One of the meta themes of the year was the continuing progress of various part so the industry at various speeds into the cloud. One of them in particular caught our eye in July. A video editor in a browser that works with a 2MBit/s connection? We thought that Blackbird has some seriously impressive technology on display.
Or, to put it another way, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (But Were Afraid to Ask).
“Here's the almost miraculous bonus of using FPGAs: they're reprogrammable,” we wrote. “With a single FPGA, you can have it perform radically different functions each time it boots up. Essentially you can have an infinite number of custom processors on a single chip. In the past (and in the present, as far as we know) manufacturers who used smaller, cheaper FPGAs to limit the cost of their products would reboot the FPGA and load up different code if certain functions were selected.
From the future to the past. Sales of cassette tapes rose 19% during the previous year and we honestly had no idea why.
“A cassette tape has none of the appeal of vinyl. It gets chewed up, jammed, and isn't all that attractive to look at. And yet 52.5 percent of [those] sales were for albums three years or over in age, while 32 percent were for albums under a year and a half old.”
Some of the comments talk about old cars with the machines welded into them, but really? Are there that many people out there who yearn for a key component of their audio system being the pencil required to get the tape back into its rubbishy plastic housing after your tape deck has tried to eat it once more?
It’s a relief to return to something that seems not only sensible but impressive. Which is precisely what we thought when Sigma announced one of the most interesting new full-frame hybrid stills/cinematography cameras we've seen in a long time.
This was our first piece about it. There were others as the year progressed (see here for example). And now that the camera is out and shipping and has a confirmed $1899 price point, there may well be more in the fairly new future.
But while the Sigma still lay in the future, we had our hands on the Lumix S1 and ran an in-depth two-part review which you can start reading at the link above.
Part two is here and, as it’s title suggests (Our tests show the Lumix S1 is insanely good in low light!) it had some capabilities that really impressed us.
Plus, of course, later in the year you had the S1H to choose from as well. Far from being just a slight iteration of the S1 line, this is really an entirely different camera, and while we’re jumping ahead a nit, you can read the review of that one here: The Panasonic Lumix S1H is a "do-it-all" powerhouse