After decades of dominating the film and media industry, analogue is giving way to digital filmmaking as technology entices filmmakers with a new world of creative possibilities. Mr Glavin Huang Manager, Broadcast & Cinematic Solutions Department, Jebsen Industrial, shares his thoughts on this major trend.


Mr Glavin Huang Manager, Broadcast & Cinematic Solutions Department, Jebsen Industrial


What is the current state of the Chinese film and media industry?

It is a highly competitive market and we are already seeing China, and Asia as a whole actually, transitioning to digital filmmaking. Between 2012 and 2014, we witnessed a surge in demand as the market calls for better image quality, more innovative shooting techniques and highly advanced equipment. Technological advancements also mean that digital film equipment are much more competitive in terms of pricing today as well. This is a significant development for the industry and one that Jebsen Industrial is committed to supporting.


Can you tell us more about this transition from analogue to digital filmmaking?

Well, analogue filmmaking is expensive filmmaking. A set of analogue film equipment from Kodak can cost 300,000 Euros but an ARRI digital camera is only 50,000 Euros. Analogue production also takes much longer. Just from a time and cost perspective, I personally feel that in the next few years, digital filmmaking will completely replace analogue.


Up to a few years ago, digital equipment could not deliver the stability, image quality and colour resolution that filmmakers wanted, but this has changed completely. Take, for example, Schneider lenses with DigiCon filters. Mounted on a digital camera, this combination can create the ‘analogue feel’ and achieve greater detail in highlight and shadow areas without losing resolution or producing colour shifts. With a 35mm lens, it perfectly simulates low-contrast shots for a storytelling approach with deep images.


How exactly is Jebsen Industrial supporting digitisation efforts?

I believe that we have established ourselves in the market sufficiently so that we can play a part in the industry’s digital transformation. Just looking at the numbers alone, from 2011 to 2013, we sold over 3,500 units of high-end lenses. This accounted for about 75% of the market. What this tells us is that we have the reach and reputation to help local players overcome their transitory challenges.


In that respect, we are focusing on delivering efficiency: to help filmmakers move quickly and cost-effectively from pre- to post-production without compromising on quality. Our role continues to be a one-stop provider, offering a good selection of good solutions so that our customers can achieve this efficiency. This was also our approach at BIRTV 2014.


Tell us more about BIRTV 2014.  

This was our 16th year at BIRTV. For the 2014 show (Aug 27-30, Beijing), our theme was ‘Transformation: Digital Era, Digital View’. We were inspired by the blockbuster ‘Transformers 4: Age of Extinction’ and set out to demonstrate how different solutions can be combined to create an amazing impact. One of the highlights was a first-in-Asia combination of the ARRI digital camera, the Easyfocus lens focusing system, Angenieux Optimo DP 25-250 lenses and Panther ’s Tristar dolly. Our message is that, with so many options available today, it is important to understand how new solutions can work with existing ones to optimise performance and investment. This is also where we can really create value for our customers since we are deeply familiar with both the global brands and the local context.


To drive this point, our participation in BIRTV this year was our largest to date, involving 20 principals. In addition to the big names like ARRI, Angenieux , Cooke , Schneider and Zeiss, we also focused on brands that are supporting the digitisation trend through innovation. This includes highlights like Convergent Design’s Odyssey 7/7Q, which transmits from broadcast and cinematography recorders in real time, Easyfocus with its focus pulling system and AB-Live’s 3D systems for TV production.


What is in the future for Jebsen Industrial?

We will continue to support China’s digital transformation, particularly with solutions for high-end productions, high-speed photography and high-definition filming. We are also confident in the outlook for 3D filming, which is why we recently added AB-Live to our family of principals. The brand is the result of a collaboration between Angenieux and Binocle 3D and its 3D systems are particularly suited for TV applications. This is an exciting area that we hope to grow.


Easyfocus is also new to our portfolio. It is quite revolutionary, as the world’s first distance measurement tool that combines a precision reader with a touchscreen. It eliminates the need to fiddle with cameras and lenses and replaces this with a video assist screen that works with a mouse or pen. The system is also intelligent enough to achieve auto focusing so filmmakers spend less time (and money) preparing their set. That’s efficiency.


The solutions that we select are a reflection of our outlook for the industry. So enhancing our portfolio will definitely be something that we will continue to invest time, effort and resources in.