2008 Vidy Award Winners
This past April, we scoured the multiple exhibit floors of the 2008 NAB convention for the latest and greatest innovations for our readers. Twenty exemplary items were selected as winners of our annual Vidy Awards, the longest-running NAB awards program. Products were nominated by a jury of editors and contributors to DV, Videography and Government Video magazines. For an item to be given a Vidy Award, it must be a new product, receive a unanimous vote of the judges and have a significant relevance to the Videography readership.
Blackmagic Design's Broadcast Videohub is an SD/HD 3Gb/s SDI router with capabilities appropriate for the largest postproduction studios and a price ($14,995) consistent with budgets of smaller post studios. Videohub offers 72 SDI inputs, 144 SDI outputs, 72 deck control ports, twin redundant power connections, SDI re-clocking and 3Gb/s SDI technology in an 8RU chassis less than an inch deep. All connections are grouped together to include an SDI input, SDI output, deck control port and SDI monitor output for each user. The router has twice as many SDI outputs as inputs, so each user can connect monitoring directly to the router. This lets users control their monitoring without affecting the input of their editing workstation.
Codex Digital's Portable Recorder weighs 9 lb. and records from high-end digital cameras including the Sony HD range, Dalsa Origin, Thomson Viper FilmStream, Panavision Genesis, ARRI D-20, RED Digital Cinema system and Vision Research Phantom series. Light, easily-transportable and battery-powered, the Codex Portable contains all the key features of its larger siblings, including dual-channel 4:4:4 and 4K recording, ruggedized hot-swappable RAID DiskPacks, integrated touch-screen controller, eight channels of digital audio and a Virtual File System.
Convergent Design's Flash XDR, an ultra-portable Compact Flash-based HD recorder/player and ASI I/O box is designed to mount on the back of a camcorder. Four 32GB CF cards will provide 284 minutes of recording time at 50Mb/s. Flash XDR accepts an incoming HD-SDI video signal with optional audio and timecode, compresses the video/audio to MPEG-2 (using a Sony codec) at 18, 19.7, 25 or 35Mb/s 4:2:0, or 50, 100 or 160Mb/s 4:2:2, and stores to Compact Flash (or outputs over 1394 or ASI). The compressed data is stored in the MXF format and can be readily transferred to an NLE system. Cameras compatible with Flash XDR include Canon's XL H1 and XH G1, Iconix' HD-RH1, JVC's GY-HD250, Panasonic's GP-US932, Sony's HDW-F900, XDCAM HD and XDCAM EX and Toshiba's IK-HD1.
Field Emission Technologies
nano-Spindt Field Emission Display
Taking advantage of efficient self-emissive phosphors combined with a line-sequential impulse drive system, the nano-Spindt Field Emission Display technology delivers the visual performance required of a next-generation flat-panel master monitor/display, including a wide viewing angle with no difference in color phase or luminance due to viewing position, lifelike color, outstanding contrast with true black reproduction, and no-blur display of quickly moving images. The nano-Spindt FED uses CRT phosphors calibrated to SMPTE/EBU standards. These phosphors accurately reproduce the color gamut in accordance with the SMPTE/EBU colorimetry.
Frezzi Energy Systems
HD-60EGZ Nickel-Zinc HD Camera Battery
The media market has traditionally relied on nickel-cadmium (NiCd), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion to meet the high power-density demands of professional lighting and cameras. The introduction of NiZn provides increased power delivery and high-discharge performance not available from any existing chemistry. Capable of discharging up to 10 amps, the battery packs are also smaller and lighter than traditional technologies.
Frezzi's nickel-zinc batteries for high-definition cameras and high-wattage camera lights outperform batteries with less environmentally friendly chemistries. Frezzi's 60WH 14.4V NiZn HD mini camera batteries (HD-60EGZ) are equipped with an energy gauge to accurately display capacity information by percentage throughout the life of the battery.
GridIron's Flow is a revolutionary approach to digital content management that simplifies the design process for creative professionals working on graphic design, Web and video projects. The workflow management software automatically tracks your work, allowing you to instantly see the relationships between all your assets. Flow uses real-time asset tracking technology to record all import/export, save/save as, and copy/paste actions in a project. It understands the file formats for virtually all creative professional applications and maintains the relationships between stills, movies, sound clips, fonts, plug-ins and color swatches on all local, network and removable storage devices. Flow is now in beta testing and is scheduled to ship this summer for Mac OS X and Windows XP/Vista for $349 per seat.
