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DIY Video Assist for ACL

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My buddy JP just put together a $40 video assist for his ACL. I posted links to the gear and photos here: http://eclair16.com/eclair-acl/accessories/diy-video-assist-for-eclair-acl/ I haven't seen it in person but he tells me the image quality is definitely usable.

 

Pretty cool thing to do, but quite bulky eh. There was a guy in Canada who recently sold a really nice ACL kit who had made a video tap with that idea, but I think it was a small camera. I lost the reference.

 

I have an AZ Spectrum B&W unit that I could only test recently as I didn't have a monitor. I ended up buying a Transvideo 5" monitor recently so I could test it. The image wasn't very bright, but it may be the monitor. Unfortunately testing an NTSC-only monitore down here in Neuvel Zealandia is less easy. Maybe I'll try borrowing a decent monitor and report back.

 

I asked Andrew at AZ Spectrum what monitor I should use and he basically said anything. But I'm wondering what people use. These systems are needed for basic framing, so the image needs high brightness and contrast.

 

For those wanting to build their own system there have been some used video taps sold cheap on eBay recently that one could adapt.

 

Cheers,

Gregg

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Yea if there was a camera without the base unit like that one it would be ideal. I'm sure there's tons of little mini cameras out there that would work.

 

For monitor I personally have a SmallHD DP6 monitor. Before that I had a fairly industry-standard Marshall LCD. Neither is really cheap, but they look pretty good. I know that more affordable Ikan monitors are popular with DSLR shooters and as long as it has a composite input it should work. Even with the marshal and small HD focus assist (red outline lines around edges) I still wouldn't rely on the monitor for focus, but it does look plenty good for the director to see what shot you're getting.

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Some ingenious folk have been experimenting with iphones etc to make video taps for super 8 cameras.

http://www.cinematography.com/index.php?showtopic=59709&hl=

 

I tried a quick experiment with an ipod on a Kinoptik finder on an ACL. I needs a clamp to grip the ring that holds the rubber eye cup and a clamp to hold the ipod. This clamp/mount system needs some flexibility somewhere so that nothing is brocken when bumped.

 

Could be a great solution for hand held shooting where you can't have your eye on the viewfinfer.

 

Cheers.

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My buddy JP just put together a $40 video assist for his ACL. I posted links to the gear and photos here: http://eclair16.com/eclair-acl/accessories/diy-video-assist-for-eclair-acl/ I haven't seen it in person but he tells me the image quality is definitely usable.

 

 

Pretty cool thing to do, but quite bulky eh. There was a guy in Canada who recently sold a really nice ACL kit who had made a video tap with that idea, but I think it was a small camera. I lost the reference.

 

I have an AZ Spectrum B&W unit that I could only test recently as I didn't have a monitor. I ended up buying a Transvideo 5" monitor recently so I could test it. The image wasn't very bright, but it may be the monitor. Unfortunately testing an NTSC-only monitore down here in Neuvel Zealandia is less easy. Maybe I'll try borrowing a decent monitor and report back.

 

I asked Andrew at AZ Spectrum what monitor I should use and he basically said anything. But I'm wondering what people use. These systems are needed for basic framing, so the image needs high brightness and contrast.

 

For those wanting to build their own system there have been some used video taps sold cheap on eBay recently that one could adapt.

 

Cheers,

Gregg

 

I know I am waking an old thread but some years have passed and technology has gotten more advanced.

 

Me and my operator have been talking about a solution to be used on steadicam, for him to be able to work properly. We have shot endlessly on the SRs and the 416, but now since I am starting my own kit, we are trying to solve this ourselves.

 

A Spectrum video asists is out of the question because of cost. But the solution with a microscope camera is an idea I think might work.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Mustcam-Microscope-10x-220x-magnification-supported/dp/B00T5UBJHO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1462166836&sr=8-3&keywords=microscope+camera+hdmi

 

This microscop camera has HDMI straight out, as well as runs on 5V. So we are thinking of a solution that runs the actual video tap through V-mount battery, and then connect the microscope directly to our monitor. Thankfully we also have access to a 3d-printer through our school, so I will try to make a sort of adapter to attach the camera to the eyepiece as simple as possible. The beauty of this setup is that with a good monitor and a terradek this can be used for video village as well.

