25 Dec 2019

RedShark review of the year - January 2019

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The AG-CX350 was a lot of camera to start the year with The AG-CX350 was a lot of camera to start the year with Panasonic

We start our review of the year with a look at the main stories that ignited debate and interest on the site, from new cameras to new (okay, new-ish) TV formats.

Black Mirror Bandersnatch: where will it all lead?


The year started off with the highest profile release of an interactive storytelling programme yet, with Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch pedalling a typically dystopian story about a young programmer’s journey to fame and fortune or not, depending on the choices you made along the way.

There was a lot of stuff written by a lot of people at the time in a lot out outlets proclaiming it as the future. We though reckoned it was satire of the highest order.

“Trust [Charlie] Brooker to take money from a streaming service eager to push a new technology, and then spend that money on the most thorough and brilliant debunking of that technology imaginable. Netflix will undoubtedly produce more interactive content, but I pity the team that has to follow Brooker’s merciless satire with a straight-forward adventure.”

Sony's new a6400 is a 4K video powerhouse


The first in what was a vintage year of camera releases come in the shape of the Sony a6400 which, despite its diminutive size, is something of a beast when it comes to all things to do with 4K video.

“This looks like an extremely interesting and capable camera,” we reckoned. “It's fascinating to see that Sony is explicitly aiming this at video bloggers. This is an already huge and growing category of users that need a small, inexpensive but high quality camera like this.”

The AG-CX350: Panasonic's astonishingly capable new camera


“It may look like any other camera in its class, but don’t be fooled,” we wrote. “It packs into its compact body features not yet seen in comparable cameras.”

In fact we went on to say that it was hard to think of the CX350 as a $4000 camera. And indeed, it isn’t anymore, with the price edging down to $3700 in recent months. That is a lot of camera for the money.

“The strongest suits are sensor, focus, recording formats and connectivity,” said Ned Soltz in his review. “Automatic features are remarkably good while still permitting manual focus, aperture and white balance.” 

Review: The Mac Mini's grown up. It's now an entry-level workstation


There was, as ever, a lot about Apple one way or another over the course of the year, with our first in-depth dive looking at the Mac mini that was released at the tail end of 2018. On the whole we liked it (though, of course, there was more to come from Apple later in the year albeit at prices that made the hike in the mini over previous iterations seem comparatively tiny by comparison). 

Could you shoot a movie using one lens? Here are some wonderful examples


This was the question posed by Niki Smith, who then went on to detail three contemporary movies that used the single lens look to fairly astonishing visual effect.

“The 21mm lens helps to keep the events and characters of the film at arms-length, distanced, cold and of another time,” she wrote about Cronenberg’s 2012 ‘Cosmopolis. “It helps to create the kind of facsimile of the early noughts that we might remember or at least, might be starting to recognise now as a unique time with its own set of values and desires.”

Andy Stout

Andy has spent over two decades writing about all aspects of the broadcast and film industries for a variety of high-profile industry publications on both sides of the Atlantic. During that time the industry has moved from 4:3 SD to 16:9 SD to HD and now on to 4K HDR. He's getting kind of curious to see where it goes next.

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