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PGR FireFlyMV USB on Mac?

Sep 18 2013 | 11:32 am

I just picked up a FireFlyMV usb 2.0 to use as part of a performance because it seems to have excellent IR response and is pretty low cost. Unfortunately, it looks like I didn’t do all my research on Firewire vs USB 2.0. And when I asked PGR directly what the differences between the two versions were, they didn’t mention that USB is even less supported than the Firewire version on Mac. Neither is officially supported, so I can’t really blame them for not mentioning it.

I installed:
-the av.jit.iidc external that I found on these forums.

I’ve had no luck getting it to read anything in Max. The av.jit.iidc just responds "no camera found". (I managed to put the correct framework folder in place on my system so this object will load properly)

I’m aware that the libdc1394 is specifically for Firewire protocol, but it looks like Point Grey cameras are somehow communicating through that package even over their USB cameras.

Is there a way to bring this video into Max?

Can anyone recommend some steps I might try to get it working?

I installed the provided software on my Windows machine and it looks great. I’ve been considering trying to learn a bit of C++ and OpenFrameworks, but for what I’m trying to use it for, I’m much better in Max and would prefer to keep it in this software.

Thanks for any advice/help!

(I’m running Snow Leopard 10.6.8 & Max 6.1.2)

Sep 19 2013 | 12:01 am

Hi Jeremy,
You mentioned windows…have you tried running it though Max in windows? I’ve been using a Flea3 USB3 camera and a Firefly MV USB2 without any issues (via bootcamp, Windows 7). The trick is installing the right drivers. You need to run Max in 32-bit (since the quicktime components aren’t at 64-bit) and install the 32-bit Flycapture SDK (only to get all the appropriate drivers installed). Use jit.dx.grab to capture the video. I was getting 60fps with the Firefly and ~150fps with the Flea3. Works quite well once you get all the drivers installed.

Hope this helps!


Sep 19 2013 | 4:43 am

hi Jeremy,
i use the firewire version of FireFlyMV in Mac and im almost 100% sure that i didnt need install nothing to get it working… but possible that usb needs other things..

when you connect the camera did you see it in the MAC system information under usb devices?
also you can try with Skype to see if Mac recognize the camera…

nevertheless in Max you need to use jit.qt.grab with the right vdevice attribute
In the Max extras menu theres the JitterTester, did you see the camera under "Input Devices"?
or in the help of qt.grab click on "getvdevlist" and "getinputlist" to see if the camera cames up in the umenus

i didnt use it but i guess because the name that av.jit.iidc external is to send IIDC commands to change camera settings but no to get the video feed… btw jit.qt.grab is able to send iidc commands.

good luck.. its always tricky get this kind of this to work…

Sep 19 2013 | 5:23 am

David, thanks for the info. I do have access to a desktop Windows machine. I installed the drivers and software from PGR and the camera is working. I haven’t tested it with Max yet on that machine, but it seems to be working perfectly with its own software. I’m glad to hear that it integrates well with Max. I’d still love to get it working on my Macbook so I can work on this project away from the performance space, though.

Oscar, thanks for the ideas. Good call on checking the System Info… it is being identified ( I think properly), the manufacturer name is correct. It isn’t being found in Skype though, the only video input option is still iSight.

The JitterTester though shows nothing except my built-in iSight camera. It offers 3 different "Video Devices": "DV Video", "IIDC Firewire Video", and "USB Video Class Video". But all three route to the iSight, and only offer "iSight" as the Input Source.

I don’t remember the 2nd and 3rd of those options being there before, but it might be because I just installed the "libdc1394" and "libusb".

What I’ve read is that the Firewire version of this camera works pretty simply with Mac (been scouring OpenFramework and Cinder forums as well as Cycling), but the USB version communicates (seems pretty uniquely) over USB and through IIDC. People have gotten it to work in OF and Cinder on Mac, so it can’t be impossible. Just a matter of finding all the right pieces.

Sep 19 2013 | 8:56 am

Just make sure you heed my warning about 64 bit vs. 32 bit. It won’t work in Max without the 32 bit SDK installed, even if you do see it in point grey’s software.

And yes, the firewire version of PT’s cameras in general work on the mac. Not so much, as you’ve discovered, with USB. Curious to know if you get it to work. We tried for quite some time before giving up and porting our work to windows.


Sep 19 2013 | 1:10 pm

Very cool. Not ideal because most of my software isn’t Windows based, but I managed to do a duel boot with Windows 7 on my Macbook. You’re right David, works perfectly with the correct drivers installed.

I’m going to keep researching how to get it running on OS X.

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