NAB 2013

Huge crowds and a lot of excitement reigned at the Adobe booth. Adobe previewed the next version of the Creative Suite. The entire suite of applications will be available on June 17 to Creative Cloud subscribers. More about that later.

Tracking speed is set via a speed control rheostat, (seen above) on the side at the end of the track. The parabolic curve of the track helps maintain focus on the interview subject. Place the subject at the focal point of the parabola, preset the focus, and focus will be maintained throughout the run of the shot. There are a couple of laser like pointer lights on the front face of the unit to help position the subject in the optimal position at the focal point of the parabola. Price is around $1500. Cool.

The new camera has a 4K super-35 CMOS sensor, 12 stops of dynamic range, a built-in touch screen, LCD monitor and a Thunderbolt connection. It It has a built-in solid state memory recorder that records either CinemaDNG RAW or ProRes. The price includes DaVinci Resolve and Ultrascopes.

The Sony F5 has a full frame 4K Super 35mm sensor. It is a well balanced shoulder mounted camera that can shoot and record in 4K, 2K and HD.

According to Wikipedia the term 4K refers to a horizontal resolution on the order of 4000 pixels.

In a digital cinema camera 4K means the sensor (most likely a CMOS sensor) has a resolution of 4096 x 2160. In the world of 4K home TVs the format is called Ultra HD or UHD. The resolution of a UHD TV panel is 3840 X 2160 pixels.

Sony CBK-WA100 Wireless Adapter

Teradek VidiU and Bolt

G-Technology EV series drive and dock

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera


Convergent Design Odyssey7

Red Dragon

Redrock Micro One Man Crew

The One Man Crew is a motorized parabolic slider from Redrock Micro. After initial set up, this mechanized slider propels itself (without the need for an operator) back and forth in a gentle arch at a preset speed. Imagine a two camera interview with only one camera operator. The lone camera operator controls the primary camera while a second smaller camera travels unattended on the slider. The unit is designed to handle the weight of a fully loaded DSLR. A motor smoothly moves the camera on the track in a parabolic curve. When the camera reaches the end of the track the motor navigates a smoothly feathered change in direction.

Blackmagic Design 4K Cinema Camera

Blackmagic introduced another potentially ground breaking camera at this year’s NAB.

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is a really small camera with a lot of terrific features for $1000. 

Sony 4K Ultra HD TV

Matrox Monarch HD

Sony announced the CBK-WA100 wireless adapter. The wireless unit attaches to any camera via HD-SDI. With the Sony application and wi-fi you can connect to a smart phone or tablet. With the smart device you can wirelessly control camera settings, monitor the video output, and add metadata.

The Matrox Monarch HD is a small, easy-to-use box which will stream live video to the web while simultaneously recording to a high quality H.264 file for archiving or editing.

Sony: “Live beyond definition with a picture that’s 4 times clearer than regular HD.”

Sony was showing 4K TVs for the home theater consumer market. Actual panel resolution of Sony 4K Ultra HD TV is 3840 x 2160 pixels.

The Rotolight RL48-B ‘stealth edition’ is a compact ultra-lightweight LED ring light. The light can slip over your shotgun mic or mount on a hot shoe via an optional camera/stand mount.

Atomos introduced the Samurai Blade. The Blade has a 325 DPI, 1 million pixel, 1280 X 720,  5” IPS monitor which has an incredible picture. The monitor, which uses high resolution IPS technology, similar to the Apple retina display, offers a bright picture with deep, rich blacks and excellent off axis viewing. 

Teradek is the company that makes the Cube (above). The Cube is a small wireless H.264 video encoder that can mount on a handheld camera and stream compressed video to an iPad or to the web via wi-fi. The unit works great for video monitoring sans cable.

001  4K/ultra hd

The big thing at NAB 2013 was a thing called 4K: 4K cameras, 4K editing, 4K displays.

Back in the edit suite the drive is designed to plug into the 2 bay Thunderbolt connected evolution series G-DOCK. This makes for a very fast and reliable system. Transfer speeds with the dock can be up to 250 MB/sec.

