Friday, September 13, 2013

News from IBC

Definition Magazine (Download PDF)
Special IBC Edition

Arri AMIRA (AMIRA) 200fps Documentary Style Pick up and Shoot Professional Grade Video Camera | CreativeVideo UK
ARRI AMIRA unveiled | ARRI
Cheaper ARRI...but I can't find a price anywhere...
ARRI proudly presents AMIRA, a versatile documentary-style camera that combines exceptionalimage quality and affordable CFast 2.0 workflows with an ergonomic design optimized for singleoperatoruse and extended shoulder-mounted operation. Ready to pick up and shoot straight out ofthe camera bag, AMIRA is hardy enough to take anywhere and features in-camera grading withpre-loaded 3D LUTs, as well as 200 fps slow motion.

ARRI/ZEISS Master Anamorphic Lens Series Shipping Dates | Cinescopophila
ARRI have published shipping dates for all seven of their focal lengths in the ARRI/ZEISS Master Anamorphic lens series. The MA35, 50 and 75 were released in August this year and have started shipping, with the MA100 to follow in October, the MA40 and 60 in February 2014, and the MA135 in April 2014.

Sony announces NEX-FS700R NXCAM camcorder with 4K/2K RAW recording at IBC2013 | Sony
It looks like these are minor firmware updates:
Sony today announced two new professional NXCAM camcorders, the NEX-FS700RH and the NEX-FS700R. Both models feature Sony’s E-mount lens system and a 4K Exmor Super35 CMOS sensor and now come with Version 3.0 firmware pre-installed, enabling 4K/2K RAW recording on an external compatible recorder. The firmware update also includes the popular S-log2 gamma mode which gives a wider dynamic range, even for HD productions. 

Sony F & F55: NEW Firmware timeline charts, and new information | Sony
Firstly, the previously announced versions of v1.3, and v1.4 have been changed. v1.3 is now v2.0, and v1.4 is now v3.0

Vision Research Introduces Production Version of Flex4K | AbelCine
Frame rates are, of course, a part of the new Flex4K’s DNA; the camera is capable of up to 1000fps at 4K resolution and up to 2000fps at 2K. But there are many features in addition to frame rate that really put the ‘flex’ in Flex4K. The camera’s innovations are apparent from a quick glance at its industrial design and a review of key specifications.

DaVinci Resolve 10 Public Beta | Blackmagic
Both the full DaVinci Resolve 10 as well as the DaVinci Resolve 10 Lite editions posted for download.
DaVinci Resolve 10 is a major upgrade that includes new features for integrating the workflows of multiple different software products used in the film and television industry. DaVinci Resolve 10 has upgraded on set tools, upgraded editing features, support for OpenFX plug ins as well as new tools for delivering final project masters to cinemas. Other changes include the addition of Ultra HD resolutions and additional GPU support on the free of charge DaVinci Resolve Lite edition.

Blackmagic Pocket Camera firmware v1.4.2 available - no more black sun (?)
Someone Tweeted the above, but I can't confirm:  I'm sick of watching orbs | bmcUser

Sneak Peek - NUKE 8.0 | The Foundry | Vimeo
NUKE product manager, Jon Wadelton, goes through his favorite new and enhanced features in NUKE 8.0

The company claim they are optimised for 4K video capture with up to 150MB/s write speeds and a minimum sustained write speed of 65MB/s. (Cards with capacities from 16-128 GB write up to 150MB/s and the 256GB card is claimed to be 140MB/s.) Read speeds are said to be 160MB/s Read (1067X).

And an extra

Using Resolve with the New BMPCC - I'm I Doing it Right? | Dave Dugdale | Vimeo
In this video I compare the new BMPCC to my Canon 5D Mark III as I learn how to use this new camera while shooting in 'film mode'.I made this video just for the Lift Gamma Gain Community.Am I using the correct workflow by applying the BM film LUT? Is this the right LUT for this camera?Why does the BMPCC look "crunchy" (over sharpened) while in Resolve but when I export out to DNxHD it looks fine?

Duracell not so Durable?

