THE MUSE

Welcome to the Adamantean blog

YES YES YES

Written with camera operators in mind….

As we approach the new shooting season, it seems the perfect time to put straight a few common misconceptions about finance. I know that in all my time in this industry, finance has always been seen as a bit of a black art. I also know that the more entrepreneurial companies and individuals have reaped the benefits of understanding the basics, and taking advantage of the benefits that it can undoubtedly bring.

In my experience, these misconceptions tend to be based around what kit can and can’t be financed and who we would consider to be a ”suitable” client.

1.     Can I get finance if I’m a freelancer

YES

Specialist finance companies love freelancers. Think of it this way…The finance company owns the kit until the end of the agreement, so we need to know that it’s safe and being looked after. All the freelancers I know are totally in love with their kit, and treat it with more care and attention than some members of their own family! Limited Company freelancers are especially loved.

2.     Is it easy getting finance in place.

YES (most of the time).

It is true that we generally need to see your year-end accounts and some bank statements to decide if you’re good for the finance. Adamantean never closes. We are industry people, and recognise that a good freelancer is busy most days, so if you call us at odd hours / weekends we’ll generally pick up.

Of course if you’re looking to borrow a large amount and you are new to us then as you’d expect, we will need to do some checks on you, but most of our deals are approved within a day or so.

3.     Can I get finance on second-hand kit.

YES

Think of a finance agreement from our perspective. We lend money against a camera / lens and this asset remains “ours” until the end of the term. So the longer any piece of kit can hold its value the better as it makes the loan less risky. Once a brand new camera is turned on, it’s no longer “brand new”, so is now worth perhaps 15% less than it was 5 minutes before. A piece of “pre-loved” kit doesn’t have this initial immediate devaluation, so it may actually be easier to get an approval on a used piece of equipment than a brand new item.

There are other issues that we’d consider such as where had the kit been used, service history, and hopefully you’ll get a warranty from the seller, so if you’ve found the second hand camera / lens / audio console of your dreams we should be able to help.

Cinematography lenses are perhaps the most extreme example. You can wait 18 months for a set of new Cooke 5i lenses. They are beautiful and “reassuringly expensive”. If you were lucky enough to find a set of used lenses you might find that they are as expensive as a new set. But they are available now, and you don’t have the expense of hiring-in other people’s lenses while you wait the 18 months for your set to be made. And because these lenses last “forever” we can fund them over a long period. Only someone who really understands their long term value could do this.

A more difficult question to answer would be “why wouldn’t I finance my purchase?” rather than “why would I?”

I funded a new Arri Alexa Mini kit recently for a cameraman. £40K is a lot of cash to spend in one go for any freelancer. It’s taken years to build up a nice nest-egg that makes sleeping at night a little easier. Repaying under £1,000 per month, and allowing the camera to generate its own revenue to pay back its own cost works. At least for him it did.

Your job is hard enough as it is, with demanding production companies, reducing budgets and longer shooting days the norm. Let me take just a little of that stress away. Finance can be seen as a bit of a dark art. I hope this has thrown some light on the subject. My numbers are below if you want tot talk.

Good luck for 2018. It looks like an interesting year ahead.

Duncan

07841 015400

payned@adamantean.net

Adamantean is a finance broker specialising in the media sector. It’s owned and managed by Gareth Wilding, Sam Arlow and me. Call us. We can help.

www.adamantean.net


My best guess at what 2018 holds…

A shortened version of this article is published in the February edition of TVBAY. The article was written in early January.

The New Year has arrived…and it promises great opportunities for those prepared to seek them out, with the one certainty that change is constant.

Let’s start with London studio space, and the lack thereof. The issue is finally being addressed with fortuitous timing (or maybe some expert planning) as Riverside Studios in Hammersmith opens its shiny new doors this summer following a 4 year, multi-million pound reincarnation that will see it vying to be the leading studio space in Central London. They will certainly be on many a producer’s speed-dial with the recent or imminent losses of ITV’s The London Studios, Fountain Studios and BBC studios, since the old Riverside closed its doors for the last time. Also opening this year are the Procam-owned Mountview Studios in Peckham, but London studio space still seems to be at a premium. The proposed new mega-studio complex in Dagenham is a while off yet, and will need an enormous investment to make it a desirable destination to compete with Pinewood.

