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Lockdown Camper Van Build - not even slightly LR, but potentially useful bits!


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On 1/12/2021 at 6:28 PM, Jon W said:

When you have the van sizes sorted and cnc templates you could produce x-eng self build camper an kits. There is a big market for self build camper vans at the moment, but appreciate your time is probably rather taken up by your other work already

My Head of Dept actually suggested the same thing!  I don't think he was trying to get rid of me? 😉.  He lives (at weekends) in Truro and I think fancies the idea of using some of his land for some kind of 'Glamping' by building self contained camper pods that could be mass produced on a small scale, maybe in a 20' Shipping container with external cladding to make it look nice.

If we ever end up with a (planned) decent gap between films - it might happen!

I think you're right though.  There are plenty of companies who do CNC Routing but not many people who can design the bits.  I could maybe supply a kit as a set of profiles you get cut in your preferred material and assembly instructions.  Any idiot with a screwdriver could put the above together!  I had all the screw holes pilot drrilled so it guaranteed everything would be square.  The main problem I encountered was the van not being perfectly square!  The width at roof level is 12mm wider than at the floor - and a few other small errors.  It's plenty accurate enough for it's intended purpose - but it was an error to assume it would be spot on.

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51 minutes ago, cackshifter said:

I do like the stealth camper idea. I suppose if you wanted a 'window' you could always have a teeny camera and a screen inside. 

We've found with the ambulance that if it's nice out we just have the back doors open and if it's not... we're not missing much :lol:

Also windows (esp. glass ones) are incredible heat-sinks, I'm planning on double-glazing the ambulance with some perspex sheet shoved in the window recesses.

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It's bad enough you try to make a suitable living area out of a metal box, some bugger includes windows in it which condensate when the dog gets in and let all the warmth escape in the winter or heat the place up in the summer.

 

I loved my dormobile roof which had 2 big windows and 2 grp vents which opened to allow fresh air in....that was until i spent any time in the truck and now the grp vents are being boarded up and insulated and the windows will probably go the same way.  It's not as if i spend anytime in the truck looking out of them...they point to the sky when the roof is closed and i'll give myself a hernia looking out of them when the roof is up

 

 

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On 1/8/2021 at 4:13 PM, simonr said:

 

Here's actually one of the Land Rover bits!  The bed sits on Disco 3 anti roll bar bushes.  These give enough flexibility that they take up the length difference when the bed pitches or rolls.  

Are you planning the bed will see a lot of pitching and rolling? ;)

Lead screw mech looks interesting, i need to find a system to do lifting roof, and struggle to find commercial actuators with enough travel at sensible prices. 

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5 minutes ago, HoSS said:

Lead screw mech looks interesting, i need to find a system to do lifting roof, and struggle to find commercial actuators with enough travel at sensible prices. 

I used a worm reduction motor from AliExpress

A flexible shaft coupler - IIRC 10mm to 12mm

The ball screw was 1605 type from eBay

I was unable to find an off the shelf actuator which would do the job in the way I wanted.  The motor has a (low resolution) encoder built in.  I've used RobcClaw 15A controllers which will use the encoder plus limit switches to give you closed loop control.

In your case, you could just use the limit switches to disable further movement in that direction (using Diodes) - it doesn't need to be closed loop.  I used Worm Drives so they would hold position even when the motors were not powered.  They can be back-driven but it requires a lot of load on the ball screw.

Although my motor was quoted as 250rpm (the ball screw is 5mm pitch which gives 1250mm per min), in practice they are a bit faster than that.  The Motor and RoboClaw drive are 24V - so I've used a boost converter to increase the 12V to 24V

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Thanks will make a note of that.

Useful that they have an encoder. I think i'd need to use it as limit switches only sync at the end of travel, and the roof wont tolerate too much de-sync, it would jam.

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21 hours ago, simonr said:

I have 6 teensy cameras and one chunky reversing camera to give pretty reasonable situational awareness outside the vehicle.  What I'd really like to do is figure out how to stitch the images together such that I can look outside with VR Goggles.  There's bound to be software for it somewhere!

Ask and ye shall receive.

https://www.pyimagesearch.com/2016/01/25/real-time-panorama-and-image-stitching-with-opencv/

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34 minutes ago, Ed Poore said:

Thanks Ed - that's perfect!  I've followed a few of Adrian's OpenCV & TensorFlow examples.  This looks fairly straightforward.

I have a Khadas Vim3 board that was just waiting for something like this!

Si

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On 1/9/2021 at 1:18 PM, simonr said:

There was a day when I was driving to Pinewood - and felt so tired!  I realised that I was smiling and couldn't wait to get there!

On one hand, I wish I'd found it years ago - but on the other, it's the experience gained in Industry (and X-Eng) that makes me useful!

I think a lot of people here would fit in very well in SFX.  There are a lot of LR Enthusiasts there.  Always worth enquiring, any of you looking for a change of career!  It requires a certain kind of eccentricity and enthusiasm that I've only ever seen elsewhere in the LR Community.

