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FPS1000HD High Speed Camera

Published June 26th, 2021.

The FPS1000HD camera used by Kaizer Power Electronics

History

The original camera FPS1000 was announced on Kickstarter by Graham Rowan and got funded on October 7, 2014. I ordered my camera through the pre-order backerkit.com site in December 2014. In April 2015 upgrades were announced and I opted in for the Platinum double model, which had more RAM and higher resolution (64GB RAM and 1280 x 720 @1,000 fps) than the original kickstarter model. The upgrades was handled through a separate kickstarter campaign called the FPS1000HD and has to my knowledge been the only batch of delivered cameras. In March 18, 2016 then first production cameras was ready to be shipped. In September 2016, where people are commenting on missing deliveries, Graham suddenly announces a new company name, a new kickstarter campaign for a 4K camera and all kinds of promises about upgrades from original campaign to the new 4K campaign. Doubts about delivery starts to circulate and Graham admits that he has lost a lot of money on sensors of low quality. On January 9, 2018 announces that the delivery of FPS1000 cameras is stopped and he will only focus on the new FPS4000 campaign, he does however promise that he will refund FPS1000 backers, once he have earned enough money from the FPS4000 production.

The last anyone have heard from Graham Rowan was ironically on April 1, 2019 in a comment on the kickstarter campaign.

Screenshot from kickstarter campaign comments

His websites are not available anymore, https://www.slomocamco.com and http://theslowmotioncameracompany.com/ are now closed down.  His company was closed down in November 2019: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/3437770

The Twitter account: https://twitter.com/slomocamco?lang=en and Instagram account that was last updated in May 2018 with FPS4000 films: https://www.instagram.com/slomocamco/?hl=en

With the company being closed down and declared bankrupt, there is no hope of every seeing more cameras or software upgrades to the cameras that made it to their owners. I have tried to get in contact with Graham asking for a public release of the design or software, so that it could get developed in a public domain, but I have not received a single reply from many tries.

Features and specifications

Actual specifications for the FPS1000HD, that is possible with the released software and firmware

  • 1280 x 720 @ 1,000fps 
  • 1280 x 360 @ 2,000fps 
  • 1280 x 180 @ 4,000fps 
  • 1280 x 60   @ 8,000fps
  • 640 x 360 @ 4,000fps 
  • 640 x 180 @ 8,000fps 
  • 640 x 120 @ 10,000fps 
  • 640 x 60   @ 20,000fps

The original FPS1000 specifications and upgrade options

The FPS1000 Platinum / FPS1000HD specifications and upgrade options

The original FPS4000 specifications and upgrade options

Workflows

Preparing the FPS1000HD for best performance and low noise

  • The sensors needs to be warm before recording (to avoid CMOS sensor vertical lines/stripes)
  • Calibration should be done to eliminate CMOS sensor artifacts (Corrective model from sensor information)
  • Erase the memory while in the resolution and fps mode that you wish to record in (Arm the camera to record on the record button, hold down main button on top and press record button again. Complete memory is overwritten with black frames at the chosen resolution)
  • Make sure to use freshly recharged batteries. Fully charged batteries last at best around 1½ hour depending on use

Recording

  • The camera is armed with one press on the record button on the screen. It is now flashing red. A second press on the record button will start the recording. Recording is stopped by pressing the stop button.
  • External trigger can also be used to start and stop recording by holding down a normally-open contact through the 2.5mm jack on the side.

Software and File transfer

  • The cameras was shipped with the following files on a SD card FPS1000.EXE
  • Transfer of JPG files is only recommended for a quick review, proper development of DNG files is recommended.

Development of RAW files

  • The FPS1000/4000 uses Adobe DNG (Digital Negative) format which is a format similar to RAW in terms of raw image data, but with use of TIFF specifications manages a file size 15-20 times smaller than RAW.
  • Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom natively supports DNG files
  • When the DNG files are imported into Adobe Lightroom, they are all completely pitch dark. They need 3-4 full F/stops up in exposure to be developed, depending on how bright the highlights are in the scene. Do not use any AUTO adjustment features, this will give frames of varying brightness. The result is a video that is impossible to look at and might induce seizures.

Making pictures into a video

  • Any program that can combine a series of pictures into a video format can be used. There is no sound recording in high speed cameras.
  • I personally use Cyberlink PowerDirector as my normal video editing program due to its ease of time line editing, with much resemblances to the elegant simplicity of Windows Movie Maker, but still with a lot of advanced features. It is a good pieces of software compared to the cheap price, when its often on offer.
  • Cyberlink PowerDirector can add up to 2500 pictures at a time and setting their duration to a single frame, for a video format in 30fps, gives a 1000/30 = 33’ish times slower playback of the recordings. Real smooth slow motion effect is first getting apparent around the 1000 fps. PowerDirector will however hangup with long loading bars when working with 2500 pictures, where 1500-2000 pictures is much faster than just the reduction in number of pictures. PowerDirector will hang at importing, adding to time line, adjusting duration and especially pressing produce can result in program not responding, but fear not, get some coffee and wait.

Troubleshooting of bugs, errors and problems

Vertical lines

  • Vertical black lines can occur in single frames or a range of frames, if the memory is not erased before recording or if resolution is changed without erasing memory. As far as I know, there is no fix for the vertical black lines, either you have to record the video again, delete the erroneous frames or just live with the image artifacts.
FPS1000HD vertical black lines

Vertical offset

  • Vertical offset where it seems to be vertical/horizontal lines of 10 pixel height is offset by a few pixels to the left and right. This is a file transfer artifact and can be corrected by saving the files from the camera to computer once more. The error can occur many times during a file transfer of a scene, stop the saving, set a new start marker from before the error occurs and save again. I have at times been forced to do this 30 times and other days it just goes through without any errors.
FPS1000HD vertical offset

USB not connecting

  • If the camera is not responding to commands from the PC software, disconnect the camera and try again. Alternatively close the PC software, connect camera and then open the PC software. Repeating these steps in a random order can make it connect properly after a few tries.

Battery indicator

  • The battery indication seems to be a Joule counter from when the camera is turned on. If the camera is turned on with freshly charged batteries, it might go from 95% to 50% in 30 minutes. If you then turn off the camera and turn it on again, battery status often shows very low around 10-20%. The battery status does not turn off the camera, it will run until the voltage of the batteries are too low to keep the CPU running.

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