The Ultimate Camera?


The Infinity Camera

We techies lust after the next level of camera tech. HD, 2.5K, 4K, RAW etc. but what would the ultimate be?

When you look back at how cameras have evolved every camera has captured frames of one sort or another. Film was real frames, each pulled down and exposed in turn with varying frame rates. Film was expensive so they wanted to have the least number of frames they could get away with and still show motion. As HD and formats higher resolution than that have evolved including 3D there is more need for frame rates higher than has been the norm for years i.e. 24,25,30 etc. The Hobbit shot in high resolution on Red Epics  at 48fps so that action sequences in 3D were not blurry. When shooting in locations where you cannot control the lighting the frame rate is often dictated by the mains frequency as any incidental lighting will flicker if the lighting is at 60hz (states) and the camera is at a different frequency and the same in Europe if lighting is at 50hz and you are shooting at 30fps for example.

When converting from one frame rate to another there are all sorts of problems as you end up changing the speed or if keeping the speed constant dropping frames or creating others that make the resultant motion jerky. This happens because you are altering the temporal relationship of the image stream.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a camera/recorder like the human eye/brain. We rarely see flickering images we don’t have a frame rate as such although I have seen an article that says we can process 10 to 12 frames per second, these frames are very high definition though so it is quite a data rate. We are of course fooled quite easily by magicians/illusionists so we don’t exactly have a fast frame rate capture. just move your hand quickly in front of you eye and you can see it’s blurred!

I wonder if we can make a camera that effectively shoots everything? You could then decide in post production how many frames you wanted to see and over what time scale you wanted to see it and at what resolution!. This would effectively give unlimited creativity and any output format without any temporal artefacts.

I would call this camera the infinity camera, using techniques yet to be developed it would capture all motion up to an effective temporal resolution of a few hundred or more frames or even an infinite number. It would not capture frames in the normal sense but capture data about the photons landing on the sensor. In the same way as the


focus after the shoot!

Lytro camera can focus after you have recorded the image the infinity camera would only have a frame rate when the output was edited on a timeline. In the same way that RAW data doesn’t have a form in the colour space you are working until it is rendered the data would be translated into frame rate, focus and colour space when editing. It would record the light field over time.

In effect it would capture an infinite data stream of the temporal, resolution and focal information of the light stream. In post you could vary the exposure, colour balance, speed and focus to suit. There are already some amazing technologies coming out, see this!.

So let’s hope that the Ultimate camera will be out soon :)

Exciting init?




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