Peter Chamberlain from BlackMagic Design did deny any rumors (guess which ones?) that they are working on the cheaper control surface, believing that the segment is well saturated by other manufacturers. This is of course based on an assumption that the lowest segment is the price range that AVID, Tangent and JL Cooper are targetting, ie. around $1500-$2000. I must admit, that the release of Tangent Element, with the basic control surface at the cost of about $1200 is interesting, however it is still far above what I would consider the real democratization barrier – around $500-$700.
I understand all the limitations of such pricing, including the fact that this kind of surface would be looked by all proffessionals as a toy, which it would indeed be out of necessity of using cheap materials. I still believe it can be done, if R&D costs can be covered, and that it would introduce more people to color grading, than all the plugins combined.
It might of course be my wish to have at my disposal something that I’m currently not able to afford. But I also can’t help but to notice certain wording in Peter’s message. Namely:
…we have no plans for a cheaper panel at NAB. (emphasis added)
So… will anyone pick up the challenge? Or is my premise inherently flawed, and the future of color grading lies somewhere else?