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Old December 16th, 2005, 09:34 PM   #1
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Seeking feedback for two uncompressed camera systems.

Note: This is *not* related to the RED Digital Cinema project. This is something else entirely.

Forwarded to me to share with all of you: A company developing two uncompressed camera systems would like some feedback from DV Info members regarding interest in their camera systems.

One system, with a 35mm imager, is targeted at the higher end cinema market. The second system, equipped with a 16mm sized imager, is targeted at the higher end (H)DV camera market. The cameras will capture to onboard proprietary digital recorders, each with 45+ minutes of recording space. Extra recorder magazines are purchasable separately, and can be "hotswapped" while shooting. A camera and recorder make up a complete "camera system."

35MM SYSTEM:
2048x1556 frame size
True 24P. (no rolling shutter)
Lossless 16bit format
Built-in full resolution viewfinder with exposure meter and histogram overlay
DVI output for HD-monitor
Manual lens mount in common formats
4 stereo 16bit/44hz audio inputs

16MM SYSTEM:
1280x1024 frame size
True 24P. (no rolling shutter)
Lossless 10bit format
Built-in full resolution viewfinder with exposure meter and histogram overlay
DVI output for HD-monitor
Manual lens mount in common formats
4 stereo 16bit/44hz audio inputs

1. If a product has a strong feature set but less strong brand
name recognition, how does that affect your decision to buy?

2. With the 16mm camera system initially priced at $19,000, and the 35mm
camera system initially priced at $49,000, would you be likely to purchase
either (and if so, which)?

3. Regarding storage format, assume each camera system as stated above
records to only one possible format and bit depth. If each camera system
was 10-20% more expensive, but offered 4-5 different real time recording
formats at several bit depths (Tiff, OpenEXR, JPEG2000, AVI, etc), would you
be more or less likely to buy? What formats are most preferable to you?

4. If the above cameras were demonstrated in laboratory test environments
to have dynamic range comparable to popular 35mm and 16mm film stocks,
how would that affect your perception of the products and your willingness
to purchase?
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Old December 16th, 2005, 11:09 PM   #2
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Chris.

They might need to look at 48k audio, also 25P for PAL broadcast / DVD distribution.

Given I have 16mm Super16 capable cameras, albeit old, if I were minded to use them, I can shoot a comfortable amount of film for the purchase price.

Product support would need to be demonstrated to be prompt, possible and sound without comebacks or excessive downtime.

If a companion interface or conversion box or a software equivalent was readily available for the common editing platforms already out there, the standalone camera recording system would be fine, especially if it confers the best performance and resolution.

A simpler sealed standalone system should assist the manufacturer by avoiding licencing costs and in some security against piracy by bigger industry players who might be tempted to rip the tech and push it out there into the marketplace whilst using fincancial brute force to bog the developer's expensive litigation and ultimate settlement to the developer can be economically made after the profits are taken .

I am assuming the removable storage magazines themselves may have a post-production docking system which integrates with existing industry hardware.

If this convenient routing of the production is not easily to hand, then film people may stay with with what they know and trust, either flavours of Cinealta or motion film.

The developers may need to bear in mind that there is a product in development right here in the west which would confer backwards-compatable filmlike dynamic range to existing popular camera hardware already out there.

They might do well to contact this entity, perhaps with a view to integrating this product.

The entity is found at www.livetechnologies.com.au.

Will the camera head have a single dock for the hotswappable magazines or provide the capacity for two magazines, maybe even the ability as a master camera, to assign to a second magazine the same signal as a hedge against failure or transport loss or also to assign a second remote camera input to the second dock.

All the above is bound to have been already considered but those are my thoughts.
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Old December 16th, 2005, 11:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
1. If a product has a strong feature set but less strong brand
name recognition, how does that affect your decision to buy?
I am more concerned with quality and efficiency than with brand name recognition. If this camera lived up to it's specs and had an efficient and well thought out post workflow then I would seriously consider it.
I can't stress enough though that a well though out post workflow is key.

