Olde Redde Sharke's Almanak: Andy Stout personal predictions for 2013
The rise of 4K as a production format
The adoption of 4K gained so much momentum over the course of 2012 that it now seems almost unstoppable. Kit is coming down in price all the time - expect to see some very aggressively priced 4K prosumer and industry camcorders at CES and NAB respectively - and is also becoming more capable as processor speeds increase and the format thus arrives at the desktop. We reckon that more and more live events will be captured in 4k in 2013, with sport in particular leading the way (think NFL, EPL and maybe NASCAR). Also look out for the occasional marquee television series stepping up to the 4k plate. Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey in 4K? It's an interesting prospect, especially if our next prediction comes true.
The first 4K channels
Technically, this isn't too far away from being achievable, really it's just a case of waiting for the HEVC codec to be locked down so that the 4k signal can be carried in the same bandwidth as current HD signals. The tricky part is when the business model makes sense, as whoever launches a channel is going to have to a) provide new set-top boxes carrying the HEVC chipsets to its customers and b) then provide the premium content to feed them. Looking at the various broadcasters' previous form, we'd place our money on BSkyB or Sky Deutschland being first out of the gate, either of which could be launching a channel as soon as in time for the next European soccer season. And if they don't do that in 2013 then they *definitely* will in 2014.
That there will be more television on smartphones and tablets is a given, but 2013 will also see increasingly sophisticated catch-up services to help you find what you want when you want it and on any platform. We're also expecting the second screen services that dovetail with the main programmes to become more creative and start really making use of iOS and Android features rather than simply presenting video in another format. As some of the more innovative work on the kids' app front shows (and check out Sneak HD for an example) these platforms are a lot more than simply portable televisions.
Cloud based production becomes ubiquitous
With questions about security now mostly addressed, moving a lot of production technologies into the cloud makes sense for a lot of smaller outfits and some of the big ones too. Tapping into cloud-based processing power and storage on the one hand is increasingly the norm, while the distributed and collaborative workflows that the cloud allows are a major advantage both throughout an organisation and on a production. Expect to see some major broadcasters and vfx houses signing up rather publicly for services as the year progresses.
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