Pro HD Headcam Quick Start Guide

Brian Genna -

 

 headcam.jpg

 

What’s in the Headcam package:

  • Camera Head on bar mount with integrated lights
  • 3mm (wide) and 4mm (normal) lenses
  • 6 camera mounting bars
  • 3 Helmets with pads
  • Camera belt with battery plate and light switch
  • Tool bag for adjustments
  • Batteries and charger
  • Accessories
  • BNC cables
  • Optional Accessories
  • Teradek Bolt wireless video kit
  • Production Monitors
  • AJA Ki Pro

 

 

Headcam Quickstart Guide

  1. Size the helmet to the actor: The helmets come in three sizes. Try on the different helmets to find an appropriate size. Supplement with the different sized padding to achieve a snug but not too tight fight. You will find actor’s heads come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes you will have to get creative in pad fitting by using combinations of thin and thick padding in the front, top, and back of the helmet. When done, take the helmet off the actor. Markers can now be applied to the helmet if using in conjunction with an optical mocap system.

  2. Choose a bar and lens combo: The 4mm lens is for use with the longer bar sets, the 3mm lens if for use with the shorter bar sets. 4mm gives a more “normal” field of view to the video, while the 3mm lens allow you to work with a shorter, less obtrusive boom arm. The single arms give a open feel for the actor while the hoop is for utmost rigidity. Once chosen, screw the lens into the camera head almost all the way, leaving the mini Philips securing bolt on the side of the lens mount loose. They can be tightened later when we focus the camera. Attach the camera head mount to the bar using the 2.5mm hex driver in the tool bag. If using a single arm, the bolts can be loosened and the mount will slide on the end of the bar. If attaching to the hoop, the clamp piece separates to do so. Wrap the cables down the side of the bar and to the back of the helmet. Loosen the block on the helmet ball joint and slide the bar into the brass fittings, then retighten the bar. Now attach the 2’ BNC extension to the black BNC spare plug for HD-SDI or the yellow BNC plug for SD composite video. Then attach the 4 pin mini XLR power extension to the 4 pin mini XLR power lead coming from the bundle with the video outputs. Then do the same with the 4 pin mini XLR power extension to the 4 pin mini XLR power lead coming from the lights. Then dress the cabling through a hook and loop patch on the back to keep the cables running down the back of the actor. Black reusable zipties will also help wrangle the cables, especially at the bundle point.

  3. Prep the camera belt: Attach a charged battery to the battery plate. Attach the light switch to the longer free power lead (M 4 pin mini XLR) coming from the battery plate. If the wireless transmitter is being used, secure the unit to the belt by placing the two ¼-20 thumb screws through the two eyelets from the back of the belt, then through the two holes in the transmitter and securing it all in place with the ¼-20 thumb nuts. Attach the 2 pin lemo power connector from the power plate to the transmitter and turn the power switch on. Adjust the belt to the size of the actor and clip around their waist, preferably with the bulk around the actors lower back. Slipping out one loop in the belt slide make adjustment much easier. We recommend the light switch on the actor’s left side and the battery on the center back. If applicable, position the battery and cabling in a manner that precludes from accidental mocap marker occlusion.

  4. Place the helmet back on the actor and connect the camera power to the short 4 pin mini xlr free lead and the 4 pin mini xlr light cable to the switch. If you get them mixed up, the light cable has an inline circuit board near the plug. If using the wireless system, plug the BNC into the SDI in input on the transmitter. Note the transmitter only works with the HD-SDI output from the camera. If applicable, dress the slack in cables in an “S” pattern on the actors back and secure with Velcro strips, leaving enough slack at the top for full head movement.

  5. Now time to frame and focus: Take the actor to a monitor and plug in a BNC cable with barrel adapter to the loose 3’ BNC cable coming down from the helmet to an HD monitor with HD-SDI in. If wireless is being used, turn on the power of the receiver that is plugged into a monitor. Wait a moment for the picture to come up. The goal is to get the camera directly in front of the actor’s nose, just under an eyeline. Let the actor know you will be turning on the lights, then do so. Loosen the camera block on the helmet ball joint again and adjust. The camera mount can also be trucked along the bar laterally using the 2.5mm hex driver. You may need to adjust the swing and rotation on the camera block as well as truck the camera mount left to right. Once the camera is squared in front of the actor, tighten all points down. Next, focus can be adjusted by physically twisting the lens in its housing. Try to focus on the inner edge of the actors eyes. The lens can be locked down by tightening the mini Philips screws on the lens mount.

  6. Adjust the exposure and color: If your staging area has different lighting than your shooting stage, this may be better to do where you will actually be shooting. Turn the light switch on. Find the control joystick on the back of the helmet by the video and power breakouts. Click the joystick in to pull up the menu. Adjust the setting to suit your volume, just make sure to set the minimum shutter speed to 1/60, but we recommend FLK (1/120). You want exposure to be just under where the highlights start to blow out. A video scope can also be used. Turn BLC on if it is not already. Ask the actor to look around at this time, you will notice any harsh lighting that may affect the capture. At this time you can either readjust the shutter speed setting or even better, look to diffuse any harsh lighting on the stage area. Once satisfied, adjust the color by placing a white card or sheet of paper in front of the camera in the final lighting and setting the white balance by selecting AWC -> SET until the image looks neutral.

  7. If using the optional wireless video system, Teradek had made them very easy to use. Power the receiver using the AC adapter. With the Headcam and Bolt transmitter powered on, the two units should join within 10 seconds. If there is a problem, cycle the power and check your connections. If using multiple units, wait 60 seconds between powering on the transmitters. If the receivers are spaced apart, up to 4 units can be used in the same space.

  8. The Headcam is now ready for recording. Feed the HD-SDI signal either hardwired or using the wireless system into a recording device, such as the AJA Ki Pro, or a Blackmagic recorder.

  9. While you can plug the headcam directly into a monitor for viewing the image, it is best to connect a monitor to your recording device to view exactly what is being recorded.

 

For more detailed information, including training videos and a knowledge base with much more about all aspects for facial and performance capture, please go to http://facewaretech.com/learn/

 

 

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