The thing that makes me nervous is seeing the word "proprietary."
If this is a new company without much history behind it then who's to say they are going to be around for years after the camera's release? What if I need repairs, maintenence, or replacements on my 'proprietary' components? That's when brand recognition becomes much more important, and that is where new companies need to go out of their way to prove themselves to consumers.

I can tell you right now that whatever this camera system is, it would be much more attractive if it did not use proprietary recording media.

Quote:
2. With the 16mm camera system initially priced at $19,000, and the 35mm
camera system initially priced at $49,000, would you be likely to purchase
either (and if so, which)?
I suppose that all depends on what the timeline on release is.
If it were today, I would seriously consider the 16mm camera system.
But if we're talking 2 years from now, well, it's a bit too difficult to forecast where I'll be and where technology will be at that point. Either way it's hard to say without seeing the details of the company, the image itself, and the proposed workflow.

Quote:
3. Regarding storage format, assume each camera system as stated above
records to only one possible format and bit depth. If each camera system
was 10-20% more expensive, but offered 4-5 different real time recording
formats at several bit depths (Tiff, OpenEXR, JPEG2000, AVI, etc), would you
be more or less likely to buy? What formats are most preferable to you?
So at that point you're saying the 16mm camera would cost between 22k and 24k, and the 35mm camera would cost between 55k and 60k.

I suppose it all depends on what the ONE format and bit depth would be.
But of course I'd prefer 4-5, but I don't know if I'd go 10-20% above what you mentioned for it.

Again, as long as there is a good and efficient workflow for the proposed formats, I'd use anything. I care more about a variety of bit depth and compression options than I do about the specifics of the file format.
Whatever it takes to offer variations in compression and bit depth, that's what I'll take.

Quote:
4. If the above cameras were demonstrated in laboratory test environments
to have dynamic range comparable to popular 35mm and 16mm film stocks,
how would that affect your perception of the products and your willingness
to purchase?
It would make me wet my pants, that's what it would do.
Seriously. Dynamic range is the biggest limiting factor with video in my opinion. Resolution options are high enough to compete with film now in my opinion, and there are workaround for the wide DOF... but dynamic range limitations are inescapable.

If I had the option of buying a camera with the lattitude of film I would do it in a heartbeat.

What would stop me from buying it?
Proprietary recording media, workflow issues, and possibly price.

PS.
By the way - a histogram display... Awesome.
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Old December 19th, 2005, 05:28 PM   #4
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Excellent input from Luis and Bob, many thanks fellows... anybody else?
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Old December 20th, 2005, 03:34 AM   #5
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Heart says yes to 16mm camera. Budget and revenue say perhaps in a couple of years. But definitely the reason not to buy an HD camera now.

At this point, it goes above my head. As I suppose it goes with a lot of people digging into 'Alternative imaging methods'.
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Old December 20th, 2005, 04:07 AM   #6
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I am outpriced by either camera, personally, but a company I work for would probably go for the 16mm version but for this factor:

"The cameras will capture to onboard proprietary digital recorders,"

Proprietary is bad. It is really bad. If the cameras could output to a small hard drive that can be immediately connected to a computer for editing, they would have a larger customer base. The faster workflow alone would justify a large part of the cost.

For your questions:

1. Customer support needs to be excellent for a complex device that costs as much as a car. Reputation can be built or destroyed quickly. The "beta" program needs to work the bugs out completely. It's not so big a deal for a $300 Letus35 to have problems, but a $20,000 camera needs to be working almost perfectly.

2. As I said above, maybe the 16mm for commercial production purposes.

3. The storage format needs to include conventional SD formats in some way, even if only through downsampling. The ONE format would need to be good and not too cumbersome.

4. Yes. The test images would also need to show this improvement.

The imager would also need to have decent light sensitivity at least as good as film. One of the ways that video makes itself more cost effective is in the reduction in the quantity (not quality) of light needed. It should also be shoulder-mountable as to fit with current video camera support systems. A 50lb. jumble of boxes with cables all over the place won't work.
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 10:39 AM   #7
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Amazing stuff, not related to RED can only mean there is going to be lots more contenders to this Super HD game!

