Cinemartin Fran – 8K camera with global shutter

Cinemartin is in the process of making an 8K camera called Fran. This 8K camera will feature a 50 MP (4:3) sensor, global shutter, and have a claimed 15.5 stops of dynamic range. Cinemartin has previously dabbled in external recorders and monitors, so jumping into the world of making 8K cameras seems to be a pretty big leap.

There are only preliminary specifications available and no actual images of the camera exist. Below you can see the main talking points:

●  Up to 8K (8000×6000) RAW / Uncompressed 12 Bit

●  Global Shutter

●  Sensor 4:3 – 37 x 27mm (Supports VistaVision 1:47 aspect ratio 7920 x 5388

●  Video tools: Histogram (monochrome, colour), False colour, Focus Assist

●  Customizable software: Object count, automated magnification, face detection

●  User-defined Color temperature, Auto White Balance, Sharpness

●  LUTs

Sensor

Cinemartin Fran 8K camera with global shutter

The Fran (it’s hardly a name that rolls off the tongue) has a 50MP 4:3 sensor with dimensions of 37 x 24mm. As of today, Cinemartin claims that this VistaVision sensor they are using is the World’s biggest commercially available sensor available for purchase. With dimensions of 37 x 27 mm this equates to an area of 999mm. To put that size in perspective the RED Monstro VV sensor size is 40.96 x 21.6 mm which equates to 884 mm. The Arri Alexa 65 has a 54.12 x 25.58 mm sized sensor (1384mm). The sensor in the Fran can record in colour and monochrome.

Below is a list of the resolutions and frame rates the Fran can record in:

color

gray

8K 4:3 (48 MP)

24*

24

8K 1.47:1 (42.9 MP)

24*

24

8K (32.7 MP)

25*

25

8K WS (30 MP)

30*

25, 30*

6K

20, 24*

30

4K

24, 60*

30, 60*

4K WS

25, 60*

30, 60*

2K & 1080p

60, 96*

60, 96*

on planned upgrade *

Now as you can see from the above chart there are a lot of caveats. The Fran won’t be able to record 8K in colour until sometime in 2019 through a planned firmware/hardware update. Even 6K colour recording is limited to 20fps at launch. I don’t want to sound negative, but if you look closely at these specifications the camera when it launches will only be capable of shooting at up to 24fps in 4K in colour. Sure you can shoot in 8K, 6K or 4K in monochrome, but how many people are really going to be doing that?

Even after all the planned upgrades, the camera will still be limited to shooting up to 60fps in 4K and 96fps in 2K and 1080p. As a comparison the RED Monstro 8K VV can record 60 fps at 8K Full Format (8192 × 4320), 75 fps at 8K 2.4:1 (8192 × 3456), 60 fps at 7K Full Format (7168 × 3780), 75 fps at 7K 2.4:1 (7168 × 3024), 75 fps at 6K Full Format (6144 × 3240), 100 fps at 6K 2.4:1 (6144 × 2592), 96 fps at 5K Full Format (5120 × 2700), 120 fps at 5K 2.4:1 (5120 × 2160), 120 fps at 4K Full Format (4096 × 2160), 150 fps at 4K 2.4:1 (4096 × 1728), 150 fps at 3K Full Format (3072 × 1620), 200 fps at 3K 2.4:1 (3072 × 1296), 240 fps at 2K Full Format (2048 × 1080) and  300 fps at 2K 2.4:1 (2048 × 864).

Just who is making the sensor for Cinemartin is still unclear. There are a few 8K global shutter CMOS sensors out there. CMOSIS makes one, and similar spec wise sensors can be found in IO Industries Flare 50MP industrial camera. Both Sony and Panasonic have patents for 8K global shutter CMOS sensors.

Recording formats and media

Fran records uncompressed stills (DNG or DIB) by default. It has a post-processing tool to transcode to uncompressed AVI or prores (4444 or 422). This basically means that the camera is always recording in an uncompressed format. When the camera isn’t recording the user can transcode the sequence of uncompressed files to either uncompressed video or ProRes in camera. Or the user can offload the sequence of uncompressed or raw files to their media or computer and use something like Resolve.

