Insider Reporter


Insider Report

news and views on broadcast and professional video/audio sectors, worldwide

w/e July 27, 2010 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2010

INDEX

Technology News | Industry News | Company News |
Product News | People in the News | Research News

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

CEA Expects 2.1 Million 3DTVs to Ship in 2010

U.S. consumer electronics shipments will reach nearly $175 billion this year, thanks to the popularity of smartphones, Blu-ray players, eReaders, tablet computers, and--3DTVs So says the Consumer Electronics Association’s semi-annual sales report and forecast.

“Digital displays will continue to see major growth with increasing unit sales, but slightly less revenue due to fierce pricing competition,” the CEA said.

Shipment of 3D displays is forecast to reach to 2.1 million this year. Related revenues will top $2.7 billion. The CEA in January predicted 4 million 3DTVs would ship. A month later, the number was revised to 1.05 million, reflecting that a “3DTV” set had to have HDMI 1.4 capability.

The CEA predicts more than 6 million 3D displays will ship in 2011, generating about $7 billion. Next year’s shipment revenue for all consumer electronics is pegged to climb 4 percent to $182 billion--an all-time high.

“Innovation in the CE industry is driving consumer enthusiasm, orchestrating a turnaround for our industry and bolstering the overall U.S. economy,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “The response to innovative new products like tablet computers and 3D displays, and continued growth of other product categories, illustrate that consumers love technology. The freedom to innovate delights consumers, sustains our industry and strengthens the economy.”

This month’s $175 billion 2010 forecast exceeds CEA’s January estimate by more than $9 billion.

Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis said, “The January edition of the forecast was cautiously optimistic about the industry’s return to growth this year. Despite a relatively sluggish first half, these innovative product categories have generated a great deal of consumer interest. As a result, we see a stronger second half demand unfolding, and we anticipate a robust holiday quarter.”

Mobile computing is building this year, and expected to drive the industry in 2011. Laptops, netbooks and especially tablets are forecast to comprise $26 billion in shipment revenues for 2011.

Wireless handsets, smartphones in particular, are also expected to generate $26 billion next year. Around 54 million smartphones are expected to ship this year, up nearly 31 percent from last year. Sixy-six million are expected to ship in 2011.

Mindspeed to Sell $10 Million of Intellectual Property

Mindspeed Technologies, Inc., a supplier of semiconductor solutions for network infrastructure applications, announced that it entered into an agreement for the sale of certain legacy patents for $10 million, of which $7.5 million should be reported in the company's fiscal fourth quarter of 2010 revenues and the remaining $2.5 million should be reported in the company’s fiscal first quarter of 2011. The patent sale agreement does not include potential future Mindspeed revenues derived from licensing royalties. Specific terms of the sale are confidential.

Mindspeed Technologies, Inc. designs, develops and sells semiconductor solutions for communications applications in the wireline and wireless network infrastructure, which includes today's separate but interrelated and converging enterprise, broadband access, metropolitan and wide area networks. Our products are classified into three focused product families: communications convergence processing, high-performance analog and wide area networking communications. Our products are sold to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for use in a variety of network infrastructure equipment, including voice and media gateways, high-speed routers, switches, access multiplexers, cross-connect systems, add-drop multiplexers, digital loop carrier equipment, IP private branch exchanges (PBXs), optical modules, broadcast video systems and wireless base station equipment.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

LIN 2Q Revenue Rises 21% To $100M

LIN TV Corp. reported this morning that net revenue grew 21% in the second quarter compared with the same quarter last year to $99.5 million, with core advertising (less political) jumping 13%.

"The automotive category, which represented 23% of our core advertising sales for the quarter, increased by 51% to $20.6 million, compared to $13.7 million for the second quarter of 2009," the pure-play TV broadcasting company said. Story continues after the ad

"The retail category, which represented 17% of the Company's core advertising sales for the second quarter of 2010, increased 13% compared to the same quarter last year."

