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Patent Filing Reveals Canon's RAW 4K Future

01.27.12 @ 1:26PM Tags : , , , ,

Canon applied for a RAW video patent in July of 2010, and it was just published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office yesterday. The filing indicates that Canon is planning to retain CF card compatibility while compressing 12-bit moving images to RAW 4K or 2K resolutions. Note that it’s a popular misconception that “RAW” means “free of compression” — RAW, as far as both still and moving images are concerned, means that the data is stored in an unprocessed manner (which allows for adjustments in maximum colorspace before converting to an output format) — not in an uncompressed manner. Indeed, in the patent Canon describes 4K uncompressed 12-bit video’s 2.8Gbit datarate as “too high for CF cards,” so, like RED, they will be compressing the data coming off the sensor. It’s going to be a very competitive next few years…

Canon’s patent filing is 9,000 words, so I’ll just go ahead and admit that I haven’t read the majority of it, nor have I compared it to RED’s patents — a couple of which are Video Camera and Resolution Based Formatting of Compressed Image Data. At a cursory glance, there’s nothing in Canon’s patent that seems to be all that different from what anyone else is doing, but at the very least it should give indication that their next Cinema EOS camera will offer something beyond the 8-bit, 50Mbit codec in the C300. Here’s the abstract of what Canon has patented:

The recording of successive frames of raw sensor data depicting a moving scene is provided. The raw sensor data comprises pixel data for an image sensor having pixels arranged in correspondence to a mosaic of plural different colors in a color filter array. A first sampling mosaic pattern for sampling the pixel data at a first resolution is designated. A second sampling mosaic pattern for sampling the pixel data at a second resolution which is lower than the first resolution is designated. One of the first or the second sampling mosaic patterns is selected for a frame by applying a predetermined rule. Pixel data of the frame is sampled using the selected sampling mosaic pattern. The sampled pixel data for the frame is recorded onto a recording medium.

If you feel like reading the full patent, by all means share your insights in the comments!


[via Canon Rumors, EOSHD]


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Description image 45 COMMENTS

  • Woot! This is super exciting! Hopefully this means we are closer to a self-contained system ranging under $10k.

    • Canon didn’t come in under Sony, so I don’t think they’ll come in under the smaller company Red, but this is super cool. A couple years down the road, everyone will have Raw 4k.

      • yea, which kind of sucks…

        • why does it suck? man, people have to stop seeing a guy with a camera as competition. we all have voices , it doesn’t make every each and one of us a great singer does it?

        • No it doesn’t. In the VFX industry we had a similar revolution few years ago, now you can easily afford the same hardware and software used in a major VFX studio, but that alone won’t doesn’t guarantee you do the same level of work. The good thing is it crashes everyone who uses hardware to impress clients and not creativity. Back in the day I used to work in a studio where the owner would bring clients in to show how powerful the computers we had were, and the artists were never mentioned.

        • It only sucks as much as everyone having DSLRs sucked at first: the market gets over-saturated and people are amazed at new tech and what they consider “pretty images” (usually out of focus due to microscopic DOF), but eventually actual proficiency comes forward and becomes the focus again (no pun intended).

          So, while anyone can shoot these images, if there’s nothing behind them, who really cares?

          • hey, if it means burying the 5D/7D into historical obscurity, i’m all for everyone having 4k images to play with.

  • Due to economy of scale, they will come in lower than RED.

    • John Jeffreys on 01.27.12 @ 11:51PM

      wouldnt it be the other way? because red is a small company they make things in small numbers and they cost more to make = higher prices..

      if canon were to make a scarlet equivalent, with their manufacturing control and scale and stuff, i bet they can make a full kit for 9-10k and still profit

    • While I won’t claim to be omnipotent such as yourself, based on their latest 1080p camera that costs $16k, it’s unlikely a 4k video camera from Canon will miraculously be super-affordable.

