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From ElphelWiki



Hi to all! In this page we will discuss the possibility of the use of the elphel 333 and the next model camera as a CINEMA CAMERA, to make , at a low cost what was impossible some time (year/month)ago. Are we talking about a revolution? Maybe, or maybe we are only dreamers, but it's cool to be a dreamer with a revolution in mind! :-) That idea started in the first part of 2006 in the mind of a member of the dvinfo forum, and in March 26th 2006 01:46 AM, FS (I don't use the real name for privacy... FS if you want you can edit the page) started a new thread called High Definition with Elphel model 333 camera. Around one year later that thread has more than 400 responses, so searching through them to find good information can be difficult.

This page was born to try to solve that problem. Andrey said to us: "We need to organize data more like FAQ - thread is so big." so here we are.

Please excuse not-so-good English, it's not my own language, so feel free to fix the errors if you see them.

--Matteo.Pozzi -- Italy, 4 February 2007


info about elphel 333

Here are some important links to understand what we have already.

- model 333 general specification

- how the camera works article AJAX, LAMP, and liveDVD for a Linux-based camera

- all the software that you need to use the camera

- the link to Axis developer's site

- some video and images from the camera on, on and a video by PS, the first image taken from FS with not the best conditions, a low ligth 35mm adapter test and one significant test example of dof from OS


- Example of a cinema camera setup by (D.L) ...and some result text test, Bottle D.o.f. test



the new camera board by elphel (353) will have better specs then the 333 here are a fast FAQ that Andrey reply on the dvinfo forum (when I'll have time I'll edit in a better way)

1. What sensor will be available for the 353 at first release?

Micron Mt9P001

2. When will it be possible to buy the 353 + that sensor? (I dont mind being a beta tester with all it means)

I hope - early April

3. With the first release, will it be possible to record video to a harddrive connected directly to the IDE connector? (or will it require custom 353 hardware programming not available at first release?)

We do not have any adapters to actually connect the HD. We also do not have a camera body that will have room for one, that will come later. As well as the software fro recording - but it can be really simple to write on a disk from the softwaer point of view.

4. What format will the recorded data have?

Same as camera can provide. Will start with MJPEG and I will restore Ogg Theora (ETRAX FS should be enough to handle some processing needed). All over formats - recode on a PC.

5. What frame rate / image sizes can be selected? (..or just tell me the sensor name and possible 353 restrictions)

Originally it will be up to (125/3) MPix/sec - the current FPGA code fro 333 can do that. Then - increase to hacve full speed of MT9P001

6. If it needs custom programming, where do I find info about tools / language etc? Just need a pointer. Any free compilers?

To be able to do development for these cameras you do not need any expensive (or even non-free-as-in-beer) tools. There are 3 levels (not to count client/PC software) 1 - "Web design" - developing of custom user interface - just any web design tools - you can FTP results to tehy camera 2 - Software applications to run in the camera - you need a PC running GNU/Linux (any flavor) and software from our Sourceforge project page plus additional - from - our software will tell you what to download. 3 - FPGa code development - free (for download) tools from Xilinx -

7. Will the camera casing have space to accomodate a small harddrive?

It should have - in the future :-)

8. Any idea of power requiements?

Model 333 needs a little under 3W. 353 will need about the same - not to count additional modules - hard drive or flash.

9. Will the camera have a C mount?

CS-mount as it is more universal for cameras - you can install both C and CS lenses

10. If I use a simple SLR mount (nikon or canon) to C mount adapter (instead of a groundglass solution), what lens multiplier would be in effect?

That depends on particular sensor that will be used - each sensor usually has info on the Internet. And, BTW - we'll probably have control for EOS - at least we do now have it for our large cameras

11. Any idea what the sensor and 353 will cost?

I hope it will be about the same as 333.

Work In Progress


Reading the dvinfo thread you can find someone that is making some mod. to the current Fpga; if you are interest in a contribution you can refer to that thread

Graphic User Interface (GUI)

For now we have a very good interface with the possibility of modify every single parameter thet you can imagine, it is the ccam.cgi that may be get confusion (being incrementally patched from the first model 303 camera), but it is current.


But for converting the elphel in a cinema camera that freedom is more than enough. Olso there are some problems; the software and LiveCD give some difficulty infact you can't save the setting in an easy way so to prepare the laptop end the camera you have to spend between 10 to 20 minutes to setup all the command lines that had to be entered to optimize Linux for recording, and more command lines to record etc.

If you want to help us please see this page link