At this year’s NAB, there were more incredible new camera and video announcements than you could shake a gimbal at. From breakthroughs in light-field cameras to 4K (and more-K) and HDR advancements, robotics, GoPros, and new DSLR accessories, the sheer volume of news and new products was truly overwhelming. Here we recap some of the highlights of what we saw on the show floor from the greatest innovators in cameras and video today.
RED Digital Cinema
RED Digital Cinema displayed their new Weapon 8K camera, which is being used on the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. The Weapon 8K has a 35.4 MP sensor and records up to 60 FPS at full frame. RED also announced a new firmware update for their DSMC2 cameras (Weapon, Scarlet-W, and Red Raven). This free update allows users to record in Avid DNxHR/HD formats while simultaneously recording to the Redcode Raw format.
RED also announced new accessories. The redesigned DSMC2 Side Handle features a record button, a molded rubber grip, two navigation wheels that control lens focus and iris functions, a rotary wheel and D-pad for advanced menu control directly from the handle, and four customizable parameter buttons for controlling exposure, white balance, magnification, and autofocus.
The new DSMC2 Jetpack-SDI Expander accessory adds a number of nice features and is designed specifically for aerial, gimbal, handheld, and other lightweight/remote configurations. The DSMC2 V-Lock Battery Module is a cable-free module that allows users to power their DSMC2 Brain and accessories using the RED Brick battery and third-party batteries. The V-Lock Battery Module also includes a P-Tap connector that supports a maximum current of 3 Amps.
RED also announced their soon-to-be-available RED Pro Touch 7.0″ LCD hi-def pro monitor that’s very lightweight and bright enough to be usable in high ambient light.
See RED’s full NAB report here: red.com/nab-2016#announcements.
SmallHD – Shoot Your Monitor with a Gun
Please, don’t actually shoot your monitor with a gun. But just in case your new SmallHDR monitor does happen to get shot with live ammunition, there’s no need for alarm. From the looks of this very cool “torture test” video, SmallHD has thoroughly Elvis-proofed their new line of 4K HDR monitors.
Apart from being seemingly bulletproof, they’re excellent-looking monitors. With up to 1500 nits of brightness, ambient light becomes a negligible consideration, so even in daylight you can clearly see the monitor’s full HDR and wide color gamut.
The sizes of this new line of production monitors eclipse SmallHD’s prior offerings. The largest of the three new monitors comes in at 32 inches, but they’re all light enough to mount to a C-stand. Starting at $3,999 for the 17-inch model, the SmallHDR monitors become available this month, along with new custom accessories.
Blackmagic had big announcements and great new gear on display. Perhaps the biggest news to come from them is their new camera OS for the URSA Mini, which features an excellent new user interface. They’ve also updated their DaVinci Resolve software to version 12.5 with a ton of new enhancements and features, including an expanded editing toolset, improved HDR support and other revamped color features, ResolveFX (a new framework for native GPU and CPU accelerated effects), and the new FusionConnect feature for advanced VFX, which integrates directly with Blackmagic’s Fusion software. They’ve just released their new Camera Update 3.2 as well, which adds features such as talkback, tally, and ATEM switchers for camera and lens control. Plus, the new 10.6.4 update for the Desktop Video utility adds HDR support to UltraStudio 4K Extreme and DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G.
As for new gear, the 3G-SDI Arduino Shield SDI expansion board allows broadcast engineers to build their own custom control systems for use with Blackmagic cameras. A new professional monitor/recorder, the ultra-bright 7-inch Video Assist 4K monitor works with any SDI or HDMI camera and has two high-speed recorders with two high-quality XLR mic inputs. Also on display were two new Micro Converters, a Duplicator for on-site 4K content distribution via SD card, and a Thunderbolt video capture and playback solution, the UltraStudio 4K Extreme 3.
Blackmagic has definitely been staying busy. Check out their website for all of their latest.
New Cameras from Panasonic
Panasonic also made some major camera commotion at NAB. Their biggest offering, the Varicam LT cinema camera, has 4K support, dual native ISO settings of 800 and 5000, and its size and design allow for very versatile applications, including drone-mounting.
The new AG-UX180 and AG-UX90 4K camcorders made a splash, as well. Both of these new camcorders include a Leica Dicomar zoom lens, EVF, and large flip-out LCD screen, and they can record 4K UHD, 4K DCI, and standard HD. With a comfortable form factor, conventional design, and individual lens rings, these camcorders make for a simple and quick transition to 4K recording.
For more info on these products and all of Panasonic’s other new gear, including their DVX200 camcorder and VARICAM 35 cinema camera, check out the NAB wrap-up on their website.
Integrated Microwave Technologies (IMT) New POV Camera/Transmitter
The new iSee RefCam HD-I transmitter from IMT integrates a COFDM HD video transmitter with a high-definition camera that provides footage from a referee’s POV. Specifically created to be worn with or built into a sports helmet and be unnoticeable to its wearer, the RefCam has a small form factor, a contoured and unobtrusive design, and low-battery consumption, as well as easily swappable batteries that have over one hour of continuous runtime.
Here’s the new RefCam product video: imt-solutions.wistia.com/medias/szxf6d8ckq
The Action Microphone for GoPro, which Sennheiser showed a prototype of, has an advanced capsule design and a watertight connection with the camera housing. Users can record high-quality audio in adverse weather conditions, extreme sports scenarios, and even while underwater. Sennheiser has developed the Action Microphone to make wind noise a nonissue and to allow audio recordings where currently only video is possible. Designed through a partnership with GoPro’s new Developer Program, it’s an awesome new product we can’t wait to see finalized. We’ll have to wait a little longer, however, while it undergoes testing across a range of extreme sports.
The unique-looking MKE440 Stereo Microphone for DSLR utilizes a new stereo design with two mini shotgun mics in an X/Y configuration that suppresses ambient and background noise while capturing focused audio of the video image. It includes three sensitivity settings and a low-cut switch to minimize handling and wind noise, as well as a double-mesh construction that intrinsically blocks a lot of wind. There’s also an optional windscreen accessory. The MKE440 has a frequency response of 50 Hz to 20 kHz and an SPL of up to 132 dB, and it runs up to 100 hours on two AAA batteries. It fits into the camera hot shoe and connects to the camera via a stereo mini jack. Learn more on Sennheiser’s website: en-us.sennheiser.com
Miller Camera Support – New ArrowX Series of Fluid Heads
Miller Camera Support introduced the new ArrowX range of fluid heads. The ArrowX line comes in three flavors: the X3 for lighter cameras, the X5 for larger applications like documentaries or commercials, and the X7 for heavy rigs, such as those used for in-studio work.
The ArrowX series, like Miller’s other fluid heads, have exceptional build quality and smoothness. What sets this range apart from others is Miller’s CB Plus sequential counterbalance design, which features eight large counterbalance steps with additional half-steps for fine-tuning. The CB Plus feature lets users achieve their needed position quickly and easily, making the ArrowX perfect for any scenario requiring frequent and fast re‑rigging.
Check out Miller’s website for more: millertripods.com.