Kessler CineDrive is an advanced motion control system which consists of the following:
The kOS software is the application interface to the CineDrive Brain that facilitates interactive setup of repeatable camera movements. For the Phase 1 release, kOS is a Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI) application. Motion control commands and data are sent to the CineDrive Brain from the kOS software via a wired network connection.
The control module of the CineDrive system is the CineDrive Brain. All control commands and data sent by the kOS software are stored and carried out by the CineDrive Brain.
The control electronics for the motors may be housed in separate boxes depending on the motor type. For the slider, zoom, and tilt motors, there are separate control boxes. For the pan/tilt assembly, the control electronics are included with the motors.
The CineDrive system motors vary depending on their intended task. The slider motor is designed to be attached to a slider, and is separate from its motor control box. The pan/tilt assembly includes the motors and control modules. The zoom and focus motors are also separate from their motor control boxes, and are designed to be mounted close to camera lenses.
All components of the CineDrive system are connected via cables. In order for the kOS software to communicate with the CineDrive Brain, they must be connected via a network cable for Phase 1. The CineDrive Brain has three connectors for attaching control cables to motor control boxes. The control cables come in a variety of lengths. Each motor control box has a single plug for connecting drive cables to motors.
Kessler CineDrive system components must be connected with cables to conduct motion control. For the most part, cable connections are keyed, and may be assembled in any order. However there is an important exception to this, so the recommended procedure is as follows:
The motor control boxes communicate to the motors via drive cables. For slider, zoom, and focus motors, the drive cable must be connected to the motor control boxes. The back of a motor control box has four connection ports. The first port on the left is keyed for the drive cable. The next small port is for connecting an intervalometer cable to a camera. The two keyed ports on the right are for connecting control cables to either the CineDrive Brain, or to another motor control box. It’s possible to daisy-chain many motor control boxes by stringing them together with the other available control cable connector.
Each stand alone motor, such as slider, focus, or zoom, has its own drive cable permanently attached. Connect this drive cable to the keyed motor connector on the back of the motor control box. If additional motor control boxes will not be daisy-chained, attach the termination cap to one of the control cable connectors.
The CineDrive Brain interacts with motor control boxes via control cables. The CineDrive Brain has three control connectors to attach multiple motor control boxes. Looking at the back of the CineDrive Brain, the three control cable connectors are on the left. Each connector is independent, and a control cable may be connected to any of the three. The small port to the right of the control connectors is for the power supply. The CineDrive Brain also includes an SD Card slot, a network port, and a USB port. The SD Card slot may be used to manually update firmware. The network connector is for communicating to the host computer via a network cable. The USB port is not used for Phase 1.
To attach a motor control box to the CineDrive Brain, choose one of the three control ports on the Brain and connect a control cable from a motor control box. Note the cables and ports are labeled with arrows to facilitate lining up the cable to the connector.
A standard Category 5 network cable is required to connect a computer to the CineDrive Brain. For Phase 1, a wired network connection is necessary for the kOS software to communicate with the CineDrive Brain. Phase 2 will allow kOS to wirelessly access the Brain, but for Phase 1 a network cable is necessary. Also it is imperative that the network cable is attached to both computer and CineDrive Brain before power up to ensure that the Brain boots up in wired mode. If the Brain does not detect a wired connection, it will boot up in wireless mode and not function with the kOS software at this time.
Once your computer has been connected to the CineDrive Brain via a network cable, you may turn on the Brain by connecting the power cable. The only connection required before power up is the network cable. The control and drive cables may be connected or removed regardless of the CineDrive Brain state.
Once power is applied to the CineDrive Brain, the LEDs will display a random pattern of blinking colors. After a short period, the LEDs will turn solid green followed by four short beeps. A short time later, the LEDs will change from solid green to solid blue. This indicates that the CineDrive Brain has successfully booted up into wired mode. The Brain will then enter into its ready state which is displayed as blue LEDs slowing ramping on and off.
If on power up, after the random LED colors, the Brain displays solid blue LEDs followed by four short beeps, this indicates that you do not have a wired connection and the Brain booted into wireless mode. If this happens, the kOS software will be unable to communicate with the Brain. To remedy this, remove the power cable from the Brain and verify there is a network cable connection. Once the network cable is connected, apply power to the Brain and watch for the solid green LEDs on boot up.
The CineDrive Brain will auto detect the presence of motor control boxes. If none are connected, the Brain LEDs may depart from the ready state (blue LEDs ramping on and off) and display a pattern of four red flashes. This is an error state signaling that the Brain has not detected any motor control boards. This error state is usually trigged by the kOS software searching for active motors. Since the motor control boards and motors are hot swappable, you may connect a control cable, or drive cable, at any time and the Brain will detect their presence.
kOS is the software interface to controlling the CineDrive system. Specifically kOS communicates motion control commands to the CineDrive Brain. kOS is a Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI), which may be downloaded from the CineDrive Update website. To install kOS, double click on the installation file in Windows Explorer, and follow the install instructions. Accept all the defaults.
1) Once the kOS software is installed, a shortcut icon is placed on the Windows desktop. Double click on the kOS shortcut to launch the kOS software.
2) As kOS is loading, it will attempt to locate a CineDrive Brain. If successful the status displayed in the lower left hand corner of the GUI will say ‘Online’. If not successful, the status will be set to ‘Offline’, and will display
“No CineDrive Brain found. Please select SETUP > CINEDRIVE DISCOVERY from the main menu.”