For years I've bought Duracell batteries because I thought they tended to be more durable; they seemed less likely to leak. But some recent experiences are making me rethink that.

The first case happened with a battery in a guitar that leaked. Now the battery was not at the "Use By" date they stamp on them - which tend to be years out - but it had been sitting in the guitar for a year or two. I wrote that off as an unhappy accident (and removed all the batteries from all the guitars!)

But today I went to use my wireless mic, and it didn't turn on (which was a bit odd as I'd tested it only a few days before and it had worked.)

Then I noticed that the unit had been left on (which I thought was the reason the unit wasn't working.) I opened it up to replace the batteries and there was liquid all over the cradle that holds the batteries. - YUCK!

Now I know that the batteries had been in there for less than two months (and that's being conservative, I'm pretty certain they were put in more recently.) They have a date of DEC 2023 stamped on them too. The unit was left on - in a camera bag in an air conditioned office. Could it have overheated and caused them to leak?

Thankfully, I cleaned everything off with a paper napkin - which is all I had - put in some new batteries, and the unit still worked. YAAH!

Now I just have to figure out what sort of batteries to buy instead. Or was it operator error? I can't believe the unit got that hot...

Looks like I'm not the only one. And Duracell may replace the device - if it's damaged - maybe.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mass Prod Coalition Seminar "The Independent Filmmaker" postponed

The Massachusetts Production Coalition's seminar on filmmaking scheduled for this Saturday has been postponed:
I'm sorry to report that this weekend's seminar for "The Independent Filmmaker" will be postponed. A new date will be announced soon. My sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused in your promotional efforts as we do appreciate your support of these events so much.
Our Fall MPC Meeting on Tuesday night will proceed as planned.

Quick Links

Enter Letus35 who have announced a brand new adapter that may just revive all that Anamorphic magic again – this time without breaking the bank balance. This series of adapters will start at around $1700 US and promise to be high quality and yet reasonably simple to use. Lens compatibility is much greater than vintage options with a universal adapter for zoom lenses and later on different versions for different focal length primes.

The Mac version of this editor is supposed to come out first quarter of next year, which will be only two years later than when they first starting talking about releasing a Mac version (but I'd be excited if they actually pulled it off!):
The tri-platform editor has reached a groundbreaking 600,000+ registered users and is the tool of choice for editors working on a wide range of critically acclaimed films. “With a sizeable and very active Lightworks community behind us, we have an enormous amount of valuable feedback and are able to aggressively develop Lightworks with distinctive features that resonate with the editing community,” states Matthew Sandford, global product manager.

Simple Backup and Archiving Techniques for Video Editors | Josh Short | ScreenLight
The backup and archival process is a lot like going to the dentist — people know they have to go but somehow it always slips their mind or doesn’t fit into their busy schedule. But with the right hardware and methods in place, keeping projects and media safely stored can be done easily and with a lot less drilling.

I am a professional cinematographer. AMA. | Art Adams | Reddit
Art answers questions...
We love this question! The most important thing to remember is that your DP's job is to make your dream reality, so make that dream as real to them as possible. The more information you can give them as to exactly what you want the more likely they'll be able to make it happen.

Kat Coiro Explains Why She Listened to Her Distributor and Changed 'And While We Were Here' From B&W to Color | IndieWire
Then one day, in the midst of these conversations with our distributor, I sat down to choose a film with my husband On Demand. One of the synopses described a movie as B&W. Without even thinking I said, “Nah. I don’t feel like watching a black and white movie.”

How to Manage The Relationship Between Film Producer and Investor | IndieWire
Venal. Manipulative. Short-sighted. Just downright pathetic.
There are no better words to describe the dominant strain in the relationship between film producer and investor throughout the sorry history of filmmaking. Both sides are to blame for this state of affairs.

How to make great films on your smartphone | The Guardian
With today's smartphone technology, you no longer need Hollywood budgets and the backing of Harvey Weinstein to make a film that's seen by millions. Writer, director and presenter Matt Carroll gives his top 10 tips for creating great video with your mobile

Star Trek Into Darkness Title Design | YouTube
See how we created the Titles for Star Trek Into Darkness using After Effects & Element 3D.