I did some driving work on the film 'Charlotte Gray' in Lochaber and was tasked with collecting the WesCam crew from Inverness airport and taking them to the helipad so they could kit out the camera on the local helicopter they'd chartered, then drive them down to Fort William. The two camera guys were really pushed for time and seemed to be struggling so when one got frustrated over not being able to reach tools I offered to help and was told to go away as it was "specialised work" (!) but I persisted and said look I know a metric socket when I see one yada yada yada and soon we were all in it together lifting, threading, bolting assembling and generally getting it done! It was even better when they started assembling the cameras  (I'm a professional photographer) and we got on great. Result was they invited me for dinner that night, and insisted to the Location Manager that I get to be on set to be film runner when the chopper landed to change rolls. So I ended up lurking in bushes and sprinting out with fresh reels, and carefully handling exposed rolls until the shoot ended. It was dramatic stuff with the train passing, chopper flying alongside - one of those 'if it goes belly-up its a nightmare to redo' shoots with a tight weather window as well as the normal service train schedule to contend with too. Great fun but bloody hard and nerve-wracking work!

 

Your van project is brilliant!

Edited by Jocklandjohn
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If we're doing bragging rights for films, i pee'd up the tree the kid climbs at the beginning of Robin Hood ( the Kevin Costner one ).

 

It's along Hadrians Wall if you feel inclined to do it as well :D

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On 1/14/2021 at 8:44 PM, simonr said:

I have 6 teensy cameras and one chunky reversing camera to give pretty reasonable situational awareness outside the vehicle. 

There are some not-so-expensive 3D multicam systems i was looking at. You calibrate the cameras and the box stiches together a full 3D view, even from above.

e.g https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Real-HD-3D-car-360-surround_60706260945.html?spm=a2700.details.deiletai6.3.a5e118628BCtEt

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3 hours ago, HoSS said:

There are some not-so-expensive 3D multicam systems i was looking at. You calibrate the cameras and the box stiches together a full 3D view, even from above.

e.g https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Real-HD-3D-car-360-surround_60706260945.html?spm=a2700.details.deiletai6.3.a5e118628BCtEt

Thay are certainly worth a look.  That's the kind of thing I was hoping for. 

My worry, as with many bits of Chinese consumer technology, they only kind of work.  in 2019, I bought an Android Car Radio and while it essentially worked, the user interface was terrible!  The physical volume knob worked on some sources but not others (depending on which Android Audio stream they happened to use).  That was just one example of dozens that I found.  I ended up sending it back to Amazon, bought a branded one which worked OK.  The software interface had either been rushed or just cobbled together - maybe both.

With a 360 Camera system, there is a lot of installation, calibration & setup involved - and I worry that once it's done, the result will be dissappointing.

I'll see if I can find any objective reviews before I take the plunge!

Si

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15 hours ago, Jocklandjohn said:

I did some driving work on the film 'Charlotte Gray' in Lochaber.

Most departments are, initially, a bit territorial!  I think it's because, you often only get one shot and if it doesn't go well, the reputational damage can be permanent.

That said, once you make friends & they (we) see that you might actually know what you're doing, they tend to be fantastic - it's just breaking the ice that can be hard.

Effects tends to be everybodies friend!  Mostly because we are the only department with a wide range of metal fabrication & machining facilities.  We put a lot of effort into 'doing favours' - and they pay dividends later on when we need help later on.

There's a lot of filming going on in Scotland and Ireland at the moment.  There is a new Studio complex being built in Port Leith, Edinburgh with Disney apparently going to use it for the Marvel franchise - just sayin' 😉

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40 minutes ago, landroversforever said:

Si, do you end up doing much building/tweaking of stuff on site with some kind of mobile workshop wagon?

Sometimes - but usually we have a workshop close enough to the action.

SFX is split into two bits - Workshop & Floor.  Floor is intended to run things on the studio (or location) floor while workshop build them.  There's a fair cross-over between the two.   Floor have a 'Unit Truck' which is equipped with limited workshop facilities - welding, cutting, drilling so they can 'MacGyver' (If you're Floor & reading this, pretend I said 'Improvise' 😉) solutions to problems that occur and need instant fixes.  Anything major comes back to the workshop crew, although the fix might take place on the stage.

For Location work (I spent the summer of 2019 in Tbilisi on F9) we will set up a decent workshop so much of the fabrication and all the repairs can happen locally.  Tbilisi was the first location I've been posted to.  It was very high pressure (and extremely hot!) - but great fun too.  The people in Tbilisi / Georgia were amazing!

