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July 2, 2024

Futuresource Updates on Professional 8K Development

One of the companies that has been tracking the professional content creation market including 8K devices is Futuresource Consulting. We reached out to the firm after a discussion at the recent NAB event and conducted an email interview with Helen Matthews, who specializes in this area.

  1. Can you give us a brief introduction to Futuresource as a company?
    Futuresource Consulting is a market research agency that provides market insights and analysis to a global client base of leading technology brands.
  2. Futuresource researches, reports on and analyzes the market for professional video hardware. Can you explain how you acquire your information?
    We use a range of methodologies to source our insights. One of the main ways we drive our market trackers is with syndicated market sizings. We collect direct data feeds from manufacturers on monthly, quarterly and annual basis depending on the service and use these to measure the development of overall market performance and key technology trends such as the adoption of new video acquisition formats.
  3. Over time, there has been a significant move to higher resolutions in broadcast and cinema. Do you see this trend continuing from FullHD and 4K to 8K?
    4K is now abundantly available in the video acquisition market from high-end digital cinema cameras to pro camcorders, PTZ and even smartphones1.
    Netflix and other streaming services have really set the baseline for “cinematic” narrative content with almost all feature films and episodic drama now being shot with the intention of 4K delivery. Over the past decade the concept of oversampling, acquiring in a higher resolution than the delivery format, has become commonplace using 4K recording for the delivery of FullHD content. Now, as many producers look to master deliverables in 4K, there’s a desire from those that want to continue to take advantage of techniques like cropping in and reframing that are gained through oversampling to continue to use them, driving an interest in acquisition formats that are higher than 4K resolution. This is driving demand for cameras with 6K, 8K and even higher resolution capture and recording.
  4. Are content creators becoming more aware of the advantages of downsampling from higher resolution even when delivery is in a lower resolution?
    This is definitely the case, and particularly for content creators the increased demand for vertical video for TikTok and Instagram reels is making producers think creatively about how they crop and reframe their video to get more out of it. Acquiring your content in a higher resolution than your intended delivery format opens the door for creators to deliver multiple versions and repurpose material for different platforms and audiences to increase the monetisation of their assets.
  5. We have heard of different regional trends in capture and that China is moving more towards 8K than other regions. Do you see this trend?
    There are notable regional differences in attitudes toward 8K. China has been at the forefront, and remains the leader in 8K uptake, however it remains a modest investment. Use cases in China range from 8K distribution to public LED volumes, as well as for the aforementioned downsampling, and cropping. Japan has also shown some investment in 8K, however this trend has been on the downturn since the disruption of COVID-19 during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
    The USA has started to increase its investment in 8K, particularly for tier 1 sports coverage, where it is being increasingly used for high quality slow motion shots, camera tracking and replay.
    This is in a vast contradiction to attitudes in EMEA, where 8K uptake is far less prevalent.
  6. How has the professional hardware market been affected by disruptions such as Covid and the strikes in the US?
    Camera manufacturers were impacted by covid disruption as shipping products and sourcing components were negatively impacted. At the same time there was a surge in demand for imaging devices and sensors from across multiple industries for conferencing cameras, laptops, and automotive.
  7. IP and network-based technology is starting to be seen as the inevitable future. Will the move away from the fixed formats used in SDI help with the adoption of higher resolution?
    The transition to IP is adding flexibility to how infrastructure is designed. As signals no longer need to be moved point to point as singular streams you’re really only constrained by the bandwidth of your connectivity and network and the initial cost of deployment. Our research feedback has indicated that many leading broadcasters are motivated to move to networked video over IP supply chains so that they can become format agnostic.

Thanks to Helen Matthews of Futuresource for this information. The firm often publishes reports of major events that are free to download (with registration) and are a useful asset, espcially if you have been unable to attend. Just before we published, the firm released its Infocomm report and we also found the NAB report useful.

  1. At the time of posting, GSMArena listed 196 smartphone models with 8K video capability. (8KA) ↩︎
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