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An interesting piece of hardware.

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An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby Fabrice » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:12 am

Hi there,

I saw this HD camera used at CalArts with the lastest TVPaint on MAC (I don't know if it works on PC).
http://www.recordexusa.com/page152.html

It seems the ideal solution for line testing.
Does someone use it already ? Any feedback ?

Fabrice.
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby idragosani » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:46 am

It says they support both Windows and OS X. It outputs video via USB, bet it can be used with any software that can capture via USB like TVPaint or DragonFrame (stop-motion app). Seems like it could be used as an animation camera for scanning hand-drawn frames (instead of using a scanner) ... though don't see any pricing or availability info.
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby D.T. Nethery » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:14 am

idragosani wrote:It says they support both Windows and OS X. It outputs video via USB, bet it can be used with any software that can capture via USB like TVPaint or DragonFrame (stop-motion app). Seems like it could be used as an animation camera for scanning hand-drawn frames (instead of using a scanner) ... though don't see any pricing or availability info.



This looks very interesting indeed.

As you said, I could not find any pricing listed for the unit on the website, but I would like to find out more about it.

*Edit:
A bit of searching turned up a price of $199.00 here: http://www.fullcompass.com/product/403224.html

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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby slowtiger » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:09 am

Interesting indeed, but I'd never buy it before someone did test it thouroughly.

- Is it a driver or a standalone program? Is it reliable?
- Does the camera image show up in all my programs?
- Does it really capture at full resolution? (I just remind you of HD-DV cams and other devices which only allow for poor video resolution)
- Some screenshots of the software.
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby Fabrice » Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:11 pm

I'm going to try to receive one, and I will run some tests.
If it's working well, I will be the first to advertise it.
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby Fabrice » Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:42 pm

According to Recordex USA, it should work also on Linux.

We have tested the SimplicityCam on Linux (Ubuntu and Pardis) and it works fine. We just don't have a Linux app so our Linux customers are using the opensource Cheese app. However, this will not matter to you since you are intending to use the camera with your TVPaint application. The camera also works fine with Mac and Windows of course.


I should receive the camera soon. good point. :)
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby idragosani » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:35 pm

Fabrice wrote:According to Recordex USA, it should work also on Linux.


Cool! If it's a USB video device it should connect just like a webcam
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby Fabrice » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:35 pm

ok, we got the material and tested it. (SC5e)

There is no driver CD and it's actually working fine on TVPaint Animation 9.5 on MAC and PC.
On Linux, we need to do a few changes in the software, so you will need TVPaint Animation 10.

It's basically a webcam so you don't need to install anything, plug the USB cable and use it !
The lens doesn't have a perfect quality to get the colors exactly, but if you work in black and white for line testing, it's goog enough. (in addition, if you use the TVPaint Scan-Cleaner after line testing, it's pretty good, since 95% of the pixels are removed, and you keep the black lines.)
The max resolution is 2560 x 1944 so it's actually higher than HD. The refresh rate is not really good in Hi-Res, but usable for line-testing or I should say image grabing purpose.

You will probably need additionnal light (the one available is not powerful enough), but once again, the Scan-Cleaner will be your friend if you plan to do animation.
It's hard to set the height of the lens, but I don't think it's a real problem.

I think it's a good tool to use TVPaint and paper. :)
I'm going to take it with me when demo-ing TVPaint.

That's it.
Feel free to ask any question !


PS : there is no peg bar with it, you have to find one. :P ok ... I leave :arrow:
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby Elodie » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:22 pm

Fabrice wrote:PS : there is no peg bar with it, you have to find one. :P ok ... I leave :arrow:


Damn, we should find a software that has a peg-holes registration feature....
:mrgreen:

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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby D.T. Nethery » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:28 pm

Fabrice wrote:ok, we got the material and tested it. (SC5e)

There is no driver CD and it's actually working fine on TVPaint Animation 9.5 on MAC and PC.
On Linux, we need to do a few changes in the software, so you will need TVPaint Animation 10.

It's basically a webcam so you don't need to install anything, plug the USB cable and use it !
The lens doesn't have a perfect quality to get the colors exactly, but if you work in black and white for line testing, it's goog enough. (in addition, if you use the TVPaint Scan-Cleaner after line testing, it's pretty good, since 95% of the pixels are removed, and you keep the black lines.)
The max resolution is 2560 x 1944 so it's actually higher than HD. The refresh rate is not really good in Hi-Res, but usable for line-testing or I should say image grabing purpose.

You will probably need additional light (the one available is not powerful enough), but once again, the Scan-Cleaner will be your friend if you plan to do animation.
It's hard to set the height of the lens, but I don't think it's a real problem.

