Here is a demo highlighting the speed of the new mercury playback engine in Premier:

Take a look at this demo of the new content aware fill feature in Photoshop:

NAB 2010

3   autodesk Smoke for Mac

20   tvlogic LEM-150 OLED monitor

2   arri Alexa Camera

5   avid Media Composer v5

18   sony F35 CineAlta Camera

6   blackmagic design DaVinci Resolve

11   litepanels SOLA LED fresnels

13   panasonic AG3DA1 HD 3D camcorder

17   small tree GraniteSTOR ST-RAID

19   telestream Episode 6 and VANTAGE

7   cinevate Linear Tracking System

8   convergent design NanoFlash

10   kata bags

12   manfrotto tripods and monopods

21   wacom Cintiq 21ux tablet

14   proprompter HD-i ipad prompter

15   redrock micro

9   goprohd Helmet Hero

4   av3 software GET

Phenomenal phonetic search tool, plugin for Final Cut Pro. Find content by searching media phonetically. GET indexes speech phonetics and can instantly find any word or combination of words in any interview or dialogue. It works quickly and is extremely accurate. Shipping in July.

16   singular software Plural Eyes

PluralEyes saves hours in post-production for multi-camera edits, dual-system audio or multi-take workflows such as music videos.

Here is the situation: You have just completed a three camera music shoot, but somehow jam syncing the timecode on the cameras didn’t work and now you’ve got a mess trying to sync the three cameras.  

Plural Eyes analyses the audio waveforms and automatically synchronizes all your audio and video clips without the need for timecode, clappers or any special preparation.  It’s like magic and it works.

Adobe has been doing a lot of things right with it’s Creative Suite. In some ways they have bounded ahead of Final Cut Studio. With their mercury playback engine and full control of RAM allocation, Creative Suite 5 is now fully 64 bit, multiprocessor aware and GPU accelerated. The added features and speed are jaw dropping, and the integration of each of the individual applications is seamless.

An added function that is the most staggering is the new rotobrush tool in After Effects. This is a smart selection tool that will help automate the tedious task of rotoscoping, making it a tool that is accessible to those of us who are mere mortals in the special effects world:   

The Arri Alexa is a new digital cinema camera from Arri. It is less expensive ($50,000) than their earlier offerings and similar in concept to the Red MysteriumX camera. The camera has an ASA rating of 800 with a newly designed low noise chip. Interestingly in addition to recording RAW to hard drives, the Alexa will also be able to record to onboard SxS cards. Yes SxS cards, in the Apple ProRes codec. Yes. Apple ProRes. Details here:

For a cinematographers side by side test with the Red camera and an interesting discussion about the death of celluloid go here:

Arri also displayed their usual assortment of well designed lighting instruments. They have jumped on the LED band wagon with their own offering of an on-camera/off-camera instrument. These are day-light color accurate, heavier and more expensive than the LitePanel offering, but rugged and well built.

Smoke on the mac has been available for a few months now but I got a hands on demo at NAB. This is a well known, very complete and mature finishing tool which goes far beyond Final Cut Pro’s compositing and color correction tools, all from within the same application. What the porting of this software to the Mac signals is that the Mac is now on equal footing with all other professional platforms. To download a demo go here: 

Take note of the profile featuring Minneapolis' own Splice Here.

Media Composer v5 will now work natively with any Quicktime video format including Apple ProRes and H.264.

Apple ProRes. Yes. OK Apple, now your turn for an upgrade.

Blackmagic Design always has a bevy of new products at NAB.

The arrival of DaVinci color correction software on a Mac for $995 is not only great for the Mac platform but it is also another sign that the era and economics of multimillion dollar color finishing suites has come to an end.

Six months ago a DaVinci arrived pre-built on proprietary hardware and ran at least $200,000 for an entry level unit.

Black Magic also has a new Pro H.264 encoder box that captures direct to SD or HD H.264 from any SDI or HDMI source:

There is nothing like a tracking shot to class up a production. A linear tracking system like the one pictured here is an inexpensive way to get silky smooth movement in a tight space with limited crew. Cinevate makes a great inexpensive unit.

Convergent Design's NanoFlash has been out for a while but it's smart and compact design continues to amaze. The NanoFlash is a small on-camera unit that records from an SDI or HDMI feed to a compact flash card in either native Quicktime or native MXF at bit rates from 35 Mbps to 280 Mbps.

The BBC uses them with the EX-3 to get a higher bit rate than the 35 Mbps that the EX-3 records to SxS cards. With the NanoFlash they can record in a 4:2:2 color space at 100 Mbps. The NanoFlash uses the same XDCam encoding chip that Sony uses.

22   tascam DR-100

People were lined up to purchase this $250, very small, “disposable”, HD Camera which can be mounted anywhere and shoots spectacular HD footage. They have an underwater model available. Limited only by the courage it takes to do some of the crazy things these people do:

Check out the HD Helmet Hero and HD Surf HERO clips.

Kata makes some very durable and smartly designed bags for camera and lighting gear. The unit to the left is the OC-88 lighting case with built in dolly. To the right is one of their backpack units. Kata bags feature bright yellow interiors to help vision while packing in low light situations.

