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Old October 30th, 2004, 06:28 AM   #31
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Hey Rai,

We're not criticizing your move to purchase the camera when you did. We're talking to the people who are just about to purchase a camera AND then planning on upgrading to the Altasens. A little bit of waiting and they can have the Altasens and skip some of the pain and frustration of using an inferior camera chip.

Also, if I may ask, how much did it cost to machine your enclosure? I'm looking at going to a machine-shop for my enclosure, and was wondering how much it might cost (ballpark figure).

Thanks.
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Old October 30th, 2004, 07:02 AM   #32
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jason Rodriguez : ,
.... A little bit of waiting and they can have the Altasens and skip some of the pain and frustration of using an inferior camera chip.
-->>>

Look at the sample video, and you understand why we far away from frustration.

I say it again: After testing the SUMIX camera we send it back to SUMIX. Like Ben said, it is absolutely useless for film making. Also every other camera with rolling shutter.

...upgrading to the Altasens? My comany had ordered a altasens evalution kit. But after all test with our camera, like this sample video from Markus, i see not a reason why we change our camera. Yes, we will test Altasens out, but its not the only chip we will test.

And if you see the Altasens price, you will have a reason for frustration. A little bit more and there are Sensors near the new ARRI range (with full 35mm size).
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Old October 30th, 2004, 07:08 AM   #33
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More shooting experience, more clips.

www.drachenfeder.com/int/hand1.avi

it's an extreme DOF shot. Today divx is not my friend and I didn't find the best settings so I also uploaded a still image as a bmp file

www.drachenfeder.com/int/hand_still.bmp

And we did the other night some shots. So here are two critical night shots to show lowlight situations:

www.drachenfeder.com/int/feuer1.avi
www.drachenfeder.com/int/fackel1.avi

(the "effect" comes from the hot air of the fireplace you saw in the shot before)

The shots are not color corrected. The chip tends to green. Well darkness is really the enemy of IBIS 5-A. But anyway the test proofed that it's usable with a decent A/D hardware. The noise is tollerable under the given circumstences. The scene is illuminated with two 800W Arri Spots from the roofs, each 4 meters away, turned half way to flood, one 200W spot for the doorframe, turned to flood plus the original torch.

The Chip was set to 3db gain and we applied a cine spline gamma curve to pronounce the shadow parts. I don't like those harsh contours to seperate foreground from backround so we tried to establish different grey tones in the scene. I think it worked well. Don't know if I would have been brave enought to try this with some Kodak Vision material...

Last night we found a very good extreme lowlight setting and I will do some test shots tonight, like somebody will hold a candle in his hand and nothing else. We will see how that will come out. Also we will do a small action scene tomorrow with lots of movement and motion blur. The 24 frames clocked along with the shutter settings allow a very nice motion blur, that we saw already in the tests.

Any other ideas to define critical shots to try? (Preferably ones I can use for real scince the shooting shedule is tight right now :)

Greets
Markus

*Relaxed waiting for Altasens
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Old October 30th, 2004, 12:49 PM   #34
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Hello Markus, Just downloaded your shots. Looks good. Later I will get them over to the HD system. Yesterday I showed your footage to a group of filmmakers and some thought that this was a clip from a trailer. I did a DVD of those two clips and the one with the lady looks amazing.

Of course the lines were visible, but I'm sure that is not a normal thing. What is it by the way! It reminds me when I use rear net filters and the back focus catches it or if light strikes the net grid on rear lens filters.

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Old October 30th, 2004, 01:31 PM   #35
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The "lines" are one of the flaws of this chip. It's connected to the color filter. So if you don't be careful you have them in the image! Fortunalty there is a way to filter them out with mathematics. I couldn't believe that it't possible at all without lossing "quality" but it works. Currently we have a test setup with a sliding bar in the camera control software, so if they show up you can control certain parameters while recording. Scince the raw data goes through a development process afterwards you can apply all kinds of those filters before storing the raw data as an uncompressed avi to the editing PC. So basicaly all shots have lines, that's important to know. In the shot with the lady there was an aditional problem with the bright areas. In pure white you need a differnent algorhythm then in dark parts. When there is time I "render" a celaned up image from the converter software.

We found out that it's best to think about the contrasts of your shots while shooting and to apply the right gamma curves. If you do too much in post the problems may show up again. Luckily the gamma path function got finished so now we can define all kinds of setups. Like I said with the nightshot. I wanted to pronounce the dark parts and changed the gama curve to a point were everything I wanted was in place. No we can do the color corection and apply the "look" (like the bronze look in the "take1" shot) without having to squeeze the gamma curve too much.

