Thread: NAB 2012 Recap

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    NAB 2012 Recap
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    Totally Usable Mod Stephen Mick's Avatar
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    After four days of press events, parties, product demos and seemingly endless walking across the convention center, we thought we'd share what we consider the highlights of this year's NAB show. Now, mind you, these are just the considered ramblings of two guys who saw most everything there was to see at NAB 2012. Your interests may not quite align with ours, but we did our best to look at a wide range of things, from lenses that cost more than a house to little bits and pieces that keep your camera from crashing to the ground.

    And so…

    The Cameras

    Obviously there were quite a few new cameras announced, but the one that took everyone by surprise was, of course, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. We were waiting outside the show for the doors to open on Monday, and when we heard about the BCC, we changed our plans and made that our first stop. Honestly, this is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that makes shows like NAB so great. Nobody saw this one coming.*

    As for the camera itself, it's hard to really say much about it, as there's very little footage to judge it by. But when you consider that the specs promise a 2.5K camera, recording to multiple formats (including RAW), and it includes a free copy of Resolve, we don't see how anyone wouldn't be super-excited about this camera.*

    While we didn't get to put up a video about the new Canon cameras (technical issues), we did get to spend a bit of time with both the C500 and the 1D-C. For us, perhaps the most impressive aspect of both of these cameras was seen in the*Sunday evening*event Canon held, with films shot on each camera shown in a 4K cinema environment.*

    "Man & Beast," a short directed by Dante Ariola and DP'ed by Jeff Cronenweth, was shot on the C500 and (we think) a Codex 4K recorder (don't quote us on that). As you'd expect, the footage looked absolutely spectacular on the big screen.*


    As you might not expect, the film shot on the 1D-C, "The Ticket," looked equally impressive projected in 4K. When you consider that it's a cinema DSLR recording 4K internally to a MJPG codec on Compact Flash cards, it's almost mind-blowing how good it looks. While we may have some issues with where these cameras are priced, we essentially had no issues with the footage.* The 4K looked incredibly sharp and clean even when projected onto a huge cinema screen.* The only negative to say about the footage was when slow motion was used (the camera will only overcrank in 1080p mode, 4K is 24p only).* With the 4K being so sharp, the switch to the 1080p slomo was obvious, and the footage took a visual hit that just didn't hold up when projected on such a large screen.* Granted, 99% of the time footage isn't going to be viewed that way, so this might not be as big an issue in most cases.

    The Sony booth was constantly mobbed, with throngs of people looking at the FS-700. And honestly, if you've seen the front of an F3 and the back of an FS-100, you've seen the FS-700. In an environment like NAB, it's difficult if not impossible to really judge the performance of a camera. So we'll have to wait until there are more cameras in the wild, and more projects shot on them that we can see, before there can be much more to say about the FS-700. But given the form factor, the frame rate options, and the ability to shoot 4K (via external recorder), it's a compelling piece of kit.

    We'll add one final camera to this recap…the new Vision Research Phantom Miro 320S. Now, this isn't going to be a camera that everyone will run down to Best Buy and pick up. But for anyone who needs 1080p recording at silly-high frame rates, the Miro is perfect. It has options for PL, EF and Nikon lens mounts, and runs off standard Sony batteries.* It's so small it's hand-holdable for run-and-gun shooting.*
    Stephen Mick
    Owner/Creative Director
    Skylark Creative

    weareskylark.com


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    Totally Usable Mod Stephen Mick's Avatar
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    Lighting

    Everyone wants to know when they'll be able to get the power of a 1200-watt HMI in the size, shape and price of a 1x1 LED panel. The bad news is, it's not coming anytime soon.*

    The good news is that many companies are coming out with second-generation LED panels that bring new features while eliminating some of the issues (green spike) that plagued previous LEDs.*

    Lowel's LED lights were particularly impressive, with really nice color rendition and good throw. Kino-Flo also had a great-looking LED panel, with plenty of buttons on the back for preset color temperatures. And Mole-Richardson's LED offerings were nice as well.

    But two products in particular caught our attention: the Zacuto Plazma and the Philips Selecon LED Panel. In terms of price/performance, both struck a really nice balance of beautiful light and smart design, while still being a bit more budget-friendly.

    When you move down in price from the two lights above, the "you get what you pay for" truism comes into play. Most of what we saw in the sub-$1K range still suffered from green-spiking, and offered up questionable build quality and poor controls. LED technology will continue to move ahead, and the price points for high-quality fixtures will continue to come down. But there's still a ways to go before we get there.

