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Apertus, the Open Source HD Movie Camera 152

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-that's-a-project dept.
osliving writes "This article takes a tour of the hardware and software behind the innovative Apertus, a real world open source project. Led by Oscar Spierenburg and a team of international developers, the project aims to produce 'an affordable community driven free software and open hardware cinematic HD camera for a professional production environment'."
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Apertus, the Open Source HD Movie Camera

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  • Oh silly me, I read the summary as "Led by Oscar [winner Steven] Speilburg..."
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well, the name "Apertus" suggests it's supported by both Aperture Science and Hogwarts.
  • Open hardware? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by toastar (573882) on Monday August 30, 2010 @02:23PM (#33417768)
    Is open hardware really that big a problem? It's not like opening a Fab is cheap.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Culture20 (968837)
      I think there's fear that any Indie film that makes it semi-big will be hit with large fines from MPEGLA since they're using the mpeg encoder in the cameras in cheap cameras.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by spire3661 (1038968)
        And MPEG-LA would lose in court. You cannot enforce a license like that. Its like Ford saying i cant use my vehicle for commercial purposes or I would have to pay Ford special commercial use tax.
        • Re:Open hardware? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by causality (777677) on Monday August 30, 2010 @03:02PM (#33418214)

          And MPEG-LA would lose in court. You cannot enforce a license like that. Its like Ford saying i cant use my vehicle for commercial purposes or I would have to pay Ford special commercial use tax.

          Never underestimate the insanity of modern intellectual property law.

        • Re:Open hardware? (Score:5, Informative)

          by bws111 (1216812) on Monday August 30, 2010 @03:18PM (#33418376)

          I think you are wrong. In "GENERAL TALKING PICTURES CORP. V. WESTERN ELEC. CO., 304 U. S. 175 (1938)" [justia.com]the SCOTUS found that a patent holder CAN authorize a manufacturer to only manufacture for a particular market (home use vs commercial), and that any subsequent purchasers only get the same authorization that the manufacturer had. For example, if MPEG-LA authorized Canon to use MPEG patents in consumer cameras only, and you bought one of those cameras and used it for commercial use, you are infringing the patent.

          • I think you are wrong. In "GENERAL TALKING PICTURES CORP. V. WESTERN ELEC. CO., 304 U. S. 175 (1938)" [justia.com]the SCOTUS found that a patent holder CAN authorize a manufacturer to only manufacture for a particular market (home use vs commercial), and that any subsequent purchasers only get the same authorization that the manufacturer had. For example, if MPEG-LA authorized Canon to use MPEG patents in consumer cameras only, and you bought one of those cameras and used it for commercial use, you are infringing the patent.

            Would you care to say how, I, as a hypothetical consumer using a purchased good for commercial use would be infringing on a patent by use of said good when I was not a party to the original patent license? I'm not a party to the license agreement therefor it does not apply to me as an end purchaser and owner of the final product.

            If I were to encode the final video product in MPEG 2 or MPEG 4 and attempt to sell it then I would require a commercial license but not for using a camera.

            • Re:Open hardware? (Score:4, Informative)

              by bws111 (1216812) on Monday August 30, 2010 @05:37PM (#33420236)

              You need authorization to make, sell, offer to sell, or use any patented invention. If a manufacturer has a license to use a patent for a specific thing (say home use), and you have that manufactured thing, then you automatically have authorization to use that thing for it's intended purpose (patent exhaustion). If you buy the thing and use it for a different purpose (say commercial use), which the manufacturer had no license for, then you have no license. It does not matter if you were a party to the agreement (the manufacturer does need to inform you that the product is only licensed for certain use), because in the absence of specific authorization you have no authorization.

              • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

                You need authorization to make, sell, offer to sell, or use any patented invention.

                So you're saying that if I take pictures with my digital camera and sell prints I am violating MPEG-LA?

                I call bullshit.

                • by bws111 (1216812)

                  Uh, no. MPEG has nothing to do with 'pictures' or 'prints'. MPEG concerns video. And, yes, if you take videos over 12 minutes long and sell them you need a license from MPEG-LA.

