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Old May 26th, 2008, 06:14 PM   #1
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Is there a place for us in the digital cinema revolution?

Sorry for the title. I couldn't explain it in just a few words. This is what I want to talk about in this thread:

So far low cost Digital Cinema has taken two different ways:

- One in which you get 35mm DOF but also cristal clear clean and grainless images which are not very filmlike (i.e. RED One compared to classic film image)

- The other offers an image and motion feeling quite close to film but DOF is a bit closer to video (i.e. SI2K)

Now I'm not saying this is a bad thing. I'm a great supporter of digital cinema and I know we're living a revolution in which people like us can get closer to movie studios in terms of image and resolution for a little fraction of the price they spend. And this is just the beginning. In a year from now we'll be able to shoot in 5K with the RED Epic, the first digital camera to achieve more real resolution than standard 35mm film (it's said that 4K debayered is actually quite close to 2K film in terms of resolution). The RED Scarlet will also offer 3K digital cinema to anyone with $3,000 who wants to shoot anything from a vacation to a real movie. And again I'm sure that'll be just the beginning!

Now, while all this is getting me excited about all the new possibilities, it's also making me a bit nervous about the fate of old 35mm image. And I'm saying "image" because I want to believe there's a place in this digital revolution for people like me who want to shoot digital because it's fast, easy and cheap but want to keep an image, motion feeling and DOF as close to real 35mm film as possible. The NOX camera is actually the best solution for this I've seen so far. It can be considered low cost but it's still a bit expensive for me. That's why I didn't give up trying to find a way for really low budgets to shoot digital with an image that looks like "old" 35mm film.

I've been researching again and I still think the perfect cam would be half digital, half mechanical, with a 2K sensor delivering RAW images to the computer or some kind of storage media and a 35mm adapter to add the organic grain and subtle softness that 35mm film is full of.

I'll sure buy a Scarlet next year. I don't have any doubt about it because it's just too good to be true, but I'll also have my little (or big) DIY HD or 2K cinema camera for little personal projects.

If any of you want to help me in my search for equipent, I'm basically looking for an OEM board level 2K or FullHD camera that's able to deliver RAW or low compressed video to a computer or media card. Just like the Aptina/Ambarella Devkit I recently talked about, but with a little more quality and less compression.

I'll keep you all posted on new finds.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:50 AM   #2
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What happened with Sumix Camera?
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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:39 PM   #3
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http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....&postcount=388

Take a look at this.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #4
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In the last days I thought of a new option for a FullHD cam (not 2K). Aptina offers not only demo boards and bare sensors, but also headboards for $250 which have a standard 26pin connector compatible with devices such as this one:

http://www.actel.com/products/soluti...y/demokit.aspx

Ok, this is just an LCD kit but it's a first step. Now we can actually see what our camera is pointing at with a 7" 800x480 screen which is also great for focusing. It also has a DVI in, so I though that maybe it's possible to find another device that's compatible with the CMOS headboard and has a DVI out or HDMI out. I contacted Ambarella to see if they have demo boards for their A3 chip series (which compresses up to 1920x1080p60). Hopefully they have some kind of usable output (HDMI, SD card...). If we find another compatible device with HDMI out, there're a few HDMI FullHD recorders coming out soon. If it has DVI out, we can use this (combined with a MiniITX computer) to create a fully working camera:

http://www.epiphan.com/products/product.php?pid=88

I contacted them and found that this device can compress (in silicon) lossless up to 1920x1200 and framerate can be fixed.

Now we just need something to interface the headboard and the DVI2USB+Computer.
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