March 18, 2019

The Curse of 8K: Cinemartin Closes Before Fran Cinema Camera Released

Cinemartin Fran 8K
While the 8K camera race heats up, Cinemartin’s Fran 8K drops out.

Coming from reports from Red Shark News, the long-anticipated Fran 8K Cinema Camera appears to be no more (read our original write-up on the project here). What we do know is that this is in no small part because its manufacturer company Cinemartin has reportedly gone out of business.

Hopefully this will be a lesson for the rest of the industry as the ambitious Fran Cinema Camera was truly a monstrous (if not completely foolhardy) beast of a rumored offering which may have been too good to be possible.

Let’s take a look at the 8K camera that almost was to see where it went wrong, and how both future manufacturers and consumers can learn from this camera’s passing.

The Dangers of Shooting 8K

While prototypes were released for hands-on reviews just a few months ago, the Fran appeared to certainly be a good deal away from completed. Advertised as a competitive cinema camera option, the goal was originally going to be an “8K for $8k” offering, however those prices still seem pretty ridiculous.

(Almost as ridiculous as their preview video which Philip Bloom teased above. You can watch it in all of its glory below.)

From the company’s website, the Frank 8K promised the following specs:

  • 8K (7920 x 6024 pixels)
  • 47.7 MP G.S.
  • 4:4:4 Raw
  • Dual ISO
  • 15.5 Stops of Dynamic Range
  • Internal Downsampling
  • VistaVision
  • RAW + LUT support
  • Avid Prores Realtime Post
  • Assist Tools

Along with other offerings including “pleasant skin tones” and HDMI, USB & Thunderbolt ports and SD card slots which weren’t all included in the prototypes.

But 8K IS on its Way

Fran 8K

Yet, while news of the Fran 8Ks passing, it’s probably best to assume that this will do little to deter the competition from continuing to chase 8K.

Sony has teased an 8K sensor for its next generation of cameras, while Canon has been as bold to promise an 8K EOS R already “on the roadmap”.

What this news can teach us though, as consumers and professional users in the industry, is that these first generations of prosumer 8K cameras are indeed difficult to pull off. Chasing 8K resolution absolutely pushes camera design theoretical limits and could mean that some of these early 8K options might struggle in first-gen models with over-vexed 8K recording (and other areas which may have fallen to the wayside).

So, unless you're absolutely sure 8K is for you, it might be best to wait for the first wave of 8K to come and go before you settle on the best option to invest in. Otherwise you might end up looking like Fran 8K himself.

Mr Fran 8K
     

Your Comment

10 Comments

I have seriously considered this camera a joke/prank for a while. Not a joke as in, "What a joke", but as in April Fools. I don't think this camera was ever really meant to be finished.

March 18, 2019 at 5:18PM

1
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RJ Ortiz
Cinematographer
293

I'm not sure why NFS has treated this camera with such legitimacy, or any legitimacy at all for that matter. It's been pretty obvious from the beginning that the Fran 8k is the Fyre Festival of cameras. At best a misguided attempt by some random person to build a camera, at worst a scam, and always possibly just an elaborate prank.

March 18, 2019 at 6:28PM

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There are so many things that made me think the same way. The feature of "natural" vignetting when putting on a S35-lens on a full frame sensor made me laugh out loud.

March 19, 2019 at 6:25AM

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Matthias Pöltinger
Writer/Director
66

The fact they went bankrupt before release tells me they were hoping that they could take peoples money and deliver a subpar device to keep themselves afloat.

March 19, 2019 at 1:41PM

1
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As a camera lover I can't care in the slightest for 8k. Colour, latitude, motion rendition are where it's at. 4k is plenty.

March 18, 2019 at 6:54PM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
689

It sounds like you've never tried downsampling then. There's a considerable difference with shooting 8k and finishing in 4k vs shooting in 4k and finishing in it.

March 20, 2019 at 10:39AM

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Emil
Content
367

Steve Yedlin's tests pretty thoroughly prove otherwise. 2K upsampled to 4K is indistinguishable from 6K downsampled to 4K from any reasonable viewing distance.

March 20, 2019 at 12:23PM

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Down to the way that he almost does his top button up, but then doesn't, is so reminiscent of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace or something.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9fD0GrCgz4&t=141s

March 19, 2019 at 8:34AM, Edited March 19, 8:34AM

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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
1047

"these first generations of prosumer 8K cameras are indeed difficult to pull off"
Sure...if you've never built a camera before and thought that a pc with off the shelf sensor/components was the solution.
These camera companies are building hardware to match the sensors they're using. Example; FPGA in the Pocket 4k for processing which is light years better for the task than a PC processor designed to be good at many tasks. They have better customer service to and didn't insult all of their customers years before the product was even a prototype. Nothing about the FRAN 8K was typical.

March 19, 2019 at 1:40PM

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I do to note, that while Cinemartin closes as company (no more recorders, monitors, etc..), the future of Fran cameras has not been decided, we might continue the development of the 8K Global Shutter cameras, or not. We didn't said anything about the cams, where other team applies

March 20, 2019 at 3:07PM, Edited March 20, 3:08PM

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