More impressively Sony claims you will also be able to transfer footage to a cloud service (or an FTP server of your choosing). The unit contains an LTE (cellular) transmitter as well as an ethernet port. Both high resolution footage as well as proxies and metadata can be sent to the cloud. This will theoretically allow anyone anywhere to download and view these files from the cloud.

This is a good idea. How the idea will work in the real world remains to be seen. The CBK-WA100 is still a work in progress. Sony has not announced a delivery date. 

Litepanels LED Fresnel Series

Litepanels is the company that produces the LED Litepanel units that we have come to love. The company also makes some great LED fresnel fixtures. These units burn very cool and put out a lot of illumination for the amount of power they draw. The fresnels come in either incandescent, called Incas, or daylight, called Sola, color temperature. They and are available in a variety of sizes, 3 inch up to 12 inch. This year Litepanels reworked their incandescent fresnel LED units. The quality of light from these improved fixtures is powerful yet controllable and soft.

The unit can be remotely controlled and generates an encoded H.264 stream compliant with RTSP or RTMP protocols, while also recording an MP4 file at up to 30 Mbps to SD card, USB drive or network-mapped drive.

Sony F5

004  small cool things

What follows are some pretty cool things introduced at NAB 2013 – some small some not.

003  thunderbolt part II

Thunderbolt has not been off to the lightning fast start many expected. There were, however, a number of encouraging announcements at this year’s NAB.

Intel announced the next version of the Thunderbolt standard, doubling the throughput from 10Gb to 20Gb per/sec. for each channel.

HP all but announced that Thunderbolt will be coming to their Z Series workstations. This is good news for those using Adobe Premiere and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite on Windows systems.

Thunderbolt is ready to provide support for 4K size files. One hour of Ultra HD footage can be up to 1TB in size. Moving these files from machine to machine can be very painful. Thunderbolt is up to providing fast transfer times.

The package includes a number of gels used to change color temperature and provide dimming (neutral density). When in use, the circular cut filters are placed in the translucent filter holder built into the front of the unit. When not in use the gels are stored behind the batteries in the back of the unit. Price for a single unit is $129 at B&H.

The camera has a super 16 sized 1080p HD sensor, 13 stops of dynamic range, and a built-in touch screen LCD monitor. A built in SD card records ProRes and CinemaDNG RAW formats. The Pocket Cinema Camera comes with Active Micro Four Thirds lens compatibility.

The camera that the F5 seems to be gunning for is the Red Camera. Red, clearly the innovator in digital cinema, owns Hollywood in this realm. Their newest camera/sensor is called Dragon. Red is now designing their cameras around interchangeable sensors. Dragon is a newly designed 6K sensor that Red claims has greater dynamic range than 35mm film.

Why 6K? Red claims “When outputting 6K to 4K or HD, your image will appear more refined and detailed compared to those captured at lower resolutions.” 6K resolution translates to over 19 million pixels, the same resolution you expect out of a DSLR. Dragon can deliver 100 frames per second at full resolution. With the Red you work with RAW data, data taken right off of the sensor before processing. This is a huge amount of data to process during ingest and editing. The Red workflow yields tremendous results but the post process can be extremely daunting.

The Red booth seems to grow larger every year. This year the booth seemed not quite as intimidating as in the past.

Sony announced the F5 a couple of months ago. Since then it has become a very popular camera. The F5 body is relatively small but contains a large CMOS sensor that produces a great looking picture with a shallow depth of field. It has the sensitivity in low light that you get with a full super 35mm sized sensor.

The camera is based on a modular design. The separate components link together to form a well balanced, shoulder mounted, ergonomically efficient whole: a real viewfinder mounted to the side, a battery attached to the back to help balance weight, and an optional RAW recorder which attaches to the back with no need for additional video cables or power cords. The camera can record to the external RAW recording unit and/or the onboard SxS cards.

The F5 can record in a variety of formats and frame sizes. When recording in HD 1920 x 1080 you get the advantage of the large pixel count, high resolution 4K sensor which super samples the image and provides a clearer standard HD picture.

This is a very efficient unit that records 10 bit ProRes and Avid DNxHD to extremely reliable inexpensive 2.5” hard disk drives. A 500GB drive costs $50 and records 5 hours of ProRes (HQ) material. The display sports a built in waveform monitor.

