NAB 2011

5   sony NEX-FS100 NXCAM

Pardon the diversion . . . . but on a more relevant note, Sony continues to work on the Mac XDCam ingest software applications. They are slowly adding functionality to what used to be called the browsing software. This is being done with the idea of eventually combining the two transfer applications into one. The salesman apologized and said Sony was embarrassed about how long development was taking on this.

2   lacie thunderbolt portable drive

16   sennheiser MKH 8060 short shotgun

4   blackmagic design ultrastudio 3D

14   litepanels SOLA LED fresnels

9   zacuto electronic viewfinder

11   atomos ninja

10   aja ki pro mini

13   kata bags/backpacks

12   sound devices pix 240

15   proprompter HDi pro2

8   tvLogic LCD monitors

3   promise thunderbolt raid

Promise, the storage company, worked directly with Apple on development of the first Thunderbolt Raid. The initial offering is a 4 or 6 bay unit with up to 12TB of space. The units are simple in design and very fast. Shipping in June.

Apple took over the annual LAFCPUG supermeet in order to give a sneak peak of the new Final Cut Pro X. Randy Ubillos, FCP architect, gave a demo of the new software. See a video of the demo here:

Thunderbolt is a new, fast, and exciting IO recently introduced on the new MacBook Pros. The protocol is described as a 10Gb/sec PCI bus outside of the box. It is more than 10 times faster than a firewire 800 connection. Data travels in both directions through a small connecting wire to daisy chained devices.

LaCie worked with Apple to develop the first portable drives to use Thunderbolt. The more of these drives you chain together the faster the transfer rate. The 1TB model will be available in May/June.

17  b&h photo OWC drives

Kata makes some smartly designed and very durable bags (see to left, sales dude standing on bag). The unit to the immediate left is the OC-88 lighting case with built in dolly. We own two of these bags and they have held up well while helping keep lighting gear organized. To the right and below is one of their very popular backpack units. Kata bags feature bright yellow interiors to help vision while packing in low light situations.

Litepanels never ceases to amaze. Everyone loves the 1 X 1 duocolor LED panels as well as the smaller LED units used on-camera.

The company continues to improve their fresnels. The units are very impressive. They don’t get hot so they can be made of lightweight but heavy duty plastic. They have a touch screen for control of focus and dimming built into the back of the instrument.

ProPrompter developed the first prompter based on an iPhone. Last year they introduced the HDi pro developed for the iPad. This year they have an iPad2 unit. The iPad2 is the perfect tool to use as a field teleprompter. The ProPrompter people have developed an iPad app, which smartly makes use of the iPhone as a speed controller for the iPad prompter. The unit, iPad and all, gets packed up in a nifty carrying case.

7   sony pilot XM wifi proxy viewer

6   sony OLED monitors

PS: Mr. Litepanels wants to come and outfit our studio with an energy efficient litepanels installation.

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.

Of particular interest this year is the newly designed Sola ENG meant for on-camera and off-camera mounting. It weighs only 10 ounces, draws only 30 watts and has an equivalent output of 250 watts.

It was a very exciting evening, leaving a lot of hanging questions, but FCP fans seem to be cautiously optimistic. Larry Jordan gives his perspective on what it all means here:

This new sony camcorder has a super 35mm sized CMOS chip. The Sony NEX-FS100 is aimed at the Canon 5D DSLR crowd. The camera exhibits the same shallow depth of field and lens possibilities as the 5D, but with real in-sync XLR audio inputs and a top-mounted, rotating LCD viewfinder. Also included are other video amenities, minus any of the 5D’s aliasing issues. Probably not shipping until July at the earliest.

The new Sony OLED monitors have absolutely the best black rendition of any flat screen I have ever seen. A darkened Sony demonstration room pitted one of these against a venerable BVM CRT series monitor and an LCD flat panel. The OLED appeared to be the winner.

The budget minded among you should take note that the grade one BVM OLED series monitors run in the $16,000 range. Sony however was showing a mock up of a 17” PVM series OLED that will be priced around $4900. These new PVM series monitors will use the same OLED panels as the higher priced BVM series.

Another interesting curiosity, Sony showed a demo of the HXR-NX70U, a water resistant camera. For those who will be shooting in the rain.

For those who buy OWC drives directly from OWC, B&H Photo sells the OWC Branded Drives for less than OWC does (according to the OWC guy at B&H). Confusing isn’t it?

