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Monday, 5 November 2012

Trail Camera Video Distortion - Ltl Acorn 6210 firmware update

Fig 1: 6210 4/3rds image as reference.
For the best in field economy (batteries and cards) it's preferable to shoot just images, especially if the camera is being deployed for a long period.

Having said that, short videos are useful for showing animal behaviour and sometimes can aid with animal identification when the camera is shooting IR at night.

I often set the camera to shoot one image and a short video of ten to twenty seconds immediately after; and recently I became aware that the physical proportions of objects in the 4/3rds videos were distorted. Circles became elliptical and squares
Fig 2: Video mask used for widescreen video.
became rectangular. Using the spare wheel on the back of a Land Rover, (figure 1) as a reference image, the following illustrates the problem.

Figure two shows the mask used to produce the widescreen video; and it also illustrates the loss of visual information, compared with figure 1; which is one reason why I never set these cameras to shoot wide screen video.

Figure three shows the perspective distortion in the  4/3rds videos. Note that the spare wheel is no longer circular.

Figure four shows the widescreen video result.
Fig 3: 4/3rds video perspective distortion.
The strange thing is that when the camera is set to shoot just videos the 4/3rds videos are the correct proportions. It only happens when the camera is set to CAMERA+VIDEO and nobody has ever flagged this up as an issue. Nor did the factory seem to be aware of this.

The good news is that as soon as I told Acorn about this they corrected the problem; and the latest firmware V1.1.010T which is compatible with older cameras will put it right.

If you wish to update your camera with the new firmware, send me an email request, stating when you bought the camera, the model number and serial number.

Fig 4: Widescreen video.

How to Upgrade the 6210:
Format SD Card (in camera)
1) Copy the FW6210.bin file to the SD card at the top of the hierarchy and not in a folder.
2) Insert the SD card in the camera to be upgraded.
3) Press and hold the "Back" button (second button down from top right on control panel)
4) Switch the camera to the "TEST" position.
5) Wait until the start-up splash screen shows and then release the "Back button"
6) Enter MENU, navigate the marker to DEFAULT SET, and press OK.
Format SD Card (in camera)
After the upgrade you will need to reprogramme the camera and the MMS settings.

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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.