High Resolution (HD) CMOS Image Sensors for Cinema Cameras

iStock_000014812449MediumHollywood and the global cinema industry have extracted amazing capabilities from film. However in the 1990s, the industry began a migration to digital cinema for the majority of “filming”, because it offered greatly expanded editing capabilities and lower costs. Two of the earliest players in digital cinema were Arri (Alexa camera) and Red (Epic camera), with Sony close behind offering solutions for moviemakers.

Forza Silicon has designed a number of CMOS image sensors for digital cinema cameras, each pushing the state-of-the-art in digital color sensors. To ease the introduction of digital imaging technology, these very high-resolution image sensors are scaled to allow the use of traditional 16 mm film accessories and production techniques. Image sensors of over 9 million pixels are common and our customers continue to advance the ability of digital cinema to replace film in nearly every application. These pioneering companies have changed the entertainment industry forever.

An interesting aspect of digital cinema is that directors typically shoot “movies” at just 24 frames per second (fps). Twenty-four fps matches traditional 16 mm film production, thus the viewer gets a bit of the flicker that “flics” have always had. Obviously, digital cinema can have much higher frame rates– matching HDTV for example–whenever cinema producers and directors are ready.

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Forza Silicon’s design work includes very high-resolution CMOS image sensors for cinema applications. These typically feature rolling mode electronic shutters, but global shutter designs can be an option. Forza developed a high-speed analysis camera with a custom image sensor that shoots up to 5000 fps and global shutter to fully freeze motion. In addition, Forza’s high dynamic range pixel designs are increasingly sought for maximum capture range and expanded post-production options.

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