NAB 2016 – Attack of the Drones…

2016 seems to be shaping up as an evolutionary year for the cine equipment business – which is not, in my opinion, a bad thing. I feel that history of the evolution of motion picture technology shows that there are revolutionary periods where many significant new technologies get introduced within a short period of time. This happened most recently between 2007-2010, and prior to that in 1972-1974 (hand-holdable silent 35mm cameras), and 1952-1954 (Cinema, CinemaScope, 3D) and 1927-1930 (sound-on-film).

In each case, new technologies get introduced, and filmmakers don’t have time to determine the best way to use them.  In some cases the new technologies affect the filmmaking process negatively. Think of the early talkies (early 1930’s) where there was zero camera movement – because the noisy camera was encased, along with its operator, in a sound-proof booth the size of a phone booth. Or more recently the early CinemaScope films that were shot like stage plays using one big wide master shot – because the early anamorphic adapters had too much distortion to be used in a close-up.

During the revolutionary periods the equipment manufacturers and film producers also get confused not knowing which technology to back. Think of the early color processes, early 1950’s 3D technology, or the short lived small-sensor HDTV based era of digital cinema.

In each case, once there are several years without any really disruptive technologies being introduced, filmmakers and procedures have time to figure out how to best use the new tools, and manufacturers have time to sort things out as well.

I think that after a few years of a very furious pace of introduction of new technology, we are entering a period where cinema technology is maturing.

©2016 Jorge Diaz-Amador