NAB 2010 Roundup

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Every April, those involved in professional audio/video recording from broadcasters to event videographers converge onto Las Vegas to check out what hot new product will best improve their productions. A candy store for film and video professionals, NAB is the first place for the industry to decide what to purchase and what new technology is on the cutting edge. This year NAB seemed to focus on 3D television and improved support for DSLR camera's with HD video capabilities.

Wherever you turned, it seemed someone had a Canon 5D Mark II, 7D or Nikon D90 complimenting their video camera. But there is much more to cover, and this article will try to encapsulate the main announcements of available or soon to be shipping products that will be of interest to B&H customers.On the camera front, Panasonic announced the HPX-370 P2 HD camcorder, their second generation model with interchangeable lenses with 10-bit, 4:2:2, 1920 x 1080 AVC-Intra recording. Incorporating 1/3", full HD 2.2 megapixel Ultra Luminance Technology 3-MOS images and 20-bit Digital Signal Processor, the HPX370 is a shoulder-mount camera that includes support for DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO50 and 100Mbps DVCPRO HD.The HPX370 also includes built-in flash band detection and compensation technology that eliminates the "flash band" effect that sometimes occurs with CMOS imagers.

Available with a Fujinon 17x HD lens, you can add different lenses with an optional 1/3" to 2/3" lens adapter. For recording media, the HPX370 comes equipped with two P2 slots, so you can record up to 320 minutes in AVC-Intra 100 at 720/24pN with two 64GB cards.


Canon XF305


In the sub-$8000 area, Canon came out with the XF305 and XF300. Both models work with MPEG-2 4:2:2 50Mbps codec, also known as the Canon XF Codec, and can capture and record native 1920 x 1080 onto Compact Flash (CF) cards. The XF series uses an MXF file wrapper for greater compatibility with most video editing systems. Equipped with an 18x HD L-series lens, each model has three CMOS image sensors; and the XF305 includes an HD-SDI output, genlock and SMPTE time code (in/out) for greater flexibility when working with multi-camera or 3D productions.

Sony introduced the PMW-320, a shoulder mount version of the popular PMW-EX3. The solid state PMW-320 includes 3 ½" Exmor full HD 1920x1080 CMOS sensors and is configured in a studio environment with timecode I/O, genlock in and HD-SDI and HDMI out. It's available in different configurations with or without a lens. Sony is also releasing an affordable series of SxS memory cards: SxS-1. These new cards offer high speed transfer and support a full range of slow and quick motion recording modes and can also work with SDHC memory cards with the optional MEAD-MS01 adapter. The similar PMW-350 with 3 2/3" CMOS sensors and 16x Fujinon lens has been available since last fall.


Sony HXR-NX5U


Sony showed off the HXR-NX5U that it announced a few months ago. This is a 3 1/3" CMOS camera records AVCHD on a dual slot configuration for either SDHC or MS Pro Duo cards. Essentially a solid-state version of the HVR-Z5U HDV camera, it can record 1080i, 1080p and 720p AVCHD and MPEG-2 standard definition and has dual XLR 3-pin audio jacks for professional microphones.  A compact, single chip version is available with the HXR-MC50.

Building on the success of the GY-HM700U and shipping in July is the JVC GY-HM790U, a solid state studio and modular HD 1/3" 3 CCD camera that records onto SDHC or SxS memory cards via the optional KA-MR100G recorder. Optional backs include 26-pin multi-core studio interface, Fiber Remote adapter and ASI module. The GY-HM790U has 4:2:2 processing, 1080i/720p/480i multiscan resolution with built-in gunlock and HD-SDI output. Easy post workflow for Final Cut and other non-linear systems is achieved with .MP4 native file recording without conversion or transcoding. The GY-HM790U includes a 14 x Canon KT14x4.4KRSJ HD lens with 4.4mm wide angle to 62mm telephoto range.

In the battery department, Anton/Bauer unveiled the DIONIC HCX, a 120 watt-hour capacity battery with built-in motion detection sensor. The DIONIC HCX can automatically go into a deep sleep mode after a two week period without a load, greatly reducing self-discharge and allowing extended storage with near zero capacity loss, significantly increasing the overall life of the battery. Weighing only 2.4 lbs, the DIONIC HCX has an enhanced LCD fuel gauge for quicker checks of runtime.


Rotolight RL48-A


Rotolight showcased its new RL48-A camcorder and DSLR LED ringlight. Deployed in under 5 seconds, this ringlight is ideal for anyone looking to shoot HD with their DSLR camera with pleasant diffused, smooth, even lighting without casting a blue tint common in LED lighting systems. Equipped with 48 LED's (50w), the RL48-A includes Lee filters to match color temperatures including CTB, ND, diffusion and various CTO. This uniquely designed doughnut looking configuration doesn't throw any hot spots when the light is wrapped around a mic mount, and it can run continuously for four hours on 4 lithium-ion AA batteries.


Steadicam Tango


Tiffen had several new announcements regarding its Steadicam line, the most interesting being the Tango. Combining the award-winning gliding technology invented by Garrett Brown, and a floor to ceiling boom, the Tango will make a dance partner out of any Steadicam operator. Compatible with most miniature HD cameras, the boom has a 9' continuous elevation and traverse with back-pan and back-tilt and can rapidly be converted from Tango to Steadicam.


