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ACQUISITION Open Source Digital Cameras – The First Link In The Chain If we want an Open Source film and television industry, then the first obvious step has to be the development of an Open Source digital camera. As a former cameraman, it was hearing about an organisation called apertus° and the work they were doing that first got me interested in the whole Open Source concept. Based in Vienna, apertus° is an Open Source cinema organisation founded by film makers and financed through crowd funding. The people behind apertus° were galvanised into action when they became concerned with the expensive and limited tools they were forced to work with every day. Instead, they wanted access to affordable devices and technology that delivered the highest possible image quality and could be customised to exactly suit their needs. I heard about the initiative and when I learned that apertus° was developing an Open Source 4k camera, I decided to pay them a visit. I was immediately struck by how little Open Source, for both software and hardware, is utilised by the Film Production community. Certain single elements are there, Blender for 3D, DCP creation, but nothing has been created and developed as an entire production workflow for shooting films digitally. Since its formation in 2007, the apertus° project has applied an Open Source philosophy to everything it has developed. As no patents have been filed, anyone can access the technology behind its cameras and people are actively encouraged to adapt, modify, repair and even replicate them. To date, reaction has been very positive. Not only has the company achieved – and exceeded – its initial crowd funding target but it also has the backing of some very important film makers and cinematographers, including ASC and AIC Cinematographer Roberto Schaefer and Emmy and Academy Award-winning DOP and Visual Effects Supervisor, David Stump. The Axiom Open Digital Cinema Camera The first product developed by apertus° is the AXIOM camera, which is due for beta release in April at NAB 2015. Initially it will only be available at cost to the community that backed the crowd funding campaign. Rogue Element was one of those backers and we are delighted to be supporting apertus° by investing in a number of 4k Axiom camera systems and making them available to the UK rental market. With an Open module approach, we anticipate that users will soon suggest the modules they want to see adopted. This perfectly fits the apertus° goal of creating a free and open technology for today’s professional cinema and film production landscape, and making all the generated knowledge freely available. By creating and building an open modular camera system consisting of several hardware and software parts, apertus° has already evolved into a platform for film-makers, creative industry professionals, artists and enthusiasts. apertus° is more 64 | KITPLUS - TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 98 FEBRUARY 2015 than just a software/hardware collection; it’s a knowledge library, an ecosystem of people supporting each other and advocating freedom. Software For Collaboration, Innovation And Delivery The introduction of the Axiom camera inevitably makes other areas of the production process ripe for Open source treatment. First among these is workflow, which is why Rogue Element, in conjunction with the Open Source community, is creating OpenFlow, a complete suite of workflow solutions to ensure that Open Source is at the forefront of film and television production for years to come. The 4k CMV12000 CMOSIS sensor adopted for the Axiom will need processing and transcoding. Cinema DNG is being adopted for the initial RAW workflow and from these Masters other copies can be created. OpenFlow will also develop software that embraces open collaboration and allows a more efficient and faster software suite to be developed by anyone who wishes to contribute. Think of an open and freely available code that can be adopted and worked on by anyone, creating an extremely fast and efficient software workflow designed purely for the task at hand, whether this is to create copies for Editorial or other viewing versions to take onwards to VFX and other departments. We will also apply Open Source to DI and colour, thus allowing full access to the Masters and their colour science. It is very exciting - by making formats such as OpenEXR and Cinema DNG open to all, we can achieve real transparency as well as better, faster results.