              • You need authorization to make, sell, offer to sell, or use any patented invention. If a manufacturer has a license to use a patent for a specific thing (say home use), and you have that manufactured thing, then you automatically have authorization to use that thing for it's intended purpose (patent exhaustion). If you buy the thing and use it for a different purpose (say commercial use), which the manufacturer had no license for, then you have no license. It does not matter if you were a party to the agreement (the manufacturer does need to inform you that the product is only licensed for certain use), because in the absence of specific authorization you have no authorization.

                Sorry but no I do not. I need a license to encode and distribute the video either by download or physical media for profit. I do not need a license to operate the camera and produce my own "copyright" original works. If I am purchasing commercial quality encoder then I would end up paying a "commercial" license for that product. End of story. The company that created the camera already paid the license for the encoder on the device and I most likely will not be taking the raw video and distributing it but w

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            For example, if MPEG-LA authorized Canon to use MPEG patents in consumer cameras only, and you bought one of those cameras and used it for commercial use, you are infringing the patent.

            I'm not sure I believe you. There's no contract that I am party to when I bought or use my camera that says I can't sell prints or set up a portrait studio.

            You are misunderstanding the case, I think. That doesn't mean there's not a lawyer crazy enough to sue me, but the case would be tossed in a heartbeat.

            • by bws111 (1216812)

              What are you talking about? This article, and every post about it, is discussing VIDEO. Still cameras, prints, and portraits have nothing to do with MPEG or MPEG-LA, because they don't involve video compression.

              Now, if you change your argument to 'nothing says I can't use my consumer camera to create and sell commercial videos', then you are wrong. As I explained, you don't need to be a party to a contract that says that, because the LAW says it ('anyone who makes, sells, offers to sell, or uses a patente

              • This argument would never stand up in a modern court room. Cars have patented proprietary engine modules etc. The car manufacturer in no way can stop me from operating my vehicle in any way I choose. Could you imagine the public outcry if a car manufacturer started saying that in order to use their proprietary engine code you cannot operate the car commercially? It makes no sense at all and would be struck down imho.
                • by bws111 (1216812)

                  Let's say you own a building. You sign a lease with someone. Part of the terms of the lease is no commercial use of the space allowed. That party does a cash transaction with another party (no lease) to allow him to use the space for a month. Third party sets up a store in the space. Have you, as the property owner, lost your ability to control the use of your space? No. The law is that no-one has use of the space except you, unless you authorize it. You did not authorize use of the space for commerc

                  • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

                    Your car scenario could happen, and it would probably be upheld.

                    I don't buy it. Are you saying that car rental companies have to pay special license fees to patent holders of technology in their cars to stay in business?

                    Nobody would ever start a trucking firm, or a taxi business or a car rental agency if that was the case. No, I don't think it would "be upheld" or it would have been tried already. Hertz and Budget have deep pockets. Some patent troll would have tried their luck. Same with the biggest U

                    • by bws111 (1216812)

                      No, I did not say that. I said it COULD happen. In the very next sentence is said it WON'T happen. Then I listed the reason it won't happen: the car companies are not interested in segmenting the market. Both commercial and private uses are vital to their business. They will not agree to a license structure that treats commercial and private use differently, because it would be bad for their business. Furthermore, it doesn't even make much sense for the patent holder to want such a split. If one tra

                    • Re:Open hardware? (Score:4, Insightful)

                      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @09:08PM (#33431734) Homepage Journal

                      No, I did not say that. I said it COULD happen.

                      So, let me get this straight.

                      You're saying that in an alternate universe where MPEG-LA and the Supreme Court said things that it did not say in this universe, it might be possible that you COULD be violating a patent by using a consumer camera for professional purposes, except not.

                      OK. Got it.

                      A video that grosses $500M does not require 5000X the number of cameras that a video grossing $100K requires. So how do you structure the license fees so that they are fair to everyone?

                      I guess now I can understand why patents are so completely worthless. Because of people who think like you.

                      I suppose you believe there should also be two tiers of super-sharp nanotech chef's knives. One for someone who cooks for their family and one for a master chef who owns a chain of restaurants.