And Now For Some Speculation

Is there any truth to the rumors? It’s tough to say, but we’re skeptical. The A9 4K Ultra HD Camera SoC was announced back in January, so the timing may work out for the next GoPro release, but what about the other factors?

Based on some rough estimates of comparable hardware, components, and labor, just the raw cost of the machine could total $2,800, the firm said. That's $300 more than the price Apple sells its existing, entry-level model for.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The News

My 5 favorite things from the upcoming Adobe Premiere Pro release | Scott Simmons | Pro Video Coalition
SpeedGrade Direct Link
This is probably the signature feature of this update and that above quote from Adobe's overview video is probably the understatement of the year. Notice that the heading says Direct Link and not Dynamic Link. This is important to note and was even corrected by Adobe’s PPro product manager on Twitter:
After Effects CC: Mask Tracker | Adobe.TV
Adobe is offering info on the new features too:
Quickly create a mask and apply an effect such as color correction that travels frame by frame throughout your composite. Mask Tracker eliminates the need to adjust the mask and effect throughout time and avoids repetitive rotoscoping tasks.

IPHONE 5C? YAWN. IPHONE 5S WITH 120FPS? AWESOME! | Hand Held Hollywood
The iPhone 5S looks like an interesting step forward. My iPhone 4 is looking old..
this innovation comes with a dangerous side-effect. In about 2 months, YouTube will be overrun with well edited slow-mo videos of people being hit in the crotch with water balloons. You’ve been warned.

"White Orbs" #2_The Calibrated Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera | moribun | Vimeo
A fix for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera?:
The BMD Japan replaced My BMPCC with NEW "calibrated" BMPCC.So,I shot the car headlights tonight and I tried to compare the "calibrated BMPCC" with the "uncalibrated BMPCC" on the "White Orbs".I think the calibrated BMPCC is better than uncalibrated one, but not perfect.

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera Continues Its Adventures In Broadcast | HDSLR Shooter
This piece is on the Cinema Camera, NOT the Pocket Cinema Camera:
Just a few posts ago we talked about the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and its forays into the world of broadcast. Now it’s happened again, this time to shoot promos and PSAs to air during Nashville’s WSMV-TV news. Brian Hallet is the station’s senior producer and writer, and chose the BMCC over other cameras because of its “…high resolution 2.5K sensor, 13 stops of dynamic range and CinemaDNG RAW and Avid DNxHD codecs”

GoPro Studio 2.0 | GoPro
New software release for the GoPro:
New: GoPro Edit Templates make it easy to create GoPro-style videos
New: Trim, edit and mix video clips
New: Add titles, music, audio tracks and more
New: Fisheye adjustment control
New: Adjust video playback speed for fast or slow motion
New: Export video still frames at full resolution

12 Steps to Avoid Going Broke Applying to Film Festivals | Dan Mirvish | Filmmaker Magazine
2. Make a Personal Connection to the Festival Programmer
Try to figure out who the main festival programmer is. Sometimes they’re the “artistic director,” sometimes a “senior programmer” — it’s different for every festival. Read their websites and look at their press releases. All top festival programmers have egos that get fulfilled by putting themselves in their own press releases. 

Episode #15 – Success story Clint Regehr shares shooting a feature length documentary | F-Stop Academy
Latest podcast:
Clint Regehr is a great success story and I’m very proud that e helped him achieve his goals. 18 months ago Clint was selling software and now he’s just screened a feature length documentary in a movie theatre in Dallas, TX.So how did he do it? This podcast reveals all:

CD Quality Is Not High-Res Audio | Mark Fleischmann | HomeTheater
Interesting thoughts about audio quality and categorizing them:
If MP3 is low-res, and CD is mid-res, what is high-res? I define high-res audio as having at least 24 bits and anything greater than the CD's 44.1 kHz sampling rate. So there. I prefer 24/192 downloads when I can get them but I'm still happy to collect in 24/96 and I'm willing to at least try other sampling rates—as long as they offer something better than CD quality.

