Software to control multiple Canon EOS digital SLRs from a single PC running Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7. Designed for movie special effects such as the "bullet time" or "time slice" effects made famous by the movie "The Matrix", stereo video capture for 3D movies, product shots, panorama photography and other specialist applications requiring multiple cameras.
Parties and events: Multi-Camera used to control 5 Canon DSLRs with flash
Animated GIF created automatically using the Multi-Camera Animator utility included with Multi-Camera
Shooting a car advertisement at Santa Monica Airport
(Multi-Camera controlling 120 Canon EOS 30D cameras using 5 laptops)
Multi-Camera - Use a single PC to control multiple Canon EOS 7D Mark II, EOS 7D, EOS 6D Mark II, EOS 6D, EOS 80D, EOS 77D, EOS 70D, EOS 60D, EOS 50D, EOS 40D, EOS 30D, 3000D/4000D, 1500D/2000D/Rebel T7, 1300D/Rebel T6, 1200D/Rebel T5, 1100D/Rebel T3, 1000D/Rebel XS, 800D/Rebel T7i, 760D/Rebel T6s, 750D/Rebel T6i, 700D/Rebel T5i, 650D/Rebel T4i, 600D/Rebel T3i, 550D/Rebel T2i, 500D/Rebel T1i, 450D/Rebel XSi, 400D/Rebel XTi, 200D/Rebel SL2, 100D/Rebel SL1, 5DSR, 5DS, 5D Mark IV, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark II, 1D Mark IV, 1D Mark III, 1Ds Mark III, 1D X Mark II, 1D X, 1D C, EOS R or M50 cameras. Multiple PCs can be networked together to control larger arrays of cameras.
Multi-Camera has similar functionality to the single camera version (DSLR Remote Pro for Windows). It includes the following multi-camera related features:
The cameras need to be connected to the PC using standard USB cables. The USB standard specifies a maximum cable length of 5m (approx 16 feet) but cables should be kept as short as possible to improve reliability.
If the PC doesn't have enough spare USB ports you can use USB hubs e.g. a 4-port USB hub connected to the PC with a 4-port USB hub connected to each of its outputs to give 16 USB ports to which to connect the cameras. Externally powered USB ports tend to be more reliable than those powered from the USB connection. There should be no more than three USB hubs between each camera and the computer.
It is best to avoid active USB extender cables because these are actually single port USB hubs on the end of a cable and are not very reliable.
The maximum number of cameras that can be controlled from one PC depends on the computer hardware. Most laptops should be able to control up to 16 cameras. Desktop PCs generally have better USB interfaces than laptops and can control more cameras. Larger arrays of cameras can be controlled using several computers networked together. A copy of Multi-Camera can be run on each computer and download the images to a shared drive on the network, naming each file according to which camera took the photo. Multi-Camera can also apply camera settings such as shutter speed, aperture and ISO to all the cameras on the network.
If all the cameras need to be triggered at the same time they need to be triggered via their remote release sockets. You can build your own trigger system or purchase a commercial trigger such as the TriggerBox from Esper Design.
The cameras can also be triggered from Multi-Camera via the USB connection without using camera trigger hardware, but this will result in the cameras firing one after the other with approximately 1/10 sec between each camera.
Please see this page for more information on triggering cameras.
For best results the cameras should be set to manual focus and triggered via the remote release sockets. The information below is for guidance purposes only. Please see this page for more information.
Triggering still photos via USB without using separate camera trigger hardware: The cameras will fire one after the other with a delay of approximately 1/10th sec between each camera e.g. with 4 cameras camera #2 will fire approximately 1/10th sec after camera #1, camera #3 will fire approximately 1/5th sec after camera #1 and camera #4 will fire approximately 3/10th sec after camera #1
Triggering still photos via the remote release socket: The cameras all fire at the same time within the tolerances of their shutter lag. For best results the AF signal should be activated before taking the photos e.g. by half-pressing the shutter release first and then fully pressing it to take the photos. If all the cameras are of the same model they will typically all fire within a few milliseconds of each other however occasionally a camera will have a longer shutter lag and may be out of sync with the other cameras by several milliseconds. The synchronization tends to be more consistent if mirror lockup is used.
Triggering video capture via USB: The cameras will fire one after the other with a delay of approximately 1/10th sec between each camera e.g. with 4 cameras camera #2 will fire approximately 1/10th sec after camera #1, camera #3 will fire approximately 1/5th sec after camera #1 and camera #4 will fire approximately 3/10th sec after camera #1
Triggering video capture via the remote release socket: It isn't possible to trigger video capture using the camera's remote release socket with current camera models.
Do the cameras all have to be the same model? Ideally yes, the cameras should be all the same model because this will make it easier to synchronize them. Different camera models have different shutter lags and so if the rig is entirely made up of the same camera model they can all be triggered at the same time and will all take a photo at the same time (to within a few milliseconds). If the rig contains a mixture of different camera models they will need to be triggered at slightly different times in order for them all to take a photo at the same time. This will require a more sophisticated trigger system with programmable delays on each channel.
Multi-Camera comes with a utility which can automatically create animated GIFs and MP4 videos from the photos downloaded from the cameras. It stabilizes the images by adjusting for pan, tilt, roll and zoom and then automatically creates an animated GIF or MP4 video of the sequence. The utlity can chroma-key (aka green screen) the photos to replace the background and add optional overlays. Click here for more information about the Multi-Camera Animator utility.
Alternatively, Adobe After Effects can be used to create more complex sequences and effects. After Effects has sophisticated motion tracking which can be used to stabilize the images from the cameras, adjusting for minor errors in camera alignment and use batch processing to help automate the process.
Part of an array of 120 Canon EOS 30D cameras controlled using 5 laptops running
Product photography on a grand scale!
Multi-Camera used to control 7 Canon Digital Rebel XTi cameras to take
photographs of cars for auction in a dedicated photo bay
(Photo courtesy of Florida Auto Auction of Orlando)
Final preparations for the car advertisement shot at Santa Monica Airport
(Multi-Camera controlling 120 Canon EOS 30D cameras using 5 laptops)