                      If I invent the greatest oil paint ever, should I have two levels of licenses? One for somebody who paints still lifes in their family room and another for famous artists whose paintings sell for hundreds of thousands?

                      How 'bout this one? Think of all the patents involved with your desktop computer. There should be a divided market for personal computers. One for the kid who play WoW and another for his older brother who uses his computer to build a website which becomes the next Facebook. I mean, according to you, it's the only way to make licensing "fair".

                      I have no doubt that you're going to go down swinging with this idea, bws111. You'll aver to the end that of course there should be two price levels for golf clubs with patented technology. One for the Republican congressman who plays 160 rounds of golf per year with his 10 handicap and another for Tiger Woods.

                      But you would be completely insane. However, you have inadvertently made a great case for why our current patent system is completely useless.

                      So the answer to your question, "How do you structure license fees fairly?" is, "You do NOT structure license fees "fairly". You make your invention, you license it, you make some money and then invent something else. Your patent should not grant you fortunes for your descendants to the tenth generation. Your patent should not be a tax on everything. Your patent should not pass beyond whoever uses your invention to manufacture a product and sells it to someone. YOU GOT PAID BY THE MANUFACTURER FOR GOD'S SAKE, NOW SUCK IT UP AND INVENT SOMETHING ELSE. Don't be a baby and expect that the world owes you riches beyond measure just because you had one fucking idea, even if it happens to be a good idea.

              • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

                Still cameras, prints, and portraits have nothing to do with MPEG or MPEG-LA, because they don't involve video compression.

                So what you're saying is that MPEG and MPEG-LA is some special category of patent with reach that regular patents don't have; that MPEG and MPEG-LA are "super-patents" with powers that allow them to reach out across transactions and forces people who buy certain cameras to never use them professionally.

                That's just silly.

                I've got a video camera that encodes MPEGs. I've looked through th

                • by bws111 (1216812)

                  Are you really this dense? How does the line you quoted turn into some sort of 'special patent' rant? Let's try to take this real slow...

                  You said there is no contract that says you can't sell prints or set up a portait studio.

                  I pointed out that patents that cover MOVING PICTURES have nothing to do with STILL PICTURES (prints and portraits).

                  Just for the record, there are millions of OTHER patents that have nothing to do with portrait photography.

                  Now for the parts that seem so hard for you to understand...

                  Y

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        using the mpeg encoder in the cameras in cheap cameras.

        I hate to tell you how to mod since I clearly don't know how to type, but "-1 redundant" is intended to express distaste for redundant concepts that are found in prior posts, not grammar-nazi distaste for redundancy in sentences.

    • Re:Open hardware? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by V!NCENT (1105021) on Monday August 30, 2010 @02:42PM (#33417988)

      Now that there is Ogg, WebM, HTML5 video, the 'Ubuntu' video editor for Gnome and the Kdenlive video editor for KDE4, all HD camera's are still recording to h.264 by default.

      This is a huge problem for free software because it not only involves patents when dealing with h.264, but also a license.

      Now you might think: *yeah well license... bla bla bla bla bla. Free software doesn't concern me.* But if you knew what kind of a threat this poses not only to free software, but also to you; you'd be very, _VERY_ concerned. (unless you wouldn't mind George Orwell scenarios, but in any case you asked what the problem was...)

      You see the license you get with your camera, even expensive proffesional camera's, basically sais; all your base are belong to Mpeg-LA, even when converted to another format. This sucks, but oh well you can alsways buy a different camera because capitalism rules! But in this case it doesn't; try finding HD camera's that do not shoot in h.264 first.

      For more info Google is at your service ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DurendalMac (736637)
        So not open source = George Orwell? Are you really that much of a blind zealot?
        • Re:Open hardware? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jedidiah (1196) on Monday August 30, 2010 @03:12PM (#33418314) Homepage

          > So not open source = George Orwell? Are you really that much of a blind zealot?

          When you play with someone else's ball, they get to dictate terms.

          You don't have to be a "zealot" to understand this. HELL, the film industry fled the East coast over this very nonsense.