Philip Hodgetts presents Lumberjack and Producer's Best Friend at BOSCPUG | FCP.Co
We featured Intelligent Assistance's logging program called Lumberjack when it was demoed by Philip at the recent LACPUG. This time he's on the East Coast and he takes us through a quick rundown of his products that are of interest to Final Cut Pro X editors, majoring on Producer's Best Friend and then Lumberjack.

Frame By Frame: The Art of Stop Motion | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios
Check this video, and if you find it interesting, check the YouTube page (link above), which has a number of resource links.

This is an moving montage of endings from different movies:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The News

Brushless gimbals are all the rage, and the Defy G2 seems to be a promising mid-priced gimbal for small cameras (like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.) They have posted some demo videos, including this one on using the (optional) pan/tilt control:
We wanted to make it even easier for the “single operators” who need full control of their rigs which is why we are introducing the Throttle pan/tilt controller. The Throttle controller gives users extremely smooth pan and tilt with a bit of feathering to allow for buttery smooth operation and footage. Better yet, it’s a simple direct USB connection for the G2 as well as the G5. The Throttle controller is available for purchase now

Flying Defy G2 Gimbal Stabilizer w/ BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera | Pro Cinema Tools
One user reports on mixed results with the Defy G2 and the BPCC:
I’ve heard that these brushless gimbals are a lot simpler to learn than traditional stabilizers like the Merlin or Glidecam but that is absolutely not true in the case of the Defy G2. Yes, balancing is simpler and doesn’t take more than a few minutes but I found getting a nice stable image to be just as hard if not harder than the Merlin or Glidecam.

New York City | Breaking in the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera | H. Paul Moon | Vimeo
Continuning the BPCC theme, H. Paul Moon posted this video shot with the camera, along with some impressions:
The BMPC concept has a long way to go; it doesn't live up to its promises in terms of dealing with highlights (those dreaded white orbs), its batteries last a New York minute, and its interface is wonky, but I'm excited by the latitude that it buys me for image corrections in post, given its portable form factor which really suits my working style.

Blackmagic Design have moved further to reassure users that are unhappy with the image issues. They have posted images on their forum demonstrating that the appearance of these ‘orbs’ can be reduced or eliminated by a re-calibration of the camera. According to Lam “not every camera requires this but we’re setting this as the new baseline callibration. We are also implementing this new calibration in cameras that ship going on forwards but this change has already been effected since the start of the week.”

The D16 at Night | Digital Bolex
Meanwhile, Digital Bolex has posted a video shot with their test camera. (Not sure I like the colors!)
This footage was all shot at 400 ISO on a 25mm vintage lens and transcoded in ClipHouse by Joe. The D16 isn’t intended to be a low light camera, but this footage gives you a sense of how far you can reach into shadows and what you can pull out.

How To Build A Rain Bar | Ryan Walters | Zacuto
With the high amount of rainy days we have in the Northwest, you would think that creating rain would never be an issue. Unfortunately, when it comes to production, we can’t take the risk of counting on it to rain. Our opening shot called for the camera to look through a window as it rained and thundered outside. So we had to make it rain on command. Fortunately, for about $25 in parts, and 1–2 hours of your time, you can make a 4’ rain bar. Here is the parts list, and the assembly instructions to build it yourself.

Color Grading The Kings of Summer | Michael Murie | Filmmaker Magazine
The Kings of Summer was graded by Narbeh Tatoussian, senior DI colorist at Blacklist Digital. Tatoussian has worked in the industry for over 16 years. He started in the shipping vault, then moved up through post-production and the QC department before becoming a tape room supervisor, assistant colorist and finally a colorist. During that time he says that’s he’s worked with “every single format” and “every single platform of color correction there is.”

My fear of the wide spread use of voice-overs in main stream media is that we are training our audiences to not have to think while simultaneously robbing our subjects of their emotions and identity found within their actual voices. The very people we want to give a voice to are stripped of their ability to give emotion as they share their stories. Instead, an interpretation of that emotion is given by a likely middle-class American or European.