Growth in political advertising and digital revenue were strong in the quarter, swelling the net revenue line.

Political grew from $1.4 million in the second quarter of 2009 to $5.3 million in the second quarter of this year. Digital revenue, which includes the Internet and retransmission consent fees, was up 44% to $14.7 million.

The revenue growth positively impacted the bottom line. Operating income was $25.1 million, compared to an operating loss of $25.8 million in the second quarter of 2009.

RealD IPO raises 33 percent more

California-based RealD Inc (RLD.N), whose 3D technology was used to help make the movie "Avatar" the highest grossing film ever at box offices, raised 33 percent more than it had earlier expected from an initial public offering, as it priced an IPO of 12.5 million shares at $16 each.

Analysts say 3D technology could be key to reviving box office sales. The industry got a kick-start when "Avatar" became the highest-grossing movie of all time and Hollywood is now rushing to meet demand for more 3D ventures with films, including "Toy Story 3," while theaters are rapidly upgrading their venues.

The roll-out of 3D in theaters is dependent on chains converting their screens to digital projection. So far 5,300 U.S. screens have been converted to digital and upgrading the rest of the nation's 35,000 screens could cost $2.6 billion, said the National Association of Theater Owners.

Globally, about 10,000 movie screens are 3D enabled and more than 5,000 of those carry RealD technology.

RealD generated $189 million in revenue in the 12 months ended March 26, 2010, the company said in a regulatory filing. The company collects a license fee from theater owners, and is dependent on Hollywood continuing to churn out 3D films.

RealD is the No. 1 installer of 3D technology in theaters, and its rivals include audio equipment maker Dolby Labs, the California-based private firm MasterImage 3D and European company X6D Limited.

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COMPANY NEWS

Grass Valley to be Sold to Francisco Partners

Francisco Partners, a San Francisco, California-based private equity firm focused on investments in technology-based companies, has made a binding offer to Technicolor for the acquisition of the Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business activities.

With nearly $5 billion of capital under management, Francisco Partners is one of the world’s largest technology-focused private equity funds. The firm was founded to pursue structured investments in technology and technology-based companies with a strong foundation and secure market position.

Francisco Partner targets investments in private companies, with transaction values ranging from $30 million to $2 billion. Since its inception, Francisco Partners has invested in excess of $4 billion of equity capital in over 50 technology companies.

“We are excited about this opportunity, as Grass Valley’s market leadership is clearly evident,” said David Golob, Partner at Francisco Partners. “The business has an unrivalled brand identity and company heritage, a long history of innovation, team members that are dedicated to their customers' success, and an impressive product portfolio. We are looking forward to the opportunity to work closely with Grass Valley's management to create a company that leverages the strong entrepreneurial spirit within Grass Valley, allowing them to achieve even greater success.”

The binding offer from Francisco Partners is for 100 percent ownership of the current Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business, which would operate as "Grass Valley" going forward. This includes the camera, content repurposing, editing, master control, modular, news production, production automation, routing, servers, storage, and switching product lines including their entire product portfolios, the R&D centers and factories around the world, the Sales & Systems activities and Customer Support organization worldwide, as well as the management and administrative support functions dedicated to the business.

This business perimeter and associated product lines for which the offer was made by Francisco Partners represent the core of what the market historically knows as Grass Valley products.

“This is positive news for the company and our customers,” said Jeff Rosica, Senior Vice President and head of the Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business. “We are encouraged that we are taking a major step towards completing the divestiture process with this binding offer from Francisco Partners. The opportunity to be part of Francisco Partner’s portfolio gives Grass Valley a solid foundation to continue to work tirelessly to maintain our core values of innovation, performance, and passion that have benefitted our customers throughout the years. Our customers worldwide will continue to receive the high quality and service that they have come to expect from Grass Valley, with continued focus on raising the bar in our industry.”

The Transmission and Headend businesses, which are in the process of being separated from the Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business, are not included in the offer received. Technicolor will continue the planned divestiture of these businesses separately. These businesses plan to individually operate going forward.

