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Davi Silveira

CINETAPE | Want an Affordable Option?

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Cinetape is one of those tools that is very helpful for focus pullers, but it's very expensive. Would anyone be interested in an affordable Cinetape solution? I'm curious to know because I'm developing one that measures FT-in or M-cm, will be using a 5v rechargeable battery, LCD Display, and mounting options. Future upgrades would integrate with your phone via App, Bluetooth, and VR headset. The idea is to also make it as accurate as possible, we all know ultrasonic sensors have their issues but for those who use Cinetape and know of its value I'm curious to know if you'd be interested in a more affordable option that doesn't compromise quality and accuracy?

 

Let me know in the comments below, thanks.

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I think anyone who can bring a product to market for a lower price without sacrificing quality and accuracy will do very well. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some kind of cheaper solution

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I think anyone who can bring a product to market for a lower price without sacrificing quality and accuracy will do very well. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some kind of cheaper solution

 

Adrian,

 

Thanks for the response. That's good to know, gives me some comfort as I pursue forward.

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I think that it is a good idea to bring new products to the market.

 

There is one thing that your product should do and is to show the distance in the Preston / Scorpio / WRC screen as the Cinetape does.

 

Might be a very silly thing to ask for but there are plenty of times where a focus puller doesn't have access to the Cinetape screen and you don't want to rely on your phone to see the distance because that's something that you have to hold too.. while holding the wireless follow focus and pulling focus!

 

Have a good day!

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I think that it is a good idea to bring new products to the market.

 

There is one thing that your product should do and is to show the distance in the Preston / Scorpio / WRC screen as the Cinetape does.

 

Might be a very silly thing to ask for but there are plenty of times where a focus puller doesn't have access to the Cinetape screen and you don't want to rely on your phone to see the distance because that's something that you have to hold too.. while holding the wireless follow focus and pulling focus!

 

Have a good day!

Thanks, I'll definitely take your comments into suggestions as we develop this product. Lots of new ideas and thoughts.

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Just beware, lots of people will say it's a good idea, then not buy one when you've spent months writing code.

 

P

I know what you mean! Can't really trust anything till your chickens hatch. :)

Edited by Davi Silveira

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I've always found the discount options not able to compete with the more expensive professional equipment. There's a reason for the gear that has the price tag. This also reflects poorly on the AC who brings in the 2nd choice items when compared to the AC who has the Preston, Cinetape or Light Ranger. Sad to say that there is judgement.

 

G

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i researched all over for a long time, Cinetape seems to be the perfect system. But i cannot afford it anytime soon. i have my laser distance meter, it has a live mode that helps but of course the laser is visible on camera so i never use it. it would be great to see a new compact and simple yet affordable system.

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Just thought id let you know there is a much cheaper option. It is the redrock micro tape. It is selling for $795usd on bhphoto

 

https://shop.redrockmicro.com/product/microtape-sonar-rangefinder/

 

I own a cinetape and it is flawless and always reliable. Tho it was not cheap.

 

I have worked with the redrock microtape before and it is not as good as a cinetape. But it does the same job, and for the price difference it is worth buying if you cant afford to spend $10,000.

 

The main issues i found with the microremote was that:

the sonar spread was a bit to wide so you would often get unwanted readings from objects you did not want. Even after panning the microremote away from the unwanted objects.

 

Also the readout screen can be hard to see in day light (reflections) and also you cant move it as it is based on the microtape it self

 

But for this being less than a 1/10th of the price you cant go wrong and 90% it will help you out. So just have it in your kit bag for the times you need it.

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Are you still working on this? Have actually been working on something like this too for shits and giggles but would actually like to make it.

How far have you gotten with yours?

 

Mine is basically just reading out the distance atm but might put some time towards it this new year and get it to do a bit more.

That and I am looking to replace the cheap sonar with a decent one, this was just a concept piece I put together.

 

IMG_20160507_103558340.jpg

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Arduino forever!

 

I'm fiddling about with LTC code on those.

 

You know there's reasonably inexpensive time-of-flight optical measuring devices, now?

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Arduino forever!

 

I'm fiddling about with LTC code on those.

 

You know there's reasonably inexpensive time-of-flight optical measuring devices, now?

 

Wanted to look into LTC too for a clapper board project.

