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Sunday, 15 May 2016

Use a D-SLR as a webcam in Windows FOR FREE!

Recently I've been developing a stop-motion animation program and a result I've been exploring possible ways to allow users to use D-SLRs without me having to delve into the Canon SDK.

The solution I've found is to use a program to make the D-SLR appear to programs as webcam. However until now I haven't found a free program that does this for Windows (Mac users should check out CamTwist). Without further ado, I'd like to introduce digiCamControl.

digiCamControl is a free program that allows you control and get a live feed from a number of supported Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras.

It also has a Web Server function and this has recently been expanded to include a virtual webcam feature which allows cameras appear to applications as a webcam and hence work with programs such as Helium Frog, Monkeyjam or Heron Animation. Video chat applications such as Skype will also work, however the live feed from this method has a slight delay and low frame rate making it not very ideal for video chatting.

Here's how to set this up:

  1. Download and install beta version 2.0.17 (IMPORTANT) or above of digiCamControl.
  2. Open digiCamControl and in the menu bar navigate to "File > Settings".
  3. Select the "web server" tab and tick "use webserver". For privacy reasons I'd recommend making sure that the "allow public access" option below this is unchecked.
  4. Restart digiCamControl with your camera turned on and connected to your computer via a USB cable.
  5. Click "allow access" if a Windows Firewall alert appears.
  6. Press the "Live view" button in digiCamControl (it has an icon with "Lv" on it).
  7. Open the program you want to use the camera with and choose "digiCamControl Virtual WebCam" as your video source.

Tips:

  • If a green focus rectangle is displayed on the image you can hide it by unchecking "show focus rectangle" in the display menu of the live view window of digiCamControl.
  • Using live view quickly drains your camera's battery. Consider purchasing an AC adapter for it.

While this method isn't as slick as a native solution, I hope it allows you to at least make some use of your fancy D-SLR in many Windows programs without having to pay for something like SparkoCam.

If you have any questions feel free to comment below and I will do my best to help out!

Friday, 23 January 2015

NEW BRICKFILM: Good Morning Simons (THAC XII entry)

At the start of this year I decided I would, for the first time in 2 years release a new brickfilm. I tried to make sure this would definitely happen by making it in under 24 hours for the THAC XII competition on http://bricksinmotion.com.

The film I created was this...



SPOILERS FOLLOW:
Despite the oddness of the film I am actually quite proud of it, particularly considering the time limitations of the contest. Interesting the 'mooing' horse in the film you see was actually supposed to be a cow, however I could not find my LEGO one and so I resulted to a horse, I think it ended up better as a result!

Technical Stuff For This Film:
  • Camera: Logitech c920 webcam
  • Frame capturing: Helium Frog Animator
  • Script writing: Trelby
  • Microphone: Blue Yeti
  • Audio Recording: Audacity
  • Editing: Cyberlink PowerDirector 13
Cast:
  • Myself as Mr Simons and The Doctor
  • Katie Lee (my sis) as Nurse Jenny

I hope you enjoyed this film and feel free to leave me any feedback on it whether that be via the Bricks in Motion thread, YouTube comments or on this blog. Hopefully you'll see some more videos from me in the near future.

- CHARLIE

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

NEW MUSIC: Uploaded my GCSE Compositions

After receiving my GCSE results about a month ago I decided to upload the compositions I wrote for music. My school does music GCSE with the exam board Edexcel which requires you to write two pieces to fit particular set genres. While throughout the 2 years of GCSE I composed several pieces, ultimately the 2 pieces I sent off for marking were:
  • Happy Blues (YouTube link) - to fit the brief '12 Bar Blues'
  • Poetry - A Musical (YouTube link) - to fit the brief 'Song from a musical'
While I was relatively happy with both pieces, I feel that my skills have definitely improved since and from writing the two pieces. Here's some more information about them:

Happy Blues :)

This was both the first and highest scoring piece I wrote at the beginning of year 10 for GCSE. It it very influenced by the Miles Davis - All Blues piece we had to study for the course but in addition the music from the film Blues Brothers and other locations I can't quite remember! The name was kindly suggested by a very outspoken member of my class who declared that the piece sounded rather happy...

Poetry - A Musical

In contrast this piece was the last one I wrote, with the first draft finished just a few days before our designated time to write it up in exam conditions began. It takes its influences heavily from the West End show Matilda The Musical which I saw the previous December and thoroughly enjoyed for it's creative and at the same time simple and relatable presentation. Also without me realising until after completing it the main chord progression in Poetry is very similar to that of Let It Go from Disney's Frozen which was very popular around the time of writing it!

I hope you enjoyed listening and reading about my pieces and stayed tuned as I share more with you in the future including my AS Music piece eventually.


- CHARLIE

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Getting Helium Frog Animator to work on Windows 8

Helium Frog is a popular piece of  free frame capturing software among brickfilmers. It has a very large feature set with things such as onion skinning and even green screening. I have used it happily in conjunction with my Logitech c920 webcam for a few years now, however when I was lucky enough to purchase a shiny new Windows 8 computer a problem arose, this was 'Error code 01.01 - source setup problem'. I tried doing a number of things such as re-installing drivers etc but I had no luck, I also noticed I was not the only person to have this problem finding threads asking for help on Brickfilms.com, Bricks In Motion and the French forum Brick a Brak - the common problem between all of these seemed to be Windows 8.

Anyway, I am happy to say that I have found a solution to this problem for Windows 8 users, it is a bit odd and isn't the most straight forward solution so I decided to write a blog post explaining it.
  1. Download ZIP file for the 'beta' edition (version 2_06SW3) of Helium Frog from its source repository website here.
  2. Extract the contents of the ZIP file. Then navigate to the extracted file and click the folder inside called 'Package', then click the file titled 'setup'.
  3. A program to install Helium Frog should appear, follow through the default options in this wizard clicking 'yes' if any messages regarding 'Version Conflicts' appear.
  4. Click okay to close the setup when it is complete.
  5. IMPORTANT: Do not use the version of Helium Frog you have just installed or you will experience error messages and problems.
  6. Now you must download the ZIP file for the 'standard' version 2.06 of Helium Frog from the program's official website here.
  7. Extract the ZIP file and click the file titled 'Helium_Frog_2_06' and the program will work without the source error!
I'm not really sure why doing this worked for me but I hope this works for anyone experiencing the same problem as I did with Helium Frog. If you have any questions feel free to comment below and I'll try to help you.

By the way, once you successfully open the 'standard' version of Helium Frog you can uninstall the 'beta' version via Windows' Control Panel.

Edit Sept 2015: If you have upgraded your system to Windows 10 and find that Helium Frog no longer works try deleting the file "CaptureFormatData.mt" from the program's folder.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Subscriber Achievements


Posting this because the new YouTube channels only allow descriptions of up to 1000 characters, I have to say it's quite impressive how fast my channel built up in 2010 despite me only releasing a few videos - lets hope that YouTube's subscriber clean up doesn't remove too many of mine.

SUBSCRIBER ACHIEVEMENTS:
100 - 21/12/09
200 - 20/4/10
300 - 2/6/10
400 - 20/7/10
500 - 27/8/10
600 - Sometime in late 2011 :P
(Dates written: DD/MM/YY)

Oh and talking about looking back I just found the original Lego Movie Maker Films website :)
https://sites.google.com/site/legomoviemakerfilms/ I guess you can use that while I redo the current site :D