Canon Shows Off Mammoth 8K Camera Prototype At Photokina 2016

Image Credit – Cinema 5D

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Canon brought an 8K prototype Cinema EOS camera to Photokina last week, and it’s huge. But that’s what might be expected from a prototype. Let’s take a look at the details.

We’ve known for some time that Canon was working on this 8K camera, but this is the first time we’ve actually gotten to see it. Clearly in the middle stages of development, the Canon EOS C 8K prototype is far enough along that Canon feels comfortable enough with the design performance to show it off at their booth in Photokina, but I wouldn’t expect it to be shipping any time soon. The problem is the storage capability.

Image credit – Cinema 5D

Specs of the 8K prototype are as you’d expect for a next generation cinema camera: Canon has put in their Super 35 mm 8K sensor, which is capable of shooting in 10-bit Raw with Canon Log at 60 fps, but will also most likely record in Canon’s flavor of XAVC, much like its current Cinema EOS line does.

Canon has also developed a new converter box which uses 6G SDI connections, so that you can configure the signal as you need. Currently, the prototype uses an 8K Fiber optic cable to send it out to an external source. The reason for such an ill-assortment of parts (aka, a ‘kluge’) is that CFast 2 cards aren’t big enough or fast enough to record internally at 8K Raw, nor is there an external 8k recorder on the market.

And since 8K Raw requires four times the storage of ultra high definition Canon has had to daisy chain four-4K recorders together to record the 10 TB of data for every hour of footage. You read that right, 10 terabytes per hour of Raw 8K footage!

Is that the final design? Not by a long shot. Canon is waiting to see what the market needs will be or when the technology will catch up for Canon to create an all-in-one system like the C700 body that the prototype appears to be based on. Canon also says that it hopes to have something by 2020, when NHK plans to broadcast the Olympic Games in 8K throughout Asia.  Additionally, it isn’t likely that most movie theaters will upgrade to 8K projection any time soon since they’re still recouping the costs of digital 4K conversion.

But if you talk to RED, the company would likely say they’ll be looking at 16K or beyond by then. RED started pushing the industry towards 8K with the Vista Vision capable Weapon, and now they have the smaller Super 35 mm Helium which is closer to the EOS C spec sheet. Already Michael Bay is using his custom green monster on the set of Transformers 5, so we’ll see 8K sooner rather than later, and four years is a lifetime in this business.

So I’m not really sure what Canon is thinking with their leisurely attitude for the market. From a source medium perspective, having 8K Raw files would future-proof any production for what’s coming over the horizon, while at the same time giving editors plenty of real estate to create a solid 4K end product.

But at least we now have eyes on what they’re working on, even if it’s about 4 years out.

Hat tip – Cinema5D

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Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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