Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cameras, Cameras, Cameras

Looks like the venerable HD cameras that started a revolution are now dinosaurs. With the new breed of smaller, lighter, and far less expensive cameras like the Canon H1, it has become clear that the F900 and the Varicam are now huge, bloated, ultra expensive boat anchors. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled I got a chance to play with the F900 on SHADOW FALLS, but it's the size of Mini Cooper! Weighs as much, too.

Sony had a whisper display off the main floor at NAB of it's new high-end Cinealta that won't be in full production until NAB next year. It records full raster 1920x1080, 4:4:4, RGB with frame rates of 1 to 30fps in RGB mode and 1 to 60 fps in YUV mode. I don't know -- it looks huge and heavy to me. Probably will cost a quarter of a million dollars fully outfitted. Is this camera really going to save Sony's dying attempt to stay relevant in the digital cinema arena? I don't think it will.

The true buzz around town is Jim Jannards (Oakley, Inc.) new venture into designing a 4K digital cinema camera from the ground up, from scratch, that could revolutionize the camera industry. It's called RED. At NAB they displayed a non-working prototype but swore on a stack of bibles (just kidding) that they will be shipping by the end of the year. We predict Q2 of '07. However, the biggest paradigm shift here is not necessarily the technology (which is outrageously impressive), but it's the price...$17,500. Now, would you rather spend $30-40K on a fully outfitted RED camera that will shoot 4K resolution or $250,000 on a camera reusing old parts?

But the real question is will any of these cameras be relevant after James Cameron completely changes the theatrical distrubution scene with the introduction of high quality digital 3D camera and projection system? Cameron is currently prepping his first film since "Titanic" to be shot with his new cameras, called "Battle Angel Alita" followed closely by "Avatar". Here at Starway, we love 3D.

Read the article here.

So Canon! How 'bout building us an XL-3D camera?


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