If you spend a minute Googling the phrase “never look back, only forward”, you will find endless quotes, some are more “clever” than others but if we were to create our own version, it would certainly be around one single positive, empowering word: “FORWARD”. And this is exactly how Olaf, Jakub, Jeff, Luciano, Graham, Inoue-san, Tong, Tim, Mark, Florian G, Danielle, Gunther, Florian M, Nino and I are running our online magazine. The direction for CineD is clear!
2020 will be a year to remember, for each and every one of us for different reasons. I don’t find the point in talking about the “globally obvious”, so in this article I’ll be concentrating on my own, very narrow camera technology perspective. The one that touches our industry and community. For me personally, 2020 was the year when cinema5D was successfully rebranded and relaunched as CineD, when the competition between manufacturers to supply even more affordable, powerful tools and equipment became stronger, and during which cinema and the way we consume movies has changed forever.
Yes, a mix of thoughts that may not look connected on the surface, but in my opinion, this is exactly what we are – a platform to bring it all together!
Say Goodbye to Cinema
Please allow me to start with a topic we all can influence the least. “Say goodbye to cinema the way we know it”. I’m sure many of you guys are aware of it, but just in case you are not, earlier in December, Warner Bros dropped a bomb by announcing that all their future movies will be streamed simultaneously to theatrical releases. The waves and overall impact of such a declaration are yet to be seen, but if streaming is the new king, then much less money will be diverted towards cinema productions. It’s not that producing an original Netflix (and the like) series is necessarily costing less money than a big budget movie, but simply put, for the majority of people, the differences between what they see on a big screen compared to a small TV/computer screen will not be spotted, resulting in less attention to details and a drop in invested money towards perfectionism from the production side. The “streaming wars” are in full swing and it’s unlikely that all of the players will remain on the field until the end.
So, who will pay the price? Talents, creatives, technical staff? I guess ALL and in all honesty, if I had to invest money in stocks and choose between companies producing popcorn for cinemas or pizza for home, I know where my money would go…
Tools for Filmmakers
A “filmmaker” has become a very common, broad term and in this section I’ll talk about tools for people like us, the independent creatives around.
2020 was a year where many great cameras were brought to the market. Maybe the most noticeable facts are the reductions in price when it comes to “proper” cameras like the Sony FX6 / Canon C70 / Panasonic BGH1 (and alike). In all honesty, that level of picture quality for such a price was unheard of before. An additional fact I would like to highlight concerns mirrorless cameras. It is amazing how good and versatile those have become. So, if during this year those two lines of cameras kind of coexisted (“proper” next to “mirrorless”), it can be that during 2021, the gap will become even narrower. Why? Because of the fears of competition. When I think about it, what really makes the difference between those two lines of cameras is — in my opinion — “connectivity” and “codecs”. The minute that any of the two (or both) will be enhanced on a mirrorless camera, the gap might be dismissed (at least technically speaking, on the personal side, it is a matter of preference).
2020 brought some nice lenses to the market, yet offerings are a bit conservative. As a side note, I cannot really understand why so many Chinese manufacturers are now after making cinema prime lenses. Anyways, while cameras have become even smaller and more capable, somehow it feels like lens manufacturers stayed a bit behind. It was only during the end of this year that we finally saw distinguished manufacturers like SIGMA offering small, lightweight primes that can nicely complement some mirrorless cameras. Laowa is doing it too size-wise, but in general, during 2021 I would love to see lens manufacturers looking to explore new frontiers.
Maybe fast compact / pancake zooms and/or fast compact anamorphic zoom lenses are a good place to start (I’d settle for prime compact anamorphic lenses that can utilize autofocus too). By the way, just a thought, there is nothing wrong with creating a spherical lens back with an anamorphic adapter front and combining those two together into a single winning product. Others have done it before…
This was the year where LED lights became stronger, more colourful and even more affordable. Maybe the biggest issue is the blurred identity between different manufacturers. At times, it looks as if some of the more affordable products were made on the same production line and just the sticker is different. Rollable LED lights, RGB tubes, Chip On Board fixtures (just to name a few) truly revolutionised the industry in the past, but what should we expect during 2021? While the base for many of those lights is “direct first” and let us “soften it” after, I would love to see a portable, modestly priced “non direct light” solution. Of course, it is currently possible to gather all those different components together, but please correct me if i’m wrong, I don’t recall seeing a ready “out of the box” soft “non direct light” solution.
For the small-band filmmaker who does his own audio, 2020 has become the year of small, portable and very affordable wireless systems. RØDE’s Wireless GO was the first to be introduced during 2019 and since then, we have seen an endless number of companies trying to ride on that same wave. The concept is great and prices are very competitive, but for me this is only an “in between stage”. I truly hope that during 2021, we will finally see new and improved audio concepts that take it to the next step for filmmakers. Actually, in order for that to happen, camera manufacturers should take the lead. Sorry for this vague statement – stay tuned, more is to come.
This is where I would love to hear your voices, guys. “Accessories” leave a a lot of room for innovation. Rigs, cages, sliders, gimbals, drones and much more – 2020 brought some nice and useful production components like the iFootage Shark Slider Nano, but all in all, it felt as if it was the year of “more of the same”. What would you like to see being brought to the market during 2021? Please share with us your thoughts.
CineD, Your Prime Source of Information
And what a year it was for us… Now, I can finally touch the subject that drives us all forward – information! 2020 was all over the place. CineD relaunch, no trade shows, so we shifted to tons of virtual interviews with manufacturers and lots of reviews.
We have been a reliable source of information for our filmmakers community for 12 years now and since 2008, we have published a crazy amount of NON paid ORIGINAL written and video content on a daily basis. Our global, professional and amazing team is here to serve you with pride and love! We are one of the only magazines in our field that maintains a full website next to a successful YouTube channel.
We have no competition simply because we don’t look at other sites or people as competitors: They are colleagues and friends from our industry, and in this regard, we would like to highlight especially Newsshooter and Philip Bloom. All are top professionals who love what they do and it shows.
Back to CineD. A short while ago, we posted an article asking people to participate in a survey and answer some questions in order to help us to improve our site even further. 268 people took the initiative and answered, some in a very detailed way. So first of all, a big thank you to those who took the time to communicate with us. Now, while we are still processing all the answers, it is amazing to see how some of our future plans go in parallel to what people expect from us to come up with next.
A LOT more is cooking under the CineD hood, and we’re investing a lot into adding more and more features. We promise to try our best and serve the community even more closely and better. We will continue to maintain close contact to different manufacturers and even start working together on sponsored educational content (Yes, this is a very time consuming and expensive task). Saying that, paid reviews are out of the question for us. We will continue to be unbiased and independent with what we do.
We took it on ourselves to bridge between our audience and the different manufacturers, and we believe that in order to do this best, close and defined contact is essential.
Fruitful dialogue with you guys on our site is also extremely important for us – let’s continue to be polite and respectful to each other. It makes the overall experience completely different. Rudeness has no place and in all honesty, it also came up in our survey that people are VERY tired of “bully behaviour”.
So, to wrap things up – we are moving FORWARD and we are not only in this together, we are very thankful for doing it together.
Stay safe and healthy. Happy 2021 everyone!
Please share with us how 2020 was for you in the comments below and let us know what do you expect from 2021!