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Five Predictions for Video Production in 2014


The Future - Mimi and Eunice

At the end of every year, Mason Resnick at Adorama does his photography predictions for the next year.  It inspired me to start our own annual tradition, and make this list of video predictions for 2014.  This is where I predict the industry will be headed in the next 365 days.

4K Heyday

This will be the year that 4K hits critical mass.  The hurdles (media, processing power, and sensor sensitivity) have all been cleared, and it’s only a matter of time before all broadcasters start accepting 4K content.  If you’re on the fence about selling your EX1 or HMC-150, now’s probably a great time to sell.  With the PXw-Z100 available already, we’ll likely see a 4K offering from either Panasonic or Canon in the $5,000-$8,000 range before the end of 2014.

The Prosumer Video DSLR

At first blush, making a DSLR specifically for video seems a little silly.  But being able to pack a large sensor in a tiny package has made a huge difference for film-style shoots.  The Canon 1Dc is the only DSLR camera with professional-level video functions right now, but I predict we’ll see another one under $3,500.  I think the most likely is a Canon 7D-series camera with the “C” designation, shooting 4K video on a 1.6x crop sensor.  We may even see an 8.3MP or 8.8MP DSLR, whose sensor and pixels are engineered for perfect QHD or 4K, with far better low-light performance over “traditional” DSLRs.  Canon spent most of the last few years trying to keep their DSLR market from eating their video market, but 2014 will be the year they start to compete head-to-head.

Lytro in Motion

Shoot now, focus later.  The Lytro light-field camera is basically a cool novelty, taking still pictures using complex techniques in a miniaturized system.  2014 will include the first announcement of a light-field video camera system. It will be well-hyped, unstable, impractical, and expensive, and probably not actually available to a consumer for many years.

LED over HMI

The engineering challenges that faced LED lighting are starting to be overcome.  2013 saw LEDs take over in the studio and stage markets.  2014 will be the year for Arri to offer an alternative to a 575w HMI, in a format that’s durable enough for everyday location use, passively cooled, and color-accurate enough (90+ CRI) to use on high-profile projects.

Magic Lantern will Change or Become Irrelevant

The developers on the Magic Lantern team have completely changed the way Canon DSLRs are used for video.  Their features have been basically required for pro-level shooters using the 5D mark 3 or 7D.  Lately, they’ve been focused much more on building out esoteric features, not creating stable releases.  2014 will be the year the group either splinters off into two groups with significantly different objectives, or pro shooters move en masse to a newer, more stable platform (see the Prosumer Video DSLR above).  Amateurs will likely continue using ML for the next decade, but they’re not the ones who make generous PayPal donations.

Posted by Jon Kline


3 Comments

  1. NG Production Films

    Very True! Nice Blog…

  2. Rich Rubasch

    Don’t agree with the 4k hype. Not yet. We’ll see at NAB. Broadcaster just put all their resources in HD servers. 4K is nowhere on the horizon for broadcast in the US. 4k is great for features, larger budget post work and other niche markets, but it is getting a cold shoulder from consumers. Mostly because we have our 65 inch plasma sets in our living rooms that look great. Want more realism? Got to a movie!

    So for independents it is almost essential, although low budgets are still delivered on BluRay.

    I say 4K is at least 2 years off for mainstream acceptance and implementation.

    Thoughts?

    • Jon Kline

      I’m hopeful that the acquisition formats will outpace the distribution formats. I agree, many consumers won’t have 4K TVs until at least 2016, but I think by the end of the year (if not already), more than half of national TV spots will be acquired in 4K. With a $6,000 camera, we can more accurately track 3D motion, stabilize, correct framing, and get perfect chromakeys. Even low-budget corporate and event shooters can benefit. A 4K camera for acquisition can become two or more different video tracks, one of them wide angle and the other zoomed in to 300% (720p).

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