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Old September 12th, 2012, 01:22 PM   #1
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Digital Aaton at IBC

Here's an article on the Aaton Penelope Delta at IBC.

Aaton Penelope Delta | Film and Digital Times

There was a working camera on display and one power saving feature is a video assist for setting up shots etc. - a left over from film days, but it means you don't need to fully power up the camera until you really need to.

Last edited by Brian Drysdale; September 13th, 2012 at 01:59 AM.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 05:43 AM   #2
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

Holy... 16 stops!?

Looks like one heck of a camera, but then it's Aaton, so it's probably going to go for more than an arm and a leg. I wonder why they use a CCD sensor when the camera has a global shutter anyway? Well, I've always liked the look of CCD's anyway, and there goes the opinion of everyone who thinks CCD tech is archaic.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 10:19 AM   #3
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

Thanks Brian, I've been itching for more info on this camera since NAB 2008 (when it was still going to be a swappable film/digital camera).

Can't wait to see some actual footage from it.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 12:29 PM   #4
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

Who was that dude pictured in the article - Keith Richards?
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Old September 14th, 2012, 01:39 PM   #5
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

That's Jean-Pierre Beauviala, also known as J.P., he's the founder of Aaton. He used to be an engineer at Eclair, one of the camera designer greats, very much involved in hand held camera ergonomics for documentaries. He featured in the documentary "The Camera that Changed the World" talking about the Eclair NPR

I believe there will material that can be downloaded shortly. Sounds like there may be some big files that you can grade.

I think they're using a Full Frame CCD sensor (not to be confused with the full frame 35mm format), it's made by Dalsa, who used to make the Origin (but a different sensor). Phillips 2/3" broadcast cameras used to have full frame CCDs and those also had a mechanical shutter. Basically you need the shutter so that you can download the stored charge. The big advantage is a greater active area,of silicon so the sensor is more sensitive. All other video cameras use the Interline CCD, which don't require a shutter.

You can download a pdf here http://www.aaton.com/products/film/delta/index.php

Last edited by Brian Drysdale; September 15th, 2012 at 04:34 AM.
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Old September 17th, 2012, 09:53 PM   #6
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

Will be interesting to see how this compares with the Arri Alexa and if Aaton will be able to make inroads into the market the Alexa, along with Red, seems to be dominating.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 01:51 AM   #7
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

I don't think it's currently directly competing with RED, this will be a more expensive camera with an optical viewfinder, which film operators traditionally tend to prefer. I guess the Alexa Studio, with the optical V/F, is the direct competitor in that regard. Although, I gather an EVF for the Aaton may be a possibly in the future. I suspect, in the longer term, this could reduce the costs in a possible future new model by not needing a mirror shutter and the expensive V/F optics.

In the higher end market it comes down to what the images are like and how easy the post workflow is.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 08:53 AM   #8
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
I think they're using a Full Frame CCD sensor (not to be confused with the full frame 35mm format), it's made by Dalsa, who used to make the Origin (but a different sensor). Phillips 2/3" broadcast cameras used to have full frame CCDs and those also had a mechanical shutter. Basically you need the shutter so that you can download the stored charge. The big advantage is a greater active area,of silicon so the sensor is more sensitive. All other video cameras use the Interline CCD, which don't require a shutter.

You can download a pdf here Aaton : Penelope Delta
Philips are now called Grass Valley, camera's still made in the same factory in The Netherlands though..

Interestingly up to the LDK-8000 Elite, that's the current model, they are still using Frame Transfer CCD's with a mechanical shutter. The picture of the camera is really good.. However Grass Valley has now gone to CMOS without rolling shutter and without flash banding for the future models.. The LDX series..

Grass Valley also released a sort of white paper explaining why CMOS had the future..
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Old September 18th, 2012, 10:12 AM   #9
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

The video assist feature is cute but I have a hard time imagining how it would be used, since the image will be inaccurate in terms of color rendition and luminance values (so not much help for lighting) and framing (as it will surely show the full ground glass, so effectively underscanned). And what happens when you are ready to switch over to the standard image output--do you have to switch the cable to a different output, or push a button on the camera? Easily forgotten and an extra step. Interesting though.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 11:11 AM   #10
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

I understand the idea with the video assist is that you can use it to set up the camera position, framing, do rehearsals etc without needing to power up the full digital imaging system, so saving batteries. In practise I suppose it'll come down to if the director etc wants to work with a traditional video assist or the full quality image from the sensor.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 01:48 PM   #11
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

That's the idea, and obviously what we used for years with film cameras, which slowly got better over the years--this being HD, it should be even more improved.

