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ACQUISITION

High-speed cameras add production value and an exciting new dimension to live television, particularly for sports coverage. Consumers expect an ever-more-amazing viewing experiences through features such as high-frame-rate (HFR) replays, driving sports broadcasters’ growing demand for the cameras that can offer these effects.

While there are numerous high-speed cameras on the market, choices are limited when it comes to specialty or POV-type cameras. And until now there has been a lack of POV HFR cameras that can provide the real-time processing critical for live sports.

To address this opportunity, Bexel sought to design and deliver a small POV camera with the same quality and functionality as a large HFR camera. The challenge lay in devising a small camera that would still have the “look and feel” of a large high-speed camera, with the ability to support the same workflows and provide the same functionality. And of course, a critical requirement was to deliver this functionality at a cost people could afford.

In order to rival the image quality of a larger camera, the decision was made to use a Micro 4/3 imager. This would allow our camera to run a slightly larger imager than normal broadcast cameras – which is better to capture as much light as possible to accommodate high-speed video capture. Our solution also needed to accommodate the wide choice of quality lenses that are already available on the market.

Inside the camera

Once our working prototype started capturing a beautiful, high-quality image, we turned our attention to making sure the camera would fit easily into production workflows. The camera would need to connect to a DDR in the same manner as a large high-speed camera. This meant the camera processor would need the ability to take the data stream from the camera and turn the video into separate phases for the high-speed data in real time, while also providing all the necessary handles on the video.

Technically speaking, this involved taking the camera’s raw high-speed data and bringing it to the camera processor. From there, we use a FPGA circuit to process all of that data and turn it into the outputs needed for live recording of high-speed video. This also allows users to control the video image and create handles for all the usual controls a video engineer is accustomed to. This includes white balance and black balance, gamma adjustment with balance, detail circuit with H/V and level depend, color saturation, and a variable six-way matrix adjustment. Other controls include knee point and slope, white clips, electronic gain, and shutter.

Finally, the lens mount would need to be just as easy to operate as a standard “twist-and-click” mount. We designed a positive-locking lens mount with electronics for communicating with the lens to provide iris, focus, and zoom adjustments.

Camera targets live events

The end product is the Clarity 800-HD, a camera that can output HD video at a frame rate up to 8x (480 FPS) at 1080p and offers the complete functionality of a larger high-speed camera, but in a form factor not much larger than the footprint of a cell phone. The camera uses a 4K Micro 4:3” CMOS imager and 1080p HD signal processing to deliver outstanding images and the clear, sharp replays that are critical for live sports. Handles on the video allow the camera to be painted to match the larger cameras on the production, and yet the Clarity 800-HD can be mounted and placed in areas that have not been accessible for other HFR cameras.

The camera integrates easily into a live event ecosystem, operating as a broadcast camera system with real-time processing via fiber optics and integration with industry-standard video servers. Key features include a full-function camera remote control panel (RCP) for paint control and the positive-locking lens mount with lens control of focus, iris, and zoom motors.

Today’s broadcasters need solutions that will help them stay ahead of viewer demand for the latest formats, and high-quality, real-time HFR video is no exception. We believe that a robust and affordable high-speed camera like the Clarity 800-HD is a highly desirable solution.

In a move that will increase efficiency on set, ARRI has integrated a high-quality and low-latency HD video transmitter and WiFi into the new ALEXA SXT W model ("W" for Wireless). Based on the popular ALEXA SXT Plus, the SXT W will replace the SXT Plus and Studio models. As always, there are attractive upgrade options for existing owners of ALEXA SXT EV and ALEXA SXT Plus cameras.

The new hardware will be accompanied by software upgrade SXT SUP 2.0, which adds improved HDR monitoring, support for current SxS PRO+ and CFast 2.0 cards, quicker frame grabs, various WCU-4 and lens motor features, and other refinements.

Having a video transmitter built into the ALEXA SXT W makes the camera smaller and lighter than it would be with an external transmitter. It also means fewer cables around the camera and fewer associated problems, since cable failure is by far the most common technical hitch on set. Camera setup and power-up will be quicker, and productions will be able to move faster.

Interference between different radio frequencies can be a time-consuming issue for camera crews. The ARRI Wireless Video System eliminates this issue because it works harmoniously with ALEXA SXT W’s other radio-based offerings: the WiFi and the ECS, ARRI’s proprietary camera and lens control system.

