Frequently Asked Questions

Purchasing / Pricing

Is the upgrade to Dragonframe 4 free?

If you purchased Dragonframe 3 on/after January 1, 2016, you have been given an upgrade license.
Use the Find Your License page to retrieve it.

If you purchased Dragonframe before then, you may purchase the upgrade from our store.

Is there an individual student discount?

Yes. We offer the full version of Dragonframe to students at a $100 discount in our Student Store.

You must provide a valid student ID or other documentation when you place your order.

The student version is strictly for non-commercial use, meaning you cannot be paid for work you do with it, and you cannot use it to promote a product or service that makes money.

Do you have discounts for schools / non-profits?

Yes. Please visit our Special Pricing page for information on how to register for educational pricing.

I live outside the U.S. Will I be charged import fees on the software, even though it’s a download?

You should not be charged import fees for the software itself. Since it is a digital download, it does not appear on your shipping invoice or customs declarations. Only the hardware you purchase (such as the bluetooth or usb keypad) will be on those documents.

I purchased it on Amazon. Where’s my serial number/license?

If you purchased it through us on Amazon, the serial number will be on a label on the CD jacket. It starts with “D4R01”. Type it in exactly as it is, in uppercase, and with the dashes. If it doesn’t work, send us your best guess and we can find it for you.

If you purchased through a different vendor, you will have to contact them directly for the license. We won’t be able to find it for you.

Note: We cannot send you a serial number through email if you just purchased at Amazon. You must wait until the box arrives.

How do I convert a trial into a full version?

If you download the trial, you can buy a full license at any time and fully activate the program.

You do not need to download the software again.

When you buy the software from our site, we send you a serial number right away.

Your serial number is included in your invoice, in the Products Ordered table.

Note: If you buy it from another site, such as Amazon.com, you will have to wait for the box to arrive.

You convert the trial to a full version like this:

  1. Start the program and select Help : Activate License… from the menu.
  2. Enter your purchased serial number and click Activate to activate the software.

Tips:

  • Copy and paste the serial number from the e-mail we sent you. Don’t enter it manually.
  • The “Registered To” field can be anything, but it must be at least three characters long.

Do you ship a CD of the software? Where is my CD?

Dragonframe is only available as a download if you buy it from our site. We do not ship a CD.

You can download the latest version from our site:

http://www.dragonframe.com/downloads/

If you need to have a copy of it, you can burn it to a CD or copy it to a USB flash drive. The installer is less than 100MB for each platform.

Another option is to buy it from Amazon.com. In that case it will include a CD.

How quickly can I start using the software after I purchase?

As soon as your payment clears, we send you an invoice with your serial number in it.

Note: Student orders must also wait to be approved, which can take 1-2 business days.

If you have already been using the trial, you can instantly activate the full version. (You do not need to download the program again.)

If you haven’t downloaded the trial, you will have to download and install the software.

Does your hardware have a warranty?

The USB and Bluetooth keypads have a one-year warranty:
DZED One Year Warranty

The DMC+, DMC-16, DDMX-512, DDMX-S2 and LV Cap have a two-year warranty:
DZED Two Year Warranty

Installation / Activation

What are the system requirements for Dragonframe?

Dragonframe 4

System Requirements – Mac

macOS 10.8+
OpenGL 2.1 Capable Graphics Card
1.33 GHz CPU or faster
2 GB RAM or more
A supported camera

System Requirements – Windows

Windows 7/8.1/10
OpenGL 2.1 Capable Graphics Card
1.33 GHz CPU or faster
2 GB RAM or more
A supported camera

System Requirements – Linux

64-bit Ubuntu 12+ or Fedora 20+ (Ubuntu recommended)
OpenGL 2.1 Capable Graphics Card
1.33 GHz CPU or faster
2 GB RAM or more
A supported camera

Dragonframe 3.6

System Requirements – Mac

Mac OS X 10.6.8+
OpenGL 2.1 Capable Graphics Card
1.33 GHz CPU or faster
2 GB RAM or more
A supported camera

System Requirements – Windows

Windows XP(32-bit)/Vista/7/8.1/10
OpenGL 2.1 Capable Graphics Card
1.33 GHz CPU or faster
2 GB RAM or more
A supported camera

Dragonframe 3

System Requirements – Mac

Mac OS X 10.5 – 10.9.5 (newer versions not supported)
QuickTime 7.2 or later
1.33 GHz CPU or faster
1 GB RAM or more
A supported camera

System Requirements – Windows

Windows XP(32-bit)/Vista/7 (newer versions not supported)
QuickTime 7.2 or later
1.33 GHz CPU or faster
1 GB RAM or more
A supported camera

Dragon Stop Motion 2

System Requirements – Mac

Mac OS X 10.4.11 – 10.9.5 (newer versions not supported)
QuickTime 7.2 or later
1.33 GHz CPU or faster
1 GB RAM or more
A supported camera

System Requirements – Windows

Windows XP(32-bit)/Vista/7 (newer versions not supported)
QuickTime 7.2 or later
1.33 GHz CPU or faster
1 GB RAM or more
A supported camera

Can you help me install on my favorite new Linux distro, “icedMocha” / “SmashPopLinux” / “zorgyxa”?

Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to help.
If you don’t know how to sort out potential dependency issues, please stick with Ubuntu.

The program doesn’t launch from the Ubuntu menu after I install it.

We have seen this, and are not sure why it happens.
Search for “Dragonframe 4” in the Ubuntu menu, then drag the program icon into the dock.
Launch it from there by right-clicking on it and selecting “Dragonframe 4”.
It will launch from there… and it will now launch from the Ubuntu menu.

What computer would you recommend?

Almost any computer from the last three years should be fine.

