June 5, 2013

What Major Productions Are Using the C-Mount Novo GoPro HERO3 & How Much Might It Cost if Sold?

The GoPro HERO3 is a fantastically useful little camera for getting into all sorts of places, but there are major issues with the amount of control you have over the image. For starters, the camera is not all that usable on certain productions because of its automatic exposure settings. To combat this, Radiant Images, with the help of View Factor, built a custom HERO3 with an interchangeable C-mount called the Novo (not to be confused with the Novo 2K which is confirmed to be an SI-2K). The Novo has already been used on some major Hollywood productions, but if you were interested in purchasing one at some point (since they are currently rental-only), you might be disappointed.

Here's The Hollywood Reporter on the Novo and Novo 2K:

Radiant co-founder Michael Mansouri told The Hollywood Reporter that a prototype of the new 2K version was already tapped for David Ayer's Ten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He added that in addition to Transformers 4, the original Novo -- weighing just 3.2 oz -- was also used for the upcoming film Need for Speed directed by Scott Waugh and lensed by Shane Hurlbut.

If you've had your eye on one but would like to actually have it as part of your gear package, it's unlikely you'll be getting your hands on one anytime soon:

The price may be shocking at first (and it's probably on the higher side either way), but it all comes down to: Time = Money. The hours that go into building these are likely high, as there is a lot more going on than just a simple rehousing. It's not really meant as a camera that you can go out and pick up at Best Buy for those reasons, so it's unlikely that any sort of retail price would ever come into play in the first place. Right now on their website the Novo rents for $295 a day or $885 a week, but it's clear they have the attention of plenty of Hollywood DPs -- and those productions can afford any toys they like.

Link: Radiant Images

[via The Hollywood Reporter]

Your Comment

29 Comments

Well, that's a shame. So many filmmakers already picked up the original GoPro Hero 3 Black because of its relatively low price and comparatively high-quality footage. Even if this had ended up being triple the Hero 3's price at $1200, I'd image they'd sell like crazy.
Most likely, few outside Novo know what goes into making one of these, but with its capabilities I'm finding it hard to believe that its components are worth more than a few thousand dollars. Perhaps, if these are hand built, they can end up being more expensive through labor and time costs... but tens of thousands of dollars' worth of labor costs?
I guess it's up to another company to develop a product indie filmmakers can actually own.

June 5, 2013 at 4:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Blah

They are built by hand.

I am wondering if the decimal point is off and it's supposed to be $3000.00. Can it be?

June 5, 2013 at 8:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

Taking the rental price into account it's gotta be $30,000.

June 5, 2013 at 1:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Wihelm

They are indeed made by hand...you also have to remember that parts are a tiny piece of the overall cost. There's all the R&D time in addition to the hand assembly time. Then consider that they're going into it only making a handful because they intend to rent them. Now divide the total R&D and assembly costs by that handful of cameras, and you can see why the price is so high.

June 5, 2013 at 3:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gabe

The reason why a lot of professional film and video products are extremely expensive is the low demand for these products. I mean if Arri could sell the Alexa a few million times it would probably be 5-10K only, and not like 100K.

A lot of time went into planning and building the Novo GoPro, and there are just a few dozen of them, so their price would be 30K.
If you can come up with a way to sell this camera to a few million consumers, you could probably lower the price to 2K...

June 7, 2013 at 5:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Heiko

The primary reason these are probably just rentals is that there's more money to be made in rentals while the NOVO 2K is the only game in town. Inevitably, GoPro, or someone else will make a 2k camera with the same size and specs with interchangeable lenses. With as fast as camera tech is advancing, I imagine that NOVO may only hold onto its niche for less than a year, if that.

Since it is bases on someone else's tech (GoPro), it really wouldn't make economic sense for them to mass produce it, as GoPro can (at any time) just pop out their own version with better specs.

That said, I seriously doubt it costs $29,700 to custom fit a C-Mount and some electronics after R&D.

June 5, 2013 at 5:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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mrshow

You should ask the Digital Bolex guys how that's going.