 

Best solution however would be having something that attaches to the acutal viewfinder, splitting the image so operator can use it when he shooting normally as well. But I think this is step 1.

 

Best regards

 

Carl

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Hey Carl,

Does this mean you chose an ACL?

 

Hopefully you have some service history, a tech lined up, and are prepared to treat it with no less dignity than an interesting old car, with maintenance requirements.

Just to help with perspective on the cost of taps/ vid assist, I sold a couple of AZ Spectrum ACL video assists over the last year or two for 4-500 USD. Supply and demand sets the price. It is highish I know.

 

If you are using the tap for framing whilesteadicam or hand held or boom operation, then I think the microscope/industial cam/Ipod ideas are the way to go. You ideally need a high brightness monitor if outside. The SD monitors coming on the market from the Steadicam guys etc are cheap.

 

You don't need to have a video (village) tent if you are shooting film on a rootsy level, even if your operator is eye off the finder. In the old days the director/DP might be crouched behind the lens axis, visualizing the frame by instinct and sheer acuity of perception.

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Hey Carl,

Does this mean you chose an ACL?

 

Hopefully you have some service history, a tech lined up, and are prepared to treat it with no less dignity than an interesting old car, with maintenance requirements.

Just to help with perspective on the cost of taps/ vid assist, I sold a couple of AZ Spectrum ACL video assists over the last year or two for 4-500 USD. Supply and demand sets the price. It is highish I know.

 

If you are using the tap for framing whilesteadicam or hand held or boom operation, then I think the microscope/industial cam/Ipod ideas are the way to go. You ideally need a high brightness monitor if outside. The SD monitors coming on the market from the Steadicam guys etc are cheap.

 

You don't need to have a video (village) tent if you are shooting film on a rootsy level, even if your operator is eye off the finder. In the old days the director/DP might be crouched behind the lens axis, visualizing the frame by instinct and sheer acuity of perception.

 

 

Hi Gregg,

 

Yeah, the ACL is on the way to me now. Luckily I managed to get it sent to Mr Bosher before, so it will be in pristine condition as it arrives here.

 

Well, 4-500 is a good price, but when I spoke straight to Spectrum they said it was a 3 thousand dollar job because have to take the camera apart completly. I would love a video tap, but A, I want someone that I trust to take it apart, and B, I don't have 3000

 

Monitor isn't the problem really, I have great equipment that I use with the Alexa/Sony F5 now, and that is actually what makes this a little interesting. The videotap would be in HD. I wish there was a way to have split on the videwfinder though so I don't have to reattach the camera every time we do steadicam. But that is a small time wast that I can deal with.

 

I know I don't need it. But selling film to our producers and directors at school is hard enough as it is. Telling them the shot looks amazing without showing is going to be a tough cookie...

 

C

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Update:

So I have found this microscope camera that can run of a 12v. It also comes with a HDMI built in.

Link:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MV53HMU/ref=s9_wsim_gw_g328_i1_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=desktop-1&pf_rd_r=6HAC28RV4BNQ8TXFSE3V&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=6aad23bd-3035-4a40-b691-0eefb1a18396&pf_rd_i=desktop

Now thic makes it even possible to use an EVF with the ACL and by doing so, having a monitor coming out or that.

But question is this, is it as simple as “just” making an attachment for the camera to fit in the videwfinder groves, or do I need some typ of prism to make the image correct?

//C

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Carl, if you go this route, attaching a micro camera to the viewfinder....what about just taking off the rubber eyecup, and fixing the micro camera to the finder in the same way that the eye cup did?. Not so hard. Find a workshop guy who will help.

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Carl, if you go this route, attaching a micro camera to the viewfinder....what about just taking off the rubber eyecup, and fixing the micro camera to the finder in the same way that the eye cup did?. Not so hard. Find a workshop guy who will help.

