Now that 2009 is almost over, it is a good time to look back at all the products we have tried during the year and see which one stood above the rest.
My first idea was to name a product of the year but I quickly realize that it would not work and I should split the contenders in various categories.
While not a rig by it self, the Shape telescopic arm has to be the best stabilization device one can get. With some tinkering, it could be installed on pretty much any rig or even at the bottom of a bare camera. I can foresee similar version of this product to be in the catalog of every manufacturers in 2010.
At the beginning of 2009, the 5dMrkII was the only decent HDSLR (I cant get myself to count the D90 in, sorry) so it was natural for people to flock toward it. Now, almost a year after, I am surprised to see how strong the demand still is for this camera. The release of the 7D did reduce its popularity (yes 24p, I am looking at you) but with the upcoming firmware update, we can predict a regain of popularity in 2010.
Looking at Canon and Nikon 2010 product road map, we can believe the 5DMrkII to hold its ground for a while longer.
While a lot of people would expect the D|Focus to be here (and rightly so for its impact on the Follow Focus market), it seems to us that the Z-finder deserves the spot. I am not the only one to think so, even Scott Bourne gave it the title of product of the year!
While Scott has be known to be wrong a few times (like minimizing the importance of HDSLRs before becoming one of its strongest advocate), I really agree with him on this one. Just think about it: while everyone complain about the Z-Finder price, these puppies are selling like crazy (still back order as time of writing)! It cant be just hype. Every time I showed the Z-Finder to someone at a conference to let them try it out, they instantly reckon that they needed one. Actually, if I was a reseller, I would have paid for my 1DMrkIV already!
While 2009 was a great year for the Z-finder, 2010 might bring some serious competition in this field.
When I look at my Amazon affiliate statistics, there is no doubt in my mind that Master Shots is the most popular book here and will probably be in 2010.
While I reviewed a few ways to make your work seen on the web in 2009 (Moo, Animoto, WP themes), I think I did the same things as many others: expect Vimeo / Youtube to be the end all of video distribution. I was wrong, these are only distribution channel and dont give any controls over the way the clip can be presented which is a major issue for a lot of the videographers I have talked to. Even worst: they make money out of your work while you get nothing.
That is why I think we can expect a lot of movement in this field for 2010.
Product of 2009? I would have to go with the gorgeous WordPress themes designed by Jason at Press75. While not perfect, these themes are the first step in taking control over how your video should be consumed. You can read my review of these and other themes.
What is next?
2010 will be the year where HDSLR get some credibility as pro tools. While their manufacturers will keep improving their products, there wont be much innovation, only evolution. As Vincent Laforet predicted, innovation will come from small companies who are going to design solution driven products for the HDSLR market.
Talking to people working on TV shows and movies here in Montreal, it seems like HDSLR are all the rage. They are used in studio environment to shoot some of the highest visibility ads campaigns, record on location news or to film whole TV shows with minimal crew. One has to be blind to not see it coming.
Notes: most product images taken from manufacturers website.