Subject to final agreement, regulatory approval, and applicable notification requirements and, when it is requested, the prior consultation of staff representatives, it is expected that the transaction can be completed before the end of 2010.

Ross Video to Acquire Codan Broadcast

Ross Video Limited and Codan Limited announced that Ross has entered into a letter of intent to buy 100% of the shares of Codan’s wholly-owned Melbourne-based subsidiary, Codan Broadcast Products Pty Ltd. The sale, subject only to the finalization of due diligence, is scheduled for completion on 31 August, 2010.

Ross plans to continue operations from Codan Broadcast’s current premises in Melbourne, Australia with the name of the business and product branding changing to Ross Video. Codan Broadcast products will become part of the Ross product portfolio.

Key new products that Ross will acquire include a flagship line of routing systems that will complement and enhance the already extensive Ross product portfolio. Codan Broadcast’s significant presence in the Australian market will provide Ross with even greater access to and better support for Australian customers.

“We are excited about the addition of Codan Broadcast,” said David Ross, CEO Ross Video. “And have long admired the superior design and engineering of their products. We are delighted that they will become part of Ross and that customers globally will benefit from the dramatically expanded market access that Ross brings to the table.”

“We believe that this transition is great for Codan Broadcast customers”, commented Mike Heard, CEO Codan Broadcast. “Ross has a great reputation for customer service and support as well as a long track record of continuing to invest in product development and product enhancements.”

Avid Q2 Revenue Up But Losses Remain

Avid reported revenues of $162.2 million for the three-month period ended June 30, 2010, compared to $150.5 million for the same period in 2009. The GAAP net loss for the quarter was $12.9 million, or $0.34 per share, compared to a GAAP net loss of $15.9 million, or $0.43 per share, in the second quarter of 2009.

The GAAP net loss for the second quarter of 2010 included amortization of intangibles, stock-based compensation, restructuring and other charges, acquisition-related costs and related tax adjustments collectively totaling $10.9 million. Excluding these items, the non-GAAP net loss was $2.0 million for the second quarter, or $0.05 per share. The GAAP net loss for the second quarter of 2009 included $10.4 million of amortization of intangibles, stock-based compensation, restructuring charges and related tax adjustments. Excluding these items, the non-GAAP net loss per share for the second quarter of 2009 was $0.15 per share. A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP results is included in the tables attached to this release.

"We're encouraged with the year-over-year revenue growth and are optimistic about the second half as we continue to track towards profitability," said Gary Greenfield, Chairman and CEO at Avid. "The success of our broadcast and live sound segments this quarter is a good indication of how our ongoing engagement with audio and video customers continues to result in solutions that both anticipate their technology needs and solve business problems."

Revenues for the six-month period ended June 30, 2010 were $318.1 million, compared to revenues of $302.2 million for the same period in 2009. GAAP net loss for the first six months of 2010 was $26.4 million, or $0.70 per share, compared to GAAP net loss of $33.2 million, or $0.89 per share, for the same period in 2009. GAAP net loss for the six-month period ended June 30, 2010 included $19.8 million of amortization, stock-based compensation, restructuring and other charges, acquisition-related costs and related tax adjustments. Excluding these items, the non-GAAP net loss was $6.6 million for the first half of 2010 or $0.17 per share. GAAP net loss for the six-month period ended June 30, 2009 was $33.2 million and included $22.1 million of amortization, stock-based compensation, restructuring charges and related tax adjustments. Excluding these items, the non-GAAP net loss per share was $0.30 for the first half of 2009.

Vitec Multimedia Acquires Focus Enhancements

VITEC Multimedia announced the purchase of the Focus Enhancements’ Systems Group. With this purchase, VITEC now adds video acquisition and management products to its lineup, including FS Portable DTE Recorders, ProxSys Media Asset Management solutions, media converters, and OEM-ready media hardware and software.