Trends in production suggest that the On-Demand services Netflix and Amazon continue to offer healthy budgets for first class programme-making. Comments from the hire companies I speak with indicate an encouraging trend for these productions to demand the best kit and crew but with a budget that makes it commercially viable. It seems increasingly novel for a production to have champagne funding to go with its champagne taste, which enables the hire companies to give world class support and service.  UKTV has also committed to their first four original drama commissions too, which is all good for the UK TV industry.

On a business level, the MBO of CVP in December is big news, and good luck to the guys who have taken that exciting step. Selling kit is a tough business, and finding differentiators that keep existing customers coming back whilst attracting new ones is the ongoing challenge. It seems to me that being mid-size is always tricky. Being small and lean allows for quick decisions and great customer service, but the buying power may not allow for best pricing, whilst being a huge business (in broadcast terms) can leave the feeling of an impersonal touch, but with a potential price advantage. I anticipate some casualties as the resellers cut their cloth accordingly.

When I joined this industry in 2000, many of the key manufacturers were selling directly to end-users, and the dealers were almost an unnecessary, margin-sapping after-thought. Fast forward 18 years and the manufacturers have trimmed their salesforces so much that a good reseller is key to their success, and the size and influence of the resellers has grown considerably as a consequence. The best dealers will always be easier to engage with, certainly faster to engage with, and have the in-house infrastructure and knowledge that gives the customer a much better experience than dealing directly with each individual manufacturer.

The same “mid-size business” issues have always been the principal challenge of the post production world where the mid-size Rushes closed late last year, whilst other “boutique” post-houses like The Look are expanding under strong management. As with most things, it’s the people that count. When was the last time you bought anything from someone that you didn’t like? Good sales and support staff can make or break any business, and a can-do attitude will always remain the fundamental bedrock of a successful business.

Surprising news of a reshuffle at North American equipment manufacturer Ross Video, with a few key personnel now seeking pastures new. Unfortunate timing for them just before Christmas, and especially after the great recent successes they’ve enjoyed in Europe, (based in my opinion on employing good people while others have been reducing head count). I’ve long ben a fan of the products, and it will be interesting to see how their European business fares. With SAM pushing hard in the large mixer market, and not forgetting the established incumbents Sony and GV, relationships can tip the balance. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see some consolidation in this sector. There just seems to be too many major players.

Whilst on the subject of manufacturers, is this finally the year when Arri announces a new camera? I’ve been saying that before every trade show for the past 3 years, but with the technical requirements of the OTT commissioners requiring genuine 4K+ resolution it has to be this year, doesn’t it? With Sony bringing their Venice to market in the Spring, it will be fascinating to see how that plays out.

2017 was a big year for educational spend as tertiary education establishments recognised that they needed the latest equipment to attract student numbers. Salford & Sheffield Hallam, to name a couple, have invested heavily in new technology this past year. National Film School Digital Village project saw investment from Channel 4 and Sky, and the University of the Arts is planning a state of the art new premises in South London.

4K is pretty much established, and HDR adoption is close behind. To my mind, this was really the wrong way round. With so much content viewed on small screens now, trying to spot the difference between 4K and HD on all but the largest screens is impossible, whilst the SDR – HDR jump is evident on any size device.

The momentum of IP adoption in studios and the OB market seems not to be as fast as most had expected. The technology will no doubt get there, but the demands of instantaneous switching of a 4K, HDR, HFR signal with Dolby Sound is proving a challenge. In time, the technology advances should allow for cloud-based remote production from multiple locations. Imagine covering the next big sporting event… the video sources coming in from the sports venue, archive footage from HQ, remote audio mixing from Dolby HQ, and graphics from yet another location, all synced and played out seamlessly, with minimal delays, all over IP. This seems to be the current holy grail for broadcast visionaries. Let’s see how close we get before someone proposes a different one.

The technical engineering requirement of most OB companies is shifting to an IP knowledge base, so it will happen. Just not quite as fast as was billed, and 2017 being an “odd” year will have contributed to that slowdown.

