By the end of this year, Arri executives say they expect pre-production versions of the D-20 electronic cinematography camera to hit the company’s rental houses.
The cameras will appear first at Arri Media in London, then at Arri Rental Germany in Munich and at Camera Service Center in New York.
Since announcing the camera, Arri executives have maintained that the D-20 is an optimal tool for episodic shooting. It was designed, they say, as an acquisition tool for prerecorded projects made exclusively for TV.
While the market will direct application of the camera, Senior Engineer, R&D, Michael Koppetz explained that he expects early users to work in the video mode recording a standard SMPTE 292M video signal to HDCAM, HDCAM SR, D5, CineRam, or S.two devices. The D20 will output 1920à—1080 YUV or RGB. (Whether it’s being used in film or video mode, the camera always offers PAL or NTSC output.)
For cinematographers, the camera represents a segue from film work to HD output in that it has 35mm depth of field, thanks to a six-megapixel CMOS chip the size of a Super 35 film aperture designed specifically for digital cinematography.
The first-generation camera offers two features that film DPs immediately cotton to: an optical viewfinder- sharing the same design as other modern Arri cameras- and the ability to accept 35mm lenses without modification. The camera can also capture images at up to 60 fps and run speed ramps. (The sensor and internal data bus are actually specified to capture at up to 150 fps.)
To use the camera in film mode, which outputs data in a proprietary format- it involves processing raw data from the sensor using Arri’s 3D look-up tables- some modification of existing recorders will be required. Arri is currently in conversations with suppliers, among them Baytech Cinema, manufacturer of the CineRam recorder.