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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

Friday, 2 January 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Moved back...

Hello again... Happy 2015! One of my new year's resolutions is to true and make a few new creative things for the internet.

I've decided to tidy up my online presence a bit too. Despite all the 'hype' about it I've decided to close rockyourboat.cu.cc. An independently hosted website was a bit extravagant considering how little new content I post these days and I have my personal website to tinker with HTML now anyway. So I've moved all the useful content from there to here and for the foreseeable future this will remain the sole updates blog/site for everything Boats Are Rockable.

Also depending how I'm feeling I might enter THAC XII tomorrow or at least voice act anyway. Stay tuned for a 2015, hopefully, jampacked full of new films, music and more...

- 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.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

February Update - 6 months, new high score!

Finally, the long 'greatly' awaited update. It seems that at the rate I'm going at the next update here will be in a years time...

Anyway, news. Well there isn't really that much but:
  • I failed at even completing a THAC 11 entry (let alone on time).
  • I've actually began working on the website again.
  • This blog has a new colour scheme (the new website will match this).
  • The new website will have music I've created as well as videos.
  • I might actually upload something in the summer because after exams I have an extra long summer break.
Well that's all I can think of for now. Hopefully I'll see you before 2015 but if not, Happy Easter, Christmas and New Year!

- CHARLIE

Sunday, 11 August 2013

August Update - I'm running out of excuses!

Unfortunately it has been about 3 and a half months since my last post here! Here's what has changed in that time:

I have reached an amazing... 10 subscribers /sarcasm on my new YouTube channel BoatsAreRockable! Please subscribe to it for ALL future videos. I'd like to see more people migrate over from my old channel Legomoviemaker1 which still has about 500!

I also made a video on my OLD channel telling people of the move to BoatsAreRockable, you can find it in its 41 second glory here: http://youtu.be/stlFX8o3dg8

I have taken a break from project red hat until the last week or so when I suddenly had a burst of inspiration. About a quarter of the script is complete.

I have also recently thought of a few other ideas for short films, which depending on how much time I have during the rest of my summer holiday may or may not be implemented. 

Unfortunately there has been no progress with my website and I am considering simply using this blog in its current form or moving to tumblr.

In addition my family recently purchased a CANON EOS 700D! I am very excited about its potential for general photography, film making and Brickfilming. It is my family's first venture into the DSLR market and as a result there is much for us to learn and it may be a while before I film any Brickfilms using it.

That's is all I can think of for now. Hopefully the next update will be in September along with a new video. Thanks for staying with me despite my inactivity in... well, years!!!

CHARLIE

Edit: Oh and also it turns out as of August 1st Rock Your Boat Productions was one years old, YAY!!!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

April Update - It has been a while

It seems I haven't updated this blog since January! Here is what is currently going on:
  • I've made little progress video wise, I failed to make an Easter 2013 entry due to limited time and Project Red Hat hasn't been worked on.
  • I'm not sure if I want to make Project Red Hat my next film though as it'll be a very large project and I feel I should work on some smaller stuff first I will have to see
  • Currently my website rockyourboat.cu.cc is closed and I've added an about, contact and home pages to my blog as a temporary replacement. I'm completely redesigning the site 'from the ground up' and have so far only finished the home page.
  • I've also re-designed and re-named this update blog. It used to be called: rockyourboatproductions.blogspot.com but now it is boatsarerockable.blogspot.com - this ties in with my new YouTube channel name.
  • Just a quick reminder all new YouTube videos from now on will be uploaded to: BoatsAreRockable
  • If your subscribed to my old YouTube channel legomoviemaker1, expect a video telling you to subscribe to the new channel and probably a YouTube message too pretty soon.
Thank you for your continued support of Rock Your Boat Productions!
CHARLIE

Note: The blog post was written in a bullet point format to save me time. Hopefully as a result your see more blog posts. I will probably interchange between bullet point and normal posts depending on what and how much I have to say.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

January Update - I did a bit

Well I'll keep this short because I really can't be bothered to type that much for this month.

Anyway I did a bit of work on the script for what I am giving the working title to: Project Red Hat. I'm happy with how it is turning out so far but I have absolutely no idea what will happen in certain parts of the film.

I also was lucky enough to be able to purchase a Blue Yeti microphone, which is excellent. However, I have now unfortunately realised how noisy my laptop is due to the microphone on its higher gain settings being better then my own ears at hearing things!

In other news it seems that I have been losing even more subs with my channel currently having 503 subscribers, to be honest though I have lost so many (used to be on 623) that I given up on caring really.

That's all for now, I'm afraid I can't promise that anything more interesting will happen before next time.

CHARLIE

Sunday, 30 December 2012

December Update - Made a video... but it failed

It seems I forgot about doing a November update...  But then nothing much happened other then school.

Soooo this month I have worked on 3 videos!

One is that I have started to get down on paper the ideas 'floating around in my head' which I mentioned in my previous update and I am very excited about this film. I think it will be unique and hopefully by the time start animating I will have worked on my animating skills a bit more. I'll give you one hint to something that goes on in the film: my THAC X entry features a set which will be similar in purpose to the one in by upcoming film. My aim is to release this by the end of 2013 or at least in the beginning of 2014

I also tried to work on a Christmas video with my cousin and we managed to make about 20 seconds of film but were far from completion. And bearing in mind it is already 5 days after Christmas I think I might finish it for next Christmas!

Finally I created a THAC X entry which was unfortunately disqualified. I was sooo close to making it - YouTube just took a long time to upload my video but you can watch it here on YouTube or in the player below, just remember it was made in less then 24 hours. (I spent about 10 overall)