It’s generally the two global sporting events – the football World Cup and the Olympics – that are the catalyst for major advancements. This year’s World Cup in Russia will be the first major sporting event to be covered in its entirety in 4K/UHD, and who knows how many K’s the Tokyo Olympics will be covered in, in 2020.

Brexit is the gift that just keeps on taking, and the VFX sector seems to be the most concerned, as freedom of movement issues are scaring talent away from the UK. Whilst this may create opportunities for home-grown talent, it will take time and investment to develop these skills and in the meantime the UK industry will lose its appeal for this vital sector.  Post-land generally has concerns over Brexit with the major players voicing worries over big business moving their offices, and their decision-makers, to mainland Europe.

However there have been some short-term wins as the falling pound has encouraged overseas productions to spend their Euros and dollars here. “Wait and see” seems to be the prevailing strategy, which is understandable, if not a little nervous-making. Perhaps a better approach would be to strike some deals while the agreements are still in place, or has that horse bolted?

And whilst on personnel-related issues, under the leadership of Bubble Communications MD Sadie Groom, RISE continues its admirable work promoting opportunities for women in film and television. My colleague at Adamantean, Sam Arlow, is on the advisory board, and the principal aim is to make the industry more attractive and accessible for women to join, succeed, and most significantly, stay in. I am hearing of some smaller production companies taking a more flexible approach to their working practices, which will help women returning to the industry after having children. This is good news as the industry needs all of its collective talent to truly flourish.

I expect the trade shows to be spectacularly similar in virtually every respect to all previous trade shows. The drinks may be more expensive, the hype will be over-hyped and IBC will still be too long. And will we learn anything more? The BSC, in my opinion the best show for learning about new gear if cinematography is your thing, is fast approaching and I’m hoping it will remain as good so long as it doesn’t grow too big. BVE and its newer competitor MPS will continue to fight for the same space, and the non-paying public will continue to get their beer funded by exhibitors hoping to get a new lead or two.

Often it’s the reseller events or the smaller regional shows where the same experts are on hand, but the crowds are a little thinner where you can get some quality one-on-one time to find out what you need to know. The Kit Plus shows in Manchester and Bristol are good cases in point, and rather than expanding these events as they gain popularity, they’re adding Glasgow back to their event calendar which is planned for May this year.

I have no doubt that this year will throw up many challenges and opportunities, and I am genuinely excited for what lies ahead this year. We are a year old here at Adamantean, and Sam, Gareth and I are extremely grateful for the loyalty and support we have experienced from customers, manufacturers and the industry generally as we have launched our business.

Good luck to you all for the coming year. I hope it brings good fortune and happiness in abundance. Certainly the Royals have helped the OB businesses this year. Thanks to the Harry and Meghan wedding/FA Cup final clash in May the demand for kit will certainly spike over that weekend. I just need to decide which invite to accept.

Duncan


Resolutions from Samantha Arlow.

Now that I have had an opportunity to reflect on our first full year, it has certainly been an exciting project to set up and I have learned some key lessons along the way. It turns out those old business adages we often hear are not unfounded!

Adamantean has proven to me without a doubt ‘People buy from People’. We have been overwhelmed by the response from our network: customers, resellers and manufacturers alike. Many business owners have told us they remember what it was like to tentatively open the doors, and hope the business would come; and have consequently given us the opportunity to assist with their finance requirements. Some now have multiple facilities set up with us across a range of funders and I’m proud to have been able to continue those relationships under our own brand.

Our first year has also borne out that business opportunities are like buses – there’ll always be another one coming. For us this means a healthy pipeline of upcoming business, which includes cameras to cover the football, and a full TV studio fit out. But for our customers it means a need for flexibility and dynamic decision-making so that they can grab those opportunities with both hands.

Discussing funding options and setting up credit lines in advance means we can help you accommodate new enquiries, or changes of direction within a project, with ease.

But ‘we supply Good/Quick/Cheap – you can have two!’ remains my favourite, because it’s a continuing challenge. Whilst we pride ourselves on providing a good tailored service, and adding value with our depth of knowledge of the industry, our fast expanding funder panel and implementation of a dedicated Leasing specific CRM system mean we can also respond faster and offer more competitive pricing than ever before.

They say, ‘You can do big things with a small team’ so get in touch and let us be the small team that helps you achieve big things.


