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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 07:10 PM

Just realized... we need a new forum or new title to this forum to cover the 2K/4K cameras...

I was wondering about the Phantom 65, from this press release:

As the world?s first 65mm digital cinema camera, the Phantom 65 is capable of taking stunning movies at up to 120 fps at resolutions up to 4096x2440. The sensor is equivalent in size to 65mm film, giving today?s cinematographers access to the coveted 65mm format in a digital camera.

OK, so it's 4K resolution, so similar to 35mm... but it has 65mm depth of field? Is that an advantage over the other 4K cameras with 35mm-sized sensors? Or is there some other advantage in terms of sensitivity or color resolution by making the sensor 65mm-wide? Because it sounds like all the problems of shooting in 35mm anamorphic and 65mm in terms of optics, but with no real advantages. If the camera were 8K horizontally, it would make sense to me to suggest it was similar to 65mm film.
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#2 Kim Vickers

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 12:38 AM

In still photography, there's a general rule: doubling the MP count delivers 25% more resolution. In other words, a 12 MP DSLR is only 25% "better" than a 6 MP DSLR. You need to go to 22 or 24 MP to get to medium format resolution.

If this is the case, wouldn't a 65mm digital camera have to produce something like 12K resolution in order to truly qualify as "65mm digital"??? I've heard that anything above 8K is actually beyond the human eye's ability to resolve detail (unless you're sitting in the front row of the theater), and therefore quite pointless, but I'm sure there's more than one side to that story.

Maybe this just turns into semantics at a certain point, but I'd love to get some opinions on this.

Also, the specs on the Phantom 65 and HD seem quite impressive. They seem to suggest a 14-stop latitutde, which would be "best in show" for digital cameras, as far as I'm aware. On paper, this thing looks like the first serious match for film. At least the design looks "right." Has anyone put it through its paces? Results?
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 01:24 AM

You have to remember that 4K, 6K, etc. only refers to horizontal resolution, not total megapixels, so assuming you keep the aspect ratio the same, going from 4K to 8K isn't twice as many pixels, but four times as many pixels -- 4000 x 2000 (let's say), which is 8MP, becomes 8000 x 4000, aka 32MP.

So going from 4K to 8K would be about right for matching the increase of 35mm to 65mm, which is essentially twice as wide a piece of film (though generally 35mm is more square-shaped at 4-perf, whereas 65mm is usually only one perf taller, 5-perf versus 4-perf, for a more widescreen shape.)

The problem with an 8K digital cine camera is the fact that 5-perf 70mm prints have all be disappeared as a theatrical release option, and a 35mm print won't resolve that much information, and digital projection so far is 4K max... so that leaves a transfer to IMAX to show it off.
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#4 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 03:10 AM

One of my biggest problems when shooting high speed table top is getting enough depth of field to even keep the lip of an entire glass in focus (or something similar), and this is with 35mm depth of field. Having 65mm depth of field would kill me in terms of lighting for double the stop I normally would go for.

I haven't worked with this camera so I cant say much one way or the other beyond I hear it has some quirks of it's own, like every HD high speed camera I have seen.

Kevin Zanit
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#5 Mitch Gross

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 09:24 AM

Abel represents the Phantom cameras to the production industry in the US so I guess I should be answering this.

The Phantom HD has a 2K sensor (modestly named, right?) which is a big square - 2048x2048. Generally people shoot with it in 2048 x whatever gets them their screen ratio for Digital Cinema use, or 1920x180 or even 1280x 720. The camera does not scale; you're just choosing a smaller window which will give you more memory and higher available frame rate. In 1920x1080, the sensor area is almost exactly the same as Super-35.

The Phantom 65 is a bigger sensor, slightly taller than the HD's and twice as wide. The pixels are the same size on both cameras, 12.5 microns (huge!). Simply put, the Phantom 65 is named such because the sensor is about the same size as a 65mm film frame. If one makes a 4K sensor at a smaller size, then the pixel size must therefore be smaller as well, which lowers sensitivity, signal-to-noise ratio, raises heat issues, complicates Bayer masking and other issues. I would never say it is better, just different. Every solution has its own challenges and benefits.

The performance of the Phantom cameras is as advertised. I think the functional Dynamic Range is a little smaller than 14 stops, probably more like 11 or 12 once a proper gamma curve is applied. Remember that these are uncompressed raw camera systems. We're developing various products with the manufacturer and the new camera housings with some additional on-camera controls will be debuting at NAB. Right now people post the material in one of two ways, either simply running the camera's HD-DSI feed (single wire 4:2:2) straight to a deck or converting the files to a stack of .TIFFs.

