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02/11/2006

2K Digital Cinema Camera System Set To Make Waves In Movie And HD Production

Silicon Imaging, with help from CineForm and Intel Corporation, have unleashed a 2K Digital Cinema camera system which they claim is set to revolutionize movie and HD production.
The Silicon Imaging SI-2K will shoot footage directly to disk, at either 1920x1080P HD or 2048x1152 cinema resolutions running on motherboards integrated into the camera or on laptop computers powered by Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Captured footage is instantly editable using CineForm’s Prospect 2K real-time visualization and colorization software. Afterwards finished projects can be directly encoded for theatrical distribution to digital cinemas or on-demand Internet download.
"The transition to digital cinematography started when George Lucas first shot 'Star Wars: Episode II' in HD," commented Ari Presler, Silicon Imaging CEO. “We have completely eliminated the need for film or tape and now offer the ability to shoot at even higher resolutions than HD, edit while each shot is taken, and have a production ready for distribution within weeks instead of months.”
The Silicon Imaging SI-2K is the first 2/3” digital cinema camera with 10-bit CineForm RAW and 12-bit uncompressed 2K direct-to-disk recording. It offers unprecedented image quality, over 10 f-stop dynamic range, a touch-screen interface and IT-friendly connectivity. It is also the first to deliver in-context 3D color-corrected 'look' visualization and a complete raw post-production workflow.
Unlike modern HD cameras, which develop and compress colorized imagery inside the camera, the SI-2K streams images as uncompressed raw 'digital negatives' over a standard gigabit Ethernet connection. An IntelCore 2 Duo processor-based computer embedded in the camera or tethered to a laptop up to 300 feet away, processes the digital negatives, where they are non-destructively developed and colorized for preview using the cinematographer's desired 'look' for the scene.
The digital negatives and 'look' metadata are simultaneously recorded to a 2.5” notebook hard drive using the CineForm RAW visually perfect codec. Up to 4-hours of continuous footage are captured on a single 160GB notebook drive; this is the equivalent of 14-reels of 35mm film which has an associated cost exceeding $25,000 for materials and processing.
"The Silicon Imaging camera is truly amazing,” states Cinematographer Geoff Boyle. ”The SI-2K MINI is small enough to be placed directly in a scene for point-of-view shots, used on robotic arms for model photography or incorporate two side-by-side for stereo 3-D. We used it on ‘Mutant Chronicles’, a Sci-Fi feature with over 1500 visual effect shots. We shot flames and explosions using the 72fps slow motion mode and the recordings display smooth tonal gradations and natural colors. Finally, the director can immediately see full-resolution instant replays, without having to wait for film dailies or color correction."
CineForm’s Prospect 2K software, optionally bundled with the SI-2K, provides real-time, multi-stream editing of CineForm RAW files with look metadata using Adobe Production Studio, and supports both Windows AVI and Apple QuickTime formats. Further details on MacOS workflow including Final Cut Pro will be disclosed in the coming weeks.
The SI-2K DVR with an embedded Intel Core 2 Duo processor and hot-swap drive cartridge system plus the removable MINI camera head is $20,000 or bundled with Prospect-2K for $22,000; with estimated shipment in January. The SI-2K MINI is $12,500 and shipping in December.
(DS)
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