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SparkoCam software to use DSLR camera signal for video capture in TVPaint

Posted: 11 Sep 2018, 18:11
by D.T. Nethery
Has anyone tried this software to use their Nikon or Canon DSLR as a capture device in TVPaint (for shooting line tests or stop-motion animation) ? --

It's Windows-only, so I can't test it (I'm on Mac) , but I'm very curious if it will work to allow the video feed from a Nikon or Canon DSLR to be seen by TVPaint in the Video-In settings.
Just this week I had yet another in a long line of students ask me : "why can't I shoot stop-motion in TVPaint using my DSLR ?" I explained that there is a Canon Plug-In (Windows only) that works for certain older model Canon cameras , but that the only reliable way to do video capture in TVPaint is to use an HD webcam , such as the Logitech C930e (which gives very good results , but is certainly not as good an image quality as a DSLR camera).

It's not free ,but I believe a free trial version may be downloaded for testing. If anyone who owns one of the supported Nikon or Canon DSLR's would test it and report back , I'd appreciate it.

SparkoCam supported cameras

Canon Rebel XS, Canon Rebel XSi, Canon Rebel Kiss X2, Canon Kiss F, Canon Kiss X3, Canon Kiss X4, Canon Kiss X5, Canon Kiss X6i, Canon Kiss X7i, Canon Kiss X7, Canon Kiss F, Canon Kiss X50, Canon 8000D, Canon Kiss X8i, Canon Kiss X80, Canon Kiss X9i, Canon 9000D, Canon Kiss X9, Canon Kiss X90

Canon T1i, Canon T2i, Canon T3, Canon T3i, Canon T4i, Canon T5, Canon T5i, Canon SL1, Canon T6, Canon T6i, Canon T6s, Canon T7i, Canon T7, Canon T100, Canon M50

Canon 1D Mark II, Canon 1Ds Mark II, Canon 1D Mark II N, Canon 1D Mark III, Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 1D X, Canon 1D X Mark II, Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 6D Mark II

Canon 1000D, Canon 1100D, Canon 1200D, Canon 1300D, Canon 450D, Canon 500D, Canon 550D, Canon 600D, Canon 650D, Canon 700D, Canon 40D, Canon 50D, Canon 60D, Canon 6D, Canon 7D, Canon 1D C, Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100D, Canon 70D, Canon 80D, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 750D, Canon 760D, Canon 5DS, Canon 5DS R, Canon 800D, Canon 77D, Canon SL2, Canon 200D, Canon 2000D, Canon 4000D


Nikon D5500, Nikon D750, Nikon D7100, Nikon D7000, Nikon D5300, Nikon D5200, Nikon D5100, Nikon D5000, Nikon D90, Nikon D800, Nikon D810, Nikon D800E, Nikon D600, Nikon D610, Nikon D700, Nikon D4, Nikon Df, Nikon D4s, Nikon D300, Nikon D300s, Nikon D3, Nikon D3s, Nikon D3X, Nikon D7200, Nikon D810A, Nikon 1 V3, Nikon D500, Nikon D5, Nikon D5600, Nikon D7500

Support for different video resolutions including HD quality

Stream video from your HD webcam without quality loss. You can select resolution manually from the list of most popular resolutions: 160x120, 320x180, 320x240, 640x360, 640x480, 720x480, 800x450, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x720, 1280x960, 1280x1024, 1440x1080, 1920x1080

Re: software to use DSLR camera signal for video capture in TVPaint

Posted: 12 Sep 2018, 00:50
by Svengali
Downloaded the SparkOCam software demo version ( watermark).
As per instructions, it was easy to install and run...
I have an older Canon XSI (on the list) and linked it to my system via a USB cable.
When I turned the camera on, the SparkOCam software immediately detected its presence and recognized the camera Make and Model then locked the mirror open and began displaying a perfectly crisp, clear, live source image from my Canon XSI in the video window in their software.
In TVPaint 11 Pro I opened up the Video Input panel.
A warning message popped up that TVPaint software was trying to access the video source... click to confirm. After clicking, a message followed saying that TVPaint was granted future access.
The image from my Canon XSI was visible in the SparkOCam software, and when I clicked Grab Input in the Video Input Panel, it captured the image to a single frame in the current layer.
Successive images frames were rapidly captured and appended to the first image as fast as I could click.
The SparkOCam watermark is in every frame, top and center. (Upon opening the software asks you to register your purchase OR click on TRY Button.)
The Sparkosoft camera interface software appears to simply work as advertised... and seems solid as a rock.


