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.
It’s been 10 years since the first time I attended NAB in April 2006. I had arrived at an inflection point for the motion picture camera industry – even though I did not realize it at the time.
That year ARRI introduced the ARRI 416, their first completly new Super 16 film camera in 30 years. Super 16 was super-hot at the time. But few realized what was coming.
The 416 would be the last ever ARRI film camera to be developed. It would have a short production run, unlike it’s predecessor the 16SR, which was in production for 30 years and 5100 camera bodies in all it’s variations.
2006 was also the year ARRI was promoting the newly introduced, rental-only ARRI Arriflex D-20 digital cinema camera. After the ARRI NAB Hofbrauhaus party I hung out with a few of the ARRI guys. That’s when I first head of RED, when one of them mentioned visiting their booth. None of us could believe the that they could deliver a digital cinema camera with the promised specs for $17.5k. One of the ARRI D-20 engineers was present, and we asked him “could you buy just the sensor from the D-20 for $17.5k? His answer: “I don’t think so.”
The rest is cinema history. Nothing would ever be the same again.
I’m here again at NAB 2016. It will be interesting to see not only what’s new this year, but to consider the perspective of how much things have changed in the last 10 years.
I’ve started to bring the content from the old CinemaTechnic.com server over to the new site and adapting it to the new CMS system. Please bear with me while I sort everything out. I’m aware that there are a lot of bad links and that the old html tables are hopelessly broken.
Cinematechnic.com has been around for over 15 years and there is a lot of legacy content. Even after deleting some pages that were no longer needed, the site is still over 100 pages!
I know the menus are a jumbled, but I’d rather leave it up in its unorganized state for now since at least that provides a way to access the content.
Thanks for stopping by… You are among the first to see the new CinemaTechnic.com on its new server and CMS platform. Don’t worry – all the information from the old cinematechnic.com site will be coming back online over the next several days. I regret the downtime but it’s part of the process of modernizing this site.
The original cinematechnic.com home page was created on 3 December 2000. The web has changed so much since then, and the old site was running on legacy code – most of it HTML 4.0 – woefully out of date.
Incremental updates to those old pages just wasn’t getting the job done. Sometimes you have to start over from scratch.
New and exciting things are in store. Be sure to check in soon.