IBC 2017 Review By Shaun Wilton

2017 saw another jam-packed IBC show at The RAI centre, Amsterdam, with over 57,000 visitors in attendance. Here are our acquisition observations from the show.

Kits are getting smaller

This year certainly saw some focus on reducing the overall size of kit, plus making it more modular, whilst maintaining high quality. This isn’t just with camera kit either – tripods, sliders, jibs and lighting are all being given the same treatment. This is down to a few factors in the broadcast industry;

• Firstly, Broadcast Technology design has always had a drive to make things smaller and more portable with each generation of kit seeing a general reduction in footprint, weight and power consumption, and all for the better.
• Additionally, budgets within the broadcast industry are constantly being squeezed, due to an increasingly widening market where advertisers can spend their money. Modular design lets customers pick which elements they may or may not want.
• Lastly, due to tight budgets, individual crew members are required to do more and more. Many Producer / Directors have to shoot, direct, record video and audio plus many other duties. Smaller, more manageable kit means less people are needed to carry it.

Many manufacturers showed great small camera offerings and we are excited to try them all out. Canon launched the XF405/XF400, which is a broadcast quality UHD and Full HD camcorder. The camera has a 1.0-Type CMOS sensor, 15x 4K zoom lens plus Dual Pixel CMOS AF and a 100P high frame rate in Full HD. This looks to be an ideal solution for self-shooters and news gathering situations.

The new Canon XF405 (plus a XF400 model) will be released before the end of 2017.

 

Sony had an answer in the same area of the market with its fantastic small form PXW-X70 camera. This camera has a 1.0 type Exmor R™ CMOS sensor, compact XDCAM camcorder with 12x zoom lens recording XAVC, AVCHD and DV. There is also, finally, a great audio solution in the form of a Sony dual receiver that mounts to the shoe fitting on the camera handle. This means that two transmitters can be in operation sending signals to a single receiver.

The Sony’s RX0 mini camera is a compact 4K solution with a great high quality 1” sensor. Is this the camera that will usurp GoPro? At between £600 and £900 it will certainly have to outperform all other mini cams to warrant the cost.

At the other end of the scale

Sony also showed the extremely impressive Venice camera which certainly felt like a leap in professional cinematography and is aimed more at the digital cinema space than broadcast TV. The camera boasts a 6K sensor, 15 stops of dynamic range with (out of the box) 4K 17:9, 3.8K 16:9 UHD capabilities and the option to upgrade to 6K 1.85:1, 6K 17:9, 5.7K, 6K 2.39:1 with firmware.

Panasonic attracted huge attention for the PANASONIC AU-EVA1 camera, finally on show in full production mode. The EVA1 contains a newly designed 5.7K Super 35mm-sized sensor which might seem an odd number to some, compared to a straight 4K or 6K. By starting at a higher native resolution, the 5.7K sensor yields a higher resolving image when down sampled to 4K, UHD, 2K, and even 720p. The increased colour information results in a finer, more accurate finished image. The EVA1 would make a great ‘B’ camera for existing Panasonic users.It sits somewhere in between high end cinematic cameras and the small compact end. One of the key features on the VariCam 35, VariCam LT, and VariCam Pure cameras is dual native ISO. Dual native ISO extracts more information from the sensor without degrading.

Nokia Technologies announced OZO Live version 2.0. Features included real-time 3D 360°, monoscopic and stereoscopic video output stitching, spatial audio mixing, plus 4K-Per-Eye-Stereo over SDI and multi-node monitoring. We also very much liked the additions made to the blend viewing mode that includes horizon lines as well as potential stitch lines.

Nokia Technologies are doing a fantastic job of developing the OZO software and Version 2.0 will be implemented into our OZO shortly and be available soon.

Other kit that caught our eye

JVC continues to produce fantastic monitors with superb HDR capabilities and affordable pricing. The Waterbird slider, at around £2.5k felt a little expensive, though we liked its versatility. You can convert it from a straight slider into a curved configuration at the flip of just two catches. It’s also modular which means you can increase or decrease the length.

The Ifootage Mini Jib is a great looking product for the light weight jib market. The mini jib is small, lightweight and has a good max payload. Sachtler showed the Flowteck, a great tripod design. It really looks like Sachtler have listened to what camera ops want/need in a tripod. Easy speed locking legs, magnets to hold a collapsed tripod together and all super lightweight. The only let down is it’s a 75mm bowl at the moment, a 100mm bowl should be coming early next year.

Signs of the future

One thing we did notice at the show was a low number of drones. Past exhibitions saw a huge explosion in drone technologies with large areas such as the “Drone Zone” dedicated to this popular approach to camera movement – but this has now disappeared. We are not sure if the desire for high angle flying shots has diminished or drones were more of a fad. We suspect the ever changing legal implications of flying in air space is playing a part.

What’s next according to IBC 2017? 8K production and display, shared viewing experiences in 360/VR productions and holographic displays (to name but a few.) We saw signs of imminent jumps on improved HDR (more stops of dynamic range), curved sensors on cameras (enabling you to have faster lenses, wider lenses that will hold focus across the visual plane) and black silicon that is 500x more light-sensitive than normal silicon.

Shooting Partners will have announcements in the near future on how we will be expanding our services using Sony’s camera to cloud technology XDCAM AIR. We will also be rolling out IPTV based solutions across upcoming projects. With IPTV and camera to cloud, the main aim is to reduce costs and increase speed of delivery, whether it’s by getting rid of the need for expensive sat trucks or reducing time waiting for rushes to get back to the edit from location.

All in all, another fascinating year at IBC and we will look forward to testing many of the new technologies and sharing our thoughts with you.

Contact us if you’d like to discuss your production needs.

 

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