Image Resolution, Infrastructure, Infinite Pixels: A Round-Up of Products and Technologies from the 2015 NAB Show

There were plenty of outstanding new products at the 2015 show, but most of these technologies were evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
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Another NAB Show has passed and by all measures it was a great success, with all metrics up from 2014. The show drew more than 103,000 registered attendees (versus last year’s 97,900) in more than 1 million square feet of exhibit space. The show floor exhibits constitute the film and broadcast industry’s annual “running of the nerds,” as attendees packed the hallways waiting for the convention center doors to open in the morning, then rushed the large exhibits near the entrances once the floodgates were opened.

This NAB Show didn’t seem to have any single product that generated the main wow factor of the show, unlike last year’s AJA CION and Blackmagic URSA 4K camera announcements. There were plenty of outstanding new products at the 2015 show, but most of these technologies were evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

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Blackmagic URSA Mini

There were three main takeaways from the show for me. First, this was a strong year for 4K products. I believe 4K is in the middle of a typical NAB Show product lifecycle, where an upstart technology matures and either becomes part of standard workflows or retires to oblivion. Stereo 3D, the hot commodity of 2010, apparently has followed the path to oblivion, while 4K seems destined to become part of every production’s vocabulary. Of course, 8K is just around the corner—in upgrading their infrastructure to support 4K, facilities will naturally future-proof for 8K—and many 8K products were demonstrated on the show floor, too.

A second theme: this year’s show was also about infrastructure. Many “glue” products from companies including AJA, Blackmagic Design, Grass Valley, Quantel and Snell and others are set to replace facilities’ current HD infrastructure—based on SDI wiring—with one based on fiber optics and/or Ethernet. Announced products included SDI-to-IP converters, SDI-to-fiber converters and even IP routers. Blackmagic is pushing the SDI boundaries with products employing a 12G-SDI chipset (12 Gb/s), which enables 4K signals to pass over a single SDI cable.

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Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera

Finally, those interested in “better pixels” (as opposed to “more pixels”) will be following developments surrounding HDR (high dynamic range) imaging. HDR technology delivers more stunning video to the home through higher brightness ranges than are currently standard. If you shoot in log space, you’ve got the acquisition side covered; the rest of the equation is proper post (for both “normal” and HDR delivery) coupled with consumer sets that display HDR imagery as intended. DOLBY showcased its Dolby Vision HDR imaging technology (introduced at CES 2014), which delivers video with an expanded color range, increased brightness and greater contrast to Dolby Vision-equipped display devices. The company hopes to license Dolby Vision like it has its audio encoding schemes. Dolby demonstrated the technology with low-cost consumer VIZIO television sets using licensed Dolby Vision technology. Other manufacturers including Sony are also in the HDR game, but until an official standard is ratified, post houses will likely sit on the sidelines.

Cameras

New cameras always get a lot of attention. BLACKMAGIC DESIGN has taken the lead as the manufacturer to watch and this year debuted several cameras and camera updates. Its large URSA camera received a sensor upgrade to 4.6K, which will result in better 4K images thanks to oversampling. Existing URSA customers may purchase a “turret upgrade,” which enables them to replace the sensor in their camera.

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AJA CION

URSA received a new sibling in the URSA Mini—a smaller, lighter, cheaper URSA available in four models. The Mini may be purchased with a 4K or 4.6K sensor and with either an EF or PL lens mount. It sports a switchable global and rolling shutter, 15 stops of dynamic range, and dual camera raw and Apple ProRes recorders. Finally, in what seems to be a shot across the bow at action camera manufacturer GoPro, Blackmagic released the Blackmagic Micro Cinema and Micro Studio cameras. The Micro Cinema Camera includes a Super 16 sensor with a global shutter, while the Micro Studio Camera uses an Ultra HD sensor and is compatible with Micro Four Thirds lenses.

AJA has been steadily working on improving its CION camera, with firmware updates and new partners delivering products that can record the camera’s raw images. CION can record to 4K ProRes onboard or to 4K raw using an external recorder. Two of these new partners are ATOMOS—whose Shogun can record raw or Avid DNxHR—and CONVERGENT DESIGN. Convergent’s Odyssey 7Q+ OLED monitor/recorder can record raw, uncompressed DPX and/or ProRes. To get CION cameras into the hands of potential customers, AJA announced its TryCION promotion. AJA will invest in a pool of 100 cameras that will be available as a free loan on productions from qualified shooters accepted by AJA. This promotion includes additional CION accessories as needed. Interested individuals can apply online at AJA’s web site.

