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tellure

What tech advancements do you think will eventually come to prosumer video?

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Let's hear your ideas, people!  Some of these might be things you expect to happen in the next few years, or maybe as far out as the next 10 years.

Personally I am super stoked for the next 5-10 years in camera video tech.  We're all used to improvements on the hardware side and that will continue of course, but with more and more image processing advancements happening in software I predict we'll start seeing a lot more features coming from advanced processing techniques combined with new hardware, like the GoPro 7 hypersmooth.

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Ok let's get started.  I've chunked up my predictions into some major categories but feel free to add your own if they don't fit into these:

 

AutoFocus:

There's been a ton of innovation in AutoFocus over the last 5 years and I think we'll continue to see more, including more stills AF features making it to video, like runtime eye-AF which is now shipping on the Sony A6400 and upcoming A9 firmware update.

  • Face registration with priority
    • This is another existing stills feature that we don't have in video yet (to my knowledge)
  • 3D Focus tracking?
    • Generating 3D models from multiple high resolution stills (photogrammetry) is tech that's in common use right now in a variety of fields (e.g. Google Earth)
    • It's reasonable to imagine that with enough processing horsepower and good software a camera could build a 3D AutoFocus model of a subject (rotate around subject to get data)
    • With a 3D AutoFocus model it's possible we could have highly accurate tracking even as a subject moves / rotates in space

 

Sensor / Resolution

I'm not super well versed in sensor tech so below are some of my layman's predictions.  @androidlad, wanna chime in here? :)

  • Realtime HDR?
  • Full-readout 8K with 4x Clear Image zoom?
    • The Sony A9 can already do 2x Clear Image Zoom without any noticeable loss in quality (example)
    • With a full readout of an 8K sensor (33.2MP) downscaled to 4K, we could get 4x Clear Image zoom while still outputting a full-res 4K signal
    • Imagine being able to use, say, the 24mm 1.4 GM as a 24-96mm 1.4 zoom lens.  Sounds pretty sweet to me :)

 

Stabilization

  • In-camera image-processed stabilization  (a la GoPro 7 hypersmooth)
    • I've got a GoPro 7 and this stabilization tech truly lives up to its name.  All done in-processor in realtime in 4K right now (albeit with a much smaller sensor readout). Bringing this tech to larger-sensor cams seems like a big win

 

Codecs / Compression

  • 10bit 4:2:2 / higher bitrates / blah blah
    • Already here in the GH5, only a matter of time before it trickles down to more cams
  • Lossless compressed RAW (a la BlackMagic RAW)
    • I could see some other manufacturers making their own version of this type of codec, and maybe selling it as a paid firmware update on prosumer cams for those users that want RAW
  • 120p 4K
    • 4K 60p is already here on APS-C, 120p seems reasonable in 5+ year's time with enough processing power / heat management

 

Realtime encoding features

  • Realtime hyperlapse
    • Already on smartphones and the GoPro (which works great - example)
  • Simulated Depth of Field
    • This is already a stills feature on modern smartphones and it works pretty well (Google's Pixel portrait mode explained).
    • Not super exciting for those of us that like real bokeh from fast lenses on large sensors but I could see some smaller action cams / vlogger cams making good use of this.

 

Ergonomics / Body / Usability

  • Smartphone touchscreen performance
    • It's a travesty that we still don't have this level of performance in our camera touchscreens given how long smartphones have been doing this well
  • Smartphone-style touchscreen interface / usability
    • Again a travesty that $3500 cameras are light years behind a $200 smartphone UI.  Leave the legacy UI mode for people who want familiarity but give us a proper 21st century UI.
  • In-camera ND
    • This already exists on higher end models like the Sony FS5.  Obviously this is a much larger body with an APS-C sensor and I'm sure the current system wouldn't fit into an A7/A9 body, but maybe we'll see some miniaturization of this or some kind of on-sensor ND tech.
  • Clear Image Zoom on focus ring
    • Ok this is a small idea but imagine being able to swap the functionality of your focus ring (since many of us are using AutoFocus) into a Clear Image Zoom ring, so you can zoom smoothly while recording.  Could even give it a power-zoom mode where you twist to zoom in/out at various speeds.

