Axis Films provides Silicon Imaging SI-2K Mini camera for BT Broadband commercials

21 May 2008, London, UK – Some of the first fruits of Axis Films’ investment in a Silicon Imaging SI-2K Mini digital camera system can now be viewed in the form of two TV ads for British Telecom (BT). Irish production company, 4x4 chose to use the SI-2K Mini from Axis Films after being commissioned by The Heavenly Group to make a pair of commercials promoting BT’s newly enhanced consumer broadband offering which were aired at the start of May 2008.

“We were asked to make two 30-second commercials, one specifically to promote the new Vision TV service, and another for the Broadband offering as a whole,” explains Paula Campbell, 4x4’s producer for the project. “The BT Hub is a key element in maintaining consumer awareness of the company’s offering, but we needed a concept that would link the new TV content – movies, sport and so on – with the Hub.

“Since the only active element on the Hub is the lights that show connection, we decided to bring them to life and turn them into miniature ‘projectors’ that could move around the house. This allowed us to show the content as a product.”

In the BT Vision commercial, these ‘projectors’ are seen to emanate from the BT Hub, then dance around the room, exploring spaces and projecting movie and sports images as they go. In the overall Broadband ad, the projectors are seen to arrive at the house, where they proceed to show screens containing further content, before gathering to create a Hub, which they then activate by entering.

Campbell says 4x4 chose to hire the SI-2K from Axis for a number of reasons: “We were shooting in a pretty compact space in low light conditions. We didn’t have the budget for 35mm and 16mm would have been too grainy.

“Our DOP on the project, Howard Smith, had recently used the SI-2K on a feature, ‘Dark Country’, and was amazed with the look and latitude of the camera. As we were shooting on his MK-V Alien Revolution (AR) steadicam rig system with 360-degrees revolving head, he wanted something small for manoeuvrability.

“Also, 11 stops of latitude at 2K resolution was pretty hard to beat. This amount of information gave the post house the maximum amount of detail for tracking and applying their CGI work.”

The 4x4 team recorded directly onto an Apple MacBook Pro laptop using the innovative Cineform format, backed up onto hard drive, then processed and converted the data to dpx files for the post house. Offline editing was by 4x4’s Jonathan Fetherston in Final Cut Pro, online through Smoke, then compositing in Flame by Ian Jacobs at Windmill Lane, and final grading in Spirit.

The Silicon Imaging SI-2K Mini is capable of capturing full-resolution, 2K and 1920 x 1080 progressive-scan 12-bit CineForm RAW images for use in both digital cinema projection and HD television. It uses Silicon Imaging’s proprietary 48-bit digital processing algorithms to perform adaptive, pixel-by-pixel black calibration and colour image enhancement. A single, large 16:9 format 2/3” CMOS sensor enables the use of 16mm film-style lenses.

“For this project we used PL-mounted Optar 8mm lenses which were also provided by Axis Films, and the system performed flawlessly,” adds Campbell. “The size and weight of the camera enabled Howard to have everything inside the rings of the AR, so he could fit through the tightest of gaps and also have a long range on the post and balance – without having to extend the post of the MK-V AR.

“This was the first time we had worked with Axis, and I would strongly recommend both them and the SI-2K Mini system. If you are considering using the SI system for the first time and have concerns about its size and performance, don’t panic. Just be sure you have researched your workflow for post and you will be amazed with the end results. Don’t think of it as a ‘lipstick’-type camera – this is an ‘A’ camera!”

To view the commercials online, please visit:

About 4x4

4 x 4 is Northern Ireland’s most experienced production and post production company. It was formed in 2001 and rapidly became the leading ‘one-stop shop’ for advertising agencies, independent production companies as well as corporate and PR agencies.

4 x 4 have a wealth of experience in all aspects of production from television advertising to short film drama. They have worked on all formats from 35mm film to 2k and have picked up several international awards for their work.

About Axis Films

Axis Films, with over 18 years of experience, offers a true "shoot and post" service to a wide range of clients across all sectors of the broadcast, corporate and film market. Axis is committed to development retains its reputation as a leader of innovation. Axis was the first company in the UK to take delivery of the SI-2K Mini digital data cameras and has now established Europe’s first 3D suite located at Concrete in Dean Street, Soho. The company is also a major partner in The3DFirm which was responsible for broadcasting the Rugby Calcutta Cup LIVE in 3D during February 2008.  Axis Films is based at the heart of the British film industry at Shepperton Studios and the offers the very best in technical advice and practical know-how.


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