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First Footage from the Open Source Apertus Axiom 4K Camera

Apertus Axiom Alpha03_1It’s been a long road for the team over at Apertus, but they’ve reached a major milestone: they are recording footage and are finally showing it to the public. To put this into perspective, Apertus first announced their plans to build a camera from scratch nearly 2 years ago, and in that time with just a small group of people they’ve got a working product. It should be noted that for testing purposes the first step is getting HDMI recording working (though they will eventually use 3G-SDI and they did show off a 4K RAW image back in January – it’s just a lot of data to handle for full motion footage and that’s an end goal with the Axiom). Either way, it’s a huge accomplishment, so check out the very, very early prototype footage below.

Apertus Axiom Alpha03_1

Here’s a note from Sebastian of Apertus about the footage:

Please note that this footage contains the first basically unprocessed raw (not in original bayer pattern though) image samples ever recorded with the Axiom Alpha prototype. Whilst this is a major milestone, it represents only our first step through the door and into the beginning of the actual tweaking. Also keep in mind that this is TEST footage not captured with the intent to showcase the capabilities of the camera but rather to proof that it is working at all. While we think you can already see some potential in the image quality the video is simply NOT meant to be beautiful yet. As it stands, the video signal output from the Axiom Alpha still carries some flaws.

Here is the footage (some of the jerky motion is just from using a high shutter in the exteriors):

They also haven’t:

  • calibrated the colours of the camera
  • calibrated the white/black point (offsets) and linearization, leading to some vertical streak/curtain effects
  • created a Fixed Pattern Noise (FPN) profile (the Alpha prototype already supports this, however we have not yet found the time to actually conduct the required measurements)
  • There are some red lines at the bottom of the image, this is due to unresolved minor incompatibilities between the Axiom Alpha HDMI output and the utilized recorder

The footage above is also recording in a strange sampling mode – RGB 2:4:2. That is thanks to the development board they are using with the camera, but eventually all of these things will be working perfectly.

The camera is also running fixed-pattern noise correction (which all CMOS cameras deal with) in real-time at 4K, which is important for clean footage:

And the 4K sensor they are using from CMOSIS (which may be the exact sensor Blackmagic is using in their 4K camera) has some HDR features to allow much higher dynamic range:

Apertus Axiom dr-illustration-v03

The camera is capable of much more dynamic range with this mode (15 stops has been mentioned before), which pretty much allows you to shoot in any difficult lighting situation.

The team has come a long way, and they’ve still got more work ahead to finally deliver a 4K RAW camera, but this is a giant step in their process, and it means that they’ve taken the idea of an open source camera, and are truly making it a reality.

Read more over on their website.

Link: Moving Images from Axiom Alpha Prototype — Apertus


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Description image 29 COMMENTS

  • Collins/Nigeria on 03.19.14 @ 5:44PM

    I’m 24. What more can I say?

  • Everything is getting ready. When the future of equipment technology will reach the point where instead of buying a camera and its features, you will gets what you’re buying for. Customization, is what I’m trying to say here. It is not a new business method, but for it to be include in cinematography is a huge step forward for the budget community.

  • 4:3 sensor…yes please.

  • Using a high shutter angle to control exposure. Then why show a mattebox if not to use ND filters. Fashion?

  • F Rodriguez on 03.19.14 @ 6:46PM

    oh shut up.

  • Looks already somewhat comparable to Kineraw. CMOSIS sensor is one of the better ones, so the image gonna get a lot better, if they will keep pushing and tweaking it.

    • Kinefinity homepage is dead for the last couple days. I am wondering what’s going on.

      • Website is BACK! Everything is updated with new models that were announced few weeks ago. There are prices and you can preorder know.

  • Wow, image is so cinematic, very very nice for a first test shot. Only outdoors it looks kind of… cheaper. It will be great camera. Anyone know what sort of prices we can expect for particular modules?

  • I thought the BMC 4K sensor was a CCD.

    • No black magic is not a CCD camera, technically it is not even a true global shutter like the f55, it basically gives a different full pixel real out, which is not bad at all, What blackmagic has done in the past year and a half has been nothing short of amazing.

      Black magic cameras are not perfect but for the price they give us the option of owning our own tools to get the job done.

      • The global shutter CMOS sensors on both the Blackmagic 4K and Sony F55 work in basically the same way.

  • FWIW, Panasonic rep claims that GH4 is 11 stops “conservatively”. Ilya Friedman of Hot Rod Camera eyeballs it at 12. If Axiom can get 15, it’ll give an opportunity for some pricing power vs. GH4.
    Also, Convergent Design has finally released a long awaited software update for its Odyssey Q7 finally making it into 4K Raw camera for a combined $13K or so. Sony Raw is … what, about 14 stops?