I belive that the "online" gamma curve adjustment is in general the best method, indipendend on the image sensor used. So I asked the programmers to make it usable in the recording software and controllable on the camera screen while shooting. And it works...
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Old October 30th, 2004, 04:57 PM   #36
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hi Markus,
I see that you are talking about software, is this software somthing you are developing I see taht it is propietary of the cmos interface, could you be more specific about your seup and software availavility.
regards
Marto
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Old October 30th, 2004, 06:22 PM   #37
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markus ,rai the clips you have provided are beautiful .can't wait for all the detail's of the camera . the clip of the woman looks 3d
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Old October 30th, 2004, 07:21 PM   #38
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Just curious, what is the bit-depth that you're recording the RAW images to?

I'm wondering because when we've been recording 12-bit images off the Altasens, there's no need for on-set color-correction and application of gamma curves to preserve anything for post since there's so much information in the camera picture (at 12-bits only). This is the same methodoloy that the Kinetta is using, everything on the hard-drive is non-gamma corrected and the complete RAW information from the chip. So whenever you want access to that base information, then you have it, there's no need for the application of any final color-correction on-set. Just shoot and go, and then in post figure out what exactly you want with gamma curves, etc.

So again, is your post path a complete 12-bit system, or is there some downsampling somewhere along the line? In fact you guys still haven't told us how you're hooking up to the camera, whether it's GigE, CameraLink, USB, Firewire (400 or 800), etc.
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Old October 31st, 2004, 03:42 AM   #39
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I would love to see pictures made with the altasens. Could you also post some material?

But 75MB/s is just not practical. We will shoot a 200 minute feature. Let's say we are good and keep a shooting ratio of 1:5. That's 1000 minutes of raw material. That is a lot of disk space. Too much for now. Especially if you backup everything for safety reasons. Time is working for us and soon we will spell TB as easy as we do GB but the time is just not there.

We discussed it back and forth and decided to go for the 8 bit depth in recording. Shure if you can record a 12 bit image and higher resolution you are a happy man. But then you end up with this hight budget viper stuff. How to handle the data? Super quality but a pain to operate. So what Rai and I are describing is not what stands on our wishlist for christmas. It's what we use today. From the practical standpoint of a indie film production. And that is not studio work or comercials but long feature with original locations and all that. Outdoor in the middle of nowhere. It has benefits when you exchange the "film cardrige" in the camera only ones per hour and a battery pack operates it for 3 hours. Those high datarates mean parts in your "portable computer" that consume lots of power. That is really a practical point to think about.

Another practical problem is noise. We needed a while to design a case that alows sound recording on set. No fast laptop without hearable fan. If you work with Laptop you can put it a few meters away. O.K. what about crane shots or steadycam? Any handcamera becomes a challenge. We treid it, it sucks. Start to optimize your system for noise and everything will change.

So all in all that is really an advice I now can give by looking back on the path we've been going. Don't see one technological element isolated. Not the DOF, not the resolution, not the bit depth of the image. When everything does not lead to something that you can put on a normal tripod with the workflow of a super16 camera engeneers might be happy, but cameraman and directors wont.

But I do hope realy much that one of the "high end" self build HD cameras will come to a point where someone will shoot a great film with. Just to proof that art and creativity beats economical aspects 2:1
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Old October 31st, 2004, 06:14 AM   #40
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If you need the recording/storage to be on-camera, the limitations you describe are very relevant. You'd need a low-noise, low-powerconsumption, portable solution. So you end up shooting 720p24 at 8-bits. Which can still deliver great image quality.

But the other approach could be to separate the storage from the camera. Considering we'll be having "video assist" with playback on-set - we might as well position the recording device with the video monitors on the "video assist cart".

That would allow for a bigger (soundproofed) box, with a SATA raid on board. You'd need bigger batteries, but you'd probably be able to use car batteries on the cart (in case there's no wallsocket around...). The camera head would be connected using GigE - which allows for long cables.

Now you're recording 1080p24 at 12 bits. And in return, you don't need to be as critical about exposure and filtering on-set - which could be a huge time-saver.

And all this would obviously not be at the cost level of a Viper + HDCAM SR deck.

