NAB Reflections: Michel Suissa of The Studio–B&H Wants To Bring Aerial Camera Systems to the Masses
A partnership with Israeli-based DynamiCam brought the ‘mini-SkyCam’ to NAB 2017
–For years, the aerial-camera system has been the talisman of live sports production, reserved for only the biggest of the big events throughout the year. That may be about to change, thanks to DynamiCam, an Israeli company that specializes in development of miniaturized robotic cable systems. Recently, the The Studio–B&H has partnered with DynamiCam to integrate the “mini-SkyCam” in its production offerings, and Michel Suissa, managing director, The Studio—B&H, couldn’t be more excited about the relationship.
SVG caught up with Suissa at B&H’s booth in the back of the Central Hall at NAB 2017 to discusses the innovative system and other new storytelling tools that he’s excited about.
What makes this DynamiCam so unique for you?
It’s a small CableCam system that is absolutely perfect for indoor venues and a small-footprint–type environment where camera weight and distances are manageable. The system is very easy to deploy; it’s incredibly versatile and on a level of affordability that is very different from what’s in the market.
We think that it could be a tremendous interest for some of the sports community that may not need to deploy a traditional SpiderCam or SkyCam in large proportions. This is not a football-field type of system; this is more like a small swimming pool or small basketball court or even a sports-news studio, where you want to have a camera moving around in a way that’s always smooth and elegant. I think we have a tremendous solution for the community.
How did you guys build that relationship with DynamiCam? When did you start to interact with them and see this?
Actually, that’s why I go to IBC [Show in Amsterdam]. [At] IBC, I don’t stay in my booth; I don’t engage with anybody who comes to us because our presence in the European market is not as large as in the U.S. market. It serves us very well to identify new technologies and new partners that we want to sort of investigate whether it makes sense or not.
I saw these guys [there]. They had a small booth, and they were flying that camera around a motorcycle, and I said, ‘That is incredible.’ So the system was still sort of in the final phase of production; now it is a full production system. We decided to bring them to the table and say, Look, we are very interested in not only selling but distributing the system so that the entire community of dealers and system integrators have a resource, and OB vans and mobile operators have an easy-to-deploy solution that is not as heavy a footprint as a traditional [aerial-camera system].
As a supplier, you cover pretty much everything — every segment of the industry — so you probably get a better feel than anybody what some of the major trends at [NAB 2017] are. Has anything surprised you at this show, or are you seeing a lot of big things, like interest in 4K, HDR, and elements of that nature when it comes to sports?
I think we’re seeing sort of a continuation of what the trends were in the past two years. HDR is no longer an emerging technology; everybody is sort of adopting it. The transition to IP is no longer an emerging technology; the migration has started. VR: everybody and their sister is in the VR business nowadays; it’s no longer a novelty.
I would say probably what struck me this year is that there’s sort of a reassuring sense of continuity that makes it feel okay if you made deliberate choices two years ago to jump on what you thought were emerging markets or emerging technologies. I think it’s being solidified as the real roadmap and there’s no worry of having made a terrible mistake: “I invested in this, and it’s dead.” That doesn’t seem to be the case with the three emerging technologies that we’ve seen for the past two years.
Are there any other products that you’re showing that you’re particularly excited about?
Yes. On the storytelling side of things, we have fortified and solidified a relationship with Arri. We have the entire product line, and we’re now a certified reseller and distributor for their cameras and their lenses. We even have a very sophisticated free-axis gimbal rig attached to a car to show the really high-end sort of image capture.
We’ve also started a very exciting relationship with the folks at Jaunt VR. Their camera and services through their cloud system is going to be available through B&H — more specifically, the studio division — because that requires a high level of support and knowledge.–