A TV News Reporter's Guide to Creating Interesting Videos Quickly | ReelSEO
Tip #2: When conducting interviews try to elicit emotion & opinion Good stories always need emotion. So, look to your interviews to give your story the emotion it needs to be memorable. I always interview my client and my client's customer. I look to the customer to show their excitement and happiness about the product or service, and I want my business owner's soundbites to reveal passion, concern, and integrity.

$200 Price Drop through Sep 30DJI Phantom Quadcopter with GoPro Mount
| B & H PhotoVideo
There's a significant price drop on the Phantom Quadcopter available through the end of the month:
The DJI Phantom Quadcopter with GoPro Mount is a remote controlled, four-propeller quadcopter with a removable GoPro camera mount for capturing POV footage of flight. The compact and lightweight Phantom is ready-to-fly right out of the box and it includes the remote control unit and receiver, which gives the device a transmission range of up to 984.25' (300m). The Phantom also features an intelligent Naza-M + GPS multi-rotor autopilot system, which supports two flight modes and a failsafe function that will automatically trigger the device to land safely when control is lost.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Upcoming Events (Boston)

High Output Studios
Coffee & Bagels 9:30 AM
Seminars 10:00 - 12:00 Noon

A panel of talented filmmakers will deconstruct what "Independent Filmmaking" means today. In addition to being producers, directors and writers, they are also fundraisers, marketers, bloggers, distributors, educators, CEOs and CFOs of their own companies, technologists, designers, and more – all while keeping the fundamental STORY in their films front and center, and figuring out how to distribute their content onto all available platforms.

• Gabrielle Dockterman – Director / Producer, Angel Devil Productions
• Laurie Kahn – Director / Producer, Blueberrry Hill Productions
• Beth Murphy – Filmmaker / Founder, Principle Pictures
• Moderated by Kathryn Dietz – Executive Director, Filmmakers Collaborative

FALL MPC MEETING | Tuesday, September 17th
DoubleTree Suites
6:00 - 7:30 pm Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres, Networking.
7:30 - 9:00 pm Presentations

Join the MA film and media industry for a great night of networking, cocktails, and special presentations.

• MPC News & Updates
• Lisa Strout, MA Film Office Director MA Film Commissioner Lisa Strout, will join us to share the latest updates from the MFO, and a look at what's ahead for the MA film industry.
• The Making of PLIMPTON! with Director Luke Poling Opening on screens across the nation to rave reviews from the NY Times, Variety, IndieWire, and countless others, Boston-based director Luke Poling will join us to speak about the making of Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself – a brilliant documentary on the life and times of America's most endearing editor, essayist, sportswriter, adventurer, and "party animal of the intelligentsia."

Rule Boston Camera Pub Night: Shooting Abroad with Cinematographer Zach Zamboni | Wednesday, September 15
6-8pm with Pizza and Beer! This event is free. RSVP Here
Shooting Abroad with Award-Winning Cinematographer, Zach Zamboni
Zach Zamboni returns to Pub Night to share his vast experiences filming in literally every corner of the world. Zach will talk about his most recent travels with feedback on what it's like shooting with the new Sony F5 and S-Log on the fly, in documentary situations. He'll cover his adventures from both a technical and non-technical perspective, and he is looking forward to questions on all aspects of travel and cinematography!

Raised in Maine, Zach studied Philosophy, Writing and Cinematography at the University of Maine, the University of East Anglia in the UK and at the Maine Workshops. He learned the art and technique of lighting as an electrician and gaffer within the ranks of New York’s independent feature and commercial world.

As a Director of Photography, Zach has spent years working abroad in every climate and continent. More than 10,000 hours of international camera work have given him a rare perspective on people and cultures near and far.

Zach’s work includes: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown for CNN, The Layover, The Getaway for Esquire, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations for Travel Channel, Gourmet’s Diary of A Foodie for WGBH/National Geographic as well as variety of other Film, Doc and Television work.

BOSCPUG (Boston Creative Pro User Group Meeting) | Thursday, September 26
Details not finalized, but they've tweeted:
HUGE Raffle and Hollywood Editor to be announced for Thursday, Sept. 26th BOSCPUG - RSVP Url to GO Live Tuesday!

Adobe announces October upgrades for Creative Cloud

It's IBC week, so expect some announcements this week. Adobe has started off the week with an announcement of new features coming for Adobe Creative Cloud.