June 5, 2013 at 3:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gabe

I would use instead a GH2. Its very small, has a gradable image, plenty of lens choices, and more available / affordable than thesd

June 5, 2013 at 7:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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The GH2 is small, and a fantastic video camera. I'm looking forward to the GH3 hack, and to the GH4 (or 5, whatever it will be called). But it is no where near as small as this camera, and no where near as rugged. It literally fits in the palm of your hand, with room to spare.

Here's some photos of it from the Radiant Images Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.615258175168118.158213.2236726...

June 5, 2013 at 9:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

How about the Nikon V1? It's Aptina sensor can theoretically do 4K (3,840 x 1,920) at 60p. Something with that form factor, resolution, and top frame rate would be super. Plus the sensor's dynamic range is, in theory, about 13 stops.

June 6, 2013 at 9:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Stenbolt

Thing is they have kind of undone what was so brilliant about the GoPro in that it can take such a beating that it makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy.

1weeks hire basically = a BMPC without the risk of insurance claims from destroying it, or various other small dslr's. though wifi and small factor are big +'s

June 5, 2013 at 7:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Chris Lambert

I think that GoPro should release a kind of modular camera one step ahead the GoPro 3 with raw video and manuakl controls. This camera would create a whole world of lenses, adapters, accesories, etc.

June 5, 2013 at 7:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Simon

I'm sorta counting on that next year at NAB or perhaps the one after that. The got 4K (altough not at 24p) in Hero3 and they own Cineform. Everything is possible now when BlackMagic shaken things up.

June 5, 2013 at 8:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hampus

You can call GoPro and request that.

I called there a couple months ago and connected to the tech department and requested they use the guts of the HERO3 Black and make a second line of cameras with changeable lenses. The tech guy said it sounded like a good idea, but, I could contact a place called RageCams and have them just replace the fish eye lens with a zoom lens. I told him that wasn't the idea. I wanted to not have to jump through hoops to get the lens changed. I just wanted to be able to do it easily myself, not send it away to get it done every time I wanted a different lens. He said they could make a new design in a second camera if they got enough requests for it. I told him how good I thought the picture, and color, and resolution of the Go\Pro was and that I thought if there was a line of with changeable lenses and camcorder features it would sell like crazy. I told him 4k in a camera at that price was unheard of and youd have to pay about $3000.00 or much more to get a cam with 4k. I told him I had also seen a video comparing GoPro at 2.7k to the Red Scarlet. He had never heard of the Red Scarlet. I was taken a little aback by that. I told him the GoPro actually held up pretty well in the comparison. Of course it's a YouTube video. But still, it did well.

So, you can call them and request those things you wish the GoPro camera had. The 800 number is on their web site, right on top.

This is the GoPro/Red Scarlet comparison video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu_8F1b6Uis

June 5, 2013 at 11:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

This guy should've took a page out of Mr.Duclos business model. Once GoPro comes up with a solution in my opinion he's done. $30,000 is laughable...borders insulting.

June 5, 2013 at 7:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Anthony Marino

From what I've learned of GoPro they have absolutely no plans of heading in the direction of making a camera like this. The camera they make now is phenomenally successful. The founder of GoPro, Nick Woodman, was a surfer dude in 2002. Now he's a billionaire surfer dude. A billionaire in less than 10 years. The camera is doing so well as is I don't they anyone in the company sees a need, or has the time, to build a much more sophisticated cinema camera---though the potential is there for it---as is potential for a home use camcorder.

What I'm hoping is that Michael Mansouri and GoPro would get together and mass produce the 2k, and NOVO, bringing the price way down, so little blokes like me could buy one.

June 5, 2013 at 8:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

And me too :)

June 5, 2013 at 10:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Anthony Marino

I remember in the military where the supply and demand was so skewed that the wrenches we had were so specialized that ordering a new one meant a cost of equivalent $600 here in sweden. The complexity of the tool in question? A single flat piece of metal.

If the demand is sufficiently rare you basically need to engage the whole factory floor just to build one unit. This repeated startup cost is death to affordability, especially if they already have reconfigured to some other production.

