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


Modularity and Interchangeable Sensors

Perhaps the most remarkable thing we've seen this year was the modular camera concept from Apertus. It's exciting because it "gets it". By modularising all the functions in a camera, it means that each one can be developed at its own optimal pace.

Perhaps this is the way forward. Instead of the entire camera being made by one manufacturer, we could have greater interchangeability. It's not for everyone - there's a reason why (eg) Sony's cameras work so well - it's "vertical integration": making everything from the sensor to the storage and everything in between.

But we've seen what can be done with lenses and lens adaptors. Why not have interchangeable sensors? And you can go as granular as you like with this. Just this week, Sony announced interchangeable Optical Low Pass Filters for their sensors in the Sony F55. And earlier in the year, we saw their "whole camera in a lens" system, ostensibly to use with a smartphone - itself a great illustration of modularity - but perhaps pointing the ultimate way ahead for modular cameras where the lens and the sensor are one sealed and optimised unit that can give far better performance than a (random) lens being used with a (random) sensor. When you apply digital processing to lens correction, you can achieve results that approach perfection.

The near Future

So, what's going to happen in the near future?

It's very hard to say. All you can do is expect progress in unexpected places, and some bigger jumps than before. There will be exceptions to this: Arri's new camera, the Amira, is more consolidation than innovation and it's none the worse for that. You can't expect a single company to reveal new and groundbreaking products all the time. But what is very likely to happen is that smaller, flexible companies will take advantage of the fact that components are available to anyone that wants to buy them. This is how companies like Atomos, AJA and Convergent Design are able to build digital video recorders that are smaller and more powerful (and run on batteries) than tape decks of ten years ago. And they're a 20th of the price.

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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