August 31, 2014

Some Guy in China Wired a GoPro Inside an ENG Broadcast Camera. And It Actually Works

News Shooter has been reporting at the BIRTV show in Beijing, and they've come across something that you have to see to believe. I've managed to put together some ridiculous rigs in my time with cameras, and will likely do plenty more of them down the road, but hacking a GoPro HERO3 into an ENG camera is beyond anything I ever would have thought to do. The most amazing thing about the hack is that it's been wired completely internally to take use of the viewfinder in the camera and to actually be controlled by the buttons on the body. Had this just been a jerry-rigged solution, it wouldn't be nearly as interesting, but it turns the tiny-sensored GoPro into a fully usable camera. Why you'd want a GoPro inside something like this is another question entirely, but the quality would definitely need to improve before this is even something most people would mess around with. 

Your Comment

41 Comments

He thinks THAT looks better than an original GoPro?

i disagree.

September 1, 2014 at 12:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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twinston

As I saw, this camera has better lenses, also interchangeable, so of course is better. In addition, this is a shoulder mount camera, and not only it looks more professional, but it allows the cameraman to record in better conditions, being much more steady. The disadvantages, I guess, is that this camera cannot have the same function as the Go-Pro, as the control buttons are different. Anyway, this is really cheap, considering that a professional camera nowadays costs thousands of dollars. I'm planning to buy a JVC GY-HM650 for live streaming, and it cost almost 6300$

September 1, 2014 at 5:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ahahahaha, awesome and funny.
Here in Brazil, I'm trying to put a partially broken GoPro into very old Sony VX1000. It works, but I don't know why the optical steady shot refuses to work. :P

September 1, 2014 at 12:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Theuer

being a vx1000 enthusiast, tell me please how it goes

September 1, 2014 at 3:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Alex

Looking forward to it aswell!

September 1, 2014 at 6:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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KGT

Wow. Pretty brilliant use of old camera. Surprised he didn't clean the lens.

September 1, 2014 at 12:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I think he might have a lil dirt on the sensor. I bet the people who came to see that were super impressed....

September 1, 2014 at 1:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rhino

the question is of course....WHY!???

September 1, 2014 at 1:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Johan

There are thousands of small regional TV networks with very old gear that could save what once was very expensive equipment recycling them with a GoPro, and that not have enough money or turnover to buy new ENG cameras. I think it's a brilliant idea, that could drastically improve video quality in those cases.

September 1, 2014 at 10:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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And ignore for a moment that it's a gopro. If somebody could design a 1/2" or 2/3" 1080p or 4k sensor you could easily swap into broadcast cameras, it'd breath new life into these old bodies. Just looking around ebay, a betacam like this, with an incredible lens is worth almost nothing. If you could swap out the sensor and media, while keeping the same lenses, batteries, and support gear, it could be an incredible solution for a lot of shooters and stations.

September 1, 2014 at 11:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Lando

Those lenses had just enough resolution and performance in terms of lines-per-millimeter or comma-tail that they looked pretty terrific in 525SD. But those lenses were put on the shelf with the advent of 720 or 1080 HD. Folks - they haven't gotten any better sitting on that shelf!

I love the idea of burying a GoPro inside a standard form-factor housing. So much of the current thinking for small HD cameras end up with hodge-podge solutions for viewfinders, focusing aids, zoom apparatus, etc, without even going into the audio situation or robust connections for power or video - the old Betacam was a neatly integrated "solution" to those needs.

But the image I saw from that demonstration was pure disappointment! Now, think a little further - the pixel density on the GoPro is probably 4x or more compared to the 2/3" sensor that had been there - for this application the lens simply sucks, so hoping to graft more HD 1/4" sensors behind SD 2/3" lenses is a bad idea. Other than that, the demonstration was impressive.

There may be an opportunity

September 2, 2014 at 11:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kevin

Old ENG lenses - if they were not really expensive broadcast-quality lenses - do not have the resolution and quality for an HD sensor. Especially wide angle lenses show horrible vignetting and chromatic aberrations when you put them on an HD sensor. It's a little better with telephoto lenses in my experience, but the chromatic aberrations are still quite pronounced, also the sharpness is more 720 than 1080 :)

Modern, HD eng lenses of the cheaper type ("professional" and not "broadcast" quality) are always electronically enhanced - the camera has profiles for all these lenses, so CA and vignetting can be controlled electronically.

However a friend of mine actually uses an old Canon SD wide angle zoom (6mm 8x, don't know the exact type, sorry) on a HD broadcast camcorder, but this particular lens has once been top of the line and has also been horribly expensive back in the day - a small tv station would never have owned this type of lens, because they could have bought three cheaper eng cameras with pro lenses for the price of it. :)

This lens is still good for HD and in some situations even better than a modern (cheaper) HdGC wide angle, but only because it has been such a superb piece of glass in the SD time.

September 2, 2014 at 8:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Heiko

WHAT????? the ???? heck??? damned chinese at it again..

September 1, 2014 at 3:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bryce

How long before Lomography come up with something like this?

