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Leicina 8 Crystal Sync Update


aapo lettinen
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11 hours ago, Friedemann Wachsmuth said:

Sorry, Aapo, but if extra speeds mean extra costs, I think your approach is somehow fundamentally wrong.
You didn't like my Timer-ISR suggestion for (almost) arbitrary reference clock speeds derived from one crystal. Your Atmega or Attiny has multiple of these timers built in already.

If you don't like that approach, you could also take a Si5351 which generates up to eight frequencies of your choice between 2kHz and 200 MHz at once. 

Don't get me wrong, I just want to help you to keep the BOM low. Supporting more speeds should nowadays not bump the cost anymore. 

that is a brilliant post! made so that it is impossible to comment anything to it without making me look bad :)  

anyway, the main problem is that you don't fully read my posts (I noticed it very early on other threads) and thus some of your comments are based on wrong assumptions of what I am trying to do. This Leicina project is only one example of that: it is all based on the ctc use of the atmega timers (the "timer-isr approach" you are talking about). the extra costs I talked about were about the circuit board being so small (there is no space inside the camera for a bigger board or multiple boards) that it is not possible to manufacture it by myself if there is any extra functionality (I like to do the boards by myself if they are singles to reduce starting costs and for getting them much quicker (from 6hrs to one day for a diy board compared to one week for local manufacturing or one month if ordered from cheapest places abroad). but if you start to compress the design down enough it is quickly getting way too complicated to make them diy. too many small vias and so on. I am able to do very finely detailed boards by myself but anything which needs very precise drilling is complicated to do without cnc machinery) and there is more work and starting costs when ordering the boards from outside company ( I have to get them made locally because of the Covid-19 situation messing up the transport routes from China to Europe. About two thirds of the stuff I have ordered from China has not arrived at all so it is not an option to order anything from there now) 

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I just tested how nicely the Leicina works on a small handheld gimbal. I will want to use them for my own stuff even if the commercial system would never happen. Maybe that would even be the best approach: using the new camera system only by yourself and letting others nitpick about insignifiant stuff :)   arguing about stuff which does not matter is what the internet forums are made for anyway :)

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Sorry, I had no intention to let you look bad!

I apologise for how I articulated my post. At no times I wanted to be rude or let you look bad. 

I did not know that you intend to etch these boards on your own. I probably did not read that part. I do that with prototypes too, but usually not for production versions — dual layer edging DIY is hard, and JLCPCB takes $2 for 5 small 2-layer boards, so I usually go the china route. Just so you know, my last two JLCPCB orders (in COVID times) made it without problems to here (Germany, via DHL Express), while some Aliexpress orders are indeed still waiting. So I hear you on the board complexity 🙂

I guess that's also why you are not considering SMT over THT to keep the size to a minimum?

 

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19 minutes ago, Friedemann Wachsmuth said:

I did not know that you intend to etch these boards on your own. I probably did not read that part. I do that with prototypes too, but usually not for production versions — dual layer edging DIY is hard, and JLCPCB takes $2 for 5 small 2-layer boards, so I usually go the china route. Just so you know, my last two JLCPCB orders (in COVID times) made it without problems to here (Germany, via DHL Express), while some Aliexpress orders are indeed still waiting. So I hear you on the board complexity 🙂

I guess that's also why you are not considering SMT over THT to keep the size to a minimum?

 

 I am actually using all SMD parts whenever I can to avoid drilling and because they are much smaller (and there is better availability of smd parts than THT and they are much cheaper and generally easier to handle). I am using cad for designing the boards anyway so it is possible to make them production compatible if needed  but it is not practical to order one or two pieces of them at a time especially if one needs to wait long for them to arrive.

One can make single sided boards pretty easily at home in couple of hours so it is much easier to make prototypes and single devices that way. The exception is if the design needs to be very small so that you can't use single sided board and have to do lots of precise drilling to add vias so that the tracks can be routed from the back side instead of going around the components like the 1-sided design does. Probably it could be done with one of those cheap-o CNC engraving systems meant for home use but there is still the electroplating problem ( OR one would need to make "manual vias" by using copper wire and manually solder it to make the connection from the front side to the back side on every via. One can do that for one or two or three vias but for 40 or 50 or 100 it is getting ridiculous) . Way too much unnecessary work. 