Here are some things to look for to ensure the program runs well:

  • 4GB+ RAM : The more RAM the better.
  • SSD : A “solid-state drive” improves performance since DF reads image files from disk during playback.
  • 13″+ screen : Don’t get a tiny laptop screen!
  • Decent graphics card : Read reviews of the graphics card. If there are a lot of bad reviews, stay away.

I just purchased the software. How do I activate it?

Your serial number comes in a separate email from “Dragonframe Purchase” . It starts with “D4R”, “D4U” or “D4E”.

If you are currently using a trial license:

  1. Start the program and select Help : Activate License… from the menu.
  2. Enter your purchased serial number and click Activate to activate the software.

If you are not using a trial license, or it has expired, the license window will appear as soon as you start the program.

  1. Start the program. The license window will appear.
  2. Enter your purchased serial number and click Activate to activate the software.

Tips:

  • Copy and paste the serial number from the e-mail we sent you. Don’t enter it manually.
  • The “Registered To” field can be anything, but it must be at least three characters long.

I can’t find my serial number or license key.

We can send you all serial numbers you have purchased if you know the e-mail address you bought them with.

If so, use the Find Your License page.

If you don’t remember the e-mail address that you purchased with or it’s no longer available, you will have to email [email protected].

Tags: serial number, license, lost, missing

I can’t press the Activate button – it is grayed out

The “Activate” button will be grayed out if:

  • The serial number is not in the correct format. Make sure to copy and paste the serial number from the e-mail we sent you.
  • The “Registered To” field has less than three characters. It doesn’t matter what you put here, but it has to be at least three characters long.

Make sure you are activating the correct version of the software:

  • If your serial number starts with “D2”, it is a Dragon Stop Motion 2 license. You can activate any 2.x.x version.
  • If your serial number starts with “D3”, it is a Dragonframe 3 license. You can activate any 3.x.x version.
  • If your serial number starts with “D4”, it is a Dragonframe 4 license. You can activate any 4.x.x version.
  • (Note that if your license starts with “D3U”, it is a DF3 upgrade. You also need a DSM 2 license in order to activate it.)

Tags: gray, grey, greyed, activate button, deactivated, button does nothing, unable to activate

How do I activate the software on a machine that is not connected to the internet?

If you are using the trial, you must activate it over the internet.

For a full license, it is possible to activate it without an internet connection on that computer.
Visit our Software Activation page for instructions.

Cannot activate: “Failed to get activation code.”

If you try to activate the software, and get this message:

“Failed to get activation code.”

you probably entered the serial number incorrectly.

Please copy and paste the serial number from the e-mail we sent you.

If you still get this error, take a screenshot and email it to [email protected] along with any information we might find helpful (such as your name and order number).

Tags: activation failed, error during activation

Error: You have exceeded the purchased number of activations

If you try to activate your license, and you get a message that says: “You have exceeded the purchased number of activations.”, then you have probably installed the software on too many machines. You are allowed to have it activated on two machines at once per serial number.

If you have the software installed on a machine that doesn’t need it any more, you can deactivate a license by using “Deactivate License…” in the Help menu.

If you cannot deactivate a license, because a machine is broken or missing, you can manually deactivate the serial number yourself. Enter your registered email address on our Find Your License page.

We will send you an email that shows which machines have been activated, and will give you the option to deactivate them.

If you do not have access to your registered email address, or cannot remember it, please write to us with any order information you have, and we will work with you to sort it out:

[email protected]

Can I transfer a license to a different machine?

Yes, you can move your license to a different computer.

In the Help menu of the application you will find “Deactivate License…”. Once you deactivate the license, you may activate it on another computer.

If your original computer is no longer available, use our Find Your License page to get a list of activated machines and a link to deactivate them.

Can I switch my license between Mac, Windows or Linux machines?

Yes.

The serial number you purchase is good for all platforms, and it doesn’t matter to us how you allocate it. So if you purchased multiple licenses, you could install on any combination of Mac, Windows or Linux machines. (Of course, only DF4+ supports Linux.)

You can also deactivate your license on one platform and activate it on another. (Deactivate License… is an option in the Help menu.)

Tags: transfer, move, license, serial number

How do I install an older version of the software?

If you need to install an older version of the software, you must first uninstall or remove the current version that you have.

For Windows, you can uninstall the software through the Control Panel.

For Mac OSX 10.4 (Tiger) and 10.5 (Leopard):

  • Open a Terminal (Applications : Utilities : Terminal)
  • Run this command: sudo rm "/Library/Receipts/Dragon*"

For Mac OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and newer:

  • Open a Terminal (Applications : Utilities : Terminal)
  • Run this command: sudo rm /var/db/receipts/com.dzed.*

Then you will be able to install an older version of the software.

You can find previous versions on our Downloads page.

Tags: remove software, install old version, downgrade

I can’t enter license – “Must be logged in as Administrator”

If you get the error “You must be logged in as Administrator” when trying to enter your license, you may need to Repair Disk permissions using Disk Utility.

Or, if you copied the application onto a new hard drive, you should re-run the installer.

Dragonframe 4

For Mac OS X:

If the issue persists, delete /Library/Preferences/com.dzed.Dragonframe4-License.properties like this:

Open Terminal (Applications : Utilities : Terminal)

Enter this command:

sudo rm /Library/Preferences/com.dzed.Dragonframe4-License.properties
It will prompt for your password.

Then re-run the installer.

Dragonframe 3

For Mac OS X:

If the issue persists, delete /Library/Preferences/com.dzed.Dragonframe-License.properties like this:

Open Terminal (Applications : Utilities : Terminal)

Enter this command:

sudo rm /Library/Preferences/com.dzed.Dragonframe-License.properties
It will prompt for your password.

Then re-run the installer.

