General FAQ

Why create cameras the open source way?

Companies have been doing it differently, those are not the cameras we want to be using. We believe in open designs rather than technical secrets and protected patents. Bringing together all the talent and knowledge needed for creating an affordable cinema camera that continually improves with the advent of new technology. We try to use only open or at least well documented standards for connectors, interfaces, power supplies, etc. And we promote free software. This way we ensure that we do not limit any creative or artistic processes or choices so you can use the camera in any way you want.


How do you expect to make a successful business when giving most away for free or not protecting your work?

We believe that a modern business has to care about openness and has a responsibility towards its customers to provide open products. As filmmakers we want access to tools which we love to use and which enhance what we create. Now that we’re in the process of creating those tools we want to make them available to anyone. Also we ARE protecting our work, with the GNU GPL license, for example, we ensure the freedom and availability of all assets of our software in the future.


What if someone steals your ideas to make his own product?

If somebody uses our ideas for their products - nice, go ahead. An idea cannot be protected with copyright or patents. We promote open knowledge so, if you were inspired by parts of apertus° and were able to create something new because of that, we are honored! If someone takes our source code/schematics/blueprints, etc. to create a closed/proprietary product this will a) violate the GNU GPL license (and we and the FSFE will come after you) and b) it will just cripple the product, reduce functionality. The openness of the design is deeply embedded, you can not separate the parts without losses.


Can the AXIOM Beta be used for commercial projects?

Of course, the AXIOM being open hardware / free software does not interfere in any way with you shooting footage of any kind of commercial or even secret project. Hollywood has been using a number of open source tools and infrastructure for a long time already.


Can I sell proprietary software that runs on the AXIOM Beta?

Of course, but note that you have to do it within the various licenses applying to the various parts, so for example modifying the GPL firmware and selling that as proprietary is a no-no, but running your own proprietary firmware on the camera is just fine as is selling proprietary applications running on Linux or the camera.


I am an individual and want to contribute to the project. How can I do that?

Beside donating, your specialized knowledge and time is the most valuable precious you can donate to the project so please consider contributing. This is not limited to contributing to software or hardware tasks, we also need people to deal with management tasks, writing documentation, doing graphics design or you can also be a filmmaker or DOP and provide valuable feedback or even create sample footage with the camera. Just get in touch with us with your ideas and we will together find something interesting for you to work on - ultimately you can join the team and become a regular contributor.


We are a company and want to participate in the development of apertus°. How can we do that?

Donating is a great way to advance the project. But you can also contribute in other ways. The most important thing you need to understand when considering taking this step is that open source projects like this work totally different than proprietary developed ones. There is no strong hierarchy, the project leader (benevolent dictator) is more a community-approved arbitrator and in the end the project is mainly run democratically. If you want to read more about this see this. Basically everyone involved in the project shares what he/she wants to do (propose goals) and then shares his/her progress of the development, others can comment, share ideas or improve it themselves. A lot of time is spent communicating, probably more than in proprietary projects. Everything anyone creates for the project is released (and protected) under the projects license (the GNU GPL V3 in most cases). If you have plans or are undertaking a project in line with these goals and you are using the same or a compatible technical foundation as apertus° we are happy to collaborate with you you.

Again a very in-depth read about financial involvement in an open source project is available in Karl Fogels online book: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project



AXIOM camera specific FAQ


Can I buy an AXIOM Alpha?

The AXIOM Alpha was the first AXIOM proof-of-concept prototype and was never meant to be sold but the AXIOM Beta Developer Kit is available for purchase now. The AXIOM Beta Compact (for filmmakers) is still in development but contains essentially the same electronics as the AXIOM Beta Developer Kit.


Can I buy an AXIOM Beta?

The AXIOM Beta Developer Kit is available for purchase. The AXIOM Beta Compact (for filmmakers) is still in development but contains essentially the same electronics as the AXIOM Beta Developer Kit.


Why HDMI and not proper SDI interfaces for AXIOM Beta?

We know HDMI is a consumer connector and would never have entered the professional arena if it wasn't for DSLRs that shoot video and all the products that followed them. But HDMI is cheaper and there are more devices available to test/use currently (monitors, recorders, etc.) so we did HDMI first. A Dual 6G SDI Plugin Module for the AXIOM Beta is currently in development.