“The acquisition of Focus’ Systems Group, including its product lines, brand, and key employees, further positions VITEC Multimedia as a worldwide leader in advanced digital video solutions,” said Philippe Wetzel, CEO of VITEC Multimedia.

“In combination with our recent acquisition of Optibase, this acquisition furthers our objective to provide a complete line of advanced digital video solutions to our customers around the globe. With innovation at its core, the VITEC R&D division—now with more than 100 esteemed engineers—is uniquely positioned to deliver innovative solutions for a wide range of advanced digital video applications—managing the entire video process from source to display.”

“Focus has partnered with VITEC Multimedia in the past, and given our successful history, we concluded that sale of Focus’ Systems Group to VITEC was the right decision,” commented Brett Moyer, president and CEO of Focus Enhancements.

“As a market leader in digital video and audio solutions, we wanted to be sure that current Focus Enhancements video customers and partners would be well taken care of, while Focus’ Semiconductor Group continues to develop solutions for the wireless audio distribution and the TV-out video encoder markets.”

Barco Reports Improved Revenue and Profits

Barco announced results for the six month period ended 30 June, 2010. Second quarter 2010 financial highlights:

  • Barco's order book at the end of June 2010 stood at 513.3 million euro, not including some digital cinema frame contracts. At the end of June 2009 the order book was 336.7 million euro.
  • Order intake for the quarter was at an all time high of 298.9 million euro, an increase of 112.4% from 140.7 million euro a year earlier.
  • Sales of 192.2 million euro were up 16.7% from 164.7 million euro in 2Q09.
  • Gross profits grew 37.4% to 63.7 million euro up from 46.3 million euro the previous year. Gross profit margin was 33.1%. In 2Q09 it was 28.1%. In 1Q10 it was 33.7%.
  • EBITDA was 19.5 million euro compared to 8.4 million euro in 2Q09.
  • EBIT was 5.8 million euro versus minus 5.6 million euro in 2Q09. EBIT margin was 3.0% compared to minus 3.4% in 2Q09.
  • Net income for the quarter was 4.3 million euro compared to minus 5.2 million euro the year before.
  • Net earnings per share were 0.36 euro compared to minus 0.44 euro in 2Q09.
  • Free cash flow at the end of the quarter was minus 1.4 million euro compared to 12.4 million euro the year before.

    Barco's second quarter was marked by truly unprecedented growth in order intake across all businesses except for digital signage. “This must have been our best quarter ever”, Mr Van Zele, President and CEO, said, “with orders coming in just shy of 300 million euro. This bodes well for Barco's performance in the quarters ahead. We are experiencing explosive growth in demand for our digital cinema projectors and are working very hard to deal with the supply chain issues this creates.” Mr van Zele also added that shipments for the quarter materialized slightly better than plan despite the ongoing global shortages in supplies of electronic components and subsystems. He said that margins continued to improve and that costs remained well under control.

    Mr Van Zele stated that the success of the company is no longer just supported by two star performers, digital cinema and medical, as all the other divisions, with the exception of VLS/DS, experienced strong growth in incoming orders. “We were very pleased to see our control rooms and the defense/avionics divisions return to acceptable levels of profitability, while our VLS/DS business was still struggling to catch up. We are confident that the strategic acquisition of dZine will broaden Barco's capabilities with software enabled content solutions in order to increase the value proposition of what is currently a 'display centric' business model.”

    He concluded: “In the final analysis we remain confident that all of our divisions can deliver on their corporate 10/10/20 targets. It is just a matter of time. We will do whatever it takes to get there.”

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    PRODUCT NEWS

    Avid Media Composer 5.0 Q&Q

    Recently, Kirk Arnold, COO of Avid Technology, spoke with Post about their new Media Composer 5 and the future of the company.

    POST: What does Media Composer 5.0 represent to Avid as a company?