GoPro keeps prices so low because they can make a ton of them and build upp a supply that they know won't just sit in a storage forever. Novo builds one at a time by hand as far as I have understood it. And that racks up the cost on manpower quickly. Especially since most of the parts probably has to be machined customly.for each.

Then again. Panavision has basically never sold any of their cams. They are rental only and have survived well enough while constantly improving on the design. Having no obligation to sell x-number of units before they can implement an improvement.

Both business plans for Novo and GoPro works in their own market.

June 5, 2013 at 10:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I can certainly see this little camera being a great rental item. But in today's changing market it seems scary to come out with a product with that price point. You make good points, I would much rather take the risk like a digital bolex than novo. But then again thinking world wide he may still make a ton of money and I hope he does.

June 5, 2013 at 10:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Anthony Marino

Yes, that price was a shock. I'm stunned.

Since the cameras aren't mass produced but put together by hand, making the cost so high to buy, maybe Radiant Images could make some kind of deal with GoPro to have them massed produced as a second line of GoPro cams. I had hopes of owning more than one of these. Yeah, not now.

For those who haven't heard the interview with Michael Mansouri, the man behind this camera, here's a 24 minute interview with him about what he did to get to the final product:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLSpSOwerGI

June 5, 2013 at 8:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

If GoPro would just give us some way of manually controlling exposure. I would be using it much more frequently. Because right now, the fluctuating ISO make a noisepattern that is almost impossible to build a profile for in neat. I would settle for something like a exposure-lock feature that just locks the exposure at what the autoexposure determined at the start of the clip. And then just keep it locked.

We could even use the mode-button to do a push-auto-exposure-lock to reevaluate the exposure when needed.

Or maybe even set a cap on the video-gain applied. That way it would still handle regular outdoor shoots while still avoiding the super-noisy low-light-video.

Shooting 120fps indoors is basically useless indoors right now, since the camera is forced to use a 1/120 shutter (or is it 1/240?) and then gain the picture to super-noisy levels.

I have brought this up with GoPro support, but they seem to not take this as a priority at all. A pity and shame because it's just one tweak in the firmware and done right, it wouldn't bother normal auto-exposure users. And for me the manual exposure is one of the things that sounds so nice about the Novo.

June 5, 2013 at 9:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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There is one reason and one reason only these will never be sold... they're not cleared with the FCC, and the won't be, so legally they can only rent them. That's it.

June 5, 2013 at 10:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Beezly

Excellent point.

June 5, 2013 at 8:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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marklondon

Scratch the 2k I'd way rather have a Black Magic Pocket camera.

June 5, 2013 at 12:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Love this post and interview with Mansouri. Wow, hackers on par with Magic Lantern, or maybe even more extreme--not just hacking the software to get manual exposure and focus control but hacking a new body, pc board, lens mount, extreme macro close focus of 2mm, wireless pull focus on and on... Impressive. It looks so cool! Mansouri says "The chip itself has more possibilities...we've been obsessed..." oooh. Too bad my Hero 3 Black crashes a bit too much, even with updated software.

June 5, 2013 at 1:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Rob

$295 a day/$885 a week? I would rent one in a heartbeat. No wonder they are so popular.

June 6, 2013 at 1:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shootemall

The price is so high because quite evidently, these are "prototype level" cameras, with only a handful assembled. If they would decide to sell them, the would set up a industrial production and the price would come down. Why shouldn't they get FCC approval? And would they even care? There is a world outside the USA.

June 6, 2013 at 6:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Thyl Engelhardt

Well, people seem to forget that engineering a product takes a lot of time and money too, add the custom made body and the (american) manpower behind it, thats probably why it costs so much.

If they would mass produce them in a third world country like the gopro's are, they would cost maybe twice or triple the price of a gopro black.

June 6, 2013 at 9:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gandulf

Maybe this is work looking at , the CamOne Infinity http://stuntcams.com/blog/?p=101 offers you some thing different to the GoPro , I know it is not 2k, but it does offer you a lens change option and it is cheaper and similar settings as the Nova.

June 7, 2013 at 1:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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gavinabe