However: we are all now used to working with the full image, not an approximation. Directors generally don't like seeing outside the image area as it's distracting (a boom waving above the frame etc). I keep the Alexa output in monitor mode so it shows about 5% outside the 16:9 frame (and includes all of the data about frame rate, CC settings in that border) but I've had a couple of directors concerned about seeing "off the set" which turned out to be outside the picture area (it usually helps to have bright frame lines delineating same). Generally the ground glass will show a LOT more than 5%, so the image will be that much more shrunk with extra "gack". Yes, seasoned directors should be completely comfortable with this because they were used to it with film, but habits change.

As the DP, I'm going to want to see the true image as early as possible in the process so I can evaluate the lighting. If there are rehearsals being done, no way are those going to be with the tap image. We'll get more batteries, just switch the damn thing on. Having to call to have that done (and wait while the cable is re-patched or even a switch thrown) is just an extra unwanted step. Also, I'd rather that video village not have to see an image that doesn't represent what we are actually shooting to that degree. I don't want to have to start dicking around with the gain on the tap when we are shooting against a window to keep it from silhouetting. Again, extra steps and more explanations I'll have to make to directors and producers ("that's just the tap--it won't look like that--guys, just boot up the camera").

As far as getting the image up quickly for camera position; sure. There's a place for that. If I'm standing by the operator when the camera lands and they have a battery change or powered down for some reason and I want to see the image via the onboard, that will be helpful.

Cameras boot up faster all the time. We rarely wait on them any more. With the R1, this would have been extremely helpful (but of course--no optical path). I'll be surprised if this catches on except for circumstances where batteries are a scarce commodity.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 02:24 PM   #12
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

With improvements in EVFs it could prove to be the case that many camera operators will want to use those instead of the optical viewfinder. These can be pretty dark when the lens is stopped down, however, the Aaton's 100 iso multi slot shutter should help avoid this. Although, there's always something about being able to look directly though the glassware using a high quality optical V/F.

Yes, for the type of productions that this Aaton will be used for batteries shouldn't be a problem.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 09:03 PM   #13
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

Many operators who are came up with film cameras would indeed prefer an optical viewfinder. HD viewfinders are slowly improving but they are still not at the gold standard of the last generation of film cameras (Arricam, Aaton 35, Panavision XL). Still hard to judge critical focus, and strobing issues remain. A true "retina" video viewfinder would be welcome. I think it's obviously pretty close and thus I'm not too convinced that there is a need for optical viewfinders in HD cameras considering the added bulk, weight and power requirements of a mechanical shutter--but then again, that adds advantages in terms of look also.

My last couple of years as an operator were spent with cameras like the F35 and Alexa and I found myself using the onboard monitor more and more. Many of my colleagues insisted that they felt more connected to the actors and the scene when isolated "in the tube", but I felt that was just a habit and not really relevant with an EV--the groundglass was a much more magical experience by far. I also found it far more comfortable to view heads-up and be able to see more of the set if desired, as well as not having to contort my body in the manner I had been accustomed to (sure wish I had BTS of some of the moves I had to pull off with the camera booming up four feet and me walking around the sideboards on the dolly working a geared head, twisted around like a pretzel). Probably my Steadicam background made it more natural for me to compose from a monitor positioned away from the camera, and at a certain point I almost treated it like a remote head, mounting the monitor on the dolly and panning the camera through large arcs by passing it from hand to hand. Interesting times.

Anyway--it will be interesting to see how this develops.
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Old September 24th, 2012, 11:40 AM   #14
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sander Vreuls View Post
Philips are now called Grass Valley, camera's still made in the same factory in The Netherlands though..

Interestingly up to the LDK-8000 Elite, that's the current model, they are still using Frame Transfer CCD's with a mechanical shutter. The picture of the camera is really good.. However Grass Valley has now gone to CMOS without rolling shutter and without flash banding for the future models.. The LDX series..

Grass Valley also released a sort of white paper explaining why CMOS had the future..
I don't want to hijack this thread so maybe you can start a new one on the subject of GV having a CMOS without rolling shutter and flash banding. I find that fascinating and hope whatever technology they are using to achieve that will be adopted by all of the other manufacturers using CMOS!
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Old September 29th, 2012, 01:04 AM   #15
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Re: Digital Aaton at IBC

Here's an article on the Penelope Delta with some test DNG frames..

Aaton Unveils the Delta Penelope Camera | CineTechnica

Also test images here

http://www.marquise-tech.com/resources.html#tabs-5

Last edited by Brian Drysdale; September 29th, 2012 at 11:22 AM.
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