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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old October 30th, 2004, 01:12 PM   #1
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CLIPS FROM HOMEMADE HIGH DEF CAMERA "Alternative Imaging Methods " FORUM

THIS IS JUST A HEADS UP TO FILMMAKERS to go to the" Alternative Imaging Methods" forum and get invlovled.

More clips are posted from a film being made with a homemade HD camera system in the Alternative Imaging Methods forum here at DVnfo.net. Direct link to original post below. This is so cutting edge that it's wild to see what people can do from a self built HD Digital Cinematography system.


Here are the test shots from DVinfo.net member Markus Rupprecht's film posted today...

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

Original threads:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=34339
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...threadid=25808

Michael Pappas
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Old October 30th, 2004, 11:37 PM   #2
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I've noticed that thread, but honestly 122 pages is sooooo much to read through. You think you can give us a summary so that some of us can get caught up to speed? If I can ask a few simple questions:

1. You guys are making your own HD video camera?! Really?! WTF?! HUH?!

2. Does it run at 24fps?

3. How much does it cost to make?

4. Is the general idea being pursued that individuals will make their own or buy them from someone? If so, are you planning on selling the plans, a kit, or an entire camera?

5. What does it record to? Tape or harddisk?

6. What kind of quality should we expect out of this? Is it in the same league as the Sony F900 and Panasonic Varicam or are we talking more about the quality of HDV?

The still image and the clip of the hand holding sand looks great. Fackel1.avi and Feuer1.avi were quite dark but given the imagery I thought maybe I was watching a rip of Passion of the Christ or something.

Also I downloaded a file from the thread called take1.avi from here:

www.drachenfeder.com/int/take1.avi

I think that one looks really, really good although my system has trouble smoothly playing back all this crazy hi-res stuff that's showing up everywhere now.
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Old October 31st, 2004, 02:58 PM   #3
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More clips have come from dvinfo member Markus Rupprecht and his production teams film being shot with their homemade bulit HD Digital Cimatography system. Clips are below

Markus Rupprecht wrote:
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

Direct link to forum of original post:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...113#post238113
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Old October 31st, 2004, 03:09 PM   #4
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I will answer this one for you- HDV can't even stand in the same room as these sytems. For a basic 720P 8bit homemade system your talking a data rate of 25Mbs( mega bytes per second ) ballpark. Where as HDV is mpeg2 at 25mbs ( mega bits per second ) of picture info.

I agree there are alot of posts in that forum, but that's a good thing. It means people are breaking ground very fast and when ideas at tests flow like they are the technology grows and creates a whoole new makert place. That's my mission is to get as many companies to relize there is a market for these systems and this will even drive the prices down while the technology is driven higher.

Michael Pappas
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Old October 31st, 2004, 03:21 PM   #5
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Thank you for the additional information and the new clips. They look really nice, but my system is obviously not capable of playing them with stuttering. I'll try them out on my University's Dual Opteron machines though to get a better idea. I'm not really sure why you didn't answer the following questions:

2. Does it run at 24fps?

3. How much does it cost to make?

4. Is the general idea being pursued that individuals will make their own or buy them from someone? If so, are you planning on selling the plans, a kit, or an entire camera?

5. What does it record to? Tape or harddisk?

6 (edited). How does it compare to the Sony F900 and Panasonic Varicam?

I think these are very basic questions. If you have the answers to them, please share. I agree that it's great that the thread has stirred such a huge response, but it's very hard for someone new like myself to get involved if there isn't a basic FAQ to get us up to speed.
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Old October 31st, 2004, 07:16 PM   #6
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Haven't read thru all the posts yet, but I did visit the german site and sent him an email.
The clips have made me very envious.
Mike you are right in that they have fooled people into thinking its film. I can't beleive them myself.
Is this something that we would be able to build on our own?
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Old October 31st, 2004, 07:28 PM   #7
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Wow...that footage looks incredible... I guess "home made" cameras weren't exactly what I thought they were...
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Old October 31st, 2004, 10:02 PM   #8
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wow they really look scarely good, if they ever sell one, or release plans for it, i'll buy one for sure, and use all my connections to get lots of nice promotion for the people who made it possible.

Don't hesitate to contact me.

Zac
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Old November 1st, 2004, 12:56 AM   #9
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Zac........You can make the same Hi-Def Digital Cinematography Production System too!

