Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

Developing a Flexible Camera for Extreme Conditions

An image from a movie shot
© MEN Micro
An image from a movie shot with the SI-2K camera featuring MEN Micro's F17 3U CompactPCI single board computer.
MEN Micro's SI-2K camera
© MEN Micro
MEN Micro's SI-2K camera has the flexibility to work in harsh environments.
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MEN Micro (Ambler, Pa.)

The Imaging Challenge

Develop a flexible camera that enables professional cinematography filming in extreme environments—from arctic to desert—while incorporating an open architecture to allow more cost-effective technology upgrades, additional connectivity options and advanced editing capabilities (direct to disk) at high definition or greater (2048 x 1152).

The Solution

The SI-2K™'s integrated control system consists of a customized version of MEN Micro's Intel Core2 Duo processor-based F17 3U CompactPCI single board computer (SBC), a unique side card for advanced audio and video capabilities as well as a rugged, compact enclosure. It is the first time PC technology has been employed in a cinematography camera and provides significant cost reductions. The system's design enables the camera to withstand a wide range of rigorous and diverse environments from the hot, dry desert to the extremely cold arctic region in addition to the daily wear and tear to which a portable device is subjected. And, the camera's overall small size is testament to the control system's compact 3U form factor.

The Tools Used

  • MEN Micro F17 SBC
  • Intel Core2 Duo processor T7600
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
  • Intel Gigabit Ethernet PHY

The Difference it Made

The system provides better video transfer capabilities and Gigabit Ethernet performance for sustained video quality. It offers the ability to shoot high-definition raw footage direct to disk with increased operator comfort and low power consumption (less than 50W total). Modularity-field-replaceable components increase long-term ROI and there is more flexibility in on-site editing, reducing the need for later reshoots. It provides a 40 percent reduction in initial purchase price of the camera and the technology is easily refreshed by upgrading the components.



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