June 28, 2012

For-A FT-ONE 4K slo-mo camera

The world’s first full 4K super slow motion camera has been launched by For-A. The FT-ONE will record up to 1,000 frames per second at a resolution of 4096x2160, making it ideal for movies or for major events, such as sports, where producers might want the ability to crop HD frames from the 4K pictures, or for archive in anticipation of 4K transmissions in future.

Images are captured as uncompressed raw data on the system’s internal (RAM) memory, which has a recording capacity of 8.5 seconds at 1,000 fps (the prototype camera does up to 900fps). This data is then stored on one of two hot-swappable SSD cartridges. Each cartridge is capable of storing 75 seconds of full 4K resolution images, enabling up to 150 seconds with a maximum of two SSD cartridges. It can output uncompressed DPX files, which are widely used for movie mastering.

The camcorder will be able to simultaneously record and play back in full 4K resolution. At the user’s preference, one output channel can provide either full 4K output, or four 1080p HD-SDI outputs, while the other output channel provides down-converted HD-SDI for live viewing and the control menu.

The FT-ONE uses a high-sensitivity CMOS colour sensor, the FT1-CMOS, developed by For-A, which uses a global shutter, so you won’t see any of the skew or wobble effects caused by the rolling shutter usually used on CMOS sensors.

“While digital cinematography has been widely adopted within the motion picture production and post production communities, there has been a technology gap—the ability to record super slow motion image at full 4K resolution,” said Hiro Tanoue, President for For-A Corporation of America.

“The new FT-ONE completes the 4K workflow by introducing this ability, with the high-level performance this application demands. We chose Cine Gear Expo as the venue for our breakthrough announcement since this event draws key decision makers and creatives seeking the latest solutions for high-end entertainment production. With the FT-ONE camera rolling, they can rest assured they won’t miss that critical action shot.”

The FT-ONE camera uses a PL mount lens is designed as a self-contained unit that is claimed will be dependable and easy to use. It weighs 7kg with dimensions of 235mm(W) x 294mm(H) x 384mm(D), and should be available in September for between $120,000 and $150,000.

[UPDATE: Latest version now has optical fibre output built in as For-A builds 4K ecosystem around it, including 4K extraction, HD-4K upconversion, 4K virtual studios, and more - see For-A focuses on 4K future for more...]

By David Fox

June 20, 2012

Vislink LiveGear wireless links

Vislink has launched two compact ENG systems using mobile and WiFi connections as part of a new LiveGear range of IP-centric products for broadcast wireless communication for internet newsgathering (iNG).

The LiveGear AirStream LGT-1000 Cellular iNG Transmitter is a 3G/4G LTE portable video transmitter (costing from about $18,000 depending on configuration) that Vislink claims “provides the power of an ENG news van in a compact and easy to use unit which can be carried by hand, in a shoulder bag or backpack.”

Users connect a camera to AirStream via SDI or HDMI, and go straight on the air, delivering broadcast quality video with the push of a button. “Mobile internet newsgathering (iNG) has never been easier,” it claimed. It sees it being used for live coverage of news, sports, politics, and community events. It will operate continuously up to six hours with hot-swappable, rechargeable high-capacity batteries

The LiveGear AirCam Camera Back Transmitter (above) can be docked to IDX or Anton-Bauer battery mounts and comes in three versions: a 3G/4G LTE system for about $10-12,000; the AirCamPlus, which adds WiFi, for about $13-14,000; and the AirCamMax, which adds COFDM microwave, for $18-20,000 (prices are dependent on configuration).

There is also the LiveGear Receiver: IP Playout Receiver, which will cost from about $18,000. The 1RU receiver can connect with up to six transmitters simultaneously, via the internet, and aggregates the four bonded data channels into a HD-SDI video stream for retransmission or playout to web based subscribers using the VMS video media server. An optional IP-to-SDI decoder expansion unit (LGD-1000) can be connected to the receiver to support up to five additional AirStream transport streams.

