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NAB 2013: Ikegami 1, Sony nil


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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 11:12 AM

Here is a picture of the Sony press conference, at which absolutely nothing of even the slightest interest was announced:

 

 IMAG1074.jpg

 

OK, so perhaps it's a little curmudgeonly to expect much - they've really only just released F5 and F55, so it's no surprise that there's no major camera announcement. They've already got one of the two best digital cinema cameras in the world, plus two or three other high-ranking cameras. There isn't much left to prove. I'm going to try and see Oblivion (shot on F65) next week when I'm in LA for a bit.

 

Apparently, we have to leave the interesting new camera innovations to Ikegami, who, in conjunction with Arri, have released a thoroughly interesting new option, the HDK-97ARRI. It will - though I suspect this is not really its purpose - appeal to people like me who are used to ENG-style cameras but like to shoot big sensors too. I'll try and get over there and see how near it is to actual fruition as soon as I can. Nice to see Ikegami back on the map, too - I've always rated their stuff but it's never had the profile they deserve.

 

But to get back to the exciting task of criticising Sony, the reason I'm clobbering them so enthusiastically is the absolutely risible speech given by one of their execs on the subject of a cloud-computing based product they're hawking. I won't dignify either the exec or the product by naming them (though I am ashamed to admit the person I'm complaining about was a fellow brit), and it's only fair to point out that a fair number of "new releases" this NAB, from various companies, are actually five-year-old software products which have had a web interface written for them so they can be described as "cloud-based". Even so, this particular speech seemed designed to carefully fulfil all of the worst cliches of bad public speaking, taking fifteen buzzword-packed minutes to tell us effectively nothing about a product I still don't really understand.

 

Attention, NAB exhibitors: when you're talking to a NAB audience, you're not usually talking to people who are only journalists. A lot of us are grubby film crew, or dusty backroom TV people, or cynical brits, and we have a microscopically tiny tolerance for the sort of bullshit you get away with in board meetings. We don't exist in circumstances where ideas are considered to have worked if you can convince a bunch of other nontechnical execs that they'll work. We can tell when you do this. We get a lot of it. We're used to it, and we can detect it at fifty paces, and if you do this, if you try to fob us off by writing speeches using a set of buzzword fridge magnets, we will excoriate you in articles and forum posts.

 

P


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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 12:18 PM

It has been pointed out to me that the above is perhaps slightly unfair, so I'll add to it now the spite and vitriol has simmered down to workable levels.

 

Sony did announce 55" and 65" 4K domestic televisions for workable amounts of money (about US$ 5k and 7k respectively) which I suspect we will see (mis)used quite extensively as reference displays while the OLED 4K monitors come to market. Apparently Sony do have 4K OLEDs on their booth, about which more anon, as I haven't had a chance to get over there yet. This is obviously very important stuff, especially given the amount of 4K (now widely being branded Ultra-HD) gear that's just been announced by Blackmagic.

 

Also, there was some quite nice sneak-preview, do-not-photograph-on-pain-of-death footage from Oblivion and an interview with Claudio Miranda ASC, who's occasionally posted here in the past. It is now entirely reasonable to light two people with a candle, which is fairly undeniably progress.

 

But still, that speech.


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#3 Robert Ruffo

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 06:26 PM

4K has been around for acquisition since 2007 Phil - and Blackmagic don't even have a camera that does that yet available for purchase so your predictions about how Blackmagic will change the world I'm not sure I buy into

 

The demand for 4K monitoring has never been all that huge, however, probably since human eyes at normal viewing distances cannot tell the difference between that and 2K, and a fair number of people can't even tell between 720p and 1080p  (I'm not saying they don't care - that's another issue  - I'm saying their eyes leave them physically unable to see it).

 

I co-own a boutique post house- we work on $1 million 30 sec spots sometimes.  We see no ned whatsoever to buy 4K monitors, not for our feature work, not for anything.  Just no reason.  Why?  Because telling me you can't grade or do VFX on a calibrated 2K monitor is simply ludicrous.


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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 07:41 PM

I wouldn't ever predict that Blackmagic or 4K are about to change the world!

 

I'm personally quite behind you on the 4K issue. I saw a very nice 8K demo yesterday, which left me leaning closer and thinking "yes, that's very sharp", then leaning back and adding "...but I don't particularly care." It's almost completely purposeless, unless you accept the thesis that they need ever-bigger numbers to sell things, and of course that's a pursuit with fairly imminent limits of practicality. The only way I can see it being useful is if you perhaps decided to master stuff at 4K to produce really spectacularly nice HD output, which might work quite nicely. Oh, and I guess 4K cameras effectively give you an extra 6dB of noise floor, if you downsample the output to HD. But then a lot of the 4K cameras that have ever existed have sort of needed that extra stop of noise recovery...

 

I do now slightly regret the phrase "very important stuff", although it was in the context of Blackmagic having just announced a whole explosion of 4K production gear which will at some point need monitoring. Certainly I agree that there is very little practical purpose in it for conventional in-home or theatrical exhibition.

 

After all, the standard interpos-interneg-print process struggled to achieve 1.5K, even under ideal circumstances - which almost never exist. In a wider sense this says something about the tendency of indie filmmakers to chase numbers as if another two thousand pixels per line will solve their production design issues. In closing, I guess, it's worth putting out a message to beginners, which is: if you have a choice between more money for production design and more pixels, go for the former.

 

P

 

PS - I saw the 4K OLEDs half an hour ago. It is an OLED. It is 4K. That is all.


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