Global Camcorder Report Highlights What Pros Want Most
By Douglas I. Sheer
Results of the second global camcorder survey among video professionals, shows interesting shifts in the formats preferred and types of features and functions that end-users are seeking in new camcorders this year. The new camcorder report, entitled “Professional Camcorders World 2008” is due for publication this month.
The market research project conducted by New York-based DIS Consulting Corporation, began in the fall of 2007 and was sponsored by every major camcorder manufacturer. In addition to the basics of what brand and how many units of camcorders people plan to purchase, the survey also focused on what the features and functions were that most motivate buyers in 2008 and what formats were most popular.
Of the more than 800 global responses recorded, some key trends emerged. Among the vertical user segments that responded were: broadcasters & cable-casters, production companies, mobile/OB firms, event video, independent film and TV producers, and institutional users (from government, religious, educational, medical and corporate sites).
Clearly, the dominant trend in camcorders today is the migration that started almost a decade ago and has continued to build towards the use of removable media options. Most recently, as HD has been the hot button technology, the various removable media options now available from all of the major camera vendors are the most attractive to buyers. That is not to say that other formats have completely gone away, but they pale by comparison.
Throughout the world, in 2008, professionals were gravitating away from tape-based media and towards one of the several removable disk media solutions now available. This includes Ikegami’s GPak, Panasonic’s P2, Sony’s XD-Cam, and Grass Valley’s Iomega REV-Pro media. I addition, on the low-end of the spectrum, many camera operators are considering the use of SD memory cards in lieu of more expensive solutions.
The survey also looked at the various camcorder specifications and features, and assessed their value to video professionals. Respondents were asked in a wide-ranging manner how they thought their next camcorder might be configured.
Among the conclusions noted were that reliability and durability, specifically the need for a camcorder to be rugged and able to withstand use/abuse, impact, and be able to work in extreme temperatures or humidity was seen as critical. They also want their next camera to be 16x9 capable and it must record images in one or more HD format. They would also like it to weigh less and they want a longer recording or storage time. The survey showed respondents were evenly divided between manual focus and auto focus controls.
Many sought inter-changeable lenses, but there was some ambivalence about them being bayonet or C-mount style. Most wanted four channels for audio and professional connectors. Among the image control aspects, users sought white balance, black burst, color bars, gamma, DB gain control and memory card slots. In on-camera displays, color reigned in both the choice of viewfinders and LCD screens. Scene file displays are preferred as well.
Camcorder professionals have been given a wide range of features and specifications to wade through when making a purchase, but the survey indicates that they are pretty clear about what they plan to buy.
Douglas I. Sheer is CEO and Chief Analyst of DIS Consulting Corporation of New York and can be reached at
. The firm also plans 2009 reports in servers, editing, graphics, storage and switchers and a total of 28 reports in all.