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, specifically 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 supports many full-frame mirrorless cameras, including the Sony Alpha A7 series, Canon’s EOS R and RP, and Nikon’s Z6 and Z7.
Additionally, the Olympus, Fujifilm and Panasonic cameras we support are all mirrorless (but not full-frame).See our camera support
page for the most up-to-date list of supported models. Note that some of the earlier Sony 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, as well as Panasonic DC-GH5, DC-GH5S and DC-G9. Those all work really well with the software.
See our camera support page for the most up-to-date list of supported models.
How can I shoot with a RED Digital Cinema camera (Weapon, Epic, Scarlet, etc)?
Dragonframe 4.1 and newer support direct R3D capture from RED DSMC2 cameras. You need to use the Gig-E connector, which may require a specific back-plate and cable accessory.
See the instructions on our camera support page.
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.
What don’t you support GoPro cameras? I need a really small camera.
We found that the GoPro WiFi interface was basically unusable for Dragonframe. The connection was slow and often failed.
The quality of the grabs was fairly awful, and some of the auto-exposure and auto-focus features could not be disabled, so the camera was unusable.
If you need to use a small camera, look at the Ximea cameras we support.
Why don’t you support all of the Canon EOS M series?
Dragonframe supports most Canon EOS cameras. However, most of 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.
The latest EOS M camera, the M50, is supported in Dragonframe 4.1 and newer.
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.
My Sony appears in Sony Imaging Edge, but not Dragonframe
First, make sure you have followed all of our setup instructions for your camera.
If you installed Sony Imaging Edge on Windows, it may have installed special “libusbK” drivers for your camera. If it does this, other programs, such as Dragonframe, will not detect your camera.
- Go to Windows device manager and check if camera is listed under “libusbK USB Devices”.
- If so, double-click it and choose delete driver.
- Turn camera off and back on.
- Windows should install the normal driver for the camera.
- Run Dragonframe and check the connection now.
You support the iPhone as a capture device. Why don’t you support Android?
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.
Can I use the iPhone as a capture device in Dragonframe 3, or in Dragon Stop Motion 2?
No. You must use Dragonframe 4, along with Dragonframe Tether on the phone, in order to use it as a capture device.
Why don’t Olympus cameras work with macOS 10.11 (El Capitan)?
Well, it’s kind of technical… Basically Apple decided to use some of the same PTP event codes as Olympus, and so Apple does not pass the events on to the end application. They fixed it in macOS Sierra, but chose to leave it unresolved in El Capitan.
What lens do you recommend?
This is where a basic photography class could be helpful. There are all sorts of considerations for 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. We 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 with a Nikon to Canon lens adapter.
For Nikon cameras, use a Nikon manual aperture lens and put masking tape over the lens’ electrical contacts.
A manual aperture lens has a physical ring for controlling aperture. Do not get a ‘G’ series lens, which has no aperture ring.
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, taking care to note which versions of Dragonframe support the camera (if any). Follow any setup instructions provided. Then you will want to verify 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.
On macOS Catalina, Dragonframe detects my supported camera, but doesn’t seem to talk to it properly.
If your camera is supported, and you followed all of our setup instructions, and Dragonframe can’t seem to talk to it… it may be a permission issue.There was probably a point, when you first ran Dragonframe on macOS Catalina, that it asked if Dragonframe could access Photos… and you said ‘no’.
Dragonframe doesn’t actually access your Photo library, but for some reason macOS Catalina requires that permission in order for it to talk to your camera.To resolve the issue, go to the computer’s System Preferences and open the Security & Privacy section. Click Photos on the left, and then find Dragonframe on the right, and make sure the box is checked to give Dragonframe that permission.
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:
- Attach a Canon digital lens to the camera.
- Open the aperture as much as it can go (lowest f/stop number).
- Take a picture.
- 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.