          That is why there is a Hollywood to begin with.

        • Re:Open hardware? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by cgenman (325138) on Monday August 30, 2010 @03:45PM (#33418666) Homepage

          MPEG-LA basically claims certain financial rights over your project in exchange for the right to use the h.264 codec. This means that if you shoot a scene in h.264, but switch to something else to release on the web, they still have rights over you. If a contractor shoots in h.264 but sends you the video in a different format, they still claim rights over you. As far as I know, pretty much all HD cameras shoot in h.264.

          Some of this is definitely winnable in court, some isn't. But if you're an independent filmmaker, you don't have the money to go against one of the biggest legal groups in filmmaking.

          So yes, this particular situation is a bit Orwellian.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Abu Hurayrah (953237)

            This is not correct. I am not defending MPEG-LA, but I think it's important that we get the facts straight. Once video has been converted from H.264 to another format, MPEG-LA cannot assert anything over it. This e-mail exchange which I archived on Libre Video [librevideo.org] explains this point using their own, documented words.

            • by brunes69 (86786)

              They can indeed enforce it if they can prove the camera it was shot on originally encodced the video in an MPEG-LA codec.

        • by yyxx (1812612)

          So not open source = George Orwell? Are you really that much of a blind zealot?

          Are you so stupid not to recognize that if the printing presses (e-book formats, video formats, etc.) are entirely controlled by a few big corporations, we can kiss our democracy goodbye?

      • by toastar (573882)
        Yo' know, I don't mind George Orwell scenarios as much I mind Franz Kafka scenarios.
      • by westlake (615356)

        Now that there is Ogg, WebM, HTML5 video, the 'Ubuntu' video editor for Gnome and the Kdenlive video editor for KDE4, all HD camera's are still recording to h.264 by default.

        Of course they are.

        Just about the only place you will find WebM video is on YouTube. Transcoded from H.264.

        HTML5 doesn't specify a video codec.

        H.264 is used in such applications as players for Blu-ray Discs, videos from YouTube and the iTunes Store, web software such as the Adobe Flash Player and Microsoft Silverlight, broadcast servi

      • Is there efficient transcoding from h.264 to WebM? The two codecs are so similar that it may be possible to transcode without decompression and the associated quality loss.

        If there is efficient transcoding, that would greatly reduce the problem.

    • by bieber (998013)
      They're not manufacturing their own sensors, or really even any hardware components as far as I can tell, apart from the support system which is ultimately optional, and probably a lot simpler to manufacture than electric components. The project is really more about shoe-horning various devices together into something that's more modular and extensible than the commercial alternatives, and aside from the weak imaging element (which is kind of critical), they're doing a great job. Stick a camera with a 35m
    • by westlake (615356)

      Is open hardware really that big a problem? It's not like opening a Fab is cheap.

      The optical and mechanical requirements of a production-grade camera are demanding. Three - large - HD sensors are the norm. I don't see the savings here.

    • It's not like opening a Fab is cheap.

      This is one, but not the only, reason why I oppose patents on hardware.

      Falcon

  • by Eggplant62 (120514) on Monday August 30, 2010 @02:27PM (#33417822)

    Didn't I read someplace that MPAA, in collusion with camera equipment manufacturers and the camera operators' unions, is looking to place patents on these devices so as to preclude competition?

  • CODECs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday August 30, 2010 @02:32PM (#33417880) Homepage Journal

    In terms of video codecs the camera supports .mov, JP4 RAW (requires post production conversion), .ogm, and JPEG sequence plus optional tags like geo information/GPS coordinates.

    Last time I checked, .mov was a container, not a CODEC.

    A .mov file can use a lot of things. Quicktime 7 gives me PNG, JPEG, JPEG 2000, DV, DVCPro, Apple Pixlet, MPEG-4 and H.264 as video CODEC options. Older Quicktime versions would have offered me older CODECs too.

    And what's JP4? Never heard of it. I sure hope they don't mean their camera runs on jet fuel [wikipedia.org].