From those specs it would be very appealing.

However my only concern would be build quality and durability, because for that amount of money it would not be un-reasonable to ask to have precision engineered equipment at a level of say of a Cinealta or Varicam.

Thatís my feedback hope it helps

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Old December 24th, 2005, 04:13 AM   #8
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To all of your questions the main and most important answer would be a returning question - " WHEN ? ".

1. If a product has a strong feature set but less strong brand
name recognition, how does that affect your decision to buy?

Now that non of strongly recognised brands have anything close to what you are talking about, I wouldn't care about brand, because every brand has started somehow and at some point in past they either didn't have any recognition. So if one is doing some good production work and wants something close to 35mm film I don't think he would care about the brand, as long as a new brand is offering good features. But as times goes by, strong brands will have to follow the market and come out with solutions like you described here. We all shouldn't think that for example SONY doesn't have enough resources (both human and financial) to creat such a camera, it is just that it will ruin all of their marketing plans. So, time is important here, as soon as SONY or CANON or JVC or any other brand will offer the same features as you described here, no one is going to go after your camera, even if yours will be some 20% cheaper.


2. With the 16mm camera system initially priced at $19,000, and the 35mm
camera system initially priced at $49,000, would you be likely to purchase
either (and if so, which)?

For me both prices are fair. But considering my needs I would prefer to go with 35mm version.


3. Regarding storage format, assume each camera system as stated above
records to only one possible format and bit depth. If each camera system
was 10-20% more expensive, but offered 4-5 different real time recording
formats at several bit depths (Tiff, OpenEXR, JPEG2000, AVI, etc), would you
be more or less likely to buy? What formats are most preferable to you?

Here I doubt I can be of any help, I don't understand those formats very well, but my opinion is that for a producer, format is not a matter at all, even if I have one format I would setup my system to work with that format, I would create my workflow and then go on with it. Only thing that concerns me is the look and quality of the material.


4. If the above cameras were demonstrated in laboratory test environments
to have dynamic range comparable to popular 35mm and 16mm film stocks,
how would that affect your perception of the products and your willingness
to purchase?

Of course it would!!!!

and if you have the camera contact me, I am willing to buy :*) (not joking)
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Old March 24th, 2006, 01:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
1. If a product has a strong feature set but less strong brand
name recognition, how does that affect your decision to buy?
Not at all as long as the company has good support and solid backing.

Quote:
2. With the 16mm camera system initially priced at $19,000, and the 35mm
camera system initially priced at $49,000, would you be likely to purchase
either (and if so, which)?
Like most people on this board, I suspect the 16mm. The 35mm is priced in the rental range. Just the simple fact that so few projects every end up in theatrical 35mm release means that unless you have lots of extra cash, most projects don't get to use those extra pixels.

Quote:
3. Regarding storage format, assume each camera system as stated above
records to only one possible format and bit depth. If each camera system
was 10-20% more expensive, but offered 4-5 different real time recording
formats at several bit depths (Tiff, OpenEXR, JPEG2000, AVI, etc), would you
be more or less likely to buy? What formats are most preferable to you?
I would rather see one format well supported in post work-flow and a lower price than spend more money for many formats but still fight with NLE work-flow support.

[/quote]
4. If the above cameras were demonstrated in laboratory test environments
to have dynamic range comparable to popular 35mm and 16mm film stocks,
how would that affect your perception of the products and your willingness
to purchase?[QUOTE]

It's all about latitude and sensitivity for me i.e. if the 35mm had outstanding low light performance and I can think about shooting with tiny crews and small lighting rigs, then I might even consider it, though $50k for a camera is pretty expensive - I still see that as rental territory. While you might could land one job to pay for the 16mm, unless you are in a very big market, the $50k is much harder to swing.

But again - having a form factor, low-light and latitude performance (i don't mind a little film-like noise/grain) so that you take a boom op, one grip and chinese lantern or reflector and go shoot - that would be great.

