Super 16 Filmmaking Goes Digital
By James Grahame
Ikonoskop - Swedish makers of the diminutive A-cam Super 16mm movie camera - have unveiled their next camera, and it's revolutionary.
The € 6,950 ($9,800) A-cam dII digital motion picture camera features a 10.6 mm x 6 mm image sensor - the same size as a Super 16mm film frame. It captures uncompressed 1920 x 1080 pixel images in RAW format onto a proprietary 80GB solid-state memory cartridge capable of recording at 240MB/sec. That's twice as fast as its nearest competitor.
The camera can shoot at variable frame rates between 1 and 60 fps and captures 2 channel 48 kHz audio (good enough for many documentary applications). It measures only 22 x 9 x 8 cm and weighs less than 1.5 kg with memory cartridge and battery. It can be equipped with various lens mounts including PL, Leica M, IMS and C-Mount (it ships with Ikonoskop's 9mm f/1.5 wide angle cine lens). The wide range of lens mounts is critical, since good cine lenses often cost many thousands of dollars. Compatibility means that independent filmmakers will be able to use their favorite lenses and rental companies will not have to purchase new optics.
Ikonoskop is currently taking pre-orders with production slated to start in "late 2008." If the image quality is up to snuff, the dII could prove to be a favorite camera for indie film production. It's bargain priced (for pro gear), extremely compact and gives filmmakers the option of printing to film without losing resolution or risking ugly compression artifacts.
I'm somewhat sad to see a vibrant young company like Ikonoskop step away from chemical film, but at the same time I'm excited to see them meld traditional filmmaking ideas with cutting-edge technology. Me want.