    KIRK ARNOLD: Over the past few years, Avid has been very focused on listening to our customers, improving the value, quality and performance of our solutions and making those solutions more open and flexible. Media Composer 5 is a great example of how we’ve delivered on all of these promises. We’re revolutionizing workflows by offering customers native support for popular industry formats like Red, QuickTime and Canon XF, and basically removing a number of time-intensive processes that have long been associated with file-based projects. And, with support for low-cost third-party hardware (the Matrox MX02 Mini), Media Composer is now more open than ever. This is just the beginning of what is to come. We are committed to making greater enhancements and further opening up our solutions to make it easier for our customers to work the way they want to work — whether they are independent editors or producers or editors or directors of Hollywood blockbusters. And the future enhancements we’re working continue to be the result of the ongoing dialogue we’re having through our Customer Advisory Boards, our Editors Advisory Committee (comprised of ACE editors,) beta groups and visits to customer sites.

    POST: How do you see Media Composer 5 positioned in terms of the future of Avid?

    ARNOLD: Media Composer 5 is the result of Avid’s focus on 1) listening to customers, 2) becoming more open, 3) implementing innovation and 4) delivering fluid and dependable workflows.

    These are key pillars for us – all of which are critically important to helping our customers be more productive and creative. This isn’t restricted to Media Composer. This is something we are focused on at every level of our customer base. Feedback from our customers has been consistent across the board. Whether we’re talking to consumers, independent artists or executives who lead large-scale enterprise businesses, a few key themes continue to come across: they want technology that will allow them to remove content production boundaries, empower them to be more creative and allow them to work the way they want to work.

    POST: What else needs to be done for Avid and Media Composer to recoup the hearts and minds of facilities and buyers in the marketplace you may have lost?

    ARNOLD: I’d say we’ve made great inroads with a lot of influential editors and their enthusiasm and understanding of our solutions has helped us increase adoption and awareness among their peers.

    For Avid, continuing to have a two-way dialogue with customers is critical. We need to understand their business problems and assure that our solutions help to address them. In addition to editors, we’ve started to talk more frequently to producers and directors to educate them on why Avid solutions are the best for their project. For instance, directors may want to know how AMA (Avid Media Access) allows them to work with the format of their choice and make better creative decisions on set. Producers want to understand how our products are going to give them the biggest return on their investment with no “surprises” along the way in the post production process. We’re more involved with groups like the Producers Guild of America to better understand what goes into their decision making process and how we can become a part of it.

    We’ve also done a lot of work with educational institutions to get our products into the hands of future editors, directors and producers. In addition to offering curriculum designed to help teach the students the art of editing, we’ve made it easier for institutions and students to purchase our solutions – with aggressive pricing. Now, students can get Media Composer for $295 with free upgrades for four years – and we need help from people like you, Jon, to help us spread the word! After all, these students are the next-generation of professionals and it’s so important to us that they get a chance to work with great tools like Media Composer now – so that they are prepared for the professional world when they graduate.

    We’re also connecting with our customers in a variety of new ways. Avid has a very active online community and we continue to open the dialogue with these folks to create a tight nit community, share domain expertise and educate the masses. Whether it be places like the Avid.com forums or new mediums like Facebook and Twitter, we encourage customers and prospects to come to these places and share their stories, ask questions, create tutorials and participate in various discussions. This allows Avid to have a better understanding of our customers, escalate any common thread issues and better understand product needs and requests. Another benefit is that customers get a chance to meet and interact with their peers to share ideas, best practices and tutorials/tips and tricks that highlight new features and workflows. These things, coupled with a steady flow of written and video testimonials, provide customers with the rich content they need to make better informed creative and business decisions.

    POST: What comes next after Media Composer? What is the next big thing?

    ARNOLD: Cloud-based editing is certainly becoming more of a reality. We had demonstrations at NAB this year of how we envision it working as a model in the future. The presentations were packed with very interested customers and we had a lot of great questions. While I can’t reveal too much about our product plans in this area yet, I can tell you that we are deeply engaged in a dialogue with customers about the potential this type of cloud-based capability has for the future of our industry.

