Analogue meets Digital – The Nolab Digital Super 8 Cartridge

December 10th, 2013 Jump to Comment Section 8
Analogue meets Digital - The Nolab Digital Super 8 Cartridge

Nolab Digital Cartridge

Concept products always carry an advisory, as many never actually materialize. We like to highlight products that are usually a little further along the production stages, but this interesting looking product brought to light by NoFilmSchool looks to have some great potential if the concept goes to production.

The Nolab Digital Super 8 cartridge is a pretty brilliant solution that could resurrect the use of old film cameras. It’s effectively a digital back that you insert into an old Digital Super 8 film camera, capturing digital footage through the glass of an analogue, vintage format.

“At the heart of the Nolab Digital Super 8 Cartridge is a tiny but powerful 5 megapixel image sensor similar to the one in your smartphone. Combined with a custom glass objective lens, the sensor focuses on a ground glass image plane pressed against the camera’s film gate. By using a 5 megapixel sensor we can capture 720p HD footage at the native Super 8 aspect ratio of 4:3.

Processors integrated into the image sensor are able to process and encode the footage in real time to a removable SD card. Optionally the same processors can apply one of two predefined Film Look color correction filters to the footage. 

That sounds simple enough, to allow the Nolab cartridge’s image sensor to synchronize with the camera’s shutter, a unique sensor had to be developed. It’s this design that allows the cartridge to work properly in any camera at any frame rate up to 60 fps.”

Right now, the specs leave a little more to be desired; 720p maximum output puts this thing further down the list than Smartphones or a GoPro, and will be of little use outside the consumer market. It would be nice to see this develop to at least full HD 1080 output, with a better codec than h.264 (although due to the popular integration of the latter with smartphones, DSLRs and compacts it’s unlikely to change). Cost is also yet to be determined and will be a big factor to the success of this product if it reaches production.

Current specs:

  • 720p HD video capture in 4:3 format
  • Frame rate automatically adjusts to camera settings (up to 60 fps)
  • Integrated Film Look options
  • Unlimited storage via removable SD card
  • Battery and recording status light
  • Image Sensor:  5 megapixel Omni Vision OV5600 series
  • Video Encoding: 720p HD H.264 (4:3)
  • Memory:  Removable high capacity SD card
  • Connections:  One mini USB port (primarily for charging)
  • Battery:  Rechargeable LiPo battery providing up to 3 hours of continuous recording
  • Housing:  Machined aluminum, color anodized and laser etched
  • Height:   70mm
  • Width:    75mm
  • Depth:    24mm
  • Weight:   160g

Click here to learn more on their website.

Nolab Digital Cartridge


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