LAS VEGAS — The annual NAB Show took place in Las Vegas recently, and Post had a number of contributors on the show floor, checking out the latest products and technologies. Many pros were excited about Intel’s Thunderbolt technology, which promises high performance connectivity to peripherals. Apple has already adopted the technology, and numerous manufacturers — particularly storage solutions providers such as Sonnet, LaCie and G-Tech — had prototypes on the show floor. When it came to specific products, we were able to narrow our contributors’ picks down to a Top 5.
Here’s a look at the Post Picks of NAB 2011.
Blackmagic Design (www.blackmagic-design.com) showed its new HyperDeck line, which includes the HyperDeck Studio and HyperDeck Shuttle. The $995 Studio product (pictured) is an uncompressed HD disk recorder with dual SSD slots. Users can record onto one SSD and then onto the other without interruption. Disks can then be mounted directly to a computer for editing without any file copying. The $345 Shuttle gives cameras the ability to record uncompressed video directly to low cost SSDs by bypassing the camera’s native compression and recording from SDI and HDMI.
Adobe (www.adobe.com) further developed the Production Premium version of its Creative Suite with the new 5.5 release, which extends native file format support. The Mercury playback engine now supports more GPUs, including mobile GPUs. Adobe has released a Mac version of its Audition audio editing application, improving symmetry between the Mac and PC packages of Creative Suite. Pros working with DSLR cameras will appreciate the new AE Warp Stabilizer tool in After Effects that greatly improves shaky video shots. Premiere sees improvements, including the ability to easily sync audio files that have been recorded separately from video files. And Photoshop’s SDK has been extended, opening up possibilities to work on new tablet devices. Pricing for CS 5.5 remains the same as it was for 5.0, which was released just a year ago. In addition, Adobe is offering subscription price models for studios that may only need to use certain tools for a limited period of time.
Apple (www.apple.com) didn’t exhibit at the NAB Show, but made a big splash during the Tenth Annual Las Vegas FCPUG SuperMeet, which took place at Bally’s nearby. There, Apple previewed Final Cut Pro X, which it expects to deliver in June for $299, a dramatic price reduction from its previous cost of $999. The 64-bit application will feature a completely redesigned interface that cuts it down from four major windows to only three, making the viewer and browser one. “The timeline also gets a fresh look, with more intuitive controls for slipping, sliding, rolling, and rippling edits,” adds Post contributor Chip Eberhart, who attended the event. “With the new timeline, the editor can see the new in and out frames in the timeline to adjust them quicker and more precisely. Other major enhancements include face detection, shot detection, and audio cleanup on ingest.” Eberhart will be reviewing FCPX for Post in the months to come.
Sony (pro.sony.com) is using OLED technology in its new Trimaster EL family of master monitors, which includes the 24.5-inch BVME250 ($26,000), and the 17-inch BVME170 ($17,000). The series is designed to replace CRT units and promises deep black performance with high dynamic range, blur-free motion images, a wide color gamut and accurate picture reproduction.
FilmLight (www.filmlight.ltd.uk) showed a new control surface for its Baselight color grading system at NAB. Blackboard 2 represents a new concept in control surfaces, with each key being soft programmable. The keys are labeled via back projection and can change based on the designated function they are set to perform. Additionally, the control surface includes a series of configurable controls that allow users to perform certain functions in a more intuitive and tactile manner. Blackboard 2 also features four high-resolution screens that provide the user with live, in-context feedback.
FilmLight plans to begin shipping Blackboard 2 in the summer and will continue to manufacture and market the original Blackboard, which acts as a hard-key control surface. Blackboard 2 will cost $58,000 and the company will offer an upgrade incentive to the new panel.
Since the NAB Show is so big, there’s a good chance some new gear might be overlooked. Our contributors were also fond of these releases:
Sound Devices’ (www.sounddevices.com) PIX 240 video recorder adds QuickTime recording to any HDMI- or HD-SDI-equipped HD video camera. Using Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD (option), the PIX 240 records QuickTime files to CompactFlash cards or removable 2.5-inch solid-state hard drives.
Sony (pro.sony.com) previewed its CineAlta F65 digital motion picture camera at NAB. The F65‘s 8K imager contains a total of 20 Mega-pixels, half of which are sensitive to green, while the other half are equally shared by red and blue. Having twice the amount of green photosites compared with traditional 4K Bayer pattern sensors provides a significant improvement in image resolution. The sensor will provide high-quality super-sampled HD and 2K images, and is one of the first to provides a dedicated green photosite for each pixel in the 4K (4096 x 2160) output image.
The camera can shoot 1- to 120fps, and provides 16-bit linear RAW output. The F65 adheres to the 1.9:1 aspect ratio, and DCI Projection standard (4096 x 2160 or 2048 x 1080). Users can choose from a selection of picture compositions, including 1.85:1, 1.78:1, 1.66:1, 1.33:1, 2.35 spherical, 1.3x anamorphic, and 2x anamorphic cropped.
Promise Technology (www.promise.com) showed the SANLink adapter for Thunderbolt-enabled devices at NAB. Thunderbolt technology supports the PCI Express and DisplayPort protocols, and delivers high-performance data services and high-resolution displays through a single, compact port. SANLink technology bridges two high-speed technologies — Fibre Channel and Thunderbolt interfaces — helping to bring the SAN to the masses. It provides dual-ported 4Gbps Fibre Channel access allowing for redundant paths to the SAN. The SANLink adapter will be available this summer, and will provide expansion opportunities to a new generation of devices with Thunderbolt I/O technology.
The single cable solution will provide a dual 4G Fibre Channel link that can be used to connect to external Fibre Channel storage or to an Xsan network. Each adapter features full duplex FC ports that automatically detect connection speed and can operate independently at 1, 2 or 4Gb/s.
GoPro’s (GoPro.com) 3D Hero System is a waterproof 3D expansion kit for the company’s 1080p HD Hero camera. Priced at $99, the system allows users to combine two 1080p HD Hero cameras ($259.99 each) to form a single 1080p 3D camera — one that’s waterproof to 180 feet.
The polycarbonate housing holds the two cameras together and a synchronization cable plugs into the back of each camera, enabling them to function as a single camera. A single shutter button controls both cameras.
Teradek (www.teradek.com) offers the Cube family of camera-top streaming HD video devices. The Cube Encoder streams HD video over WiFi or wired Ethernet. The unit creates its own wireless (ad hoc) network, and streams HD video directly to a Cube Decoder, a computer or laptop, a server, or a mobile device with no other networking equipment required.
Cube Decoders are designed for placement on small handheld monitors and large HD displays, and feature either HDMI or HD-SDI output. The small, low-power video decoder pairs with the Encoder to provide an end-to-end streaming video solution.
Element Technica (www.technica3d.com) offers the Technica 3D family of stereographic 3D rigs, which are designed to precisely align and control positioning of a pair of cameras used in creating stereographic 3D imaging.
Atom is a new lightweight 3D platform designed for use with Red’s Epic. Atom has been optimized to take advantage of the small form factor of the Epic while still accommodating full-sized PL and PV primes, as well as smaller zooms. The result is a lightweight, full 5K-3D beamsplitter system. Pricing is Atom $64,000 for an aluminum version and $84,000 for the magnesium version.