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Abu Hurayrah (953237)
      Details about the JP4 codec can be found here: http://wiki.elphel.com/index.php?title=JP4 [elphel.com]
    • I, for one, would only buy a camera if it ran on jet fuel.
    • by iYk6 (1425255)

      In terms of video codecs the camera supports .mov, JP4 RAW (requires post production conversion), .ogm, and JPEG sequence plus optional tags like geo information/GPS coordinates.

      Last time I checked, .mov was a container, not a CODEC.

      .ogm is a container too. It's made by the same company that made vorbis (audio) and theora (video).

      Is your quote from the article? If so, they just don't know anything about AV.

  • by DurendalMac (736637) on Monday August 30, 2010 @02:37PM (#33417946)
    Unfortunately, while the camera will have some interesting features and can do some things well, it will be hampered by an interface that only a CS grad student could decipher. Further development on future models will come to a standstill as the developers engage in fierce, unyielding debates about minutia. Eventually the camera will be forked into four different projects, with only one making it to market and carrying the same flaws as the first.
  • by bieber (998013) on Monday August 30, 2010 @02:47PM (#33418052)
    Reading through the article, I'm loving just about everything about this camera, except the most important part of all...the sensor, which is absolutely tiny. Forget about a camera for cinema, with a sensor that size you're going to be struggling to get it not to look like a webcam video. Looking at the company that makes the actual camera element, though, it looks like they also sell a model with a more reasonably sized sensor, but it can only do 5fps. If they really want to pass this thing off as a motion picture camera, they need to find a solution that will give them a big sensor at a respectable frame rate. Hopefully that will be possible in the near future, because the rest of this project looks downright awesome.
    • by Thagg (9904)

      bieber is absolutely right. What makes the Canon 5D Mark II amazing is the large sensor (even larger than 35mm motion picture film), enabling good control of depth of field. No matter what you do, with that sensor it's going to look like phone-cam video.

      • bieber is absolutely right. What makes the Canon 5D Mark II amazing is the large sensor (even larger than 35mm motion picture film), enabling good control of depth of field.

        The Mark II only captures 29 seconds of video though. Because of the sensor size, 35mm full-frame, I've thought about getting one. That or a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, but that's more than twice the price of the 5D Mark II.

        Falcon

        • by bieber (998013)
          29 seconds? It's more along the lines of 12 minutes, iirc. If you're shooting something staged and controlled, 12 minutes continuous recording shouldn't be an issue. It's worthless for live video, since it can't even give you a clean video out signal, but for controlled recording it's really quite spectacular for the price.
          • 29 seconds? It's more along the lines of 12 minutes, iirc.

            That's what I thought I read in early reviews, but a review on photo.net [photo.net] says it can record 12 minutes in HD or 29 minutes, 59 seconds in SD. Being able to record 12 minutes, you should be able to break up scenes into small enough segments to record all of it, so maybe with the right accessories maybe it can be a decent movie camera.

            Falcon

    • yea, and it's using C-mount lenses, this thing is obviously not designed to compete with full sized sensors and cameras...

    • by Wescotte (732385)
      I've been watching the Apertus/Elphel project for some time now. I too wanted a larger sensor to allow a nice shallow DOF. However, the more research I do the more I realize it can still be achieved. The digital cameras that were used to shoot the Star Wars prequels were 2/3" and they achieved a very cinematic look. The C-mount means you can get lens that are capable of doing this at a fraction of the price.

      Really, the only true advantage of a larger sensor is having potentially larger pixels. This allows
      • Really, the only true advantage of a larger sensor is having potentially larger pixels.

        It may not matter to you but resolution does matter to some people. Better signal-to-noise ratios is also important to some.

        Falcon

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rduke15 (721841)

        the only true advantage of a larger sensor is having potentially larger pixels

        Not at all.

        The large sensor gives you long focal lengths, which give you small depth of field, which is extremely important for cinema.

        While this camera may be a very interesting project, and may end up being useful for certain things, it doesn't look like it's real use will be anywhere in the realm of professional film making.

        The small sensor is an essential drawback. The C-mount for lenses is absurd (that was used on "high-end" Super 8 cameras, and amateur 16 mm. cameras several generations ago. Good luck

        • by TheSync (5291)

          The large sensor gives you long focal lengths, which give you small depth of field, which is extremely important for cinema.