Dragon Stop Motion 2
For Mac OS X:

If the issue persists, delete /Library/Preferences/com.dzed.DragonStopMotion-License.properties like this:

Open Terminal (Applications : Utilities : Terminal)

Enter this command:

sudo rm /Library/Preferences/com.dzed.DragonStopMotion-License.properties

It will prompt for your password.

Then re-run the installer.

The program asks for me to activate it every time it runs.

If you manually copied the application instead of installing it, the program will ask you to activate it every time it runs.

You should re-run the installer.

The installation zip file only had a “.pkg” file in it.

You are probably running Windows or Linux, and you downloaded the Mac OS X installer.

If you are on Windows, make sure to get the Windows version.

Workflow / Export / Import

How do I launch Dragonframe from the command line?

You can launch Dragonframe from the command line. This includes launching a scene or take.

Dragonframe 4
Windows

  • Open a command prompt
  • Navigate to Dragonframe folder (usually C:\Program Files (x86)\DZED\Dragonframe 4 or C:\Program Files\DZED\Dragonframe 4)
  • Run Dragonframe.exe

macOS

  • Open a Terminal (Applications : Utilities)
  • Navigate to Dragonframe 4 folder (usually /Applications/Dragonframe 4)
  • Run ./Dragonframe\ 4.app/Contents/MacOS/Dragonframe

Linux (Ubuntu/Fedora)

  • Open a Console
  • Run LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/dragonframe4/lib:. /opt/dragonframe4/bin/Dragonframe

Command Line Arguments

After the executable name you can add one or more of the options:

  • -nocrashcheck : Skips the log file check and warning at startup.
  • <path to .dgn folder> : Dragonframe will open the specified scene and prompt you to choose a take.
  • <path to Take folder> : Dragonframe will open the specified take.

Examples

Launching a specific take. Note the use of quotes around the file path. This is required if there are spaces.

Dragonframe.exe “D:/My Projects/SchoolProject/pani_003.dgn/pani_003_Take_01”

Launch a scene with take chooser, and skip the crash check.

Dragonframe.exe -nocrashcheck “D:/My Projects/SchoolProject/pani_003.dgn”

Caveats

  • You can only have one running instance of Dragonframe at a time.
  • File paths on Windows can use forward or backward slashes.
Dragonframe 3

Windows

  • Open a command prompt
  • Navigate to Dragonframe folder (usually C:\Program Files (x86)\DZED\Dragonframe or C:\Program Files\DZED\Dragonframe)
  • Run Dragonframe.exe

Mac OS X

  • Open a Terminal (Applications : Utilities)
  • Navigate to Dragonframe folder (usually /Applications/Dragonframe)
  • Run ./Dragonframe.app/Contents/MacOS/Dragonframe

Command Line Arguments

After the executable name you can add one or more of the options:

  • -nocrashcheck : (in DF 3.6.0+) Skips the log file check and warning at startup.
  • <path to .dgn folder> : Dragonframe will open the specified scene and prompt you to choose a take.
  • <path to Take folder> : Dragonframe will open the specified take.

Examples

Launching a specific take. Note the use of quotes around the file path. This is required if there are spaces.

Dragonframe.exe “D:/My Projects/SchoolProject/pani_003.dgn/pani_003_Take_01”

Launch a scene with take chooser, and skip the crash check.

Dragonframe.exe -nocrashcheck “D:/My Projects/SchoolProject/pani_003.dgn”

Caveats

  • You can only have one running instance of Dragonframe at a time.
  • File paths on Windows can use forward or backward slashes.
  • Prior to 3.6.0, if the user closed the take chooser, a hidden Dragonframe process would remain running.

How do I review my digital stills?

You can check the focus, color, and lighting of your high-resolution digital stills using the Cinematography window. This is available under the Window menu and can also be accessed using Command-E/Ctrl-E.

You can play back proxies of your high-resolution stills in the animation window. To do this, press the button that has four diamonds in the shape of a smaller diamond. This toggles between video assist images and proxies of high-resolution images.

QuickTime export is black or distorted.

If you try to export a QuickTime, and the result is black or distorted, check the “Pre-process” image option.

Image

Applies to versions: 1.x, 2.x, 3.0

Can I import images/stills to animate them?

Dragonframe 4 / Dragonframe 3
Dragonframe can import an image sequence.
Look in File | Import | Image Sequence…

NOTE: Dragonframe is not video editing software. It is primarily for capturing stop motion animation, not stitching together frames. If you always capture frames away from Dragonframe, there are cheaper and better ways to convert them into a sequence.

Dragon Stop Motion 2

Dragon Stop Motion can import an image as a background plate for a line-up layer.

However, if you are trying to use DSM to animate a series of stills that you shot outside of DSM, this won’t work. You probably just want post production software, like After Effects or Final Cut Pro to stitch your frames together and edit them.

QuickTime Pro can take a series of sequentially named images and create a movie out of them, too.

Export to QuickTime fails with no reason.

One common reason that QuickTime exports fail is that users try to export their animation’s high-res frames at full resolution with a RAM intensive codec.

For example, H.264 is not really practical for encoding images that are 4000 x 3000. It requires too much RAM. This won’t work from Dragonframe, and it won’t work from QuickTime Pro.

You should consider what the purpose of your export is. If you are exporting to get the full resolution frames into post-production/editing software, use a reference movie (if your data files are on the same computer) or a self-contained movie with little or no compression. You can use Apple Intermediate Codec, for example.

If you are exporting for the web or for review by others, it might make sense to use H.264 as the codec. But, in that case, you don’t need a 4000 x 3000 movie, since no one will be able to play it anyways.

Problems / Issues / Bugs

Providing log files

You can send in the program’s log files using “Report an Issue…” (formerly “Problem Report”) in the program’s Help menu.

Sometimes, though, you may need to locate the log files manually. For example, if the program was crashing on startup.

Mac OS X

Please open a Terminal (in Applications : Utilities).

