Like many conferences in 2020, ARM’s conference on development is available online. The videos of the summit are online until November 28th, but if you want to see them, you will need to register to see them by October 28. To register, go to this site. The conference list having the following tracks for their presentations.
While it is possible to run Visual Studio Code on a Raspberry Pi or a NVIDIA Jetson, the process previously had a few challenges. With one method, a user could grab the code from Microsoft and compile it for their device. This was time consuming and required that a person perform some steps to be set up for development. An easier method involved acquiring a build from a third party source. The issue there is the user must trust the third party source. Now these are no longer issues because Microsoft provides ARM binaries for Visual Studio Code. The installation can be done on both devices with the same steps.
To install VS code, navigate to VisualStudio.com and click on the Learn More link on the Visual Studio Code box. From there, if you click on Other Platforms you will see all of the downloads that are available for Visual Studio Code. For the Jetson series of hardware you will want to download the ARM64 deb installer. For Raspberry Pi, if you are using the a 64-bit OS installation grab an ARM64 build. Otherwise grab the ARM build.
After the build has downloaded, open a terminal and navigate to the folder where you saved the ARM file. From the terminal type the following command.
sudo dpkg -i name_of_file.deb
An actual file name should replace name_of_file.deb. After a minute or two the installation completes. You can start VS Code from the command line by typing the command code and pressing Enter. You can also find it within your program files. Videos of the installation are available below.
I decided to make the switch from using my Microsoft LifeCam or the camera built into the computer to using my DSLR. When I made the switch, I didn’t disclose that I was using a different camera. I wanted to see if anyone noticed. It was noticed, and almost distracting😊! I received a few questions from coworkers from what I was doing different. In response, I’ve made this post and a video. In the video at the end of this post, you can see comparisons of quality for the cameras that I had used.
Note that some cameras can already be use as web cameras by downloading a firmware update or other camera specific software. You may want to check if your camera has this functionality available before making any purchases.
Canon 5D Mark II with Remote Focusing Motor
There are two primary pieces of hardware that are needed. Everything else is optional or can be improvised. The first is a camera that will produce clean HDMI output. By “Clean” I mean without the user interface elements on it. For a camera that supports this you may have to change a setting instructing it not show the UI elements on the output. You also will want to be able to disable the power saving features of the camera so that it does not power off while using it.
The second item that you need is an HDMI capture device that the computer “sees” as a Web Cam. Right now, the popular unit is the CamLink 4K. I’ve used a few of these for my day job and while they work, they also sometimes have errors that is just plain annoying. The device sometimes looses video signal. When it does, the only way I’ve been able to get it back is to unplug it and plug it back in. Another option that is not out yet is an HDMI capture decide from ATMOS. This device isn’t out yet, so I can’t recommend on its reliability. But I think it is worth considering.
Cam Link 4K HDMI Capture Device
The basic setup is to connect the HDMI capture device to the camera, turn the camera on, and plug it into a computer to use it as a web camera. That should be it, everything should work with no software installation required. For my setup, I do have additional hardware. While a table-top tripod would work, I prefer not to have fixtures take up space on my desk. To minimize the space being consumed I’m using a photography clamp to set an anchor point on the desk. A tripod extension attached to the clamp supports the camera. So that I can have the camera positioned as needed, I have a ball head between the camera and the tripod extension.
My camera is an older unit. It is a Canon 5D Mark III. A feature this camera does not have is refocusing automatically. Though even if it did, since my favourite lenses are fully manually, I would not have access to autofocus anyway. A potential focusing issue (since I prefer a shallow depth of field with my background blurred out) is that manual focusing on one’s self can be difficult. To adjust the focus I have to move to be able to reach the camera. But if I move then I am no longer in the field of vision where I need to be to know whether or not the camera is properly focused. The solution that I’m using for this the Nucleus-N wireless focusing unit. The Nucleus-N is composed of a wireless focusing knob and a motor that attached to the camera. When the knob is turned, the motor reacts and adjusts the lens.
If I were trying to setup this up from scratch and had to acquire a camera today, I would consider a mirrorless camera. The Canon EOS R and the Sony Alpha a7 would be at the top of my list.