stacks_image_135717CE-3282-4A6E-A191-8B37011341FB

Great Little Device

  • 8 Hours Battery Life
  • Fits in a Jeans Pocket
  • Color LCD Touchscreen
  • For Canons and more
stacks_image_D0917AC2-6E03-413E-B004-354EA6243B3C

Community Driven

  • Open Source Platform
  • Homebrew Apps
  • DIY Hardware
stacks_image_7890B526-518D-4611-AFDC-64F0516D745B

Advanced Shooting

  • Unlimited AEB
  • Sound Trigger
  • Motion Sensing
  • Timelapse
  • Sun-/Moonrise aware

* It's not a jailbreak in the common sense. Your DSLR and Nintendo DS stay untouched, no firmware is flashed, no warranty seal broken, no irreversable change done. We like our gear and play it safe.



Introduction


Most cameras are designed for a typical user who just takes vacation photos, not the specialized needs of those interested in the process of photography. Hardcore users like us need more than the final picture spit out as four-by-six snapshots to be emailed to family and friends.

Highslide JS
Rick from EdenFX uses Open Camera Control to turbocharge his Mark 5D II on set.

How does the Open Camera Controller compare?
In the time since we created the OCC, there have been many attempts to add new camera abilities with hacks or attachments, each with advantages and drawbacks. We have tried them all.

CHDK, for example, is a firmware mod for Canon cameras that adds many new features, but only to a limited selection of consumer-grade camera models. Promote Control adds HDR bracketing and time-lapse abilities, but is again limited to certain cameras, and has a few limitations that would be impossible for end users to modify because it is not programmable. There’s an OnOne iPhone application that controls Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras, which hopefully will gain options like mirror lockup in future revisions, but the camera must be tethered to a laptop, and the WIFI connection is a bit tricky to configure. That leaves computer-tethered options such as DSLR Remote Pro, which is pre-configured to do certain types of shooting, and not programmable by the photographer.

Hopefully all of these limitations might be overcome by future releases, and with any luck the developers are paying attention to what’s going on here and listening to our needs.

It’s our hope that someday many cameras will contain a user-programmable computer operating system. With such an option, one could add the ability to control the camera in situations that the manufacturer hasn’t preconceived.

Until then, we present the OCC.


The DS Open Camera Control Project


The OCC project arose from our need to shoot HDR images for film production using Canon cameras. Canon has stubbornly chosen to stick to its standard 3-shot method for bracketing shots - one metered shot and two additional shots one or two stops above and below the metered shot. For texture shooting, it is sometimes necessary to shoot 5,7,9 or even 11 or more stops of bracketing around the metered exposure. We’ve since found that the OCC system can work with other brands like Olympus and Sigma cameras.

Highslide JS
Like any other system the OCC has limitations, but we’ve found ways to overcome them, and more importantly it has forced us to become more aware of how our cameras work and made us better photographers.

There are two main components to this system. The first is a hardware system for which we specified some desired functionality: It needed to be user programmable, have an eight hour battery life, and fit in a jeans pocket. We were tired of lugging a laptop up ladders or into the narrow spiderweb of walkways above a soundstage. It was always our plan to build our own system using a programmable microcontroller and LCD system (which is what Promote eventually ended up creating), but a more flexible method occurred to us.

We were working on Night at The Museum 2, doing what most movie-set jobs entail... sitting around and waiting... when we decided to play a round of Nintendo DS Mario Karts via wireless. Amidst the banana-slinging mayhem it came to us that this simple and reasonably inexpensive game device fit the bill perfectly! Plus it was designed to withstand being abused by kids, so it is nearly indestructable. We had two steps ahead of us: write the software, and figure out a method to interface to the camera.

Many have asked why we didn’t choose to use the USB port and why we didn’t make it for an iPhone or Pocket PC, or whatever else they happened to own. The simple answer is that at the time, such devices didn’t have a USB host controller chip, (now chips like the Vinculum make it feasible to add), and we didn’t wish to go the OnOne route and hook a PC to the camera. K.I.S.S. was the rule of the day. The fact is, our method works, and even functions with cameras like my favorite, the E-P1, for which none of the other methods do the job. It’s a flexible enough design that we’ve built versions to control multiple cameras simultaneously. The system has been successfully used in the production of visual effects for Twilight 2, 2012, Sucker Punch, and Paul.


Next: Build your own Interface Cable