Monday, November 12, 2018

Pixem Robotic Camera

Back in July, I pre-ordered the new Pixem robotic camera from Move N See in France, designed to work with a smart phone. I was really excited by the prospect of being able to seamlessly record, edit and upload to YouTube  any and all training videos going forward. They announced the Pixem had shipped via FB, and then email, while I was working the National Show in October. It was waiting for me when I got home. The learning curve has been a tad bit challenging, although it might be less challenging if I had actually read the manual before attempting to use it.

First thing to know: make sure you turn on the robot and then turn it back off again after charging otherwise the robot will self discharge. That means that the robot isn’t powered when you go to video yourself. I tried three times prior to finally reading through the manual to find out what the hell was the problem. (I’m special.) Your phone connects to the robot via the Pixem app, via the app store, so be sure that is downloaded as well.

Second thing to know: the beacons and robot can’t be too close toa lot of metal or it will lose the beacons because of interference. That was a problem to deal with because our indoor is a steel building. I ended up ordering four tripods from Amazon to hold both the robot and the beacons so that I could position them a little away from the walls. That seems to have fixed most of the issues, however I am going to try inverting the robot and place it next to the round pen rather than so close to the walls. The first night we tried to video the robot could not find the #2 beacon and kept spinning until it finally fell off the tripods because it had untwisted the screw in the botto of the robot. Doh!

Third thing to know: It is much easier to place the back of the phone against the solid brace on the top of the robot, rather than placing the screen against the brace. I really wanted to kick myself when that was described in the manually, because duh, but honestly, I did it that way three times before I figured it out. Part of the set up process is establishing the size of the object you are recording in the frame of the video before videoing, so the camera and phone know how to keep you centered as you ride closer and further away.

Read the Manual. 

I have been very impressed with the video that the phone takes, even at night when the lights are on in the arena.

The only bad part is where the robot loses me.

First attempt at a night time video

Warm up at the beginning of our lesson

Canter warm up at the beginning of our meeting

Working on the lead changes
This would go better if I was a better rider. And if I hadn't screwed Ashke up by cueing him from the outside and inside at the same time. I will need to work on the proper cue a lot of get it really set for him.

Second set, where we still look like we are flailing.

After lead changes, we go back and reestablish all of the stuff we've been working on, so he understands that lead changes are not everything we do.

Or the only thing we do.

Back to something we know.

More canter.
Seriously, it's like fifteen minutes of lead change followed by 45 minutes of trying to get back to where we were.

Going to something even slower and more precise.

Square corners.
He stumbled, which when viewed slowly via the camera, was a slip of his left hind in the footing.

I'm going to try moving the beacons and the robotic camera's positions to see if that helps with tracking. I will put the robot at  position 3 in the middle of the riding arena at the end, to see if there is less interference,  and made the necessary adjustments to the other beacons (#1 is diagonal across the arena from the robot, with #2 to the left of #1 and #3 to the right.)

I expect I will use it to track my progress in my lessons. Maybe not every week, but every other. It takes a good fifteen minutes to set up and take down, so that makes managing my time, my warm up, etc., more difficult.

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