I am considering this right now, I will scout for parts in february to see what I can do.

 

C

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Heikki,

Sent a picture to your email. They are a bit expensive new. They do come up very occasionally on ebay. You could ask on the forum is anyone has for sale.

 

Color vs B&W is not that important for the basic function. Color may give a slightly better separation between objects. But this tool is only really designed to allow or show the framing. If you are outside you need a bright, high contrast monitor. Some old pre digital ones can come up cheap. Transvideo Rainbow Superbright. There was a guy from the steadicam forum selling one of those with a scratched screen fo $80 a couple of years ago.

 

Again, I think these tools are for framing only, like for a steadicam or a wierd shot where you can't have your eye on the finder like a jib arm etc. Given that, one could just put a small digital camera on the viewfinder, go the DIY route.

 

It's worth noting that not all ACL S16 viewing systems are set up the same, meaning they may not be interchangeable after being set up for the AZ Spectrum tap. Setting the VF up for the tap may need a good technician. I would choose someone who had done it before.

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Carl, if you're still around let us know how it went. I always look for updates on your Eclair adventures.

Samuel, well the issue was really money.

 

I have the microscope camera, and I have figured out a way to feed it through (the right distance in the viewfinder).

 

The real issues I have now is a nut that would let me screw on the camera onto the viewfinder mount. The step after that would be converting the ACL to XLR, so I could run both the camera, and the video tap off the XLR on my steadicam op's sled.

 

But yet again, money is the issue.

 

If anyone would like to help me figure out the nut, I am all ears to a solution, and then continue from there on. Because I would love to be able to shoot some smooth moves with this camera.

 

C

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Not the long-term solution, but have you thought of having a nut modeled in 3D and having it 3D printed? There's some guys on the forum who have done things like this for gears on old Canon movie cameras etc.

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Carl, do you mean to take the VF off and mount the tap directly to the threaded VF mount..?

Which VF do you have?

 

If you make a drawing of the whole thing you need to mount the tap to the threaded VF mount, but maybe aren't sure of the thread specs, show the drawing and the VF mount on the camera to a precision machine shop. Ask the price and while there, ask what the thread specs are. If you know that, and you go DIY, you may be able to find a cheap threaded fitting that you could make the lock ring from..

 

Is your camera an ACL I or II...? What is the power socket on your ACL now, XLR4 or 4 pin Jaeger? I assumed ACL I with a 4 pin Jaeger and you want to power from XLR 4 pin. I think the common power cable for both ACL I and II has a male 4 pin Jaeger at one end and a female 4 pin Canon XLR at the other. My ACL I batteries had 4 pin XLR and my ACL II batteries have 4 pin Jaeger. So can't you just find cables that will work rather than swapping out the socket on the camera. Finding space to mount the 4 pin Canon on an ACL I looks trickey.

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Carl, do you mean to take the VF off and mount the tap directly to the threaded VF mount..?

Which VF do you have?

 

If you make a drawing of the whole thing you need to mount the tap to the threaded VF mount, but maybe aren't sure of the thread specs, show the drawing and the VF mount on the camera to a precision machine shop. Ask the price and while there, ask what the thread specs are. If you know that, and you go DIY, you may be able to find a cheap threaded fitting that you could make the lock ring from..

 

Is your camera an ACL I or II...? What is the power socket on your ACL now, XLR4 or 4 pin Jaeger? I assumed ACL I with a 4 pin Jaeger and you want to power from XLR 4 pin. I think the common power cable for both ACL I and II has a male 4 pin Jaeger at one end and a female 4 pin Canon XLR at the other. My ACL I batteries had 4 pin XLR and my ACL II batteries have 4 pin Jaeger. So can't you just find cables that will work rather than swapping out the socket on the camera. Finding space to mount the 4 pin Canon on an ACL I looks trickey.

 

Yeah, while not taking apart the camera, and still making it very agile, replacing the viewfinder is the easiest. Also will let me switch between steadicam and sticks quicker. In the long run I rather make it into some sort of a periscope. But making the design work first is step one.

