The Cat is Back. Penelope Delta, the digital Aaton that sits like a cat comfortably on your shoulder, was working in the Angenieux booth and attracting crowds at IBC. Above: Jean-Pierre Beauviala, Linda Carriel (Angenieux Egerie), Aaton Penelope Delta, Angenieux Optimo 45-120.
Aaton Digital Penelope works and the images are stunning. We looked at footage shot last week by Caroline Champetier, AFC. Was it possible–16 stops of dynamic range–even more than the specs specify? The Super35 Dalsa CCD sensor is rated at 14 stops dynamic range…
Racing from IBC hall 11 to Marquise technologies in hall 7, we looked at the dailies. Filmic and gorgeous. An available-light scene in a cafe held noiseless detail in deep dark shadows under the chair (below, left) while highlights in the silver espresso machine did not burn out (right). Apologies to Caroline–my graded jpeg below doesn’t do full justice to the original DNG file.
The footage was shot documentary style, no lighting, no AC, old Zeiss Standard lenses.
Some details on Penelope Delta. It is a digital 35mm camera with an optical viewfinder and spinning mirror shutter. A film-style video assist feeds HD video to on-set monitors without having to spin the mirror. This is helpful while you’re lighting or composing: no flicker and no complaints from video village about having nothing to see.
Penelope Delta records to internal SSD: uncompressed linear16-bit CineDNG files. This is an open-architecture RAW format that converts directly to ACES, as we saw at Marquise.
The cat-on-shoulder camera is lightweight: 7.5 kilos with internal recorder and batteries. Menus are intuitive and a cool jog-wheel calls them up.
The sensor is a Super35 format, 16:9, Dalsa CCD design that is around 3.7 K with, if I understood JP correctly, a 7K option coming soon. It is rated at 800 ISO as well as 100 ISO with its (patent pending) innovative mechanical multi-slit shutter. This provides a glass-less ND.9 equivalent (3 stops exposure reduction) behind the lens, without filters.
I understand that 5 working prototypes are ready, and that Aaton Penelope Delta will be back at Cinec in Munich in a couple of weeks.