It also re-inforces my beleif re rigs = penis extensions (in general)

September 1, 2014 at 4:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Paul Russell

You should try a brain extension, or even a transplant, as I saw you lack of it.

September 1, 2014 at 6:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Just like you and your command of English. Yay, we're all amazing at insulting each other!

September 2, 2014 at 12:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam

Guys, look. It's the all-seeing eye. He sees everything.

September 2, 2014 at 11:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Will

Is it April 1st??

September 1, 2014 at 4:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Simon Spear

No doubt this type of hack will become very popular now. There is a lot of old ENG cameras lying around with good B4 mount lens out there, even those DV cams.

September 1, 2014 at 6:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Andre Veloso

The title made me think he was using the old ENG cam to disguise the GoPro. I figured it would be for shooting civil unrest or something, the authorities come to confiscate the tape and you just hand them an old Beta tape but walk away with the GoPro footy on the low

September 1, 2014 at 7:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Evan

I was planning on doing this sort of mod years ago as a joke.

September 1, 2014 at 7:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wayne Morellini

Same here. I tore apart an old ENG camera and worked a DSLR into it as part of a spoof video idea.

September 1, 2014 at 11:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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That is exactly what one of the URSA versions is going to be Luke :-)

September 2, 2014 at 8:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Augusto Alves d...

I find the title of this article tasteless

September 1, 2014 at 8:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ro

Of course you do...

September 1, 2014 at 1:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Why is the image so muddy and dirty?

September 1, 2014 at 9:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Laurel

He is the Dr. Frankenstein of cameras!

September 1, 2014 at 10:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It's a cool hack, but the footage looks crappy.

September 1, 2014 at 10:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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F64

Looks like the made a shitty ground-glass "Letus adapter" style camera within the ENG camera. Dust would be on the ground glass. Talk about a low-light loser.

September 1, 2014 at 11:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jd holloway

I would love to see more stuff like this! It would be incredible to be able to buy an eng style empty camera that you place a new style camera like a BMPC in. All the buttons viewfinder power everything.

September 1, 2014 at 12:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Caleb

That's essentially what blackmagic's URSA hdmi is. You can buy it without the sensor and just sit a dale on front. Should be pretty awesome with a gh4 or a7s.

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicursa
Scroll to bottom.

September 1, 2014 at 12:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Post apocalyptic camera with footage to match.

September 1, 2014 at 12:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JPS

Sorry guys the image I'm looking at is like old 8mm or even VHS with spots all over the lens, My old D-35 smoked what I'm seeing here. The focus point seems to be the filter of the ENG lens.
So this doesn't work for me and will stick with the GoPro itself. While you look professional the end result does not, and that's what counts.

September 1, 2014 at 8:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bob

Technically speaking, this SHOULD be doable with far better results than what we see here, and I'm not sure the ENG (B4, I assume, though there a few other bayonet mounts out there, IIRC) lens is at fault here. Note the extra optical pieces on the camera body protecting the sensor (and probably the built-in ND filters). They're probably full of plastic dust and possibly an optical hindrance to the GoPro as opposed to the original sensor.

This might have been built out of a water-damaged camera too. Not sure what this fellow was thinking when he put it together. If you're going to go through the effort, might as well shoot for a good image too, no?

At any rate, the GoPro won't allow for shutter speed control, which limits it for some purposes - not to mention reliable on-board audio. As others have mentioned here, it'd be more interesting to see a different camera's sensor applied to the idea, but a usable sensor that fits the 2/3" crop isn't that common.

The viewfinder is probably hooked up to the HDMI output directly from the camera, but the main detail of interest isn't covered: How the buttons interface with the GoPro.

To think, this could have quickly been a moot point had BMD made their latest Studio Camera with a proper B4 mount and power out for a servo zoom and geared aperture. Throw your old B4 lens in front and upgrade your entire studio for the price of one camera.

-Kurt

P.S.: Sure would be nice if the audio worked in that video...

September 1, 2014 at 10:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Why the hell is there a thick piece of optics soaked in dust covering the gopro sensor? The image is a joke. A go pro + a decent B4 lens should have produced a great image, not this. Is there an explanation? perhaps these elements act as focal reducer? something to correct the focal plane?

September 2, 2014 at 12:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ebrahim Saadawi

It would look better, but it is clear his backfocus is off on the lens.

September 2, 2014 at 10:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Shayde

Really amazing and very thoughtful use of a Gopro camera in an old ENG cam. Very cheap and more comfortable alternative. Very soon some guys will come up with commercial rigs for this.

September 2, 2014 at 1:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ayo Johnson

It appears to me that he is using the same setup as the 35mm adapters used. That looks like ground glass that the image from the lens is being projected onto and then recorded by the gopro.

September 2, 2014 at 2:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam McKay

Why is the video footage so filthy? feels like a joke.

September 2, 2014 at 4:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Curiously

How about rigging a GoPro in a S16mm film magazine?

September 2, 2014 at 6:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nickolas Gilbert

I tried to put an Alexa into a GoPro. I failed.

September 8, 2014 at 10:28PM

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