Saturday, August 9, 2008

Digital Cinema Done Right.... or at least differently!

Red may have a great product and world class marketing, but there is another camera that deserves just as much attention- The Silicon Imaging SI-2k.

What I think makes this product line very special are a few revolutionary things. Starting with the lens, I'd have to check but this may be the first Digital Cinema camera designed to work with good old lenses used on 16mm film cameras. That gives you tons of inexpensive lens rental options.

The next is the CMOS sensor. SI has partnered with Cineform (more about them later, they deserve their own post) to allow a RAW recording from the camera. What this means is that just as you can use a RAW file format on your digital SLR that can later be "developed", you can have the same creative fredom with video. More about Cineform RAW here. Imagine what you could accomplish and how quickly when you have a non-destructive real-time color correction ability.

The third revolutionaty feature is how the video is captured. It uses Ethernet! No expensive VTR or capture card in a PC is needed, you just need a modern laptop with gigabit Ethernet. In fact if I'm not mistaken the body of the SI-2k is just a small custom built PC that runs on an Anton/Bauer battery. Storage doesn't require an expensive P2 card, any usb drive will do.

Will this camera be suitable for situations where you would have used a $30,000 ENG camera?

In my opinion, what maters most is reliability and ease of use. If the SI-2K can meet that criteria the industry will be revolutionized!

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