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Who and what are the contributing factors behind the development in Camera Technology?

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#1 Mathew DelorenziWaters

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 07:09 AM

Hi there
I am writing my Thesis on above topic and am conducting various research to try determine what the various contributing factors in camera technologies are. As shooting digitally is becoming more frequent and Digital Film cameras are becoming more advanced it I want to know why camera manufacturers are pushing to develop their cameras with greater resolution capabilities, frame rates, light sensitivity etc. However as there now seem to be more and more manufacturers entering the game (Alexa, F65, RED, Sony) what are they all trying to develop and who is pushing for these improvements?

Film has had a 100 years of development and research to develop its image and there is plenty of archive history there yes, however with Digital Film being a relatively new format that seems to be advancing at a faster and faster pace with no signs of stopping. What are the reasons for these advancements? Is cinematography and camera operation behind it? Editing? Production studios and cutting budgets?

Some insight from working professionals would be very helpful. I am in my Final year studying Film & Television production and this could help me gain some ground.

Thanks for your time

Sincerely
Mathew
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#2 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 07:22 AM

Mathew, you are asking a question but you seem to already have an answer in mind that you want. First off, please dont call it "digital film" as that term is inaccurate. Film is simply a word that refers to a physical emulsion and digital is an abstract concept since data doesnt really exist (Im a Computer Science Grad student so take my word for that one) and is nothing more than voltage being applied to electronical components and no voltage being applied (1s and 0s as you hear.)

As far as what is "driving" the arms race, it has little to do directly with the needs of cinematographes and more to do with business supremacy. Having a degree in business as well, this is playing out no different than any other industry that has fierce competition and more organizations than needed. The GOOD news is that when competition is fierce, consumers benefit. This is because it is a "buyers market" and organizations offer more features for less money. Profit margins for businesses drop and those who cant compete are ejected from the market. That is the process of market equalibrium. Once market equalibrium is established, a few organizations will reign supreme and many relax over time and the market shifts toward a "sellers market" where they can charge higher prices and you either pay or go without. Note, however, that if a market becomes too complacent that they open the door for new upstarts to undercut their business. Some feel this is what happened to Kodak and maybe the film market as a whole.

Cinematographers, although important, have zero bearing on the decisions of these businesses. Profit has all the bearing. DPs help by providing incentive for the masses of wannabees (I say this politely as I myself am among them) to purchase. The companies know that people look up to these people and by offering freebies and access to them, they might capture what amounts to free industry cred. A sweet deal for the organization, I'd say.
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#3 Mathew DelorenziWaters

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:42 AM

Thank you for getting back to me Matthew, really appreciated.

I apologise in advance as most of what

Mathew, you are asking a question but you seem to already have an answer in mind that you want. First off, please dont call it "digital film" as that term is inaccurate. Film is simply a word that refers to a physical emulsion and digital is an abstract concept since data doesnt really exist (Im a Computer Science Grad student so take my word for that one) and is nothing more than voltage being applied to electronical components and no voltage being applied (1s and 0s as you hear.)

As far as what is "driving" the arms race, it has little to do directly with the needs of cinematographes and more to do with business supremacy. Having a degree in business as well, this is playing out no different than any other industry that has fierce competition and more organizations than needed. The GOOD news is that when competition is fierce, consumers benefit. This is because it is a "buyers market" and organizations offer more features for less money. Profit margins for businesses drop and those who cant compete are ejected from the market. That is the process of market equalibrium. Once market equalibrium is established, a few organizations will reign supreme and many relax over time and the market shifts toward a "sellers market" where they can charge higher prices and you either pay or go without. Note, however, that if a market becomes too complacent that they open the door for new upstarts to undercut their business. Some feel this is what happened to Kodak and maybe the film market as a whole.

Cinematographers, although important, have zero bearing on the decisions of these businesses. Profit has all the bearing. DPs help by providing incentive for the masses of wannabees (I say this politely as I myself am among them) to purchase. The companies know that people look up to these people and by offering freebies and access to them, they might capture what amounts to free industry cred. A sweet deal for the organization, I'd say.



Thank you for replying Matthew, Really appreciated

I apologise in advance as most of what I will be replying with is more questions and I will be playing devils advocate slightly to try gain as much information and as many opinions as possible.

I understand that yes from a business stand point manufacturers are striving for market supremacy within a buyers market. However as the manufacturers are developing cameras with these capabilities to have the 'best' camera within the market, Who is the driving force behind requesting the manufacturers to develop a successor camera with those features. Are you saying all these Cine Digi (not digital film) cameras are essentially the same product with a different brand on the side?

Or are each of these manufacturers building newer and more powerful cameras to be able to meet the requirements of a specific clientèle? I am trying to get to the bottom of who that is. Who is the professional that turns around and says I need your next camera to be able to do this, this and that.


Thanks again Matthew from responding.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:53 AM

They are fighting amongst themselves. One manufacture brings out a camera with spec x, which is better than your camera, and unless you want to loose business you need to match that. Further there is the need to sell more cameras-- not just to new customers, but to those who already own your stuff, so you bring out upgrades/updates. Also, as technological components themselves become cheaper, less power hungry, and smaller, you can put more "things," into your camera system.
Think of it like this--- sure you can throw a 8K sensor in a camera (if it exists) but as of now there is no really good way to store or work with 8K data for post... so then it makes no sense to put that into a camera at this time. However, as computers get more powerful and storage cheaper, then it may make more sense to do that in the future. It's very much so Moore's law in terms of the digital cinema camera realm. So it's not one specific clientel requesting it; rather it's trying to one up the other companies who are servicing a specific market allowed to via the fact that technology improves elsewhere and that spills over.
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#5 Freya Black

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:48 AM

I think what Adrian says is true but I think the focus is on certain attributes that are easy to implement (like faster frame rates) as the computers that drive the cameras get faster. There are some kind of features that are just easier to implement on a video camera than others.

BTW it's considered kinda bad form to cross post the way you have. :(

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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:34 PM

Some insight from working professionals would be very helpful. I am in my Final year studying Film & Television production and this could help me gain some ground.


As has been mentioned, you shouldn't double post. You've already got a thread on this subject in general discussion.
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#7 Mathew DelorenziWaters

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:51 PM

I'm completely new to forum posting Brian, if it is a matter of etiquette I do not wish to step on any toes so I will remove this thread and leave general discussion open.
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