League Technology Summit: next gen acquisition

Reflecting some of the trends spotted at IBC, the League Technology Summit looking at next gen acquisition was mainly all about 4k, with discussion about 3D playing a supporting role.

4k is coming, was the message from the camera side of the business. “The march to 1080p60 is well underway and that is the gold standard for HD,” summarised Larry Thorpe, National Marketing Executive at Canon Broadcast. “3D seems to have slowed a little, but 4k is the discussion which has got everyone interested.”

That’s not to say there aren’t issues with its impending arrival (not least who would be willing to fund the building of a 4k-capable OB truck). Using 2/3-in sensors and producing it in the same space as HD means smaller pixels and less sensitivity when, as Grass Valley’s Marcel Koutstaal pointed out, sports operators are all about improving sensitivity and signal to noise ratios. And, as Panasonic’s Steve Mahrer added, Moore’s law has never applied to lens technology and 4k lenses are not cheap.

With an excursion into the CMOS vs CCD debate (with CCD memorably likened to a steam engine in that we can build great ones but it’s all about rocket engines nowadays) 3D dominated the rest of the discussion. Lens development was again an issue, with 42x highlighted as the largest lenses used on 3D so far in the US, while the panel also decried the lack of the ‘magic camera’, the 3D unit that would be all things to all people. But, as Thorpe pointed out, it’s early days yet.

“Nothing’s slower than the development of HDTV,” he said. “I was out there talking about it for 15 years before it came.”

The consensus was that glasses free 3D was the key, and Sony’s Hugo Gaggioni dropped an intriguing hint regarding the future of that. “It’s very important for 3D monitoring in the trucks as they dislike wearing even passive glass in there. It’s coming soon,” he promised.

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