  • this patent seems to be a specific thing for high-fps footage, which would require too much banding with standard RAW movie compression

    what this Canon thing does is that it records one full frame, then a few subsampled frames, then another full frame, etc – later on, those subsampled frames will be upsampled using additional information from the adjacent full frames (seen from a different perspective: it’s like using twixtor, but with the subsampled frames as a very very nice guide)

    I certainly don’t want that for regular fps footage, but if it’s the only way to get 120fps or 240fps, then it’s a very nice thing to have

  • I don’t think people really get it. Canon has a game changer on their hands right now. And they know it. All the other RAW camera’s (RED, Arri, etc) all have their 4K camera’s on the market. Canon has just one which is the C300 but with 1080p output.I think Canon can sell this thing below 10,000,-. Really hoping between 3500/8000 price-range. Imagine what it will do with companies like RED. They are the ones that can change the industry just like they did with the 5D three years ago.

    • That’s why I think the 3k RED went nowhere. RED saw what was on the horizon and realized they couldn’t win that type of game.

    • Why would they sell a higher-resolution RAW camera for less than their $16k 1080p C300?

      • I would argue that the cost will be slightly lower than their C300 because of the limitations such a C-EOS camera will still have. I believe Canon wants to undoubtedly keep the form factor of the HDSLRs that we’ve been using for the past three years, and you can only put so many buttons and power onto one of those before it strays completely away from the original photo body and becomes a flip of the 5DII: a video camera with photos as an afterthought.

        This actually brings up another point: will Canon someday give in and amalgamate their video and photo lines? I think you could get a great discussion going if you question the pros and cons of pulling stills directly from video – would that grossly change how photography competition works (especially sports- it already seems like everyone lines up on the sidelines with the same bodies, lenses, and are getting almost identical angles for shots)?

        [Sorry for the lengthy and sidetracked post!]

        • Lets not forget the 1dx market, I would be very surprised if a 4k RAW video dslr came in around the same price as 1080 h.264. I’m thinking a 10k bare minimum.

      • Because if they don’t someone else will come along and do it…
        At that point not only will Canon not sell any C300′s but they will
        alos lose the 4K DSLR market. A Lose..Lose situation.

      • Right. Due to the strenghth of the Yen, Canon wants/needs to be in the high margin business.

  • Once you introduce compression you lose things.
    People will have to decide if they want a 4K or 8K compressed Raw…or
    ..if they’d rather have a 2K or 3K uncompressed True Raw.
    The difference is obvious once you see it.

    • So are you claiming that visually lossless codecs like hdcam sr are not visually lossless?

      • Visually lossless to whose eyes.
        Once introduced any compression it’s there.
        Adobe DNG format uncompressed is what’s needed.
        ..not REDcode or CANONcode or Arricode.
        Coke vs. Pepsi. Same story. Red vs. Blue. No Difference.

        • Human eyes, thats why they call it visually lossless, there is a marginally utility to data rates and its before you get to uncompressed. Are you really saying 3:1 compressions aren’t good enough quality. Do you know how many films have been shot on compressed formats.

        • RAW uncompressed at 4096×2048, 24fps and 12 bits per photosite means 2.25 Gb/s (less than 4 minutes per 64GB)

          take that to 72fps, and you’re at close to 7Gb/s, and less than 90 seconds per 64GB

          I’ll take some visually lossless 5:1 compression, thanks

  • I went to my usual camera store here in Norway to talk to the video expert about the C300, and in our conversation he mentioned that he had talked to one of the european developers when he attended an demonstration of the C300 and the 4K DSLR came up in the conversation. The developer said that Canon really messed up when they mentioned the 4K DSLR camera at the C300 launch, becouse it was not certain that the 4K camera canon would end up coming out with would be in a DSLR body! This spesific developer ment that it would be foolish to limit a 4k camera to be in a DSLR body, when they instead could put it in a C300 like body and have all the features of a real videocamera!

    I must say that I agree. I dont think canon would release a 4K camera cheaper than the C300 anyways if people are hoping for that! Just my opinion!

    • Andreas Lange on 01.28.12 @ 7:03AM

      I do really agree with you on that one !

      but I think that they have an inbetween price-market to look at.
      Launching a DSLR with:
      1080p 60fps
      no aliasing
      no moire
      a more sensitive and larger codec
      no overheating
      wich would be a 4-7k DSLR camera in price (for smaller film-making companies getting into the business.)

      and then the c300 at 16k (for documentaries withs its dual memory slots and extreme low light perofrmance.)
      and then a 4K RAW camera with the c300 body at 27-30k (for cinema use.)

