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Digital Video Camera project for Filmmaking Community

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Ooze3d

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diy digital cinema camera

Hi all,

I'm new here. I come from a forum called DVInfo, a filmmaking community. There's a section in that forum which takes care of DIY stuff like lens adapters and things like that. Many members there (me included) are not happy with current so called "professional" cameras and new digital cinema cameras. If they're ok for filmmaking, they're too expensive and low cost cameras always have problems like interlaced video (real film and digital movies are progresive) or heavy compressing (so you can't really do a proper color process in post-production). Some of us have tried to build a basic low cost DIY digital cinema camera using stuff like sensor demo boards connected to MiniITX pcs running Windows/Linux to capture the stream and things like that, but none of us have really succeeded. Too much processing power wasted because of non-specific systems. Those demo boards I talk about usually have USB 2.0 out ports to the computer which cannot transport the stream fast enough, so the sensor is actually delivering the images we want but the computer is capturing less than a half of the stream. Useless.

We know the best option is to build the camera from scratch connecting the sensor headboard to an FPGA board to control it, extract the images, process them and store them, but of course, we're filmmakers, not engineers, so we lack the skills to program such a system, so that's why I'm here. I need to know if there's anyone here who wants to help us with the development of this camera so we can finally have a proper tool to work with at a decent price.

This is the basic system we need. Of course we would provide the funds needed to buy all stuff:

- A Micron MT9P031 headboard. This sensor is quite good. We'd need a minimum resolution of 2048x858 pixels at 24fps (2.40:1 cinema aspect ratio). I tested its demo board last year and it gives more than enough.
- The FPGA board of your choice. It needs to control frame size, framerate, gain, exposure and image mirroring. Then it has to send either a basic debayered color stream or a monochrome bayer stream to the LCD. It doesn't have to be full resolution. With an horizontal size of 800 pixels is ok. At the same time it has to take the full resolution bayer stream, compress it to a ratio between 4:1 and 8:1 and store it. We're thinking of compact flash cards or SATA HDDs for storing. The stream gets debayered later in the computer.
- A very simple 7" 800x480 color LCD kit.

That's it. That's the most basic setup we can use.

There's another option I recently discovered which has all the basics, but I still don't know if it can do what we want. Maybe you can tell us.

https://www.terasic.com.tw/cgi-bin/page/archive.pl?Language=English&CategoryNo=39&No=296

I believe the sensor on the D5M product is the same MT9P031 Micron sensor I talk about, it also comes with an Altera DE2-70 Board and a 4.3" LCD touch panel kit. The whole kit comes with many examples and tutorials which should make everything easier. It has SD card socket though and I don't know if it's SDHC compatible.

So that's it. If any of you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank you all,

Jose.
 

Iouri

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cost of filmmaking cameras

What are you looking for???
 

Ooze3d

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diy filmmaking camera dv cameras

I guess I went way too far... Didn't I? Well, basically I'm looking for a way to extract video from that sensor, compress it and store it.
 

lucbra

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cost of video cameras for film making

Hi,

I suppose, compressing in an FPGA or thelike? And then streaming to a PC for post processing the video stream?

Isn't there an option to reformat the video signal to an HD-SDI stream or 3G-SDI stream, and using a standard HD-SDI capture board in a PC? Don't forget that the storage device (assuming a harddisk) will need to have a high throughput!

In any case you will find limitations in any proposed system. The first solution has a compressing bandwidth problem. The second has the problem that normal PC's can't stream the data fast enough to the harddisk (through PCI Express).
So you will need to concider less strict specs.

Please elaborate on the system diagram, put some numbers to the data streams (color depth, data width, PC setup, ...), then we can talk further.
 

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