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Codex up to speed for 4K recording – enters Action Cam market

Codex is to develop a new recorder for Panasonic’s new VariCam 35 4K camera, and has added support for the Red Epic Dragon and Phantom Flex4k.

Codex is to develop a new recorder for Panasonic’s new VariCam 35 4K camera, and has added support for the Red Epic Dragon and Phantom Flex4k cameras. It has also developed its own Action Cam digital cinema camera for 2D and S3D production.

It is working with Panasonic to develop a compact, high-speed 4K or Ultra HD 12-bit uncompressed Raw recorder for the VariCam 35. The dedicated recorder will capture uncompressed 4K VariCam Raw at up to 120fps, and will work with ARRI LDS or Cooke /I technology for lens data capture. The Codex Vault workflow system will support the rapid transfer of digital camera originals for post production and archiving.

The lightweight (1kg) Codex V-Raw recorder will directly connect with the VariCam 35, eliminating cabling completely, to facilitate efficiency and mobility whilst shooting. It should ship in the Autumn, alongside the camera.

“Codex has an impressive track record in designing and manufacturing robust digital media recorders which also streamline the workflow on feature and broadcast productions,” said Kunihiko Miyagi, director of Panasonic’s professional AV business unit. “The new technology partnership between Panasonic and Codex to develop a small, high-speed, 4K V-Raw recorder will bring new and exceptional tools to producers of high-quality features, episodic production, commercials and live 4K events.”

“The Codex 4K V-Raw recorder will deliver a rugged design and deliver leading-edge digital processing that users expect from the Codex brand,” promised Codex MD, Marc Dando.

Phantom powered

The recorder company is also is working with Vision Research to provide a robust workflow for the Phantom Flex4k camera. This will use its Vault modular mobile workflow device to rapidly transfer the digital camera originals from the Phantom for review, post production and archiving.

Vault enables the playback of 4K material to a 4K monitor for review, quality control and basic colour grading, as well as providing fast, reliable transfers to internal storage, metadata management and archiving to LTO tape. Powerful GPU-based processing facilitates fast, high-quality transcoding to H.264, Apple ProRes 4444, Avid DNxHD 444 and uncompressed RGB formats.

“It continues the vision that we have for Vault – supporting the multitude of different cameras that are available today with the reliable, streamlined workflows that our customers have come to rely on,” said Dando. “Our industry needs secure, robust workflows that are common across camera formats and this is another step in that direction.”

“The incorporation of Phantom Cine files into the Codex media management environment will make the Flex4K camera more accessible,” added Moe Shore of AbelCine, exclusive reseller of Phantom in North America, and a reseller for Codex.

Codex Vault has been used on many projects around the world including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Fast and Furious 7, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Fault in Our Stars.

Epic commitment

Codex has also demonstrated a new workflow for Red Epic Dragon cameras, including support for Red Rocket-X hardware processing, for efficient 4K workflows – clone, playback, QC, deliverables and archive. It has worked with Red to provide native Codex debayering for Red Epic Dragon Raw footage. Red material can now be fully integrated into productions using Codex Backbone.

“Red again raises the bar on image acquisition innovation with the 6K Dragon digital sensor,” said Jarred Land, president of Red Digital Cinema. “Now, Codex Vault delivers a solid platform for users to utilise this revolutionary digital camera technology.”

Codex Action Cam

The new Codex Action Cam is an ultra-compact, all-in-one, digital cinema camera and recording package for 2D and S3D production. It can shoot Raw HD at up to 60fps and should resolve the common issues of syncing associated with small format camera systems, as multiple camera heads can be in sync with other main unit cameras like the ARRI Alexa.

The system will include capture, transcoding and data management, and comprises a tiny camera head and a Codex Camera Control Recorder that delivers full remote control of the camera, plus Codex’s proven workflow.

It promises wide dynamic range, 14-bit image processing, 12-bit Raw output and good performance in normal and extreme lighting conditions. It uses a Kodak 2⁄3-inch CCD sensor, boasting excellent light sensitivity, low signal-to-noise (64dB), temperature stability and no visible fixed-pattern-noise. A global shutter means there is no distortion of fast-moving objects making it useful for visual effects applications.

The Codex Camera Control Recorder can be used to operate the camera head and adjust white balance, exposure and frame rates. Delivery formats, via Codex media stations or Codex Vault workflows, include Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD, uncompressed and H.264.

It takes C-mount lenses (and has an upgraded mount with an accurate, lockable back focus wheel that rotates independently of the lens mount), with options for EF, PL and B4-mount adaptors. A single coax cable connects the base unit and camera head, carrying video, control signals and power. With industrial grade cables, the base unit and camera head can be up to 180m apart. A camera set, consisting of the recorder and two camera heads, weighs 1.4kg. The camera head measures 45mmx42mmx53mm, while the recorder is 83mmx139mmx188mm.

For S3D applications, two camera heads can be connected to the recorder, and the signals undergo identical processing – delivering completely synchronous S3D output and identical image properties, such as white balance and contrast. This should simplify S3D shooting, saving time in post. Shutter sync, Genlock and LTC capabilities allow Codex Action Cams to be easily synchronised with other digital cinematography cameras.

“There’s a definite need in feature and broadcast production for small, high-quality witness/PoV cameras,” said Dando.

“Codex Action Cam is a simple, no-nonsense, out-of-the-box camera and recording system,” he added. “Unlike other small cameras, [it] has a rock-solid workflow behind it – allowing cinematographers to shoot with confidence in new and ever more creative ways.” It is scheduled to ship during the summer priced at about £20,000.

The system uses camera electronics developed by Nuremburg-based Solectrix, which also helped to develop the digital core and interfaces of the ARRI Alexa and makes its own 2D/3D remote head camera system, the sinaCAM.