Outlook: Craft, content & the camera
Brian Mahar
Issue: November/December 2022

Outlook: Craft, content & the camera

I think we can all agree it is an exciting time for imaging and content creation. Never before in our history has such a volume of visual content been produced on such a continual basis. As we enter 2023 and can place the pandemic in our rearview, the imaging world has evolved with more efficient, visually appealing and creative production techniques, but also serving more sophisticated viewing audiences. 

Many of the techniques explored during the past few years are here to stay, including robotic PTZ cameras and remote production. The combination of high-end PTZ cameras and skilled operators have made PTZs a part of everything from Sunday services, to team huddles, reality shows and concerts. The ability to place multiple PTZ cameras on sets without encumbering talent, provide post production departments with more footage and shots, while similar color science and the ability to shoot with Log, makes for easier color matching to Canon and other camera systems. We have seen the operation of PTZ cameras by skilled operators deliver beautiful results. Newer offerings like Canon’s CR-N500 and CR-N700 provide a cinema-like image that fits unscripted television as well as cinema productions, while also offering Free-D compatibility for virtual production studios. 

Notably, the last two years have introduced the power of virtual productions and sets to many new corners of the industry. In 2023, we expect this to accelerate, as a broad range of productions — such as commercials, music videos, live events, broadcast news, and TV/ film — take advantage of the creative, cost and technological benefits that virtual production has to offer.  

Virtual production environments and the engines that drive them rely on critical camera and lens data in order to create that sense of realism. Through decades perfecting our broadcast lenses, Canon has helped empower virtual production innovations such as the first down line on live football games and the same accurate encoder technology is found in our Cine-Servo line of lenses. The demand for our servo lenses sparked the introduction of our Cine-Servo 15-120mm, an extremely versatile lens regardless of studio size, throw distance or camera system. Canon has worked to ensure this lens is compatible with most camera systems, either directly or with an adapter or conversion cable, and the lens will cover both Super 35mm and full frame sensor cameras at resolutions up to 8K. We expect the demand for these lenses and other virtual production components to remain strong in the coming year.

Additionally, large-scale live events are roaring back, as broadcasters seek to deliver games and events through even richer imagery. In the field, we’ve seen the delivery of HDR and 4K content drive the placement of reference displays (such as Canon’s DP-V models) into mobile trucks as broadcast and streaming companies vie for live sports broadcast audiences. 

We're excited to witness the leaps in storytelling and visual brilliance that we’re sure to see across the industry in 2023.

Brian Mahar is Vice President & GM Imaging Technologies & Communications Group at Canon U.S.A. (https://www.usa.canon.com), Inc.