Re: software to use DSLR camera signal for video capture in TVPaint

Posted: 12 Sep 2018, 13:14
by D.T. Nethery
Great ! Thanks for running the test , Sven.

Re: SparkoCam software to use DSLR camera signal for video capture in TVPaint

Posted: 13 Sep 2018, 07:27
by Benjamin Cerbai
Thank you for sharing this! It could be really helpful. :)

Re: SparkoCam software to use DSLR camera signal for video capture in TVPaint

Posted: 13 Sep 2018, 14:25
by D.T. Nethery
Benjamin Cerbai wrote:
13 Sep 2018, 07:27
Thank you for sharing this! It could be really helpful. :)
I want to run more tests , but yes, I think it seems like from Sven's quick test of the trial version of SparkoCam that it has the potential to revive TVPaint's usefulness as a stop-motion application. At the moment video capture in TVPaint is limited to using HD webcams ... the image quality from an HD webcam like the Logitech C920 or Logitech C930 is quite good , but it's not nearly as good as the image quality possible from a Canon or Nikon DSLR.

I hope to borrow a friend's Canon and Windows laptop to run some more tests of my own. What I am most interested in is the highest resolution it is possible to capture frames at using SparkoCam . The SparkoCam website mentions 1920 x 1080 resolution as the highest resolution , but I think that would be for live, streaming video, if you were using it with an app like Skype . But perhaps with capturing single frames it would be possible to capture at higher resolutions of 2K and 4K ? OR the other possibility is that the live signal from the DSLR (at 1920 x 1080) could be used for animating , using the MIX (onion-skinning) function in TVPaint's Video-Input , but if the same frame captures are also being saved simultaneously to the DSLR's memory card as high-resolution images then those could later be transferred over to the user's computer and imported into TVPaint , replacing the earlier image captures with the higher-resolution images.

If anyone there at TVPaint has one of the supported Canon or Nikon DSLRs , please run some tests with SparkoCam and let me know . I would very much like to recommend this app to students , so they can use their TVPaint for stop-motion classes with the DSLR as the capture device, to get higher quality images.

Of course the drawback is that it means the user has to spend additional money for another application , SparkoCam , to use their DSLR with TVPaint ... it would be better if someone there at TVPaint could take a look at the current SDK's from Canon and Nikon to see if it might be possible to program that capability directly into TVPaint , to allow TVPaint to "see" the signal from a DSLR.

Canon has updated SDK's available for developers:

EOS SDK v3.8.0 is Now Available

Support Added for EOS M50, EOS Rebel T7 & EOS Rebel T100
EOS SDK v3.6, EOS SDK v3.6.1 and PowerShot G7 Mark II SDKs

EOS SDK v3.6.1 is now available.
Support added for the EOS 6D Mark II & EOS Rebel SL2.

EOS SDK v3.6 is now available.
Support added for the EOS Rebel T7i and EOS 77D.

PowerShot G7 X Mark II SDK V1.01 is now available.
Supports the PowerShot G7 X Mark II.
Nikon also has current SDK's available -
"We offer software development kits (SDKs) free of charge to those developing products and services that incorporate Nikon digital imaging products.
The SDKs can be downloaded with completion of the required application process."

Re: SparkoCam software to use DSLR camera signal for video capture in TVPaint

Posted: 30 Sep 2018, 05:54
by D.T. Nethery
For anyone else who is interested in this , I've determined through some tests done for me by a student (who has a Windows computer, owns a Canon DSLR , and has TVPaint ) that the maximum resolution from the Canon t6 camera's video feed (via SparkOCam ) is 1920 x 1080. (the technical specs on Canon's site also give the maximum video resolution of the Canon t6 as 1920 x 1080) . When SparkOCam is selected in the TVpaint Video Input window as the Input device, the resolution options in TVPaint (under Format) are identical to the resolution options in SparkOCam , with the maximum being 1920 x 1080 . I don't know if the maximum resolution would increase if it's a different type of Canon (or Nikon) camera that has higher video resolution output or if 1920 x 1080 is the maximum resolution supported by SparkOCam, but HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 is not bad ! So using this SparkOCam app , TVPaint users can do video frame capture in TVPaint (for stop-motion animation) from supported Canon or Nikon DSLR cameras (well, actually, only Windows users of TVPaint , because SparkOCam is Windows-only)
(click image to view larger)