Happy New Year – An update from Duncan Payne

My first 6 months with Adamantean have been the most exhilarating of my career. Being your own boss is a big leap, and I’ve loved almost every minute of it. The thrill of the deal has never felt so good when you’re doing it for yourself, and the relationships I’ve built up with customers, resellers and manufacturers over the years have really helped me out. Thank you…you know who you are.

I’ve had a real cross section of customers, which always keeps things fresh. Two cameramen forming a new Company to buy their first ever piece of kit was a fun deal. And we signed the paperwork in a Shoreditch coffee house where my shaven chin stuck out like…well, a shaven chin.

Finding a new client close to your front door is always handy, and helping mine buy £250K of LED screens was made even more challenging as the Chinese manufacturer wanted payment before the kit left China. But we made it happen. Add in a £150K deal for a London TV studio, and a couple of RED cameras for an old friend running a camera hire company among a good number of other deals and I think we go in to 2018 in pretty good shape.

You’ll see lots more of us in 2018 I’m sure as we grow our business. We’re working hard for our clients, and who needs a social life anyway when you have your own business. Weekends are for wimps.

So when you’re looking for finance options for your next purchase, and fancy trying a different flavour, give me a call. If it’s a weekend, I’m pretty sure I’ll still pick up.

Duncan Payne
Director


One year in…

It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed since Sam and I threw ourselves off the proverbial cliff and began Adamantean back in January. So much has happened since then, not least the exciting development of being joined by Duncan in June – as we said at the time, we love it when a plan comes together!

A strong panel of 30+ banks and finance companies was quickly established, eager to offer traditional funding products as well as working closely with us to develop more bespoke solutions – especially in the specialist area of vendor sales.

By the end of the year we will have completed significantly more business than we had forecast from a standing start this time last year, which is extremely satisfying.

We are delighted to have funded deals of all shapes and sizes, from a £10k camera for a freelance cameraman to a £1.25m requirement for a lighting company. In between there has been PA and sound-reinforcement gear, lenses, camera channels, vision mixers, graphics equipment, audio recording consoles, stabilised camera mounts, LED screens and even a couple of OB trucks!

We have also spread our activities into broader markets, including renewable energy equipment, cars, trucks, aircraft and marine.

The overwhelming enthusiasm and support we received across the industry has meant that many old and familiar customers have joined us on our journey, and we cannot thank you enough for that confidence and support. We have met even more new customers along the way.

An encouraging pipeline of new business is already primed for an encouraging start to 2018, including some large projects we are very excited to be involved with.

Thanks to all of you who have continued to support and believe in us as we have got this venture off the ground, and we hope the rest of you will become an equally important part of our future.

Wishing you all a happy and restful festive period, and a busy and successful 2018.

Gareth


IBC 2017 – Well? What did you think?

Recovering from the wettest IBC in recent memory, it should be remembered for a show of major product announcements and warm welcomes.

Having started our equipment finance business just a few short months ago, we continue to be bowled over by the levels of encouragement, and business, we’ve received. We are truly grateful.

Arriving to a soggy Amsterdam on Thursday evening, I was lucky enough to be on the guest list, along with over a 1000 others, to a proper “old school” manufacturer show party. Arri put on an amazing event to celebrate their 100th year, and thank you to them for a truly memorable evening. Now there’s a company with a quality pedigree and a legacy for being at the top of their game. Their Midas touch shows no sign of stopping, and although there was no “next big thing” announcement, the Arri band wagon continues unabated. I guess it’s handy that the big upcoming film Bladerunner 2049 was all shot on Alexa. Far better to let Roger Deakins tell everyone how amazing the Alexa is than Arri themselves. Deakins liked “ the certain texture and activity in the image” even over the Alexa65, and if Roger says it’s good, who am I to disagree.

Sony had 2 major announcements. Well, one and a half maybe. The Venice was actually announced the week before at an American Society of Cinematographers LA event, rather than the Broadcast-centric IBC event, clearly indicating that Sony sees this camera in the digital cinema space, rather than mainstream TV. Nevertheless there was considerable fuss around it on the show floor, and the specs are super-impressive. However it’s not released until February, and this will only be a cut down version, with the full resolution, higher frame rate options to follow on future software and firmware updates. A very clever friend of mine told me on the Sony stand that the key development of the camera is the back end, not the front end. The RAW recording compression is much more powerful than the Arri equivalent, and storage and workflow costs may be significantly cheaper. Not a big deal for the big-budget Bladerunner type features, but this will come in to play for more budget-sensitive productions. I’d welcome feedback from any techs on this aspect.

