Bobby’s Breakdown: NAB Edition
NAB President and CEO, Gordon H. Smith at the NAB Show Opening. Photo courtesy of NAB photographer Robb Corden
NAB 2014 was one for the books. This year brought a few shocks from some of the top companies including Arri, Blackmagic Design and Panasonic. The biggest surprise of all was the release of CION, a great 4K camera announced by post-production solution provider AJA. I noted an exciting revolution in LED lights, tested as much as I could and spoke with a few of our industries movers and shakers, including Arri President and CEO Glenn Kennel. There was a multitude of things to take in, but a few things stood out to me over the four day expo.
I had the opportunity to meet with the very elusive and highly-sought after Glenn Kennel, President and CEO of Arri. We spoke of Holbrook Multi Media’s love of Arri cameras, and a future relationship between Holbrook and Arri.
The Arri Amira was a sight to see. This much anticipated camera is going to revolutionize things with the electronic new gathering style mount that can be easily converted to cinema shooting. On top of that, one-person operation is now made possible because of the new configuration: inward facing controls and I loved testing it out.
Testing the much-buzzed about Arri Amira
Blackmagic Design brought the surprises out in full force because in addition to showcasing their much anticipated gear, they dropped an additional two unexpected pieces, a 4K and an HD camera. One of those was the URSA. It is a great option for any film and as they have written, “has multiple accessories built in, including a massive 10-inch fold-out on-set monitor, large user upgradable Super 35 global shutter 4K image sensor and internal dual RAW and Apple ProRes recorders.”
Blackmagic Design’s new 4K camera, the URSA
Digital Bolex came out with the D16 a 16 mm, 2K camera accompanied with multiple interchangeable lens in the form of F , EF and PL mounts. Yes, this camera has been around for a while, but the release of the PL mount is what’s exciting. This is a reasonably priced camera, and while at NAB, I encountered a free-agent who said he thought it was so great he would pit it against the Arri Alexa.
The Digital Bolex D16
Panasonic also caught my eye, with their first 4K, the Varicam 35. The great thing about it is that it’s modular; you can remove some of the pieces, or put them together the way you want allowing for greater flexibility while in the middle of a shoot. They also had their 2/3 high speed camera on display. It has a smaller sensor and a different mount, but those two cameras are really pulling Panasonic back in the game.
Testing the Panasonic’s 4K Varicam 35
Across the board the fair for lighting was amazing to see. I’m calling it an LED Revolution. All of the showcasing suppliers upped their game and will be delivering better technology. The CRIs are now all above 90 and the build of everything was improved upon. Dracast seemed to have the best value with their great price-points.
Blackmagic Design also announced the release of editing suite Davinci 11, which introduced an upgrade to the existing editing capabilities of the program. The biggest advancement is that they finally have multiscreen editing and the fact that they have a bona-fide non-linear editing finish and export.
The Foundry caught my attention with their upgraded software to the NUKE studio. They integrated a non-linear editor into the well-known composite – editors everyone will be rejoicing.
Lastly, Abode remained a crowd-pleaser. They are a company that is always consistent and they continuously make progress in their multiple programs in Adobe CC. While their upgrades are a staple they were a good thing to see since Adobe is a turn-key production suite.
NAB photo booth backdrop in the Las Vegas Convention Center
So what do you do with all of this great new technology? To manage and support all of your 4K footage I would advise using Thunderbolt 2, which was hot at NAB. This is open source technology that delivers on speed and quality in the storing and editing process. The majority of the showcased products will be available for mass release later this year, and I can’t wait to get my hands on them in the future.