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Andrew Reid

EXCLUSIVE: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K gets Time of Flight Autofocus with Prototype add-on

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1 hour ago, BTM_Pix said:
2 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

It would have meant Autofokus on all cameras even with vintage lenses.

I wouldn't rule that out with this one just yet...

@BTM_Pix any chance that the Tilta Nucleus M could be supported directly (so it would be camera agnostic)?

Thanks!

Mark

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I would second figuring out how to hijack the wireless protocol of Tilta’s Nucleus line of motors... wireless LiDAR focus of manual lenses has been implemented on high end equipment already, but down in the Tilta price bracket, there’s nothing. Bonus is, Tilta has quality small and large motors on the same protocol, so two birds with one stone.

Autofocus 2X anamorphic anyone? My variable diopter wants this quite badly.

Regardless, get it out there, and I’ll pick up the AF lens version as I have both a P4K and a GH5S that would definitely benefit.

I would imagine that setting tracking points would be very welcome... perhaps first defining the sensor size and focal length (for angle of view), and then having a movable focus box?

It might also be useful to be able to define an offset value, say, in the instance a big long lens is obstructing the view of the LiDAR, and it needs to be mounted further forward on the rig.

We have 4K, RAW is spreading like wildfire, Dual ISO sensors are becoming more common, all new cameras have pretty good dynamic range. Even wireless monitors are way down thanks to SmallHD and Teradek. 

Good, naturalistic video AF is really the last bastion of untamed camera tech. Canon has undeniably proven that it is technologically possible, but it hasn’t really permeated the rest of the market in a timely fashion... and while there are benefits to this with AF lenses, as Canon has proved, the benefit of a focus motor is that it universally implements the same automatic focus system on any theoretical camera, past or future, and the owner can know the piece of gear well and work with it reliably, potentially over several years of body and lens upgrades.

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51 minutes ago, mercer said:

Gotcha, but aren’t certain lenses faster to focus? For instance, I’ve heard that the Panny 20mm is supposed to be a great lens with sluggish AF, does that affect your system? If so, does the slower (af) lenses have more of a slow focus puller feel to them?

And finally, can you control the zoom with in/out points? Could I set up a Jaws/Vertigo shot with it? If so, would I need a power zoom lens?

Because there is no hunting involved by the lens and its told to go directly to a specific position without passing go or collecting £200 then any speed differences that there may be are far less apparent if visible at all.

Yes it could target the zoom operation equally as it could focus but I don't know how familiar you are with MFT powered zooms but the bumpy violence with which they move to positions would make your shot look like a shark attack shot from Jaws rather than the beach scene with Brody.

2 hours ago, SR said:

You're doing God's work.

He needs to contribute a bit more then as I'm currently doing all the graft while he's clearly sloping off every afternoon to play golf or get a pedicure.

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48 minutes ago, majoraxis said:

@BTM_Pix any chance that the Tilta Nucleus M could be supported directly (so it would be camera agnostic)?

Thanks!

Mark

Yes to camera agnostic and a not sure to supporting Tilta as that might be shifting the agnostic issue from the cameras to the motors if you get what I mean?

Analysing and replicating one protocol is one issue but then it will automatically lead to "can you also support these other brands" and also puts me at the mercy of changes in their protocol that could then lead to our system not working and so on.

Truth be told, if I'm going to put that much graft into something then it would be better directed at producing my own motors as I could control and enhance both sides of the puzzle then.

However.....as a stop gap if everyone assumes the risk? Maybe .

But I would only endorse it for existing owners and couldn't in clear conscience get anyone to go out and buy them specifically.

I hope that makes sense ?

24 minutes ago, Caleb Genheimer said:

I would second figuring out how to hijack the wireless protocol of Tilta’s Nucleus line of motors... wireless LiDAR focus of manual lenses has been implemented on high end equipment already, but down in the Tilta price bracket, there’s nothing. Bonus is, Tilta has quality small and large motors on the same protocol, so two birds with one stone.

As above ;)

25 minutes ago, Caleb Genheimer said:

I would imagine that setting tracking points would be very welcome... perhaps first defining the sensor size and focal length (for angle of view), and then having a movable focus box?

It might also be useful to be able to define an offset value, say, in the instance a big long lens is obstructing the view of the LiDAR, and it needs to be mounted further forward on the rig.

The LiDAR is one (albeit flashy ;)) part of a more comprehensive focus system that you can see it attached to in the pictures and Andrew will be doing a different piece about that.

It has numerous tricks involving stored focus points, snap transitions between them, variable speed automatic transitions and a lock mode which emulates hard stops to enable a fully manual transition between them.

All of these coexist together so you can use the LiDAR to lock a point, store it, move manually to anothet point, store that and transition between them in auto or manually controlled ways.

With regard to placement, there is a calibration procedure which  maps distance to focus position that is relative to the placement of the LiDAR so whilst you would normally mount it on top of the camera, you can put it on the end of the lens or even on a wall behind you and the offset is automatically calculated.