G-Technology is offering a new portable drive solution called G-DRIVE ev plus. This USB 3.0 drive is rugged, fast and designed for mobility. The 1TB drive can be used as a standalone device in the field or offline suite and achieve transfer speeds up to 130 MB/sec. 

Atomos Ninja

Atomos Samurai Blade

Adobe Anywhere

Some time ago Adobe gave an enticing sneak peak of their Adobe Anywhere technology. Now they seem to be ready to rollout the finished product.

The concept could mean an intriguing step forward in the collaborative process.  As Adobe states it: “Adobe Anywhere is a modern, collaborative workflow platform that empowers users of Adobe professional video solutions to work together, using centralized media, across virtually any network.”

Adobe has also worked on SpeedGrade, the color correction application in the Creative Suite, to make it more accessible.

Just a few of the new features coming to Premiere Pro:

Much improved relinking/reconnecting of media, timeline customization, show thru edits, show duplicate frames, improved copy/paste attributes, ability to view and edit closed captions, revamped multi-cam support allowing for synchronization of cameras via audio waveforms, elimination of separate multi-cam panel, import of SpeedGrade .looks files into Premiere, support for audio control surfaces, output for 32 channels of audio, shortcut for altering audio levels on clips in the timeline, new audio clip mixing panel, new audio plug-in effects host architecture, realtime loudness metering via included tc electronics loudness radar.

The biggest enhancement announced for Adobe After Effects is added integration for import of Cinema4D 3D objects. This adds true 3D support to After Effects. There are many other truly amazing additions to After Effects including refinement of the rotobrush tool, refine edge tool, and warp stabilizer.

Here’s the basic scheme: All media for a project is centrally stored on a single host computer. This computer/server needs to be a fairly powerful Windows-based workstation. The Adobe software project files: Premiere, After Effects, Prelude reside on this host computer. Editors, visual effects artists and other collaborators including directors and producers can access these projects simultaneously via any network connection using a less powerful and presumably less expensive computer. These client computers can be connected to the host within the local network or anywhere in the world via an internet connection. The more powerful host computer does all the heavy lifting: encoding, streaming etc. The Adobe Mercury Streaming Engine figures out network speeds etc. and determines the quality of encoding that will be required. Encoding for playback and streaming over the network is in realtime and at the highest quality possible given network limitations. When paused on a single frame, that frame will be displayed in full quality.

002  life beyond final cut pro

Video editors have more choices that are more affordable and powerful than ever before.

Both Adobe and Avid had big announcements and product demonstrations at NAB.

Adobe Creative Suite Next

Avid Media Composer 7 and ProTools 11

New from Teradek this year is a product they call VidiU. The VidiU facilitates streaming of high definition video directly to the web from camera or switcher “without the PC”. The unit is super easy to set up and supports your choice of streaming provider and a variety of bit rates and image quality.

See the VidiU here.

The Teradek booth included a studio housed inside a large broadcasting cube of silence. The translucent walls of the studio were assembled from a number of large suspended acrylic panels. Very impressive.

See the booth video here.

In the photo to the right is a panel discussion web cast from inside the cube which included Rodney Charters and Philip Bloom.

Teradek also introduced the Bolt (left). This is a latency free wireless transmission system that sends uncompressed 4:2:2, 1080p60 video at up to 300ft. This looks to be great technology for wireless high quality monitoring and broadcast. The Bolt can be used in conjunction with the Cube and neither system will interfere with the other.

This suggests a system that relies on a lot of wireless connections. We’ll wait for the user reviews to see how well this works in practice.

See the Bolt here.

The LEDs provide the soft shadowless fill that any good on-camera light should provide. The unit is powered by three AA batteries that run for 4 hours on one set.

At the end of a long day, sleepy eyed NAB customers stagger out of climate controlled exhibit halls into the hot Las Vegas sun.

Each NAB, Blackmagic Design introduces a number of very innovative and inexpensive products. 2013 was no exception. This year they announced a 4K digital cinema camera with a price of $4,000.

