The Omnicam, a new panoramic camera system developed by the FascinatE Consortium (Format-Agnostic Script-based InterActive Experience), recorded a dance performance of the Carmen Suite by the Berlin Philharmonic at Berlin’s Arena Hall on May 26 and 27.

The prototype system allows users to interactively view and navigate the video of a live event, no matter what display device they are using. Meanwhile, synced audio automatically adjusts to match the view selected. The Omnicam uses an array of six ARRI ALEXA M cameras to capture footage in ultra-high resolution.

The six ALEXA M’s are rigged with mirrors for the panorama and 24mm Ultra Prime lenses for each head to create a 180 degree viewing angle with a 100 meter distance between the Omnicam and the video control room.

Originally, the Omnicam system had employed smaller HD cameras in attempt to keep the rig at a manageable size and weight, but image quality concerns demanded a move to a better camera system. ARRI’s original ALEXA camera had been considered too large and heavy for the job. 

“The ALEXA M was born out of this project,” says ARRI engineer Johannes Steurer. “We decided to separate the sensor head from the body and connect both components by optical fiber cables. That way we reduce the size and weight of the camera head and we can still offer the same image quality.”

FascinatE project coordinator Georg Thallinger said, “The ALEXA M is the perfect camera in terms of quality and size to fit in the Omnicam. We want to engage audiences with a new viewing experience. We knew, being ARRI cameras, they would shoot beautiful images and have the best quality.”