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@BTM_Pix being genius again. I think that there must be a voodoo doll of him in Panasonic's engineering headquarters: "First this sucker made us to release Cinelike-D for the GX9, now will put pressure on us in the GH6's focus system". Watch for subtle localize pains, like needle stings. :)

In fact I'm amazed the the focus protocol in BLE could be so precise - using wi-fi in the Panasonic cameras, the focus ajustments always loooked very crude (or the Blackmagic's impementation have finer tuning?).

Two doubts:

- It will work as a single point AF system, no? How do you know where is the focus point, always center? (in this case, how you calibrate it to be exactly in the center of the frame?)
- I remember the case of a camera that had it sensor burned by a LiDAR sensor in a autonomous car prototype (the LiDAR - at least the car one - uses lasers beams, which trashed the sensor). The LiDAR that you are using could have this problem, or the unit is not powerful enough to burn a camera sensor? 
(If you don't know, I think that you could test it against a camera. Please invite Northrup and his Nikons for the test :))

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1 hour ago, BTM_Pix said:

With regard to placement, there is a calibration procedure which  maps distance to focus position that is relative to the placement of the LiDAR so whilst you would normally mount it on top of the camera, you can put it on the end of the lens or even on a wall behind you and the offset is automatically calculated.

...This was all I was suggesting. Sounds like you’ve fleshed things out quite a bit further than I initially assumed. Count me 100% in. Pocket 4K about to be unstoppable with this add-on. It’s ridiculous in the best possible way.

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2 hours ago, Nathan Gabriel said:

I don't own a bmpcc 4k, but I would definitely contribute to this Kickstarter (1) in hopes that the tech eventually makes it's way over to Panasonic cameras and (2) even if it doesn't, I'd love to just say thanks for the gx85 cinelikeD hack.

Thats very kind of you to say.

24 minutes ago, Márcio Kabke Pinheiro said:

@BTM_Pix being genius again. I think that there must be a voodoo doll of him in Panasonic's engineering headquarters: "First this sucker made us to release Cinelike-D for the GX9, now will put pressure on us in the GH6's focus system". Watch for subtle localize pains, like needle stings. :)
 

:)

I tell you what, considering that rumour of them doing a ToF AF system came out the very day after I teased the first video of mine, I unplugged my Amazon Alexa pretty sharpish!

27 minutes ago, Márcio Kabke Pinheiro said:

Two doubts:

- It will work as a single point AF system, no? How do you know where is the focus point, always center? (in this case, how you calibrate it to be exactly in the center of the frame?)
- I remember the case of a camera that had it sensor burned by a LiDAR sensor in a autonomous car prototype (the LiDAR - at least the car one - uses lasers beams, which trashed the sensor). The LiDAR that you are using could have this problem, or the unit is not powerful enough to burn a camera sensor? 
(If you don't know, I think that you could test it against a camera. Please invite Northrup and his Nikons for the test :))

What you are seeing now (and I stress now) is single point, nearest object you point it at and continuous.  I keep droning on about it being part of a more comprehensive focus system but the rest of it does provide more context in terms of an overall solution and how the operational modes dovetail.

Again, this is the jumping off point and what it does NOW isn't the end of what it will do when its production ready.

When I'm back from this trip, I will do something about the overall controller (the wheeled thing with the wires hanging out of it) that will flesh this out a bit more.

With regard to the emitter, it won't cause any issue to anyone's sensor. 

It will blind a human of course but your camera will be fine ;)

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Mr. Pix ; ) don't you have yet any estimated input on these both availability date and price ones?

 

BTW, do you know what LiDAR means in my native Portuguese? "To handle" is not literal but stands as closer meaning. Funny and proper denomination to say little about the choice : ) I am thinking to buy a 2nd 2018 Pocket unit ; ) only 'cause this your product now. You can ask your commission from Grant Petty! ; -)

You've always been one of my favs over here and you well know it : ) I deserve my discounted price LOL You and good oldie Odin are my daily entertainers to say the least, so that one comes from my own pocket : D

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51 minutes ago, Doug said:

Amazing. Will it work with Canon lenses through the Metabones speed booster?

Through the smart one, yes.

10 minutes ago, Emanuel said:

Mr. Pix ; ) don't you have any estimated input on these both availability date and price ones?

You've always been one of my favs over here and you well know it : ) I deserve my discounted price LOL You and good oldie Odin are my daily entertainers to say the least! : -)

Its a tricky question as there are a couple of factors that can influence it quite a lot depending on some choices I make design wise.

It will be price appropriate to the price of the cameras it is designed for is about all I can say for now.

No one likes AF enough to pay more than the cost of their camera to improve it!

 

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Curious how accurate LiDAR is at long distances. In other words, is this only usable indoors or can it work outdoors over long distances with telephoto lenses?

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Olympus EM1 MK2 with the latest firmware is now phase detect C-AF autofocus and for my purposes behaves on par with Canon Dual pixel autofocus .

Haven't read much about this but from my experience I'm now using the Olympus far more and my GH5 is gathering dust.

ToF autofocus appears to have a very mechanical focus pull with hard stops whilst the Olympus has a more human like focus pull.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_tPoo_n8qo

https://vimeo.com/345557918

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