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.
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.
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?
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.