    We are also very focused on what we are calling the Integrated Media Enterprise, or IME. IME is a technology framework, based on SOA Web services, designed to help large enterprise media organizations deal with changing business models for content creation, management, and distribution. IME empowers customers to integrate various technologies and deliver a broad range of business applications that provide them with the flexibility and agility that they need to respond to new demands.

    We hear three consistent requests from large media organizations – the need to be agile in responding to new opportunities, the ability to get a clearer picture of how to monetize their assets and the necessity to promote deeper collaboration across every aspect of their business and we believe IME addresses these needs. To date, customer response has been very positive.

    New Cameras Make Multimedia Easy

    THis article is by Frank Beacham at TVNewsCheck.

    New video camera concepts introduced this summer by Canon and Sony, and coming to market soon from RED Camera, signal the first major transformation in news cameras since the introduction of the groundbreaking Sony VX1000 more than 15 years ago.

    Not only do camera prices keep falling, but the new models are hybrids that can simultaneously record both full-motion video and high-resolution still images. Story continues after the ad

    "At TV stations, the old news model is pretty much dead. The producer, the cameraman and the editor have all merged into one person. Stations are now ditching their Betacams," said Dirck Halstead, a veteran photographer who, for 29 years, covered the White House for Time.

    Halstead teaches new techniques to photojournalists throughout the nation with his Platypus Workshops. The 37 workshops so far have trained more than 400 students. He recently returned from the National Press Photographers Association meeting in Charleston, S.C., where he said "Topic A" was discussion of the new generation of cameras for journalism.

    The new designs stem from the SLRs with 35mm imagers that now incorporate the ability to record high-definition video.

    On one side are the hybrid still/HD video cameras such as the Canon EOS-5D or Mark II and the Nikon D3S. On the other are a new generation of low-cost camcorders. All the gear, fully equipped, is priced under $10,000.

    The Canon and Nikon hybrid cameras have full-frame, 35mm-size sensors, which improve low-light capture and permit a shallower depth of field than with a standard video camera. They are increasingly favored by episodic TV producers due to the filmic quality they can produce.

    Freelancers, who are rapidly replacing veteran staff news photographers, now favor the Canons and Nikons over traditional video cameras, Halstead said.

    "Yet, DSLRs have some real problems in how you hold and use them," he noted. "Once you've outfitted those cameras properly, however, those problems go away."

    The more logical thing to do is to reconfigure today's video camera and make it work for stills, Halstead said. "That to me is a more elegant solution."

    Canon is on all sides of the trend. In addition to the EOS-5D and Mark II, the most popular full-frame DSLR that shoots 1080p video, it also offers the new XF305 and XF300 traditional camcorders.

    Last month, Canon showed a video/still concept camera at the World Expo in Shanghai, China. It was billed the "Wonder Camera," and borrows from RED Camera of Lake Forest, Calif.

    RED has worked for two years designing its DSMC, which stands for Digital Stills and Motion Camera. This fully professional camera can shoot still and full-motion, high-resolution video images simultaneously.

    The RED concept can serve journalists shooting for TV, newspapers, magazines, websites and mobile applications. RED's system can be scaled — using a wide range of modular accessories — to handle like a ENG camera, DSLR or digital cinema camera.

    In creating the camera configuration of choice, the user selects a RED camera "brain," or core component, that varies in resolution from 3K to 28K. From there, displays, eyepieces, grips, mounts and lenses are added to build out the camera's functionality.

    RED has announced a 3K resolution "Scarlett" model specifically designed for photojournalism. It will be priced at about $2,500 in basic form and is set for delivery by the end of this year.

    Jon Sagud, who is working on the Scarlett development team at RED, said the company sees the new cameras as the merger of still photography and full-motion video. "We have had a huge impact with our higher-end cameras and have a desire to move into a lower-cost market," Sagud said. "We envision Scarlett being the ideal photojournalist's camera."

