AMP: a camera that records HDR video with a single lensBy Emil Protalinski
Contrast Optical has developed AMP, the first camera to use commercially-viable technology to deliver real- time, high dynamic range, high-definition imaging. To simplify the jargon, AMP captures real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR) video using a single lens.
Contrast's AMP camera technology uses specialized optics to split the light from a single camera lens onto three camera sensors simultaneously. This gives AMP a dynamic range of 17.5 stops. Image-splitting is performed optically, at the speed of light, guaranteeing motion registration between images. A new image-combining algorithm was developed specifically for this AMP camera system to transform the data from the three camera sensors into a true real-time HDR video stream.
In short, AMP is a five-pound camera that shoots 1080p video at 24fps or 30fps, records raw, uncompressed data to an SSD, and works with Nikon F-Mount-compatible lenses. A 256GB SSD will be able to hold approximately 30 minutes of footage. It will be available later this summer for an undisclosed price, and of course won't be sold to the masses.
HDR imaging is a technique that photographers can use to extend the range of light intensity, or dynamic range, that can be captured in a single photograph. The camera is placed on a tripod, and a series of photographs (typically three) are snapped in quick succession. Each photograph is taken using a different exposure setting on the camera, providing a dark, medium, and bright picture of the scene. These three images are then combined to produce a single HDR photograph.
One key problem with current state-of-the-art HDR images is that nothing in the scene can move. Since the photos are taken sequentially, any movement causes the combined HDR image to be blurry. Contrast's AMP camera technology solves this key problem by capturing pixel-for-pixel images simultaneously.
The HDR photographer is thus no longer constrained to taking sequential images of a static scene, nor does he or she have to use a tripod in an attempt to reduce motion blur between successive images. A cinematographer can capture scenes with moving subjects and sweeping camera shots even in harsh direct sunlight.