In 2019 eMotimo's spectrum ST4 was officially approved to be the first 3rd Party Motion Controller to natively support real-time motion. This is great news and a good feather in our cap!
The purpose of this article is to give a brief overview of how to get started with using Dragonframe and the eMotimo spectrum ST4 using the real-time interface. Dragonframe (http://www.dragonframe.com) is a powerful stopframe animation package. It can also be used for timelapse and programming very complex keyframed moves. Now it can also be used for programming and playing real-time moves. Be sure to check out this demonstration video:
This article is not meant to be a general how-to on using Dragonframe. It's functionality and usage is well documented in their online references.
- Update 4/15/2021 - eMotimo ST4 with the Firmware RC007_58_SP2. While many firmwares do connect, please only use RC007_58_SP2 when connecting to Dragonframe as this version has our latest bug fixes. Download from our firmware page where you can find instructions on how to update your ST4.
- Dragonframe 4.1 or newer - https://www.dragonframe.
- USB to I/O port cable for spectrum ST4 -https://emotimo.com/products/usb-to-i-o-port-cable-for-spectrum-st4 WARNING: DO NOT buy random cables from amazon, ebay, etc. These typically aren't configured correctly to work and may cause damage to your Spectrum.
- Update your spectrum with ST4_RC007_58 or ST4_RC007_58SP1
- Power on spectrum, go to Settings, scroll down to the third page. For I/O Port: choose Dragonframe V2 and CLICK X or the Center button to lock it in (unhighlight it) This setting will be maintained after power cycle so you only need to do this again if you change it or upgrade your firmware.
- Connect your USB Cable
- Mac users: Insert the USB cable to your computer and allow any automatic drivers installation to continue. For most modern Macs, FTDI drivers are already installed and trying to install these drivers again can cause issues. If you are having trouble seeing the cable in the drop down connection menu (next steps), make sure you are running on AC power, and restart the machine with the cable installed. You are looking for FT232 USB UART - XXXXX (cu.usbserial.xxxxxxx) or something similar.
- Windows Users: you need additional drivers.
- The necessary FTDI drivers can easily be installed from Dragonframe. In Dragonframe, select Help --> Install FTDI drivers.
- Once you install the drivers, you will need to restart your computer before continuing.
- Connect the other end of the cable to the i/o port of the spectrum. Ensure the cable is fully seated. Watch out - Don't connect to the camera port!
- Power cycle the spectrum. Leave on the main menu screen.
- Start up Dragonframe and create a new scene.
- In DF, go to Scene --> Click the Add Connection button. Under Device, select eMotimo spectrum ST4, then select ArcMoco #1. Watch out, don't just select eMotimo here as that it the old protocol that doesn't support real-time moves and it just won't work! Under location, select the serial port of the cable you just added. This cable will be named differently and may change if you install on a different USB port. If there are multiple connections you may have to try each to understand which one is connected to your spectrum. **Watch out, don't just select eMotimo here as that it the old way that doesn't support real-time moves.
- Once selected, click the connect button. Within 3 seconds it should say connected and turn green. The Status should read: Connected to eMotimo ST4 (7.58.00) these numbers will vary.
Close out of this window by clicking OK.
- Your spectrum's screen will change to one that looks similar to this:
- In Dragonframe, from the top menu, select Window --> ARC MOTION CONTROL
- Import your axis Settings – for convenience, we have created an ST4 Pan/Tilt/Dana Dolly Slide/Focus. This are several files attached to this article and called:
- Spectrum ST4 with Dana Dolly.arcx
- Spectrum ST4 with iFootage14to1.arcx
- Spectrum ST4 with iFootage Direct Drive.arcx
- Spectrum ST4 with MYT Slider.arcx
The main reason for these files is to get the steps/deg/inch working correctly and the correct channels assigned. Download your combination to a convenient location.
- Optional - If you download All eMotimo Axis Files XXXX.zip you will find these files and individual axis Preset files that you can load individually. Reference "Adding an Axis" in Dragonframe documentation for more info!
- Import the Arc Axis Setup by hitting the menu icon
and then selecting Import-->Arc Axis Setup (arcx)
- Select and import the recently downloaded ARCX file Spectrum ST4 with XXXXXX.arcx. When correctly imported your ARC MOTION CONTROL window will look similar to this.
- Make sure you are connected and then use the Jog buttons (white arrows) to move the head around and ensure connectivity.
- Build a move and play!
Known Behavior :
- GoMotion not supported
- Backlash compensation setting are sensitive to direction and sign. Results in issues with jogging through keyframes – use of these is not recommended. This is more of a configuration thing than an issue with setup or software.
- The PS4 gaming remote, when connected, slows or stops jogging through DF (controls are battling). We don't recommend having the PS4 Dualshock remote connected.