So another NAB has come and gone, and while public opinion is divided on the success of the event this year, I was able to draw far more positives than any previous years and personally felt that the “vibe” of the event was far more upbeat this year. With all the announcements prior to the event, there was still plenty of surprises to keep energy levels up. Add the surprises and the known releases up and you’re left with the following:
Fitting into the NXCAM product family and bearing an almost precise likeness to the FS100, the FS700 is the 4k “matriarch” of this budget-friendly range of Super35mm camcorders. With increased connectivity (3G-SDI), a Sony-based external 4k workflow has been promised, which will integrate better than having to use a 3rd party system. Add 250fps recording and hopefully these oft-ignored cameras will be noticed, especially for online and corporate delivery.
It should hardly come as a surprise that Sony have brought out a camera to rival the mildly-popular Canon XF105. What should come as some relief though, is the fact that it records MPEG 422 @ 50Mb/s onto SxS cards (even if it is from a 1/2.9” type single CMOS chip). Other than that, it matches the 105 feature-for-feature (including Nightshot, f1.8 on the wide), but is slightly larger (a compromise I certainly am willing to make to have it record to professional media) and a slightly longer 40 – 400mm (35mm equivalent) lens than the 30.4 – 304mm of the Canon. Once again another manufacturer playing catchup to Canon, is this camera a bit late to the party?
· Cinema EOS C500 (http://cinemaeos.usa.canon.com/products.php?type=Camera-c500 )
Cinema EOS C500
The worst-kept secret in television, the C500 is here to take over the budget-end 4k market. Outputting 4k, RAW (60p) and half-RAW (120p), 2k Component as well as standard HD, unlike Sony, Canon have no plans for an in house recording system, so the responsibility of the 4k capture must fall to a third party 4k recorder (most likely the AJA Ki Pro Quad – see later in the report). Again available in both EF and PL mount versions, with an identical form factor to the C300, this camera is set to offer users an easy in-road to the 4k market.
Shaving 1.4mm off the wide end of the current HJ17, the HJ-17x6.2 offers a 75.5°x47.1° field of view (compared to the 60.1° x 46.9° of the 7.6mm version), so about 25% wider but not as long. Nice to see the professional lenses still being developed while the digital cinema circus rages on.
A big surprise from the show was the availability of new lenses and lens systems. I have highlighted a few of the ones pertinent to us below:
Fujinon have released a contender in the PL mount 35mm zoom market with a lightweight, fast (T2.9 constant) 19-90mm cinematic lens. Featuring a detachable zoom servo (rocker) unit, this is the perfect lens for documentary makers looking for a “set of primes” in one lens. http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/index.php?t=product/fujinon_19-90-cabrio-lens
Similarly, Angeniuex released their zoom servo which can be attached to any of their Optimo zooms. We have ordered these to complement our range of Angeniuex lenses (which should be expanding soon with expected delivery of the 45-120mm Optimo). http://www.angenieux.com/zoom-lenses/news.php?id=75
Zeiss have been busy developing their CP.2 Super Speeds, a range of 35, 50 and 85mm T1.5 primes. A nice “mid ground” between the CP.2 T2.1 and the T1.3 Super Speeds. Hopefully they will expand this range to include a wide and long macro! http://www.zeiss.de/C1256A770030BCE0/WebViewTopNewsAllE/661AC661CF557C89C12579E2002C6631
We have also ordered the Arri Lightweight zooms in the 15.5-45mm and 70-200mm T2.6 varieties. http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/index.php?t=product/zeiss_compact_tele_zoom
While there is zero information (including not even a telephone number!) for start-up matte box manufacturer Bright Tangerine, we were very impressed with their innovative and well made matte boxes. Still not a “one fits all” solution yet, but perhaps with a few tweaks and losing a filter stage, dare I say a perfect solution may not be too far on the horizon!
Lighting and grip:
Starting to dip our toes into the waters of slightly heavier duty dollies (well, compared to our heaviest, the Key West), I had my first introduction to Panther. And what a pleasure! Their “Husky” dolly seems like a good starting point for us. Sturdy, with a clever folding mechanism, this might be the perfect dolly for us to start to bridge the gap between Wally and Matador. http://www.panther.us/cms/en_fe_huskydolly.html
I was quite disappointed that Egripment didn’t have a Focus Light dolly at the show for us to test. Looking for a new lightweight dolly to succeed our Key West’s, I’ll have to get a demo unit over to check that it is indeed an improvement on the original, rickety Focus Dolly. http://www.egripment.com/en/ProductInfo.asp?ID=28
Happened upon the EasyRig stand and bells started ringing left, right and centre! We’re always being asked to supply them and after seeing a few models in action, we can now see why! With various sizes, strengths and payloads, these will be something we would look to get a few of, and once the cat’s out the bag, will probably need a lot more of! http://www.easyrig.com/
With KinoFlo Celeb 200 controllable flat LED panels finally shipping to the UK next week, we can finally realise an order that has been waiting since IBC last year! http://kinoflo.com/Lighting%20Fixtures%20%28LED%29/Celeb_200/Celeb_200.html
Monitors and External recorders:
Passing by the TVLogic stand, we noticed their first foray into the electronic viewfinder market with their 3.5” EVF. Seemingly a prototype or at least still in its infancy (was massively overheating), there is unfortunately limited functionality (most glaringly, pardon the pun, was no brightness control) but the refresh rate and resolution make it one to look out for in the future. http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/index.php?t=product/tvlogic_evf-035w-3g
Sonnet seem to be fully backing Thunderbolt and it was good to see their new Thunderbolt SxS card reader and get a feel for their D.I.T. solutions (namely the Rogue DIT Station, admittedly catering more for the RED market. In fact, when I enquired about it, the Sonnet reps at the stand told me to go and find out from the guys on the RED stand)! http://www.postmagazine.com/Press-Center/Daily-News/2012/Sonnet-debuts-Rogue-DIT-station.aspx
Even with the release of the Atomos Ninja-2, still no sign of a 50Mb/s external recorder (from them or anyone) - everything still only ProRes or DNxHD. http://www.atomos.com/ninja2/
As mentioned earlier, AJA have released a 4k addition to the Ki Pro family, namely the Ki Pro Quad. Finally featuring a small onboard reference monitor, this seems to be the recorder of choice for potential Canon C500 user. This will debayer and ProRes encode to SSD while passing through the RAW image via Thunderbolt to record onto something meatier than a single SSD drive. http://www.aja.com/en/products/ki-pro-quad/
Finally, I’m going to talk about a rather special external record. Well, in fact, an external recorder that turned itself into an internal recorder by slapping a 2.5k sensor on the front of it and adding a few nifty camera features. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s the talk of the show, the Black Magic Design Cinema Camera. Now, the sceptic in me is automatically nervous about this kind of first generation product but the psychic in me is happy, as finally we see a move towards onboard SSD recording in cameras. As with any 1st gen product, there are still many areas that can be improved (sensor still very prone to rolling shutter issues, ergonomics could do with a rethink etc.) but if I was considering buying a 5D mk3 a month ago, I would seriously be considering this as an alternative, especially as it’s less than half the price of the Canon! Especially appealing is the presence of HD SDI and headphone outputs. A big wake up call to the major camera manufacturers! Now just really show them and introduce a 50Mb/s CODEC. http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/blackmagiccinemacamera/