By technical editor Matt Allard:
High end RAW recorder maker Codex have announced a new Action CAM. It’s marketed as an ultra-compact, RAW capable, digital cinema camera designed for use in high-end productions when regular cine cameras are just too big to fit into the space available. Basically think of it as a GoPro on steroids.
The camera has a Kodak 2/3 inch CCD sensor with a global shutter. This should give the Action CAM a good image in lower light with less noise. The global shutter aims to cure the skew and jello effects that plague lower cost action cameras. The lens mount is a C-mount, with adapters for Canon EF, B4 and PL offered. With this setup pretty much any lens will go on the camera but be prepared for the high crop factor if using S35 or full-frame lenses.
Although the actual Action CAM head unit is tiny you need to add the Codex Camera Control Recorder to make it function – and this is where the similarity with a GoPro ends. The head unit is 45x42x53mm and the recorder a not so large 83x139x188 mm. The two are connected by a single co-axial cable which can be up to 80m long. With higher grade industrial cables Codex say the camera head and recorder can be up to 180m apart.
The Codex Action CAM is part of an end-to-end solution, from capture to transcoding and data management. The Codex Camera Control Recorder does the 1080 HD RAW recording and delivers full remote control of the camera, using Codex’s own workflow system.
Codex Action CAM is capable of shooting RAW at up to 60fps, unlike more consumer oriented action cameras which use more compressed codecs and lack full camera settings control.
The captured image has a wide dynamic range, 14-bit image-processing, a 12-bit RAW output and Codex’s own debayering system. Multiple Action CAM heads can be in sync with other main unit cameras like the ARRI Alexa.
Delivery formats, via Codex media stations or Codex Vault workflows, include Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD, uncompressed and H.264.
While the Action Cam is far from a GoPro competitor on price, it does finally provide large budget productions with a high quality solution that will intercut with their main A and B cameras.
No pricing information is given yet but the Action Cam will almost certainly be out of reach for most readers of this site. On a larger productions the Action Cam should well be a great rental option though.
Action CAM is scheduled to ship during summer 2014, availability and pricing will be announced at NAB 2014. You can read more about it on the Codex website.