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The (unexpected) ways that IBC 2018’s hot topics relate to camera technology.


By Shaun Wilton, Shooting Partners Director

There’s less than a week to go before IBC 2018 will open its doors to 55 000 visitors from 170 different countries.  As with every major industry event, there’s been lots of talk about what the big themes at this year’s show will be and how the 1 600 exhibitors will demonstrate their ability to keep up with the latest industry developments.

How the big show themes relate to different technology is not always obvious – and some hot topics only have an impact on one sector or part of the workflow. Blockchain is an example of a major show talking point that has little to no relevance to those of us involved in the acquisition of broadcast material, but it has major potential implications for content distribution.

So, we thought it might be interesting to look at how some of the big themes for IBC 2018 relate to shooting technology – both now and in the future.

How artificial intelligence makes you a better cameraperson

I’m pretty sure that AI is going to be everywhere at this year’s IBC.  While most of the industry knows about how AI is being used to speed up post-production workflows and generate captions for broadcast, not all attendees will appreciate how much AI functionality is included in the latest cameras.  Most professional cameras now have face-tracking capabilities that rely on artificial intelligence to recognise faces and use autofocus to keep them in focus as they move across or within your shot.  Object focus allows camera operators to select almost anything in their viewfinder and do the same. Artificial intelligence technology is also used to provide precise, automated camera movements for things like motorised sliders and drones with follow-me capabilities.  In the same way that AI is minimising repetitive, time-intensive tasks in other parts of the production workflow, it’s reducing shoot ratios by helping camera crews to perfect shots that might take a long time to get right manually, in much fewer takes.

5G and cameras in the cloud

We live in a world where pictures and videos recorded on our smartphones can be shared in seconds, so why should professional video crews need to return to base before they can share their footage?  Up until now, at least part of the reason has been because of limited bandwidth.

While Sony launched their CBK-WA100 wireless adapter (which allowed crews to upload content from Sony cameras to the cloud) way back in 2014, adoption of camera to cloud technology has been hampered by patchy and limited network coverage.  But, with 5G moving out of the labs and into real world testing, cameras like the Sony XDCam Air and JVC’s Connected camera become far more interesting to production teams.  Every other part of the production and distribution workflow has benefited from the efficiencies that the cloud can provide, it’s time that acquisition did too.

Voice-enabled search

Camera menus can be tricky to navigate.  So tricky that manufacturers avoid changing their layout when releasing new models – because no-one’s got time to search for the gain settings when you’re losing light at the end of a long shoot.  But, even with consistent menu layouts, there are times when the only way to find what you’re looking for is by cracking open the manual, because there’s no search function in video camera viewfinders.

Ironically, even GoPro’s voice command features have to be accessed through the camera’s settings and then manually activated before they can be used!

With voice search taking over everything from our TV’s to our smartphones and search engines, we think it’s only a matter of time until camera crews can search for and adjust camera settings without touching a single button.  We can’t wait.

As usual, Shooting Partners will be offering post-IBC briefings to teams that are interested in finding out more about these and other camera technology trends that we discover at the show.  Get in touch to find out more and make a booking.