 

Connectivity / Net features

  • Realtime bluetooth video feed and camera control over for all settings over Smartphone
    • This already exists to a large degree on the GoPro.  The live video feed and changing of camera settings works well although they can't output the video feed while recording.

 

What are your predictions?

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I mean you covered a lot😂, if it can happen it probably will. Its possible the innovation could slow down when it gets to a certain point. Cameras are not too far off from being almost perfect at least to me. At some you'd think people would start holding on to their systems longer because they are so good.

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Cool topic and interesting predictions.

Innovation tends to come from the intersection of technologies, less from a single technology reaching a threshold.  Here's a few combinations that might be interesting:

360 cameras + AI with face-tracking + AI video editing
This could create a camera that consumers just take with them to events and it automatically records video, frames shots in post, and edits them together to deliver a finished product or products (photos and video).  This might even be free if FB / Amazon / Instagram think the data gained by spying on you is worth the hardware costs, but if you willing to pay for it then they'll happily take the data and your money.

Electronic variable ND + better ISO performance (or dual ISO, or Triple ISO?)
This combination could create a camera where we control the creative parameters (SS, F-stop) and the camera manually exposes using only non-creative controls (ND, ISO).  This means you can set whatever aperture you want, 180 degree shutter, and then take exposure off your plate and think about more creative aspects of shooting.  The "cinematic vlog" crowd might help with this as there's a ton of them and they care about SS and F-stop but want fast-paced shooting, and will be adding their voice to the pros who also want built-in NDs.

NLE + AI face-tracking and shot analysis
Not something people talk about, but there might be benefits to NLEs being able to analyse your footage.  Immediate benefits would be logging footage by reading slates (if you have them), detecting takes (visually similar shots repeated over and over), tagging of shots with which faces appear in them, etc.  Combined with smart bins this would save a lot of leg-work, especially in doc work where you have huge amounts of footage.
For the less serious users (some people felt that FCPX was really iMovie, so Apple are trying to reach these people) you could also have expression detection, framing detection, and other ways to rate clips.  The existing 'choose the best shots and make a sequence' technology could be incorporated, creating a rough-cut with a single button.  More advanced features would be to watch you through the webcam as you view shots and further refine based upon your reactions.  
This could be huge as people are recording video and photos all the time, and editing your photos and choosing the best ones has been made easy but video editing is still something the average person doesn't even attempt.

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I think with miniaturization the way it is going we will have butt hole cameras the size of Suppository's with mind control, and you will just pull down your pants and let it rip for say 5 second bursts. Sort of body mounted, literally, backup cams. 😬

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5 hours ago, kye said:

Electronic variable ND + better ISO performance (or dual ISO, or Triple ISO?)
This combination could create a camera where we control the creative parameters (SS, F-stop) and the camera manually exposes using only non-creative controls (ND, ISO).  This means you can set whatever aperture you want, 180 degree shutter, and then take exposure off your plate and think about more creative aspects of shooting.  The "cinematic vlog" crowd might help with this as there's a ton of them and they care about SS and F-stop but want fast-paced shooting, and will be adding their voice to the pros who also want built-in NDs.

NLE + AI face-tracking and shot analysis
Not something people talk about, but there might be benefits to NLEs being able to analyse your footage.  Immediate benefits would be logging footage by reading slates (if you have them), detecting takes (visually similar shots repeated over and over), tagging of shots with which faces appear in them, etc.  Combined with smart bins this would save a lot of leg-work, especially in doc work where you have huge amounts of footage.
For the less serious users (some people felt that FCPX was really iMovie, so Apple are trying to reach these people) you could also have expression detection, framing detection, and other ways to rate clips.  The existing 'choose the best shots and make a sequence' technology could be incorporated, creating a rough-cut with a single button.  More advanced features would be to watch you through the webcam as you view shots and further refine based upon your reactions.  
This could be huge as people are recording video and photos all the time, and editing your photos and choosing the best ones has been made easy but video editing is still something the average person doesn't even attempt.

