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 and is still the only US based motion control company to do it!
In May 2022 eMotimo spectrum ST4.3 was the first 7 axis Dragonframe Real Time controller to use Tilta Nucleus M Motors.
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. Its functionality and usage are well documented in their online references.
- Update 10/25/2022 - eMotimo ST4 or ST4.3 with firmware RC008_22. If you are on the ST4, you may also use RC007_58_SP2. 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.
- Experiment with USB to Micro USB cable - Grab a quality one as there are so many that were included with devices that are for charging only. Those will not work!!
1 - UPDATE:
Update your spectrum with RC008_22
2 - CABLES AND ST4 CONNECTION:
Option 1 - If you are using the USB to I/O port cable for spectrum ST4 - Supported https://emotimo.com/products/usb-to-i-o-port-cable-for-spectrum-st4.
- Power on the spectrum, go to Settings, and scroll down unitl you see 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 may 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 (port furthest away from the screen). Ensure the cable is fully seated. Watch out - Don't connect to the camera port (port closer to the screen).
Power cycle the spectrum. Leave on the main menu screen.
Option 2 - If you are using a Micro USB Cable from your computer to the ST4 or ST4.3
- Acquire a good cable but don't plug it into the spectrum's USB port yet - you always need to power the spectrum before plugging in the USB!!. There are so many cables that are out there that can't support data transfer and were included only to charge devices. Look for a cable that has a description of High Speed 2.0 USB A Male to Micro USB
- Power up your Spectrum with either an approved 12v/24v power supply battery or a known good battery. Once the Spectrum has booted up normally, you can now connect your micro-USB cable to both your computer and your Spectrum
- Navigate to your “Settings” tab
- Navigate down to “USBPort: Off” (Page 5 of 7). Toggle that menu option to “USBPort: Dragonframe4.1+" If you have your I/O port set to Dragonframe, it will automatically change it to Ext. Trigger to avoid any issues with the ST4 not knowing where to look for communications.
- Your computer should now recognize your Spectrum.
- REMOVE YOUR USB CABLE FROM THE ST4 BEFORE REMOVING POWER
3 - DRAGONFRAME CONNECTION
- 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.
- Once selected, click the CONNECT button. Within 3 seconds it should say connected and turn green. The Status should read: Connected to eMotimo ST4 (8.22.00) these numbers will vary with firmwares.
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 descriptive files attached to this article and called:
- Spectrum ST4 with Dana Dolly and Fz_061422.arcx
- Spectrum ST4 with Dana Dolly and TurnTable_061422.arc
- Spectrum ST4 with Dana Dolly and TurnTable and Tilta_061422.arcx
- Spectrum ST4 with iFootage14to1 XXX.arcx
- Spectrum ST4 with iFootage Direct Drive XXX.arcx
- Spectrum ST4 with MYT Slider XXX.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 Dragonframe Axis Files.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!
Notes for using Tilta Motors with Dragonframe
Tilta motors are different than our other motors. They receive values from 0-9999 which is the relative position between their programmed stops. In other words, Tilta motors have 10,000 positions between stops to move the motor for your particular Focus, Zoom, or iris's stops.
- Set your limits on Tilta Motors before programming through Dragonframe. If hard stops are good enough, use auto-calibrate for the motors.
- If you want to limit below that, use the hand controller and Tilta Documentation to set your limits
- Once limits are set for the lens, you can program from Dragonframe.
- Watch your motor numbers! Makes a difference on which axis is controller what!
- If you calibrate your lens differently on subsequent shoots, your positions will be different.
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.