Author Topic: Camera Train!  (Read 959 times)

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nscaler711

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Camera Train!
« on: January 09, 2019, 12:29:09 AM »
+1
So I ran across a thread on a Japanese modeling forum about a camera inside of a locomotive, similar to what @peteski did some 10 years ago.
I believe there was a thread on it as well, not sure where it is though...
anyway was curious as to what some of you all have to say or if you would modify it for NA equipment.
https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10429157

I know in Japan they use these systems to act like a engineer on their layouts. even have controllers that are similarly set up like the prototype.
https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10429178
https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10360986

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peteski

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2019, 12:39:41 AM »
+1
That is a great news, and answer to @Maletrain  's prayers (going by his post https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=43912.msg562849#msg562849 ).

The camera system I use is described in couple of posts in https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=43912.0 .
It transmits analog signal and the receiver's output is composite video. The Tomix version (looking at the automatic translation) is WiFi based and needs a smart phone/tablet app to view the video.  The price seems quite reasonable too.  What is nice is that the camera part is also very small (looks to be even smaller than the one I use).  I think it will be a big hit with the smart phone crowd.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 12:45:30 AM by peteski »
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C855B

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2019, 01:27:54 AM »
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I guess it's progress in that it is a nice RTR integration, but there's a big caveat. After a little searching, I found "VGA resolution" in the feature list, which means 640x480. Slightly better than NTSC (analog) at 320 lines, but it's still going to be a big low-res blur on anything bigger than a smartphone. My objective remains putting the cab view on a big screen. 1080p or bust! :D
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peteski

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2019, 01:52:23 AM »
0
I guess it's progress in that it is a nice RTR integration, but there's a big caveat. After a little searching, I found "VGA resolution" in the feature list, which means 640x480. Slightly better than NTSC (analog) at 320 lines, but it's still going to be a big low-res blur on anything bigger than a smartphone. My objective remains putting the cab view on a big screen. 1080p or bust! :D

That is the same resolution mine has. To me I rather have a low-res live video than no live video at all.  If you want HD, there are plenty of tiny and cheap camera/recorders you can plop down on a flat car and get a nice HD video of your layout from engineer's perspective.
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Maletrain

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 10:31:21 AM »
0
That demo video already has some funky looking details visible at VGA resolution.

So, maybe really high resolution (4K !?) shouldn't really be my objective, since my modeling might not look so good at that level of detail?

nickelplate759

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2019, 06:32:14 PM »
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A challenge with higher resolution is transmission bandwidth.  Small high-res cameras are in many phones now, but streaming a 4K image over WiFi isn't going to happen unless there is some serious compression in use - that's doable (and commonly done), but requires software and a processor, not just a camera and a radio.   With compression, you would need somewhere between 30Mb/s and 50 Mb/s.    It might be easier, but far less fun, to store the video to an on-board flash memory card.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 06:46:36 PM by nickelplate759 »
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Santa Fe Guy

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 07:44:52 PM »
0
Several years back I purchased a REPLAY XD 1080 mini video camera to fit to a flat car to take video of my SFRSD.
It is full HD and has a micro SD card. You cannot view whilst running, however the video once downloaded is quite good.
If you want to see the quality I have a few videos using it on my Blog and You tube.
I can edit the video in my Director Zone software also which helps.
I attached it to one of my N Scale flat cars using a small piece of Blue Tac and similarly on a friends SN3 flat car.
Not as cheap as some however the quality is super.
Rod.
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peteski

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 09:02:55 PM »
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Yes, like I mentioned, there are plenty of options for non-live HD-quality video, but very few for live.
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svedblen

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2019, 06:21:09 AM »
0
Yes, like I mentioned, there are plenty of options for non-live HD-quality video, but very few for live.

I'm not saying you are wrong, but how come? Or rather, what is "live" in this sense. When I watch e.g. Netflix or HBO through my Internet connection, local Wi-Fi-network and a Chromecast dongle attached to my TV, would that count as live in this sense or not? Or is the problem rather that in this case we are at the other end of the video chain, i.e. we are on the recording side and not the viewing side. Interested in understanding and learning.
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nickelplate759

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2019, 09:18:53 AM »
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Comcast, Netflix, et al use a LOT of compression in their video streams, even at "HD" resolution.   Even with that, they use "lossy" compression (especially Comcast) so that the picture quality is significantly degraded - (ever see a cable TV picture get blocky?  That's an extreme example).   The algorithms to do this require a lot of compute power, most of which is on the compression side (so at the camera end of your video stream)   - so would need to be onboard the train.    Also, those streams are heavily buffered - there can be several seconds of buffering delay in extreme cases.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 11:50:40 AM by nickelplate759 »
George

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I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

peteski

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2019, 03:25:05 PM »
+1
I'm not saying you are wrong, but how come? Or rather, what is "live" in this sense.

Live is in real-time.  It is fun being able to drive your train on the layout from "engineer's seat" during a "live" ops sessions.  It is quite different from the standard way of running model trains by hovering over them with the throttle in hand.  Totally different perspective.

It is also huge magnet for model train show attendees.  When I run my camera-equipped train around out NTRAK layout and have a 15" computer monitor facing the public it attracts many attendees.  They try to find where the camera is, and when they find it, they are in awe of how someone was not only able to install a camera in a tiny N scale model, but also make it pretty much hidden. The spectator's experience would not be anywhere as fascinating if I just showed a loop  of a pre-recorded video of the layout.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 06:00:33 PM by peteski »
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2019, 04:25:57 PM »
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The biggest problem with camera trains is that they show us many more flaws in our modeling.

peteski

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2019, 04:56:42 PM »
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The biggest problem with camera trains is that they show us many more flaws in our modeling.

Problem?  It is a good incentive to improve out modeling.  Just like macro-photography.   :)
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nscalbitz

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2019, 05:20:01 PM »
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... drive your train on the layout from "engineer's seat" ... Totally different perspective.

Nice Gallery.

d
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peteski

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Re: Camera Train!
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2019, 06:08:29 PM »
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Nice Gallery.

d


Thanks D!  I have some videos of a friend's layout taken with this type of a camera posted on Youtube. Look for "peteski7777".  Yes, the video is poor quality compared to the digital HD video we have today, but again it was taken from live view.  There were probably better quality of small video recorders available back then, but this was not about high quality - it was simply me having some fun.  It was not a big video production. I just ran the camera train around the layout and whipped out a quick video.
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