What’s hot and what’s not: 2016 filmmaking edition

What will be all the rage this year? What might we see less of, or at least hope to? <coughselfiescough> Filmmakers weigh in.

Scratching the surface of 360

We’re only beginning to see the advent of consumer 360 video cameras. There are literally three on the market that actually upload to YouTube and they are very “pre-production” as it stands. I’m quite certain we’ve only scratched the surface on that tech. Frankly, the hardware to even view the image properly is just debuting. ~ Christiaan Welzel

More cinemagraphs to come

Cinemagraphs have finally hit mainstream advertising and are still turning heads. Brands like Campbell’s, Microsoft, the NHL, and the NFL are all using them. I think cinemagraphs are at their half-life right now, and more brands will want them as they pop up in Facebook ad buys. ~ Christiaan Welzel

Cinemagraphs are a gimmick. ~ Evan Loney

Handheld has a stronghold but will there be push-back?

The Korean fried chicken place I go to often plays Korean pop music videos. Whole ’nutha level. I dearly hope some small part of that slick, quick-cut-y style infiltrates mainstream filmmaking. Back in our world, I see the handheld shallow DOF feel continue to be popular, but in 2016 we’ll see a push-back toward pristine, calculated shots. Need to work on our chops. 😉 ~ Beau Lark, Hero Images

A burgeoning trend is handheld shots (or even stabilizer shots meant to mimic that handheld look, but not quite as shaky). I think people identify with this type of footage as their own; it tells a story they can relate to. ~ Everett Thomas Fitch, Big American Story Films

4K and beyond

Both this year and next, the pressure will be on for filmmakers of all backgrounds to finally — and fully — make the switch to 4K. We’re starting to see its implementation grow, not just in business anymore but among consumers. ~ Everett Thomas Fitch, Big American Story Films

Every time another 8K video hits Vimeo, YouTube, and Reddit, the world goes WOW. It’s always a good idea to collect extreme high-def footage when possible — ever since YouTube allowed 8K streaming, it’s been a big deal. Vimeo is up to something to right now, and it sounds like 4K if not 6K will be coming. ~ Christiaan Welzel

New tools open up new possibilities

There’s a lot of potential for the small handheld gimbals such as the new DJI Osmo. It opens up a whole new realm of video opportunities. The existing gimbals for DSLRs have been a little unwieldy and fussy to get working properly. (I know, I’ve tried with my RED and DLSRs.) Now it looks like it will be possible to film in locations that would be impractical with the bigger gimbals, such as crowded streets and places where a large rig is too conspicuous. The fluid feel of this kind of video will also blend nicely with drone aerials, which I’m trying to shoot more of. Now I can do the smooth “cruising” shots that I’m used to in my underwater filming, but on land or in the air. ~ Steve Fish, Fish Tales Films

I recently saw a drone capable of going from air to underwater, and I can’t wait to see a shot like that incorporated into a surf film.  ~ Evan Loney

Color correction in every sense of the term will only get bigger and better, for both independent and big-budget filmmakers. It’s made huge strides over the last few years and is only getting more niche, with independent companies creating unique LUTs and curated picture profiles for select cameras, as well as consistently enhancing their general post-production software. It’s really exciting to have these tools at hand to create a look all your own, your very own signature. ~ Everett Thomas Fitch, Big American Story Films

I’m really excited about the release of Oculus Rift. I think it’ll open up a whole new way of filmmaking, along with some challenges. Before, you could frame a shot just so. Now there will be all these other considerations that come with storytelling in 360: where do you look first, then what needs to draw the viewer’s attention next, and how do you make the viewer feel emotions they would otherwise never be able to feel except with VR media? Never mind ensuring everything is 360 camera-ready — it’ll be trickier to hide crew and cameras, or at least additional post work will be needed to remove cables and such. George Georgeadis, filmmaker and Dissolve’s product manager

Augmented reality is also something I’m excited about. It will be another unique way for people to consume video content, projecting it on their walls, ceiling, anywhere really, and interacting with it in unique ways. Imagine the video experiences that companies would need or that we could make for consumers. Stories could take shape with a combination of video and 3D elements that all materialize in your living room. (And who wouldn’t want their favorite celebrity crush in their home, even if only virtually?) ~ George Georgeadis, filmmaker and Dissolve’s product manager

The lens turns outward … and heads upward

There’s a chance selfies won’t be as widespread. The lens will once again turn outward to explore the world, being citizens of the world and all. With that said, drone footage will become even more prevalent. The focus will be on exploration in this medium. ~ Everett Thomas Fitch, Big American Story Films

More — and more extreme — extreme sports films

Extreme sports are the best way for camera companies to show off high frame rates, and 2015 had no shortage of amazing extreme sports films, which are becoming more cinematic by the minute compared to the skate films I came up on. With RED sponsoring so many extreme sports events, like REDirect they did with Surfer Magazine, I’m sure 2016 will only get more extreme, with higher frame rates, lower light, and larger sensors, and we can expect to see more surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding in particular. ~ Evan Loney

A new consciousness

Visual content that provokes creative thinking and inspires people to feel more alive and present should be the hottest trend of 2016. I feel like cinematography should move away from its traditional role as a powerful entertainment tool to become the primary driving force in building social connectiveness and developing a new type of consciousness. I am constantly exploring and challenging my talent so it can better serve my purpose, which — in either small or large part — is the spiritual awakening of humankind. ~ Polina Rabtseva

The rise of the collective individual

When I think of what will be hot or not in 2016, I like to look at the big picture. What’s been happening over recent years is a resurgence of the individual. Much the same way people during the Romantic period reacted to the Industrial Revolution and all it mechanizations (both bad and good), the resurgence of the individual now is a reaction to technology and social media and the extreme interconnectedness we feel every day.

Before, the individual was championed and thought of as being separate and unique and heroic and powerful, within his/her own realm. Now, the individual is owned by everyone, the individual is collective. The individual is no longer closed off from the world, the individual is now a citizen of the world, connected more than ever.

And we identify more than ever with ourselves and with others. It’s not just vanity, either. It’s a union of both vanity and self-actualization. Everyone else’s story can now be our own. Advertising and the film industry know this (either consciously or subconsciously). They’re championing the individual as if everyone owns the individual. The individual is everyone. It’s me. It’s you. It’s them.

Protagonists in current films, novels, and commercials are no longer embodiments of the auteurs alone, they’re embodiments of the collective individual. Simply put, the focus is increasingly on the individual’s story. ~ Everett Thomas Fitch, Big American Story Films

How about you? What do you think will be hot this year? What are you hoping will see its way out?