Thread: Using Impero and Birger

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  1. #1 Using Impero and Birger 
    Current recommended software = RED build 20 or above (including build 30) with Birger lens library 20d with Birger BEI firmware 1.1.10 with Impero firmware 2.1

    To download relevant software go:

    READ THE RELEASE NOTES AVAILABLE AT BIRGER'S WEBSITE. In particular, the current capabilities of the Impero are substantial and non-intuitive. You will not be able to take full advantage of its capabilities without those notes.

    Best to get your mount communicating over bluetooth with your computer first. Download the BEI software from the above link and install it. With your Birger mount installed and camera turned on (ie. Impero neither on nor connected), open up the software...when you're prompted for a passkey, its the serial for example, your bluetooth connection will say Birger 0xxxx wants to pair and needs a passkey. 0xxxx is your passkey. You should be able to gain control of your mount.

    To update Impero leave batteries out of your Impero or turn it off if its got batteries. While depressing the two buttons on the sides of the Impero (Auto 1 and Auto 2) plug it into the middle port on the right side of the Birger mount. In the BEI interface on the computer look under the HELP tab and click on 'update software'. Follow instructions to update both the Impero and the lens library.

    After you're Impero is upgraded to build 1.5 or higher you will not need to depress the two buttons on the side in order to accomplish further updates.

    To obtain distance information, in the BEI interface, while the Impero is connected, hit the 'configure' button and choose protocol 18.6.4. You can close the BEI interface. Go into your RED and the menus. You'll have to make two changes: 1. system>setup>display>lens data and also 2. system>setup>remote>s4i

    To pair your Impero wirelessly...close your computer's BEI interface so that the Impero's bluetooth does not conflict with the BEI's bluetooth. Turn on camera and plug in Birger mount, then turn on Impero while holding 'I' button -- radios should eventually pair. Once paired the first time they will find each other the next time; you do not need to hold the 'I' button each time.

    Calibrating the Impero to the mount = hold down 'CAL' button when on 'F' = focus calibration. hold down 'CAL' button when on 'I' = iris calibration.

    If you have lots of inexplicable beeps and lights going on/off put in fresh batteries - to conserve battery power adjust settings in the BEI interface so that your Impero is not so power intensive

    Mounting Options for Impero - noga arm into lower left 1/4 - 20 socket on the RED camera body. The RED arms that come with EVF and LCD screens are noga arms. Even nicer (and still not very expensive) use the Manfrotto Nano Clamp, as per this post:

    To collimate your lens mount (check for Jay Kelly's birger specific video and Doug Underhaul's collimating video)
    ** make sure the lens you are using to collimate with does not itself require back focus adjustments!! **

    Lenses that work smoothly using Impero's "normal focusing mode":

    Canon EF L USM 24mm f/1.4
    Canon EF L USM 35mm f/1.4
    Canon EF L USM 50mm f/1.2
    Canon EF L II USM 85mm f/1.2

    Canon EFs USM 10-22 f/3.5-
    Canon EF L II USM 16-35mm f/2.8
    Canon EF L USM 24-70mm f/2.8
    Canon EF L USM 70-200 f/4
    Canon EF USM DO 75-300 f/4.5-

    Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 * w/ issues at infinity and short focus, the AF motor spins.

    Lenses that work smoothly using Impero's "alternate focusing mode":

    Canon EF L USM 135mm f/2.0
    Canon EF L USM 200mm f/2.8

    Canon EFs IS USM 17-55mm f/2.8
    Canon EF L IS USM 70-200mm f/2.8

    Canon Extender 1.4x + Canon EF L USM 135mm f/2.0
    Canon Extender 1.4x + Canon EF L USM 200mm f/2.8
    Canon Extender 1.4x + Canon EF L IS USM 70-200mm f/2.8

    Lenses that do not work smoothly:

    Canon EF L USM Macro 180mm f/3.5 * Aperture is ok, but no focusing
    Canon MP-E 1-5x Macro 65mm f/2.8 * Aperture does not work
    Canon EFs II 50mm f/1.8 * choppy/noisy (extremely cheap lens but now you know!)
    Canon EFs 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 * a bit noisy, but not bad -- usable
    Sigma EX APO 120-300mm f/2.8 * focus does not work at all, manual focus is fabulous on this lens though
    Tamron XR Di 28-75mm f/2.8 * very noisy.

