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Five Predictions for Video Production in 2015 – Part 1


future-of-cameras

 Last year, I posted my five predictions for video production in 2014.  Let’s take a look back and see the hits and misses.

#1 – 4K Heyday

With far more new cameras offering 4K resolution, I think this was an accurate call. I also suggested selling your Sony EX1. That camera has lost about 40% of its value this year.  I predicted a new 4K camera in the $5,000 to $8,000 range before the end of the year, and the Sony FS7 is exactly that.   This prediction gets a “confirmed” rating.

#2 – Prosumer Video DSLR

This prediction is mostly accurate, if you replace “DSLR” with “mirrorless.” The GH4 shoots and records 4K video on a crop sensor and can be outfitted with timecode and XLR ins.  The Sony A7s has significantly larger pixels than previous DSLRs, and definitely qualifies for “far better low-light performance.”  The miss here was all about Canon’s strategy.  Instead of delivering a 4K DSLR, Canon avoided bringing their video and photo lines in direct competition.  While the merits of this strategy may outweigh the risks to Canon right now, there’s a lot of other companies who aren’t afraid to shake up the market between still/video and prosumer/professional. This prediction gets a “sorta” rating.

#3 – Lytro in Motion

The closest match to this prediction is Pelican Imaging’s announcement of “upcoming” video support for their light field camera. 2014 also saw the release of the first light-field plugin for an NLE (Frauenhofer’s Light Field plugin for Avid). Lytro, the leader in bringing light field to consumers, spent their efforts on improving photographs. The Lytro Illum is really a fantastic camera within the tiny niche of light field photography, and the Lytro Development Kit has put the hardware and software in the hands of NASA and the DOD, who have video applications on the horizon.  Want to develop with the LDK? You’ll just need $20,000 a year. The part of the prediction I missed? This revolution is not hyped at all.  We’ll probably need a storyteller or brand to start using light field video before the world at large sees it and starts to take notice.  I give this predition a “mostly” rating.

#4 – LED over HMI

This year was certainly a banner year for LED technology. We’ve seen a dozen new manufacturers, and several are emerging as leaders in the LED video lighting category. Arri updated their LED fixtures with a 25% brightness improvement. This was significant, but the fixtures are still a long way from matching a 575w HMI in output (to be precise, an L7 has about 40% of the 5600k output of an HMI at 575w). Arri also launched the L5 fixture, with less output than the L7, less color adjustments, and lower CRI.  The biggest advantage of the L5 is battery operation. This prediction gets called a “miss.”

#5 – Magic Lantern will change or become irrelevant

2014 saw the announcement of the Axiom line of open-source video cameras, with firmware to be developed by the Magic Lantern team.  I think that qualifies as a significant change.  The ML team put a great deal of effort into making raw recording more stable, but the Blackmagic 4K camera gave shooters raw files with higher resolution, more dynamic range, and significantly more manageable workflow. For shooters that don’t need raw, cameras like the GH4 integrate nicely into existing workflows (and shoulder rigs, memory cards, and lenses too).  We’ve seen the rentals of the Canon 5D3 for video shooters drop around September 2014. This prediction gets another “mostly” rating.

Now I’m off to write part 2, where I make new predictions for 2015.

Posted by Jon Kline


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