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Old December 13th, 2004, 10:53 AM   #121
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Damn, need to get me one of those! Looking forward to more info, grabs, and footage!

A few questions though:

- Do you guys have a website up about the camera? I'm sure I must have missed this somewhere
- How much does the final product weigh?
- Is it still 8bit recording?
- Can the camera head be changed cheaply and easily if we wanted to upgrade in the future?
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Old December 13th, 2004, 09:34 PM   #122
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Christian, sorry if I appear to be a bit irriatable this week, but have you been noticing what has been said here in times past:

It is not a DIY CAM, it is a seriouse commercial enterprise.

It needs more work on the casing to make it really attracive to the pro cinema market, people can sit there and pull it appart, or they can make constructive comments that will make it look a lot better, hint. That case is close to their finale design, I suggested just the minium improvements to get it through, not even fancy cinema lines that woiuld make it more attractive (I dare not suggest anything here because it is far to easy to mis-interpret them, and it has to be something come up with by cinema crew themselves to stylishly fit in). In this pretensiouse market looks do matter.

They were just going on about companies that will now keep us waiting until March, but the delayed release date is today, and actually the camera won't be available until Feb, not much difference between FEB and March on the other one (that delayed to offer an Altasens product and other features). I have made excuses to people for virtually every camera on these threads because of "manufacturing delays".

"Promises", they have often promised release, website, or information in a "few days" for months. And I have said just wait and see, just wait and see, to everybody. I would not have mentioned this, but your statement is incredulouse.

And yes, I would have loved to be Leibzig too, but I am having enough problems even getting away on my long delayed break.

But for seriouse cinema work, I would recommend people look at this "package", I can tell it has been well thought out work wise. The other packages here are likely to be more primitive in workflow and on set completeness. I can tell you the tech is probably the most worked out of the present batch of cameras too. But styling will help them more. Except in this reply to the previouse post, I would not have made these comments here.
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Old December 14th, 2004, 03:02 AM   #123
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i have a question regarding the harddrive, and heat issues, and also battery life. Are the hd's hot swapable via say SATA or firewire/usb... Also how are we looking on battery life?

From the minimal exposure i have had to this camera, ie the pictures, i noticed the use of a standard computer monitor?

As we able to remove that or put our own on, or if we wish use a smaller one and so on? Also is the lens fixed on, or are they interchangable?

Finally, explain the workflow of getting the video from the camera to the computer.

Thank you,

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Old December 14th, 2004, 03:26 AM   #124
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my only point was, this is the first non-majorcompany HDcam (almost) out there, that seems to be ready to use and still the first posts where only somehow complaining about IMHO minor issues.
DIY for me means that people go out and try to do sth themselfes period. They did so. Yes, now they're trying to develop a "serious commercial enterprise", so lets settle for "comming fom the DIY spirit".

Next, anyone doing movies should be used to delays. This is also true for the Video/IT world. At the end i hope they'll keep all their promises.

Yes, they bitched about others. Those others bitched back.

Case: IMHO the Kinetta is as ugly as it could get. Would I still use it for a project? Of course!

Many complained about Canons XL/GL line look...

Tell a producer, "we can rent the cinealta or buy a Drake - but the Drake looks uncool". Let him/her decide.

Design should follow use here, so if rounded edges somehow help balancing on shoulder, I'm on your side!

I hope that the Drake will be usable and AFFORDABLE HDcam.
Same goes for Obins cam. Hopefully even more people will see it can be done and start building. Hey and maybe Canon or JVC will now think of sth better than HDV...

We'll see.
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Old December 14th, 2004, 03:34 AM   #125
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Shure everybody wants "all" informations. I can understand that, I hold in my hands what other people dream of. Thing is, we build the camera first instance for our film project. That has priority and the current taks in finishing a teaser will consume our time from now on until mid of january. The only really promisse we made is that we do what we talk abaout and are willing to share our experiences. I've written a lot about why we have chosen the technology bases, like sensor, resolution, recording bit depth and so on and started controversy discussions with that. I like those discussions but I'm shure when the "web site" - synonym for all informations possible, available to everybody in an instant, those discussions will start on a hight level. I would really like to be involved, because we kick the industrie in the bud and that is for a reason. So once more I must ask for patients and can promisse, this will be for the sake of quality.

What we do is a hardcore beta testing. We have to get along with the camera and when a problem accours we need to fix it, but we can, scince we are the builders of this thing. Other filmmakers, who don't have an opto mechanical specialist, a programmer and a filmtech visioneer on set might not. So the release date of this camera will be when we are absolutly shure that it is usable in difficult situations by filmmakers and not by tekki's.