    • the odyssesy 7q looks nice but at the current price point with required proprietary media bought from them is just too high of a price point in my opinion for todays climate

      the 7q is around $2,500 , then you have to buy atleast two of their ssd drives at around $700 a piece for 2k raw or better 12 bit ,, $5,000 extra to extract only 10 bit 4k on top of the camera price is too much

      • Anthony Marino on 03.20.14 @ 8:37AM

        You get up to 12 bit with the odyssey shooting the fs700 in 2k RAW and 4k Raw. It’s only 10 bit compressed from the 4k signal off the sensor. And you can extract 12-bit 444, 1080p from the raw 4k signal. For a monitor with all those features and the ability to record 4k RAW, to a bargain. Agian it’s not for hobby shooting, it’s professional tool. The price is pretty good, good luck finding anything comparable.

      • Canon should be announcing a new 4K Cine cam at the NAB and updating 1D C but those are unlikely to be at the lower end of the 4K market. With Panasonic trailblazing there, it’s quite possible for the Canikon to respond with “D610 4K” and “7D 4K” (or, more likely with D800 4K and 5D 4K). In that price range, the image can be deemed “not perfect but certainly good enough”. 4K Raw for ~ $13K or so with FS700+Q7 still seems the best Raw deal – pardon the pun – out there at the moment, as Sony’s own recorder + interface combo will add up to $20K-$23K. The problem with the Axiom is that a couple of years ago a 4K camera for under $20K seemed like a fantastic proposition but, much like Digital Bolex, the intervening two years saw the major manufacturer deliver a lot more for a lot less.
        FWIW, to me the target camera whose specs one should aim for as of Spring, 2014 (for the independent filmmaker) is not GH4 on the low end or even FS700+Q7 on the high but Z 100. Basically, should Sony, Canon or Panasonic offer an S35 size sensor, pro lens mounting and internal 4K ProRes (or AVC Ultra/XAVC) for $6K-$8K, it will eat up the market.
        PS. Oppo today announced a 4K 100 fps smart phone. It’ll have a 13 MP (Sony?) sensor and software that will sew together the “best” 50 MP image from ten 13 MP stills. Samsung is gearing for a second generation smartphone with a zoom lens. It will have a six core processor and should also be 4K capable.

    • I was looking to buy the Odyssey 7Q, as soon as I saw it only accepts “their” expensive SSD drives I left it.

      • Just look at it in terms of what you get for the buck in a full package, without breaking it down in minute portions. Meaning that, if you wanted to buy an F5, you’d still have to buy Sony media and Sony viewfinder, etc. The question still would remain if you get a decent performance for around $30K or if there are other options. Q7 isn’t flawless but getting 4K Raw for around $13K is still the lowest 4K Raw offer around. Besides, with its sensor, you get an excellent dynamic range and color accuracy as well. Now, of course, if Sony combined the elements of its current cameras – FS-700 (namely its S35 sensor) with those of Z 100 (4K via XAVC of up to 600 Mbps). then it’d be a target of many a filmmaker right now.

  • Open source. Even the purists (and those posing as purists ;-) ) that usually hiss and claw like a cat over 4K must at least be finding some degree of peace over this one being open source.

  • That footage looked a lot better than I anticipated.

    • +1 Yeah…I actually think there are cases where I would use something like that ! Sensors are like film stocks these days. It’s great.

    • Agreed. They definitely set expectations to be exceeded, hah. I thought that looked terrific. Obviously needs some work, but very (ugh) cinematic.

  • Frankly, when I can purchase a new fully operational 4K camera for under $2000 (Panasonic’s GH4) this open source camera that we’ve been waiting for (it seems like an eternity), is becoming less and less relevant – a curiosity at best. I do appreciate that they are doing it for free on their own time – and that is the problem – they’ve taken too long. The fact is, a great idea and lots of passion aren’t enough – you’ve got to get it out in a timely manner – so people can actually use it – or else you’re history – a mere footnote. In the words of Master Yoda – “there is no try, only do!” – nice try Apertus, but you didn’t do it.

  • I’m actually a big fan of the way that footage looked! Super cinematic and pleasantly soft. Although, I’m also a HUGE believer in the fact that location has a major impact on how good a camera looks. This seemed like it could have been a teaser trailer (with the right Voiceover and music).

  • I love this site’s forum, but the repetitive drive for cheap 4k is driving me nuts. Yes, 4k is the future. Yes, we all want our gear to be as inexpensive as possible. But the reason this camera is taking a while to develop has to do with the interchangeable “user” designed development.

    I am skeptical, but these images look really solid.

    But please, let 4k rest for a bit. It has a long way to go before its standard. Focus on the core of the camera being killer. Thanks Axiom for trying to do this right.

    • +1. 4K will be important for effectively future-proofing-ish your footage, but resolution isn’t remotely the bottleneck for great-looking footage and a great end product. And what’s most exciting about the Axiom is far more than just the res.