How huge? When Thunderbolt was released we had a chat with HD Warrior, the website that we read for breaking news on cameras. We said it was only a matter of time before camera companies jumped on this new technology. Find out what our chat predicted after the break as this little connector will change the industry again.
Let's get the official statement from Canon out of the way first:
Hiroo Edakubo, Group Executive of Canon’s Video Products Group stated, "We are excited about Thunderbolt technology and feel it will bring new levels of performance and simplicity to the video creation market." So let us just put the record straight here and say that they haven't officially said they will support it, but hey are excited!
Back to the interesting stuff and what it means for us who work in this rapidly changing industry. The conversation with HD Warrior started off as a discussion about how cool that little LaCie drive was, then it went onto speculating about the inclusion of Thunderbolt on cameras.
What could this give us?
1) The obvious - Fast downloads of recorded data from the camera.
2) The not so obvious - Live pictures out of the camera direct into your Mac. Thunderbolt is so quick you'll possibly be able to ingest the data straight off the chip. Never mind 422, this could go as big as your sensor; colour as deep as your sensor will allow and a frame rate to match too. This is dependent on the camera being able to output the information, but you are not restricted by existing BNC/HDMI connectivity to an external recorder. Think of the camera as being the head end with the Mac doing the data recording.
Thunderbolt can run for 100 metres over optical fibre without a repeater. Set your camera up on location, run some armour plated Thunderbolt fibre to it and then sit down behind a MacBookPro and watch the shots being 'recorded'. How cool would it be to rack the camera and talk to the camera operator whilst you concentrate on the picture. Video assists would be easy as the cable is bidirectional, so you could instantly play back to the camera monitor too. If somebody could invent a 'Thunderbolt hub' then the bandwidth is there to record 2 cameras for 3D or more for multicamera work.
Can you hear the size of film crews shrinking over the world? This technology is cheap. If Canon decide to put a Thunderbolt port on a new version of the 5D then surely the industry will change again. Other camera manufacturers will have to respond and respond fast. Suddenly the likes of Red and Alexa don't look that cutting edge anymore.
Will the biggest question at NAB be, "Are you going to support Thunderbolt?"