Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera Remote Control

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David Osborne

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  • Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:47 pm
  • Real Name: David Osborne

Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera Remote Control

PostMon Feb 19, 2018 9:54 pm

I am interested in the BMMCC, particularly for use in conjunction with a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer like the ZHIYUN CRANE 2. I need to control some of the camera's basic functions while it's on the gimbal though (and not always within arm's reach) and I understand that this is possible through the expansion port on the side of the camera. However, I am having trouble finding readily available products for remote control which can connect to this port.

I see that there is a breakout cable, with a bouquet of different wires and connections coming out of it. Nothing is stopping me from creating a self-made, custom solution except the fact that I don't have a soldering iron, raw electrical materials or much experience when it comes to manufacturing electrical components. I have considered using an RC remote, like for a remote control airplane, and connecting the receiver leads to the corresponding blackmagic breakout cables. So, rather than the remote transmitter telling servos on a model plane to move they will go to the BMMCC, which I'll program to interpret and apply these signals to camera functions. This seems doable, even for me. I wonder though, are there any other viable options? A simpler kit or device? I am picturing the entire bouquet of breakout wires zip-tied to an accessory cage with receivers, antennas and who knows what else hanging off of it (possibly a battery and transmitter for the NTSC signal from the breakout cable to a wireless monitor receiver).

I have seen a few GoFundMe and similar type projects that seem to be along the lines of what I need, but nothing polished, ready and available. Unless I've missed anything?

One of the coolest things about the ZHIYUN CRANE 2 is that it has integrated camera controls on the handle of the gimbal (like Start/Stop, focus, aperture) and it can be paired through Bluetooth to a controller or smart phone app to control the entire kit-and-kaboodle remotely, awesome! But the control cable that runs between the gimbal and camera only has connection options for Sony (micro USB) and Panasonic (2.5mm minijack). If only there was some way to have a connection adapter for Blackmagic, that would be perfect. Like an adapter that could connect to the expansion port of the BMMCC, then the camera menu could be programmed to understand it.

I would still need a wireless transmitter for the video signal, or a long HDMI cable, but I would have a camera and gimbal system that is (almost) fully remote controllable; where it's pointed, the aperture, focus, start/stop, maybe even white balance and a few other functions. Any thoughts, ideas or solutions are welcome and well-appreciated. Perhaps one of these days when I have more time, I'll buy a soldering iron and see if I can come up with a great custom tool.

P.S. I already wrote this, my inaugural post on this forum, but the site logged me out because I took such a long time composing and proofreading it. So when I pushed "Submit" the site said, "you need to log in" and this applet erased everything I had written, nice guys. In any case, please forgive the lack of zeal and detail in this iteration of the post. If anything needs clarification please feel free to let me know.
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Stu Aitken

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Re: Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera Remote Control

PostWed Feb 21, 2018 7:40 pm

the issue isn't just the HW connector - its also the communication protocol that is used to 'talk' to the camera from the gimbal controller

I suspect the crane might be implementing the more modern proprietary protocols that are available for remote controlling 'prosumer' orientated sony and panasonic cameras specifically rather than a more 'universal' protocol like LANC (which is supported by the BMMCC breakout port)

I could be wrong on this - I dunno if you can email Ziyhan and ask them about it? but suspect that even if you could get the right cable/connector you might be out of luck
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Stu Aitken

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Re: Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera Remote Control

PostWed Feb 21, 2018 7:49 pm

there are available options you can look at that do not use the cranes native control HW though, but instead implement the 'DIY route' you describe

I have done some work on the software side in terms of using an arduino style microprocessor to do the relevant comms using SBUS (PWM is also an option) and you can even use a simple switch to short the connections for certain functions (eg rec run/stop) which is by far the easiest route, but limited in what you can actually control - eg see this video:



The harder thing is the HW side though - building a basic box with buttons is easy enough (and several people sell these) but making something more ergonomic like a more conventional camera grip is a lot more challenging - several of us here are looking at this but only one person even has a working prototype yet - if you search the forum for BMMCC remotes you should fund the relevant posts

try a search for "one little goat" for an example of the simpler boxes currently available to buy
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Denny Smith

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Re: Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera Remote Control

PostWed Feb 21, 2018 8:53 pm

Phil has his One Little Goat that has. Bluetooth remote application for phones (IOS and Android) that allows wireless remote control. See http://onelittlegoat.com
I have a new in the box Ver 3 available if you are interested, send a PM.
Cheers
Denny Smith
SHA Productions

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