Continuing the transition from incandescent to LED, LitePanels has added an LED fresnel to their line of LED lighting instruments. These are very bright, very efficient, dim-able daylight-balanced LED lamps in a traditional Fresnel lens enclosure.They will be an HMI replacement, without the heavy ballast and flicker.

Light weight and cool burning, these instruments use 1/10th of the power of a conventional Tungsten Fresnel.

They have a touch screen for control of focus and dimming built into the back of the instrument.

The Sola 12 draws just 250 watts yet produces output equivalent to a 2000 watt tungsten but weighs only 14 pounds.

The Sola 6 draws 75 watts and products output equivalent to a 650 watt tungsten instrument and weighs 6 pounds.

The Sola ENG is meant for on-camera and off-camera mounting, weighs only 10 ounces, draws only 30 watts with an equivalent output of 250 watts.

Each year I become more and more impressed by the Manfrotto line of tripods and pan heads. As video cameras become smaller and smaller, the viability of using these lightweight and relatively inexpensive tripods in a professional environment grows.

When you want to travel light and fast, the Manfrotto monopod has become the monopod of choice. For use with the newer, small cameras, Manfrotto keeps improving on the design. The model shown to the left is the 561BHDV-1. It has a fluid head and a street price of $250.

New this year is the 504HD. A versatile and lightweight pan head. Used with the 536 3 section carbon fiber tripod, the unit will go from a low 3” off the ground to over 10’ in height. The carbon fiber tubes and locking hardware are strong, fast, and lightweight.

Panasonic introduced this $21,000 3D camcorder.

3D done well can be mesmerizing. 3D done poorly can induce vomiting. If you want to do 3D for your next feature, on a limited budget, use the AG3DA1.

If you have a lot of money buy this rig to the right from BHPhoto, rent two red cameras and hire a good convergence tech.

ProPrompter developed the first prompter based on an iPhone. Sounds like a stretch, but the iphone made a surprisingly good, if small, field prompter. Now the iPad, with it's lightweight 9.5 inch screen and long battery life, seems to be the perfect tool to use as a teleprompter. The ProPrompter people have developed an iPad app, which smartly makes use of the iPhone as a speed controller for the iPad prompter.

RedRock Micro specializes in the outfitting of DSLR rigs. They are working on a wireless follow focus device for DSLR's that works off of an iPhone. See it illustrated here:

The hot item in editing on a network off of a server is an ethernet SAN. Small Tree has designed an inexpensive ethernet SAN based on high speed Fibre Channel protocols and a storage RAID. They provide the design and support for a very low price when compared with a full blown fibre network.

The combination of a color LCD with industry-leading pen input capabilities allows photographers, designers, animators and other creative professionals to work naturally and intuitively directly on the surface of the large-format, 21.3" screen.

The Sony F35 has been out for a couple of years now. It is an expensive camera but it has the best digital cinema picture I’ve ever seen. It is used on a large and growing number of Hollywood TV shows. The shot on the top left features the F35 in a studio configuration with CCU. Other shots show the F35 with an SR deck mounted on the back. The shot to the right top is of the F35 head with SR recorder in a unibody design. Hand held anyone?

In other Sony news, Sony Vegas 9 now has full support for editing of HD captions in native mxf wrapped XDCam files directly on the Vegas timeline. This includes support for import of .scc files and editing of the caption text itself as well as output to an mxf file while preserving  captioning.

The PDW-HD1600 XDCam recorder/player can now preserve captioning in up-conversion and down-conversion.

Sony will be increasing the capacity of their XDCam disks to 100 GB. This will be a write once disk for archiving purposes.

It has been slow in coming but Sony continues to work on their XDCam software on the Mac side. This includes the XDCam Transfer Software application and the XDCam EX clip browser software. Sony will be combining and adding functionality to these applications. Hopefully these XDCam Mac applications will eventually gain all the features that exist on the Windows side.

Sony has a new hybrid unit that combines an XDCam player/recorder with SxS card reader/player and a hard drive.

There is a new multicore CCU unit for use with the EX3 in a studio configuration. The XDCA-53 camera adaptor looks very solid and mounts on the EX3 using a new shoulder bracket, the VCT-SP2BP. This shoulder bracket also allows for using the EX3 handheld with the CCU adaptor.

This is an inexpensive little handheld digital recorder that is being used by a lot of crews as a secondary audio source and when double recording for DSLR production.

A very nice looking 15” OLED from TVLogic. Not a Grade 1 monitor.

Telestream has completely rethought its FlipFactory transcoding product. Vantage is a new node-based workflow model. Rather than creating many factories that do one transcode per factory. Vantage sets up workflows based on decision making nodes that allow for creation of one factory that might have many different outputs.

Telestream has also done a lot of work on Episode, its encoding engine. Episode 6 adds an impressive number of new features including one click clustering. Users can now set up render farms over a network to use multiple cores on multiple machines to speed up encoding and proxy  creation.

1   adobe creative suite 5