #11 in a plane with similar characteristics (Trainer 1) - works well in light air but makes you sick to watch vids taken in heaver air.
If you travel around town and take more vids here is my wish list.
Clifton Suspension Bridge - Camera obscura - cave - and gorge around the bridge.
Might be too windy for that plane in that area, eh?
I see that they have that plane in the HK Germany warehouse but not in the US warehouse
Hope I can get back there someday - maybe not.

Thanks again,
Walt
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Old May 18, 2011, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isoprop View Post
The only way that I can format my 32GB cards to give me 7 Mb/s is with the standard Windows Format and a cluster size of 64GB.
I think there is a typo here. Shouldn't the "64GB" at the end be "64kB" instead?

BTW - A big "thank you" to everyone on this thread for sharing all the useful information about this camera. Especially Tom.
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Old May 18, 2011, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjbite View Post
Maybe the marketing gals will drag their feet at making the light blink during recording - after all, how are you going to take stealthy SPY videos if your have a little black box that is going - blink....blink....blink....blink....blink....blink ....
Kinda a give away, eh?

Walt
That was the logic that was brought up when this was discussed earlier in this thread If they intend to keep this as a stealth camera because of it's size, we may never get a blinking LED, but a firmware for us non-stealth guys could remedy that!
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Old May 18, 2011, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
That was the logic that was brought up when this was discussed earlier in this thread If they intend to keep this as a stealth camera because of it's size, we may never get a blinking LED, but a firmware for us non-stealth guys could remedy that!
Wow that would be really cool!
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Old May 18, 2011, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
The camera developers monitor this thread, so your suggestion of an intermittant flash should be apparent to them. But I wll re-inforce this since I think it's a good idea to briefly flash the LED maybe once a second to let you know it's still recording, so long as it doesn't impact the camera recording process in any way.

I'm confused, though, on the MD80 and firmware issue. I guess you are not referring to the firmware for the #11HD being flashed into the MD80 since it's a totally different camera.

Oh no, it wasn't the #11 firmware, this was a bin file someone produced for the #3 that was reliable and fairly easy to install that removed the date stamp. (Much easier than some methods that had been used anyway.) I risked using it on the MD 80 after running the install software and finding it seemed to come up with same file sizes and info as the 808 #3.
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Old May 18, 2011, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jims123 View Post
Giorg
very impressive.. well written article with good photos too.. and I'm glad you pointed out some of the lessons learned along the way.. Yes I think buying a second No 11 cam, at the same time negotiating a RMA return for a bricked one in-hand is the better way for most of us.. it's very hopeful to see this was possible and that you were successful too.. did you do a file compare between the ExpCtrl .bin file we've all been using, and the SPI eeprom chip dump? see any patterns?. I'm assuming that they would be identical (if that was in the cam after it got bricked.. except perhaps for for the embedded checksums.. is it clear where these checksums are stored and what their values are?

JimS
JimS... I was doing this very compare before you posted this. What I found when comparing the "good" hex dump that Giorg flashed back in with the latest Exposure Control fimware we flash in with the camera is that the code from offset 00004000 to 0010C440 in Giorg's dump is byte for byte identical with our Exposure Control firmware. Everything after that (almost half of the chip space) is a few lines of hex 00 with the rest all hex FF to the end of the dump (unused, I guess).

But there is code from the beginning of the dump up to where our Exposure Control firmware starts that looks to me like it is the boot loader code! In there I find this string (among other interesting ones):

"FW96630A.BIN.LD96630A.BIN.FW96630T.BIN...Loader NT96630 Start"

The blue one is our firmware name, but what are the green and purple ones? It appears other firmware files can also be loaded, maybe for different camera versions, or maybe to access other unimplemented functions of the video controller chip?

So does this also mean that the camera was bricked because this initial code section of this chip got corrupted and thus could not load in new firmware? And if so, would flashing in just this initial section of code allow the camera to see and load in new firmware when turned on without actually writing all the firmware portion in externally?

I had assumed the boot code would be stashed in a safe non-volatile ROM somewhere separate from the chip that accepts the new firmware, and maybe it is... this is just my hacker mind talking and I don't know how all this works.
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Last edited by Tom Frank; May 18, 2011 at 01:10 PM.
Old May 18, 2011, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giorg View Post
I wrote a quick post .. you can find everything here : http://g--labs.blogspot.com/

hope it helps someone else!
Excellent, Giorg! I will add a link to your post for others who may want to try this.

BTW, note the questions I just raised in my prior post reply to Jims... maybe you can fill in the blanks?
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Old May 18, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by air_crash View Post
The poor low light performance needs an improvement.
But if it is to sacrifice the daylight performance then a separate firmware would be better.
Actually, more than low light, the performance in bright overhead sunlight (even indoors with overhead fluorescent lighting) needs to be improved first. My old (original, metal bodied) MD80 and a cheap plastic clone both handled contrast and brightness much better.
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Old May 18, 2011, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
I also got from her some new firmware billed as having "saturation control". I've loaded it but it was dark outside so I don't have any daytime video to see what it does. The indoor shots are still dark and grainy with about 20% dropped frames like the last exposure control software, so I need some good light to see what might have changed. I'll report more on this tomorrow.

Ooh! Please may we have it, sir?
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Old May 18, 2011, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giorg View Post
I wrote a quick post .. you can find everything here : http://g--labs.blogspot.com/

hope it helps someone else!
Darn it I KNEW is should not have junked my last XP machine with a LPT port....

Good Job

Mike
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Old May 18, 2011, 01:38 PM
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Davison, MI
Joined Sep 2007
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Hey Guys,

Keep up the great work. It's hard to keep up with all that's going on.

