By: Mark Foley
NAB Show Las Vegas is a great place to see all of the latest and greatest production gear. and there is a LOT to see. New cameras, switchers, lighting and other new products were around every corner. Add in monitors, editing and all the other products too. What’s not to like? Let’s take a look at some of the things that I saw on the show floor.
Cameras, Cameras and More Cameras
One of the first go-to products that people come to see is cameras. Image gathering does start at the camera, right? If you are out to buy or rent a camera like the new ARRI ALEXA Mini LF, Sony VENICE and Panasonic EVA-1, you are most likely shooting features, television commercials and television series. These cameras are purpose-built and designed for some really high-end single camera productions and they make such beautiful pictures.
The other interesting camera category is at the mid to high-level price point where companies are making cameras that do a lot of things very well. I’m thinking about the JVC Connected Cam line up. It makes such awesome pictures and greatly streamlines the production process. Shooting 4K, streaming, maybe add graphics, maybe add more accessories to do more live broadcast type work.
Another example is the Sony FS7/FS7 II with a new kit that repurposes the FS7/FS 7II from a "documentary" type of camera to a more general purpose camera for shooting every day on the street or corporate type programs.
If you don’t know this by now, but PTZ cameras have continued to develop into viable solid solutions in broadcast and other forms of production, especially in the studio and for eSports. Check out the PTZs from Panasonic. These cameras have continued to improve with better optics and with additional capabilities. I can see the continued use and deployment of PTZ cameras for quite some time ahead.
Lastly in the camera world, for good measure, I have to mention GoPro Fusion shooting in 360. The up close and unique characteristics of this mini powerhouses continue to impress. I think it would be fair to say that many reality shows would not exist without GoPro and especially now the GoPro Fusion.
The world of production switchers has never been more alive with improved features such as touch screens and multi-format output. Grass Valley, Ross, Newtek and Blackmagic Design all showed robust switchers capable of driving fast complex shows. It was impressive to see how production switchers continue to evolve into multiple format delivery devices. It speaks to how things continue to change in our space.
When I was in the Grass Valley eSports space, it was amazing to see the how so much of the shot set up and delivery along with effects could be touch screen driven. Unless it is a giant truck production, the trend to deploy efficient yet more powerful switchers will continue.
We’ll fix it in Post
Avid, Adobe and Blackmagic Design just crushed it. Each in their own way.
First, Avid introduced an updated version of Media Composer. Media Composer looks new yet still has that familiar Avid look and features previous users wanted, such as multi-cam and lifting command.
Adobe Affects Content-Aware Fill is a feature I can't wait to try. With this powerful tool, the editor can remove an object and fix moving shots as quickly as they can do the edit, so you don’t have to wait for it to render.
Then of course always one of my favorite game changers, Blackmagic Design. Not only do they roll out an entirely new 8K workflow but add in a new editing keyboard with such a sweet jog/shuttle wheel. The wheel speeds up the editing process because now you have better control of the timeline.
With the updated Resolve, 16 Blackmagic overhauled all of the feature sets to improve performance across the entire product. These improvements in interoperability including audio will speed up the workflow saving the client money.
Spotlight on Lighting
LiteGear displayed their LiteMat Spectrum LED Panel. This unit has the ability to provide an adjustable LED light source to match difficult light temperatures. Another new light to consider is the Creamsouce SpaceX lighting instrument. With just one light instrument and a softbox, one could light a huge area of the studio with outstanding results.
Recorders & Field Monitors
Let’s move on to some new monitors from Atomos and SmallHD. From the Atomos side of things, I dig the Shogun 7 Recorder/ Monitor. It’s one of the most interesting multi-functional recorder/monitors I have seen. For example, you can make as many (up to four) source changes such as selecting different cameras.
Atomos also offers the new Shinobi, which is a monitor without a recorder. For $400 bucks you are hanging a pro grade monitor off the side of your camera.
SmallHD has launched the Cine 7. The big take away? Imagine controlling your ARRI from a wireless monitor. With an optional license, the operator can now control ARRI ALEXA camera functions through the Cine 7 set up. Both Atomos and SmallHD have one thing in common: their products provide great resolution and imaging. You must be able to trust your monitors right?
Of all the companies I get to meet with at the show, maybe AJA does it best. AJA has figured out an optimum workflow that will benefit end users with products like the new Ki Pro Go. The Ki Pro Go allows users to record content (H.264) on USB 3.0 thumb drives in multiple USB ports. This, in turn, will make productions for many users more affordable. Fewer media costs and ease of use should help end users produce more programming.
In closing, it is always great to see the gear in person either at regional events or at user group meetings. It is an excellent way to get up close to a product for evaluation.