While you may be surprised to hear this, there’s a whole bunch of interesting stuff at NAB for photographers. Many of the same vendors that appear at the big photo shows (camera companies, lighting companies, software companies) also exhibit at NAB. They just do it bigger. With just under 100,000 attendees expected for this year’s show, it’s no wonder. The floor is packed and I was only able to look at a few of the things that I wanted to, but what I saw certainly intrigued me.
First I should mention my bias. I am a photographer. I am not a filmmaker nor will I ever be one. I can operate a cinema camera, I can produce and direct. But video is a team sport and I rely on several teams of superb people like Rich Harrington and his crew at RHED Pixel for most of my video advice. That said, every camera I own shoots video and over the years my interest in the video side of imaging has been piqued. I often come away from NAB with a shopping cart of goodies and even more ideas.
Here are some of the things that stood out for me at this year’s show.
Without a doubt, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera was a show-stopper. People were 10 deep trying to get their hands on the pre-production models. It’s a game changer for those who want to shoot serious video but who don’t have a big budget. What’s more, it works with some of my favorite lenses right out of the box – yep – micro four thirds! Oh, and it’s an active Micro Four Thirds mount!
The Pocket camera has a Super 16mm size 1080 sensor boasting 13 stops of dynamic range! Who needs HDR! If you’re not familiar with Super 16mm look it up on the Google machine. It’s popular with filmmakers because frankly, it’s just beautiful. The camera doesn’t stop there. While it’s small and easy to transport it is NOT flimsy. It’s built on a solid magnesium alloy chassis. It captures CinemaDNG RAW or Apple ProRes. There’s a mic input and HDMI output. Frame rates are at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97 and 30, each at 1080. All this for under $1000 and a promised date of July availability. If you are at all interested order one now because they will be hard to get. I have pre-ordered mine.
HP was showing off some computers I can’t tell you about yet. But I can tell you that they were just plain crazy fast and full of goodness you can’t get from Apple. When you see these machines, you’ll understand why I switched to Windows and HP. I should mention that for photographers, HP offers the best/easiest monitor calibration I have ever seen using their brilliant Dream Color displays. As for the new computers, they will trickle out over the year and they offer some of the fastest GPU’s known to man which means all your photo apps will just hum along nicely. No spinning balls or waiting. Really.
Another fantastic piece of gear I saw was the new One Man Crew from Red Rock Micro. This thing makes it easy for even a beginner to get movement into their video interviews, product shots, beauty shots, etc. It’s less than $1500 and is completely self-contained. It sets up in minutes and can literally be run without any assistance. It’s like a dolly and a slider rolled into one and it just works. Watch the video on the Red Rock Micro site to see how it works and you’ll understand why I ordered one.
There were other old friends and vendors that I noted – Drobo had the Drobo N with cloud-like apps on display.
There were a dozen or so copter companies showing off remote-controlled aircraft with all sorts of cameras mounted to them.
The LED light companies were all in attendance and a bunch of new ones have jumped on the bandwagon. I predict LED lights will eventually jump over to the wedding and portrait market.
Canon had a huge booth showing off it’s new video cameras and Adobe was of course touting Premiere Pro as well as solutions as simple as Photoshop for video editing.
NAB2013 was as interesting to me as a photographer as it was to me as a video guy. I am excited to see how the hybridization of stills and video progresses.