Windows 8 Makes a Break For It

What does this have to do with film?  Everything.

A while back, Microsoft introduced the interface for Windows 8 with its new smartphones and let’s face it, most people think an OS is the interface.  More recently Microsoft showed us what “proper” Win 8 will look like as a teaser for the next batch of PCs.  The truth is I don’t think most computers will upgrade to 8 since it relies on using a touch screen interface on a PC and most people don’t have touch screens on their existing workstations or laptops.  So 8 will exist mostly on future PCs.

And tablets, apparently: http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/us/default.aspx

For a long time I’ve said that the power technology has to influence media production is in increasing the reach of humans across distances.  If you have an AE on set loading media into a drive and transmitting it to the editor in a post house in another location, you’re using tech to save time and money.  Such an arrangement means your editor can spot problems while you’re still in the field, saving time planning reshoots.

So what exactly does this tablet mean?

Tablets have enormous potential as media production tools.  On one hand they can store media for review and some light editing (with the right software) so you can work on a plane or something.  Sony has recently demonstrated its new tablet http://discover.store.sony.com/tablet/ can control other Sony devices.  I think the ultimate use of a Microsoft tablet is not just as a stand alone device, but as a control device for a workstation.

Some iterations of Avid software (like Curator) allow the PC to work like a terminal, letting the big server do the heavy lifting computations when pushing to a playout server or rendering a big movie.  Likewise, a tablet could be used as a terminal, like gotomypc.com thereby allowing the editor to work on something from thousands of miles away, with no equipment.  Also, it could work like a fancy keyboard, with total customization to the keyboard allowed, enabling specialist configurations for editing, gaming etc.  The only thing that this arrangement leaves out is tactile feedback, which is handy when you’re touchtyping.  Sometimes you don’t want to cover the image with your hand because you won’t be able to see the image you’re adjusting.

So I applaud Microsoft for its first taste of the future in a while.  And when Microsoft wants people to test it out, I volunteer!  Gorilla glass is killer.

A New Lens Kit & The Future of DSLRs

Check this out!  An assortment of lenses for Canon DSLRs so you can shoot movies that look like movies!  Only one problem though.  It’s all a little late.  It’s late because of cameras like this.  Sony (and soon I imagine many of the other camera brands) have come to realize that they should put the same tech that goes into DSLRs into proper video cameras that don’t need a ton of attachments in order to be handheld or shoulder mounted without a load of trouble and expense to keep steady.  Sony had the right idea.  The direction I think all this is going is that DSLR and “video camera” will become terms more for the shape of the device than the use.  If the sensor is the same, then the camera is basically the same.  The biggest advantage with the Sony is that it doesn’t stop recording video every twelve minutes.  I think that this will push the DSLRs into being more video friendly.

All that being said, here’s my prediction for the future of this tech: Video Cameras will become less like M-1s and more like sub machine guns; video cameras will be like DSLRs that have shoulder mounts and pistol grips that can be easily removed and packed away in case the user wants to travel light and use the device to take still photos, and DSLRs will focus more on being DSLRs with an emphasis on steadyshot tech (a pendulum that makes the camera steady itself) instead of shoulder mounts to try to turn the camera into a video camera.  Sony’s new NEX7 is a perfect example of where cameras are headed: highly portable, high power, small footprint.

DSLRs aren’t in competition with video cameras.  They’re in competition with your camera phone.