The goal of the Apertus Open Source Cinema project is to create a modular camera system composed from several hardware and software modules. Free (FLOSS) software and open hardware are to be utilized to build a device sporting all the features required by professional filmmakers in both studio and outdoor environments. The Apertus project also sees itself as more than just a hardware/software initiative. It is a burgeoning platform for filmmakers, creative-industry professionals, artists and enthusiasts. Apertus is a community movement, a forum of knowledge, an ecosystem of people supporting each other also advocating freedom. We actively cultivate: free technology, free information, free education, free knowledge, free culture, free arts, etc. This requires that everything we create shall be released to the public and protected with licences that ensure freedom as defined by the FSF (GNU GPL, Creative Commons, etc.).
Film production has long been consigned to the realm of a select few, high-end proprietary manufacturing corporations. Due to the expense involved in research, development and low-volume, high-tech manufacturing, their products were reserved for only the most well-funded clients. This represents the essence of a closed world. Only in recent years have revolutionary changes taken place, with smaller companies creating innovative cameras and other tools at lower prices. However, their technological secrets are protected at all costs, and manufacturers have blocked access to the internal design of their products in fear of losing market share. This has resulted in vague or missing documentation, threats to void warranty—to prevent attempts at reverse engineering–—and artificially crippled features. This leads to the paradoxical situation where the technology for filmmaking is now widely affordable at the expense of the loss of freedom to use these tools.
We at Apertus believe in open development and rely on fulfilling the four essential freedoms: freedom to access, use and study all knowledge; freedom to modify and change anything; freedom to redistribute all original knowledge; freedom to redistribute all modified and changed knowledge. In the beginning Apertus was just about building an open camera. As of 2012, it has become a much broader initiative. It now represents:
—A movement actively spreading the idea of sharing knowledge and working together collaboratively
—A pool of filmmakers and creative-industry professionals collaborating on professional cinema and arts productions
— A missionary, encouraging individuals to develop an active mind, question what has come before them and give back to their respective communities
—A group that researches and publishes knowledge, gives talks, holds workshops and events
—A pool of developers working on free software and open hardware for film- and post-production.