Type this command:

open ~/Library/Logs

The Logs folder will open in the Finder.
Look for Dragonframe.txt in the folder.

If the program crashed, you may also find a file that starts with “Dragonframe_” in the DiagnosticReports folder (within the Logs folder).

Windows

Open a File Explorer (not Internet Explorer!) and type this in the address bar:

%TMP%\DZED\Dragonframe

Look for Dragonframe.txt in the folder.

Linux

Please open a Console

cd %tmp%/DZED/Dragonframe
ls -la

Look for Dragonframe4.txt in the folder.

If the program crashed, you may also find a file that starts with “Dragonframe_” in the DiagnosticReports folder (within the Logs folder).

Could not start Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) Service

With Dragonframe 3.6 and newer, you may get the following message on Windows:

“Could not start Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) Service or one of its dependencies.”

If that happens, please go to your Service Manager and make sure that none of these services are Disabled:

  • Windows Image Acquisition (WIA)
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
  • Shell Hardware Detection

Hands in shot / deleted images in export

You shoot some animation, then you export it, and see your hands in the shot. They aren’t there when you play the animation in Dragonframe. What’s going on?

Dragonframe always records a video assist and a hi-res separately–even if you are shooting video. So what’s happening is that your video assist frames are fine, but then you are sticking your hand in the shot while Dragonframe is capturing the “high res” frames. You can find further explanation on page 1 of the user guide.

Dragonframe gives you three cues to know when shooting is finished:

  • The “READY TO CAPTURE” sign at the top disappears while it is busy, and reappears when it is ready.
  • The progress bar will appear in the middle of the screen while it is busy.
  • When it is done capturing an image, there is a small beep afterward.

Now, when you export a movie or image sequence, you can choose the source. If you want to make one from your video assist frames, it will look how it did in the animation window.

You can also review your hi-res images at any point in the Cinematography workspace.

Also, in the Animation workspace, you can toggle between the video assist frames and the final capture images by pressing the button with four small diamonds in the shape of a larger diamond. This allows you to preview your high-res playback as you animate.

One reason there is a separate “high-res” capture source for video is that you can add frame averaging (video sources only), which greatly reduces video noise, and you can save your images in TIFF format instead of JPEG. Also, with very high-resolution cameras (such as 1920×1080 HD or 1600×1200 video cameras) the video assist will be stored at a lower resolution, and the high-resolution captures will be full size.

Tags: Hand in shot, Deleted images showing in Export, Export frames don’t match

Exported animation shaky or jittery, but my animation is fine

Any time there is a difference between what you see in the Animation workspace vs. what you see in an export, it’s important that you understand the difference between “video assist” (which is what you see in the Animation workspace)
and “high-res” images (which is what you usually are exporting). If you are not sure about the difference, read the “Big Picture” section of the User Guide.

In this specific case, the problem is almost certainly that you have “Image Stabilization” engaged on your camera lens. Ironically, the way image stabilization engages every time the camera shoots can pull
the lens into different positions, causing the shakiness in the high-res captures. Then the image stabilization relaxes during live view, and the lens settles back into a consistent position.

Note that our camera setup instructions for Canon cameras tell you to turn off Image Stabilization.

“The driver for your graphics card is too old…”

Windows Only:

Dragonframe 3.5+ uses OpenGL v2.1 to provide high-performance graphics processing.

If the driver for your graphics card does not support OpenGL 2.1, Dragonframe will give you a message like this:

  • “The driver for your graphics card is too old and must be updated.”
  • “Dragonframe requires OpenGL 2.1. Your graphics/driver card is using OpenGL 1.4.”

Additionally, if you have an Intel HD graphics card on Windows XP/7, you may get a message like this:

  • “The driver for your graphics card is too old and must be updated.
    (You are running Intel 2.1.0 – Build 8.15.10.2413.)”

If this is the case, there is a good chance you can resolve the problem by updating the driver for your graphics card. (Intel HD on Windows XP/7 requires driver 8.15.10.2450 or newer).

Generally, the Device Manager’s option to check for driver updates will NOT work. It always says your graphics card driver is up to date.

One option is to check your computer manufacturer’s website for drivers specific to your model.

Alternatively, you may need to visit the graphics card maker to get the latest driver:

For Intel Integrated Graphics cards, please find your latest driver here:
http://www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/detect/graphics

For nVidia graphics cards, you can find the drivers here:
http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us

For ATI/AMD graphics cards, the drivers are here:
http://support.amd.com/en-us/download

Also, if you have a laptop with both an integrated and discrete graphics cards, see if you have the option of always using the discrete card with Dragonframe. In general they perform much better than the Intel integrated cards.

Mac : “Dragonframe cannot be opened because of a problem”

We’ve had a handful of reports where OS X shows this error dialog when the user tries to open Dragonframe:

Image

If you look at the report, it says something like this:

Dyld Error Message:

Library not loaded: @executable_path/../Frameworks/libavcodec.dylib

Referenced from: /Applications/Dragonframe/Dragonframe.app/Contents/MacOS/Dragonframe

Reason: Incompatible library version: Dragonframe requires version 55.0.0 or later, but libavcodec.dylib provides version 52.0.0

The issue is caused by some other program setting a global library path, which is a very bad thing.

There may be more than one program that does this, but we’ve found that older versions of an application called “Tracker” does this. If you installed Tracker version 4.84 or older, you should uninstall it and then install version 4.85 or newer to resolve the issue.

If you’ve never installed tracker, look for “DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH” in your environment plist file:

Open a Terminal (Applications : Utilities) and type:

sudo open ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist

It will ask for your password. This is your machine password that you use to log in. It does not show it to you as you type.

In the editor that opens, remove anything that says “DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH”.

Note: This might require XCode. If you don’t have it, you may alternatively need to just remove this file, like this:

sudo rm ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist

No live view or images in Cinematograpy workspace

If you can see live view in the Animation workspace, but don’t see any images in the Cinematography workspace, then you probably have an outdated graphics card driver.

