Director, cinematographer and camera developer, Paul Nichola, was recently presented with the Bob Miller – ACS Technical and Innovation Achievement Award at the 46th 2017 Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) National Awards for Cinematography. The award, sponsored by Miller Camera Support Equipment, recognises Nichola’s development of the 360 x 60 High Dynamic Range (HDR) Panoramic Camera System.
The panoramic system uses existing industrial imaging cameras incorporated into a zero parallax rig that is able to capture the same dynamic range of light and dark as the human eye. It was first utilised on a shoot in Beijing for a re-enactment of a Chinese archery ceremony to record key segments of the ancient ritual.
“It is an honour that the panoramic camera system I created has been recognised for the Bob Miller – ACS Technical and Innovation Achievement Award,” said Nichola. “Innovation is a passion of mine and it is great to see this has not only reached the ACS stage, but has also contributed to safeguarding some of China’s culture.”
Nichola incorporated four Ximea 2K x 2K cameras with 6mm Kowa lenses to achieve a 360 x 60 degree field of view. The Ximea cameras were chosen because they offer a ‘lin to log’ function. This allows the camera operator to nominate two points along its linear exposure acquisition to reduce sensitivity. The dynamic gain control occurs individually on every pixel during the exposure of a frame resulting in a pseudo log exposure, with a net result of preserving deep shadows and bright highlights.
The Bob Miller – ACS Technical and Innovation Achievement Award forms part of the National Awards for Cinematography, which is an annual opportunity to celebrate the art of cinematography in Australia. Miller Camera Support has sponsored the ACS since the organisation’s inauguration in 1958. In addition, Miller donated an LP54 tripod in a handcrafted wooden case fitted with a special Bob Miller Award plaque which is permanently housed at the ACS headquarter in North Sydney. The LP54 plaque has the name of the Bob Miller award recipients from each year engraved on it, in perpetuity.
“Bob Miller revolutionised the film and television industry when he invented the world’s first fluid head by giving operators the freedom to shoot far more creatively and achieve shots that were previously unattainable,” says Mark Clementson, Managing Director, Miller Camera Support Equipment. “Paul Nichola exemplifies the resourcefulness and originality that was personified in Bob by developing a camera system that was specifically built to suit the needs of the project at hand. Miller is delighted to have Paul named by his peers as the winner of the third annual Bob Miller award.”