We got over 20 messages with essentially the same video sample in our inbox this week. They all touted the new interpolation from the DAIN experimental App or (Depth Aware Video Interpolation App) which now analyses footage with a Neural network AI algorithm that crunches motion vectors and even what seemed impossible before “Object Occlusion” to generate higher frame rates from lower fps sources. The technology is pretty fascinating and should be further improved by more training and samples over the coming years.
For stop motion animators, this is a complete game-changer as now you could animate with as little as 8fps and then interpolate to 30fps or 60fps with very little in the way of tearing and artifacting as long as the footage is well lit and objects clearly defined. To make matters more interesting, it also analyses footage with shallow depth of field yielding impressive results.
Canon has now released the final specs and estimated release dates for the EOS R5 and R6 cameras. There is a lot of good advancement in features especially in video mode as what many believe is an afront to Sony and Panasonic who dominate video recording on ILCs. The R5 can record 24fps and 30fps 8k video or 8192 x 4320 pixels in RAW quality which is a staggering 1TB of storage or 2600 Mbits/s for only 51 minutes of recording time. That means that every hour you will eat up through a full TB of your RAID backup storage. We see this mode being transcoded to an intermediate format like Blackmagic RAW or BRAW or Apple ProRes as soon as possible.
There is more bad news, on the 120fps 4k front there is no other option of recording but All-I which saves every frame independently in 10-bit 4:2:2 which is good for excellent quality but at the cost of 1,880 Mbits/s which is 224MB/sec or 13,447MB / minute of recording time. Better get a ton of memory cards and hard drives ready!
We were very skeptical earlier in the year when the R5 specs were just a rumor. Canon has not really been delivering powerful video features out of their Cinema line and we expected this new camera to be a crippled continuation of the trend. We were not only wrong but now know that Canon is banking the future of the EOS line on cameras like the R5 with features that really put it in a class all by itself.
The original video darling was the EOS 5D Mark II which made it possible to use the EOS line of lenses with a video mode that delivered good enough quality for the web and some careful productions. The camera had issues like severe rolling shutter and a tendency to moire and alias so bad that many shots were really ruined. However, the excellent Canon color quality and lens choices made it so popular that it really forced companies to change the video options forever. Now Canon intends to do as big a splash with the introduction of 8k video internally on the new camera.
The Z Cam E2 has finally started shipping and is now available for direct order at their site. The camera caught our attention for its low price of just $1999 and the high frame rate features of 240fps 1080p and 120fps 4k. It seems to be using the same 4/3 sensor as the great Panasonic GH5s but with extended features.
The camera company ZCam has also released some samples in a variety of scenarios so you can see what the camera is capable of. At first inspection, it is clear this camera is a clear step up from the Z Cam E1 which had some image quality issues. The E2 seems to go out of the box ready to produce class-leading imagery and offer some very nice high frame rate action. There are also some rumored comments that suggest the team is testing 300fps at 720p as an added bonus for future software.
NVIDIA has been hard at work on the problem posed by high frame rate interpolation of video data shot on lower fps. We have had this tech since the late 1990s with the advent of Twixtor and refined over the decades in systems like Twixtor Pro and Adobe’s Optical Flow in After Effects. You are still not getting real temporal detail data since the frames are created by extrapolating velocity and direction vectors plus pixel values between frames to get the result.
We explored this technique in our post on interpolation here and why it is no substitute from a real slow motion camera solution. NVIDIA’s new method uses machine learning along with 11,000 videos to arrive at a more convincing result. Considering the relatively small sample size we can imagine a future where hundreds of thousands or millions of footage samples are used to generate near flawless interpolation. This technique takes some serious computation and data sets so as of now it is not really ready for the mass market but that could change with the cloud very soon.
Z Cam the relatively new Camera company from Shenzhen, China has announced the Z Cam E2 at NAB 2018 MSRP $1,999.00 USD. It is not a direct replacement for their ambitious but half-baked Z E1 m4/3 camera which costs $399. The new camera is a beast specs wise with up to 120fps 4k and full HD 1080p at 240fps. The codecs will be H.264 and H.265 at 10 bit but no RAW support so far which might be acceptable if the codec is clean enough and their promised Log Flat curve preserves the estimated 13.5 stops of dynamic range.
The camera is still being developed for a June 2018 estimated ship date. It lacks a back screen and relies on a Wifi or Gigabit Ethernet link to their dedicated control application. They intend to support iOS devices and or a PC client. No mention of Android support or Mac which should be included in order to maintain the widest compatibility. We feel lacking Android control is a big deal and should be promised in a future update. It is also unclear if the camera will be possible to use by using a touch screen field monitor which probably will not be the case. Using an iPhone or an iPad as the control interface is probably the best use case.
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