          I never understood this - if you want small depth of field, why not just open up the aperture?

          • by bieber (998013)
            Because when your lens is already wide open, that isn't really an option. For instance, with a 28/2.8 lens on my 20D (appreciably smaller than 35mm sensor, but still much larger than a compact digital) I can get somewhat shallow depth of field at f/2.8 at close range. If I mount it on a 5D Mark II, I can get that shallowness at a much longer range (still wide open), and when you get in really close it's just remarkably shallow.
            • by TheSync (5291)

              In doing some reading [toothwalker.org], I also recognize now that "background blur" is enhanced by more magnification of the background, which comes from the ability to use longer lenses.

              This results in the background looking more blurred despite having the same "depth of field".

    • Ouch, the sensor size is a limitation, you can get a new Canon camcorder with a sensor about that size for about $700 from a reputable shop. Sure, it won't have all the same features but that puts the whole thing into a bit of a perspective. The kit in question is above the base price of a 5D Mk. II, the saving grace of the Apertus is maybe access to less expensive lenses. I see some features that make it more useful in a production environment, but the sensor size is a major limitation.

      While the interfa

  • I don't get it. The crux of image acquisition is the lens and they don't include one?

    I don't see how that contraption could possibly penetrate the production side of entertainment industry. What is the market for this device?

    • by bieber (998013) on Monday August 30, 2010 @03:20PM (#33418404)
      That's because in serious cinema (and still), there's no such concept as "the lens." It's "whichever lens is best for this particular lighting situation/distance/position," and you have a bag full of them that you swap out at will. While you can buy some SLR (and possibly cinema, I'm not really familiar with that world) cameras in a package deal with a lens, experienced users generally won't, unless the package just happens to include a lens that they want to have at a discount for buying it with the camera. Shipping a single lens with every camera would just be foolish, and turn away buyers who either already own or just don't want whatever particular lens you chose. Besides, at this point the entire camera has to be purchased piecemeal and assembled, so even if it were standard to include a lens with a camera purchase, it wouldn't exactly be the single issue standing between them and market dominance :/
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Prosumer (I hate the word too) level cameras tend to be offered with or without a lens. Often there's two packages, a camera body+battery+remote, and a full kit with all that plus a lens, a bag, and a crappy cleaning kit. So it is slightly odd for something at this level (in small sensor land) to not be offered with a lens, but it's not really that big a deal.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        While you can buy some SLR (and possibly cinema, I'm not really familiar with that world) cameras in a package deal with a lens, experienced users generally won't, unless the package just happens to include a lens that they want to have at a discount for buying it with the camera.

        That made it sound like they were bad. The primary reason is that they're all generally bundled with an all-round lens and if you already have an SLR - which is pretty much a requirement for being called an advanced user - you already have it from your last camera. Unless they are changing lens system, which for a professional photographer is a huge decision not taken lightly. The best lenses are never bundled as far as I know, it's more of a "starter kit" for people that don't have any lenses already.

    • by alen (225700)

      because even amateur photographers have a few lenses

      which one you use depends on your location, lighting, etc

    • by vadim_t (324782)

      Whatever lens you get with the camera isn't going to be a very good one. Good lenses can easily cost more than the camera itself, so of course that's not what they're going to bundle with it.

  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Monday August 30, 2010 @03:07PM (#33418262)

    This thing is trying to compete with the RED camera system and the 5D Mk. II. As others have said, the sensor is already behind. Everyone doing 2K on the cheap is using the 5D Mk. II as a video camera - it has a bigger, better sensor than anything anywhere in that price bracket, plus Canon's awesome lenses. The next step up is the RED system for 4K, which is just on fire right now because of its revolutionary modularity. This thing is pretty small potatoes compared to either of those two. It might be good for student filmmakers though. A school could buy a batch of them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by theJML (911853)

      I'd also like to add the T2i or the 7D. It's "Good Enough" for 1080p, continues to use great EOS lenses, does it cheaper than the 5D mk II and is $1k or less. As TFA points out, the cost of the system their pitching has a camera that STARTS at $2k and "More advanced sensor frontends could drastically increase this price". To me, Drastically increasing $2k puts you closer to a RED camera, and not quite so drastic, the 5D mk II, so the $2k camera is close to the same as the T2i or 7D and they cost quite a bit

    • by Taxman415a (863020) on Monday August 30, 2010 @03:44PM (#33418654) Homepage Journal
      Well the not being hemmed in by the MPEG-LA's patent trolling would be one big advantage. "It's a shame your film has made some money or become famous, let's talk about damages."

