The AXIOM Gamma Open Module Concept

Introduction

With our effort to build a feature reduced Axiom camera prototype (Axiom Alpha) nearing completion, we're testing variations of our concept and designs for the full Axiom camera system. Whilst the official announcement for the Axiom camera occurred back in July 2012, the world has since changed: New technologies are now available, with prior hardware difficulties and bottlenecks now much easier to overcome. In the last twelve months, the apertus° team has also grown and evolved- we have learnt from past errors in judgement and have adjusted our decisions accordingly.


In October 2013, we can see that the market for digital cinema cameras is noticeably more crowded. With strong competition already forcing it's first victims out of business, we have asked ourselves many times if what we are attempting to do is actually a good idea - we are the newcomers, emerging from an international community with no corporate funding behind us. A number of people have called us crazy and predicted that our vision will not be a success. And after opening up our doubts, our fears and examining them at length, we are still arriving at the same conclusion: YES, this is what our hearts and minds are set on and we're going to do it!


Open Module Concept

Modularity is of course nothing new: Analogue film and photographic (medium format) cameras have been built around systems using this principle for more than half a century. In the digital age, we believe our Open Module Concept not only makes Axiom 100% extendible, but that it also allows for a streamlined project management system when developing new modules for various hardware functionalities. With an open modular system, different teams can be working on separate modules in parallel, with an awareness of what each other is doing. This has the potential to encourage the sharing of designs and information, with a strong level of transparency toward the community. Disclaimer: This is a concept! What you can see below is a snapshot of our current ideas, and it does not mean everything will end up exactly like it is shown or described here. What it does indicate however, is the direction in which we are heading for the future.


apertus° Axiom Open Module Concept
Show Open Module Concept in Full Resolution

Open Modules for an Open Platform

The concept of Axiom is to create much more than just a camera “product”. It is an open camera platform - ready to evolve into things we haven’t even dreamt of today. Many people are cautious of buying into a camera system due to the rapid pace at which new “products” are being announced, with state-of-the-art systems now outdated within months of their release cycle. We want to stress that Axiom will not be outdated anytime soon - it will be built from the ground up as a system that will evolve over time - as we rely on FPGA based designs rather than fixed “set-in-stone systems”. We and the entire community will be able to deliver new interfaces, codecs, firmware and significant degrees of newer functionalities all via a simple software download to the camera. It is our intention to use this to create a very powerful ecosystem around Axiom, providing long term support alongside the development of new features.


apertus° Axiom Concept


Switchable ND Filters

While discussing the Open Module concept at IBC several people expressed their wishes for switchable ND filters in Axiom. The option of screw-on or matte-box filters would bring the same result but this is also much more cumbersome in real life shooting scenarios. Since we have not yet come up with an easy way to make space for these filters, which would be positioned between the image sensor and lens mount in the current concept, we would like to ask for more feedback/ideas in this area - Tell us your thoughts about ND filters! Or do you have an idea how they could be implemented?


Next Steps

Crowd funding for the Axiom camera will start as soon as these 3 key goals are reached:

  • Axiom Alpha prototype development is complete.
  • We have shot a selection of clips and sample footage with Axiom Alpha prototype and created a crowd funding video.
  • Full detailed Axiom development plans/concepts/budget/schedule are ready and viewable in an accessible form online.

What we need now

We need to grow our team with more engineers and developers to build hardware of this complexity within the scheduled time frame (depending on the level of success of our crowd-funding campaign).
If you are a hardware / software / embedded / mechanical / optical engineer and would like to lend your expertise and be part of this exciting journey, either now or in the future, please get in touch with us.

Project: 

11 Comments

3 years ago
roberto schaefer

please don't make this an Alexa / Amira / F5 / F55 / Epic clone!! Please, follow the Aaton LTR model and make it operator friendly. This is a big opportunity to do it right from the start.

3 years ago
Bill

Consider using removable gel filter holders. That way the user can decide if he wants internal or external filtering.

Panavision has employed this method for years. Additionally, I don't remember us having to insert a blank to maintain the FFD.

http://tinyurl.com/n2gpu9b

3 years ago
Eddie DelMar

Please, consider creating an 'anamorphic mode' via software or an 'anamorphic module' or a combination of these two in order to end the existing dependency on anamorphic adapters. Axiom could end up beating all its competitors with this feature.

3 years ago
Eddie DelMar

For more on the anamorphic challenge, read this article illustrating what artifacts could be used to achieve the anamorphic look with a Black Magic Cinema Camera: "How Blackmagic can add anamorphic recording mode to their Cinema Camera the easy way" by Andrew Reid. June 25, 2012.
http://www.eoshd.com/content/8265/how-blackmagic-can-add-anamorphic-reco...
Fortunately, the Open Module Concept allows for revolutionary developments. I believe the engineers at Axiom should undertake this challenge if they really want to shake the market.

3 years ago
Eric

Please do not build in ND Filters at greater expense or to sacrifice ANYTHING else! If it's easy and cheap do it. As it sounds like a bigger hassle DON'T. Building in the NDs goes against the modularity you guys are awesomely going for. Thank you all for doing this! You are the future!

3 years ago
Jordi Lozano

THIS SOUNDS AWESOME!!!! Please add some kind if anamorphic feature that doesn't force the market to invest MASSIVE money on an anamorphic lens. Also, if at all possible PLEASE include a MIC jack for SYNC sound even if it's just a 1/8th input jack.

THANK YOU!

3 years ago
Sebastian

What exactly do you mean with "anamorphic feature" without an anamorphic lens?

Some kind of sync, timecode, genlock interface will likely be added via IO shield.

3 years ago
Benoit

Add an high speed optical link and a power connection. So you can make it a slow motion camera.
Do it for less than 250k€ and you have a competitive product. Don't forget compatibility with EVS product.
for reference see I-Movix X10 camera http://i-movix.com and EVS XT3 media server http://www.evs.com/.

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