Where is the broacast industry heading in 2017

 In Blog

I have just returned from the broadcasting show organised by Kit Plus in Manchester’s MediaCityUK. The event itself has evolved quite a lot since I attended for the first time 3 years ago, but this is expected as the broadcasting industry is changing very fast. Compared to last year, 2016 has seen less announcements from big manufacturers such as Canon, Sony or Blackmagic, however, this left more room for emerging technologies such as VR and HDR video to be showcased at the stalls.

After attending a few presentations I had the chance to play with the new Canon 5DMKIV, the C700 and the new Ikegami 4K broadcast monitor. I was also very lucky to get a full demo of the new motion graphics package available in Autodesk Maya 2017.

Canon 5D Mark IV

So, after speaking with a few industry professionals, here is how the industry is set to evolve in the upcoming years:

HDR Video

Every camera that has 10 stops of dynamic range or above can output HDR video. Software such as Premiere or Resolve will detect this and adjust the settings accordingly whilst retaining all the image information. At the moment, the range of monitors and TV’s that can display true HDR images is limited, however this is set to change as the Japan Olimpics in 2020 will be broacasted in 8K HDR. This will push broadcasters into investing in new equipment and this will reflect on the manufacturers producing affordable solutions for home end users.

Whilst I’m a little bit skeptical about this shift in technology, this reminds me of the SD to HD and Full HD transition which happened a few years ago. Many users considered the technology just another marketing gimmick at that particular time, however, the market changed and the products became cheaper as every broadcaster adopted the standards in the following years.

The HDR transition will probably be the next major breakthrough in the audiovisual industry and you will probably see big manufacturers such as Sony & Samsung selling 8K technology starting from 2018.

Cameras and lights

Camera Technology

Whilst the sensor technology still needs improvement, the major changes will be seen in the recording media department. Many cameras will need a faster way of recording on media devices (SD/CF/QXD/SSD) as the higher resolution and frame-rate will require large amounts of storage (e.g 20 minutes of 4K XAVC 60p  fills up a 128 GB card).

A cheap way of recording large amounts of video would be to use an external recorder such as Atomos or SmallHD, or to have an inbuilt camera SSD slot (Blackmagic Cinema Camera or any other RED camera).

There is a need in having a small portable camera, and Sony knows that very well. They recently released the FS7 II which has a few updated features such as the Electronic Variable ND Filter (same as the FS5), an E-mount (lever lock type) and a hood & eyepiece attachment. While these updates seem small, it does show that Sony is interested in updating the PXW range as many people that shoot video will transition from DSLR’s to a cinema style camera.

Storage

Storage is increasingly becoming a major problem for everyone and creating and managing a network infrastructure that can accommodate 4K or 8K streams between several computers can become a serious challenge.

There are a few enterprise solutions for production houses that allow users to seamlessly access and stream video content through gigabit connections. These systems start from £15,000 and above, making it very difficult for small studios to invest in technology such as XStream (Editshare) or G|Rack (G-Technology).

There are some alternatives to these expensive storage solutions, one of them being NAS drives (Synology or Drobo). By connecting them locally through a gigabit network, these devices can deliver the same performance as a dedicated solution.

 

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