This was introduced at last years NAB but I missed it. Sony has teamed with a company called Livecast to create an iPad app which allows you to view XDCam proxies, name clips, and add metadata in the field, as material is being shot, via a wifi device attached to the camera.  If you have the time during a shoot to add metadata and name clips, well, now you have a tool that will do that.

Oh and then there is Sony’s new 8K camera.

The F65.

Probably a rental kinda thing.

Also notice on the back of the F65, the new SRR4 Portable Recorder featuring solid state video recording at a very high bit rate and 16 tracks of 24 bit audio.

To go along with the big camera, Panasonic has a Plasma “TV” to match. Size: 152”. . . that’s over 12.5’. Price: $500,000. Yes, that’s half a million.

As an aside, while we are talking about cameras with large pixel counts, Red’s 5K Epic camera was finally being shown in Red’s own booth. The camera should be noted for its small footprint compared to the Sony 8K. Interestingly, the Red booth was made up to be a tattoo parlor. The 5K Epic camera was documenting someone in the process of getting an actual tattoo!   Shocking!

TVLogic has new 5” and 7” LCD field monitors. These monitors have better off axis viewing then previous TVLogic monitors of this size. The 5” monitor is designed with DSLR work in mind as it has HDMI in and SDI out for loop thru to an off-set production monitor or Ki-Pro/nanoFlash unit.

Zacuto is a major supplier of rigs for DSLR work. They have been developing this small viewfinder for a while and they now have something very close to a shipping product. These viewfinders allow the videographer to be freed from the constraints of the inflexible viewfinders built into the back of most of the Canon DSLR’s. Zacuto’s Z-finder EVF allows the operator to have the camera off center, in line with the shoulder, in a more ergonomic and comfortable position.

AJA is now shipping the Ki Pro mini device in large numbers. The mini was announced a while ago, AJA had some manufacturing issues, but now production is ramped up and they can’t make them fast enough. The mini is the little brother of the larger Ki-Pro, which we all know and love. The mini is meant to be mounted on a smaller camera rig or on the back of a 2/3” shoulder mounted camera. It does most of the things the larger Ki Pro does, but with a much smaller footprint and less weight.

One of the editors at the AJA booth also works in LA editing a well known animated series. The series is required, as most series are, to deliver to the networks via Sony SR tape. He related how difficult it is to find any SR tape in LA due to the tsunami in Japan. He recently made a request for SR tape from a local LA supply house. The supplier said they had one case left and quoted this editor a price of $900.00. Good, the editor said, I’ll take the case of tape. No, said the supplier, you misunderstood that’s $900.00 for one tape.

There are many devices similar to the Ki Pro Mini that have recently shown up on the market. The Atomos Ninja is one of them. This unit however combines a disk recorder with a monitor. You supply the hard drive or solid state drive. The unit is perfect for mounting on top of a DSLR rig. The monitor serves as a picture monitor and also as a touch screen which controls the disk recorder and recorder menus. Files are recorded in any of the standard Apple ProRes codecs. The price point for the unit is a very reasonable $995.00 for the basic HDMI unit. This is an item which is already very popular with independent filmmakers.

Sound Devices, the company out of Wisconsin known for manufacturing great, solid field mixers, has also developed a small recording unit that combines a picture monitor with a recorder. Record to compact flash cards or solid state drive. The Pix 240 is a well designed and well built unit with a feel very much like one of Sound Devices’ own audio mixers. This unit has the advantage of having two built-in XLR inputs which can record up to 4 channels. The audio section benefits from the vast amount of experience Sound Devices has in the audio area.

Blackmagic Design’s Ultrastudio 3D is the first of a series of products that will be developed as a result of the breakthrough Thunderbolt technology. It is a capture and playback card in a small portable box that can handle multiple layers of uncompressed video. 12 bit, dual link, SD, HD, 2K.

Basically an AJA Kona 3 or (as the Blackmagic guy reminded me) a Blackmagic Ultrastudio 3D card, outside of a MacPro tower. Think of the possibilities. Hook this magical box up via one thin Thunderbolt connection to your MacBook Pro and your Promise Thunderbolt Raid and you have a mobile uncompressed editing suite. Did I mention that the Ultrastudio sells for $995? or that AJA is working on a similar device?

The new Sennheiser MKH 8060 mic is a great mic for mounting on a camera. It is a shotgun mic with a narrow pickup pattern, but has a newly designed short interference tube that makes the mic well . . ah . . . . short, small and lightweight.

Warning: This mic is not inexpensive.

1   apple final cut pro X