3D, Large Single Sensor, 4K — Camera Trends 2011!

13 Jan

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3D, Large Single Sensor, 4K — Camera Trends 2011!

The following is an excerpt from an article by James Mathers in the most recent Digital Cinema Society Newsletter. James is a co-founder of the DCS and is also a SCRI consultant.

So, 2010 did not turn out to be “The Year of 3D,” but maybe 2011 will have a better shot. Most studio tent pole releases are now shooting in Stereo, and major filmmaking talent have embraced 3D. These, to name only a few, include Martin Scorsese with “Hugo Cabret,” Ridley Scott with a SciFi movie some are calling a prequel to “Alien,” Rob Marshall on “Pirates of the Caribbean 4,” Marc Webb with “Spider-Man 4,” and Peter Jackson with “The Hobbit.” And I can tell you, having seen it, that the 3D BluRay release of “Avatar” is awesome. They have painstakingly remastered the stereo for the smaller screen with the supervision of James Cameron, and have actually pushed the 3D effects much further than the theatrical release, which will leave no one disappointed. Now that’s the 3D I’m talkin‘ about. As evidenced by several patents filed by Apple, there is also a lot of progress being made in auto-stereography, especially in displays. It will be nice but it is still in the future.

If 2010 was not the year for 3D, it can be called the year of the LSS, (Large Single Sensor) Digital Cinema camera. On the high-end, ARRI had the very successful release of the Alexa, and Sony brought out the SRW9000PL which essentially incorporates in a camcorder all the electronics and performance of their flagship F35 with SR recorder, but at a fraction of the price. Sony also announced an even more economical tapeless camera in the PMW-F3, which will be available in February at $16,000 for the body only or in a kit for $23,000 which includes a three lens PL-mount prime set. Meanwhile, Panasonic this week released their AG-AF100, a 4/3″ sensor camcorder equipped with an interchangeable lens mount that can utilize an array of low-cost, widely-available still camera lenses as well as PL mount motion picture lenses. It records in AVC format to economical SD cards at variable speeds up to 60FPS and is currently selling for less than $5,000! The beauty of these new lower cost LLS cameras is that they are optimized for shooting HD, as opposed to the DSLRs where HD was an afterthought of a still camera. Even Canon who has had the most success with their DSLR cameras being used for Cinematography is coming out with a model optimized as a HD camcorder. I’m actually surprised it has taken them so long, since they have been making great 1/3” HD cameras for many years.

And then there’s RED, not to be beaten at their own game of shaking things up, they have had a couple of significant recent developments. Early in the year, they started offering the MX sensor upgrade for the RED One; for a fee of $5,750, owners could send in their cameras to physically have the sensor swapped out. The new MX sensor, together with improved color science offered greatly increased sensitivity of at least one f-stop as well as improved dynamic range. Now they are slowly releasing what could become the Granddaddy of LSS cameras, the Epic. With it’s claimed 5K of resolution, high dynamic range and small form factor it is already the popular choice for high end 3D. The aforementioned “Hobbit,” “Spider-Man,” and “Alien” prequels have all chosen to shoot 3D with this camera.

Another trend worth mentioning is 4K. Although Sony has long been a proponent of 4K projection with the only available system, the SXRD, they did not produce any complimentary 4K capture devices. It is now an open secret that they are coming out with a 4K Digital Cinema camera, and my bet is that others will soon follow. Meanwhile, they will no longer be the only option for 4K projection with Epson, Panasonic, Samsung, Christie, Barco, Sharp, and Meridian all preparing 4K systems.

Although 2010 was an interesting year for Motion Picture technology, 2011 may be even more exciting.

SCRI has just released the new 2011-2012 Broadcast Pro Video Camcorder and Camera Reports which track market sizing, technology trends and competitive activity. For further information on these 2011 Broadcast / Pro Video (B/PVM) Reports contact, SCRI’s Research Director, Desmond C. Chaskelson (des_chas@scri.com).

2011 – 2012 Broadcast/Pro Video Product Reports (25):

Updated SCRI Reports will be available in early 2011 Product Reports with Market Sizing and Brand Shares are available for the following Products:
Video Camcorders; ;Video Cameras; Camera Mounting Systems; Character Generators; Clip / Still Stores; Composite/Component Encoders; Digital Effects Processors; Graphics & Effects Software; Graphics & Effects Workstations; Master Control Switchers; Non-Linear Editing Systems; Production/Post Switchers; RAID Video Storage; Routing Switchers; Standards / Formats Convertors; TBC’s / Frame Synchronizers; Telecine Equipment; Terminal Equipment; Up/Down Converters; Video Compression Encoders; Video Disk Recorders; Video Monitors; Video Servers; Video Test & Measurement; VTRs

For further information on the upcoming 2011 Broadcast / Pro Video (B/PVM) Reports contact, SCRI’s Research Director, Desmond C. Chaskelson (des_chas@scri.com).

How are SCRI Broadcast / Pro Video (B/PVM) Reports different than other research reports in the industry?

SCRI is an independent broadcast pro video research firm (established in 1984) and is not affiliated with any potentially vested interest trade association such as the IABM or NAB, as are some other research providers in this industry.

Nor does SCRI rely on manufacturer provided information as do some research firms in this industry, thereby eliminating any potential bias from any single manufacturer, or bias from not including all manufacturers.

SCRI takes a micro product & vertical market specific view of the broadcast & pro video market space rather than more broad based approach as do some other research reports in the industry.

SCRI provides quantitative “bottom-up” (end-user derived) market sizing product reports in the broadcast and pro video sectors since 1984, Our data is product specific and designed to be used by product managers for market planning. Not broad based like some other research reports.

Also SCRI focuses on eight vertical end user broadcast & pro video markets in the USA across twenty five specific product types, rather than providing broad based global estimates based on manufacturer data and/or interviews, as per some research reports in the industry.

© 1984 – 2011 SCRI – SCRI INTERNATIONAL, INC (info@scri.com). SCRI is an independent research and news organization providing market research reports and objective coverage of the broadcast and pro video sector and all major trade shows, including NAB and IBC, since 1984. SCRI and is not affiliated with any trade organization or manufacturer.
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