We have seen this with ATI graphics cards with older drivers. Nothing shows up in the Cinematography workspace. If you update to the latest drivers, the problem will go away.

For more information on updating your driver, go here:

The driver for your graphics card is too old…

Dragonframe Windows crash at startup

If Dragonframe crashes after creating/opening a scene, most likely you have an outdated graphics card driver.

For Intel Integrated Graphics cards, please find your latest driver here:

http://www.intel.com/p/en_US/support/detect/graphics

Also, if you have a laptop with both an integrated and discrete graphics cards, see if you have the option of always using the discrete card with Dragonframe. In general they perform much better than the Intel integrated cards.

Audio File – Supported Audio Formats

Dragonframe 3.5 and newer accepts most standard audio formats including WAV, AIFF, MP3 and others.

—————-

For earlier versions, the supported audio file formats are:

  • WAV or AIFF
  • 8 or 16 bit per channel
  • 1 or 2 channels (mono or stereo)

If you are on the Mac, you can get a free program called “Audacity”. Open your file with it, and then save it as a WAV file. It will be compatible with Dragon Stop Motion and Dragonframe.

You can also use iTunes to convert the file.

Open the file in iTunes, then follow the instructions here:
http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1550

Basically, you go to the iTunes Preferences, select “Import Settings…”, and choose Import Using “WAV Encoder”.
Then select your audio track in iTunes, go to the Advanced menu and select “Create Wav version”.

You should be able to import that version into Dragon Stop Motion or Dragonframe.

I have a numeric keypad that’s not working properly.

If you are using a numeric keypad to control Dragonframe, make sure that Num Lock is On. Otherwise the key commands will be interpreted incorrectly.

Program crash due to duplicate fonts (Mac OSX)

We have some reports of the program crashing when attempting to access font information on Mac OSX.

To resolve the issue:

  1. Launch the Font Book application in the Applications folder.
  2. Select Trebuchet MS in the Font list.
  3. Select Edit -> Resolve Duplicates.
  4. Restart Dragon Stop Motion.

Image

Free Trial

What’s the purpose of the trial?

The goal of the free trial is for you to test it with your camera, and to familiarize yourself with how the software works.

We have a list of supported cameras, along with setup instructions and troubleshooting for camera issues.

How do I get a free trial?

The free trial is available here:

http://www.dragonframe.com/downloads/

You will enter your email address, and our system will send you a special trial serial number (license key), along with further instructions.

I didn’t receive my trial code. Where is it?

If you don’t have your trial code after 10-15 minutes, it probably got sent to your Spam/Junk or Promotions folder.

Hotmail accounts almost always send our messages to Spam.
Google/Gmail accounts usually send them to Promotions.

The message comes from from: DZED Systems LLC ([email protected]) with subject Dragonframe Software Trial.

What are the limitations of the trial?

The trial is for you to test the software with your camera and get used to how it works.

It has the following limitations:

  • You can shoot up to 50 frames per take.
  • Images will have a subtle watermark that cannot be removed.
  • Camera RAW formats are not supported.

Otherwise the software is fully functional.

Can I remove the watermark from the images I shoot?

The free trial places a watermark (semi-transparent Dragonframe logo) over all of the images you shoot.

You cannot remove this watermark.

Can I remove the watermark if I buy the software?

The free trial places a watermark (semi-transparent Dragonframe logo) over all of the images you shoot.

The watermark cannot be removed from images you shot with the trial.

When you buy the software, any new images you capture will not be watermarked. But you cannot un-watermark images you shot during the trial period.

Can I start a project with the free trial?

The free trial is only for you to test your camera and get used to how the software works.

Because the trial places a watermark on your captured images that cannot be removed, it is not suitable for starting a production.

Once you decide that the software meets your needs, you should purchase the software before starting on a project.

Camera / Lens

I need help with my camera!

Please review all of the information in the Camera FAQ here, and visit the Camera Support page to find setup instructions for each camera Dragonframe supports.

If you are still having trouble, send in a Problem Report through the program’s Help menu.

What camera should I get? What do you recommend?

We recommend Canon EOS DSLRs, particularly the ones listed on our supported cameras page.

The Canon EOS cameras have a large live view with exposure simulation.
They also have smooth mechanics during capture.

Get the Canon EOS 5D Mark II or 5D Mark III if you have a larger budget.

If you want a full-frame camera at a lower price, look at the Canon EOS 6D.

If you have a limited budget, you can look for used Digital Rebels (or 450D/1000D) on Amazon.

What mirrorless cameras can I use?

Dragonframe 4 adds support for many Sony Alpha A7, full-frame mirrorless cameras.

See our camera support page for a list of supported models. Note that some of the earlier models do not send the live view over USB.

What Micro Four Thirds, MFT, M4/3 camera can I use?

Dragonframe 4 supports Olympus OM-D E-M1, E-M1 II, and E-M5 II. Those all work really well with the software.

Dragonframe 4 also supports the Panasonic DMC-GH4 and DMC-GX8. However, those cameras require you to use two connections to the camera (USB + HDMI), an HDMI conversion device from Blackmagic, and have some other odd quirks.

See our camera support page for a list of supported models.

I plugged an HDMI cable into my camera and my computer. Why isn’t that working?

Unplug it right now!

The HDMI port on your computer is an output only—for sending the screen to a monitor or HDTV.

Any of the supported still cameras should be connected via USB.

Why isn’t my camera supported? It has a USB port!

Most digital still cameras have USB ports, and can be used with a computer to download images from the camera.

However, that is the extent of the common functionality.

Most cameras do not have any type of tethered shooting capabilities, where the computer can change settings and trigger the camera to capture an image. And cameras that have tethered capabilities (such as Canon and Nikon supported models) have very different interfaces.