I do prefer the way the camera operates now with no blinking light. To have a light flashing all the time as the camera records would be annoying to me.

I'd leave that part alone with no changes.

Joe
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Old May 18, 2011, 01:41 PM
Curiouser and curiouser
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Rochester, NY, USA
Joined Oct 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
That was the logic that was brought up when this was discussed earlier in this thread If they intend to keep this as a stealth camera because of it's size, we may never get a blinking LED, but a firmware for us non-stealth guys could remedy that!
I wonder if the sellers and the firmware writers for this camera are aware of how many more of them they could sell if the firmware were made FOSS (Free Open Source Software)?

Walt
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Old May 18, 2011, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
But there is code from the beginning of the dump up to where ...
I had assumed the boot code would be stashed in a safe non-volatile ROM somewhere separate from the chip that accepts the new firmware, and maybe it is... this is just my hacker mind talking and I don't know how all this works.
From my past, working on an intelligent USB chip, it had a basic configuration built into the onchip ROM, and sufficient intelligence to go out onto the I2C bus to find an eeprom, with 4 magic bytes in its first 4 locations, and then load the contents into RAM and run it, so it is sort of safe(ish)
No eeprom then it could download an object program from the USB, with the PC driver looking for a named file in the PC.
Most useful in the early life of the USB link to an embedded system.
Mike
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Old May 18, 2011, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
....
I had assumed the boot code would be stashed in a safe non-volatile ROM somewhere separate from the chip that accepts the new firmware, and maybe it is... this is just my hacker mind talking and I don't know how all this works.
....
This is also what the #3 did, but obviously there was no file name.

I don't think these cameras have any non-volatile memory as such. The non-volatile memory is the SPI chip. I believe the boot code is always at the beginning of the dump.

This is one reason that I was very interested in the dump, I was sure there would be boot code in the header - but you beat me to it! It's exactly as I expected.

<Edit>Yes, empty flash space is usually 0xFF. I expect 0x00 to be NOP (No Operation Performed). This is commonly used in timing operations or to blank memory. You will very often see a lot of NOP's at the end of a code segment.
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Last edited by Isoprop; May 18, 2011 at 02:21 PM.
Old May 18, 2011, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Chip Geek View Post
I think there is a typo here. Shouldn't the "64GB" at the end be "64kB" instead?

BTW - A big "thank you" to everyone on this thread for sharing all the useful information about this camera. Especially Tom.
Ohhh - very bad typo there. Thanks for pointing it out.
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Old May 18, 2011, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Giorg View Post
I wrote a quick post .. you can find everything here : http://g--labs.blogspot.com/

hope it helps someone else!
Excellent information in your blog. Thank you very much for sharing. I wish I could read the link - but I guess Google will give a helping hand I will definitely try this project on one of my spare chips.

I know this is all about programming these chips for $0, but I can REALLY recommend Chip Quik for your desoldering jobs. Before I used this stuff I very often "lifted" the tracks. However, with Chip Quik, the solder "blob" is at a much lower temperature so it's almost impossible to lift the track - as long as you turn down the temperature of your soldering iron.

Chip Quik is really amazing and everyone who wants to desolder SMD components should use it.
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Old May 18, 2011, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by drzen View Post
Ooh! Please may we have it, sir?
I'm testing it this AM... I want to see what it does so I can post accordingly here. I got three separate new firmwares:

1. New versions of Date Off/On (they call them Time Removal and Time Recover) that are said to be NOT compatible with the existing ones, and

2. New version of Continuous Recording with Time Removal firmware, compatible only with the new Time Recover firmware (I think).

Right now ONLY the new Time Recover firmware is said to have the saturation control feature implemented. The other two are in process of adding this. But I don't know if the Exposure Control improvements that eveyone likes is in these. I'm waiting for feedback from the vendor so I know what is what before I release this into the wild. So you can see how much confusion and maybe grief could be inadvertently created if these are posted for download before they are finished and we know exactly what they do.

I am testing the new Date Recover with Saturation Control this morning, so may have better info shortly.
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Old May 18, 2011, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by wjbite View Post
I wonder if the sellers and the firmware writers for this camera are aware of how many more of them they could sell if the firmware were made FOSS (Free Open Source Software)?

Walt
That would be good for us, but bad for the original manufacturer. Other clever Chinese would use the code in their own hardware, bringing down sales of the original manufacturer.

I also don't know how easy it would be to set up a test platform for the camera, and I don't expect it to be cheap.

On the positive side, because of Tom's dedication to this thread, the manufacturers are really trying their best to produce an excellent camera. I think this must be a "first" for these devices.

So, as long as they keep doing such an excellent job, I've nothing to complain.
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Old May 18, 2011, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Frank View Post
I'm testing it this AM... I want to see what it does so I can post accordingly here. I got three separate new firmwares:

1. New versions of Date Off/On (they call them Time Removal and Time Recover) that are said to be NOT compatible with the existing ones, and

2. New version of Continuous Recording with Time Removal firmware, compatible only with the new Time Recover firmware (I think).

Right now ONLY the new Time Recover firmware is said to have the saturation control feature implemented. The other two are in process of adding this. But I don't know if the Exposure Control improvements that eveyone likes is in these. I'm waiting for feedback from the vendor so I know what is what before I release this into the wild. So you can see how much confusion and maybe grief could be inadvertently created if these are posted for download before they are finished and we know exactly what they do.

I am testing the new Date Recover with Saturation Control this morning, so may have better info shortly.
Now, if only they would implement the time on/off by a simple file switch, wouldn't that make things easier - for all of us...
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