Sony launches the FDR-AX100 4K camcorder at CES. 4K for 2k – Can HDTV survive?
January 7, 2014 1 Comment
Sony have just announced the release of a 4K camcorder for under 2K.
PS If you are watching this video on a PC or MAC with good broadband and lots of RAM then select 4K from the cog wheel resolution menu at bottom right
The FDR-AX100 could be the salvation of traditional Video Journalism from the clutches of Mobile! Or maybe Im guilty of writing a contentious headline just as click bait!
What intrigues me about 4K is that it can look so real that it is like looking through a window. What also interests me is that the 4K revolution is happening on the coat-tails of the DSLR video revolution – both of which have had their greatest impact in content production for online.
Let me clarify that statement. I work in TV and at the same time Im a fan of new technology, this can sometimes cause friction with some of my engineering colleagues as Im prone to rave about new technology and they often feel like they are left to figure out how to make it work within the system and structures already in place in our station… This can be issues with frame rates 25fps/30fps, Interlaced Vs Progressive, Moire, Rolling Shutter etc etc. But heres the thing, most TV broadcasters have either transitioned to HD or are about to. To do this in a broadcast environment is a very substantial cost – millions of Euros usually. With that comes the commitment that the assets purchased will have a reasonable capital value for 5-7 years for accounting purposes. This then implies that the company is unlikely to look for another huge Capital technology investment for a similar period. However the revolution that is happening in mobile devices (Samsung Note III 4K), dslrs and 4K cameras is moving at an iteration rate far faster than that cycle.
What Im trying to say is that 4K as an acquisition format is likely to be adopted for online production with the same vigour HD DSLRs/ footage was. Remember the Canon 5DMarkII was launched on 17th September 2008, and look at the evolution of DSLR cinematography since. Sonys camera price point ($2K) makes it pretty accessible for anyone with a prosumer to professional interest in content production. Apples New MacPro, expensive beast that it is, is designed for 4K editing on FCPx. Netflix, YouTube and Amazon are all preparing to jump on the 4K bandwagon. The latest codecs HEVC (H.265) and XAVC-s will be capable of the necessary acquisition and streaming requirements to create and deliver the content over IP in pretty stunning 4K quality (compressed though it is) so the key point here is that there is a real possibility that 4K as an acquisition and delivery format will leapfrog traditional linear broadcast and be the key enabler of Video over IP and VOD on a massive scale.
Will you buy a 4K smart / connected TV in the next year or two?
For more info on the Sony camera check out a comprehensive review from the always excellent Matt Allard on newsshooter.com
Here’s the official Sony Product page