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This means nothing to me…ah Venice.

Sony also announced the UHC-8300 8K studio camera, which fortunately can also produce a 4K, and even a lowly HD image simultaneously. It’s immensely impressive, but when we are all currently playing catch up with the migration from HD to 4K, and throw in HDR and HFR for good measure, it begs the question “why now?”. Surely they have one eye on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with NHK driving the K race. The IBC Future Zone has featured 8K proof of concepts for a few years now, but we have a long way to go in less than 3 years if we are going to see an 8K 100 metre final in our homes, when I currently see this screen at home each news time.

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Hello…is there anybody in there.

Sony also had their increasingly popular HDC-4300 4K studio channels on show, and it would be a bit remiss of me to let the opportunity pass by without mentioning an old friend, Simon Roe of Zest4TV who I have just helped buy some of these channels. Cue cheesy IBC stand photo …

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Me, Simon Roe and Ben Murphy, ES Broadcast MD, who supplied the cameras

Panasonic has been talking about the EVA forever it seems, and we finally got to see an impressive show reel on the stand. They’ve packed a lot in to a little box, and I like that it’ll be fully working when it’s released at the end of October, rather than having to wait for the upgrades. Just a note though that don’t expect to call your local friendly reseller on launch day and expect to pick one up on the day. I’m told that back orders are significant so I’d suggest you get an order in now if that’s your camera of choice and attend the various dealer events that will no doubt be happening between now and launch date. I do like that this camera records on to generic SD cards, but buy the good ones. If you buy Panasonic cards they’ll even claim to be able to find your material even if you can’t and you fear you’ve lost the shot.

Canon snuck in the launch of the XF-400 and XF-405 under the radar, and these are fixed lens hand-held camcorders which can shoot in up to 4K resolution. They are also now shipping the previously announced C200, which is a single sensor digital cinema type camera and the latest entrant in to a already crowded market sector.

One product that I did like on the Canon stand was a tie up with a military hardware manufacturer Sesanti. They’ve made a totally weatherproof PTZ housing that holds a big box lens and your system camera of choice, which could be positioned and left for the duration of a big project. I’m thinking 3 weeks of a Winter Olympics on top of a ski slope where the camera could be controlled, powered and the video taken from it, all from the comfort of an OB truck in the compound.

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Saving cameramen from frost bite one Winter Olympics at a time. It works in temps from -30°C to + 70°C.

Concerning news from RED that they have let some experienced staff go in a big European restructure. Some are friends of mine, and I hope they find positions elsewhere soon.

Other notables for me were the new SSL System T IP audio mixer, which I know was drawing crowds from the OB world. The ability to use AoIP ( Audio over IP ) seems to be attractive as video looks already to be headed along the same path.

And Dolby is always a favourite stand of mine. Their technical advances are extraordinary and all of your favourite fruit-based technology devices will be using it soon. Their sealed-door audio demos are always a treat too. The Kop never sounded so good, and I’m sure they’ll never walk alone.

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I love a party with a happy Atmos

I also loved the Motion Impossible remote dolly system. Think really awesome remote control car with a motion control heavy duty camera rig on it, capable of moving on a track or over any terrain. The 2 owners are a perfect mix too, a techy “geek” and freelance cameraman, and the industry is getting to love their product. Great work guys.

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Neil Armstrong could have used this

Newtek had some innovative developments, particularly around their NDI technology. A couple of products caught my eye…they have an NDI enabled PTZ camera head, which only requires a single cable, carrying power, the HD video signal, and controlling the PTZ function. For entry level auditoriums / lecture theatres / small sports environments it seemed like a neat solution, particularly as it would integrate in to their production workflow with Tricaster and 3Play. They’ve also partnered with top-end graphics company Vizrt to create a really powerful graphics package. It looked impressive on the demo.

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Count the cables. 1. That’s it.