The truth of it is, if Sony or any of the big ones sold these they would make a money. Small companies build their cameras from companies like Altasens 2560 or 3560 CMOS like chips for a few thousand or less. Now a big company like Sony can do this at even a smaller cost since they can afford higher volume and make better buy deals in large bulk for these chips or use their own chips if they have them. Those big companies also have the infrastructure in place to design and manufacture products.

Putting the big companies asside! We can build our own HD cameras and bypass Mpeg 2 and go straight into the Varicam-cinealta-kinetta-viper realm of quality HD if we want it. I for one will settle at the moment for 720P at either 8 bit or 10 bit. But these systems will go way beyond that. This is raw no compression digital cinematography.

Look at the HD data rate numbers:

For a basic 720P 8bit @ 24fps homemade Digital Cinematography production system your talking a data rate around 25Mbs( that's mega bytes per second ) or around 28Mbs for 10bit 720P.

Where as HDV is mpeg2 at 25mbs ( mega bits per second NOT bytes ) of picture info. That's no where near the above 720P-8Bit-24fps picture data. So when we see this, we realize that HDV only has a tiny fraction of data in comparison.

The Clips from Director and DVinfo's Member Markus Rupprecht are only low data copies vs the originals. Now let me tell you, on my HD system these AVI clips shine with the essence of cinema. Better then any other clip from HDV and on par with Varicam or Cinaealta. Again these clips from Filmmaker Markus Rupprecht and his production team are only low res and they look amazing. Just imagine the full versions....WoW!


Now we must put this into perspective, this system is not for everyone just like Viper- Dalsa- or CineAlta/950 is not. These bigger systems would not be used for weddings-ENG run and gun- I am sure you get the picture. I just don't want people to think that I'm saying this is the holy grail for everyone.

A self built Hi-Def Digital Cinematography Production System is for those that are making films that are using gear like the above expensive systems. There are Documentaries that could use this like the Ken Burns type were set up is involved. Imax type films. Discovery HD projects. Shooting high-end commercials, Television series productions- you name it. This system is for the Filmmaker, the DP. If Viper- Dalsa- or CineAlta/950 like systems are what you would use if you could afford them then this is a Hi-Def Digital Cinematography system to consider. I suggest to get involved in this forum and ask question. The link below.

Michael Pappas
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Old November 1st, 2004, 03:27 AM   #10
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Hi everybody!

I got an email, telling me that somebody opend a thread about our stuff so I thought I come over to say hi.

The images you see are shot with a camera system we called DRAKE. The latest clips are done with DRAKE II, that is a mobile camera, a little bigger then the ARRI 16 SR but lighter. It is recording 720p 24frames (could also be 25, not 30 though) with variable shutter rates. It has a cmount lens holder and scince the chip is a 2/3" CMOS sensor, 2/3" lenses work best. We got some really nice high speed lenses. The good german stuff :)

A first article (in german) about the development you can find under www.hackermovies.com
More will follow soon.

The 24 progressive frames per second are recorded to a harddrive, there is a slot in the camera for removable harddrives. 80GB regular IDE drive can hold about 50 minutes of film. That is possible beacause we have some clever software running in the camera, storing the raw data without compression. When you want to edit you need to run the development program. You can trim the raw clips there, get rid of all kind of visual problems, like noise or color problems, bad acting or showdowns in industrie buildings with big steampipes. The tool convertes the RAW data to uncompressed avi clips, trippled in size.
You can edit with any HD enabled PC or Mac software. We use Pinnacle Edition. The latest software only version (499,- here in germany) suports uncompressed 720p.

A friend of mine was involved in writing the core code. I can recomend it.

The camera has some nifty features for a cinema style workflow, like an electronic slate and so on. In the evening the script person can link a laptop to the camera and all shooting informations including snapshots from the clips are stored to the database. It comes in handy for conitnuity and such.

In fact the camera holds a 17" viewfinder giving you at any time the full res 720p image, along with a histogram. So you can really judge how much picture information there is. You can freely define your gamma curves, we currently define the best setups for all kind of light situations. When we are done, the results will be perfect just by selecting a single setup.

So, that's the quick and dirty version. We are working on a homepage, I'll post the link when we are done.

Now comes the bad part.
Is this something everybody can build?

Well.... There are industrie cameras available (about the size of a pack of cigarettes) that hold the same sensor we use (it's called IBIS 5-A). You can buy those for about 1000$ in the U.S. I guess. Buy some sort of interface card and connect that to a PC system. The manufacturers offer "recording software", so in general this is what you need to get aware of all kinds of problems you get when you try to build a camera.

