All Steam Ahead
The fact that the camera is a prototype sort of made me nervous but once we looked under the hood and chatted to the guys at silicon imaging about the known issues that are in the prototype I relaxed. Like any prototype their are bound to be issues but nothing big enough to get in our way. The team has such a strong handle on everything that we caouldn't really find anything they hadn't already told us about. The image is great, but we already knew that. The camera boasts the prototyope model of the altisense 3570 with Gige on board. It was all exciting and then it got more exciting. We began playing with the cineform raw footage in premiere. This is the BEST latitute I have ever seen on any video format. The 10Bit file has very wide dynamic range and the files are relatively tiny. Our data rates are around 11MB per second. David newman did you say that was because it's single sensor using Bayer Raw cineform compression?
I think that's what he said.
I was expecting 18MB/sec. Aside form a few practical technical issues we are on track. The production model scheduled for release later this year will be awsome and free from any of the teething we must go through in the beta phase. Teething is the currency you use to pry the camera out of the developers hands before it is in production. "Hey let us Beta test that for you on our movie - we'll take care of the teething".
Our biggest issue is the fact that we shoot on Wednesday (10th May). We have had less than 10 Days to prepare everything. And then without warning the motherboard blew. No big deal except that in South Africa cutting edge MB's are'nt sitting on a shelf ready to go. They need to be shipped. It takes 5 days without issues in SA customs. So that was a bit of freak out but again once we came to grips with it it was a blessing because we acceleraed our "head on wire" GripCams and we made provisions for any furhter hiccups while ACTUALLY SHOOTING. We're getting into the film cam mode. If it breaks you open and fix it. It's not like regular video cameras. It's all solid 1+1 stuff. The case is rugged aluminium and the parts inside all familar. The only thing we can't do anything about is the camera head. That's new. But the computer stuff is really practical and it's liberating to know that we can control and service the unit without opeing up complex circuitry. It feels like a computerised Film Cam without moving parts!
This is the big thing for us. We strongly believe in a future where flexible head removal, mounting and integration will change much of the way shooting happens. Note: the head on the unit is totally removable. You can leave the recorder behind and run gige to the head and shoot from wherever you can think of to place the head. This combined with the use of computers and their processing power on the film set, and integrated with the camera are revolutionary forces. The Si1920HDVR has all this flexibility. The cineform raw bayer data backing up flexible interchangeable hardware. For the first time a digital film camera feels like a a film camera. It's robust and the components accessable and interchangeable with very basic functionality. Just like with film you expose everything, keep everything and decide in post what direction you want to go in. And there is latitude to do it. At NAB our minds were spinning at the possibilities for modular expansion and development, accesssories and tools. There is so much scope in this area for innovation and it's not only around the sensor. Watch this Space!
We will try and post footage as we shoot. Please be patient we are entering production phase. Ken cyr at Anton Bauer, David Taylor, David Newman at cineform Jeff Yeoul at wafian, Steve Nordhauser, Ari Presler adn not forgetting Jason Rodrigues on the Silicon imaging team - thank you. Hopefully we will soon have some great footage that does all your effort justice.