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Old October 31st, 2004, 01:15 PM   #41
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Michael wrote:
Quote:
I would have to assume a laptop would work at this level? Am I wrong?
The datarate you're talking about is only 21 MB/sec, which a 7200rpm laptop drive should be able to handle.

However, I'd urge you against both 720p and 8bit. There are no good 720p cams out there that I'm aware of -- at least not on the level of the Altasens. If you do go with the Altasens, you'd probably want to see the whole FOV, which I guess necessitates 1080p. *

8bit is a nightmare I cannot wait to give up. I hate being locked into one "look" with only superficial image controls. The color tools available in your capture software are probably not as nice as the ones in your compositing app, so why not wait to do the color correction? With 10bit, you can shoot clean and finesse later...

That puts you at 59.3MB/sec (1080p @ 24fps, 10bit). I'm looking into RAID'ing a few mini hard drives together to acheive that datarate with minimal battery usage. That's what the Kinetta does -- they use the same hard drive line as the iPod.

- ben

* STEVE: Do we know why the FOV-protecting 720p mode on the Altasens is mono-only? There doesn't seem to be any good reason for it -- as you mentioned, as long as the software knew it was getting a strange bayer pattern, it should work fine...
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Old October 31st, 2004, 02:11 PM   #42
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<<<There are no good 720p cams out there that I'm aware of>>>>

So what i am hearing is there are no good 720P 8-bit - 24fps @ 1/48th options on Altasens 2560 - 3560 or anyone else's cameras.

I have worked with HD at 8bit on the Sony-Varicam and other flavors. I agree not the top, but the audience never noticed a thing. My specs are not pushing the threshold and I can have a very small potable PC system built into a small battery driven package. Like others I feel for some if you put to much money into a system for filming narrative productions for HDTV etc it's not worth it. I have seen PD170 material look very good on the big screen considering the source is a very low res-horrible compression system anchored by a defective out dated 50 year old NTSC specs.

My D60-10D and Rebel images all look great at 8bit for what i need, and that is using jpeg compression. I have been privileged to work around the best imagery for may years here in LA and I have learned that the best is not always needed. So my 720p at 8bit spec will work for me ( also understanding others need better ), but now it sounds like this option does not exists. :-(

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Old October 31st, 2004, 02:22 PM   #43
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I definitly don't want to claim 8 bit the ultimate goal. But I believe you judge it too hard calling it a nighmare.
We tried new sets of paramters and found one setting that is "pushable" best in post. I uploaded a few clips, some recorded with high contrast gamma, others with the new soft setting that preserves most contrasts. Those settings look really stable in post, the new white balance feature removed the "stripes" further. They didn't show up in color corection at all. But our viewing posibilities are limited. So if anybody viewing the clips on decent screens or beamers could tell us, if there are any visible problems still left, I would be greatfull.

Now I also would like to do a test with comparable setups to really see how much more detail the big HD resolution has compared to our 720p. I uploaded a closeup of a face and I think this is the best in terms of detail that our setup can bring. How much better is a 10bit 1080p picture? Any ideas how a setup can look like to find comparisons. Just calculating numbers seems not enough.

Anyway, here are some samples of todays new clips. One has some nice motion blur. Hope that still shows in divX

www.drachenfeder.com/int/cool_soft_gamma.avi
www.drachenfeder.com/int/nah_soft_gamma.avi
www.drachenfeder.com/int/nah_hard_gamma.avi
www.drachenfeder.com/int/bow_hard_gamma.avi
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Old October 31st, 2004, 02:53 PM   #44
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Bravo Markus! just got your Clips- Going over to the HD system shortly. On the mac they look awesome. What is your Mbs with your camera setup?

Why is it that no one else has any clips to share?

Again great work Markus and your production team...............


Michael Pappas
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Old October 31st, 2004, 03:33 PM   #45
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Quote:
I have worked with HD at 8bit on the Sony-Varicam and other flavors.
Michael, just one more word of warning: let me reiterate that the color controls available in capture applications are not comparable to the controls available in a Panasonic Varicam or your compositing software.

8bit is only acceptable if you can get 90% of the way to your image during capture. That's simply not the case with the caputre software. Markus has some great looking images, but keep in mind that the color issues are not by choice -- that chip will simply not output bright, full color images.

Anyway, whatever you do, I'm sure you'll have fun figuring this stuff out (I know I have). I wish I had some sample clips up, but my server was hacked recently, and I haven't gotten around to uploading new stuff...
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