In addition, the integrated WiFi radio opens up a whole range of options, starting with wireless look control on set and continuing with wireless camera remote control using the ALEXA Web Remote. Other exciting WiFi options are currently under development.

The introduction of a built-in wireless video transmitter is a significant upgrade for the ALEXA SXT and reflects ARRI’s commitment to continually improve the SXT platform with additional functionality.

The ALEXA SXT W forms part of a new and complete ARRI Wireless Video System (WVS), along with a stand-alone video transmitter for use with other ARRI or third-party cameras, and a stand-alone video receiver that picks up signals from either transmitter.

An extensive accessory range includes various mounting brackets, antenna extensions and the handheld Director’s Monitor Support (DMS-1), as well as a specially adapted Transvideo monitor with a built-in receiver for the ARRI transmitters. Whether using this monitor or others, the modular system allows for a compact and efficient setup. An extra power-out on the video receiver, for example, permits a single on-board battery to power both the receiver and an attached handheld monitor. A higher input voltage range allows more flexibility on battery choice.

The high-performance video transmission from the ALEXA SXT W and stand-alone transmitters provide a robust radio link and fast re-link with a long-range, uncompressed and encrypted signal for safety. Audio, timecode and REC flag are included in the zero-delay signal, and up to four receivers can be used per transmitter.

For the director, cinematographer, assistant or anyone else on set, a monitor feed from the ARRI Wireless Video System increases creative control and oversight without adding clutter to the camera configuration or potential difficulties for the crew. From the protective collars on the connectors to the versatile mounting options, all of ARRI’s expertise has gone into the ergonomics and durability of the system. Designed for real-world usage on professional sets, every component is spray and dust proof, constructed from rugged materials, and has a wide operating temperature range. All units share the same operating controls, making set up a snap, and the pairing procedure has been simplified with a single button.

To add to the video capabilities of their latest professional camera, Canon has announced that they are making their log profile, Canon LOG (C-LOG), available on the 5D Mark IV DSLR. Current EOS 5D Mark IV owners can have the C-LOG feature upgrade installed for $99 at any of the Canon service centers across the U.S. starting in July. You read that right: getting C-LOG installed is more than just a firmware update you can do at home. Due to software architecture in the camera, Canon needs to connect and use their service tools in order to upgrade it. The camera will also be available for sale (body only) with the feature upgrade pre-installed starting in July, with an estimated retail price of $3,599.

For those who might not know what C-LOG is or what its benefits are, Canon describes it: "Canon Log uses the image sensor’s characteristics in a way that allows for a wide dynamic range, minimal loss of detail in shadows and highlight areas and an increased range of choices when color grading. Color grading options available with Canon Log include optimized color saturation, accurate colors with minor color bias, visual continuity and accurate skin tones."

In short, log profiles are the closest video shooters can get to shooting RAW outside of, well, shooting RAW. The upgrade to C-LOG will work with and complement several Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera features including 4K shooting, Dual Pixel CMOS AF, high speed 119.9p shooting in HD and 59.94p shooting in Full HD. Additional features include Movie Servo AF allowing the camera to focus on a subject even when the shutter button is not used, the ability to register custom shooting modes in Canon Log and movie shooting in Canon Log on a compatible iOS or Android device using the free Canon Camera Connect app. For more information on the C-LOG upgrade, visit usa.canon.com/canonlog5d4.

Canon also announced the COMPACT-SERVO 70-200mm Telephoto Zoom Lens (model name CN-E 70-200mm T4.4 L IS KAS S), which is a compact and lightweight 4K lens. A bridge between traditional Canon EF lenses and CN-E cinema lenses, the COMPACT-SERVO 70-200mm can be ideal for filmmakers and documentary shooters who want the control and quality of cinema optics with the lightweight, compact design and features of Canon’s EF lenses.

The second in a new class of Canon lenses (the first being the COMPACT-SERVO 18-80mm Zoom Lens), the COMPACT-SERVO 70-200mm Telephoto Zoom Lens is a cinema-style lens that includes a servo drive unit as a standard feature. Additionally, the lens incorporates Image Stabilization, Autofocus, and Auto Iris functionality, which are popular and useful features not often found in typical cinema lenses. The lens is also rated for 4K video capture, meaning it will retain sharpness even at such a high resolution. It features a nine-bladed iris aperture diaphragm which should provide a desirable "bokeh" effect in the out of focus areas of an image.

