Oli at DV Expo 2008

by Oli Laperal, Jr.

I scour trade shows to learn about the state of cinematographic technology now and for the near future.

 DV Expo, in recent years, has been the site of significant announcements and new product roll-outs.  This year it was host to a 4K forum presented by top guns from the industry, including Fotokem, Red and Sony, as well as six cinematography and lighting master classes and super sessions led by the ASC gurus.

 JVC showed their new SxS data recorder, developed in alliance with Sony. JVC also showed a prototype of their new 4K projector. At 4096 x 2499, DLA-SH4KG has 4 times the resolution of HD, and a contrast ratio of 10,000:1.

 Canon did not have a booth to show their new DSLR 5D Mark II camera that shoots both 21 Megapixel stills and 1080 HD, but others did. Accessory vendors Redrock Micro, Zacuto and others showed various adapters, holders,  plates, matte boxes and shoulder mounts specifically made for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.  At 21.1 MP (5616 x 3744 resolution), a full frame 35mm still format 24 x 36 mm CMOS sensor, (more than 2.5 times larger than the real estate of current 4K CMOS sensors), all for only $2,699 MSRP and available in Dec 2008. I wonder how soon Canon might show the very same sensor without down-rezzing to HD?   

 The big news in Nov 2008, right next to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II has to be Red’s announcement of new projects. As though 4K was not big enough, Red announced not one camera but 8 new cameras that do both digital stills and digital motion pictures in 3K, 4K, 5K, 6K, 9K and 28K. Red’s proposed 28K CMOS sensor, at 186  x 56 mm, is 193 times larger than today’s best 2/3” HD cameras, and 31 times larger than Red’s own 4K sensors. Having recently been to Red headquarters and their November 13 presentation at Fox Studios, I have to admit that even Imax and revered medium formats, 645 Hasselblad / Mamiya, and even Linhof  / Alpa 617 is in their cross-hairs. Keep in mind that these are all “subject to change,” but considering their 2 year track record, and almost 5000 camera deliveries by Q4/2008, I’m sure we’re going to see interesting cameras very soon.


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