Production Trends for 2011

Videography by Oliver Peters

The production news in this coming year will continue to revolve around new cameras, tapeless acquisition and stereo 3D production. The factors that determine buying decisions will include cost, optical characteristic and the "green" impact of the production.

Cameras
If I were to define the trend in new cameras, it would boil down to larger-format sensors. The move beyond the classic 2/3-inch video chip was initially popularized by RED Digital Cinema but really picked up steam with the success of Canon's EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D digital SLR cameras. There will be a number of new cameras in 2011 sporting a sensor that's roughly equivalent to the exposure area of Super 35mm (3-perf) motion picture film. (The 5D is still the current sensor to beat, with a so-called full-frame size that uses an image area comparable to 35mm still film.) These cameras have become popular because of the shallow depth of field their larger sensors are able to deliver.

I don't see the buzz of video-enabled HDSLRs diminishing, but the real news will come from RED, ARRI, Sony and Panasonic. After a two-year delay, RED will finally release production versions of its next-generation EPIC camera. It's bound to be an engineering tour de force, but one question will be the viability of the EPIC's modular DSMC (digital still and motion camera) design. The camera body has the smallest form factor for a true digital cinematography camera, but the company's concept is that the camera will appeal to high-end still photographers as well as motion picture cinematographers. That may be a stretch, but time will tell. To sweeten the pot, RED has pursued some unique engineering challenges, such as EPIC's HDRx, an extended dynamic range feature designed to capture images with up to 18 stops, according to RED.

The future of EPIC's sibling, Scarlet, is still to be determined. RED founder Jim Jannard announced a few months ago that the camera will not target the prosumer market, which at one time was thought to be where Scarlet might have been headed. Right after Thanksgiving, Jannard announced that the Scarlet S35 model was being rebranded as "EPIC Light." Feature and price changes will be announced on the RED Web site sometime in December. read more...

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