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Best of Show: The Tools and Technologies Recognized by Digital Video at the 2014 NAB Show

5/21/2014 12:45 PM Eastern

Here are the winners! We present our editors’ choices for Digital Video’s Best of Show Awards for the 2014 NAB Show.

 

AJA Video Systems

CION

$8,995

AJA enters the camera market with the PL mount CION camera, which is capable of shooting at 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD resolutions and offers in-camera recording directly to the Apple ProRes family of codecs, including 12-bit 444. For high-frame-rate applications, CION can output 4K raw data at up to 120 fps via four 3G-SDI outputs. CION can record directly to AJA Pak SSD media at up to 60 fps. CION has an integrated shoulder-mount, making it ideal for both tripod and handheld applications. Numerous other design and feature innovations make this an amazing first camera for AJA. CION is expected to ship this summer.

 

Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Studio Camera

HD version starts at $1,995, 4K version starts at $2,995

The tiny Blackmagic Studio Camera offers a giant viewfinder and features specific to the needs of live production. It’s available in 1080 HD and Ultra HD models. Inside the tough magnesium alloy body, the Blackmagic Studio Camera features a 10” LCD viewfinder with sun shade, four-hour battery, talkback, tally indicators, phantom powered microphone connections, and built-in optical fiber and SDI connections that enable connection to a live production switcher with a single cable. The camera has an active Micro Four Thirds lens mount; ENG lenses may be accommodated with an MFT to B4 lens mount adapter. The Blackmagic Studio Camera HD is available now and Studio Camera 4K is expected to ship in June.

 

Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic URSA

$5,995 (EF model)

URSA with PL mount

URSA is a professional digital film camera with a 4K sensor, global shutter and 12 stops of dynamic range, but it is set up as a studio camera with an awesome 10” fold-out screen. The camera offers a large user-upgradable Super 35 global shutter 4K image sensor and internal dual raw and Apple ProRes recorders. Because the sensor and lens mount assembly can be changed, customers can choose EF or PL lens mounts, then upgrade the camera in the future, protecting their investment. Expect an URSA broadcast camera with B4 mount later in 2014. URSA records to CFast media and includes a full version of DaVinci Resolve. URSA is expected to be available in June or July.

 

Blackmagic Design

DaVinci Resolve 11

Free update

DaVinci Resolve 11 with control surface

Resolve 10 introduced timeline editing features. Resolve 11 enhances the editing capabilities, turning this color grading app with limited editing tools into a functional NLE. The update includes significant improvements in online editing, plus context-sensitive trimming, on-set file cloning, photographer-style color grading tools and a new collaborative workflow that allows multiple users to work simultaneously on the same timeline. One cool feature is the ability to balance color automatically via a chip chart shot in-camera.

 

Corning

Thunderbolt Optical Cables by Corning

About $300 for 10 meters

Corning’s Thunderbolt Optical Cables are thin, light and tough. Even when bent, squeezed or tangled, the cables can transmit data at speeds up to 20 Gb/s bidirectional (when used with a Thunderbolt 2 host and Thunderbolt 2 devices). The optical cables allow runs of up to 60 meters from computer to device. Thunderbolt Optical Cable by Corning is available in lengths of 10, 30 and 60 meters.

 

Ensemble Designs

BrightEye NXT 2.0

Free update

BrightEye NXT 430 Clean Router, front and back

The free v2.0 software upgrade for Ensemble’s BrightEye NXT line of compact routers allows HDMI and SDI sources to be used together, allowing users to dissolve between HDMI sources, SDI sources, or any combination of SDI and HDMI without glitches, hiccups or black screens to both HDMI and SDI destinations. Also new in v2.0: audio level adjustments, save and recall of salvo registers and router configuration, and new RS-232 interface option in addition existing TCP/IP support. New mix and direct take modes make BrightEye NXT routers great for live events and remote trucks, especially with a combination of SDI and HDMI sources.

 

Hamlet

MicroFlex Mach2

Price TBA

Mach2 represents a reinvention of the MicroFlex handheld test and measurement instrument. The new build allows Hamlet to reduce cost while offering combination option module sets that ensure users don’t pay for more functionality than they need. The tiny MicroFlex Mach2 monitors HD or SD, SDI or composite inputs and generates waveform, audio graphs and phase display. Waveforms are displayed on a 3.5” VGA resolution TFT LCD. Its built-in battery provides three to four hours of untethered operation. It logs errors by timecode and sets a new standard for handheld test equipment. Ships this summer.

 

JMR Electronics

JMR BlueStor Networked Storage Server

Basic 16 TB system starts at around $17,000

Targeted to the multi-client content creation, production and postproduction markets that need shared storage with high sustained throughput, the BlueStor Networked Storage Server comes in a base 16 TB system capable of streaming 4K uncompressed video files and 256 tracks of digital audio simultaneously without degradation through a 10 GbE network. Working with most of today’s software workflow applications, the JMR BlueStor Networked Storage Server supports data rates for every video file format currently used, from 8-bit SD to 10-bit 4K, and is compatible with any network-connected workstation. The system packs up to 64 TB native capacity in the same 3U platform and is expandable via 6 Gb SAS links for additional storage.

