The user interface and image development software used for my Drama prototype digital camera system is now fully compatible with any GigE Vision compatible camera head. These cameras are high quality CCD and CMOS heads that connect to a computer using a gigabit ethernet cable and stream fully uncompressed 12bit raw video. They use 12v power and typically support a very wide voltage range. They come with a C-mount lens mount.
These heads come in:
Kodak 2/3" 1080p CCD
Sony 2/3" 1080p CCD
CMOSIS 2/3" 1080p GLOBAL SHUTTER CMOS
Sony 1/3" 720p CCD
A multitude of other sensors for special applications, 4:3 formats for scanning film, very high resolutions, medium format for stills, etc.
System requirements for 1080p 12bit raw capture:
2.8ghz dual core windows xp or later laptop with gigabit ethernet port (every laptop has it these days).
High quality SSD second drive (not the OS one) or a good 2x2.5" raid0 HDD or single SSD drive connected to an existing esata port or through expresscard or expresscard sata adapter. Of course, one can use any SATA system, including 10TB Raid towers.
Any video card will work, intel embedded or anything else.
Any audio input will work but a good USB sound card with preamps is recommended for high quality. The sound is recorded in sync and embedded to the video files. 200 euro will get top quality phantom powered preamps and full monitoring and routing options in this competitive market. USB mixers are also compatible.
The cost of such a laptop including 1000gb eSATA HDD RAID0 storage for hours of 1920x1080/24p/12bit RAW recording is about 1,000 euro. The datarate for 1080p/24 12bit RAW is 600mbits/sec.
Monitoring is provided on the laptop screen in a similar fashion to a tethered SI-2K mini. A small external VGA monitor can be used or course and it can also be touchscreen. The user interace is identical to that of my digital cinema camera prototypes. Fast, friendly and cinematography oriented with full camera control, transport and powerful non destructive metadata manipulation. It is designed for touchscreen operation but a mouse can also be used. A good 8" LED monitor with USB touchscreen is about 200 euro. It's more practical and the laptop can have its lid closed.
The estimated cost for a Drama software and camera head package is from 2,000 to 5,000 euro depending on the camera head chosen. That includes OLPF installation to the head.
An upgrade to the Drama portable system enclosure which is a small rugged PC, it's very low noise, it uses internal HDD/SSD storage, has multiple monitoring outputs, Anton Bauer battery support, aux power outputs, industrial quality connectors etc will be available for an approximate 3,000 euro.
Everything about the system is open, upgradable and available on the open market from multiple vendors. Even the camera heads. No vendor specific media, monitoring, interfacing etc.
An upgrade to a future sensor will cost approximatelty 1,000 to 3,000 euro and will be a drop-in replacement. There is a lot of development effort from Sony, CMOSIS, Kodak and others, especially in the CMOS department. The old camera head can be sold to the astronomy enthusiast community to further reduce upgrade cost, traded in or used with a new license of Drama software to form a second camera system.
The system includes full functionality of the Drama Digital Cinema software. Image and video proxy or full quality batch output, the Drama color processing and dynamic look up tables, metadata, film emulation, color control, real time color preview etc. It massively improves the image quality of any machine vision head, because it includes 6 key calibration technologies unique to the Drama software and targeted to the specifics of each individual sensor. These technologies improve the RAW level performance of the camera heads. The camera heads will be individually calibrated using Drama calibration software for optimum performance after the OLPF filter is added. Even though the machine vision camera heads are high quality designs, the vendor processing quality varies depending on their intellectual property investment and skill. Drama solves this problem by complementing or replacing it with processing provided by the Drama software.
2/3" C-mount prime lenses with 5megapixel spec, low distortion and large apertures are 200 to 300 euro each.
So, it is:
1,000 for a laptop including 1,000GB eSATA storage.
2,000 to 5,000 for Drama software, a camera head, OLPF installation and calibration.
A maximum of 6,000 euro for a complete laptop based system including lots of storage.
Optionally, 3,000 euro upgrade for a Drama deck if you decide to upgrade from the laptop to a full system.
DIY systems are fully compatible of course, as long as they use Windows and the specs are right. For about 1,500 euro one can put together a system that is smaller, more practical than a laptop, has internal storage and uses Anton bauer batteries.
Edited by Otis Grapsas, 28 April 2011 - 03:32 AM.