If you spend a minute googling the phrase “never look back, just look ahead”, you will find endless quotes. Some are “smarter” than others, but if we made our own version it would certainly be one positive result. empowering word: "FORWARD". And that's exactly how Olaf, Jakub, Jeff, Luciano, Graham, Inoue-san, Tong, Tim, Mark, Florian G., Danielle, Gunther, Florian M., Nino and I run our online magazine. The direction for CineD is clear!
2020 will be an unforgettable year for each of us for a variety of reasons. I don't think it makes sense to talk about the "globally obvious". So in this article, I'll focus on my own very narrow perspective of camera technology. The one who touches our industry and community. For me personally, 2020 was the year inema5D was successfully renamed and restarted CineD, as the competition between manufacturers to provide even more affordable, more powerful tools and equipment grew stronger and the cinema and the way we consume films have changed forever.
Yes, a mixture of thoughts that might not look connected on the surface, but in my opinion we are just that – a platform to bring it all together!
Photo credit: Augusto Oazi (https://unsplash.com)
Say goodbye to the cinema
Please allow me to begin with a subject that we are all least able to influence. "Say goodbye to cinema as we know it". I'm sure many of you are aware of this, but in case you aren't, Warner Bros dropped a bombshell in early December by announcing that all future films would be streamed at the same time at theatrical releases. The waves and overall impact of such a declaration are yet to be seen, but if streaming is the new king, much less money will be spent on cinema productions. It's not that producing an original Netflix series (and the like) necessarily costs less money than a big budget movie, but for the majority of people simply the differences between what they see on a big screen and what you see small TV / the computer screen goes undetected resulting in less attention to detail and a decrease in the money invested towards perfectionism on the production side. The "streaming wars" are in full swing and all players are unlikely to stay on the field until the end.
So who is going to pay the price? Talents, creatives, technical staff? I think EVERYTHING, and in all honesty, if I had to invest money in stocks and choose between companies that make popcorn for movie theaters or pizza for the home, I know where my money would go …
Tools for filmmakers
A "filmmaker" has become a very common term. In this section, I'll be talking about tools for people like us, the independent creators.
Image credit: CineD
2020 was a year that many great cameras were launched. Perhaps the most striking facts are the price reductions for "real" cameras like the Sony FX6 / Canon C70 / Panasonic BGH1 (and similar). In all fairness, this level of image quality was previously unknown for such a price. Another fact that I want to highlight concerns mirrorless cameras. It's amazing how good and versatile these have become. So if these two camera series exist side by side this year (“right” next to “mirrorless”), the gap may be even closer in 2021. Why? Because of the fear of competition. When I think about it, I really think the difference between these two series of cameras is “connectivity” and “codecs”. The moment either (or both) of the two is upgraded on a mirrorless camera, the void can be closed (at least technically, this is a matter of preference on the personal side).
Image credit: CineD
2020 brought out some nice lenses, but the range is a bit conservative. As a side note, I can't really understand why so many Chinese manufacturers are now looking to make cinema prime lenses. Even though the cameras have gotten even smaller and more powerful, it kind of feels like lens manufacturers have lagged a little. It wasn't until the end of this year that we finally saw reputable manufacturers like SIGMA offering small, lightweight prime numbers that can complement some mirrorless cameras nicely. Laowa makes it too big, but in general I would love to see lens makers in 2021 looking for new frontiers.
Perhaps fast compact / pancake zooms and / or fast compact anamorphic zoom lenses are a good place to start (I'd be satisfied with top notch compact anamorphic lenses that can also use autofocus). BTW, just a thought, there is nothing wrong with creating a spherical lens back with an anamorphic adapter front and combining those two into a single winning product. Others have done it before …
Image credit: Nanlite
That was the year LED lights got stronger, more colorful and even more affordable. Perhaps the biggest problem is the blurry identity between different manufacturers. Sometimes it looks like some of the cheaper products were made on the same production line and only the sticker is different. Rollable LED lights, RGB tubes, and chip-on-board lights (to name a few) have really revolutionized the industry in the past. But what can we expect in 2021? While the basis for many of these lights is "right first" and we "soften" them afterward, I would like to see a portable, inexpensive "non-direct light" solution. Of course, it is currently possible to lump all these different components together, but please correct me if I am wrong. I don't remember seeing a finished "out of the box" solution with "non-direct light".
Pocket-sized wireless audio devices
For the small band filmmaker who makes their own audio, 2020 will be the year of small, portable, and very affordable wireless systems. RØDE's Wireless GO was the first to be launched in 2019 and since then we've seen an endless number of companies trying to ride the same wave. The concept is great and the prices are very competitive but for me this is just an intermediate stage. I really hope that in 2021 we will finally see new and improved audio concepts that will enable filmmakers to take the next step. To achieve this, camera manufacturers should take the lead. Sorry for this vague statement – stay tuned, more is to come.
Image credit: CineD
I would love to hear your voices here, guys. “Accessories” leave plenty of room for innovation. Rigs, cages, sliders, gimbals, drones and much more – 2020 brought some beautiful and useful production components like the iFootage Shark Slider Nano, but all in all it felt like it was the year of "more of the same". What do you want to bring to market in 2021? Please share your thoughts with us.
CineD, your main source of information
And what a year it has been for us … Now I can finally touch the subject that drives us all forward – information! 2020 was everywhere. CineD relaunch, no trade shows, so we turned to tons of virtual interviews with manufacturers and lots of reviews.
We have been a trusted source of information for our filmmaking community for 12 years, and we've been posting an insane amount of NON-PAID ORIGINAL and video content every day since 2008. Our global, professional and great team is here to serve you with pride and love! We are one of the few magazines in our field that has a full website alongside a successful YouTube channel.
We don't have competition just because we don't consider other websites or people to be competitors: they are colleagues and friends in our industry, and in this context we would like to highlight Newsshooter and Greenscreen in particular. All are top professionals who love what they do, and it shows.
Back to CineD. We recently published an article asking respondents to take a survey and answer a few questions in order to make our website even better. 268 people took the initiative and responded, some in great detail. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to communicate with us. Now, while we're still processing all the answers, it's amazing to see some of our plans for the future run parallel to what people want us to do next.
There's a lot more cooking going on under the CineD hood and we're investing heavily in adding more and more features. We promise to do our best and serve the community even closer and better. We will continue to maintain close contact with various manufacturers and even work together on sponsored educational content (yes, this is a very time-consuming and expensive task). Paid reviews are out of the question for us. We will continue to be impartial and independent of what we do.
We have made it our mission to build a bridge between our audience and the various manufacturers and we believe that close and defined contact is essential to best achieve this.
A fruitful dialogue with you on our website is also extremely important for us – let's continue to treat each other politely and respectfully. It makes the overall experience completely different. There is no place for rudeness and our survey also honestly found that people are VERY tired of "bullying" behavior.
To sum things up, we're moving forward and we're not just doing it together, we're very grateful that we're doing it together.
Stay safe and healthy. All the best for 2021!
Please let us know in the comments below how 2020 was for you and let us know what to expect in 2021!