Reported by Mat Gallagher and Dan Chung:
I’ve had a couple of weeks now to think about this year’s NAB show. It brought some truly stand out products that combined simplicity with technical awesomeness, which was good to see this after many years of over complex, not quite right designs.
Kessler is one company that I love because of their elegantly designed sliders and their new Pocket Jib Traveller is no exception (see video). The unit has been painstakingly designed to not only pack to as small a size as possible but it also has been made lightweight, thanks to the drilled sections in the body. Something no one else has even considered.
G-tech’s drive system is storage made simple. Their latest devices (see video) are highly proficient field drives, the larger of which uses a raid system for speed, and plugs into a base unit once you’re back in the office for super quick transfer speeds.
Rigs wise, it was nice to see Zacuto’s Recoil looking much improved (see video) and I love the ergonomics of their new shoulder pad. The restyled Tornado follow focus was also great. There was innovation from Movcam (see video), and Matt Allard was particularly impressed with their F55 rig. Top marks also go to Redrockmicro (see video) for their lovely little Gopro cage.
The highly anticipated Dietygear Mira loupe, shown to us by DP Sebastien Devaud (see video), is not cheap but really transforms the C300 screen into a high quality EVF. Teradek’s new wireless product line, meanwhile, includes the Bolt wireless SDI transmitters (see video) which have some really interesting options.
Away from large sensor devices, we have the Canon XA20 and XA25 (see video). Finally compact camcorders are getting the specs that they should have – amazing stabilisation, XLR jack packs, 20x lenses and SDI. It will be interesting to see how good these little cams are against the Sony NX30
Blackmagic’s pocket cinema camera gets my top award for the show (see video). It’s a fantastic looking camera that most of us here are already pre-ordering. The one big question though is, can they deliver? Will they be able to ship sufficient quantities at launch? We will see in July.
Airbox inflatable soft boxes are such a good idea. Why did no one do this before now? These have been around for ages for strobes but with a cooler LED sources, they make perfect sense and combined with the latest, most powerful LED panels, like the Cineroid LM400 (see video), the results are very good.
Steadicam’s Solo was a big hit at the show (see video). The combination Steadicam and monopod still has the legendary construction, balance and smooth operation of the bigger Steadicam – it can be used on its own or with an Arm and vest. I can see it finding a home with many news shooters wanting something that packs in a suitcase. While the Movi was getting a lot of attention, I think it could actually be the Solo that finds its way into more real world shooters bags. The Solo is a fraction of the cost of Movi yet able to get 90% of the moving shots you might want to get.
On the lens front there were lots of new high end offerings – mostly anamorphic – beyond the reach of the average shooter. For the news and documentary shooter though, there was one interesting high end bit of info: Canon has a 35mm servo Zoom lens in development. No more info yet but let’s hope it is more affordable than the excellent but pricey Fujinons.
Perhaps more relevant were the newest Zeiss offerings in DSLR and NEX lenses. Working samples of both the new NEX range and their ultimate 55mm f1.4 were shown at the show. The 12mm f/2.8 and 32mm f/1.8 NEX lenses have working AF with cameras like the FS700 and FS100. The 12mm looks like a great option for solo Steadicam work. Even though it is primarily a stills lens the new 55mm f1.4 has a very cinematic feel; the focus is beautifully smooth and the sharpness is outstanding.
Convergent Design’s Odyssey 7 and 7Q are stand-out monitors and recorders (see video), with a great range of ‘a la carte’ options for users. The Odyssey 7Q is great news for Sony fs700 owners, too, as it is fully compatible with its 2K and 4K (compressed) formats.
DJI Innovations latest Phantom copter (see video) mounts a GoPro in a gimbal unit that stabilises the camera and also allows tilt control from the remote. This system can even be added to older Phantom models and really transforms the copter.
Freefly’s Movi rig is truly incredible (see video) and is undoubtedly one of this year’s highlights. You have to wonder if it will have the same kind of success as the Steadicam. For now though, costing around $15k, it is probably out of the news shooters reach.
Dan Chung, Vincent LaForet and Matt Allard wrap up this year’s NAB show live from the Teradek booth.