28 Jul 2018

4K? 8K? Raw video? If you think that's amazing, you won't have to wait long for even more

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The future of video The future of video RedShark


RedShark Replay: First published in 2013, RedShark's Editor in Chief David Shapton fired up his crystal ball, and it still rings as true today as it did back then. It dawned on me just the other day: we are living in the future. There is so much innovation and new technology around us that it no longer feels like we're merely living in the present. It's as if we're in a science fiction movie where we've been transported forward by ten or twenty years

The industry and the activity that RedShark is all about - video, film, the technology and craft of moving images - is so dependent on technology that the changes (and the rate of change) don't just affect us glancingly - they are right at the centre of what we do.

I'm not going to try to make predictions in this article - in fact one of the big conclusions is that it's rapidly getting harder to predict anything. What I am going to do is look at the evidence that the future is here and that the more distant future is approaching over the horizon like a hypersonic aircraft.

The Past Year

Let's just look at what's happened in the past year. The first year of RedShark, in fact.

Just under a year ago, Sony announced the F55 and F5 cameras. These 4K devices were somewhat cheaper than people were expected and represented a major commitment from Sony to 4K.

We've seen not just one, but three new cameras from Blackmagic Design. That's right, a company more famous for building I/O boards and converters now makes cinema-quality cameras. Where did that come from? Actually, we do know. It was part of a careful strategy that involved the purchase of Davinci on the software side and (we suspect) the "trojan horse" development of the Hyperdeck Shuttle field recorder, which more than a few people said at the time it was announced, was the back end of a camera, missing only a lens mount and a sensor (and - it has to be said - an awful lot of precise and meticulous development and integration!).

And we've seen raw HD video from Canon EOS cameras. Raw is probably the "word of the year". Just a few years ago, very few people even knew what raw video was. Even if you did know, that you could have access to it from your DSLR with just a software download would have seemed incredible (at least to anyone without prior knowledge of what Magic Lantern had been doing to other cameras like the GH2, where they upped the data rate of its recordings - nothing to do with raw but everything to do with how clever they are).

We've seen the release of films shot on an 8K sensor: the one in Sony's F65. Oblivion looked stupendous; a good job, the critics said, given the underwhelming nature of the plot.

Adobe's Creative Cloud has ushered in a new way to deliver software, and a somewhat different way to pay for it. Sony has launched Ci, their cloud media production system. It won't be long before cameras have no storage at all, because all their media will be uploaded at the time it's acquired. (Really? This one might take some time, but only this week we read about the prospect of100Gb/s Wifi.)

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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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