So there is a gap between what is practical to do by yourself and what is practical to order from outside. with the current amount of interest towards the project it is not possible to make a "sample batch" of factory made boards. But I am getting used to the idea that I just need to make one camera for my own use and then I can shoot whatever I want even if no one wants to purchase these cameras in the end. If it is for my own use it doesn't need to look pretty or be super compact as long as it works correctly :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am going to build a two-speed version for my own use soon ( 16fps and 24fps) and we can then check again if anyone is interested in these cameras :)  

Posting sync sound footage out of the camera is not a practical way to determine how it is working. One really sees the functionality of the crystal sync system only by using correct measuring equipment and by comparing the reference crystal signal against the motor speed sensor signal when the camera is running in various conditions. The thing is,  I am measuring 1/10th frame differences in speed stability and one can't really see them in the final footage because, well, they are fractions of a frame, not full frame differences. That is why I like to post breadboard tests with the oscilloscope shown instead of making some random film tests which really would not show any difference. To me, eyeballing the sound sync from camera footage is pretty pointless and only wastes time and money but if I am making this type of test at some point then it is of course possible to see the end results :)

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10 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

I am going to build a two-speed version for my own use soon ( 16fps and 24fps) and we can then check again if anyone is interested in these cameras 🙂  

I started to design the two speed version for my own use. Very simple system which is a minimum parts design and uses all smd parts to avoid drilling. It has a simple jumper to select between 16 and 24fps and the auto exposure compensates for the speed change. 

I will post images sometime later when building the new prototype. Will need to test the circuit design with breadboards first to fine tune it 🙂

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  • 4 months later...

when optimising the design it was practical to streamline the design in various ways. it enabled adding more speeds at the same time so why not. I haven't built the prototype boards yet to test how the new speed will work with the actual camera but I think it will have the following specs or very close to these. 

- selectable speeds:  12fps, 16fps, 23.976fps, 24fps, 25fps, 29.98fps 

- automatic exposure which compensates for the different frame rates. 

- probably powered by a 9V battery. 

- availability TBA but I will first make a prototype for my own use which uses external circuit boards and then we can start to discuss if anyone would be interested in ordering the final version. If no one is interested in it, then I am more than happy to use the prototype one for my own documentary projects even if it is the only Leicina 2x8 in the World which has Crystal Sync 😄

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  • 1 year later...

PROJECT CANCELLED.  I can't afford to use any more of my own money and time on this project so I have to abandon making the Leicina crystal sync update a commercial product even when I have most of the plans complete and the circuit board design etc. finished, just ready to order the first circuit boards from the factory.  It is a shame that I already collected lots of camera bodies and accessories for this project but maybe I can sell the lenses and throw the spare parts and camera bodies away to make room for other projects. 

The issue with this project was that the community seemingly wants ME to promote the whole Double8 film format with expensive film tests and 4k scans before anyone would want to purchase even a single crystal camera. Needing to promote a whole film format is way too expensive and I simply cannot afford it so it is much cheaper to even throw eight cameras to garbage bin than to try to get one of them sold.   It is surreal but what can you do....   I will concentrate on 16mm and 35mm cameras for now and will probably abandon all 8mm projects altogether

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  • 1 month later...

I think I will re-evaluate the Leicina project in August or September if it is still financially possible to do or not. I don't want to throw working camera bodies away so I will probably do some kind of arts installation out of them if it does not seem viable to convert them to crystal sync and having no other use for them 😄    

At the moment I am mostly working on external box crystal sync controller designs which are more practical for me to manufacture and which are more standardized so that I can share developing costs between different designs, enabling me to design these systems in the first place.

I cut the funding from all the built-into-the-camera systems for now including this Leicina project and will only resume working on it if the external box designs will be successful enough to get enough resources from them to continue with the Leicina. Have to, in a way, prove that it makes any financial sense to design these systems in the first place because the numbers don't look good at the moment (investing over 5000 euros and getting 600 euros back so far) and have to focus on stuff which has even the slightest change of getting my own money back from the projects.