So far there have only been a handful of Phantom HD & 65 camera built. That's because the manufacturer wanted to get input from the production community as to changes & improvements. The current units had a few quirks, mostly as people were getting used to the way in which they functioned. But most of that has been ironed out and improvements are happening on a weekly if not daily basis.

There's more information about the Phantom HD & 65 on the Abel Cine Tech website and we'll have them in our booth at NAB. Come on by for a demo.
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 10:50 AM

The Phantom HD has a 2K sensor (modestly named, right?) which is a big square - 2048x2048. Generally people shoot with it in 2048 x whatever gets them their screen ratio for Digital Cinema use, or 1920x180 or even 1280x 720. The camera does not scale; you're just choosing a smaller window which will give you more memory and higher available frame rate. In 1920x1080, the sensor area is almost exactly the same as Super-35.

The Phantom 65 is a bigger sensor, slightly taller than the HD's and twice as wide.


So in theory, one could use anamorphic lenses on the Phantom HD to get a 2K scope image without cropping, which puts it in the same league as the Arri-D20 in terms of this possibility, having 4x3 sensors. Does it have 4:4:4 output? You mentioned only a single-link HDSDI 4:2:2 output.

As for the Phantom 65, the sensor is 1.68 : 1 by my calculation. Does it do 4:4:4?
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#7 Scott Cohen

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 11:14 AM

Just realized... we need a new forum or new title to this forum to cover the 2K/4K cameras...

I was wondering about the Phantom 65, from this press release:

As the world?s first 65mm digital cinema camera, the Phantom 65 is capable of taking stunning movies at up to 120 fps at resolutions up to 4096x2440. The sensor is equivalent in size to 65mm film, giving today?s cinematographers access to the coveted 65mm format in a digital camera.


This marks the end of film. Walter Murch was right when he said within ten years film will go away.

I am very upset to hear of this Phantom 65.

Soon the "black box" will come.

I'm not sticking around.

Good Bye.

S.C.

Edited by Scott Cohen, 16 March 2007 - 11:15 AM.

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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 11:21 AM

I don't get it -- if someday a high-quality digital camera comes along that matches the quality of film (and I'm not saying that it has arrived), then what difference does it make whether you shoot film or digital? Isn't it supposed to be about making artistic images and visual storytelling, not the technology?
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#9 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 11:51 AM

hi
abelcinetech talks about 4:2:2 as well :
http://www.abelcine....amp;page=1#tabs
so i wonder as well
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#10 Troy Warr

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 12:36 PM

I don't get it -- if someday a high-quality digital camera comes along that matches the quality of film (and I'm not saying that it has arrived), then what difference does it make whether you shoot film or digital? Isn't it supposed to be about making artistic images and visual storytelling, not the technology?

It is about making artistic images and visual storytelling, but the less that your tools inhibit you (or conversely, the more freedom that they grant you), the better. Whether for you that means shooting film or digital is a personal preference, but I think that for the vast majority of people, the advantages of digital (instant feedback and results, cheaper footage, ease of post, etc.) would easily win out if (hypothetically) digital and film were eventually of equal quality.
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#11 Ken Cangi

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 01:00 PM

This was the same pointless argument that took place when digital became a viable threat to film in the still industry. The case for digital became clear when art directors gained the ability to instantly preview images - as they would look in the final files - on full-size monitors instead of tiny, expensive b&w polaroids. Moreover, files could be immediately emailed to the clients for final approval. The photographer still had to know how to compose, light, color balance, and orchestrate the shoot, although the tools had become more accommodating to him/her and the client.

If society eventually tires of film, then so be it. Time moves forward, and the dinosaurs get left behind. A tool is a tool is a tool. What you do with it is all that matters in the end.

Edited by Ken Cangi, 16 March 2007 - 01:04 PM.

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#12 Sam Wells

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 01:23 PM

This was the same pointless argument that took place when digital became a viable threat to film in the still industry. The case for digital became clear when art directors gained the ability to instantly preview images - as they would look in the final files - on full-size monitors instead of tiny, expensive b&w polaroids. Moreover, files could be immediately emailed to the clients for final approval. The photographer still had to know how to compose, light, color balance, and orchestrate the shoot, although the tools had become more accommodating to him/her and the client.

If society eventually tires of film, then so be it. Time moves forward, and the dinosaurs get left behind. A tool is a tool is a tool. What you do with it is all that matters in the end.


If you consider art directors to be the final arbiters of taste, I don't. (or society for that matter).

This isn't an anti-digital post; it is definitely one in favor of choice.

