Check out Apertus, the Open Source HD Cinema Camera

Ever since Tramm Hudson hacked the 5D firmware, I've been wondering if some enterprising folks could buy a lot of large CMOS sensors wholesale and develop their own camera. After all, the RED camera is essentially a laptop computer (housed in the camera's body) attached to an imaging chip. Apertus is one such open-source cinema project that began in 2006; here's where the project stands today.

Apertus uses an Elphel camera tethered to a Linux laptop and offers a variety of resolution and recording modes (including a RAW format). Battery and viewfinder options are still being worked out. It runs on a custom piece of software known as Elphel Vision, which looks like this:

Yes, that's a live histogram displayed in the lower-right corner. However, for filmmakers looking for a DSLR-like shallow depth-of-field, the sensor is likely the deal-breaker: it's a CMOS bayer-pattern sensor with an optical format of 1/2.5″ (5.70mm x 4.28mm). This puts the camera squarely in the range of a prosumer video camera (in terms of sensor size) instead of HDSLRs and forthcoming cameras like the Panasonic AF100. However, the Apertus's native resolution of 2592×1944 is plenty high (it translates to 5 megapixels). More interestingly, the Apertus uses an external SATA port for connecting to a SATA Hard drive, CF cards, or SSD device.

Some test footage (note that this is with the addition of a 35mm adapter):

Here's some 100fps slo-mo footage:

The idea of an open-source camcorder is certainly an intriguing one -- while Apertus currently has too small a sensor to pique my interest, the fact that it's an open-source project means one could always swap in a larger chip... and the fact that it's licensed under a GPL is terrific. In a sense, the ever-developing project has limitless potential. For more details on Apertus, check out the following link.

Link: Meet Apertus, The Open Source HD Cinema Camera

[Thanks Alban]

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New Samples Footage: 310 frames per second Slow Motion Video

Some new footage woth the opensource Apertus camera prototype that could interest the NoFilmSchool community :

"With the 5 Megapixel CMOS sensor we can easily reduce the so called WOI (Window of Interest) to only a small portion of the sensor. The smaller the area gets the higher the maximum possible framerate. For this particular video I used 320x240 and achieved a maximum framerate of 310 fps. This high framerate results in a much shorter possible exposure time (1/310 = 3.2 milliseconds), therefore additional lighting is essential for shooting slow motion footage."


>>> Apertus - Open Source Cinema YouTube site of OneArtPlease


January 7, 2011 at 1:18AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


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January 19, 2012 at 6:31AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Apertus will create an entirely new, complete digital cinema 4K Open Source camera!

We’re announcing our first giant steps towards a completely new Open Source Camera.You heard us right! We are doing so much more than just developing a Sensor Front End. Apertus will create an entirely new, complete digital cinema camera!

A High speed Super35 global shutter 4K CMOS sensor camera, powered by free software and open hardware, with a target retail price well below 10K$. How does that sound?

We are currently ironing out details, creating 3D models and animations to illustrate our concept. Wait until you see them, they are just awesome!

Once our preparations are complete we will make the entire plan available for review and feedback. We will engage in discussion with the community, as well as the broader public, for 2 weeks of intense consultation. During this time, we will be able to make appropriate, informed revisions to our final plan.The next step is officially launching the crowd funding campaign and turning this project into reality.

There is another thing we are very excited about and want to share with everyone.
Apertus is not going to do this alone!

We have established a partnership with Dynamic Perception. Chris ‘Shutterdrone’ Church and Jay ‘Milapse’ Burlage are the pioneers of HDR Motion Control Time-lapse. They are the developers of the Open Source Motion Control System - OpenMoCoand popular open source sliders; The Stage Zero system released in late 2010 and the soon to be released Stage OneSystem.

There are many benefits that will come from this cooperation: in addition to contributing with personnel resources,Dynamic Perception has committed to funding part of the development of our new camera project.The Apertus camera will work seamlessly with Dynamic Perception motion control systems and offer freaking brilliant new possibilities. Finally, they will also help us establish a recognizable Apertus legal body in the United States.

This legal, non-profitable structure, is something we are discussing in our forums right now: the creation of an Apertus Foundation, based in the United States. The U.S. is the best strategic location for crowd funding our project on the scale we require.

We are currently researching the best avenue for creating this foundation, and you can join in the discussion at the specific forum thread.

See the article in >>>

April 20, 2012 at 5:09AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


The fact that it’s licensed under a GPL is terrible - it makes sure that small businesses wishing to create a camera can't use it.

January 18, 2013 at 8:21AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM