Each year at CES, our intrepid Jason Schneider walks the convention hall floors to interview members of the imaging industry and get their feed back on the show. Here is a sample of this year’s interviews from Heard on the Show Floor.
Owner, Advantage Video Systems, Burbank, California
The mission of Advantage Video Systems is to design optimized video workflows for video production, sell products that help their customers fulfill their objectives, and integrate the entire process as seamlessly as possible.
“When you buy a light kit from us, we don’t just hand you a box; we hand you a relationship,” says Jeffrey Stansfield. “We have high-end lighting engineers and tech support involved in every aspect of production and post. Also, we offer a line of proven products. They include Lowel lighting units like the high-end Pro LED 800. The Lowel Blender is also a great light kit used by mobile scenery people. We also offer the Steadicam Steadimate, plus other medium- and high-end Steadicam units.
“We’re also big believers in using optical filters,” continues Stansfield. “They are a great often-overlooked way for filmmakers to enhance and change the entire look of a film. Typically we start them off with a generic Tiffen filter kit and then expand on that by adding specific filters as needed. We’ve found that glass filters work very well in conjunction with advanced filter emulation systems like Tiffen Dfx 4. In fact, we sold a copy of this great software to Quentin Tarantino, who used it with great satisfaction on his latest Rocky movie.
“At the show, I was impressed with some of the new stuff I saw at GoPro, especially their new camera workflows,” notes Stansfield. “And I think we can certainly make use of the new 32-inch monitor from LG that lets you link up multiple monitors via Thunderbolt. A downside is that often the new technology surpasses the standards that support them and people rushing to provide, say, new 4K, 6K and 8K content are faced with syncing and quality problems.
“As for 2016, our business is in expansion mode. This is due in part to the increase in the number of small broadcast TV stations that are creating content. Implementation is now easier than ever, and there are also new collaborations in workflows, including storage workflows that combine solid-state digital, flash storage and spinning disc storage systems. The bottom line: I’m bullish on 2016,” concludes Stansfield.
El Deane Naude
Senior Product Information Manager, Digital Imaging Division, Sony Electronics
n taking a broad overview of changing technology, I truly believe mirrorless cameras are the wave of the future,” says El Dean Naude. “That’s because traditional DSLRs are ultimately based on technology that dates back to the 1960s and is totally unnecessary today. The main reason some companies are sticking with DSLRs is to preserve their legacy lens lines, which is understandable. Two major trends I’ve observed at CES 2016 are cameras that can record 4K UHD internally and provide higher ISOs with cleaner image quality at high ISOs.
“At Sony, we’re expanding our optical lineup with more FE [full-frame E mount] lenses that’ll be rolled out throughout 2016. Fortunately, all the cameras in our Alpha 7 line are increasing their market share in their respective segments. The Alpha 7S and 7R Mark II are increasing their market share very dramatically, and the 6000 is a top performer and top seller in the under-$1,000 market segment. We really have no competitors, yet in the full-frame mirrorless market, the Leica SL is a very nice camera but it’s large, heavy and quite expensive.
“The action camera market is also expanding rather rapidly,” notes Naude, “and there are a lot of competitors, some with 360º virtual reality, including one made for GoPro. Our strategy is to make the cameras but let third-party companies supply the rigs aimed at specific applications. We’re very positive that 2016 is shaping up to be a good year because we have good momentum going forward. We’ve recently won a number of prestigious awards. They include Popular Photography’s Camera of the Year for the 7R Mark II. This is a testament to the quality, performance and innovation of Sony products that have been acknowledged by the industry and the media.”
Social Media Coordinator, Web Department, B&H Photo Video, New York, New York
y mission is running advertising and marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms for B&H, and to post inbound content on imaging-related topics to attract viewers and provide useful information,” says Michael Hollender.
“The trends on the upswing going into 2016 are enhancements of current trends, and also those that bring cutting-edge technology to the consumer level. Action cameras are becoming lighter and more sophisticated. They, along with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, are delivering better image quality and increased low-light performance at high ISOs. This is apparent in the latest pro and prosumer DSLRs that literally have the capacity to see in the dark. Notable examples are the Nikon D5 and D500 unveiled at CES. Sony started this trend with cameras like the Alpha 7S II. But the 3.2M ISO capability of the Nikon D5 is a real game changer.
“Action cameras with 360º coverage are becoming a competitive niche,” continues Hollender. “The new Ricoh Theta S delivers noticeably better image quality than the previous model; the Nikon KeyMission 360 announced at the show has lenses on either side and delivers superb image quality. And Sony has an interesting pocket-sized Action Cam. Another hot trend is the VR explosion, which really started three years ago. Examples are the Oculus Riff, Buzzworthy, Samsung Gear VR and the Google Cardboard. These folding goggles bring VR to virtually anyone with a smartphone. Many of these products come in lightweight versions in a rainbow of colors—a sure sign they’re becoming mass market. I also saw that Canon’s upscale Vixia camcorder is now available in a consumer-level model.
“I really look forward to seeing the ever-changing parade of 2016 models on display in our store, so our customers can actually handle them. But our concept of social media promotion is to be social rather than ‘salesy,’” observes Hollender. “The advantage of being here is that we can show real photos and videos shot with the equipment. As a result, we can provide a genuine hands-on perspective. For example, we post 6-sec video clips via Twitter using Vine.
“We want to be on the pulse, and we pay attention to them [the companies] but also to consumers. We don’t just take a photo of a piece of equipment and post it online; our goal is engagement, giving you the experience of interacting with it. Top of mind is our awareness that we’re not just advertising a product; we pride ourselves on being first with the information that gives it context and meaning in a concise and compelling way.”