Your description of the automatic exposure control using built-in variable ND is exactly how the Auto ND feature on the Sony FS5 works as far as I know (video).  I would definitely love to have that feature in a smaller body.  Fiddling with screw-on variable ND's to get the shutter speed where I want it is always a hassle and just takes time away from the creative aspects.

I agree with you about the face tracking and shot analysis features to help mainstream consumers get into editing.  In the same way that AI neural nets are taught what type of content to look for in image processing you could probably teach them what kind of shot types are attractive to the YouTube audience and then have it use that to rate a user's raw footage, then assemble a rough cut like you suggest.

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39 minutes ago, tellure said:

Your description of the automatic exposure control using built-in variable ND is exactly how the Auto ND feature on the Sony FS5 works as far as I know (video).  I would definitely love to have that feature in a smaller body.  Fiddling with screw-on variable ND's to get the shutter speed where I want it is always a hassle and just takes time away from the creative aspects.

I agree with you about the face tracking and shot analysis features to help mainstream consumers get into editing.  In the same way that AI neural nets are taught what type of content to look for in image processing you could probably teach them what kind of shot types are attractive to the YouTube audience and then have it use that to rate a user's raw footage, then assemble a rough cut like you suggest.

Yeah, that FS5 video is exactly what you want - the tech doing the tedious things that you can easily describe and leaving you to do the creative things that you can't easily describe.

In terms of AI creating rough-cuts, it works for things like home videos where it just picks the shots with the nicest smiles and tries to include everyone, but other types of videos like commercials, drama, music videos, corporate, etc have much more complex and subtle criteria and often editors themselves don't even know consciously why they prefer one take over another, or why a group of certain shots is better than other groups of similar shots.  I've seen a number of those BTS with big-budget feature editors and they often have as many or more assistants whose job it is to log, sort, tag, and create rough cuts.  Having a computer do those things, as well as laborious things like checking focus down to pixel level on every shot, would be worth money in basically every scenario.

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5 hours ago, Kisaha said:

Insta 360 cameras offer a small view of the future. AUTO everything, a lot of options in post.

There will always be a need for dedicated and specialized - and expensive - professional equipment.

I remembered another possible use for 360 cameras.

360 cameras + 8K (or higher)
360 cameras might make a great second angle for professionals who shoot events or weddings, especially if you put them on an extendable pole and put them up high.  I think they'd make great wide shots that would look like static drone shots but could be gotten in places you can't feasibly use a drone.  Eg, a wide shot of the crowd at a concert (either looking towards the stage, or back from it) or at the back of a wedding ceremony for a wide view of the bride walking down the aisle, etc.  This wouldn't be too hard to use either, just mount the camera on an extendable arm and mount it to your tripod (or a separate one), then whenever you setup your camera, hit record on it, extend the arm, forget about it and get your normal shots, then retract the arm, hit stop, and deal with the rest in post.  You don't even have to watch the footage it gets, just knowing what shots you want from it and scrubbing back and forth to find a good snippet is enough.

A second variation would also be possible:

360 cameras + high MP sensors + crop modes
If they implemented modes where you could crop into the sensor to reduce the resolution but up the frame rate then it would be a flexible camera to get specific shots from it, so it wouldn't be a one-trick-pony and wouldn't be limited to allocating its bitrate to the full 360 angle.  Like the P4K / GH5 / Sony/ RED cameras that can can downscale the whole sensor or can do a 1:1 crop, and can trade-off resolution for frame rates, imagine if you could have a 360 camera where you position the camera, connect with your phone, engage the crop and frame rate you want, adjust framing (I'd imagine crops would be limited to certain areas of the sensor), then hit record.  This would enable the full bitrate to be used for 4K120 at perhaps a 16mm equivalent or 28mm equivalent focal length.  You'd get that epic wide shot of the crowd bouncing, the band screaming, the lighting peaking, and the pyrotechnics flaring, but you'd get it well framed, in slow-motion, with plenty of bitrate.  Or if you framed the wedding from within an autumn tree you could get that moment of the bride laughing, the guests reacting, and the autumn leaves falling in the wind all in slow-motion.  Those are hero shots that would define a style, like how every wedding photographer needs a drone now.

Plus these cameras are silent, unobtrusive, and would be pretty small.  Imagine if the Insta360 One X was three or four sided, and each had 30-50MP sensors, had the crop modes, and could write 90+MB/s to a microSD card.  It would cost more than the consumer 2-camera version and be larger too, but it would still only be the size of a small drone, ie, semi-pocketable.  When those sensors are in smartphones none of that tech will be that special, it will be the combination of them that creates the potential.  

It's also worth noting that the Insta360 Titan can do 11K30, 8K30 in 10-bit and 3D, so the beyond 8K tech isn't a dream either, it's here for pros now.  Hell, even if it had four cameras and four microSD card slots and it just recorded full resolution from every camera to each slot and you had to use a merging program in post, that would be fine too if it gave you the quality required.

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19 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Already exists for sub $2K!

The Z Cam E2

Uhh yeah but that's a Micro-4/3rds sensor.  Big difference to doing 4K 120p in full frame, which is what I was predicting within 5 years.  Sorry that wasn't clear.

 

On 1/28/2019 at 6:27 PM, kye said:

I remembered another possible use for 360 cameras.

360 cameras + 8K (or higher)
360 cameras might make a great second angle for professionals who shoot events or weddings, especially if you put them on an extendable pole and put them up high.  I think they'd make great wide shots that would look like static drone shots but could be gotten in places you can't feasibly use a drone.  Eg, a wide shot of the crowd at a concert (either looking towards the stage, or back from it) or at the back of a wedding ceremony for a wide view of the bride walking down the aisle, etc.  This wouldn't be too hard to use either, just mount the camera on an extendable arm and mount it to your tripod (or a separate one), then whenever you setup your camera, hit record on it, extend the arm, forget about it and get your normal shots, then retract the arm, hit stop, and deal with the rest in post.  You don't even have to watch the footage it gets, just knowing what shots you want from it and scrubbing back and forth to find a good snippet is enough.

This is a pretty interesting concept.. a 360 cam on a stand / pole that you can throw up in a few locations to get lots of coverage does sound pretty good for events.  What if you could mount it on a roomba-style robot base to get some motion in those shots? :).  That Insta360 Titan already has WIFI video preview, seems like it would be pretty great for events to be able to control several of these remotely. 

With respect to cropping into the 360 cam footage, is there any issue cropping into the side of the frame, wish all that distortion from the fisheye lens? 

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24 minutes ago, tellure said:

Uhh yeah but that's a Micro-4/3rds sensor.  Big difference to doing 4K 120p in full frame, which is what I was predicting within 5 years.  Sorry that wasn't clear.

Well as we're only just now seeing 4K 30fps, I'd give it a no better than 50/50 chance we'd see 4K 120fps from one of the top two brands within 5 years. 

Reckon it could happen with APS-C though within 5yrs. 

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2 hours ago, tellure said:

This is a pretty interesting concept.. a 360 cam on a stand / pole that you can throw up in a few locations to get lots of coverage does sound pretty good for events.  What if you could mount it on a roomba-style robot base to get some motion in those shots? :).  That Insta360 Titan already has WIFI video preview, seems like it would be pretty great for events to be able to control several of these remotely. 

With respect to cropping into the 360 cam footage, is there any issue cropping into the side of the frame, wish all that distortion from the fisheye lens? 