Pro Prompter HDi for iPad


Hot off Apple's iPad announcement, Pro Prompter announced the Pro Prompter HDi for iPad, a teleprompter designed for Apple's newly introduced invention. The Pro Prompter HDi designed a secure support system made of aircraft aluminum that attaches the iPad to the base and the whole configuration attaches to the camera. Several apps are available in the Apple Apps store including remote sync and presidential sync with Apple iPhone. And when you factor in the iPad's 10 hour battery life, this makes an ideal teleprompter solution when out in the field.


RED CamBook
Please click to enlarge


DSC Labs worked with RED on the RED CamBook, a set of test charts complementing the RED camera. Charts include color/grayscale with 18% gray background and six over saturated red, blue, green, cyan, magenta and yellow chips and two special framing charts with CamWhite and 18% gray backgrounds.

Post Production developers were also keeping attendees busy. Adobe announced their CS5 suite of products, including Production Premium for Mac and Windows. Production Premium CS5 includes Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop Extended, Soundbooth and Encore. You can read my first look on Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 here.

Blackmagic kept everyone busy with their new product announcements: they had ten new offerings. The most impressive is the reintroduction of the DaVinci line of color correction software. Blackmagic purchased DaVinci last September and many in the industry were questioning what the future entailed for the color correction and film grading pioneer. The new DaVinci Resolve for MacOSX will be available for an incredible $995. You can get realtime uncompressed 10-bit HD color correction with several nodes of grading or even more layers of correction with less intensive resolutions. DaVinci Resolve will probably reintroduce the importance of color grading as its affordable price will be in reach to more editors.

Blackmagic jumped into the world of super fast USB 3.0, with the UltraStudio Pro, an SD/HD capture and playback and the Intensity Shuttle, an HDMI and analog video capture and playback device for USB 3.0 computers. Rounding out Blackmagic's USB 3.0 products is the Pocket UltraScope, a PC based waveform monitor with 6 independent real time scopes including parade, waveform, vector, histogram, audio and picture.

With the release of Avatar, everyone is now talking about 3D. Blackmagic announced their first products with 3D support. First up is the Decklink HD Extreme 3D, a new version of the Decklink board with 3D support, hardware up, down and cross conversion, 12-bit hardware architecture, 3 Gb/s SDI, 1080p60 support for SDI, component analog and HDMI and full SD, HD and 2K support. There is also the new HDLink Pro 3D, the latest in the HDLink Pro family of monitoring converters; but this one comes with 3D stereoscopic SDI monitoring with display port support and HDMI 1.4 SDI monitoring for the latest 3D televisions.

Avid announced Media Composer V5, the latest revision to their award winning editing software. New features include RED support through AMA without transcoding; the ability to work natively with Quicktime formats including Apple ProRes and H.264; the ability to edit video and audio by dragging and dropping elements in the timeline; HD-RGB support; the ability to mix and match frame sizes and aspect ratios in the same timeline; AVCHD import; the ability to access low-res XDCAM proxies for offline work with full-quality audio; and much more.

Primarily a developer of Pro Audio products, MOTU continues its expansion into the world of video with the HD Express HDMI. This is a broadcast quality HD and SD capturing and monitoring device for Final Cut Pro on the Mac and Premiere Pro on Windows. Connecting via a PCI Express board, the HD Express HDMI supports uncompressed video.

Matrox came out with the MXO2 Mini, an HD-monitoring solution for Avid Media Composer V5 and NewsCutter V9 editing systems. The MXO2 Mini turns an HDMI screen into a professional-grade video monitor with color calibration tools including blue-only. Support includes HDMI, analog component, S-Video and composite output, and cross-platform support for Macs and PCs.

Boris FX announced Boris Continuum Complete 7 AE for Windows with support for 64-bit processing and OpenGL acceleration. Adding over 200 filters to Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro for versions CS3, CS4 and CS5, this new release adds 11 new filters including a 3-way color grade filter with built-in keying and masking tools, a new video noise reduction tool, a spline-based warp filter, audio-driven keyframe generator, a new OpenGL particle engine, and still and video morph technology.

Sony Creative Software kept things relatively quiet with Vegas Pro 9.0d, the latest update for their HD editing application. The new updates add closed captioning CEA-608 data for broadcast, multi-layer Adobe Photoshop Document (PSD) support and timeline burning to DVD and Blu-Ray discs. Vegas Pro 9.0d is available free via download from registered users.

Capitalizing on the new 3D craze, Convergent Design announced the nano3D, the world's smallest 3D-HD portable recorder and player. The nano3D combines two nanoFlash recorder/players for fully-synchronized stereoscopic recording and playback. The nano3D utilizes 4:2:2 Sony MPEG2 CODEC up to 280 Mbps. The compressed media is stored on Compact Flash media in Quicktime or MXF file formats with support for Avid, Final Cut, Premiere, Grass Valley EDIUS and Sony Vegas.

There was plenty more unveiled at NAB this year, so keep a lookout for upcoming articles and blog posts from B&H for the latest information.