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new Joe Dunton HD and Film camera

Joe Dunton HD/Film magazine

by David Fox

A magazine that slots into a film camera and turns it into a High Definition TV camera was launched at IBC 2002 by Joe Dunton Cameras.

The digital video unit is used in place of the normal film magazine in an Arri 16SR 16mm camera, chosen by Dunton because it is not only one of the world's most popular models, with some 3,000 in use, but also was easy to create a magazine for. A version for a 35mm camera, probably a Movietech, will come next, but it will need a split unit of a prism block with separate electronics.

World first - the Joe Dunton camera that records on film and HDThe prototype, which uses Ikegami electronics, was only finally put together two days before the show. The production version will be branded Mitchell, as Dunton owns the Mitchell Camera Company of America and wishes to revive its highly-regarded name.

The system will allow users to use either film or HD, or both, choosing film for varispeed effects and HD for bluescreen, for example. Cinematographers can also retain the film lenses they are used to. "You don't have to invest in new lenses. All the lenses you have are as good as, or better, than the lenses for HD," said Dunton.

"It's just a simple, brilliant idea. The film cameraman can work as he's used to working, but can switch to HD for a sequence or a complete film, as required. It's all very familiar to him," added Mark Capstick, general manager Ikegami UK.

The system has been designed with simplicity in mind, with only a single rotary push button, driving menus on the built-in LCD monitor. There is also a calibration unit to ensure that each unit can be set up exactly the same.

The magazine should cost about $45,000 when it is available at NAB 2003. It is isn't a recording unit at the moment, offering SDI or RGB output for recording to a separate VCR or disk. However, once disk drives with enough capacity to offer at least 10 to 15 minutes per drive are available, a recording unit will also be offered. Dunton hopes to show a prototype at NAB.

At the moment the unit is a 1080i (interlaced) system, but 24p and 25p (progressive) versions are likely. "We're looking at developing for that market," said Capstick.

Ikegami already makes HDTV cameras, either based on DVCPRO-HD or with fibre optic outputs for studio and OB use. It also makes very small HD cameras for mounting on remote heads.

Nov 2002

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    David Fox