We try to support as many cameras as we can reasonably do.

Why don’t you support the Canon EOS M series?

Dragonframe supports most Canon EOS cameras. However, the Canon EOS M cameras are not supported because Canon does not provide tethered shooting support for them.

You may notice that Canon’s own EOS Utility does not support tethered shooting with the ‘M’ series cameras.

Why don’t you support the Nikon D3000 or D3100?

Dragonframe supports most Nikon DSLR cameras. However, the D3000 and D3100 cameras are not supported because Nikon does not provide tethered shooting support for them.

You support the iPhone as a capture device. Why don’t you support Android as capture device?

Apple provides a fairly easy way to communicate between a desktop application and a device, over the tethered USB connection. That is how we are able to support iPhones.

Android requires the user to install developer tools (and know how to use them) in order to support something similar. This is not something we want our customers to deal with.

What lens do you recommend?

This is where a basic photography class could be helpful. I could go on for days about lenses / angles of view etc.

Here is a simple rule to help you out: if you are shooting miniatures—imagine there is a tiny crew of people shooting your film.
Where would they put their little camera? If you are shooting an interior—put the center of the lens about where it could fit in that room.
Then pick the focal length that shows what you need for the shot.

This is just a starting point. Get books on cinematography. Watch great films. Hope this helps!

Using a manual aperture lens to avoid flicker

Note that we strongly recommend using a manual aperture lens (such as a Nikon lens) with a Canon body. With a digital lens, the aperture will close down to slightly different positions for each shot. This is not a problem for still photography, but for stop motion or time-lapse it creates “flicker”.

For Canon cameras, use a Nikon manual aperture lens (‘D’ series) with a Nikon to Canon lens adapter.

For Nikon cameras, use a Nikon manual aperture lens (‘D’ series) and put masking tape over the lens’ electrical contacts.

Here is a blog post from Adobe that describes the issue.

Common connectivity issues

Your camera is supported and set up properly, but the software is not detecting it. Or the software sees the camera but then stops working after a while. There are a variety of connectivity issues that people experience, but the causes are usually the same. So we will start with likely causes first:

  • The USB cable is too long.
  • The USB cable is defective.
  • The USB port on the computer/hub or camera is damaged.
  • The power supply to the camera is interrupted.

As you can see, many of the problems have to do with USB connectivity. Therefore, when you have camera issues, we recommend that you switch back to a simple setup and test the camera and software:

  • Use a short USB cable (preferably the one that came with the camera).
  • Plug the USB cable directly into the computer (not through a hub).
  • Power the camera over AC.

If this setup works, slowly change your configuration to identify the problem.

Dragonframe never detects my camera

First, make sure your camera is supported by visiting the Camera Support page. Follow any setup instructions provided.

Then you will want to verify is that the computer itself can see the camera. If you are on a Mac, use “Image Capture”, which is an application that comes with the computer and is located in the “Applications” folder. On Windows, you can see if the camera connects when you plug it in, since Windows always pops up a message for new devices. If you have a Canon camera, you can also use “Canon EOS Utility” on either platform to detect the camera. If you have Nikon Camera Control Pro 2, you can check that as well.

If the operating system or other programs can see your camera, but Dragonframe does not, you should definitely send in a camera test (see Dragonframe Help menu) and also contact support. If nothing can see your camera, try using a different USB cable and port, and possibly try your camera with another computer.

Anti-virus software blocking camera detection.

If you have anti-virus software, make sure to white-list Dragonframe so that it can access the camera.

Dragonframe detects the camera, but then freezes after a few seconds/minutes

This issue always seems to be related to the USB connectivity issues we describe above. For some reason, the cameras tend to freeze when there is poor USB connectivity. You can actually see the same problem in Canon EOS Utility as in Dragonframe. We have notified Canon and are also exploring alternate solutions. The solution for you is to use shorter USB cables or buy a better USB extension cable.

The live view is black

Usually this is just a matter of camera settings and/or lighting. Start by going into the Cinematography workspace and adjusting the camera settings. The most important are the three sliders for Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO. (If you are using a manual lens, the Aperture slider will be grayed out.)

  • Make sure the lens cap is off.  ;)
  • Increase the shutter speed (to at least 1″).
  • Open the aperture (go to a lower number). If you have a manual lens then open it up all the way.
  • Increase the ISO.
  • Increase the amount of light in the room.

If the live view remains black, send in a Camera Test through the Help menu.

The focus doesn’t match between the live view and the high-resolution images

If you are using a digital lens (not a manual aperture lens), then the live view and high-resolution images will have different aperture values, and therefore different depth-of-field and focus range. This is because the camera keeps the aperture wide open during live view, giving a shallow depth-of-field and a small focus range. If your high-resolution image has a stopped down aperture, like f/22, it will have a large depth-of-field and large focus range.

Possible solutions:

  • Accept this difference and live with it.
  • Switch to a manual aperture lens with a lens adapter.
  • If you are using a Canon camera, you can set the live view to use depth of field preview. In Dragonframe, press Command-K (Ctrl-K Windows) to open the video settings. You can turn on depth of field preview.

The exposure doesn’t match between the live view and the high-resolution images

First of all, it is super important to understand that the live view and high-resolution images are different. In the cinematography workspace you set up your high-resolution capture settings and take test shots to make sure that your final images will look correct. In the animation workspace you are typically working with the video assist images from your camera, although you can switch to review your high-res images.

Possible Cause #1: Using a Nikon DSLR

Most of the Nikon cameras do not have live view “exposure simulation”. This means that their live view exposure level auto-adjusts all the time, and does not reflect changes in camera settings. In this case, you will have to live with the difference. Make sure to check your high-resolution images early and often.