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RED Weapon, rigged

RED DIGITAL CINEMA has always mounted an interesting and often edgy booth at the show. Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no denying that RED’s innovations have given camera manufacturers a needed kick in the rear. This year the company revealed RED Weapon, a step up from RED’s EPIC camera. Weapon features a similar modular design and may be purchased with either a carbon fiber or magnesium body. Weapon is currently configured with RED’s 6K Dragon sensor but can be upgraded to the upcoming 8K sensor when it becomes available. A much-awaited feature for RED owners is that Weapon can simultaneously record a high-resolution REDCODE raw image and a 2K ProRes file. RED also showed Redcast, a broadcast module that can be attached to EPIC Dragon and Scarlet Dragon cameras. The module uses four 3G-SDI output connections to broadcast 4K video at up to 60 fps, enabling the cameras to be used in live 4K broadcast applications.

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ARRI Alexa Mini

The company enjoying the bulk of digital feature film work these days is ARRI. Its Alexa and Amira lines are favorites with cinematographers. (Amira was announced at last year’s NAB Show.) ARRI this year entered the small-camera market with the Alexa Mini. It uses a lightweight carbon housing and titanium PL lens and sensor mounts. The idea is to deliver Alexa quality in a form factor that’s better for small rigs, like a Freefly Systems MoVI. The Mini uses the 4:3 Alexa sensor with onboard ProRes or external ARRIRAW recording. Since the Mini was built with ARRI’s newest processor, it can deliver in-camera 4K (UHD) recordings using a slight scale factor to up-res the native 3.2K image to UHD. Record speeds go up to 200 fps. In order to bring the size down, ARRI limited the external interfaces that would be available in a standard Alexa or Amira. Camera control for the Mini is achieved using Wi-Fi and an iOS or Android device. Audio is connected using a 5-pin LEMO plug.

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Canon XC10

CANON showed off its new EOS C300 Mark II camera and XC10 4K camcorder. The XC10 is targeted at what the company calls “multimedia producers.” It features a compact, all-in-one design and records 4K as an H.264 I-frame file in an MXF wrapper. Professional videographers will be interested in the C300 Mark II, which adds 4K and external raw recording to the C300’s feature set. The camera was developed with a Super 35 sensor and now features a Canon Log 2 gamma profile. Unfortunately, no upgrade to the C500, Canon’s previous flagship 4K cinema camera, was announced at the show. Since the C300 Mark II and C500 appear to offer nearly the same features, notably 4K and raw recording, the speculation is that Canon will soon phase out the C500. We’ll have to see what happens later this year.

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Sony HDC-4300

Don’t forget the traditional broadcast manufacturers. SONY was there with a full line of 4K cameras, including the F5, F55, F65, FS700 and new FS7. (The FS7 was released late last year.) Its small form factor and comfortable ergonomics make the FS7 the ideal documentary-style camera for many. In fact, Blackmagic’s URSA Mini seems to have been designed with the FS7 in mind.

In addition to its long history with production cameras, Sony is of course also big in broadcast and truck cameras. For this market, Sony introduced the HDC-4300 4K/HD camera system. It features three specially developed 2/3-inch 4K sensors, B4 lens support, up to 8x Super Slow Motion and 4K/HD flexibility. Further, Sony announced a substantial commitment to this new camera by a cadre of live TV producers including Bexel, Game Creek Video, NEP, CBS Sports, CBS Television City, ESPN, Fox Sports and NBC Sports.

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Panasonic AG-DVX200

Last NAB Show, PANASONIC tossed its hat into the high-end 4K production arena with the introduction of the VariCam 35. That camera returned this year in one of the most impressive camera demos I’ve seen in years. Panasonic set up an extremely dark living room set in which a model on a sofa was illuminated by a dim lightbulb and a fake fireplace. To the naked eye, the light level was very low, yet the camera captured a bright image with an astounding lack of noise. If you’re going for a high-end production camera with great low-light sensitivity, then the VariCam 35 is hard to beat.

