01 Jan 2018

Is the camera industry in meltdown or is this a new age for cinematographers. And can you build a camera in your shed?

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Can you build a camera in your shed? Can you build a camera in your shed? RedShark



Developing a product in this environment is so much more than the already very tough process of conceiving, designing, nurturing and manufacturing a new product. If, in days past, that was a stroll across the street, today's process is like climbing out of an aircraft at supersonic speed without a parachute or air supply, and leaping onto another aircraft that's passing below you - at five times the speed.

Well, it is like that if you look at things in "old world" terms.

And I suspect that this is what Aaton were trying to do. Trying to ride out not only a change of paradigm but a change of culture, they designed a product that on paper and in practice was extremely credible, with great-looking images and a form factor that seemed right to a lot of people. The Aaton Delta Penelope was a big camera with large, silent fans, that included just about everything you needed to get going.

Now, without going into Aaton's financial situation too much, you can see why their digital product might not have been a fantastic success. It’s because there are industry giants who have productised and marketed their ideas first. These are big companies who have the financial buffer to ride out the initial storm caused by the change from film to digital. The likes of Sony probably waited until the moment was right before they brought out their F5 and F55 which are at least arguably their responses to the RED Epic.

And then there's Blackmagic, with their extraordinarily secretive program to develop a range of cinematic cameras at a price that - at least at first-sight - is simply unbelievable.

So does this mean that we've seen the last innovation in this close-to-saturated field? No, not at all. But only if you "get" what's causing all this progress in the first place.


David Shapton

David is the Editor In Chief of RedShark Publications. He's been a professional columnist and author since 1998, when he started writing for the European Music Technology magazine Sound on Sound. David has worked with professional digital audio and video for the last 25 years.

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