Yoritate: The F65 is so full-featured that we had to pay extra attention to user convenience, so that camera operators can shoot confidently and efficiently while pursuing their creative vision without interruption. That's why our GUI design team took on the user interface at an early stage in development.
We faced two tasks. One was to consider the specialized nature of a digital cinema camera, which is a single piece of equipment operated by several people at once. Subdisplay, viewfinder, monitor, and remote control units or panels-each device is managed by camera operators, assistants, and the director as instructions are given and the camera is operated. Just what information is needed by which participant, for which device? Without knowing this, we can't develop a convenient GUI.
Our other task was GUI development for a new mobile freeware app, F65Remote. Installing this app on a tablet computer enables remote control of the F65 via Wi-Fi. Normally, only camera operators and assistants can see and use the subdisplay and control buttons on the side of the camera. F65Remote eliminates this limitation. It also has the potential to change how things are done in video production. For example, another group can be assigned certain tasks when the crew is short-handed, and camera settings can be monitored on multiple tablets. The app is our new approach to accelerating 4K production.
The user manual and help features can also be accessed from a tablet computer. This is useful when you consider that although cinema cameras are often leased, it's too late to read a substantial manual after you receive a camera. The free F65Remote app can be downloaded anytime to familiarize yourself with camera operation in advance. You'll finish setup sooner, and shooting will surely go more smoothly.
Kurokawa: In professional equipment, clarity and ease of checking settings are critical. For this reason, an uncluttered, text-based user interface is desirable. With this goal in mind, what kind of GUI could we create? The only place to find answers was in the field, so that's where I returned, again and again.
First we had to deal with the fact that shooting involves many display devices, each required by a different user. As I observed shooting in the field, I noticed which crew member was viewing which device, and what their role and perspective on shooting was. The viewfinder, for example, is the exclusive domain of the camera operator, whose reflexes determine how to frame the overall scene. Meanwhile, the monitor is the director's window on the scene, which he might become quite absorbed in orchestrating. These observations helped me fine-tune the size and layout of on-screen information to suit the focus of each participant and the display device used.
The layout of the subdisplay on the side also shows our regard for practical needs. Moving up from a two-line display on previous models to a larger subdisplay required us to categorize and prioritize the information shown. In consumer camcorders, the top priority would be the battery level, time code, and similar information, because users' biggest potential problem would be if nothing was being recorded. In professional equipment, though, we couldn't limit ourselves to this thinking. Feedback from the field assured us that camera operators obviously know when they're recording, and they would prefer to know about video and camera settings. When we asked camera operators if larger, more visible display text would be helpful, they replied that small text would be fine if they could see all relevant information at once. This feedback on practical needs led us to organize information on the F65 subdisplay into three screens, indicating video settings, camera status, and camera settings.
F65Remote is our new mobile app that enables configuration of all camera settings on the F65, not to mention monitoring of setting status while the tablet is kept in sync with the camera in real time. We wanted the app to streamline shooting and provide additional assurance about camera settings. Inconvenient GUI design would only interfere with operation, so we approached design by building on the camera GUI to maintain the same feeling of control. The app makes the most of the generous display area and convenient touch interface of tablets.
Another feature we added also takes advantage of the tablet format-an output signal map. It's a clear illustration of how signals from the image sensor pass through various processing circuits, and what devices they're sent to. F65Remote is another sign of our regard for what professional cameras should offer, and the app was developed through repeated discussions with our engineers.