Got stuck on this project though and never really advanced from this prototype :/

 

Are the optical ones able to go far though? If I remember correctly they are mostly in the mm range of measuring.

TBH I never really looked at them though so I wouldn't know :p

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One of those Garmin LIDAR modules would be suitable I suspect. $149 US from Sparkfun, 40m range, +/- 25mm at >1000mm. Not pocket money, but not horrendous. Quite a bit of laser power, I'm not sure what the safety concerns are.

 

Decoding LTC is trivial. Generating it is also trivial, but the crystals on most AVR dev boards will not be adequately stable (and some aspects of the Arduino library, such as the timer interrupt that updates millis(), will need to be switched off). Personally I tend to treat Arduinos as AVR dev boards and disable all that stuff. It's relatively easy to replace the crystal with a temperature-compensated module, though be careful about setting the micro's clock source before you make the change. Jam sync is a bit of a pain and requires some lateral thinking and clever use of large integer variables in order to avoid having time-consuming floating point division screwing up your timing. My favourite solution would be to use one of those little Nordic RF radio modems, but that's subject to interference so you'd probably want it to be able to freewheel on loss of signal anyway - which is essentially the same problem as jam sync.

 

Boy, these things get complicated fast.

 

P

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Hmmm lasers are cool but idk about people being in front of it :p

I do like that it is 40m with good accuracy though...

 

Ill leave you with that LTC stuff, way over my hobby level programming xD

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Finally finished the code on this. Well the prototype anyway.

 

Waiting on a couple new sonars to come that are 20ft and 30ft sensitivity.

Have the option to have a wider beam at 20' compared to the 30'. The 30' being near to a laser in terms of target xD

 

Going to work on a housing tonight and find someone with a 3D printer that I can steal xD

 

Made a little video showing off what I got. Sorry for the clicking, trying to talk without waking people up...#HEAVYBREATHING

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New high precision sensor came today.

Managed to get mixed up and only get the 21ft sensor and not the 35ft one. But they are technically the same other than distance they are able to measure and sensitivity to things width ways.

 

Works really well as a sensor though. Great results so far. This is basically all the electronics done, though there will be 2 displays. Pic bellow only shows one hocked up.

Will also add a wireless board in there too when I get some so I can create a remote display to go along with my wireless follow focus kit.

 

IMG_20170107_014036169.jpg

 

 

 

Also worked on a prototype housing. Made it just to hold the components atm but will add some style to it once I know everything fits.

Ordered a 3D printer, should be here Monday, maybe have this printed Wednesday...

 

Render_CAD_Case2a_withcomp_070117.jpg
Render_CAD_Case2a_withcomp_070117_b.jpg
Hole in bottom is for 1/4-20 thread, so perfect for a magic arm to mount it on the camera.
The other 4 are to keep the case together.
Software wise, got the basics down. It measures and displays it on the two displays.
Want to add 3 buttons to the design that will allow you to access a menu to set; datum line offset, display brightness, measuring units (would like metric as well as inches so need this), wireless channel and anything else I can think of adding.
Before I do that, building this prototype and going to use it a bit to check it it works well in the field. It should do...
Edited by Jack OGara

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Great, now charge £5k for it.

 

And soon:

 

 

 

And, edit: you know if you get several of those sensors, you can create a phased array and get better directional resolution.

 

Watch out for sidelobes.

 

P

 

LOL

 

Phased array might be a tad much for a cine tape clone, just saying :p

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Case prototype #2.

Few improvements yet to make. But getting there. Really nice feeling actually printing out something you have been working on for a few weeks and to have it physically in your hands is awesome.

 

Obviously we will be printing in black eventually, transparent blue for now to make it easier to see inside the structure of the design.

And carbon black at that. Not just regular black... :p

 

 

IMG_0113.jpg

IMG_0118.jpg

Edited by Jack OGara

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Requires USB power, I assume?

 

Yes. Though tempted to put a LEMO 2 pin on the back of it and a decent lithium battery in there. But that raises the cost about £50-60 :(

It is why I am using USB Mini though because it is a pretty solid connection. Unlike Micro...

 

Ideally I would spin up a couple of boards and do it professionally. Would make it a lot better. Could then make the LEMO an optional extra as well as the battery.

This would also help with the 3 momentary switches I need to have and possibly a power on/off switch too.

But that is 50+ units. Though I have had 2 pre-orders already so maybe that is an option..?

