CinePI an Open-Source Cinema Camera Built with Raspberry Pi

CinePI an Open-Source Cinema Camera Built with Raspberry Pi

15 October 2023 1 By Anshul Pal

In the world of DIY technology, something exciting has appeared – CinePi. Well CinePi an Open-Source Cinema Camera Built with Raspberry Pi. It’s a cool and low-key creation that’s getting tech enthusiasts all excited. Imagine a “cinema camera” that you can build yourself using common parts like the Raspberry Pi, and it even has a 3D printed body!

This clever idea is the work of a person named Csaba Nagy, who’s known as u/csabanagy on Reddit. He came up with something he calls the CinePI, a special kit for folks who like making their own cameras. All you really need to get started is a Raspberry Pi 4B and a really good camera part. What’s really cool is that you can choose how the other parts, like buttons and the screen, look to match what you like.


So, in simple terms, it’s a way for people to build their own camera from scratch, starting with a Raspberry Pi and a top-quality camera part, and then choosing how they want everything else to look and work.

But the CinePI doesn’t stop at mere flexibility. Its standard configuration boasts an impressive array of features and components, including a powerful Sony IMX477 sensor, the ability to record in 12-bit CinemaDNG format, a high-resolution four-inch touchscreen, seamless external recording via USB 3.0 SSD, and a cooling system thoughtfully provided by Noctua.

To put this DIY marvel to the test, Nagy ventured into the world of filmmaking with “Timekeeper,” a short film available on YouTube. The CinePI not only held its own but delivered astonishingly high-quality results. It’s worth noting that we added the film-grain effect to the film in post-production, highlighting the camera’s impressive capabilities.

If you’re inspired to embark on your own CinePI adventure, you’ll find a treasure trove of resources at your disposal. Beyond Nagy’s enlightening Reddit post, there’s a comprehensive Github build guide, complete with price lists and assembly tips. Furthermore, a dedicated Github page showcases the camera’s design and offers STL files for its 3D-printed body. For community interaction and valuable discussions, Nagy has thoughtfully established a Discord community where project enthusiasts can gather, share their builds, seek advice, or simply engage in conversation. The world of open-source cinema is on the brink of a revolution, and the CinePI is leading the charge.

CinePi Cinema Camera

Whenever a new Camera Module launches or there’s a software update for existing camera equipment, we start racing with ideas about all the amazing things we could create. From custom cinematography to automating processes, there are endless possibilities. But for Csaba Nagy, the focus was on turning the dream of a cinematic-quality camera into a reality with the CinePI.

According to Csaba, “CinePI is an open-source project that can transform a Raspberry Pi into a high-end cinema camera.” The standout feature of this project is its ability to record 2K RAW Cinema DNG video at frame rates of up to 50 frames per second, with a 12-bit color depth. In practical terms, this means that CinePI is the perfect camera for capturing top-notch cinematic footage for a wide range of projects, including short films, commercial work, and YouTube videos. It’s a game-changer for those seeking high-quality video recording without breaking the bank.

CinePI Camera

CinePi Features

You might think of 2K as being equivalent to 1080p resolution. However, what makes it truly remarkable is the 12-bit color depth it offers. In most cases, you’ll come across content with 8- or 10-bit color, so having a 12-bit color depth is quite astonishing.

Csaba sheds light on his journey, saying, “Nearly a decade ago, I ventured into the world of filmmaking using a professional video camera, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. This experience featured a steep learning curve, pushing me to delve deeply into the intricacies of crafting cinematic images. – aspects that most consumer and amateur camera gear streamline for user convenience. Consequently, I spent countless hours studying image sensors, codecs, bit-depth, dynamic range, color theory, and related concepts. This journey allowed me to gain a profound understanding of camera systems and how they operate.” In simpler terms, Csaba embarked on a journey to understand the nuts and bolts of creating cinematic-quality visuals, which most consumer cameras keep hidden behind user-friendly interfaces. By Using this knowledge, Csaba went about trying to build a low-cost, open-source camera that everyone could use.

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