There seems to be no stopping Ross Video currently, and they continue to bring innovative products to market and project a “major player” reputation, while maintaining the personal touch. The hugely impressive end to end studio production solutions, all controlled by their Dashboard GUI are very slick. And to have the company owner, David Ross himself, on hand to engage directly with their clients must be a huge help for the sales staff. They just seem to keep doing the right things, and if I was going to be investing in that much kit for my studio, I’d like the big boss to engage with me too.

Editshare seem to be doing well, and were pretty vocal ( and why wouldn’t they be ) about winning the IBC2017 Design and Innovation Award for Storage for their EFS Single-Node Scale Out storage technology. It certainly seemed like a good way for smaller production companies to take on larger projects with higher and higher data rates without the need for large and expensive storage clusters.

Object Matrix is another company doing well in the storage and archive space. The Matrixstore archive system seems to be popular, and if you missed the news that ITN has just adopted the technology for their entire archive, you were just not paying attention.

I really liked the technology tie up between Associated Press ( AP ) and LiveU. Imagine you’re a jobbing freelance cameraman, working day to day and trying to fill your own diary. If you signed up for the AP/LiveU web site ( and passed AP’s vetting process to establish that you know what you’re doing ) you can list yourself on their web site, and any news organisation globally can review your profile and book you for a job. Future developments of the site may also allow a news organisation that knows of a breaking news story to see the location of all cameramen who have the app on their phones (think find-my-iphone) , and text the nearest one to the incident and ask if they want to cover the event, and agree a fee. The cameraman would need the LiveU hardware that allows a high quality video signal to be sent over a mobile phone network to a receiver which many Broadcasters already have anyway. It’s not a new concept. I wrote about it 2 years ago as LiveU competitor TVU can do the same thing, but it does not seem to have taken off yet.

Take this concept a stage further and at some stage in the future a cameraman who happens to be in the wrong place at the right time and films a newsworthy event could upload a watermarked, proxy video on the web site, and invite bids if any news agencies wants to make an offer. The opportunities are open-ended and I genuinely can not think why any cameraman would not want to sign up? Do any cameramen out there have any thoughts on this? Feels a bit like a camerman’s version of Tinder, but it might bring some work in!!

I’ve written previously about my thoughts on trade shows. See previous Linked In article “ Why do you attend BVE?” in March this year, and nothing I saw over the weekend changed my view. I’ve no doubt the major exhibitors, in my world that’s Sony, Arri , Panasonic etc, all spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on their few square metres of prime real estate, which for those 5 days will be the most expensive on the planet. It seems the fear of not being present drives the exhibitor’s paranoia of missing out on the next big customer. And think of the huge head count required to staff the big stands, and the ridiculous mafia-style hotel price fixing and restaurant bills, and you have a financial gravy train. Try booking a hotel room either side of IBC and see how much you save. Could the manufacturers use their marketing money more effectively? I see a lot of money flowing straight out of our industry in to the large event venues like the Excel and the RAI. Like the millions of pounds paid to football agents, it just seems that if you were starting from scratch, this isn’t how it would be.

And to further muddy the financial muddle, we all go, and it costs most of us nothing to attend. How is that? or rather why is that? To network with the worlds TV professional data-base surely is worth something? If we all paid €50 this might reduce the costs for the exhibitors and encourage smaller manufacturers to attend? If you don’t think it’s worth €50, why do you bother going anyway? My business, Adamantean, is a new start business and we were prudent in most things that we did. For example, we saved a fortune using Airbnb for 3 of us to stay in an apartment, shared cabs where we could and we’ll still have spent the best part of £2,000 on IBC.

The obvious way to reduce the cost is to make the show 4 days. Friday to Monday seems plenty long enough to me. Is anyone making any sense by day 5 anyway? And reading other post-show reviews and social media comments there seems to be a ground-swell of opinion thinking the same. Thoughts anyone?

And the Beach Bar!! They’ve broken the beach Bar. Anyway, back in Blighty now, and following up on all the positives that came from what was genuinely the most encouraging trade show I’ve ever attended.

Thoughts and responses always welcome.

Heineken anyone?

Cheers

Duncan


In Other News…

This article was first published in the July 2017 edition of TVBAY.