-Sam
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#13 Ken Cangi

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 01:53 PM

If you consider art directors to be the final arbiters of taste, I don't. (or society for that matter).

This isn't an anti-digital post; it is definitely one in favor of choice.

-Sam


What do art directors, as the final arbiters of taste, have to do with what I said? I was referring to the tools, in their capacity, or lack thereof, to better accommodate us and the clients, from whom we collect our paychecks. My post wasn't based on whether or not this was an anti-digital forum. It was meant to address particular comments in opposition to what I believe will be the inevitable demise of film as the industry standard.

As for choice, it isn't always ours to make. Technological advancements ultimately play a more influential role in deciding which types of tools will become industry standards. As I said before, you develop with the times, or you get left behind.

Edited by Ken Cangi, 16 March 2007 - 01:57 PM.

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#14 Mitch Gross

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 03:03 PM

So in theory, one could use anamorphic lenses on the Phantom HD to get a 2K scope image without cropping, which puts it in the same league as the Arri-D20 in terms of this possibility, having 4x3 sensors. Does it have 4:4:4 output? You mentioned only a single-link HDSDI 4:2:2 output.

As for the Phantom 65, the sensor is 1.68 : 1 by my calculation. Does it do 4:4:4?

One could absolutely use anamorphic lenses on the Phantom HD, although the camera does not use an optical viewfinder so we'd have to figure out a hardware solution to unsqueezing the image on a monitor. The sensor actually is a square, although I haven't done the math to figure out the proper line count for the needed frame ratio.

The single-link HD-SDI output is 4:2:2. That's the lower-quality output. Dumping the files to a hard drive gives raw uncompressed images, so you're beyond the realm of 4:4:4. 4:4:4 is something in a video signal. Without going into the differences of video v. files, for layman's terms the answer is yes it does 4:4:4 if not actually much better than 4:4:4.
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#15 Lance Flores

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 05:36 PM

This marks the end of film. Walter Murch was right when he said within ten years film will go away.

I am very upset to hear of this Phantom 65.
Soon the "black box" will come.
I'm not sticking around.

Good Bye.

S.C.


Yikes! You’d you have stuck around when the nickelodeon flashing cards movies were replaced with fancy technology like Vitascope or worse the Kinetoscope. How about when they made talkies or introduced color. I’m sure there’s something romantic about the out-house compared to indoor plumbing, but I appreciate the technology nonetheless – the present technology is not going to kill film. Digital technology will have to make another leap. When it does, the industry will simply evolve again. Dinosaurs will become extinct and those unable to cope, will don orange pajamas and sing mantras with the Hare Krishna folks. That’s just the way the world is ...

That day hasn’t arrived, its just the guys with the “end of the world is upon us” sign carrying people you're hearing on the street corners.

Since I’ve had my hands on the Phantom and Mitch has some at his place, I’ll give my take on it, including the my concerns about the 65 I’ve given to Phil Jantzen and the marketing guys there.
First, to answer David’s question, yes it is 4:4:4, probably better. Detail and color is excellent.

The most differentiating feature is that the cell is large. Two advantages are that the proportional control circuitry and sense amp ratio is greater compared to CMOS devices with smaller sense area. Because the sense amp circuit doesn’t need to be scaled proportionally to the sense cell area, the signal efficiency as well as the cell charge/sensitively and the corresponding die efficiency are dramatically improved. What this all reduces to, is that the dynamic range easily reaches 11 stops. Our first cursory test said 10+, but after re-calibrating the monitor I was looking at and a hi-res die printer we could see that it was easily 11 stops of range. The 12 bit linear output is quite stable and we didn’t detect any noise . . . if there was noise it was negligible. The signal is internally originated as a 14 bit linear, so I’m sure the lower bits are unable. So as you probably roughly computed in your head, there is more image information than a 4:4:4 characterization would imply. The camera has an ASA 600 and a lot of control over shutter and gain, so you can stop it down to get a greater DoF. I wish it had more horizontal resolution though.

The biggest problem for an 8K format is the data transfer rate and storage. But hold that thought David - Apple called a couple of weeks ago increasing our SAN by 50% with a negligible cost increase. Eventually, technology will solve the data rate and local storage problem – just not today. If you hold the aspect ration constant, that would be a hell of a lot more data, requiring 4-6 channels to get the it out unless you used even more exotic fiber optic transfer methods. Your 1000+ foot film equivalent 512MB flash module would drop to about 7min instead of 25min. (For our application 2.35:1 using less vertical space on the sensor and holding the horizontal 4096 pixel with). This was one of my gripes, well, maybe not a gripe, but input to Phil. My thinking is that the sensor aspect should be more optimized toward cinema 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 formats and move the vertical pixels to the horizontal end (smaller cells). I think you could probably get to 5.2K, 5.8K, and hold the circuit parametrics well enough to maintain the performance maybe 6K. A lot of circuitry changes; like address decoders, length of data lines, and the number of connections to the data lines which changes capacitive and inductive reactance.

