And the 2013 Emmy goes to…. a 5D Mark III CMOS sensor?

5D Mark III sensor and OLPF

Above: the potentially Emmy winning sensor which I had to dismantle with cocktails sticks in an attempt to get acceptably detailed video

According to Vladimir Koifman at Image Sensors World, an Emmy commission jointly headed by Canon’s David O’Kelly is investigating whether CMOS sensors should be eligible for awards.

O’Kelly claims advances in the technology has ‘materially affected’ television. The winner of 5 Primetime Emmy Awards, House notably made use of the full frame 5D Mark II in the very capable hands of Gale Tattersall so it is true CMOS sensors and DSLRs have materially affected the look and feel of TV.

But should the Emmy be awarding CMOS sensors? And why is a Canon guy on the awards committee?

How awards work

Here’s a few extracts from the letter to Koifman, which was penned by Emmy technical consultant Mark Schubin and Canon USA Inc’s David O’Kelly who co-chairs the investigative commission with Schubin.

We will present a report to the [Emmy] committee based on our investigation [into the material affect of CMOS innovation on TV], and they will then vote on awards. There is theoretically no limit to the number of awards for this technology. There could also be no award.

We have two questions we need to answer: “Have improvements to CMOS imagers for use in high-definition broadcast video cameras” materially affected television?” and, if so, “Who deserves Emmy recognition for pioneering that material effect?”

Who pioneered the look of House on the 5D Mark II? I would say if anyone deserves an Emmy for that, it is Gale Tattersall. As far as I know, CMOS sensors aren’t cinematographers and are pretty useless without one.

There’s also an issue of partiality here. With a senior Canon guy on the Emmy Awards sub-committee, sending a load of marketing propaganda to the judging committee they are hardly going to give the award to Sony or Arri are they?

Should they are shouldn’t they?

Maybe the Emmy Awards would be best dodging this marketing ploy and for a technical awards body to instead recognise the industry wide progress in imaging technology, not just at Canon but across the board.

The Emmy subcommittee letter goes on…

Please respond no later than July 20 to allow us time to write our report and submit it. The earlier the better, and there’s no need for any formality. Feel free to submit partial, incomplete information.

My response would be pretty unequivocal. Guys like Tattersall deserve the awards not the camera company.

What this kind of lobbying suggests to me is that the Emmy Awards are in danger of becoming an industry puppet. Better the awards to go to those cinematographers, filmmakers and actors who create the magic, rather than corporations with the senior staff member on the technical research committee.

I’m so tired of this sneaky marketing. Aren’t you?