So, the 2nd Media Production Show has been and gone. Hands up who went to Islington by mistake? I know at least two people who did. Their secret is safe with me!

For me, the sign of a great trade show is when I come away really enthused about an innovative use of existing technology or a brand new product. When I find something that combines both these things, then I’m a very happy man.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a shipping container exhibited at a broadcast trade show before. But some very imaginative and talented audio guys have developed SpaceCrate; a totally portable and adaptable production facility. From the outside it looks like a typical shipping container but step inside, and you find yourself in a surprisingly large, acoustically perfect, beautifully lit, air-conditioned flexible creative workspace.

This brand new creation was heading straight off from the Media Production Show to its first paying job on a film set (see photo below). I hadn’t realised that most, if not all, feature film dialogue has to be re-recorded in post, sometimes months after the actual filming has finished, so that the audio can be completely controlled and is clean of the inevitable background noise on set. Automated dialogue replacement (ADR) is hugely expensive, and one use of the Spacecrate is as a temporary ADR facility on set, so the actors can re-record their lines straight after filming their scenes. So, no expensive call backs, and very likely a better performance from the actors, who are still ‘in character’…it’s a win/win!

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SpaceCrate in transit to its first job

The SpaceCrate can also be configured as an overflow edit suite, a green screen filming environment, or even a temporary studio. It’s highly adaptable, well designed and easily transported. What’s not to like?

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Very cool lighting inside the SpaceCrate

The show seems to have been well received by most and although it’s still establishing itself in the trade show calendar, it does seem to have gained a lot of traction quite quickly. Post-production was well-represented with the major resellers all present and showing off their wares. But for me the star of the show was the EVA1 camera. Panasonic were not even showing a working model, but from the spec alone, it seems to have made quite an impact. My sources tell me that delivery is around IBC time, and the major dealers have all committed to decent numbers so they must be pretty confident that it will be popular. As one told me at the show “ it’s 4:2:2, it’s 10 bit…it’s telly. It’ll sell “. The EVA is a lot more than that too, and it’s a long time since Panasonic has had such a potential success story on its hands in the Broadcast sector. They have a 70% global share of PTZ sales, but the UK broadcast market has been tough for them for years, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Canon were also there, working with hire company Shooting Partners to demonstrate their new C200 camera. This is not shipping yet either but the announcement of these two new cameras prompted Sony to announce a camera that won’t be shipping til next year. Watch this space for more details.

In other news, IDT have been making great strides with their super slo-mo camera. Slow motion filming is becoming ever more popular in sports programming as well as mainstream TV productions. Those of a pedantic nature might argue that you can’t strictly have more than one Unique Selling Point, but if you can, then this product would have three. Its size (it’s much smaller than the alternatives), the fact that it can record on to standard COTS (commercial off the shelf) recording media, and that it’s significantly more cost-effectivethan the competitors.

IDT have done really well selling their cameras into car safety research establishments recently… crash test dummies have never looked so good. They have made a number of modifications to make their cameras more “media industry” friendly, and I think this year could prove to be a good one for them if a recent test shoot at Rockingham race track is anything to go by. Their O10 model can record 4K at an astonishing 1000 frames per second.

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Note the small form factor of the camera, mounted on a long boom pole. The photo at the top of this article is a frame grab from this shoot.

In the OB world there still seems to be a disconnect between what the manufacturers are saying about IP adoption and its current functionality, and what the OB businesses themselves are saying about the same issues. Whilst the manufacturers are adamant that IP is truck-ready and will be less expensive due to the COTS router technology and reduced wiring requirement, the truck owners are yet to be convinced.

At a recent London tech event SAM made the pertinent point that it took several years to make the relatively straightforward transition from SD to HD. Yet right now, we are trying to introduce 4K, HDR, HFR and manage the technical shift from base band video to IP workflows. It’s a hell of a time to be in our industry.

I’m often told that broadcast and IT are merging. But the broadcast market globally is still smaller than the global market for printer ink. Of course, that stat may just have been made up, as 67% of stats tend to be.

In conclusion, business seems generally pretty buoyant which is certainly good news for the newest media finance company on the block. Samantha, Gareth and I are extremely grateful for all the messages wishing Adamantean well, and look forward to helping you find the best way to finance your new purchases.