    If you see something incorrect with the above instructions please pm me or add the comment to the end of this thread
    Last edited by paul engstrom; 08-05-2009 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Updated information
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  2. #2  
    From another thread Erik writes:

    "Imperos as shipped only do wireless focus. Hold "I" button on power up and the radios will eventually pair. This connection should be non-volatile, so re-pairing is not needed, and you can just turn the unit on next time. Short press of the "CAL" button gets focus calibration. Long press (until it beeps) gets focus and iris. If you do a long cal, pushing "I" and "F" changes the axis. Wired control and smoother focus/iris will be released some time next week.

    Lens mount software versions: 20A and 19X are the only supported versions with the red camera, even though 19Y is the only version that gives a smooth iris with the current Impero software. This is a fluke, as the Impero does not set the right mode for iris in the current software. Everybody should move to 20A and let us know if there are any issues. Mac app is ahead of the PC app, and allows for some additional debug tools with the camera, such as disabling the communications over the i/data port"
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  3. #3  
    To find lens libraries, software, etc. from Birger go to:
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  4. #4 Rebooting tip 
    Senior Member Stephen Strangways's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Hamilton, ON, Canada
    Found in the Birger Lens Mount Reservations thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Crabtree View Post
    Instead of rebooting the Red try just pulling out the power cable from the Birger, wait five second and plug it back in, this will power cycle the mount. Then hold the I button on the Impero as you turn it on, that will force the Impero to search for the Birger and sync to it.
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  5. #5  
    For those experiencing some 'jumpiness' with lens control and issues with idata...

    From Erik:

    "If you are running the newest mac app, and have run "Configure Device", please reconfigure the 3rd party protocol support for "". This gives the proper combination of protocol elements. If the camera is misbehaving, please disable 3rd party protocol support to determine if this is contributing to the problem. If disabling 3rd party protocol support helps camera behavior, please contact Birger for further instructions."
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Billy McCannon's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    I'm running Camera Build 18beta with Birger 20A. Camera is unstable unless 3rd party protocol is disabled.

    I'd like to upgrade to Red 20 but not if I'm going to get more grief from the Birger.

    Which camera build/configuration is currently giving the best performance?

    This has been answered - B20/20a
    Last edited by Billy McCannon; 06-25-2009 at 04:07 PM. Reason: Erik answered this in an email.
    Billy McCannon

    Amulet Studios
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Stephen Strangways's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Hamilton, ON, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Widding View Post
    First release of new Impero software was released yesterday. It can be found at:

    This update is for the more computer savy people out there, who are capable of following directions. An automated process will be in the MAC app in a couple of days.

    New features are smooth iris, smooth focus, and independent axis calibration. All units shipped by birger, on or after yesterday already have this software installed. ONLY units shipped from birger, with a sticker inside the battery compartment "BIRGER 00001-000XX" in red print, can be field upgraded

    If you have a unit from birger with "preproduction software", you will know this if I told you such, you need to send back for reprogramming. This is only three people. Or, if if you received your Impero from Viewfactor, you are also out of luck, until ViewFactor upgrades it for you the first time.

    Big change in behavior is independent axis calibration. "CAL" button only does the active axis (i.e. "F" or "I") and returns the lens to the same position as the knob. If you need to reset the zero position on the knob, push "FN" + "CAL".
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  8. #8  
    info updated in top post
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  9. #9  
    Is this the main Birger troubleshooting thread? I just got my mount and Impero today. Installed fine, Impero paired with Birger and works but seems to drift and focus is a little steppy/jerky.

    I can't seem to get my Mac to see the Birger so I can't tell what versions I'm using.

    I'm also not seeing any lens data in viewfinder. I hope that doesn't mean there's a problem with hooking the i-cable up--that was a bear to get connected.

    Help appreciated on the Bluetooth and everything else.
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  10. #10  
    re: Mac...try this:

    turn off your Impero.

    go into your laptop's bluetooth settings and work through the menus to try and find the Birger mount. you've got different options, setting up devices, looking for discoverables, etc. If you're asked for a password, try the serial number, etc.

    periodically unplug and replug your mount into the back of the camera as that may help.

    *** this assumes you've downloaded the BEI software from Birger's site.

    Your problem is probably in your laptop (ie. some setting is hindering you from finding the mount.

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