“With the launch of LiveGear, Vislink is the first company to offer a comprehensive suite of licensed and unlicensed remote video solutions that include broadband cellular, WiFi, terrestrial, and satellite microwave technologies,” said Eric McCulley, Vislink Marketing Manager.

“Utilizing Vislink’s H.264 adaptive bit-rate encoding technology, LiveGear products offer superior, robust and persistent video transmission by bonding multiple 3G/4G LTE cellular networks together.”

By David Fox

June 11, 2012

IndieGS2K global shutter camera

The new Indiecam indieGS2K is the first miniature CMOS camera with a global shutter, which will mean no rolling shutter issues (like skew and wobble) when you pan the camera quickly or shoot fast-moving subjects.

It is a 2K camera (2048 x 1080 pixels), with a 3G HD-SDI output, and its small size makes it ideal for use in 3D rigs. It can also be used with a 12-bit RAW workflow (using Adobe's Cinema DNG format). In its RAW 10-bit mode it can output 1080p at up to 120 frames per second (in 12-bit RAW and 10-bit 4:2:2 YUV it can do up to 50/60p).

“At last we have a single piece 2/3-inch minicam that can meet the requirements of not just the OB/live production people but also the film production people,” said Steffan Hewitt, Managing Director, Polecam (one of Indiecam’s distributors).

The global shutter means that “CMOS cameras can be fully integrated into high speed sports productions, where rolling shutter has always been a bottleneck in the past,” he added.

“We had it on our stand at NAB and we were very impressed with the picture quality out of the box.”

Its power consumption is just 4W (7-24v DC), it measures 39.8 x 39.8 x 100mm (about 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches by 4 inches) without a lens, and weighs about 170g (six ounces). It has a 2/3-inch sensor and takes C-mount lenses as standard, but can also be fitted with a PL-mount option.

The Polecam Remote Control Panel will soon work with the GS2K and there will also be a small handheld controller for individual camera control and set up.

Four GS2Ks have been used on the set of Rush, directed by Ron Howard and shot by DoP Anthony Dod Mantle. German post-house Cinepost is working on the movie and is using Colorfront's On-Set Dailies system, which supports Indiecam’s InstantRaw workflow, alongside other RAW formats. The new Convergent Design Gemini RAW recorder also supports the InstantRaw format. The cameras were also used to shot a high proportion of Danny Boyle‘s latest movie Trance.

Hewitt has found the small team at Indiecam very ready to respond to feedback. The Austrians had initially been focused just on the camera’s use for movies, and hadn’t given it interlaced output, but when Polecam pointed out how important it would be for broadcast work Indiecam added it very quickly.

For 3D work, the indieGS2K offers an interocular of as little as 40mm, making it one of the most compact 3D-set ups available as a side-by-side rig. The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute is using the indieGS2K for its hybrid stereoscopic technology in cooperation with imcube labs, while the new P+S Technik PS-Micro Rig for 3D is also designed to operate with the GS2K.

Indiecam has also introduced a new indieFocus Control, which is 100% compatible with the C-motion system.

Related post: Indie shows 3D in the RAW

By David Fox

June 04, 2012

Atomos AtomOS 3.0 now available

Atomos Samurai users can now update their recorders to AtomOS 3.0.

"It adds great new functionality and is the direct result of feedback from our growing customer base" said Jeromy Young, Atomos CEO.

Features include:
- SmartMonitor, which adds various monitoring functions, including Peaking (for easier focusing), Zebra stripes (for exposure), False Color and Blue Only;
- SmartLog, which allows pre-editing and keyword tagging on location, including XML support for Final Cut X;
- SmartControl, which allows start/stop/pause to be triggered on any number of Samurais, interconnected via their LANC port, from any computer.
- automatic file recovery in the event of power failure;
- auto-record when an input is detected;
- Loop Playback;
- iPhone/iPad/Mac/PC recording support, which will allow software companies or reviewers to record how an app or game works.

AtomOS 3.0 is a free firmware update for existing Samurai users, and will also run on the new Ninja 2 when it ships.

[[Update: AtomOS 4.0 - including Avid DNxHD support - now available]]

By David Fox