Supported recording formats:

●  Uncompressed sequence of raw or plain files (by default)

●  Uncompressed 422p video (processing on camera)

●  ProRes 4444 (post processing by software)

●  ProRes 422 (post processing by software)

●  DNG

The Fran doesn’t use proprietary media. It records internally to certified m.2 NVME SSD media with 1TB or 2TB capacities. Users can backup or cut/copy the recorded media by simply connecting a USB or TB3 drive and pressing the backup button located on the side Camera Controller module of the camera.  According to Cinemartin, a backup or copy of 1 TB of media using the TB3 port and something like the Fusion TB3 from Sonnetech takes approx. 8 minutes.

Global shutter

Cinemartin Fran 8K camera with global shutter

Fran features a global shutter so that the whole sensor is read out at the same time, as opposed to a rolling shutter sensor that is typically read from the top to the bottom.  According to Cinemartin,  having a global shutter required the use of a higher performance chip (FPGA / ASIC) in order to achieve 8K resolution at a one pass readout. Cinemartin claims that no other camera company has been able to achieve 8K using a global shutter. The Sony Venice, the RED Monstro and Arri’s Alexa and Amira cameras all use an advanced optimised rolling shutter sensor.

Customisable

The Fran has a special programming interface (opencv based), that will allow third parties to develop custom software for the camera to do things like object/s detection, automate ROI for better frame rate etc.

Compact & Functional

Cinemartin Fran 8K camera with global shutter

The body of the Fran is made of aluminium and the dimensions 11cm (w) x 14cm (h) x 9cm (y) is very similar to that of RED DSMC2 cameras. The camera has built-in wireless as well as USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet and ThunderBolt3 (TB) ports. There is an HDMI port with an output resolution of up to 4K for monitoring.

A controller module (right side) and an audio module (left side) are under development to provide better control. These should be available when the first units of the camera become available.

Alejandro Barrada Martin, product manager

There wasn’t a lot of information available about the camera so I asked Alejandro Barrada Martin, product manager of Cinemartin some additional questions:

Q. What will the native ISO of the camera be? 

Not decided, as of now the native ISO will probably be 800.

Q. What is the ISO range of the camera?

We cannot share these numbers as of now.

Q. Will the camera be able to record audio?

Yes, will be able to record audio via a module that will be on the left side of the camera.

Q. Will there be accessories available for the camera?

Yes, there will be an audio module and a controller (like the RED sidekick).

Q. How is the camera powered and what is the power draw? 

The camera can be powered via a 12~16V input. We are designing the camera to be able to work with V-mount and other batteries.

Q. What connectors (SDI, HDMI, etc.) will the camera have? 

The camera has a single  HDMI output up to 4K.

Q. Does the camera have any type of Wi-fi capabilities for remote access and control? 

Yes, built-in wifi. It is planned for the right side controller module to have tablet or smartphone app (like Foolcontrol, RED third-party app) control, but as later in time. At the moment our priority is the physical controller.

Q. Is there a PL mount or any other mounts available for the camera apart from Canon EF? 

As of now, only Canon EF.

Q. Is there a technical reason behind why the camera will be limited to 60fps in 4K and 96fps in 2K and 1080p?

Yes, with the chip we are using this is the current data capacity limitation.  In 2019 with the upgrade, the camera will have more capacity to process data from the sensor to achieve 8k 24p 12 bits uncompressed colour.

Q. How long has the camera been in development for and why did Cinemartin decide to start making cameras?

The project started early in 2017. We decided to make a camera, not cameras like the rest.  I enjoy working on things that I like and cameras is one of those things.

Q. Is there any meaning as to why the camera is called Fran?

Fran (Francisco Martin Ibañez) was the name of my uncle who died early this year at an age of 58 from cancer. I wanted the camera to be named after him, and for people to know that age and our existence on this earth can be long or short.

Price and availability

Cinemartin has said that the Fran will start shipping in the fall of 2018. They expect there will be limited availability and quantities during 2018 and early 2019. There is currently no indication of pricing, but Cinemartin says that it will be less than its competitors.

This is certainly an ambitious project that Cinemartin have undertaken. Building a camera is no easy task and many have tried and failed. Just how well the Cinemartin will perform we have no idea. Regardless of what you think of the Fran, it’s always good to see small companies creating products that disrupt the market. Ultimately if anything it creates more competition and brings prices down.

What do you think about the Cinemartin Fran? If you have any questions you would like answered let us know in the comments section below and I’ll attempt to find out.

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