Possible Cause #2: Exposure Simulation is turned off

The Canon live view DSLRs all have exposure simulation. It is either “always on”, or there is a setting to turn it on. If there is a setting, it will be called out in our setup instructions. Just make sure you’ve followed that step.

Possible Cause #3: Using a manual aperture lens on a Canon body

We recommend using a manual Nikon lens on Canon body, because this avoids flicker. The downside is that this can affect the live view exposure simulation of the Canon cameras. Usually you can adjust the live view to match the high-resolution images by adjusting the “Exposure Preview Offset” in the Cinematography workspace’s Camera Settings. You can read more about the problem and see another solution here.

Sometimes the internal live view calculation is thrown off by the last digital lens connected.

Here is a possible solution:

  1. Attach a Canon digital lens to the camera.
  2. Open the aperture as much as it can go (lowest f/stop number).
  3. Take a picture.
  4. Power down the camera and then try your Nikon lens.

If you still can’t get close with the exposure preview offset, let us know.

Possible Cause #4: The sensor isn’t getting enough light.

We often get calls from people who are on a dimly lit set, with their aperture stopped down to f/22, and with “Exposure Preview Offset” set all the way to “+4”, and they want to know why the live view doesn’t match their high-resolution image. This is especially problematic for manual aperture lenses, since the aperture is always stopped down.

The reason is simple: the lens doesn’t have enough light. You have exceeded the limits of the live view exposure simulator (inside the camera).

Here are some possible solutions:

  • Increase the lighting on your set.
  • Open up the aperture.
  • Use a bash light (also called a work light). This is a light that is on for the animator and video assist, but off for the high-resolution capture.

There are a few ways to set up a bash light with Dragonframe:

  • Use the DDMX-512 to control a bash light through DMX.
  • Use the DDMX-512 to control a bash light through a relay.
  • Go to Preferences : Capture and set a capture delay of several seconds. Turn a light off after you press the shoot button, and then back on after the high-resolution image is captured.

The framing doesn’t match between the live view and the high-resolution images

In the Animation workspace you typically are looking at the live view and stepping back to other video assist images you already captured. These should always line up perfectly.

Now, you switch to view the high-resolution proxies in the animation workspace, because you want to see your “real” images. But when you step between live and the other frames, the image doesn’t line up perfectly.

There is no real solution to this problem. Dragonframe gets the live view and the high-resolution images directly from the camera. Unfortunately these are not framed exactly the same, and so they will just be off. But that’s why we have the live view, so you can animate with it.

If this is super important to you, there is something you can try. You may find that certain image sizes have framing that more closely matches the live view. You can adjust the image size in the Cinematography window’s Camera Settings, and compare to the live view. For example, the Large JPEG might use a slightly different section of the sensor than the Medium JPEG. You can experiment to see which matches the best.

The live view has banding or moving light across it

If your live view has light bands that move across it, you are probably dealing with an issue between the refresh rate of your live view and the lighting source. One potential source for this is your lights, especially if they are fluorescent. In that case, you may need different lights. This can also happen with very fast shutter speeds. If you slow the shutter speed down to 1/2 second or slower, does the problem go away?

Shutter speed won’t go slower than 1/30th of a second

If this happens, your camera thinks it is in movie mode. That’s why it’s limiting your shutter speed range. Make sure to follow our camera setup instructions.

For Nikon cameras you need to turn off Manual movie settings in the Movie Settings.

Canon external flash doesn’t fire

This is a common issue for Canon users trying to use an external flash.

This is actually a limitation of the camera, described in the camera manual (most models):

Cautions for Live View shooting
A non-Canon flash will not fire during Live View shooting.

Dragonframe provides a workaround. In the Cinematography workspace set External flash to On. Dragonframe will disengage the live view prior to capturing the high-resolution image, allowing the external flash to fire.

Camera fails to capture (and it used to work!)

Sometimes the camera and program are working great, and then all of a sudden, every capture fails.

This usually is caused by a disk failure:

  • Check if the hard drive is full. You can fill it up quickly shooting RAW files!
  • Check if someone moved or renamed the folders out from under you.
  • For an external or network drive, check if it was removed or disconnected.
  • Check if the permissions for the folder/drive are not allowing you to write to it.

DMX / Lighting

What hardware is compatible with Dragonframe’s DMX workspace?

If you want to program lighting from within Dragonframe, you must have a compatible Dragonframe device:

One of these hardware devices is required to get a DMX512 signal from Dragonframe out to your lighting hardware.

You cannot use a generic USB-DMX512 device—Dragonframe won’t be able to speak to it.

How many lights can I program with Dragonframe?

Dragonframe 4 supports up to 512 lighting channels. Them DMC+, DMC-16, and DDMX-512 all support 512 channels. The DDMX-S2 only supports 99 by default. However, you can purchase a DDMX-S2 Upgrade Chip to make it support 512.

Dragonframe 3 supports up to 99 lighting channels. This is a limitation in the software, even if you buy the DDMX-512 or other hardware than can support 512 channels.

What DMX dimmer pack should I get?

If you are looking for a decent, inexpensive dimmer pack, check out the 4-channel models from Elation, such as American DJ DP-415.
We do not recommend Optima dimmer packs. They have random flickering.

Note that standard dimmer packs, such as these, are for incandescent lights. Do not try to use them for other lights, especially not lights that have their own transformers.

Can I use a microphone cable for DMX?

You should not use a microphone cable for DMX, even though they have the same XLR connectors.

They are not built to the same specifications.

Here is an explanation.

What DMX dimmer pack do I need for this LED light I want to use?

We have no idea. You almost certainly do not want to use a standard dimmer pack that uses current modulation (PWM).

Usually LED lights, if they can be dimmable, have their own system to do it. Some LED panels have DMX input directly on them, so you would just plug the DMX cable into it.

The best thing to do is talk to the manufacturer or read the documentation.

