New company claims to solve miniature camera distortion problem

  • New company claims to solve miniature camera distortion problem
  • New company claims to solve miniature camera distortion problem
Published: 25 August 2019 - 6:37 a.m.
By: Nikhil Pereira

A new company with a revered name, Alpha Image, will make its first public appearance at IBC 2019 in Amsterdam this September.

The company’s first product will be a device to correct optical distortion in miniature cameras.

This is a problem usually faced in sports – with the cameras mounted behind the goal – and in reality television.

The challenge with miniature cameras is that they need to use wide field of view fish-eye lenses, which result in severe barrel distortion – the uprights of a football goal appear to bow out alarmingly.

Alpha Eye is a hardware device that straightens up the distortion. It can also correct for other issues caused by less than optimal camera positioning, including zoom, rotation and planar tilt.

Each miniature camera to be corrected is associated with an Alpha Eye unit. It is set up using a Mac or PC app, then left to run unattended for the duration of the production.

The feed to the unit is over SDI, fibre or HDMI so the device can be mounted anywhere convenient: physically it is a compact box measuring 155mm x 120mm x 30mm.

MC Patel CEO Alpha Image said: “The Alpha Eye eliminates camera distortions because it is a hardware corrector that operates in real time with negligible latency. It fits into productions without an issue.”

Alpha Image was founded in 1987 by MC Patel and Tim Gale, whose engineering skills created new products which transformed post-production.

The original company was acquired and the brand ultimately disappeared, but Gale and Patel founded a new Alpha Image in 2005, originally to do R&D work for other vendors. Alpha Eye is the first product to carry the name Alpha Image.

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