 

Gregg, we have been over this before :)

 

I sadly do not know of any machine-shops in the bay area that can help. I have reached out to a few metal shops, but most have come back empty handed. 3D printing is a temporary idea, but at least in the pre-finished phase it might work. For the first test session I even taped the camera with an adapter.

 

Mine is the odd 1.5

 

So basically the ACL 1, with the stronger motor. I spoken to Bernie over at Super16 and he said there is more than enough space to mount a XLR, and he has done it a bunch of times. If I get the help from well, maybe someone here who could figure out what nut I need, then I could continue this to the next step.

 

I currently have the Ang Dove prism VF.

 

according to: https://erkanumut.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/eclair-acl/

 

C

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OK, so one, or both of us, may be being a little repetitive... :)

 

Any engineer who is good with smaller parts on a lathe could cut the thread and make a lock ring for you. Asked nicely, they might tell you what the thread diameter and pitch are, so you could try to find a ready made part that just needs a little work. I'm not sure why it's hard finding the people you need in San Fran. Here, Auckland (pop 1.377M) there are many precision engineers and my gues hundreds of good lathe guys.

 

If you know the tread spec on the VF mount you might find something like a cheap end cap at the supply shop for gass or pneumatics fittings. Just needs a hole in it. No thread to cut. If you need to find out the thread specs you coud try measuring the diameter and the thread pitch on your VF mount. Borrow a digital vernier, measure the diameter, this will show slightly less than the nominal diameter. For the threads, say you have 4 threads, measure, over 4 threads, from tip to tip then divide by four.

 

Common metric thread sizes for various diameters you can find online...If one matches, maybe it will work.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_metric_screw_thread

Or you could take your VF mount and just see what fits.

Another idea to source a lock ring, which will come with the "washer" that the lock ring clamps, would be to find a basket case VF.....Ask all the techs, just for those parts.

Samual's idea of the emachineshop is quite good if they are afordable, and they are in NJ...not China...

 

If you are having someone make something, drawings specifying exactly what it is are really needed. The likes of the emachineshop will need a 3d drawing (model).

 

Re the power connector issues..
Do ACL I.5 have a deeper base than ACL I..? ACL I is tight, I open a base and thought it a bit tight. If you don't need to swap out the connector, why do it. Just solve the problem with the connectors. You have a male 4 pin Jager on your camera. What is on the other end of the cable. If it's a female XLR4 and your supply box on the steadicam is a female XLR4, then you just need a male to male XLR4.

Jaeger 4 pins are fidly with the soldering and fitting if you are green (I was, but did OK), but reasonably skilled electronics guys should have no trouble. Canon XLR4 is pretty easy, even a rough hobyist can do it...

 

The only legitimate reason I can think of to swap ot the ACL I power connector from Jaeger to XLR is because the XLR is much tougher in service.

Last thought. Does your University have a machine shop? Our art school had a well equiped machine shop, and the University we were part of had a machine shop also. I had just left, but got access to machine parts for a dolly and build it etc, and building a matte box with some aluminum castings, I got the university machine shop to drill and tap some holes for free. I had no workshop then...

 

Apologies for any inadverdent repetition.... :)

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Interesting, worth looking into.

 

But first I might just have some of my friend 3d print something that might work.

 

 

So, where are we at with that?

 

Do you have a working video assist?

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So, where are we at with that?

 

Do you have a working video assist?

I have a working microscope camera that runs of 12v plug (could probably be adapted to run of something else). I know the distance I need to mount it to the viewfinder (first idea was to have a steadicam viewfinder, and one normal one). But I have no machine tools at my house to do the leg work...

 

C

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I have a working microscope camera that runs of 12v plug (could probably be adapted to run of something else). I know the distance I need to mount it to the viewfinder (first idea was to have a steadicam viewfinder, and one normal one). But I have no machine tools at my house to do the leg work...

 

C

 

What focal length lens is on that camera? What distance do you need to mount it to the viewfinder?

Is this something you'll screw into the viewfinder hole, replacing it?

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