Those industrie cameras are not made for cinema, but for machine vision. Quality control and such. Therefore the flaws of the chips - noise, color problems, visible lines (called fixed pattern noise) are not compensated by the software available in a good way. Enough for industrie aplicatons but not enough when you want to go to the post with your clips. So for those trying to build something similiar you not only need to build an A/D converter for the chip, hardware for recording, a case, case support, power supply, battery system and viewfinder, etc... you also need to write software. We are working with a crew of 5 for more than half a year now, but everybody was already a "pro" so we could come up with solutions at day 1.
So, you need a good crew, good ideas and luck.
That's actually not different from making films.

We won't release "how to" tutorials. In fact we can't. It's so much small stuff you have to think about. and a thing of experience. You have to make it, you can't write it down. You have to be able to define a "look". I wanted a image that doesn't look like video but like film. I had a programmer sitting beside me, changing values in algorithms until I was sattisfied with the way the camera saw the world. That's what you need. And those people are hard to find. It took me half a year before we started the development.
But we decided to make the camera available. It's build in a way sensors to come can be integrated. For now 720p is what the system can. We keep on researching and building prototypes but won't release any information on higher resolution systems before we don't have something on a tripod that works. Like we did now with DRAKE.

So, how many of those cameras can we build, can we make them available worldwide or just in germany, what will be the price - we will find out this week hopefully.

Until then I thank you for "reviewing" our material on your nice screens. It's the proof that all the effort was well worth it, and now after years and years of video frustration I now can record my visions to a harddrive and from there bring it to the big screen :)

Greets from old europe
Markus
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Old November 1st, 2004, 03:52 AM   #11
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I will try to answer as many things as I can:
(Take note I will talk about general cameras, not this one from Markus in particular)

2. Does it run at 24fps?

Yes it can run at any framerate, let's say from 4 fps to 30 and above....

3. How much does it cost to make?

That is to be determined.I think at least 15K for a more or less complete (not beta. Beta=not working perfectly) system.

4. Is the general idea being pursued that individuals will make their own or buy them from someone? If so, are you planning on selling the plans, a kit, or an entire camera?

I guess the general Idea is both things.It is fairly probable you will be able to buy them from several people/companies or make one yourself.

5. What does it record to? Tape or harddisk?

It records to Hard Disk Drives.

6 How does it compare to the Sony F900 and Panasonic Varicam?

F900 and Varicam look like a really crappy thing compared to even the 1280x720 models.
I would also say they are not even comparable because of a lot of things I'm really tired to describe here right now :).

To everybody here: This stuff is mostly related with highly specialised skill.So I won't recommend making/buying this kind of camera for things like weddings, birthdays and the like.

Hope this helps
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Old November 1st, 2004, 04:27 AM   #12
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I don't think you will see any help from sony .

A friend of mine works for avid. he was told by sony that their main profit came from the use of tape. The direct to disk movement is not something that they want to have happen. They keep their consumer cameras just below what would be needed for the big screen and price the pro stuff near 100,000 . markus' creation is designed with a goal of creating the best picture from the technolgy . best lenses/ high def cmos chip/ software for film look /hardrive storage . the end result is a beautiful picture captured on a camera the size of a pack of cigarettes. raw file on a hard drive . if this was encoded in wm9, it could go directly to the landmark theaters for digtal projection.
I think this will shake up the way movies are made to it's core .
this is all great news for the small indie film maker .
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Old November 1st, 2004, 04:51 AM   #13
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Yes I agree. It is like the inkjet printer market, the money is always made on the consumables (ink) not the product.

So for example the XDCAM whilst is basically a re-writeable hard disk, they know that most people won't scrub over it when transfering it to an NLE mass storage system.

I do however think that these experiements in trying to achieve hi-end HD are brilliant. It is only a matter of time before a camera hack emerges that will rival some of the scilly money stuff. However I think manufacters will probably start factoring this in and make tinkering more difficult, in order to protect the revenue streams of the $100,000 + cameras.

Best

Jonathan.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 07:37 AM   #14
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"A friend of mine works for avid. he was told by sony
that there main profit came from the use of tape. "

100% true.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 09:57 AM   #15
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http://www.drachenfeder.com/int/dach_after.avi
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