Thanks to Crews News for compiling this list of the most popular video formats for production. This was a huge criteria for me when I chose my last camera and editing system and the stats show my choices weren’t the best but they sure weren’t bad.
I’m not surprised Sony is the most popular manufacturer and their formats are too. After working with Sony equipment and as a corporate partner for decades in the broadcast industry, I have nothing but admiration for their quality. However, Panasonic made giant steps into Sony’s broadcast terrain in the 1990s when they developed the DVCPro digital format for tape and solid state acquisition and those gains have extended to and endured in the production field.
Sony’s ongoing financial and organizational troubles haven’t helped during that time though Panasonic is suffering similarly now as well. I’m a little surprised Canon isn’t more popular but they haven’t been in the field very long comparatively (the XL1 came out in 1997). Another surprise is RED doesn’t even register. Having done a lot of research on all the equipment makers recently, it appears RED is satisfied for now being a niche product that draws a small but fanatical clientele (sound familiar, Steve Jobs devotees?).
HD has virtually wiped out SD- no surprise other than SD is still around. But notice literally no one is demanding 4k or even 3k. That should concern camera makers and prospective owners obsessed with picture size and resolution, as I wrote about just yesterday. The digital acquisition formats SxS (Sony) and P2 (Panasonic) are consequently popular (a little surprising AVCCAM and other new formats haven’t caught on faster). But more useful would be a measurement of the most popular delivery formats. While Quicktime, ProRes, AVI, and others used to be important names, realtime capture has almost evaporated in favor of MXF-type click-and-drag wrapping and transfer because of its speed and lack of additional compression. Also useful would be some indication of how producers deliver their products: portable hard drive, DropBox, FTP, DVD, FedEx, etc.
Bottom line: the leaders continue to lead, diversify their product lines, and innovate. 4k and formats beyond 1080 HD are creating lots of buzz among producers but little among customers. 2013 could be the year we see how much the newcomers- RED, Canon, even Blackmagic- change the digital media landscape. It’s all good.