There's also an 'Action Vehicles' Department, usually separate to SFX - who deal with vehicles used on Camera.  There is a lot of colaboration between us as many of the vehicles are involved in Effects or have them built in.  We tend only to get involved in Vehicles directly when we're going to throw them, or blow them up!  On Hobbs & Shaw then Fast9 we worked very closely.  I'm nothing but impressed with their skill & attention to detail - it makes me feel a bit inadequate some of the time!  Vehicles is (obviously) staffed by Car enthusiasts, including a few LR ones!  For me, that's proven a useful ice-breaker as they can see I'm (almost) one of them!

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On 1/17/2021 at 2:14 PM, simonr said:

Thay are certainly worth a look.  That's the kind of thing I was hoping for. 

My worry, as with many bits of Chinese consumer technology, they only kind of work.  in 2019, I bought an Android Car Radio and while it essentially worked, the user interface was terrible!  The physical volume knob worked on some sources but not others (depending on which Android Audio stream they happened to use).  That was just one example of dozens that I found.  I ended up sending it back to Amazon, bought a branded one which worked OK.  The software interface had either been rushed or just cobbled together - maybe both.

With a 360 Camera system, there is a lot of installation, calibration & setup involved - and I worry that once it's done, the result will be dissappointing.

I'll see if I can find any objective reviews before I take the plunge!

Si

Yeah i have the same concerns, it might be worth a punt, i'll do some more research also.

There are more professional things the same made by Bosch and Valeo, but you can add a 0 onto the price.

Theres a few reviews on amazon for that same box all positive, but one is never sure if thats posted by the seller....

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On 1/17/2021 at 3:55 PM, simonr said:

Sometimes - but usually we have a workshop close enough to the action.

SFX is split into two bits - Workshop & Floor.  Floor is intended to run things on the studio (or location) floor while workshop build them.  There's a fair cross-over between the two.   Floor have a 'Unit Truck' which is equipped with limited workshop facilities - welding, cutting, drilling so they can 'MacGyver' (If you're Floor & reading this, pretend I said 'Improvise' 😉) solutions to problems that occur and need instant fixes.  Anything major comes back to the workshop crew, although the fix might take place on the stage.

For Location work (I spent the summer of 2019 in Tbilisi on F9) we will set up a decent workshop so much of the fabrication and all the repairs can happen locally.  Tbilisi was the first location I've been posted to.  It was very high pressure (and extremely hot!) - but great fun too.  The people in Tbilisi / Georgia were amazing!

There's also an 'Action Vehicles' Department, usually separate to SFX - who deal with vehicles used on Camera.  There is a lot of colaboration between us as many of the vehicles are involved in Effects or have them built in.  We tend only to get involved in Vehicles directly when we're going to throw them, or blow them up!  On Hobbs & Shaw then Fast9 we worked very closely.  I'm nothing but impressed with their skill & attention to detail - it makes me feel a bit inadequate some of the time!  Vehicles is (obviously) staffed by Car enthusiasts, including a few LR ones!  For me, that's proven a useful ice-breaker as they can see I'm (almost) one of them!

Have you found CGI taking away some of your trade or is it going the other way now? 

I read about the Need for Speed film where they did all the stunts and action in real life and used zero CGI.

Personally too much CGI just kills it for me...disaster movies after Independance Day had no wow factor :lol:

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There is Always CGI / VFX!  Even on Mad Max!  Sometimes it's just removing cables & rigging from shots - and sometimes they are the shot!

The reason Directors like it, is because it gives them a few months more to think about the content, rather than having to make a final decision on the day.  I think, sometimes it's not the CGI that is the problem.  The CGI is trying to fix the lack of decision on the day.

There are some excellent bits of CGI that really makes me wonder if it was CGI (even when I know it was).  Unfortunately, the flip side of that is that when an incredible practical effect is pulled off, people assume it's CG!

I don't think it spoils films - though it can, as can practical effects when done badly.  It has really made us up our game though, as now we have real competition!

For SFX it has made us embrace motion control & robotics (which really suits me!). 

Someone from Disney told me, one thing you cannot CGI is fear!  We can subconciously see if an actor is frightened and you cannot act it.  If an actor is pretending to fall off a building, waving their arms around in front of a green screen - the look in their eyes is very different to really throwing them off a building, even if they know are going to land safely on crash-mats.  So, I guess part of our job is to frighten actors - but in the way a roller-coaster does - in a very safety controlled environment.

For that to work, we do need CGI to remove all of our machinery, wires, cables, robots etc.  When it works well, the result is fantastic.  Taking the best bits of both practical and visual effects & merging them to give an even better performance than either could do alone.  Both are equally important.

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1 hour ago, simonr said:

Someone from Disney told me, one thing you cannot CGI is fear!  We can subconciously see if an actor is frightened and you cannot act it.  If an actor is pretending to fall off a building, waving their arms around in front of a green screen - the look in their eyes is very different to really throwing them off a building, even if they know are going to land safely on crash-mats.  So, I guess part of our job is to frighten actors - but in the way a roller-coaster does - in a very safety controlled environment.

Case in point - Alan Rickman being dropped off Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard :D

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