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Improving "live" video quality and clear display option for Powershot A620?

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Hello.

I had posted this on the suggestions page, but thought I should try here in case these requests are possible or already implemented...

"I'm very tempted to try CHDK on my Canon Powershot A620, as I have been using it to practice Stop Motion animation. However, I have a couple of problems with Canon's current firmware (possibly hardware as I am unsure) that hopefully can be fixed using CHDK. I know nothing much about the settings and such of the camera as I'm pretty much a "fiddle-a-bit-then-point-focus-and-shoot" person, so please feel free to kindly educate me on anything I should be aware of. Here goes...

1. When using Stop Motion programs, you need a live video feed so that the program can see what the camera is seeing and capture frames (which some digital cameras can't do, and is why people recommend webcams a lot as they have a live feed). I have been able to do this with the Powershot A620, by connecting its AV cable to a Dazzle capture device. However, it doesn't look that great. Normally, what you would do is use the program as a guide, and capture one frame in the program AND take a shot on the camera itself for a high resolution frame, which would be saved in a folder (hopefully using remote capture) or on a SD card, which you would later compile into an animation. However, since making an animation takes loads of images to produce even a few seconds of movement, whatever inside the camera will wear out pretty quickly (or more than it would with normal "photographer" use). I'd like to know what resolution the live feed on the Powershot A620 is (just in case my program isn't configured to use the best possible) and can it be improved at all? Or is it the same as the video mode? I use Manual mode now and have been switching over to Custom mode now so everything is manually configured. In those modes, there is no resolution setting for the live feed, just for the image you're going to shoot.

2. The program I use for Stop Motion shows what you would be seeing on the camera's LCD screen. It also captures EVERYTHING on that screen. So unfortunately, an icon that appears onscreen for whatever setting gets in the way of a good shot. Is there a way to add an extra option to turn off all icons on the display but still leave it on? Sort of like one button press before turning off the display (the display needs to be on otherwise the program won't see anything). This would make it nice and clear as if you're taking a picture normally through the camera and not wear out internal parts. Also, it would be great if it kept the last settings you used, for example: I'm in custom mode and I toggle the focus to manual focus (I get the MF to show up), configured what I needed, then pressed the display button to get rid of all the icons, capture a frame, pressed the display button again to get back to the display mode with all the icons and still be in manual focus mode (without having to go through macro and other stuff over again).

Finally, an option to always leave the display on would be a bonus (I haven't used CHDK yet, so I don't know if this is implemented or not). Three minutes isn't enough! Sorry if it looks like a lot I've typed, but I wanted it to be as clear as possible if this could be done. Myself, and loads of Stop Motion animators out there would seriously thank you!"


Try checking these two links first, the A620 is supported :-

http://www.breezesys.com/PSRemote/index.htm
http://www.breezesys.com/PSRemote/animation.htm

Hello.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I've already tried PSRemote already (should've mentioned that) and my method of using the Dazzle USB capture card allows me to use the real time preview from the camera plus manually focus and everything. The problem with PSRemote is that it uses Canon's remote capture software as a base (seems that way to me), so all options that would be useful like manual focus are disabled.

That's why I'd like to use CHDK instead to modify the camera's settings themselves instead of an external program trying to work with it. Plus, I'd like to avoid wearing out the camera sooner than I'd like with the TONS of shots I have to make!
« Last Edit: 01 / August / 2009, 11:38:29 by chocochan »

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« Last Edit: 02 / August / 2009, 04:39:32 by chocochan »

I managed to find the topic I was talking about and here's the link:

http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=10&topic_id=2549&mesg_id=2549&listing_type=search

A guy talks about using Powershots further down and says they're still going (but this topic is well old, so they've probably died now), but I bought mine second hand (as I'm poor an' all) and have no way of knowing how many shots were previously taken on it (it was in perfect cosmetic condition with everything boxed, so it may not have been used a lot). In layman's terms, it seems I'm looking for a way to turn my A620 into a super webcam (good resolution live feed, but with all the options of a digital camera and an option to get rid of icons onscreen).



See Ebay item # 140301045137   
I have used one of those on a microscope (I removed the lens and added a C-mount).
It has higher resolution (2MP) than the PAL or NTSC video out of your camera.
You can capture still images in software or with a switch and unlike with Powershots, you can alter the focus.
An onscreen slider changes the position of the Zeiss lens by controlling a precision voice-coil motor.

I also use independent software to control this camera and save movies in uncompressed format.

Hi Microfunguy,

I actually had a good Logitech webcam with a glass lens (not as good as the one you showed me, but I got it brand new and cheaper at the time), but got rid of it due to problems with the software. It was this one:

http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/webcam_communications/webcams/devices/4225&cl=gb,en

It was under a different name at the time (I think Quickcam Communicate Deluxe or something like that). I think I'll just give up on the Powershot A620. I was tempted to get the Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000, but after reading reviews, it's not as amazing as its marketing says it is. To be honest, I just really don't want to spend any more money when I need it for supplies for backgrounds, props and materials for making my puppets for the animations.

I thought I could save money using what I had and making it last longer. I appreciate the responses though. In fact, Microfunguy, I'm very interested in what you did, and would love to know the exact items you purchased (I've heard of C-mounts but have no idea exactly how to use them), and what software you used, and perhaps build a little "specialised" camera of my own.


To be honest, it needs a certain amount of skill to do the conversion.
You remove the lens and actuator, trying not to let dust reach the sensor .. not easy.
You then fit an IR-blocking filter and a 5mm ring that converts CS-mount lenses to C-mount.
I also connected a socket in parallel with the capture switch so an external device can also take snapshots.
The software is Micam.

I also built a computerised rig for creating extended depth-of-field images, I call it 'Infinite Depth'.
It is made from a small milling machine, table legs, wood, aluminium and car body filler !

Images below.




Wow...

That looks great (I don't think I WANT to know what you were looking at, but have to ask. Is it a wasp or something?)! I can understand that it'll be difficult, but I'm really keen to start something since I can sculpt well. In fact I'm already working on special ball and socket joints as we speak. Can I ask, is it easy to control other options like contrast and exposure as well? Please (when you are able), show me where you purchased what you used to build that setup (probably minus the rig). The least I can do is try myself or maybe find someone knowledgeable in camera mods to help me...

 

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