HDVideoPro: Quick Thoughts On 2010 And The Inevitable Top Ten List

HDVideoPro by Neil Matsumoto

2010 will go down as a landmark year for helping level the playing field between studio and independent filmmakers. Like in ’09, 2010 was again dominated by HD DSLRs. Although the Canon 5D Mark II made its debut back in ’08, it still continues to transform the production industry in new exciting ways and is now the camera of choice for the majority of indie filmmakers. Even on the pro-level, HD DSLRs have gone on to shoot major TV spots, music videos, network shows and feature films with A-list talent. With the rumors of a possible 5D Mark III soon to be announced in 2011, I don’t expect the HD DSLR revolution to die down soon.

Because of the revolution, 2010 also marked the year that the camcorder empire struck back. With the numerous workarounds a filmmaker needs to learn working with HD DSLRs–which includes the lack of professional sound, monitoring, outputs, waveforms, vectorforms, etc.–the camcorder industry announced several a few models containing large sensors that can capture cinematic shallow depth of field while still having all the accoutrements of a video camera. Panasonic just released the AG-AF100, a compact camcorder that contains a micro 4/3s sensor and Sony announced the PMW-F3, a Super 35mm sized sensor inside a compact body that allows you to mount professional cinema lenses. The AF100 has an excellent price point ($4,795) close to an outfitted HD DSLR but the F3's price at $16K puts it somewhere between an HD DSLR and a RED ONE, making it more of a rental camera. I can see the F3 being a great B-camera for big budget F35 productions.

Always a newsmaker, RED continued with their implementation of their Mysterium X sensor, which is a sensor upgrade to the RED ONE camera. With the MX, a shooter can capture 4K footage in low light environments since the sensor is rated at 800ASA. We saw director David Fincher use the MX RED ONE to great effect for his work on The Social Network, which incidentally was one of my favorite films of the year. Peter Jackson just announced he will be using 30 RED EPICs in 3D rigs for two film adaptations of The Hobbit. As long as the specs don’t change like the usual RED release, the EPIC is is 1/3 the size of the RED ONE, contains a 5K Mysterium-X sensor, can capture up to 120 frames per second, and contains their newly developed HDRx, which has an extended dynamic range of up to 18 stops. I’m sure the EPIC will be the hot camera of 2011.

Speaking of hot products, here is a quick top ten list of my favorite tools of the year. read more...

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