April 1, 1994
SAN CARLOS, CA -Virtual Imagining, Inc. announced today the releaseof the world's first virtual camera system encompassing traditional film,video and the latest digital technologies. The VI-1000 and has been called"the perfect virtual camera system" by professionals who havetested it.
The VI-1000 camera is capable of multiple media image capture, allowingit to record both still and moving images in a variety of standard formats,ranging from 35mm and medium format film, to high-definition (HDTV) video,16mm motion picture film and digital electronic imaging.
The VI-1000 camera body incorporates a unique, gyro stabilized prismwhich can focus an optical image onto a traditional film plane at the rearof the camera or on an ultra high resolution digital CCD sensor, locatedbelow. A selection of film backs and adaptors provide users with a choiceof film formats. Standard 35mm and medium format backs are the most compact,and are projected to be the most popular, in addition to the camera's internaldigital capabilities.
A 35mm film holder will accept traditional 36-exposure canisters, aswell as long, 250-exposure rolls. The 8 frames-per-second motor drive makesthe system perfect for sports and fast action shooting. The medium formatback accepts standard 120 or 220 films, and can shoot at 2.8 fps with themotor set on continuous. All film backs for the VI-1000 are interchangeableand can be mounted or removed from the camera in mid-roll.
For motion picture shooting, super-16 film magazines are available in100-foot, 200-foot and 400-foot sizes. Four tracks of synchronous digitalaudio can be recorded by on-board or external stereo microphones onto asmall DAT tape deck built into the left side of the camera. The four tracksallow for two tracks of stereo sound, a narration track (for shooting notesby the camera person) and a sophisticated timecode track, which allows forautomatic, unsupervised audio syncing at any frame rate. Super-35 and Panaflexmagazines are expected to be available by the end of the year.
High definition and standard NTSC video are captured using the 6,000x6,000pixel CCD located in the base of the camera. This CCD has an active imagearea of 624x624 mm (roughly 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches) with 48-bit colordepth. It is capable of 60 fps capture at HDTV resolution (8-bit color)and continuous 4.8 fps at 6,000x6000 resolution. HDTV and component videocan be output directly from the CCD through cable connectors in the input/outputpanel, located beneath the lens mount on the front of the camera.
For high resolution digital imaging, the camera utilizes the power ofthe VI-1000 CCD. At 6,000x6,000 pixels with 48-bits of color per pixel,the camera offers digital resolution greater than the sharpest silver halidefilms currently available. Light sensitivity is adjustable between ASA rangesof 100 and 3200. Dynamic range of the sensor is approximately 13 stops atASA 100 and eight stops at ASA 3200 surpassing traditional silverbased materials, as well.
At maximum resolution, the VI-1000 can capture three 216 MB images persecond. Sixty full resolution images can be stored on compact, rewritable3.5-inch optical disks, inserted into a disk drive located just underneaththe CCD in the base of the camera. The tremendous file capacity is achievedthrough a complex FPEG lossless compression scheme, which records the sumsof the ones and zeros of the digital data. There is no information lostin compression of the data, although some data is lost when decompressingthe files. Virtual Imagining, Inc. expects to have this bug fixed by thetime the VI-1000 ships.
Three breakthrough VI-1000 optics will be available initially. They includea 13-180mm f/1.7 (T/2.0) APO zoom, a 90-300mm f/2.2 (T/2.4) Macro zoom anda 300-800mm f/2.8 (T/3.3) APO super-tele zoom. All three lenses are designedfor an imaging area 5 inches in diameter, so they can be used for shootingin all formats and modes.
The lens mount offers limited tilt, swing and shift movements, providingview camera-type control. The 1.6 ounce gyro spinning at 28,000 rpm on thefocusing prism stabilizes the image reaching either the film plane or theCCD. Successful hand-held exposures as low as 1/4 second have been consistentlymade during VI-1000 field testing. The viewfinder is a familiar reflex-typeso users see the image exactly as it will appear on film. The viewfinderalso automatically adjusts to the proper aspect ratio of the imaging formatthe user chooses. An optional light amplification module is available, whichincreases viewfinder brightness by up to 16 times for work in low lightsituations.
The camera is powered by removable 12-ounce quick-charge battery packsthat power the system continuously for up to 14 hours. It will also operateon eight AA NiCads for up to 10 hours. Battery power is conserved by a sensorthat turns the camera off after a five-minute idle period.
For photographers and cinematographers who want to use their existingcamera lenses, the VI-1000 system includes a number of adapters for themost popular lens mounts. They are available for Nikon, Canon, Leica, Hasselblad,Mamiya, Pentax, Bronica, Sony, Arriflex, Fuji, Angenieux and Panaflex systems,as well as for standard C mount lenses. Large format optics can also bemounted with the LF adapter. Both Canon and Nikon autofocus systems areincorporated for use with those manufacturers' AF lenses.
About Virtual Imagining, Inc.
Virtual Imagining, Inc. is a virtual corporation formed in 1994, to developand bring to market the state of the art in real world virtual photographytechnology. It was founded by Dr. Peter H. Otgrøffe (known affectionatelyby his peers as Dr. Photography), who became discouraged by the inadequateefforts made by established high technology firms to bring his virtual productsto market. "Photography and the making of images in my mind, have alwaysbeen my passions," he said. "Finally, I have created a companywith powerful products that enable us to do them together.
"Previously, this level of technology was unavailable and virtuallyimpossible to conceive," he added. "Now, virtual images are avirtual reality and Virtual Imagining, Inc. is making them possible."
Virtual Imagining, Inc. "From virtual genius to virtualimages."
Qualified members of the press should request a demonstration or loanerVI-1000 unit prior to publication through the exclusive North American distributorat (415) 592-5277.
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