I talked to quite a few cameramen, having shooting experience with the cinealta and varicam and I couldn't find a single feature film project where ther wasn't the need to call for a technician to help fixing a problem. Be it with a setup, be it with the electronics. Optics is another problem. Camera assistants keep telling me that every day they spent two hours to calibrate the backfocus for the lenses with the "pro" HD-Cams. That's not what I call pro.

Shure, those things look more fancy. There is this basic marketing rule for consumer products: Packaging beats content 2:1. In fact, as cheaper the product, as more money needs to go into packaging. Rounded edges are really expensive in metall cases. You can do it in plastic. We want titanium. Do we want to add another 2000$ extra costs per piece just make it look like a sony? No. It's meant to be an Indi camera. For the safed money not spent for the round edges we can build a high end matte box and follow focus system, for a litte more money even a high tech auto focus, really usable in feature film work.

That's our thinking. We don't want to beat the industrie, just want to kick it in the bud. The industrie lives on selling tapes. Recording to a harddrive you can put into your editing PC and edit, without any extra device is something they fear. That makes me happy.

Many eMail have reached me to explain a little, what you see on the pictures. Well, the case is not covered with buttons and switches. It will stay this way. The only real button you can push is for tunring it on or off. All functions are software controlled. That means when we improve the software, add new camera functions, you can donwnload a file from the internet, put it to a memory stick, plug that into the camera and you have a new function.

The camera itself has the size of a betacam camcorder but weights only 6 to 7 Kg, when you detach the screen, only half. The battery is heavy. For cost reasons we use 17ah lead batteries. Highend polymer stuff weights much less but is also much more expensive. Anyway you can plug in any battery you like as long as the power is sufficuent (12V) and carry it on your back, as a belt, whatever.

You can use it as one unit, or you detach the head part (front third of the body) and put a single cable between the head and the body. That's especially usefull for crane or steadycam shots, where the head itself is about 1.5 Kg and you can use the body as a counterweight. We work on a crane sytem, you can mount on your body, it's so low weight. In the camera head there is a small high precission optical bench included (explaining the size) for easy and solid back focusing. All parts are easy to access and to change, in case something needs to be repaired. Or the sensor needs to be upgraded (yes, that's part of the plan).

One cable means, we have even extra "channels" free for remote head control. So, a 3 axis remote head, designed for this camerahead can be operated and powered by the same small cable as the head itself. That's quick to setup and easy to rig.

And yes, that is a game controller. You can attach it to the camera body on each side, or put a cable inbetween, so the assitant, controlling the camera can stand a few steps away and the focus puller has all freedom of movement he needs. It's an odd idea to controll a camera with such a device. But hey, how much time do we spent every week, practicing with such input devices? Modern camera men come with these skills. It is a logical step, as logical as the big screen. It's new and different, not a indi copy of a industrie product, but something designed from ground up.

So, I hope those informations will help to ease the pain untill everybody can have a chance to try it out for himself (next year we'll travel a lot) or at least see some films about our shooting and the actual usage of all features. Oh, one more thing. Price.

Well, also here we thought in different terms, trying to rather find a budget. A suitable amount of money a indi production can spent on a digital cinema camera system that works on set. We defined the budget with 15.000 Euro. So the question to us is, what can be build and bought to get the best out of the budget. That in the essence is "the" indi skill - make the best out of a low budget.

When we get to sell a drake system you can go the other way and strip it appart, take away lenses, screen, follow focus, filter work, whatever. But expect our defined budget for everything on top of a tripod as a usefull one, at least we think it is.

I know that this aspect allone will start a discussion, that is usefull. I look forward to your comments. And now I need to get back to work, we will shoot a really big scene this weekend and there is a lot of work to do.

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Old December 14th, 2004, 04:44 AM   #126
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Christian, DIY has always meant Do It Yourself, instead of somebody else (business) doing it for you, this has allways been a business, not homebrew. Please, it looks rectangular, boxish, doesn't it? If it looked like a XL1 or modern film camera instead, I would think it was marvelouse. Don't get me wrong, it is just useful feedback, so they can improve and sell more (actually I'm getting a really sexy design goign around in my head now), something big has just loaded in the email.