3) kOS does function in ‘Offline’ mode, in that you may calibrate axes, insert key frames, and playback moves. However since we have hardware, let’s get CineDrive going. To bring kOS online, navigate to the Setup menu and select CineDrive Discovery.
If your computer is not connected to the Brain, a message will appear stating, “Discovery failed to find CineDrive Brain”.
4) This means there is no network connection between the CineDrive Brain and your computer, or the CineDrive Brain is powered off. Verify the network cable connection, and ensure CineDrive is powered up and in its ready state, and run Setup->CineDrive Discovery again.
If the kOS software and the CineDrive Brain are properly connected, a message will appear stating; “CineDrive Brain was found! Please press OK to connect!”
5) Pressing the OK button will then connect kOS and the CineDrive Brain, and the kOS status will switch to ‘Online’. Once online, kOS will search for connected motors, and display any discovered motors as axis buttons in the axis button region. For the setup described here, only the slider motor is connected and thus only one button is displayed. As we add more motors to our CineDrive system, they show up as additional axis buttons in the axis button region.
Notice the axis button is labeled as Slider and has a black border. This tells you the Slider button is selected which makes sense because there is only one button to select at this time. Also notice the button is gray, which tells you the axis is not enabled. You may calibrate a disabled axis, but it must be enabled to add key frames and playback moves.
Once kOS has communication with the CineDrive Brain, the next step is to select an axis and calibrate the range of movement. Since the Slider button is the only choice for this setup, we don’t have to select it. However, we do want to enable this axis so we may add key frames and playback moves. To enable the Slider axis, click on the Enable Key Frame check box. Once the axis is enabled, the motor slider background contour will change from ‘gray to black’ to ‘black to red’. Also note the Slider button has changed from gray to red. Enabled axis buttons are always displayed as red, and the currently selected axis button will have a black border.
An axis must be calibrated before key frame positions may be recorded. The calibration process specifies the range of movement by identifying the begin and end positions of the axis. To calibrate an axis, first click on the Reset Axis button to the right of the motor slider to clear any previous calibration parameters.
A warning message appears asking for confirmation. Once the axis has been reset, it’s ready to be calibrated by a two step process. Drag the motor slider handle left or right to set the begin position. Once you’ve positioned the slider at the begin position of the range of motion, click on the Mark Begin button. The LED on the left hand side of the motor slider will change from red to green. Now drag the motor slider handle to set the end position. Once the slider is at the end of the intended range, click on the Mark End button. Successful calibration is signaled by the LED at the right side of the motor slider changing from red to green.
With the selected axis now fully calibrated, it’s time to create a slider move. Moves are created by setting key frame positions in motor and time space. The motor slider determines where in the calibrated range of motor movement the key frame will be placed. The timeline slider dictates where on the timeline a key frame will be recorded. To set a key frame, position the motor slider and timeline slider to the desired positions and click on the Record Key Frame button. A blue dot appears on the graph, indicating the position of the key frame. As each key frame is added to the graph, a Bezier curve is drawn between the adjacent key frame positions. This curve represents the path of the motor movement for the set time duration.
To playback the created move, press the Play button. By default the time duration is set to 1 minute. To set a new duration, adjust the time field parameters. As the motor path is played back, the timeline cursor follows the motor movement on the graph. The playback of the move may be halted at any time with the Stop button. If a play is halted, the timeline cursor indicates where in time the motor movement stopped. To continue playing the motor movement, press the Play button again, and the playback will continue from that point.
Why might I want to alter the shape of the curve between two key frames?
The shape of the curve dictates how the motor will move between adjacent key frames. A straight line between two key frames causes the motor to move at a constant speed. If we prefer to have a motor slowly accelerate out of one key frame and into another, we may dictate the nature of this movement by shaping the curve with the key frame handles. For example, say you want to have the slider come to a stop, and then move the opposite direction. By shaping the curve with key frame handles, you control the rate by which the slider slows down, stops, and moves back the other way. The curve shaping tools provide you the ability to create organic motor movements.
The shape of the curve between adjacent key frames may be modified by activating the key frame menu. Right mouse click on any key frame and the menu appears with options to edit key frame positions and handles. The position options allow one to move key frames around the graph. The handle options facilitate shaping curves between key frames.
To modify the shape of a curve, uncheck the Lock Handles option. Now double click on any key frame and the curve shaping handles appear. Dragging the handles around adjusts the shape of the curve. Notice though that each handle moves independently, and only in a horizontal direction. This is because the handles are neither locked nor cusped.
If we right mouse click again on the key frame and check the Link Handles option, the handles positions will now be linked together. For example, moving the left handle will cause the right handle to move an equal distance on the other side of the key frame. Notice though that the handle movements are still confined to horizontal movements. To allow the handles to move vertically, right mouse click on the key frame and select the Cusp Handles option. Now key frame handles are free to move in either horizontal or vertical directions.
By adjusting key frame positions and curve shapes, it’s possible to create a variety of slider moves. As more motors are added to the system, they appear as buttons in the axis button region. By adding key frame positions to multiple axes, it’s possible to create complex, coordinated moves involving slider, pan, tilt, focus, and zoom motors.