The lens comes equipped with a Servo Drive Unit, which provides seamless switching between servo and manual modes, which lend you motorized control of focus, zoom, and iris settings.

The 70-200mm lens is compatible with all EF super 35mm cameras as well as the Canon 1.4x III and 2x III external extenders. The Servo Drive Unit is compatible with broadcast style industry-standard lens controllers including Canon’s ZSD-300D zoom demand and FPD-400D focus demand. Additionally, the ZSG-C10 accessory grip (which retails for $499) will be compatible with the 70-200mm. The grip connects to the lens through a 20-pin cable, allowing a variety of lens functions to be controlled from the grip, including zooming via a rocker switch, one-shot AF and the starting and stopping of a recording. When the lens and grip are being used with the EOS C100 Mark II, EOS C300 Mark II and EOS C700 Cinema Cameras, users will also have the ability to control the zoom and iris from the camera’s grip unit.

The Canon COMPACT-SERVO 70-200mm Zoom Lens is scheduled to be available later in 2017.

The Optical Devices Division of FUJIFILM is trying to solve the problem of heavy, unbalanced camera rigs for digital cinema with the introduction of a new series of compact and lightweight zoom and wide-angle lenses in the E-mount (Super 35mm sensor) format that provides high optical performance at an affordable price.

The new MK Series of cinema lenses include the Fujinon MK18-55mm T2.9 zoom, with an 18-55mm focal length and the Fujinon MK50-135mm T2.9. Both lenses offer fast lenses with T2.9 speed across the entire zoom range, enabling a shallow depth-of-field.

The MK lenses are designed to maintain consistent color temperature with all Fujinon cinema lenses, which simplifies color grading. The series also inherits the Fujinon cine lenses’ advanced edge-to-edge optical performance and low distortion. The MK18-55 and MK50-135mm weigh in at light 980-grams/2.16 lbs. with front diameters of 85mm and lengths of 206mm. The MK18-55mm’s minimum object distance (MOD) is .85 meters/2.78 feet, while the MK 50-135mm’s MOD is 1.2m/3.93 feet.

Tom Fletcher, Director of Sales, Optical Devices Division of Fujinon said that the rapid growth in popularity of content produced by emerging cinematographers has expanded the use of cinema and digital photographic cameras.

“The heightened need for programming has, in turn, boosted demand for high-performance cinema lenses, which are ideal to achieve a shallow depth-of-field and a beautiful bokeh,” he said. “However, since they are typically large, heavy and expensive, those involved in online and other lower cost productions often opt for interchangeable lenses for digital cameras, which have been more affordable and mobile. The problem is that interchangeable lenses for digital cameras are designed primarily for shooting stills, and therefore prone to focus shift and optical axis shift while zooming.”

The compact and lightweight MK18-55mm lens helps solve the problem of heavy, unbalanced camera rigs for digital cinema.

Only one matte box and one filter size are needed between the lenses. Time-saving features include a macro function that allows for a broader range of close-up shooting, and gears for the three rings are positioned in the exact same place, which eliminates the need to re-position accessories when switching lenses.

The lenses each contain a Flange Focal Distance adjustment function (the position of lenses’ image-forming plane can be adjusted according to each camera’s flange focal distance—the distance from lens mounting reference plane to the sensor) to achieve optimal camera and lens matching. The short flange focal distance contributes to the lenses’ compact size and lightweight.

The iris supports seamless adjustment that is free of clicking. This enables precise exposure adjustment without any sound from clicking between T-stops.

The lenses also feature three rings for manual and independent adjustment of focus, zoom, and iris (aperture), with the gear pitch (the distance between gear teeth) of 0.8M. The focus ring can rotate fully up to 200 degrees to facilitate precise focusing. In addition, the MK lenses are compatible with E-mount cameras with the Super 35mm/ APS-C sensor.

The company said new X-mount versions of the MK lenses (with focal lengths of 18-55mm and 50-135mm) used in the Fujinon X-Series line of digital cameras (with APS-C sensors) are now being developed for launch by the end of this year.

