February 2013 News Update

For February, the shortest month in our calendar, we’re bringing you fresh updates and exciting news regarding what’s taking place with apertus°.

1. The Current state of Axiom Alpha development
Our engineering team have been busy working on Axiom Alpha’s Image Processing module, and the Field Programmable Gate Array (short FPGA) for doing the real time image processing of choice now is a recently introduced Xillinx Zynq (FPGA + dual core ARM CPU combination System on Chip [SoC]). We have ordered a Zedboard for prototyping with the Zynq, which is basically like an Arduino with incredible power. It can output a video signal via an onboard HDMI port (unfortunately there is no 3G-SDI option yet).

The Zedboard also opens up new possibilities, since its widely available for a reasonable price (much cheaper compared to the price of building custom hardware) FPGA development is easier to split among remotely separated developers - we can just get all of them a Zedboard. And the Zedboard has other interfaces that open up new possibilities that we did not really aim for so far (Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, Audio In/Out, etc.) and will also be used in the final Axiom hardware, so all of the VHDL code that we create now will be reusable later on. Our next step is to create an emulated image sensor in the FPGA that acts like a real one but just generates a test pattern image for now. This is very handy for working on the image processing pipeline without having a real image-sensor front-end built yet. Other team members are working on designing the actual image-sensor front-end hardware in the meantime.

If you have the skills and want to join our prototype developments here please drop us a line!

2. The apertus° company has been formed
Here is a big update with good news on the 'busy-ness side' of apertus°: The Company.

Project Founder Oscar Spierenburg has set up the "Apertus Open Source Cinema" company in Antwerp. This company will become the backbone of our future with Axiom and a first step for apertus° to bring open hardware and free software together in a sustainable business plus community.

Oscar has decided to sign a notary act regarding his and Minske’s film production company 'Picoux Productions'. What this means is that apertus° will be officially registered as a branch of the production company, with a clearly defined role for open source camera development and production. In this way, the Axiom camera project can be pushed through the development period with the legal merit of being attached to an offical company. A great benefit of this team up is the reduction of costs (founding costs, book-keeping, etc). Most of the equipment we need for research and development can also now be purchased without losing VAT etc.


Picoux Production’s accountant will keep an eye on all transactions, ensuring that things are perfectly separated and transparent. He has advised that the apertus° company should be set up as an independent entity (outside of Picoux Productions) once things get bigger. I.e When we have a working prototype, a business plan and a successful crowdfunding campaign.

In light of all this, Oscar states “I will not take any personal risks with the apertus° branch, nor let it be a risk for the production company. But personally I don't see any risk in the development period, as long as the spending is not greater than the income. We can, of course, only spend money we gain from sponsors and donations for apertus°. I do believe this solution is the cheapest and safest way to go (for apertus°) and I'm looking forward to it!”

If you would like to help the apertus° Project, donations are very much appreciated.
You can do this via our official donations page.

3. Vanitas news (referring to Vanitas blog)
Development is underway on Oscar’s feature length film ‘Vanitas’. A film shoot took place in Ghent, Belgium earlier this year to create an updated teaser.

On the Vanitas production blog, cast member Manon Verbeeck has written a brief description of the jubilant atmosphere (and bizarre car rides) she has experienced on the project thus far. Be sure to stay tuned to the Vanitas blog for further updates from the cast and crew.

Vanitas 2013 Teaser:

That rounds up our news for this month. But fear not, we’ll be back with more updates soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to join the discussions on our forum.

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