I think it's a good tool to use TVPaint and paper. :)
I'm going to take it with me when demo-ing TVPaint.

That's it.
Feel free to ask any question !


PS : there is no peg bar with it, you have to find one. :P ok ... I leave :arrow:



Thank you for the report ! I think I will add this to the list of recommended camera/capture devices for my students . I think if it captures at high-resolution (2560 x 1944) then with adequate lighting on the drawings and then running the Scan Cleaner FX on the captured images it could be good enough quality to color the captured images , yes ? Even with slow refresh rate you mention I bet it is still faster than scanning on a flatbed scanner .


How does it manage with different aspect ratios in TVPaint ?

Say I want to capture a small , low-res. pencil test for quick upload to a website or YouTube at 640 x 480 . The camera resolution is actually 2560 x 1944 so obviously it will scale down to 640 x 480 and look good (in terms of line quality/sharpness) but how does the aspect ratio look ? Does it automatically put in the "black bars" at top and bottom of image or on sides to keep the 4:3 aspect ratio ? Or does the camera adapt to whatever aspect ratio the user sets in TVP , so 4:3 or 16:9 is used depending on whether the project size is set to 1280 x 720 (16:9) or something like 1600 x 1200 (4:3) . Does that make sense ? I am wondering if the camera has settings that can change the aspect ratio of the image being captured or if it automatically sets itself to the aspect ratio used in the TVPaint project size.
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby D.T. Nethery » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:37 pm

Elodie wrote:
Fabrice wrote:PS : there is no peg bar with it, you have to find one. :P ok ... I leave :arrow:


Damn, we should find a software that has a peg-holes registration feature....
:mrgreen:


:P Yes, very good idea !

Hmmmm ... ok, yes that should work quite well as long as the shooting surface is black behind the paper , so the peg hole shapes are clearly captured as black shapes . Perhaps use some sort of "L" shaped frame (cut from foamcore or chipboard) taped down on the shooting surface to line up the drawings as accurately as possible for the capturing , then apply the Peg Holes Registration to the captured images to make the registration absolutely rock steady. That would save wear and tear on the peg holes (by not taking the drawings on-and-off the pegs multiple times) .
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby ematecki » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:06 pm

The black 'carpet' is part of the package, and has some guides printed on it to align your paper.
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby slowtiger » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:26 pm

Uhm, if you work with punched paper already I bet you've got a peg bar as well.
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby Elodie » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:29 pm

slowtiger wrote:Uhm, if you work with punched paper already I bet you've got a peg bar as well.


Not wrong.... :mrgreen:
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Re: An interesting piece of hardware.

Postby Fabrice » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:52 pm

D.T. Nethery wrote:Thank you for the report ! I think I will add this to the list of recommended camera/capture devices for my students . I think if it captures at high-resolution (2560 x 1944) then with adequate lighting on the drawings and then running the Scan Cleaner FX on the captured images it could be good enough quality to color the captured images , yes ? Even with slow refresh rate you mention I bet it is still faster than scanning on a flatbed scanner .

Yes, it's faster than a flatbed scanner. The time to refresh in HD is equivalent to the time necessary to change the paper on the pegs.

How does it manage with different aspect ratios in TVPaint ?

I have attached a screenshot for PC, MAC will follow.

Say I want to capture a small , low-res. pencil test for quick upload to a website or YouTube at 640 x 480 . The camera resolution is actually 2560 x 1944 so obviously it will scale down to 640 x 480 and look good (in terms of line quality/sharpness) but how does the aspect ratio look ? Does it automatically put in the "black bars" at top and bottom of image or on sides to keep the 4:3 aspect ratio ? Or does the camera adapt to whatever aspect ratio the user sets in TVP , so 4:3 or 16:9 is used depending on whether the project size is set to 1280 x 720 (16:9) or something like 1600 x 1200 (4:3) . Does that make sense ? I am wondering if the camera has settings that can change the aspect ratio of the image being captured or if it automatically sets itself to the aspect ratio used in the TVPaint project size.


You can set the resolution on the webcam parameters on PC, or you can set the resolution when starting a new project, then the image will be stretched (or not if both are the same).
So the best is to use the same resolution with the camera settings and the project.

nb : the tech guy at CalArts has purchased 8~10 of those WebCam for linetest. (on MAC)
On MAC, it seems to use the highest resolution, then it's stretched according to the project size.

- - - -

I have invited someone from Recordex in this Topic, so you should be able to ask him about pricing, delivery, etc ...
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