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Parallel Pathway Video Camera

A revolutionary concept in video recording
  [vote for,

HD is great and all, but it's actually fairly low-resolution when you get down to it. Even 1080 video is only about 2 megapixels. There are video cameras that are capable of shooting at significantly higher resolutions; naturally these tend to be rather expensive, both because of the more advanced technology required and because there exists at present only a niche market for such cameras.

Many consumer level digital cameras, however, are able to capture high resolution stills at a relatively low frame rate. Your average DSLR may be able to capture RAW stills at 3fps continuously. If we gutted 8 such cameras, extracting the CCD and memory pathway from each camera, and mounted the sensors in a ring on the inside of a barrel with a lens on the front, we could then use a pentaprism attached to a stepper motor to achieve 24fps RAW video by hitting each sensor sequentially for precisely 1/48th of a second (this being the standard film exposure time given a 180 degree shutter), coming around again just in time for the CCD to be ready to take another picture.

Perhaps surprisingly, the cost of 8 CCD sensors and associated memory circuitry, even from a relatively high-end DSLR and assuming you paid retail for the entire camera rather than just the necessary parts, is still substantially less than the cost of a video camera that shoots super-HD resolution video, making this idea cost-effective.

ytk, Mar 27 2012

Rotating mirror cameras http://en.wikipedia...phy#Rotating_mirror
[mitxela, Mar 27 2012]

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       There is a point beyond which increasing image quality, since the last image-sensing element in the system - the Mk.1 Human Eyeball - itself has a limited resolution. Unless you're planning to zoom images, improving resolution is a waste of time. Better to use the bandwidth for 3D.
8th of 7, Mar 27 2012

       That's true, but HD 1080 is nowhere close to approaching that resolution. Besides, shooting at a higher resolution and downrezing to HD yields better results than simply shooting HD in the first place, and it provides additional flexibility in post. That's why most feature films that are shot digitally are shot at 4K or higher, even if the intention is to finish at HD resolution.
ytk, Mar 27 2012

       Why do it sequentially? Just split the incoming light 5 ways and do all 5 exposures at the same time.   

       Are you tiling these sensors, or superimposing them with sub-pixel offsets? If the former, the tiling will have to be good to avoid discontinuities. If the latter, you'll need some schnazzy post-processing to recover HD, and even then I doubt you could do it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 27 2012

       This is actually the method used on early high-speed cameras, so the optics would not be a problem to construct.   

       The problem I foresee is the processing required to spit out the video at the end. Unless you want, like modern high-speed cameras have, a half hour wait before being able to play back only a few minutes of video, you will need an *awful* lot of processing power.   

       Also, don't forget that the DSLR circuitry will have a buffer of maybe 100 frames, probably less.   

       In reality the computing power for continuous video at this resolution will probably put the camera into the same price range as the commercial models we're trying to avoid. But [+] for the thought.
mitxela, Mar 27 2012

       Someone should invent a single-frame sensor with light-capturing elements that are as small as, or smaller than, the wavelength of light.   

       If these sensors could be contrived to somehow store the image internally, and if they could be made cheap enough, then a succession of them could be strung together and, with suitable mechanical apparatus, could be arranged to capture successive still images at high resolution.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 27 2012

       There might be fringe benefits, though.
8th of 7, Mar 27 2012

       //Why do it sequentially? Just split the incoming light 5 ways and do all 5 exposures at the same time.//   

       This would drastically increase the amount of noise, since you'd have to gain the signal by the same factor that you split it to record the same light intensity.   

       //Are you tiling these sensors, or superimposing them with sub-pixel offsets?//   

       They are arranged in a ring, pointed inwards towards a pentaprism that rotates into position before each frame is captured.   

       //The problem I foresee is the processing required to spit out the video at the end.//   

       Not really a problem for the intended market (that is to say, low budget filmmakers, documentarians, and so on). Most high-end video cameras (along the lines of the RED Epic or Arri Alexa) require significant post-processing of the video before you can do anything useful with it.   

       //Also, don't forget that the DSLR circuitry will have a buffer of maybe 100 frames, probably less.//   

       My four-year-old Pentax K10D can shoot JPEG stills at 2-3 fps until the SD card fills up, and RAW stills at around 1 fps. It shouldn't be hard to tweak the memory pathway of a newer DSLR to be able to sustain a sufficient data rate of 3 fps for RAW images. As long as you can sustain the data rate to the recording medium, you shouldn't have a problem getting shots of indefinite length.
ytk, Mar 27 2012


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