After Effects CC (12.1): what’s new and changed in this update due to be released October 2013 | Blogs | Adobe
Here is a virtually comprehensive list of changes, with detail beyond the summaries of the top items listed above. We’ll be posting a lot more detail over the coming weeks, and the outline below will be populated with links to in-depth articles and tutorials, so bookmark this page and check back.

Adobe Premiere Pro CC October 2013 Release | Blogs | Adobe
Color is becoming increasingly important throughout an entire production workflow, and the addition of the Lumetri Deep Color Engine in the June 2013 Premiere Pro CC release gave editors the ability to work with beautiful SpeedGrade grades right inside the application. With this release, SpeedGrade has fully implemented the Mercury Playback Engine from Premiere Pro, and a brand new workflow between the two applications is being introduced, namely Direct Link.

Adobe pro video tools. Still new. Already improved | Adobe
Brilliant visuals. Fluid workflows. The cutting edge in pro video tools is about to get sharper. Adobe Creative Cloud is adding more than 150 new features that speed up video and film production workflows, with significant updates to Adobe Premiere® Pro CC, After Effects® CC, SpeedGrade® CC, Prelude® CC, Media Encoder CC, and Story CC Plus. We’re also introducing a brand-new iPad app, Prelude Live Logger. Here's a sneak peek at our upcoming releases.

PDF Document | Adobe
Continuous innovation is at the heart of Adobe Creative Cloud—a dedicated platform fordelivering new features, products and services more frequently to help keep you ahead ofthe curve. Just four months after the CC releases shipped, Creative Cloud will be adding over150 new features that greatly improve video workflows, with significant updates to AdobePremiere® Pro CC, After Effects® CC, SpeedGrade® CC, Prelude™ CC, Adobe Media Encoder CC,and Adobe Story CC Plus. At IBC we will also preview Prelude Live Logger, a brand-new iPadapp currently in development.

Creative Cloud October update - over 150 new video features | Rich Young | Pro Video Coalition
The October update will be less than 4 months after Premiere Pro, After Effects, and the other CC tools were originally released. Adobe plans to add over 150 new features to Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, SpeedGrade CC, Adobe Media Encoder CC, Prelude CC,  and Adobe Story. They're also introducing new iPad apps, Adobe Anywhere iPad and Prelude Live Logger.

Brilliant Visuals | Fluid Workflows | Pro Video Coalition
Later this week at IBC, we’ll be showing off many awesome new features coming on October 15 in the next releases of Creative Cloud pro video tools. Instead of the usual 12 or 18-month wait, we’re proud to be offering the major updates just four months after the original CC products were launched.

Adobe Announces Major Software Updates | Larry Jordan
A look at the highlights of the updates to the different apps:
As Bill Roberts, director of video product management at Adobe, said: “Broadcasters and video pros have limited resources and are under increasing pressure to deliver more on shorter timelines and smaller budgets, so they need solutions that streamline workflows and enable more efficiency.

Adobe Announces native Dragon support in Premiere Pro  | Red User Forum

What else is coming?

The announcement from Adobe prompts reader Paul Antico to wonder about what might be coming from Apple:
Adobe announced 140 new features, many of which are either dependent on Mavericks (Open CL 4.x support for Intel CPU gfx), or will stress the new Mac Pro (GPU acceleration for encoding). Out in October.

I wonder what is also coming in October? We get Mavericks, updated laptops, and that new Mac Pro.

Adobe CC is coming into its own with the constant addition of new features. I kinda like it.

When cometh the $1,000 4K video camera?

Sony FDR-AX1

The announcement of a $4,500 4K consumer camera by Sony has to prompt the question; when will there be a $1,000 4K consumer camcorder? Of course there already are at least two; there’s the GoPro Hero3 Black, and Acer just announced a 4K smartphone.

But let’s talk about a reasonable quality, useable consumer camera?

If what’s past is prologue, maybe we can look to the speed of adoption of HD to project how long it will take for Sony to come up with a $1,000 4K consumer camcorder.

