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NAB 2016

NAB Perspectives: At 45, For-A Charts Path for Future — for Its Customers and the Industry

For-A is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, and, at NAB 2016 last week, the company’s executive team honored the past by introducing a number of products and technologies designed to move the industry forward. Like many manufacturers at the show, the company has customers struggling with which way to go in technology, but For-A is setting out to make it easier for them to figure out a plan.

According to For-A America VP Jay Shin, customer confusion concerning future commitments related to 4K, high dynamic range (HDR), and IP has a ripple effect on manufacturers.

The FT-ONE-S 4K camera cuts down on high frame rate to cut down the price.

The FT-ONE-S 4K camera cuts down on high frame rate to cut down the price.

“It’s hard to help customers know where they should go and what they should do,” he says, adding, “It’s hard not only for customers but also for manufacturers as we have to navigate those same waters. But we’re investing in many of those areas: a lot of our products support HDR and wide color gamut, and we are moving to 12 Gbps as foundation for routers, multiviewers, and other products.”

The move to 12-Gbps signal transport will help streamline 4K production and lessen the compromises vs. using 3-Gbps or 10-Gbps signal transport, but the 4K and UHD formats are still not a commercial requirement.

“The move to UHD still requires accepting [fewer capabilities] to get more resolution, but the market does not seem to be sure if the more is worth [that compromise],” says Shin. “We expect 12 Gbps will show some savings as it will require only one wire vs. four to do 4K, and that can help recover some of the lost production value.”

For all of the discussion about future formats, however, all sports-content creators have to focus on today, and, for more than 99% of the market, that still means HD.

“The bread and butter is still in HD,” he says, “so we need to put our investments in the areas where we get a return.”

One result of that investment is a new flicker corrector for high-speed camera systems, which removes the flicker that can often occur during sports events under the lights.

“A lot of stadiums do not have the best lighting,” Shin notes. “This device corrects flicker and is also compatible with cameras from other manufacturers, like Sony or Grass Valley. One of the things we are known for,” he adds, “is creating products that are problem-solvers.”

Another problem-solver is the For-A FT-ONE-S 4K camera, which has a smaller form factor and a smaller price point than the FT1.

“Instead of recording at up to 900 fps, it can record at 500 fps, and, for sports production. that is more than enough,” says Shin. “The original camera with 900 fps was overkill and created overhead that was not required.”