September 14, 2020—With the launch this week of the new ACHTEL 9x7 camera, the world’s largest cinema screens are about to get sharper. Much, much sharper. The ACHTEL 9x7, designed specifically for IMAX and Giant Screen production, has almost twice the resolution of industry-leading RED Monstro cameras and over 26 times their maximum data rate, or bandwidth. But it’s not just in terms of resolution that this extraordinary, new camera leads the way.
Shooting natively in the 4:3 aspect ratio of the giant screen industry, unlike the cameras of most other potential competitors, it will no longer be necessary to compromise image quality, and significantly increase post-production costs, with shot extensions or by stitching together multiple shots in order to create full-sized images of the necessary proportions. And, by keeping every pixel at maximum, RAW quality all the way from its state-of-the-art BSI sensor to the camera recorder, the quality of the final images is unmatched by any other camera on the market today.
This latest, Back-Side Illuminated sensor design features true Global Shutter readout, Wide Colour Gamut, high colour accuracy, low noise, high light sensitivity and high frame rates—all features essential for today’s best, big-screen movies. And because, uniquely, it’s able to record uncompressed, RAW images at an impressive 10 GB/s (about twice the maximum data rate of today's Thunderbolt 3), the ACHTEL 9x7 is able to preserve the most minute of details in shadows and mid-tones as well as highlights. The absence of compression, a compromise we’ve all come to expect and live with since the advent of digital cinematography, means that no details are lost, and gradations of colour and luminance are as smooth as technically possible.
Australian cinematographer and camera inventor Pawel Achtel, ACS, is no novice when it comes to inventing and producing high-end camera technology. His company’s DeepX and 3Deep camera systems for underwater cinematography featured revolutionary designs, using carefully tested and matched Nikonos underwater lenses mounted on RED cameras. And the company's patented 3D beam-splitter was recently used extensively on James Cameron’s latest Avatar sequels, in New Zealand, prompting the legendary Hollywood director to write that the results were the best underwater 3D images he’d ever seen. By far.
“Finding lenses sharp enough for the ACHTEL 9x7 is one of our biggest problems at the moment,” Pawel Achtel said from his Sydney workshop this week. “We’re constantly testing all the best lenses on the market today and are finding that only a few, select lenses maintain the maximum quality attainable with this camera.”
The camera head—which provides the option of all popular lens mounts—is remarkably small even by today’s standards, measuring just 80 x 80 x 70 mm and, because it can be placed up to 20 metres away from the rest of the camera (connected only via fibre optic cable), the ACHTEL 9x7—capable of shooting at up to 70 frames/second—can go where few giant screen cameras have gone before.
The first ACHTEL 9x7 cameras are available for purchase and production hire. Purchase prices start from AUD $200k.
Source: Pawel Achtel