      Being limited to the C or CS lenses seems like a pretty big thing when the 5D has a large range of interchangeable lenses, and apparently the Red One can use Nikon and Canon lenses with adapters and even have full electronic control of them. The people developing the Magic Lantern firmware [wikia.com] seem to be a fan of the 5D's larger sensor compared to the Red One, etc to the point where they are reverse engineering the camera to add some cinematic improvements to its firmware. That's pretty hard core.
      • by Wescotte (732385)
        Adapters from C/CS to any other mount are cheap. Going the reverse is expensive.
        • by AC-x (735297)

          Sure you can get an adapter, but a 1/2.5" sensor has a crop factor of 6, so a 28mm lense becomes a (probably quite soft) 168mm lens and a 50mm lens because 300mm.

          • by Wescotte (732385)
            My understanding is that the sharpest part of the lens is in the center. So the crop factor actually reduces the vignetting effect of a poor lens.So a crappy lens might become usable when combined with a smaller sensor.. It's all a trade off anyway. Smaller sensor = lower cost to manufacture but lens can potentially be more expensive. You just need to find the sweet spot.

            Right now full frame seems like the way to go because it's easy to find cheap but good new and used lens. However, not too many cameras
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rduke15 (721841)

        the Red One can use Nikon and Canon lenses

        You can do that, but in practice you almost never do it, except for some very special single shots. These are photo lenses which are not well suited for cinematography. The RED has a standard PL mount that takes any of the standard film camera lenses (Zeiss, Cooke, ...) from your local renting company.

      • by jonwil (467024)

        Maybe a better solution would be to find an existing camera that's A.Cheap B.Good enough for amateur cinema work (the target audience here) and C.Hackable.

        Then you go and produce a custom firmware that only records into non-patented formats.
        MPEG-LA comes knocking on your door, you can show them that the footage was NEVER encoded in MPEG.

        • Maybe a better solution would be to find an existing camera that's A.Cheap B.Good enough for amateur cinema work (the target audience here) and C.Hackable.

          And that camera would be...? The whole point of the effort in this article and the Magic Lantern is that no such thing exists, particularly at HD quality. This effort is trying to put the hardware together from scratch and Magic Lantern is trying to hack existing hardware that has the features they want. However you should read up on the things they have to do to decode the Canon firmware just to have the chance to try to improve it. And that's for one of the cameras it's possible for.

  • Is it just me? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bracher (33965) on Monday August 30, 2010 @03:11PM (#33418308)
    Or is this really the Elphel opensource/openhardware camera, and how Apertus hopes to add things around the edges. The camera is Elphel, as is the sensor and the software. The only thing that seems to be community-designed/built is the "rod" packaging, and maybe the battery rig.
  • The one that intrigued me was Stanford's computer science professor Marc Levoy Camera 2.0 Project. [scientificcomputing.com]
  • So...it has the size of a medium format or even large-format camera...but the resolution of a DSLR that is 5 years out of date. Doesn't seem too impressive to me.

  • I can't be the only one reading the name Apertus and humming that tune, right?

  • That's the same kind of sensor you get in a small compact camera like an IXUS, you'll never get anywhere near cinematic quality with that because of noise, lack of dynamic range and most of all the small sensor gives a large depth of field, so no fancy depth of field effects. For comparison a 1/2.5" sensor is about the same size as Super8 film.

    For cinematic image quality (at least in terms of shallow depth of field) you need at least a 4/3rds size sensor (which is a bit larger than 16mm film), even better w

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