    When the user pulls a still frame from a conventional ENG camera, Sagud said, he will end up with about a 2 megapixel image. From Scarlett, it will be 12 megapixels. "Scarlett is a different animal," he said.

    On July 14, Sony introduced the NEX-VG10E, a $2,000 E-mount camcorder that will become the first prosumer HD camcorder to use interchangeable lenses. Based on Sony's NEX line of mirrorless still cameras, it features a 14.6MP APS-sized CMOS sensor capable of recording 1080i video at a 24mbps bitrate.

    Significantly, the Sony camera enables a shallow depth of field (like the Canon and Nikon DSLRs) and the ability to take DSLR-quality still images. At its low price, it's hard not to see Sony's new camcorder being used for hybrid applications in TV news.

    And the market is moving quickly. Just two days ago, Canon confirmed it is working on a similar mirrorless camera.

    Ronald Steinman, a 35-year veteran of NBC News and the network's bureau chief in Saigon during the Vietnam War, said the price of high-quality video cameras continues to fall.

    "You can get very good camcorders today for $7,000 to $8,000. These are not bad for professional use," Steinman said. "In fact, I've shot footage for documentaries with cameras priced at $400 to $500. If you color correct, it doesn't look half bad. You can do a lot of magic that way. In fact, you can get away with murder."

    That is, if the gear is rugged enough for daily use, added PF Bentley, a veteran photographer who has taken images of every major presidential candidate since 1980. "TV news people need gear that can be handled roughly and doesn't break down. It cannot be too delicate to use every day."

    RED cameras, he said, "are great, but they are usually used in a motion picture production situation. They don't have the reputation for ‘run and gun' news. We'll see if they are tough enough to hold up."

    As for Canon's Wonder Camera prototype, Bentley said that although the camera might do nice video and still images, it is an interlaced, not a progressive frame, camera, and doesn't have convenient manual controls. "It was made to be easy to use," he said. "As a pro, I only use cameras on manual."

    Bentley, who also teaches at the Platypus Workshops, said the biggest effect of the revolution in ENG camera technology is it opens opportunities for more journalists to tell better stories with video.

    "Some participants in our workshops are stuck in the TV news rut and they want to do better work. They want to change," he said. "They want to move from doing news video to getting a better documentary eye. You have a great many talented news camera operators who do a great job every day, but they now want to take it to the next level."

    The problem that TV videographers have in adopting to the new age of journalism is they spend days aggregating content that must be sliced and diced to fit into 30-second or 1:30 segments, Halstead said.

    "We are training for storytelling. That's a whole different proposition. Many of our people currently do better stories than the TV people do. It's not that the TV people are less gifted, but they run from pillar to post getting everything they need to make that 6:30 target. Storytellers are much less concerned with that. That is new," he said.

    Historically, news footage was shot by still photographers trained to take motion pictures, Halstead said. When ENG took hold in the late 1970s, the baton was passed from photographers to engineers, whose main chore was to keep the early video cameras operating. "What went missing for about 40 years was the eye of the storyteller behind the camera," he said. Then, in 1995, Sony introduced the VX1000 digital MiniDV camera with three CCD sensors. "That was the crucial breakthrough," Halstead said." The camera manufacturers had absolutely no concept of what they had wrought. It was a total accident. They had no idea that the VX1000 was going to start replacing $50,000 Betacams.

    Today, all video is moving toward the Web, which is driving the demand for a new hybrid video camera designs.

    "Our world is changing fast," Bentley said. "My motto is to 'evolve or die.' "

    RESEARCH NEWS

    SCRI RESEARCH NEWS

    2009-2010 Broadcast Pro Video Marketplace Reports

    2009-2010 Broadcast Pro Video Marketplace Reports Series is now available. A total of 25 individual product reports as well as a macro industry overview and micro quantitative data analysis reports are available. Contact des_chas@scri.com for more information.

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