But will resume on the Leicina project in August or September to see if it makes any sense to continue it or not 🙂

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Nobody has asked you to promote Double Eight.

We Europeans often misunderstand the American lifestyle or misinterprete something about it. Talking about possibilities is one big freedom that lives in the U. S. and if someone asks questions, it doesn’t mean the money to pay for and the will to take it are there. A lot of wannabedom but not mean

I have published an article about the Leicina 8 S in German. There was no reaction as to that the market would have dried out of Leicinae, maybe prices rose a little. I think a Leicina with a crystal controlled motor is a product for the knowing, not for people talking of music or skateboard videos. Kodak fell into the trap of youngsters on skates or bicycles with an ugly designed plastic body Super-8 camera that will never come. So far we haven’t seen a film from the camera that makes intensive use of the new synch sound feature. I mean, after Ektasound wasn’t a big breakthrough when Super-8 was en vogue.

The Leicina 8 S does not have any focusing screen, the image is aerial. Perhaps the addition of a ground glass should also be studied.

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  • 2 months later...

As a compromise solution I decided to keep my Leicina8 camera bodies in storage in case I will later need them for arts projects like underwater use etc. where cheap and small camera bodies are practical. When using them like that, I will probably just quickly adjust some of my existing simple speed regulation boards to work with them and just tape the boards on the camera for temporary single time use. I will demonstrate this sometime later this year to get some kind of conclusion for the project.

It would be possible to custom make Leicina 8 crystal sync controllers if someone would need one sometime later. The camera needs to have electrical iris control which makes the modification more time consuming and challenging, costing probably something like 1000 euros or so. Not very ideal for irregular amateur use but for shooting special scenes for movies, making music videos or similar use it should work pretty well.

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It is a good call as you would have never made your money back. As nice the s8 is, I get the interest in the format but, realistically speaking, hardly anyone uses the format for anything professional - except maybe wedding videos etc. The cameras aren't quite enough for a proper sound shooting so I don't think there is much sense in spending resources and time on a format that is an amateur format.. The cameras are too unpredictable in terms of liability. S8 would be too distracting for a narrative film. Also, think about shooting dialogue sequences in a narrative projcet with a camera that you have to load every 2 and a half minutes - it'd be a nightmare and would be in the way of the performances. Imagine, people complain about noise with their digital cameras where it is squeaky clean... s8, people would be focusing on the format it was shot on rather than the story. We live in a world, where the consumerism is out of control. People questioning, whether the original Alexas are worth it in 2022 etc... the same camera that shot masterpieces is not good enough for people's camera tests and their little short films etc.. Films nowadays concern themselves with the resolution, gimmicks or homage first then the story... for example the movie, Jacob's Ladder, it has that textured softer look that wouldn't be accepted today. Imagine watching the same film with the current ultra sharp and clean however many K cameras, it would not feel the same way. The sharpness and resolution is very much an obsession now. Rather than talking about the feel and look of a film, the first discussion is ok so we're shooting 6k on whatever camera. Not everything has to be sharp and clean but hey 2022 huh... My point is that under the current climate, there is no way s8 cameras will be selling all that much. Shooting a roll here and there crowd will not spend anything more than 3-400 and that's even high. I get the flaws and all but it's not cute when you have to spend the same money as shooting s16. These are my personal opinions of course.

Edited by Giray Izcan
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  • 6 months later...
On 7/3/2020 at 9:43 AM, Simon Wyss said:

https://www.filmvorfuehrer.de/topic/31948-die-leicina-ist-60/

First publication of my article, a translation is being prepared.

It’s going to be the ONLY automatic camera with crystal control to the motor for Double-Eight film. A Paillard-Bolex H-8-4 with the ESM offers crystal speed accuracy, too, but is way bigger, heavier, and more expensive.

The Leicina 8 S has a low optical axis, a straight-pull claw, a ground glass can easily be added to the finder for critical focusing, and the built in 15 mm lens is very good.

Hey Simon,

 

Is there an English version ? I just got a Leicina Super.

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