Are AXIOM Beta cameras or developer kits available only as unassembled DIY kits?

The AXIOM Beta Developer Kit (now) or Compact(future) are shipped fully assembled and tested.


Do I need to be a programmer to use the AXIOM Beta?

During the early stages (or with the AXIOM Beta Developer Kit) it won't hurt to have some skills (general Linux know how for example) or at least the willingness to learn from and contribute to the software development but as soon as that early days will be over the usability will be on par if not already beyond the experience of using any other conventional camera without requiring any programming skills.


Do I need to be a programmer to use any future AXIOM camera?

No, absolutely not! It is of great importance to us that you - the end users - are able to access the source code and the blueprints for our designs. Whilst everything is open hardware / free software, this does not mean that you are required to study our code and implement changes. If you simply wish to use the AXIOM for film making purposes, it will operate in a manner similar to any other camera you might have used before. There may come a day, however, when you want your camera to function in a manner beyond what it was initially intended to do. In these scenarios, it's great to be able to access the source files (required for modification) and re-program the hardware as you see fit.


Does the AXIOM Beta include a video recorder?

No, the AXIOM Beta has no built in recorder, but will provide several options and add-ons to allow external recording. Currently we advise to use any existing HDMI recorder. We will work closely with manufacturers to provide “out of the box” compatibility from the popular recorders.

This being said, the camera includes multiple micro-SD ports, so you are able to capture 4K RAW still images out of the box. The micro SD card slot just don’t provide the speed to capture motion pictures.


Does the AXIOM Beta include a monitor/viewfinder?

No, the AXIOM Beta has no built in monitor or viewfinder, but provides all the interfaces for connecting external monitors/viewfinders.


Does the AXIOM Beta record sound?

The AXIOM Beta has no audio inputs but as it relies on an external video recorder these devices can be used to record audio in sync with the video.


Is there a 16mm / Super 16mm crop mode planned for the AXIOM Beta?

It is on the wishlist with low priority currently:


Crowdfunding Backer FAQ

In 2014 we made a successfull crowdfunding campaing. Here are some specific question and answers we got in the course of this campaign.


When I got the crowdfunding perk for a camera at-cost voucher do I HAVE to buy the camera?

If you got a voucher for an AXIOM Beta you are entitled to get one at cost but not obliged to buy it.


Can I buy the AXIOM Beta earlier than my batch?

If you got a voucher for a camera you can decide when to actually get your camera as long as there is room in the queue.

We will first ask 1st batch voucher owners and a few might want to wait so we will fill up the empty slots with second batch owners who want to order earlier, and so on.

So getting the camera earlier than your batch might be possible depending on what people from an earlier batch choose.

Of course if everyone from the first batch wants his/her camera as soon as it is available, you'll have to wait for your batch to be produced and sold.


Can I buy the camera later than my batch?

If you got a voucher for an AXIOM Beta you can ask to get your camera later than your batch.

We will first ask 1st batch voucher owners and a few might want to wait so we will fill up the empty slots with second batch owners who want to order earlier, and so on.

So getting the camera later than your batch is always possible.

Of course if everyone decides to wait we will not have a full first batch in April and then the camera will also not have a chance to mature over time. But we think there are enough backers who can’t wait to get their hands on their cameras :-)


Can I sell/give my voucher to a friend?

The camera perk vouchers are linked to personal accounts so the best way to make a friend happy is to use your voucher, get the camera and then give the camera to your friend.


Is an external recording device required for the AXIOM Beta?

That very much depends on what you want to do with your device and the resulting amount of data per second. For recording low bandwidth data (still frames) an external recording device is not required. You can store the data on microSD or transfer it to a device connected through Ethernet, USB or even WiFi. For moving images you will need a suitable recorder connected via HDMI (other IO shields will follow later on).


Why did you give away the AXIOM Beta so much under retail price in crowdfunding? What was the catch?

With the AXIOM Beta crowdfunding campaign we did not just try to find customers that purchase cameras. We wanted to lay the foundation for an active community that is ready to participate in defining and shaping where the AXIOM development is going. A community that is able to work with pre-production hardware and test new features as they arrive providing valuable feedback and contributions to the apertus° development team and community. That’s why we’re providing the hardware to the crowd funding community at cost.


If your question has not been answered with the existing entries, please send us your question in the contact form.