Radiant Images, a rental house based in LA, but with other locations around the country, introduced a modified GoPro HERO3 a few months ago called the Novo. Developed with help from View Factor, the modification introduced interchangeable lenses and manual exposure options to the tiny compact camera. Now, at the Cine Gear Expo event in Hollywood, Radiant is introducing a brand new Novo that is capable of shooting uncompressed 2K RAW images, which should far surpass the quality of the previous camera based on the HERO3.
[Update]: This has been confirmed as an SI-2K mini in a new housing, so specs should reflect the previous SI-2K models that Radiant has been renting out:
The Novo 2K is a re-imagined SI-2K updated from Radiant's Nano camera. Housed in a rugged outer shell, it shoots uncompressed RAW and features an interchangeable lens mount.
Key features of the Novo include a C-mount lens system plus a PL mount adapter, back focus adjustment, and exposure control capabilities that open up a wide-range of artistic possibilities for cinematographers and camera operators. The auto exposure function standard with the GoPro can be disabled on the Novo, permitting cinematographers to use the lens to manually adjust the aperture. The Novo achieves this while retaining all the key functionality, versatility and accessories of the GoPro Hero 3.
The tiny Novo, released in February, won a coveted MARIO Award for innovation at NAB 2013. The camera is available for rental only at Radiant Images in the U.S. and new European rental partner P+S Technik,
This weekend at Cine Gear, Radiant Images will unveil an updated version called the Novo 2K. By shooting 2K uncompressed RAW, the Novo 2K enables filmmakers to have full control of latitude, exposure and color renditions, for example, giving them another powerful tool at their disposal.
It's unclear if this is based on the HERO3, but in order for Radiant to get the HERO3 shooting uncompressed RAW, they would have to unlock the firmware and write their own, as well as the hardware support behind it. This could be the case, but it's probably more likely that they've taken a pre-built industrial camera and have repurposed it for their needs. Or perhaps this is just another mod which takes the somewhat aging SI-2K senor and puts it in a new body. That actually seems like the most likely scenario, as Radiant probably has quite a few SI-2K cameras around.
Plenty of you didn't understand why anyone would want a GoPro HERO3 with an interchangeable lens system, but it's a specialty rental item, just like the new Novo 2K will likely be. These are great when you need to squeeze a camera into a very small space, or mount a number of them on a vehicle with more control than the GoPros and other action cameras usually offer.
Uncompressed 2K RAW will mean pretty high data rates, so it will be interesting how they plan on recording the image. It may be that the camera has to be tethered, and if that's the case, it would certainly limit its usefulness. We should find out more specs in the next few days as Cine Gear gets under way.