Sony HDR-FX1

In late 2004 Sony introduced the HDR-FX1. It’s kind of cool that the new camera’s name (FDR-AX1) echo’s the model number of the camera that pioneered low-cost HD capture (as does the PXW-Z100 echo the name of the HVR-Z1, which was the professional version of the HDR-FX1.) The HDR-FX1 was also the first camera that featured Sony’s new camera body design with the LCD on the handle The HDR-FX1 also had 3-CCD chips, but let’s ignore that.

The HDR-FX1 was priced at $3,500. Running that through an historical calculator, that amount possibly translates to $4090 - $4630, (which is kind of interesting.)

Sony HDR-HC1

Six months after the introduction of the HDR-FX1, in mid-2005, Sony announced the HDR-HC1 with an MSRP of $1,999. Even though the HDR-FX1 was considered a consumer camcorder, the HDR-HC1 was more like a consumer camcorder in that it was much smaller, and simpler to operate.

But it wasn’t until May 2007 that Sony hit $1099 with the HDR-HC7. This, like the other models, was a tape-based camera. Memory Stick and disk-based cameras started appearing in late 2006/early 2007, but were still $200-400 over that $1,000 price point.

It took until August 2008 for the $899.99 HDR-CX7 to arrive.

Sony HDR-CX7

Of course, it wasn’t just a case of the price coming down; there continued to be a lot of evolution; and the image quality improved (and resolution increased) over the next couple of years as the transition from HDV to file-based recording was completed.

But looking at the basic details, it took two and a half years to go from the first $3,500 “consumer” camcorder, to a $1,000 consumer camcorder. And adjusting prices for inflation, we’re probably looking at about $1,200 as the equivalent target price.

Will it take about the same time for us to get a 4K camcorder at that price point? Will all consumer cameras be 4K in five years? Or will it happen sooner?

One last point. I’m just looking at the cost of the camera; I’m not considering the quality or desirability of the cameras themselves. Sony makes consumer camcorders, and consumer camcorders. There’s a world of difference between the HDR-FX1 and the HDR-HC7. I’d take the HDR-FX1 over the HDR-HC7 any day because of it’s better optics and operator functions.

I’m sure that the FDR-AX1 will still be a better camcorder than that $1,200 camcorder, when it arrives.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sony's video business and 4K

Red Shark interviewed Bill Drummond, of Sony Europe, who is responsible for marketing of entry level production products, including all camcorders up to about 10,000 pounds (he covers everything from the NEX-VG30 up to the PMW-320.)

While the interview was instigated by the announcement of the two new 4K camcorders (the FDR-AX1 and the PXW-Z100, there's very little information about the cameras presented, other than an explanation of the recording formats of the two cameras, and much of the discussion covers Sony's video business and the 4K market place.

The most interesting things mentioned:

When asked what their most popular cameras were in his market segment, he listed the PMW-200 and the NEX-FS700
"I think those two really indicate how the market is moving. A lot of mainstream run-and -gun style television shooting is moving to 50 M/bits MPEG 2 looking at products like the PMW-200. And then there’s also this requirement for new creative shooting, they’re looking at shallow depth of field, lens control, to really get that cinematic feature and the FS700, since it’s launch, has been awesome in terms of it’s sales performance."

On the 4K front:
  • He suggested that the new cameras would be used as a B camera for the F5 & F55 or for high-end corporate or weddings.
  • When asked if the two cameras use the sensor he said: "It’s exactly the same resolution on the consumer camera, and exactly the same lens as well. The front end is exactly the same, and really the differences start as you move to the rear of the camera and the codecs employed."
  • He said that 4K is becoming the new standard in the television world. Screen size is getting larger and sales of 4K televisions have “gone well” He also made a connection between the situation today and the "HD wave" of a few years back.

A few other interesting things:

When asked if XLR audio connections were only on the pro-camera Drummond said "XLR is an interesting feature and more and more we’re using XLR in our high-end consumer products because XLR is no longer the preserve of the professional."

He also said there will be a couple more announcements at IBC.

Finally, one of the interviewers made the statement that Sony was back in profitability, and that this was because people were buying 4K gear.