What is surprising about this announcement is the fact that they introduced a 2.5K camera last year for $3000. A lot of people ordered that 2.5K camera. Unfortunately, many people who ordered it have not received it. Needless to say Blackmagic had serious supply issues.

By announcing the new 4K camera, Blackmagic may have made the now one year old 2.5K camera obsolete.

Avid launched Media Composer 7 and also announced a lowered price on the software.

Media Composer will be sold for $1000. Symphony is no longer considered a separate product but is offered as an add on to Media Composer for $1400. Avid also lowered the price of upgrades.

There are some very useful enhancements implemented in the new version, adding to a feature list that was once the standard in non-linear editing.

Avid also released ProTools 11, an all new 64-bit update to the audio software. “With the new 64-bit architecture you gain the performance you need to handle the most sophisticated sessions.” The upgrade also features new faster than real time bounce capabilities and new built in meters. The new Avid Video Engine allows you to play most HD video formats directly in the ProTools timeline without transcoding.

Fun with Steadicam at the Tiffen booth.

If Adobe Anywhere works as advertised it will be a great collaborative tool allowing editors and graphic artists to work directly with directors and producers based in any location.

See a demo video here.

Price to put the Sony 55” XBR-55X900A Ultra HD into your living room . . .   $4999.

The Sony F5 teamed with the Fujinon Cabrio Lens (announced at NAB 2012 and shown below) make the perfect camera/lens combo for documentary shooting: a well balanced light weight Super 35mm shoulder mounted camera along with a fast and versatile PL mount power zoom lens.

The controls and buttons on this camera are all in the right places. The menus mimic the Sony menus we are so acquainted with.

Given a good power zoom with iris control on the lens, this is a documentary shooter’s dream camera.

Want it or not, 4K is here and doesn’t seem to be going away.

We won’t debate the practicality of 4K for broadcast TV or the worth or the effectiveness of buying a 4K resolution flat panel TV for your home theater (the discussion about perceived resolution, size of screen, and viewing distance from the screen).

The reality is there are content providers lined up to provide 4K either via download or Apple TV/Netflix style streaming. Smart people are figuring out how to compress UHD and deliver it. (Red, the Digital Cinema innovator, claims to be able to deliver 4K at 2.5MB/sec.)

Perhaps it was the presence of the large sized sterile lab (see below) where you could watch Red technicians upgrade Epic cameras with the new 6K Dragon sensor. A wall of glass separated fans from the engineers in the clearly visible clean room. The technicians were diligently going about their duties despite the constant gaggle of excited customers just a few feet away.

Convergent Design unleashed a new monitor/recorder product called the Odyssey7. The new Odyssey7 is a professional 7.7” OLED monitor with high end monitor features, including waveform, zebras, histogram, vectorscope, focus assist, false color, timecode display and audio meters, HDMI and HD-SDI in and out. The Odyssey7 is low power and lightweight and can be yours for $1295.

Out of the box, the Odyssey is a monitor only without recording or playback capabilities. Recording options must be purchased (or rented) from the Convergent Design web site.

Convergent Design has set up a unique rental option. A wide range of recording formats are available for rent in 24 hour increments and/or from 2 to 30 days.

When activated the unit records to 2.5” SSD media purchased from Convergent Design.

The Odyssey7Q unit will record and playback 4 SDI streams simultaneously to allow for 4K RAW recording. The price of the 7Q is $2295.

The Ikegami HDK-97ARRI High Definition Studio Camera with Arri Super 35mm CMOS sensor and super stable PL lens mount.

The PlaZma Light: New from Zacuto.

Coming Fall 2013.

This new 4K camera, despite having the same strange, retro form factor, does include a lot of terrific and very innovative ideas.

Presentations at NAB highlighted new features and enhancements to Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Photoshop. The additions are numerous and significant. Clearly Adobe is listening to editors and working hard to further improve an already solid software suite.

ADOBE UPDATE: Less than a month after NAB, Adobe has announced that all future versions of their applications will be available only via download from the Creative Cloud. They are moving to a subscription only model. If you want to use the next version of the Creative suite you will be paying a Creative Cloud monthly fee. This is major news and a bit of a shock to longtime Adobe users, who are used to owning and not renting their software.


NAB 2013