Video cameras are so last decade. Cinema cameras are the hot new thing. While companies like Canon, Blackmagic, and Sony are vying for the love of movie-makers, two ambitious Bostonians decided to build their own camera from the ground up, with a little help from a Mac Mini.
NoFilmSchool first reported on the Black Betty, built by Adam Van Voorhis and Mike Szegedi, two filmmakers who were seeking a camera with the simplicity and practical design that DSLRs and the latest high-end offerings simply lacked. In August, 2011, they took off to build their very own device using a Silicon Imaging SI-2K Mini Camera Head, shooting 2K Cineform RAW. The sensor is no slouch—it's the same one used to film Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. Here's a trailer for Adam's film, The Morning of Everything, shot with the Black Betty.
Adam and Mike's design is a throwback to the shoulder-mounted film cameras of old. Instead of a magazine of 16mm filmstock, the Black Betty hides a Mac Mini computer, which provides file storage, processing power, and runs the software controlling the camera. Every function is performed via touchscreen. In fact, the camera body itself contains only 2 buttons—on/off and stop/start.
The Mac inside runs OS X or Windows, so it is actually possible not only to shoot and store footage, but to edit your footage in Final Cut Pro and upload it to Vimeo right through the camera. God help us, you could even tweet from it. Just hook it up to a full-size monitor and go.
Right now, Adam and Mike are planning on renting out the camera. But who knows what the future holds for these industrious camera-builders! Check out the full story of how the Black Betty was built here, and head to NoFilmSchool to read an interview with the camera's creators. [Black Betty Cameras via NoFilmSchool]
Images courtesy Adam Van Voorhis and Mike Szegedi