You got to understand you want something that suites the people around it (director, producer, camera crew, and yes even actors). When I first saw the XL1, I thought I have to have one of those (until I first used one). Maybe I will get trashed one and out camera in it. Even the Kinnetta looks "cute", but for the market these guys are after brawn matters. It is a simple equaltion, improve looks, improve salability. I'm not starry eyed over seeing the first camera, you can take it to a presentation and people will be awed by the technology and say "cool", "great piece of work", but if you want to sell it it has to fit in, or standout for all the right reasons. It is about making it functional and pleasing to the buyers eye. Believe me, as I joke, I was going to do a funny mock up case for the other projects (this is not my seriouse cases guys) a 5 inch+ black pipe with camera system inserted inside, look like a Bazzooka, definitely functional, and could be used on set, means nothing unles they like seeing and usinmg it on a set.

Yes, I allways believed they would keep their promises too, except for the time schedule. The only promises Markus/Rai made was that it was made, would be avaialble, to tell us more at set times.


Good, I suspected it must be a teaser, but your post read like was the finale design concept, my appologies.

I fully suspected that you were not after extremely low levellow level pricing.

The case, I don't know how they shape titanium, but in sheet metal you shoudl be able to do a mold cheaply and have a batch of cases stamped from that mold very cheaply, come to that yoiuu can buy boxes with odd shaped edges. But then there might be a company, that will do it cheaply with auto configurable equipment suitable for short runs (but finding one that will not charge 5 times too much is the challenge), give them the CAD image and they can stamp out the cases in a day. Maybe cost a few extra hundred (get the wrong company, it will cost much more). We had a manesium something plant going in Australia, whatever the alloy was it was to replace the sheet metal in cars, that sort of stuff might be an alternative. Just a suggestion.

The detachable head, was something I was advocating long ago for that sort of flexibility on cases for the cameras on dvinfo, I possibly mentioned it to Rai.

Well I'm glad, but please the case shape, even hardened, UV resistant plastic would do. I even have information on a polymer coating for DVD's that is virtually scratch proof, that could be put on it (believe me, steel wool scratch proof). "The cloths maketh the man", the saying goes (which is nonsense, but people believe it).

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Old December 14th, 2004, 08:55 AM   #127
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Wayne, they didn't go to Altasens and asked them to build a camera around their chip.
No, some people gathered, combined their knowlegde and built something the industry doesn't (yet) offer.
If that doesn't fit your definition of doing it yourself, well, I think I made my point anyway.
Ever used a XL2 with P+Smini35, DigiPrimes, Chrosziel mattebox with rods and follow focus, Rainbow TFT and firewire to dvrack?
Well, it looks like something Frankenstein could have created, ad a brown plastic bag when it starts to rain and the beast is complete!
And still probably this setup is most Indyfilmakers dream!
Cause its affordable, yes i would shoot 35mm, but it costs to much!
Btw, the Viper looks like an oversized triax studiocam from the late 80s!

Markus or Rai:
<<<-- Originally posted by Rai Orz : Short news about DRAKE:
Timeline for presentation the whole system will be the 12.14.2004. -->>>

Will you have to postpone?
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Old December 14th, 2004, 01:32 PM   #128
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Well I don't have time for this, I've seen cinema equiped XL1's and they look great, hides that low end indie toy like image. Actually it looks more like an Arri rig.

I supposed you think that putting the lense on the XL1 makes it a DIY camera, or that the fact that Canon made it makes it a DIY project. Think. DIY has definte boundaries, Consumer Do it Yourself instead of a commercial enterprise. I suppose that bars are BYO, because the bar brings it's own beer as well instead of the customer??

<<<-- Originally posted by Christian Schmitt :
Btw, the Viper looks like an oversized triax studiocam from the late 80s! -->>>

Ohh boy, now I've heard everything (till this point in time) from what you are saying your version of a good cinema camera looks liek a coffin ;).
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Old December 14th, 2004, 02:06 PM   #129
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Wayne this is the most insane arguement I have heard out of you yet, normally I am content to just get annoyed in the shadows and not say anything but I can't help it anymore. This thing could look like a shoebox with a stick taped to it for all I care. If it works and I can afford it that is what matters in this niche. Sure a studio exec is going to scoff if I show him a camera that looks like crap, but this camera is alive for one purpose, to give HD images for budget FILMAKERS. Like Marcus said, they designed a camera system to fit their needs. I don't think that the DRAKE is the be all and end all but they are making a movie with it right now, and it looks pretty sweet. I have the utmost respect for what these guys did, and for the fact that they are doing something that it seems alot of people around here have forgotten, making films!!!

That being said, if someone is looking for an affordable HD camera to shoot commercial projects rather than scrapping up enough money to do something yourself, sure it would be nice for it to look slick on the outside. That person isn't me, and it isn't Rai and Marcus.

