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Vitec Videocom Leads The Way In Innovation

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Vitec Videocom brings together some of the most respected and innovative brands within the broadcast, film and pro video industries, including Anton/Bauer, Litepanels and Vinten. Martin Vann, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Vitec Videocom, answers our questions and gives us an insight into the company...

BFV: Vitec Videocom delivers a vast variety of equipment and services to the industry, from traditional mechanical-engineered products to camera supports and software. Is the chain complete, or are more additions to come?

MV: With so many great companies producing advances in cameras, Videocom brings together some of the industry's best brands around the camera to support broadcasters and filmmakers. As the broadcast division of the Vitec Group, we have eight of the industry's premium brands including Anton/Bauer, Autocue, Autoscript, Litepanels, Sachtler, OConnor, Vinten and Vinten Radamec. These brands share many things, but the most important attribute is that each brand is dedicated to helping its users be the best they can be.

The chain is never complete, and that is what makes our industry so exciting and challenging. We believe that the needs and opportunities of filmmakers and broadcasters are constantly changing, evolving, and we are committed to meeting those constantly shifting requirements. Sometimes we do that through internal innovation and other times; we look to meet that challenge through acquiring other great brands.

Is each division treated as a separate entity, or are they tightly integrated?

Our divisions are treated as separate financial and operating entities to allow each division to meet the changing requirements of their markets. That allows us to grow, adapt and work as effectively as possible. However, we have great communication between brands and divisions allowing us to work together where it makes sense. For example, at NAB, we bring all of our brands together including Bexel Global, Teradek, Paralinx, Small HD, Manfrotto as well as the great brands I mentioned earlier. We are all presented holistically at our booth, and we extend our process of working together to many of our largest customers who use our products on a daily basis. Our brands are industry leaders, and we are committed to enhancing our leadership positions by bringing new products to market and leveraging the technology and resources of the entire Vitec Group.

We're now in the middle of exhibition season, and historically, NAB is the show where the big announcements are made. Can we look forward to new product launches from the members of the Vitec Videocom?

Absolutely! This year, the Vitec Group has one of the largest booths at NAB. We've consolidated three booths from 2015 into a single mammoth booth for 2016. Many of our brands will be demonstrating brand new products or products that are launching in the US for the very first time.

As far as new products, Anton/Bauer's CINE Battery Series is making its North American debut at NAB 2016. In fact, the CINE battery was recently chosen to power one of world's first 8K productions. It's designed specifically to accommodate the needs of high power consumption, digital cinema style cameras like the new RED Weapon 8K and ARRI Alexa Mini. The CINE battery series is unique in that it delivers 12 amps of continuous power, whereas most batteries deliver less. As filmmakers add more accessories to the camera, batteries are being asked to work much harder. We understood that and included a PowerTap® on the CINE series so that users can power their 14V auxiliary accessories. It comes equipped with an easy-to-read LCD that conveniently reports runtime in hours and minutes when attached to a device or displays the percentage of the charge when it's detached.

Other new products include Litepanels new Astra Soft Bi-Color LED panel. This new addition to our Astra family provides a soft light alternative to the original Astra 1x1 Bi-Color LED panel and mimics the effect of a softbox in a compact, portable design.

Our Autocue brand will also be unveiling a new teleprompting solution for the Apple iPad Pro. This new addition to the popular Starter Series called the iPad Pro 12.9" Teleprompter, completes our cost effective options for both the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions. It's an affordable, through-the-lens prompting solution, which is perfect for broadcast and video professionals looking for a robust solution to prompt on location.

We also have many more exciting announcements aimed at the broadcast industry so be sure to stop by our booth.

Are there any products that you are most excited about? If so, why?

Yes, I am very excited about the CINE battery series. As cameras get smaller and more powerful, they often require more power. We believe the CINE battery will be a great fit for this new breed of digital cinema cameras. The battery is small and lightweight. We have already heard great feedback from our users. I'm also excited about the new products that you'll need to go to our booth to see. I can't share all of our exciting news with you now!

Finally, NAB attendees will also have the opportunity to see our extensive range of brands at the booth of prominent exhibitors, such as Blackmagic Design, Ikegami, Fujinon, Canon, Arri, Angenieux, and more. It's very exciting when another original equipment manufacturer chooses your brand of camera supports, mobile power solutions and lights in their booths to feature their new product launches and state of the art equipment.

What is your opinion on 4K in this market?

I think it's fantastic. When shooting 4K, not only do you need best in class production techniques, you need best in class tools. Mediocre lighting and poor camera control truly stand out in 4K. Our proven products, from lights to supports, are picture perfect for the 4K environment.

In fact, our new CINE battery was chosen to power one of the world's first 8K productions, which is an even more demanding environment than 4K. Director and DP Phil Holland used our battery to power the new RED Weapon 8K, which will debut at NAB, on his short film Forged. We will have Phil at our booth to discuss his experience with the new 8K format and how it interfaced with our CINE battery.

What do you think the defining moments in the broadcast industry have been over the last five years, and what do you feel will the next five years hold?

I really think there are three trends that span the past five years and the five years to come. First, the transition to higher quality production. HD, 4K, 8K support the creation of compelling images that draw viewers into great stories. Great images are produced with great tools, and our brands are right in the middle of this trend.

The second is the democratization of technology. As cameras become less expensive, the market opens up to an entire group of new users. Those users still need lights, supports and batteries, but they shoot in a completely new way, telling new stories. We refer to this group as the independent content creator, and they are part of the fastest growing segment of our user base.

And finally, the third trend is the rapid rise of Over-the-top, or OTT, platforms. When you have so many great shooters producing great content, you need a tremendous number of outlets. OTT delivery, peer to peer internet delivery, even video on Facebook, can all touch millions of people. This is an incredibly exciting time to be in the broadcasting and film industry and the Vitec Group overall, and Videocom specifically, is positioned right in its heart – production.

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