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Drones on parade, and a few fun facts about 4K

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So I stopped by the National Association of Broadcasters show today to talk big data with Gracenote Co-Founder and CTO Ty Roberts, after which he took me on a brief tour of the nearby show floor. If you’ve never been to NAB, it’s like a behind-the-scenes-version of CES, filled with the biggest, baddest, most-expensive television and movie-production equipment you’ve ever seen.

The big thing this year — 4K television. Here are a few factoids that Roberts, clearly having been educated by his peers in the Sony family, shared:

  • The storage footprint of 1 hour of 4K video is 512 gigabytes.
  • That’s a lot of data to move across IP, so 4k cameras just send everything straight to production storage systems over fiber-optic cable.
  • The picture is so detailed that it’s difficult for one person to shoot scenes and focus at the same time. The answer: new two-person camera setups where one guy shoots and the other stands next to him focusing the shot on a larger screen.

Oh, and there were drones, too:

The Schiebel Camcopter S-100.
The Schiebel Camcopter S-100.

This is the civilian version of the Schiebel Camcopter S-100. There’s a military version, too. Its sticker price of several hundred thousand dollars probably isn’t surprising.

For the more cost-conscious aerial cinematographer, Freefly Systems had its own booth:

The Freefly Cinestar, um, helicopter?
The Freefly Cinestar helicopter

Or for those who prefer the ground:

A video rover, I guess.
A video rover, I guess.

This all kind of makes me wish I shot video for a living. If I had a flying, rotating video camera or an off-road setup, I’m sure I could find some way to use them.

4 Responses to “Drones on parade, and a few fun facts about 4K”

  1. Drones and broadcasters? is Google Earth now too expensive at $400.

    Does anyone remember the WKRP episode where the station threw live turkeys out of a helicopter on Thanksgiving as a promotion, and the birds fell to their deaths because they couldn’t fly? It was very entertaining, but not far off the mark of the intelligence factor of broadcasters.

    These guys will give collateral damage a new meaning if they use drones.

  2. Saumya

    Derrick, in the entire history of movie-making, one guy shot and another guy focussed: its a career in itself. He/she is called a Focus Puller and thats a specialisation. It is a 100 year old art/craft/job. Nothing to do with 4k.

    • Derrick Harris

      Indeed, thanks for the comment (and the cinematography lesson). Perhaps the new challenge is just focusing more precisely because of the higher resolution.