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May 22, 2002
Olympus Announces Development of Prototype
8-Megapixel High-Fidelity Digital Movie Camera
New technology promises to revolutionize next-generation digital cinema, medical and educational imaging applications
Prototype of New High-Fidelity Movie Camera
Prototype of New High-Fidelity Movie Camera
* Information in this news release applies to the Japanese market only.
Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. (President: Tsuyoshi Kikukawa) is pleased to announce the development of a prototype high-fidelity digital movie camera system that delivers image quality four times higher than current high-definition television (HDTV) systems.
The system uses a newly developed high-speed image processing engine and HDD recorder etc. to achieve realtime recording of approx. 8-megapixel*1 images at a speed of 30 frames-per-second. The new Olympus system is the first commercially viable digital imaging system in the world*2 to offer image quality comparable to conventional 35mm movie camera systems.
Potential applications for the new system include:
  Fully digitized shooting, recording, image processing and distribution systems for next-generation digital cinema.
  Digital archiving and display of priceless artworks and museum-quality artifacts.
  Live, medical and educational applications which require realtime transmission of high-definition video.
With the development of this new system and the newly developed Vision Plex High-Fidelity Display technology*3, Olympus is now able to offer complete input-to-output video solutions that offer exceptionally vivid and realistic high-fidelity imaging. The company will continue to explore potential applications for this new technology, and is currently working on the development of a fully configured system for market introduction.
*1 Using four 2-megapixel CCDs.
*2 Among 2,000-line-class imaging systems as of May 22, 2002.
*3 Announced on May 22, 2002.
Development Background
With continued advances in digital imaging, and widespread penetration of optical fiber and other broadband network technologies, the dissemination of high-fidelity still and video image content is expected to play an important role in telecommunications, broadcasting, education, medicine, and publishing in the years ahead. In response to this trend, Olympus has already developed and introduced display systems that use multiple projectors and advanced image calibration technologies to produce seamless 4 - 6.5 million pixel large-screen displays that offer higher image fidelity than HDTV. For input, however, it has been necessary to digitize images obtained from conventional film-based movie cameras, and this has increased the cost and time required to prepare content material, thereby limiting the range of applications in which such display systems can be used. And because the original content is film-based, image quality is degraded by the graininess inherent to film-based imaging. It was to overcome these problems, realize the full potential of output device specifications, and offer an industry-leading input-to-output solution that Olympus set out to develop a new high-fidelity digital movie camera system.
Newly Developed Technologies
High-fidelity imaging is achieved by coupling four 2-megapixel CCDs equipped with a progressive drive mechanism* to a 4-plane imaging system that produces primary-color Bayer array** horizontal and vertical resolution of 3,840 pixels and 2,064 pixels respectively (approx. 8 million total pixels). As a result, horizontal and vertical resolution is equivalent to 1,600 TV lines.
* Developed in cooperation with NHK television
** A type of primary-color filter commonly used in digital camera's image pickup element
A newly developed high-speed image-processing engine is used to process output from the primary-color Bayer array high-fidelity imaging module. Based on technology originally developed for high-end Olympus digital cameras, the new high-speed image-processing engine is capable of producing 8-megapixel realtime motion video images with a progressive frame rate of 30fps.
A high-capacity hard disk drive (HDD) recorder is used to store the massive amounts of data generated during high-fidelity image capture. After digital signal processing, the image signal undergoes Motion-JPEG compression before being recorded onto the hard disk array. A maximum of approx. 60 minutes of continuously recorded digital streaming data whose quality is not degraded during storage or playback can be recorded.
System Configuration
Live Image Displaying System (Display image directly transmitted from camera)
Live Image Displaying System
Recorded Image Displaying System (Display image which is recorded and edited with off-line system)
Recorded Image Displaying System
Comparison of Image Sizes (Example)
(High-definition Television)
8-megapixel Image by Olympus Prototype
*Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. was changed to OLYMPUS CORPORATION as of October 1, 2003.
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