Lenses are a problem. I think the investment is worth it for a production company. Eventually there will be more moving to the 65/70mm format and resolution will move to 6K-8K.

The film and digital technologies are different and film is not dead. After the next major technology shift, film as well as the present semiconductor sensors, will probably go the way of vinyl records which, as I was told as a kid, would never be replaced because their recording purity could never be duplicated.

Edited by Lance Flores, 16 March 2007 - 05:38 PM.

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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 10:59 AM

So as I understand it, the Phantom HD camera only has a single-link HDSDI, so your choices are either recording 4:2:2 HD... or uncompressed HD to a hard drive... but you can't record 4:4:4 HD to an SRW1 deck?

I don't understand why they didn't build it with a dual-link HDSDI-out since the SRW1 deck has become a common method of recording 4:4:4 HD. Why limit the ways in which you can record HD out of the camera?

What type of connector/output does it use for uncompressed HD? Or does it store all of that footage internally?

I guess if you wanted to use the full sensor for anamorphic 2.35, you'd have to use it in data mode anyway.
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#17 Lance Flores

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 04:21 PM

So as I understand it, the Phantom HD camera only has a single-link HDSDI, so your choices are either recording 4:2:2 HD... or uncompressed HD to a hard drive... but you can't record 4:4:4 HD to an SRW1 deck?


The camera isn't ready for prime time. This is one of the things I went round and round with them about ... They're working on their storage packs which are 128-256-512MB flash packs which could be unloaded from the camera. I convinced them this was not good enough and that they needed the flash-pack docking station so that it would work like the same as a film work flow. The 512 would be about equivalent to 1000' of film and would go to a docking station and a new flash pack in the camera. The data would be unloaded into a Digital-Codex on location or set and the removal drive taken to the SAN and made ready for viewing of the dailies.


I don't understand why they didn't build it with a dual-link HDSDI-out since the SRW1 deck has become a common method of recording 4:4:4 HD. Why limit the ways in which you can record HD out of the camera?


Yeah, well, that's what I asked them too. I just expected to see a dual-link and was surprised that they hadn't begin working on it. The data would be a little more than 4:4:4 but could be squeezed into the dual channel bandwidth. They were working on the flash pack first, because we decided that is the way we were going to capture, and use the single HDSDI 4:2:2 2K output for the monitor. Later when the finished the dual or quad link we might use the glass lines to record. We've been talking to the Digital-Codex guys about this for a while.


What type of connector/output does it use for uncompressed HD? Or does it store all of that footage internally?


There is 16/32MB internal RAM that stores the data in kind of a barrel shifter type arrangement that allows the data to be dumped into a recorder or flash intermediate storage. Remember I mentioned a quad glass .. fiber? That's why I opted for the flash pack workflow.

I guess if you wanted to use the full sensor for anamorphic 2.35, you'd have to use it in data mode anyway.


When I talked to Phil about using anamorphic for using the entire array, he was surprised, and wondered why I wouldn't just shoot it flat. That's when I got into the reasoning of optimizing the sensor for the more cinema oriented aspect ratios, which would allow higher resolution, allowing you to shoot it flat with primes.

If we shoot on schedule we'll go with the Dalsa Origin.
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#18 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 06:59 PM

"The sensor actually is a square" (size?)
could you tell us more about this square format.
i'm looking for this kind of format just now

thank you
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#19 Lance Flores

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 09:04 PM

"The sensor actually is a square" (size?)
could you tell us more about this square format.
i'm looking for this kind of format just now

thank you

The format is 4096 x 2440 (1.68:1). So its not square. The electronics will allow you to address the pixels you wish. I can't remember because we did a lot during for the short time with the camera, but if my recollection is correct, you could probably access a 2440x2440 area.

Lance
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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 09:08 PM

The format is 4096 x 2440 (1.68:1). So its not square. The electronics will allow you to address the pixels you wish. I can't remember because we did a lot during for the short time with the camera, but if my recollection is correct, you could probably access a 2440x2440 area.

Lance


I think he's asking about the Phantom HD, not the Phantom 65, which Mitch says has nearly a square sensor. Obviously you couldn't record the whole sensor image to HD since that's 16x9 native, but would probably have to record it as data.
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