The Fujinon MK18-55mm T2.9 zoom, with an 18-55mm focal length, is available since early March for $3,799. The Fujinon MK50-135mm T2.9 will be available in the summer.

With an ultra-high sensitivity of ISO 409600* and internal recording, this compact 4K video camera is ideal for a wide range of remote shooting applications in almost total darkness.

The UMC-S3C can capture smooth 4K/29.97P/25P colour video in almost pitch-black conditions, from night-time starlight to poorly lit rooms. It’s extremely compact size and on-board recording capability make the camera ideal for remote PoV (Point of View), documentaries, wildlife and live action shooting, plus challenging environments where cabling or space are limited.

With the highest sensitivity in its class with minimum illumination of 0.004 lx, ISO 409600, the camera is ideal for environments where the human eye struggles to see. Extraordinary low-light imaging performance is delivered by the highly sensitive 35 mm full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor, advanced signal processing and interchangeable E-mount FE lenses. This UMC-S3C records crisp, clear 4K/29.97P/25P colour video using the XAVC S format at up to 100 Mbps, as well as very low-noise 12 megapixel colour still images.

The high-speed electronic shutter can capture blur-less colour video of written characters, numbers and human faces. The camera is also equipped with a mechanical shutter for extremely sharp still images, even when there’s movement in a scene. A choice of interchangeable E-mount FE lenses (available separately) offers the flexibility to adjust the camera’s viewing angle to suit a wide range of applications.

Long-duration video and still images can be recorded to the camera’s on-board SD memory card or output to an external recorder or monitor via HDMI. For example: with a 64 GB memory card, users can record up to 125 minutes of 4K footage with standard quality (29.97P/60 Mbps).

Weighing approximately 390g (13.8 oz), the UMC-S3C is ideal for installation in mobile platforms like vehicles and robots. The camera can be controlled via multi terminal**, remote controller or a PC and compatible software.

• Crisp, clear 4K video and still images, even in near darkness

With an ultra-high sensitivity of ISO 409600*, the UMC-S3C captures crisp, clear 4K/29.97P/25P colour video and low-noise 12 megapixel still images in minimum illumination conditions of 0.004 lx.

The 35 mm full-frame Exmor sensor captures significantly more incident light than conventional cameras, while the image processing extremely enhances the high sensitivity with very low noise. Area-specific noise reduction selectively divides the image into areas based on patterns (such as edges, textures and evenly coloured areas like blue skies) to efficiently reduce noise and improve image quality. Detail reproduction technology helps to accurately depict details with a more natural sense of dimension.

*Standard ISO 100–102400, expandable to 50–409600

• Greater shooting flexibility with choice of E-mount FE lenses

The camera’s versatility in a wide range of shooting applications is enhanced by compatibility with a wide range of interchangeable E-mount FE lenses (available separately)*. These maximise the performance of the 35 mm full-frame sensor, maintaining high resolution across the entire image area from centre to edges.

*Compatible E mount FE lenses include the SEL35F14Z (35 mm, F1.4), SEL35F28 (35 mm, F2.8), SEL28F20 (28 mm, F2.0), and SEL55F18Z (55 mm, F1.8).

• Small and light enough to go anywhere

Ideal for use in space-limited situations, the compact camera measures approximately 104.0 mm x 84.0 mm x 48.0 mm (4 1/8 inches x 3 3/8 inches x 1 15/16 inches). With a light weight of approximately 390 g (13.8 oz), it’s ideal for installation in mobile environments such as vehicles and robots.

• Easy operation even on the move

4K video or still images can be recorded internally to an SD card, or fed via HDMI to an external recorder or monitor, even when the camera is on the move. The camera’s multi terminal can connect to Micro USB-compatible devices, allowing remote control of functions such as zoom and shutter release, Rec Start/Stop, and Zoom using widely-available consumer accessories.

• High quality internal recording

The camera can continuously record 4K/29.97P/25P colour video in the XAVC S format at up to 100 Mbps, and 12 megapixel colour still images in JPEG or RAW format at 14 bits to an SD memory card. For example, a 64 GB SD card can record up to 125 minutes of continuous 4K footage with standard quality (29.97P/60 Mbps).

Recorded video files can be reviewed on a wide range of ordinary PC media players compatible with the MP4 format such as Windows Media Player.