<end of rant></end of rant>
Whatever works
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Old December 14th, 2004, 02:39 PM   #130
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Wayne, case design is a long story. Canon XL have a cool look ... cool for a dv camera, but it is just a (all round) dv video camera. It made pictures like other video cameras. DRAKE is made for making cinema. Differnt Sensor, different storage. Extrem fast lenses together with the 2/3" Sensor, DOF is mutch more then S16mm, its near 35mm. For those DOF You need a external focus device. Thats all big differents. All together DRAKE is near a classical film camera, thats why we went to a classical design. Like ARRI (steal cases) and not like Canon or Sony.
Okay, the pictures show only the beta version. Final, there are some (little) changes. But we will not spend more money in a "cool" design (and in production of it). Maybe for DRAKE2, but now we have not the time for this, because 1.) Markus movie is first, and 2.) we start a ser. production of all mechanical parts this week, and there are a lot of details...

@Zac Stein: The big Viewfinder is a 1280x1024 Computer TFT with high back light. On the top is the full 16:9 (1280x720) picture (preview or playback). On the bottom are setups, histogram etc. But you can use smaller displays, also a HD Viewfinder (if you like pay more). Also more than one, or a beamer...

Next we will have a low-cost DRAKE steadie-like system with special vest and arms. We made tests with a beta version, exact with this big viewfinder. Thats a "cool" thing.

BTW: DRAKE have C-Mount lens mount
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Old December 14th, 2004, 02:43 PM   #131
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this http://graphics.stanford.firenze.it/...ng-tools-s.jpg

made this http://www.christusrex.org/www1/citta/0db-Pieta.jpg
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Old December 14th, 2004, 03:59 PM   #132
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while waiting for a Drake sitelaunch lets get personal again:

To quote Wayne Morellini:

"I supposed you think that putting the lense on the XL1 makes it a DIY camera, or that the fact that Canon made it makes it a DIY project."
No. Never said or thought anything even close to this.

I do constantly. Actually it's an automated process, most likely
generated by my brain, although their are other theories.
Even when I try, I just can't stop thinking. Damn.

"DIY has definte boundaries, Consumer Do it Yourself instead of a commercial enterprise."
I think you're mixing two things here:
1) Building sth yourself = DIY (equals not inventing!)
2) selling sth you build = commercial enterprise
They built a HDcamera (not invented HD), sth that so far only has been offered by major companys. They built it to shoot their movie, cause they couldn't afford commercial products already out there - thats DIY.
Now they sell it, yes, we call this a commercial enterprise.

@Rob: Word!
@Richard: Mind over Matter!
@Rai: What about the Website?

Edit: There are two other Photos of the Drake online, since they also show Rai and Markus, I won't link...
hehehe well the design really is one of a kind ;o]
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Old December 14th, 2004, 05:30 PM   #133
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Anxiously awaiting more sample footage...maybe even some raw footage to play with.
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Old December 14th, 2004, 05:45 PM   #134
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Speaking of raw-footage, any final information on fileformat and editing drake footage yet?
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Old December 14th, 2004, 06:24 PM   #135
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Interchangable lenses with c-mount work best, we also attached SLR lenses, but found really good c-mount lenses. Great wide angles, great f-stops.
We record on regular IDE drives. The removable slot can hold a 3,5" drive or if there is a little more money available, a smaller laptop drive. Less power consuming, more shock resistant. 80GB for 50 minutes of raw film. Workflow: You pull the drive out of the camera, plug it in the editing pc, run the converter software, do the debayering, correct problems if those accour in the picture (like fixed pattern noise) and...


...export it (scince this application runs on your editing windows pc) to any codec installed on the system. We use HUFYUV with avi container or single frame tiff sequences. The uncompressed 4:4:4 8bit avi's can be read by the quantel system without a problem, so any high grade editing suite should eat it, we edit with pinnacle edition.

Don't wait for the webpage. I commanded all working force still awake (Rai you don't post any more and get some sleep this time :) to focus on the shooting. We will use the full rig and document it with a dv cam. Those clips I'll upload afterwards, propably tuedsday, that should be more usefull and interesting than a quick and dirty page with less informations you can get by reading this forum. A great place, by the way. The first time I feel a cyberplace as a "place".

A last sentence: let's found a case mod group. I personaly like the bazooka iedea, but I see a lot of potential with our clean calssical surfaces. I mean, a PC case can be turned into something individual, so... and you can always load your favourite wallpapers on the screen, or a burning fireplace, or an aquarium...
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