Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Quick notes: New Canon video DSLR, iPad application thoughts

Two quick notes: First, Canon just announced the EOS Rebel T2i, a DSLR with true 1080P video capture capabilities, all the same frame rates as the much-lauded EOS 7D, and an $899 list price including kit lens. In essence, it's a 7D for the first-time DSLR buyer. The T2i continues the trend of incorporating professional video capabilities into DSLRs. We'll know whether this is the real thing or too good to be true when sites like dpreview and CamcorderInfo get their hands on it, probably late this month or early next month.

The next step in the development of video DSLRs is to change their ergonomics so that they're comfortable to use for long periods of time. DSLRs, like all still cameras, are designed to be brought to the eye to frame and focus a shot or sequence of shots, and then to be put down, while video cameras are designed to be held steady at the eye for several minutes at a time. A number of companies have come up with shoulder stocks and other mounts to compensate for the poor ergonomics of DSLRs when used for video. The next step is for the DSLR vendors themselves, such as Canon and Nikon, to jump in with DSLRs that not only have video capture features but also have the right video ergonomics.

The second note is a thought about iPad applications for media production and post-production. Over the last few days, I've read articles in Mix Magazine and the Hollywood Hand Held blog about iPod applications for audio and video production. The iPad would make an almost perfect control surface for audio workstations, video editing systems and color correctors (the one missing element would be tactile feedback.) What's even nicer about the iPad is that its functions and layout could change at the push of a button. Euphonix, for example, has separate Artist Series hardware control surfaces for audio mixing, video editing and color grading; put them together and you're looking at a couple thousand dollars worth of hardware and a lot of desk space. An iPad could perform all the same functions at a fraction of the cost and would require a fraction of the desk space, plus it's portable.

As time goes on, I'm sure that we'll think up more and more applications for the iPad that take advantage of its display, touchscreen and intelligence.

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