Motion Control

What hardware is compatible with Dragonframe motion control workspace?

DMC-16 / DMC+
The Dragonframe Master Controller is our flagship motion control coordinator.

It comes in two varieties: The DMC-16 and the DMC+. The DMC-16 has 16 channels of step and direction that you can wire to your stepper motor drivers. The DMC+ provides powered drivers for channels 1-8, and step/dir signals for channels 9-16.

Use the DMC-16 with your own stepper motors drivers.
Use the DMC+ with your own stepper motors (or drivers for channels 9-16).

Arduino DFMoco
Arduino is an inexpensive, open-source hobby computer. We provide a special program (“Sketch” in Arduino world) called “DFMoco”. It provides 4-8 channels of step and direction output (depending on the Arduino model).

We provide this sketch as a convenience, for people who are comfortable working with electronics and are interested in creating a homemade, low cost, simple motion control solution. We do not offer customizations of the DFMoco sketch (although you are free to do it yourself).

The DFMoco sketch is installed with Dragonframe at:
[Dragonframe Install folder]/Resources/Arc Motion Control/DFMoco

WIRING THE ARDUINO FOR MOTION CONTROL

An Arduino running the DFMoco sketch will generate step and direction signals for stepper motors.

If you already have stepper motor drivers, you can take these signals and wire them into a connector for those drivers.

If you do not have stepper motor drivers, and need to move relatively small stepper motors, you can wire the Arduino signals to a Big Easy Driver or comparable board. You will use one Big Easy Driver for each stepper motor.

The pin-out for each step and direction signal is described in the DFMoco sketch.

DitoGear

DitoGear produces motion control sliders, pan/tilt heads, and focus motors that are compatible with Dragonframe.

The DitoGear OmniSlider, OmniHead and LensDrive can be used with Dragonframe when paired with either the DitoGear DragonBridge or the DMC-16 motion controller.

For non real-time shooting, choose the DitoGear DragonBridge. This runs the DFMoco program to provide shoot-move-shoot capabilities, and is a great low cost option.

For real-time shooting, you must use the DMC-16 along with DitoGear DMC-16 adapters.

Inquire at DitoGear.

Dynamic Perception

Dynamic Perception produces rugged, light-weight linear sliders and pan/tilt heads.

Their NMX Digital Motion Controller (3-axis stepper controller) is now Dragonframe compatible.

The NMX Digital Motion Controller is non real-time (shoot-move-shoot only) when used with Dragonframe.

Inquire at Dynamic Perception.

SmartSystem

SmartSystem is an Italian-based company that creates high-precision linear sliders. Their SmartSlider Reflex S employs a unique fluid drag system to reduce vibration.

The DigiDRIVE Portable is a Dragonframe compatible controller. It can control all of the DigiDRIVE hardware.

The DigiDRIVE Portable is non real-time (shoot-move-shoot only) when used with Dragonframe.

Inquire at SmartSystem.

What is real-time vs non real-time shooting?

When choosing a motion control system it is important to understand what we mean when we say a rig supports real-time shooting.

Real-Time Shooting

Real-time shooting in Dragonframe means that Dragonframe can run a move at full speed, or reduced speed, with all axes fully synchronized.

If you want to program real-time moves (for live action) in Dragonframe, you need a real-time capable rig.

A real-time rig makes shooting test moves much faster and smoother.

Currently, only the DMC-16 and DMC+ motion controllers can provide real-time capabilities with Dragonframe.

Non Real-Time Shooting (Shoot-Move-Shoot)

A non real-time rig will move each axis to the next position of a move at separate speeds.

This is perfectly adequate for shooting stop-motion animation.

You cannot run a live action move with a non real-time rig.

Note: Some rigs are capable of real-time shooting when used with the third-party’s custom controllers, but their Dragonframe integration may only provide shoot-move-shoot capabilities. Only the DMC-16 and DMC+ motion controllers can provide real-time capabilities with Dragonframe.

Will Dragonframe work with this motion control rig I bought (or found or am interested in)?

We try to maintain a list of compatible hardware in our faq (see previous questions).

There is no standard protocol for operating with motion control hardware, so unless it’s on our list, or Dragonframe support is listed on the manufacturer’s page, it’s not going to work.

The third party manufacturer must integrate their system with Dragonframe in order for it work.

But I found a really cool robotic arm! Will Dragonframe work with it?

Robotic arms work very differently from typical motion control cranes. We do not have the expertise to create any type of integration, or to offer any help if you attempt to do it.

The only integration you could reasonably do is to use separate software to program moves on the arm, and just work with Dragonframe to tell the other system when to advance to the next frame.

Why won’t Dragonframe do real-time motion control with eMotimo/Dynamic Perception/other?

The real-time protocol is very complicated, and is not something we can share with third party vendors, or expect them to implement.

Only the DMC-16 and DMC+ can provide real-time motion control with Dragonframe. (Note that DitoGear hardware can be run through the DMC-16 via special adapters they sell.)

On the other hand, shoot-move-shoot motion control is sufficient for almost all stop-motion animation.

I hooked up an Arduino Motor Shield and it’s not working!

Our DFMoco sketch for Arduino is not compatible with motor shields.

The comments at the beginning of the sketch specify which output pins it uses for step and direction. You will have to make your own connection to motor drivers.

How do I connect for SmartSystem DigiDrive Portable to Dragonframe?

Please review the Dragonframe Setup on the SmartSystem site.

How do I connect for Dynamic Perception NMX Controller to Dragonframe?

Please review the NMX Dragonframe Support on the Dynamic Perception site.

How do I connect my eMotimo to Dragonframe?

Please review the Dragonframe Setup on the eMotimo site.

How do I connect my Cognisys StackShot 3X to Dragonframe?

Please review the StackShot 3X Manual on the Cognisys site.