The HP DreamColor Display is an affordable ($3,499) color-critical computer professional display. Available now, the LCD provides a range of more than 1 billion colors in a 30-bit, LED-backlit display. The result of a technology collaboration between HP and DreamWorks Animation, the display addresses an increasingly critical need for affordable and consistent color accuracy in the animation, game development, film/video post, broadcast, product design and graphic arts categories.
The DreamColor display is designed to match the requirements of professional industry standards and includes one-button access to seven presets covering all the important color space standards. The display also includes a night vision interface for darkroom working conditions. The LP2480zx DreamColor Display includes the HP DreamColor engine software, which manages the display, and the DreamColor calibration kit for precision calibration
ikan's Director is an LCD display with remote LANC control for handheld video monitoring of Sony and Canon cameras on a 4.3-inch, 16:9/4:3-switchable display. Director has a built-in battery and zoom and focus controls.
This camera-mounted media recorder attaches directly to any of JVC's ProHD 200 series camcorders to deliver a file-based recording system that combines affordable solid-state memory and long-length hard disk recording. The MR-HD200U records on non-proprietary SDHC solid-state memory in a compact unit that can be permanently attached to JVC's ProHD cameras. A single 16GB SDHC memory card can store 1.6 hours in the 720p mode and about 1.2 hours in 1080i mode. The unit also features a built-in hard disk drive for extended recording times of up to 10 hours. All recording is done in a swappable module that can be detached from the camera. The MR-HD200 records natively in the user's choice of QuickTime format or as MPEG-2 transport stream files. When using Apple Final Cut Pro, editing can be performed directly from the drive module.
Kino Flo and Element Labs
Kino Flo's Kelvin Tile lighting fixture, designed in partnership with Element Labs, is a variable color temperature LED light fixture (2,200 K - 6,500 K) engineered to provide careful color control for scenic lighting, adapting to the dynamic requirements of film and video shoots. Tile can be ordered with a V-mount to allow battery-powered operation. These LED-based fixtures operate with a fraction of the power required by traditional professional lighting and with little to no heat emission. Kelvin Tiles have a unique mix of six LEDs to deliver high-quality, full spectrum white light specifically developed for film and video applications. Color temperature remains consistent throughout the full range of intensity variation.
LairdShareHD, a universal and collaborative workgroup media server and storage solution, is capable of delivering eight simultaneous and unique instances of DVCPRO 100 HD media or 24 streams of DV25 over a company's existing Gigabit Ethernet network. No expensive and complicated Fiber Channel networks or special software are required. Groups sharing applications that require real-time uninterrupted streams access their data on the LairdShareHD as a shared device across the workgroup. Plenty of capacity on the LairdShareHD means that source files do not need to be transferred between workstations. The 12TB LairdShareHD (12TB raw, 9TB with hot spare, 8TB after formatting) is scaleable to 40TB with the addition of expansion units. Built-in redundancy using RAID-6 technology safeguards storage systems from data loss due to hard disk drive failure.
This portable device provides broadcast-quality input/output, monitoring and up/down/cross-conversion to streamline your workflow with Apple Final Cut Studio 2 and Adobe CS3 Production Premium on the Mac. It's lightweight, affordable (about $1,600), fits in your laptop bag and runs for hours on a field battery. I/O includes HD/SD-SDI, HD/SD analog component, Y/C and composite. MXO2 also offers genlock—SD analog black burst (bi-level) or HD tri-level sync—HDMI input/output/monitoring with calibration controls, 10-bit real-time hardware up/down/cross-conversion, professional inputs and outputs with 5.1 surround sound monitoring, and RS-422 machine control for frame-accurate capture and print to tape. The MXO2 captures to a variety of codecs including Apple ProRes 422 HQ and 10-bit uncompressed HD. It supports file-based workflows including XDCAM, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX and P2.
MAXedit Web Edition
Maximum Throughput's MAXedit Web Edition is a subscription-based online service that lets videographers reporting from the field upload SD or HD content—including HDV, DVCPRO, MPEG-2 and H.264 formats—to the online server and edit it and share it with other editors via a Web browser interface. Because the editing is executed on the online server, editors are free to use inexpensive, standard PCs or laptops in their studios or in the field. By eliminating the need for expensive, high-powered NLE workstations, storage systems and LANs, MAXedit Web Edition offers operational savings without compromising high-quality production standards. The MAXedit Web Edition service will be launched this fall.
