my reflection on that subject , beside the different business models, leads me to this idea: if there is not in fact a deeper change happening.
I understand totally your business model and the choice you are making. IMO, they are logical, profitable and you are in position to take advantage of such a structure and grow.
You had a winning structure and a great reputation before all the motion irrupted into the scene, and it seems that you knew it already before it became a requierement from clients.
If I was in the same position, I'd probably have done the same kind of investments and more than probably choose to invest in Red more than in an Arri system.
But a part from low-middle or high-end realities, I'm sort of smelling that something is happening at every scale that will (or may) affect all the production pipeline regardless of the level.
It seems that the equipment industry is in fact leading and directing the way everybody's going to work with the technology. At first, we've seen that it was now possible for indy people and small structures to produce a visual content that would have cost hundred of thousands, and therefore would have been out of range for the most of us.
We thought that this was going to be truth only for the low-end and that the top market will stay immune, expensive, heavy and still out of range for most of us.
This is still true to date, but there are signs that it's changing.
At the same time we saw an explosion of home-made mini prods mixed with more serious content made with little cams and very low budgets that have educated the viewers "tastes". In other words, there is now a social and cultural acceptance and response on those kind of imagery.
We are seeing that the evolution of the technology is always leading us to smaller cams, each time more powerfull, each time cheaper, each time more capable. This was truth in stills and it seems that it's also coming in motion. The tech generaly has the effect to free us as well as it democratised everything. For ex, in still, an MF oblige to tether, light heavier... CaNikon came and put 100.000 exploitable isos on the table, with no tether dependance, reliable AF, more than enough resolution for most commercial apps and lighter, smaller, cheaper, faster, weather sealed, and a solid customer service worldwide.
Nobody would question now that a pro team can shoot absolutly stunning campaigns with a D3 or 1DMKxxx and the need for big MF stuff is not anymore a requirement, if not for the parade.
This, has marginalized heavier equipment like LF-MF, that are almost the same stuff since the lastest ice-age, evolve slow, are priced high and require also more infrastructure to make the thing works properly.
Well, I have the feeling that the small cameras in motion are and will do exactly the same. Red anticipated where all that goes and the growing need for small and contained prices with the Epic and I'm sure it's just a beginning.
I of course don't have a cristal ball, but maybe within 5-10 years max, the high-end plateaux will look very different that what we have now.
We see that in softwares. We don't have yet the softwares we need, but they will come. Once it's there, no more Da-Vinci export, no more conforming, no more requierement of 200 persons team b and c. I even think that this will also be clearly noticiable in Hollywood where what requires today a 20 person FX on Nuke will be done by 2 or 3 skilled people, faster, better and with lower costs.
Then comes a phone manufacturer and put a "steadycam" electronic system. It works. No, it's not the same as an experience steadycam operator, but they will refine this tech and sooner than later, a steadycam operator will have to recycle himself because nobody will hire them anymore. We will hear many complains at many levels because a lot of crafts and people will be affected.
In fact, the ones who are really leading the industry nowdays and literally impose what and how the industry will look like are the camera and software makers, and then the social networks like Vimeo are shapping the client's tastes.
There will be a resistance from the current pros involved in high-end motion, but the evolution seems unstopable.
When Nikon released the "1" system, I thought that they where crazy. Why the hell are they working on such a small sensor? significantly smaller than the m4/3 ? It didn't make sense to me. But then, I looked at the specs, I looked at the footage and I was blowed by the capability of this micro-system. Of course it's not Alexa, it's not Phase one imagery, but considering the size it's nothing less that impressive. Maybe Nikon wasn't as crazy as I thought. But it seems that those big electronic compagnies have the dev budgets and structures to change the game with micro-technology and not only in the low-end. I got the sensation that it's deeper and will affect all levels each time more.