Ask anyone (all 103,042 of them) who attended the 2015 NAB Show and most will tell you that they walked away with this strange buzzing sound in their ears. What they were hearing was the sound of exhibitors showing almost every configuration of drone you could imagine. Large, small, and in between, drones are here to stay. I'm not talking zippy little drones either; we are talking drones able to carry payloads approaching 15 pounds or more. That's enough to fly a Red, Canon, Blackmagic Design or whatever else you might have the urge to put up in the air. Myself, if I owned an Ursa Mini, I would be nervous, but hey that's me.
There was so much to see and do on the show floor; it is almost impossible to pick a place to start. So I'll give you some of the coolest products or services that I had a chance to see.
Cinedeck has come up with a software package that will allow for file-based insert edits without rendering. Yes, file-based insert edits. I know it sounds crazy, but people I talked to were in awe. It's perfect for those PIA clients that throw all that crazy last minute sh*t at you. Great for that shot you thought you could use but now have to take out right before the show goes to air. No more waiting to re-render - all the way up to 60fps 4K. Now if they could just make an outboard controller to look just like an old school retro Sony RM-440, we'd be gold!
The GoPro booth had these awesome virtual GoPro goggles that would be POV, let's say, from a soccer ball. It looked great but I have to admit to getting a little dizzy. But consider the source, it was very cool.
The Camera Goat
Here is one from the Start Up Park. The Camera Goat is a small, affordable slider that allows the operator to vary the height of the shot they are trying to capture from ground level to several feet off the ground. It is sturdy but lightweight and the design allows for use on uneven ground. I like how the Camera Goat can accommodate cameras ranging from GoPro to IMAX, which is a pretty good range.
NewTek 3Play Mini
Remember when we would get owner manuals from gear companies the size of a shoebox? 3 Play Mini is essentially like a mini production unit that allows you to switch a show in the size of that shoebox. Normally, I am reserved about non-traditional live production tools, but this one had all the bells and whistle. Features like hi res slo-mo, instant replay, and uber portability. With the addition of an optional outboard surface controller, one can pretty much switch a whole game or program minus the truck.
Pretty much any product in the Freefly booth I would love to try. It is just amazing how far technology has come. My favorite take aways? The Alta Aerial platform that allows the camera top mounted. Yep, top mounted. Very cool! Also the MoVi Mimic, a remote system that controls the gimbel and allows the remote operator via a yoke to actually "fly" the camera for tracking shots. I want one of these, too.
Cooke Front Anamorphic Lens
For the shooter who is a purist, Cooke has a rich history as being one of the "go-to" lens companies in the world. Not the only one, but one of the top-drawer companies. The folks at Cooke have told me that this is the year they deliver their Front Anamorphic lens. But it wasn't just the technology that got my attention; it was the passion for craftsmanship that really came through. The other thing that caught my attention was the transparency in the way Cooke communicates with its customers, giving them literally the exact make up of each lens, allowing for extreme precision in planning and executing complex shots...I want these, too.
AJA CION Try It Before You Buy It
Last but not least. Check it out! #TryCION, a new promotion seeding 100 CION cameras with qualified shooters. This new program, currently only available in North America, provides filmmakers, cinematographers and camera operators with easy access to CION to see and experience the camera first-hand in production. #TryCION will run through the end of summer 2015. Cameras are being made available on loan to qualifying applicants. Additional AJA CION accessories are also included with the loan program. Individuals interested in the program can apply online here: https://www.aja.com/trycion.
So there you have it, short and sweet. Just enough to whet your appetite to get out and work it! My final take away is that the 2015 NAB Show was all about checking out some incredible products made by some really, really smart people. The second part is about connecting with your compadres in this extremely intense environment. The energy level was off the charts!