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Consumer video gets a boost

Amateur cameras to exceed some pro standards

While the 3D flatscreens, still cameras and camcorders got a lot of attention at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, another nascent trend may have even more relevance for the movie and television industries.

Some video cameras on the show floor, either consumer or prosumer gear, exceeds movie and TV industry standards. In other words, in some specific ways, they’re actually exceeding what’s on a set — even a state-of-the-art set.

Panasonic was showing consumer camcorders shooting full 1080p HD, which is almost the same as 2K digital cinema, at 60 frames per second. Movies are still at 24 fps, a frame rate that goes back to the introduction of sync sound, and television is standardized on 30 fps.

Those advocating for greater image quality in cinemas have long pushed for movies to go as high as 60 fps, but until the arrival of digital cameras, 60 fps for movies was just a curiosity, trotted out for occasional proof-of-concept demos.

But with 60 fps gear in consumers hands, and with their TVs comfortably able to handle the higher frame rate and then some, it seems like only a matter of time before people start to wonder why their home movies look crisper than the images coming off of ESPN or Syfy.

Also on the show floor was a JVC prototype camcorder that shoots not just 60 fps but 4K to boot. The combination of 4K and 60fps is well beyond today’s d-cinema standards.

Now, this 60fps gear isn’t even out yet, and that 4K camcorder is probably a few years away, but Hollywood take note: Change is coming, whether from the top down or the bottom up.

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The Samsung/RealD passive-glasses 3D TV, which incorporates the high-tech “Z Screen” at the heart of RealD projectors into the TV monitor, wasn’t on the show floor at CES. Instead, RealD kept it in a suite at the Venetian, with viewing by appointment. RealD is hoping to pitch consumers that the cost of this unit is competitive with an active-glasses system with several extra pairs of glasses. That argument works if the units are within about $500 of each other, but nobody even has a ballpark range yet for the RealD set yet. …

Prime Focus has launched a new 3D conversion facility in Chandigarh. Facility will be 50,000 square feet and is designed for 3,000 artists. Within India, Prime Focus also has facilities in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Goa and Mumbai. It also has locations in London, Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver and Winnipeg. … Spatial View has announced that 3DeeCentral, a library of 3D content (some free), is now live online. …

Sensio Technologies and Darkworks S.A. have struck an agreement to integrate Sensio Hi-Fi 3D into Trioviz for Games Technology to speed creation of 3D games. … Sensio has also pacted with Cyberlink to bring Sensio 3D decoding technology to Cyberlink PowerDVD media player software … Panasonic has added 3D stereo capabilities to its AV-HS450N multi-format switcher. New 3D board and software will be available in February … A Digital Vision Nucoda Film Master was an important part of the Anschutz Film Group/Walden Media inhouse post facility used on “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” … D-cinema satellite distributor Microspace has been tapped by Emerging Pictures to deliver its 2010-11 Ballet in Cinema series to movie theaters. First event was the Bolshoi performing “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 19.

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