Edited by Jack OGara

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I would avoid doing large numbers of this sort of thing. You'll just end up with a box of bits and be out of pocket. There are places in China which will do PCBs for not much, with a couple of weeks' turnaround since they're waiting until they have enough enthusiasts to panel up a whole giant industrial-scale PCB manufacturing run.

 

A lot of projects like this end up being a box full of standard dev boards and I don't really see it as a problem as long as the assembly is done to a reasonable standard. The problem with PCBs is sticking the bits on. If you can do it all in through-hole it's fine, and I suspect you probably could if you were willing to ISP program the AVR (though you might want to retain the ability to send out reasonably easy firmware updates and have people flash them over USB). I have some miniature strobes which could be absolutely tiny with custom boards, but even assembling TQFP and BGA packages is a nightmare, and switching power supplies can be a real pain in the neck to lay out as well.

 

That said, I would look into giving it a 12V input, at least. Hirose or lemo would both be fine and shouldn't cost £50, you can buy them in singles for perhaps £15 (less, if you're willing to tolerate knockoffs). You might find you got asked for a lot of different power cables, and you might find you could make more on the cables than you did on the device.

 

You could also do it with 2.1mm coax DC connectors. They're OK so long as you get the ones with the threaded retaining ring, so they don't pull out, but I think if I were going to do that, I'd probably just throw a Hirose on there.

 

There are a million and one little power supply boards available as I'm sure you're aware, many of which would give you a nice convenient wide-ranging input capability. Resist, though, the urge to just connect it across the 5V input. Having 5V coming out of a USB input can be bad.

 

P

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I would avoid doing large numbers of this sort of thing. You'll just end up with a box of bits and be out of pocket. There are places in China which will do PCBs for not much, with a couple of weeks' turnaround since they're waiting until they have enough enthusiasts to panel up a whole giant industrial-scale PCB manufacturing run.

 

A lot of projects like this end up being a box full of standard dev boards and I don't really see it as a problem as long as the assembly is done to a reasonable standard. The problem with PCBs is sticking the bits on. If you can do it all in through-hole it's fine, and I suspect you probably could if you were willing to ISP program the AVR (though you might want to retain the ability to send out reasonably easy firmware updates and have people flash them over USB). I have some miniature strobes which could be absolutely tiny with custom boards, but even assembling TQFP and BGA packages is a nightmare, and switching power supplies can be a real pain in the neck to lay out as well.

 

That said, I would look into giving it a 12V input, at least. Hirose or lemo would both be fine and shouldn't cost £50, you can buy them in singles for perhaps £15 (less, if you're willing to tolerate knockoffs). You might find you got asked for a lot of different power cables, and you might find you could make more on the cables than you did on the device.

 

You could also do it with 2.1mm coax DC connectors. They're OK so long as you get the ones with the threaded retaining ring, so they don't pull out, but I think if I were going to do that, I'd probably just throw a Hirose on there.

 

There are a million and one little power supply boards available as I'm sure you're aware, many of which would give you a nice convenient wide-ranging input capability. Resist, though, the urge to just connect it across the 5V input. Having 5V coming out of a USB input can be bad.

 

P

 

 

I have been pricing up doing a batch of 10 prototype boards from PCBcart and a few other places.

With cut tape components from Mouser it works out to be around £7-10 per unit. Which is pretty good.

 

Looking at only a 15-20 components if I go down the ATMega route, which is what I would want to do as I have developed on that platform.

It also comes in a nice package that is not BGA (though they do offer it). The rest of the components come in sizes that I can pick and place by hand too so doing 10-20 boards by hand is not a lot of work, and can easily be done.

 

Do people actually use those threaded DC barrels? I retro fitted one to my 7" LCD for my shoulder rig and love it but I often see so many products that use DC barrels to not bother.

 

There are a few open source designs out there that I am looking at for the power supply. This is the main reason why I want to spin my own boards really.

Fitting that plus the ATmega board, momentary switches and a decent battery in what I want to be a small package is not easy.

 

 

It all depends on how much interest I see in this. Having a few mates say they want one is different to 20, 30 or 50 people saying they would like one.

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With most DC-to-DC converters it's just a case of implementing the examples in the datasheet, but it helps if you can get one which specifies a PCB layout as they're a bit twitchy.

 

P

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