This year, the theme of NAB seems to be 4K, but a lot of NAB seems to be focused on releasing similar, but improved versions of existing products.
Here are the highlights from a few of the booths I visited.
Atomos released a new version of the Samurai Camera Mounted Recorder, called the Samurai Blade, which improves over the Samurai by offering S-Log and C-Log Recording, full size BNC connectors and a higher resolution 1280 x720 touchscreen monitor with waveform monitor, vectorscope, zoom, and adjustments. One of the cool things about the Atamos recorders, is they aren't limited to SSD media, but also support recording to 2.5" HDD drives, which are fast enough for ProRes and DNxHD recording. They were also showing the new AC version of the Connect HDSDI to HDMI and HDMI to HDSDI converters, which don't use wall wart power supplies.
Convergent Design was showing off their very cool Odyssey 7 monitor/recorder. I was very impressed by this little monitor. It has a great looking 7.7" Touch Screen, with lots of menu controls. It also has two HDSDI inputs, and one HDMI, and the same outputs, but what is really cool, is that they have conversion capabilities, so if you feed into the SDI, you can spit out HDMI, or if you are feeding HDMI from something like a DSLR, you can spit out HDSDI. One of the coolest features, however, is the edge detection focus assist, which basically shows up like a black and white difference matte. So rather than just have a red outline, you see much more detail of what is at the center of your focus, so it is much more accurate, and promises to be a favorite focus assist tool. They also have Timecode I/O, which is really useful with the recording functionality of the monitor. If you have an external timecode generator, this gives you a professional feature addition to cameras which you might be shooting with that don't have that feature. It also has dual SSD slots, which can be configured to run in RAID 0 or RAID 1 configurations, so mirrored, or spanned. It also has Android and iPhone remote control, and will support Avid DNxHD, ARRIRAW, and Canon 4K Cinema Raw, with the additional purchase or rental of those codecs. Without codecs, it is priced at $1295, and I believe they said it will be available in July. The Odyssey 7Q, is the quad version of this with four HDSDI connections, configurable as input or output, and it has quad view. It will also do simultaneous proxy recording and up to 120fps recording of RAW DNxHD Compressed.
Fujifilm was demonstrating their new IS-Mini On-Set Preview and Monitor Calibration tool for $1300. It's a small little box, which has HDSDI in and out and HDMI output. It has some really cool functionality when paired with IS100 CCBOX, color corrector, but I'm going to focus on what it does as a stand-alone product. The first thing it does, is work as a monitor calibration tool, which allows you to set up your monitor to show accurate color. This is great because you know that what you are coloring to, is what it will look like when it is displayed on professional equipment, regardless of what you are using. This also means that if you use one of these on each of your monitors, they will all have very similar colorimetry, whether they are professional OLED displays, or consumer LCDs. It also allows you to view Log or Look previews, to a calibrated monitor, and using an iPad interface, you can dial in onset looks. It's a very cool tool and idea, and extremely useful, for both onset monitoring, and for post applications.
There's a lot more to talk about, but you'll have to wait for my next blog.
Heath Firestone is a Producer/Director at Firestone Studios LLC. He can be reached at: Heath@FirestoneStudios.com.