  • I think speculation on the price is a bit premature. If they just filed the patent, I doubt we’ll be seeing anything on the market anytime soon, and who knows what the market will look like by the time it does come out. They might be hesitant to cannibalize C300 sales if that’s still important to them; on the other hand, if that market is cannibalizable and Canon doesn’t do it, Panny or Sony will probably do it for them (I assume they’re both working on it right now).

    • True.

      Steve Jobs – “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will”

    • Patent was filed in 2010. However, yes… the C300 should have some room to breathe before they come out with anything else.

  • I agree C. Custer and moebius22,

    Self- cannibalizing happens all the time. The timing depends on competition. Without much competition, it would make sense to take more time between generations. I think everyone is developing 4K solutions (not just cameras), because it is no longer a technology of the future, it is here. As far as support and file sizes go, I remember when the HVX200 came out (not that long ago) and everyone was complaining about file size and HD storage. 5(ish) yrs. ago I paid almost $400 for a 500GB e-sata G-drive, now you can get a bus-driven 500GB for about 30% of that cost (the last I checked).

    Prices will likely drop over time, but I think a 4K camera for under 10K any time soon is wishful thinking, Of course, I will be glad if I am wrong.

    It is coming, It’s coming, so now is good time to use whatever you/ve got and get tight on all of the other aspects of filmmaking.

    Pencils are cheap and abundant, but you don’t see many people who can replicate DaVinci’s cartoon.

  • Isnt a ready to shoot RED Scarlet below 10k usd? Or is cinema5d full of bull?

  • Off topic for Koo: take a look at this video I found recently, I found that this Glidecam he uses is AMAZING, maybe you would like to make a post of it.

    Here is the video:

    Here the glidecam website

    Hope you like it!

  • Here is a video I just made on the new Canon 4K HDSLR:

    It’s going to be one interesting camera; that’s for sure.

  • Big ups to Canon for working the humble flash card for all it’s worth. [an external recorder] One less expensive addon to have to hang on your rig. On the flip side, I hope the patent doesn’t mean that no one else can offer the market this sort of innovation (even if they develop their own in-house).

  • Howard Hirsch on 02.3.12 @ 2:19AM

    If you look at price history across almost every brand , every category (consumer, prosumer and professional) you will see a common and repeating trend. Prices remain the same. What changes is the quality, and new features. Manufacturers work hard to maintain that principal. each model replacement has even better features but at the same price. They must maintain their prices within each market category, otherwise their products could invade and erode another one of their categories. Apple is a perfect example. The Apple II came out around 1980 and cost $1,600. For the past 31 years, there has always been an improvement over the prior models but for the same price. What does a decent Imac cost .. . $1,600. This repetitive trens hold true for video camera manufacturers across all three categories. Each model is better than the one before but. . …generally the same price.

    • Not true, market determines price always. look at the cost of a f35 vs the new f65 look at the 5d vs the 1dx Massive price increases and decreased based on market demand. Hell Slog on the f3 just dropped almost 3000 to increase demand with new competition from the c300

  • Love this, 4K, zillion-K things :)

    When it’s all done and upload it to Youtube?
    I see more d5M2, RED junk shots everywhere, an iPhone could have done those things.
    See for yourself on Vimeo and other places.
    I mean I understand the interest and all that in new gear and zillion-K things. Many will buy these cams and do nothing impressive, let alone produce a movie that brings back the investment. You can’t buy talent is the bottom line.

    Yet to see a decent movie that tells a story with these XX-K cameras. (yes am looking)
    Seen better story telling with a $200 cam.

    I think most people buy these expensive toys and don’t have a clue how to shoot a movie, nor the talent.
    One comment said it best:: everyone has a voice but not everyone can sing…

  • Two words…

    Planned obsolescence.

    The only way to keep consumers buying perpetually is to lead them down the road to bigger and better products.

    If is never a question what is really possible (which is REDs approach). It is about how much does a company need to do to keep the “proper” market share.

    Canon is already working on technology that is beyond 4k,5k and beyond. You will not hear about it NOW since it would distract from buying NOW.

    I bet 4k will be the norm much faster than 1080p, by the way.