Panasonic's AJ-HPX3700, designed on the imaging technology of the company's VariCam line, is a 2/3-inch P2 HD camera that offers full native 1920x1080-pixel acquisition and independent frame recording with 10-bit/4:2:2 sampling. The HPX3700 2/3-inch, 2.2 megapixel, 3-CCD camera offers a 4:4:4 RGB Dual Link live output. The VariCam 3700 records in full-raster 1920x1080 resolution in AVC-Intra 100, and records in AVC-Intra 50 and DVCPRO HD as well. It offers variable frame rate recording (1-30fps in one-frame increments) and is equipped with three HD-SDI outputs (Dual Link plus monitor). Other features include a multi-gamma function including Film-Rec for a look similar to recording on film stocks.
Stereoscopic 3D Technology
Quantel's Quattro software upgrade for eQ and iQ edit systems and Pablo color corrector delivers a stereoscopic 3D solution that can play out and process two streams of high-resolution media simultaneously without rendering. Quattro enables Quantel's new MME (Multiple Media Engine) technology, which allows up to five Media Engines to boost rendering speed on color correction by up to 500 percent. It also brings support for 1080p (50/60), double-speed HD ingest and stereo 3D ingest.
Stereo strength and convergence can both be adjusted without rendering, allowing the operator to experiment interactively to achieve the required stereo depth and impact on every shot. Colorimetry, sync, editorial and imaging errors are instantly visible and easily fixed. The system can also operate in comparison mode, with views including 50/50 mix, left/right eye and difference map.
Rosco View delivers instant control of exterior brightness as seen through windows without affecting the lighting and exposure within the studio or set. Rosco View is a two-part system consisting of wide-width polarizer filter in gel form that is placed over windows and a matching optical glass polarizer camera filter. By rotating the Rosco View camera filter, users change the degree of cross-polarization occurring on the window where Rosco View gel filter is applied, achieving a near-total blackout at 90 degree cross-polarization. Rosco View offers less than one stop of light loss at 0 degrees. Camera filters are available in three sizes—4 x 4 in., 4 x 5.65 in. and 138mm round—while the window film comes in 56”x8’ rolls for $700.
Sachtler has adopted "new math" with SOOM, demonstrating that 1+1+1 actually equals four. A three-component, four-in-one support system, SOOM is really more of a camera-stabilizing Swiss Army knife than a tripod. The centerpiece is the aluminum SOOM TriPod, a 75mm head fixture with a maximum height of 55.9 inches. The spreader has its own 75mm mounting bowl and can become a mini single-stage tripod, which is like getting a tripod and a high hat (or really baby legs) in one. The third part of the system is the SOOM Tube, a standalone monopod with a maximum height of 61.8 inches. The three components connected together form a tripod with a telescoping center tube, the SOOM HiPod, which offers a height of up to 98.4 inches.
Sarnoff Test Pattern
The Sarnoff Digital Test Pattern enables the accurate evaluation and calibration of a wide range of digital television equipment. Quality and configuration can be easily checked, measured, and tracked at any time with just a glance at a familiar pattern. The pattern, designed to target the most vexing problems in digital television, tests lip sync, compression fidelity, format conversion, color matrix mismatch, chroma subsampling, frequency response, field reversal, highlight clipping, bit depth, skin tones, linearity and gamma. Supported formats include A/V sequence on digital media; HDTV, SD, Mobile and D-Cinema resolutions; and 8-, 10- and 12-bit Y’CbCr, R’G’B’, X’Y’Z’.
PMW-EX3 XDCAM EX Camcorder
Sony's PMW-EX3 XDCAM EX camcorder, the successor to the PMW-EX1, features similar functionality to the EX1 but with an interchangeable lens system, a new lens mount design and a larger LCD viewfinder. The 1/2-inch, three-CMOS-sensor EX3 records to solid-state SxS media cards at bit rates of 25Mb/s and 35Mb/s. It offers genlock and timecode I/O for multi-camera operation. This full-raster 1920x1080 camera with HD-SDI output will list for $13,000 when it becomes available this summer.
VariZoom's Zero Gravity tripod head allows the user to exactly balance the camera's center of gravity so the operator can pan and tilt to any position without having to tighten the drag control. The ability to fine-tune the balance to your rig configuration allows for much greater control over nodal camera moves. The head allows use underslung on a jib or even in a complete 360. Zero Gravity fits any tripod with a 100mm bowl and handles cameras up to 25 lb.