Motion would be great, maybe a base that leans the camera left, then upright and right, then upright and back left again...  It would move vertically a bit, but they don't need to be kept level, so that might work.  Probably your bigger issue would be keeping it from moving if it was on a long pole.  You'd also want to keep it away from objects in the foreground too, as they would show off any camera movement there was, unless everything was moving of course.

In terms of the edges, they used to not be that great but they're pretty darn good now.  Have a look at this to get an idea of it.  

There are a few times you notice the edges, but it's basically seamless.  You don't want to crop in that much TBH, because it has to fit the entire 360degree image into the 4K / 8K / 11K resolution, and also into the bitrate.  An 18mm lens on FF has a horizontal angle of 90 degrees, so a quarter of the width and something like a quarter the height depending on aspect ratios.  This would mean that your frame has only 6% of the bitrate of the full capture.  That's why they're only currently usable for really wide shots, and even then the compression is still really obvious, even when put through YT compression.

If you were concerned about the edges of the lenses then you could just turn it around so that one side of the camera is lined up with the main shot you want, so the stitching and pixelation etc is towards the edges of the frame.  Obviously if you're carrying it around freehand then you'll end up using the bits on the edges of the lenses, but if you just plant it for a static shot then it wouldn't be too hard to pay attention to which way it was facing.

 

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I think the Wiral LITE wire rig is something that is bringing interesting possibilities to a consumer level.

It is particularly well suited to having something like an Osmo attached to it so you can articulate the camera remotely while it is running and also offers another dimension to 360 cameras.

With an Osmo Pocket you have a fully remote controlled articulated 4K stabilised wire cam for €600.

 

A lot of the videos of it (like that one) focus on sports usage of it but there are a number of other examples that show its possibilities outside of that context.

 

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40 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

I think the Wiral LITE wire rig is something that is bringing interesting possibilities to a consumer level.

It is particularly well suited to having something like an Osmo attached to it so you can articulate the camera remotely while it is running and also offers another dimension to 360 cameras.

With an Osmo Pocket you have a fully remote controlled articulated 4K stabilised wire cam for €600.

 

A lot of the videos of it (like that one) focus on sports usage of it but there are a number of other examples that show its possibilities outside of that context.

 

That is truly impressive, and gives really natural looking movement too.  I'm assuming that you have some kind of remote control with variable speed?

If something like the Osmo could use a phone to detect angle (like those point-where-I-point remotes for the Ronin etc) and you had a left-right control for the tracker you'd have a really intuitive control system.

String one of these between two trees at a venue and you're set.  It's not as easy to position as a 360 camera on a extendable pole, but the movement is next level.

Very nice!!

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2 minutes ago, kye said:

That is truly impressive, and gives really natural looking movement too.  I'm assuming that you have some kind of remote control with variable speed?

Yes, fully variable on a wheel.

The fastest speed is 28mph.

So, fast enough to track my wife driving her SmartCar on a motorway.

4 minutes ago, kye said:

If something like the Osmo could use a phone to detect angle (like those point-where-I-point remotes for the Ronin etc) and you had a left-right control for the tracker you'd have a really intuitive control system.

The active tracking on an Osmo Pocket would create a large amount of automated control.

Set the active track on the subject while the Wiral is parked and it should take care of it.

9 minutes ago, kye said:

String one of these between two trees at a venue and you're set. 

Indeed

 

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8 hours ago, kye said:

That is truly impressive, and gives really natural looking movement too.  I'm assuming that you have some kind of remote control with variable speed?

If something like the Osmo could use a phone to detect angle (like those point-where-I-point remotes for the Ronin etc) and you had a left-right control for the tracker you'd have a really intuitive control system.

String one of these between two trees at a venue and you're set.  It's not as easy to position as a 360 camera on a extendable pole, but the movement is next level.

Very nice!!

Price is not too bad either. 349 bucks.

https://www.adorama.com/wrllite.html

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