 

K-Tek

Stingray

$329

A Best of Show Award for an audio bag? Well, K-Tek has improved on the concept to a degree we found commendable. K-Tek’s Stingray audio bags were developed with the needs of audio customers in mind. The Stingray KSRA1 is designed for small audio mixer/recorders like the Sound Devices 633 and Zaxcom Maxx, and the larger Stingray KSRA2 complements the Sound Devices 664 and Zaxcom Nomad. Stingray allows for complete access from the sides, top and bottom of the bag. It sports a rigid, lightweight interior frame that allows the bag to stand upright or sit on its side without collapsing, giving the professional sound mixer a solid mobile workstation.

 

Kessler Crane

Kessler Parallax

$599

Kessler sliders are about the best you can buy. But like any rigid slider, they are simply linear. Parallax attaches to most Kessler sliders and is adjustable to allow inward as well as outward pans, giving the shooter a second axis for the shot. If you want an ordinary linear pan, just adjust the Parallax for linear. (Its non-intrusive design allows users to choose between automatic panning or standard linear sliding without removing the Parallax bar.) It works manually or with any of Kessler’s motorized options. It really is a simple concept, but one that can really enhance the movement of your shoots.

 

Kessler Crane

Kessler UniDrive

$699

UniDrive is a motorized system for Kessler sliders that offers up to three-axis control, three speed/torque options, keyframeable positions, and integrated intervalometer, as well as a built-in flashlight and backlit display. UniDrive features fully repeatable motion control for live mode, looping, time lapse and stop motion applications. Digitally encoded motors provide ultra-smooth and quiet operation. The two Kessler products we awarded this year are a tribute to Kessler’s ongoing product development and understanding of the needs of content creators.

 

NVIDIA

Iray Visual Computing Appliance (VCA)

$50,000 (includes license, one year of maintenance and updates)

NVIDIA’s Iray VCA is a network-attached GPU rendering appliance that combines hardware and software to accelerate NVIDIA Iray, a physically based photorealistic rendering engine integrated into Autodesk 3ds Max and other applications. The Iray VCA appliance enables artists and animators to interact with photoreal digital models in real time with directors and supervisors by their side, dramatically accelerating the review and approval process. Iray VCA’s hardware offers eight NVIDIA GPUs in one turnkey appliance for multi-GPU benefits. Iray VCA’s software includes an easy-to-use cluster manager, making it easy to share the GPU rendering power of an individual appliance or a cluster of appliances.

 

PESA

PESA Xstream Live

Contact manufacturer for pricing

The PESA Xstream Live app (iOS/Android devices) works in concert with PESA Xstream hardware to produce a unique viewing experience for live events. With access to four independent viewing choices and synchronized audio sources, the user controls a personalized viewing experience. Social networking is tightly integrated, allowing users to interact in real time during an event. The solution includes ad insertion capabilities for targeted advertising and messaging. PESA Xstream Live can be fully managed either locally or remotely. Streaming distribution can implemented through PESA Xstream Live or a content delivery network (CDN). This is yet another technology that individual users may not necessarily acquire but which will prove invaluable in delivering content.

 

Sony Electronics

Sony 4K Transformed Product Initiative

Prices vary

Sony F5

Sony’s 4K Transformed initiative represents its commitment to the ongoing development of the products in its 4K ecosystem, which includes cameras, switchers, a server, production monitors and projectors. Flexible architecture implemented in many of its products allows Sony to offer upgrade paths, extending the functionality of existing products to the extent that they are like new ones. The F55 and F5 4K cameras will gain Avid DNxHD and Apple ProRes codecs with a future hardware upgrade option. Via the new ENG and Documentary shoulder-mount dock, the F55 and F5 add the capacity for mobile operation. Further, the v4.0 firmware update for F5/F55/F65 added significant new features.

 

Switronix

HyperCore 98 & 190

$375 (98), $650 (190)

The HyperCore 98 and 190 battery packs employ novel lithium ion technology that allows them to handle and sustain high power draws. In addition to a P-Tap on the side of the battery, the HyperCore models offer a USB port capable of outputting up to 3 amps at 5V to power electronics including cell phones. On the backlit LCD display, the battery’s onboard fuel computer shows operating runtime in hours and minutes. HyperCore 98 can sustain up to a 10 amp draw for a runtime of 3.6 hours. HyperCore 190 is a heavier battery (good for balancing heavy lenses) that offers a longer (7+ hour) runtime. The battery can sustain a 12 amp draw to support larger digital cinema cameras.

 

Switronix

Recon X5 HD Wireless system

Price TBA

The Recon X5 HD wireless transmission system can operate in conjunction with Switronix’s JetPack battery pack or with other external power sources. Its greatest innovation is the ability to transmit a 1080 HD signal up to 500 feet with latency of less than one frame. It operates at a 5 GHz spectrum and can switch frequencies, can transmit to multiple receivers, and even allows its receiver to act as a switch for multiple cameras transmitting via the X5.

 

Zacuto

Gratical OLED Viewfinder

Gratical LT $1,500, HD $3,000

The Gratical LT (full display 1024 x 768) and Gratical HD (full display 1280 x 1024) are the new generation of Zacuto electronic viewfinders. The OLED image is nothing less than stunning. Images are crisp, and blacks are really black. Features include multiple diopter options, anti-fog protection, and waveform, vectorscope and histogram. Both models offer HDMI and SDI interfaces for use with virtually any camera. Custom cables will be available for a variety of cameras so that Gratical will be able to display the same on-screen info as the the camera’s proprietary EVF. Zacuto paid close attention to user needs in the development of these viewfinders. And it shows. Gratical will be available later this year.