And that's the reason I have NOT purchase and of the HDV cams or HVX200. By the time you had the extra light needed of good CCD performance, haul around the extra crew to capture the data (HVX, H1), deal with the hoops in post work-flow, your $5k - $10k camera is suddenly costing you $20k and you are thinking wistfully about 16mm.

I think there is still a hole in the camera market to be filled. 16mm motion picture cameras (and small 35mm one) combined with fast film stocks with wide latitude and dynamic range revolutionized filmmaking.

Hope RED or this Colorspace Inc. stuff will fill this niche.
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Old March 26th, 2006, 06:40 PM   #10
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The market is already saturated with 2/3" (apx. S16) cameras in the $20K range and filmmakers have not been buying them. TV stations have. Rental companies have. But, not filmmakers. The budgets of indie filmmakers are not suddenly going to increase because the quality of cameras went up a notch.

And, to reach the true potential customers (TV stations, Rental Companies) would require marketing and distribution well beyond the scope of any small company. Also, it would be a hard sell to Sony die-hards (in other words, the broadcast industry).

Anyways, GOOD LUCK! Cheers.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 12:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Wells
The market is already saturated with 2/3" (apx. S16) cameras in the $20K range and filmmakers have not been buying them. TV stations have. Rental companies have. But, not filmmakers. The budgets of indie filmmakers are not suddenly going to increase because the quality of cameras went up a notch.

And, to reach the true potential customers (TV stations, Rental Companies) would require marketing and distribution well beyond the scope of any small company. Also, it would be a hard sell to Sony die-hards (in other words, the broadcast industry).

Anyways, GOOD LUCK! Cheers.
what kind of 2/3 cameras are there ? I don't know of any. I mean, none with single CMOS sensor and ability to use cine lenses directly.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 10:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Levan Bakhia
what kind of 2/3 cameras are there ? I don't know of any. I mean, none with single CMOS sensor and ability to use cine lenses directly.
The question is who will buy a camera like this? If the target is indie filmmakers, then look at the current crop of cameras compared to what they are buying. I have never met a single indie filmmaker with the ability or desire to own a $20k camera. Not_A_Single_One. The budgets of indie filmmakers are not suddenly going to increase because the quality went up a notch.

In my opinion, the overwhelming majority of camera sales (in that price range) go to large companies who do every kind of work except narrative production (live multicam sporting events, reality TV series, etc.)

This type of camera is only relevant for a very small segment of the market, who, incidentally, are not prepared to spend that much on a camera.

In_My_Opinion.
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Old March 27th, 2006, 10:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Wells
I have never met a single indie filmmaker with the ability or desire to own a $20k camera. Not_A_Single_One.
I'm a camera assistant on film. Make a living on that. Will go to the bank and will buy the 16mm version of that camera (+ and extra one for back-up) and make a living by renting it and working at the same time.

And trust me, in a years i will have enough money, from renting that "kit", to buy the 35mm version.

The main goal of that company, except from performance, its to have a great customers service.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #14
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Got to realize every location scout and editor and grip and pa in the industry has some sort of DV camera. This camera, however, is a professional tool, not a commodity. So, I don't think sales in the thousands could ever be expected.

Professional DP's would love something like this. I would love something like this. Not sure who it is being geared to, because it is priced far outside the range of hobbyists.

On a more positive note, the spec's look very good. Price is reasonable for both cameras, but still in the luxury range for most indie filmmakers.

Just because the Porsche 911 is a great car, doesn't mean a Honda Civic owner can afford to upgrade.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 09:59 AM   #15
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Image Quality, Workflow and Support.
At $20k, I think I'd be weighing those factors in the 16mm version against the same measures of a Canon H1 into a HD capture system via SDI.

At $50k, the 35mm would be too pricy for me to bother owning, but I'd be comparing rental rates and the above factors to the same for a CineAlta F950.

The brief in the opening posts mentions some specs, but doesn't really cover these key factors yet.
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