The impact of Large Sensor Video Acquisition on the Pro Camcorder Market
A new video camera segment with large revenue potential has emerged as a result of recent movements in the digital cinema market according to a report from Futuresource Consulting.
- (1888PressRelease) September 14, 2011 - Recent market movements in digital cinema have created a new video camera segment that has the potential to command a large revenue share.
At the premium end of the camera market, Red and Arri are leading the charge, with Canon and its revolutionary EOS 5D Mark II DSLR taking command at the lower end. This product polarisation has led to a new opportunity in the middle ground: the large sensor pro camcorder.
"At the top end of the market, the transition to digital from film has been set against the backdrop of tough economic conditions," says Adam Cox, Broadcast Industry Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. "Belts are tightening, costs are being cut and 'good enough' is replacing best-in-class. As a result, the purchase or rental decision makers are changing their outlook as well. In the past, creative considerations were given top priority, but there is now a trend towards the financial teams getting involved at an earlier stage and for cost savings to take on a central role in proceedings. Large sensor video production with DSLRs or low-end, professional camcorders is therefore proving very attractive."
Over the last year, four large sensor pro camcorders have been released; the AG-AF101 from Panasonic and the NEX-VG10, NEX-FS100 and PMW-F3 from Sony, mainly targeting the lower end of the market, which includes videographers and education. Here, videographers in particular are struggling, as spend on weddings is down and corporate budgets are slashed. The limited number of jobs, particularly after such a period of prosperity, has meant that many low-end video professionals are struggling in an incredibly competitive environment.
Large sensor camcorders therefore provide a new opportunity for professionals to differentiate themselves from their competition. Typically these camcorders aren't being used as the primary acquisition devices, but as second or third cameras, allowing end users to add complementary, artistic shots to their videos.
"Shooting video with a DSLR or large sensor camcorder and utilising the shallow depth of field to its full potential is a highly-skilled undertaking that needs to be learned and mastered," says Cox. "These camcorders are not products that an inexperienced user can pick up and use to shoot cinematic masterpieces. For event videos in particular, there is a concern that the lack of control of the surrounding environment may lead to missing the key 'I do' moments if the subject moves out of focus.
"Our recent research shows that the hype surrounding this new way of shooting, partly created by the success of Red, but also by HD-capable DSLRs, has driven so much innovation in the industry that it has cancelled out many potential problems in the eyes of many end users," says Cox. "But the real growth area at the moment lies within the pro camcorder segment and large sensor pro camcorders are going from strength to strength. In the first half of 2011, the segment accounted for almost a fifth of market volumes in EMEA, growing the market by nearly 20% when compared to the same time last year. And this increase comes from just four products.
"As this period coincides with Sony's warehouses in Japan being shut for most of April due to the tragic earthquake, the impact on the pro camcorder market has been astonishing."
This impact is set to continue, with large sensor camcorders set to account for a quarter of market volumes by the end of the year, rising to almost a third by 2016.
The real question now is how do the DSLR manufacturers react? Professional large sensor video camcorders largely do the same job as HD-capable DSLRs, but with the added bonus that they're purpose-made for video production. Price is a key differentiating factor for many, but once all the peripheral equipment is purchased to make the DSLR more video-friendly, the price ends up roughly the same as some of the large sensor camcorders on the market.
The profile and industry buzz that currently surrounds DSLR video production is providing significant traction at the moment, but the vendors need to find a way to sustain this activity or the DSLR video production bubble may burst.