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May 20, 2013

Panasonic GH2 further cements its place in history as it rides the Upstream Color train

The Panasonic GH2 was one of the few cameras that ushered in the more accessible era of digital video and cinematography. Other cameras of that era include the Canon 5D Mark II and the Jarvis viral Nikon D90. Newer and replacement cameras have failed to generate as much buzz and excitement, but that's partially because you can only get the genie out of the bottle once!

The Panasonic GH2 further cemented its place in history. Not just camera history, but also movie history. Used in the film "Upstream Color" by Shane Carruth [of Primer fame], it piggy-backs the film as it breaks new ground by making the film available for purchase or rental very quickly after its theatrical debut.

Today, The Verge, perhaps the most serious of the new generation of "gadget blogs that grew up from the unboxing frat boy era", has a detailed feature on the impact of Upstream Color in the world of digital video and the movie industry in general.

Last week, this film was featured, from a digital cinema convergence and Panasonic GH2 perspective at EOS HD.

And by being available very quickly after the movie theater debut, they are going all the way in. You can buy it at iTunes or get a digital rental at Amazon Instant Video or receive the BluRays and DVDs right away. And if you hate all these DRM schemes with a passion, it's also available for digital purchase DRM-free. Another important consumer-friendly consideration, since existing DRM schemes proved that they cannot stop unauthorized viewing/downloads and but they can stop legitimate buyers from consuming content in their preferred methods.

And this brings up another point, are we getting closer and closer to the point where new cameras cannot have the type of "impact" new-cameras previously had? In a very saturated market, with waves and waves of new overlapping models, the window is starting to close on "breakout" success stories - unless the camera manufacturers are willing to disrupt themselves. They are not exactly the high-risk types. Already, one of the holy grails/grains in the market is getting satisfied with a handful of new Big Sensor Primes, including one with a 35mm full frame sensor. We may have another excitement burst if/when Pentax releases its 35mm full frame DSLR, and there's a few more holes to fill (monochrome DSLR/mirrorless? full frame mirrorless? square sensor fantasies?), but the window is closing.

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