    LED Fresnels continue to become more and more available.* Last year at NAB we only saw one manufacturer with an LED fresnel fixture, this year there were at least 5 or 6 options.* The prices still put them out of reach for most Users, but as time moves on, we'll see that change, and when it does, we'll take a much closer look.* But the trend is pretty clear, and hopefully it will only be a matter of time before we see more affordable, single point source LED fresnel options.
    Stephen Mick
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    Skylark Creative

    weareskylark.com


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    Totally Usable Mod Stephen Mick's Avatar
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    Support Gear / The Other Stuff

    To wrap this up, we figured we'd run through some of the products that really stood out for us, in a variety of different categories.*

    First, Manfrotto's Canon DSLR Remotes are something anyone shooting with a (insert Canon DSLR here) are going to want to check out. Really smart products that seem to interface perfectly with the cameras. Well done.*

    We saw a lot of great glass at the show. The Canon Cine Zooms are magnificent, if you've got the need or the disposable income. And they seem to be worth every penny. Fujinon's Cabrio series also looked very nice, and the integrated servo zoom is a feature a lot of people have been begging for. If you need it, now you've got the option.

    Zeiss showed off a few new pieces of glass as well, including the 70-200mm Compact Zoom, the new 135mm and 35mm T1.5 Compact Primes, and a wicked-looking Anamorphic Concept Lens. One look at the Anamorphic made us want to shoot everything with anamorphic glass. But it's just a concept, and we'll have to wait a year or two before they become a reality.

    In terms of monitors, our NAB started and ended with the SmallHD DP7. Reed with SmallHD spent some time telling us all about it, but really, all we needed to do was see it. The OLED screen is nothing short of amazing, and while the units we saw were prototypes/demos, the 7" seems lighter than the previous DP6. Killer stuff.*

    A lot of folks want to see/use/own the Alphatron/TVLogic EVF. And based on what we saw, they won't be disappointed. The screen is beautiful, and the entire unit is much lighter than I would have thought.*

    We were really surprised by the Vocas Mattebox we saw, for two reasons. One, it's a brilliant design, with integrated eyebrows and an attachment for a third filter in the very front of the box. And two, because it's only around $1,700. That may seem like a lot of scratch for a mattebox (though still less than Arri's), but the Vocas seems to be worth the money.*

    The OConnor O-Focus DM is the best follow focus we looked at. With interchangeable handwheels for cine and photo lenses, it's a follow focus that's versatile, well-built, and something you'll likely use longer than whatever camera you've got.*

    It may not be technically "new," but the Sachtler Ace Tripod is likely to become the go-to entry-level fluid head tripod. The movement and controls are straight-up Sachtler, and the build quality feels actually quite nice given the price point.* If Manfrotto is all you've ever looked at due to price/performance ratio, you should seriously take a look at the ACE.

    In the "s*%t, why didn't I think of that" category is the Countryman Magnetic Lavalier Clip. It is exactly what the name says: a magnetic clip to hold your lav mic. It's tiny, smartly-designed, suprisingly strong and is something everyone should keep in their audio kit.*

    NAB-goers talked a lot about Adobe CS6, Autodesk Smoke (now much cheaper) and other NLE/post tools. We didn't get to spend much time checking them out, but what we did see impressed us.


    And now, with the bright lights of Vegas in the distance and bloody stumps where our feet used to be, we bid you farewell. Until next year, or until we remember something we've forgotten in the haze of NAB.
    Stephen Mick
    Owner/Creative Director
    Skylark Creative

    weareskylark.com


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    Senior Member dustylense's Avatar
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    Awesome! Thanks for getting all the info for us. Some really exciting announcements and tech. A definite leap forward!


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    Really nice write up.

    Thanks to everyone who reported back from NAB this year.
    Where are all the S-VHS hipsters?


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    Senior Member Peter J. DeCrescenzo's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! Sounds like it was one of the best NABs in years!


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    Senior Member Sumfun's Avatar
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    Thanks for great reporting.


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    Much appreciation to all involved in the coverage. Next best thing to being there.


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    Senior Member djmfoxtrot's Avatar
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    Many thanks for all the hard work . . . and aching feet


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    Cross-Examiner Emanuel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter J. DeCrescenzo View Post
    Thanks guys! Sounds like it was one of the best NABs in years!
    Same idea here.
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