New this year from Panasonic was the AG-DVX200 4K handheld camcorder, shown only in mockup form before its anticipated fall 2015 release. It’s based on the design and features of past Panasonic handhelds, such as the AG-HVX200. The DVX200 includes a 4/3-inch large-format MOS sensor and offers variable frame rate recording up to 120 fps (1080p). The camera comes configured with a fixed Leica Dicomar 4K zoom lens.

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JVC GY-LS300 with EF adapter

Finally, JVC, a camera company that’s often overlooked. Few may know that JVC has been a 4K contender for some time. At the JVC/Kenwood booth, product introductions included the GY-LS300, a 4K camera equipped with a Super 35 CMOS sensor that records to onboard SDHC/SDXC media cards. This is JVC’s first large-sensor 4K camera. Their previous HM200U and HM170U cameras were equipped with 2/3-inch sensors. JVC claims 12 stops of latitude for the LS300, which uses a Micro Four Thirds mount with adapters for PL, EF, Nikon, C and other lenses. It records 4K and HD files in QuickTime format, but can also simultaneously record H.264 proxy files during HD recording. The GY-LS300 uses the latest IP engine for remote control and monitoring, as well as live streaming when recording HD or a lower resolution.

Editing and Effects

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3D text in Apple FCP X

Editing options come in large part from the four “A” companies: Apple, Adobe, Avid and Autodesk. APPLE wasn’t officially at the show—they haven’t been since 2007—but company reps held private press meetings at an area hotel. Consulting company FCPWORKS presented a series of workflow and case study sessions at the Renaissance Hotel next door to the South Hall that coincided with Apple’s release of updated versions of Final Cut Pro X, Motion and Compressor. FCP X 10.2 includes a number of enhancements, but the most buzz went to the addition of a new 3D text engine for FCP X and Motion. Apple’s implementation is one of the easiest to use and best-looking in any application. The best part is that the performance is excellent. Two other big features fall more in line with user wish lists: built-in masking and changing the color correction tool into a standard effect filter. Compressor now has a preset designed for iTunes submission. Although Apple still encourages users to go to iTunes though an approved third-party portal, this preset makes it easier to create the proper file package necessary for delivery.

ADOBE has the momentum as an up-and-coming professional editing tool. At the NAB Show, Adobe offered technology previews of features that will be released as part of a Creative Cloud subscription in the coming months. Premiere Pro CC now integrates more of SpeedGrade CC’s color correction capabilities through the addition of the Lumetri Color panel. This tabbed control integrates tools that are familiar from SpeedGrade, but also from Lightroom. Since Premiere already includes built-in masking and tracking, this means the editor is capable of doing very sophisticated color correction right inside of Premiere. Morph Cut is a new effect that everyone cutting interviews will love. The effect smoothly transitions across jump cuts, using advanced tracking and frame interpolation functions to build new “in-between” frames. After Effects adds an outstanding face tracker and improved previews.

Adobe is also good for out-of-the-box thinking on new technologies. Character Animator was demonstrated as a live animation tool that saves an animator from performing frame-by-frame adjustments. Import a cartoon character as a layered Photoshop file as the starting point. Then have the talent act out the character’s movement in front of a webcam; Character Animator tracks the movement of the talent’s head, mouth and eyes so that when the talent moves and talks, so does the character, in real time.

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Avid | VENUE S6L

Another interesting Adobe tool is Project Candy, a mobile app that analyzes the tonal color scheme of photos stored on your mobile device. It creates a “look” file and stores it to your Creative Cloud library. This file, in turn, can be synced with your copy of Premiere Pro CC and then applied as a color correction look to any video clip.

AVID staged the second annual Avid Connect event for members of its customer association in the weekend leading up to the exhibition. Although this event was the first NAB Show appearance of Media Composer 8.3.1—Avid’s first move into true 4K editing—the company did very little to promote it. That’s not to say there wasn’t any Avid news during the show. Several new products were announced, including Avid Artist | DNxIO, a rack-mount hardware interface that enables video professionals to capture, monitor and output Ultra HD, 2K and 4K media, as well as HD and SD formats. Instead of developing their own 4K hardware, Avid opted to partner with Blackmagic Design on this. DNxIO is essentially the same as UltraStudio 4K Extreme, except with the addition of Avid’s DNxHR codec embedded into the unit. Only Avid will sell the Avid-branded version and will also provide technical support. DNxIO supports both PCIe and Thunderbolt host connections; it may also be used for Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Apple FCP X and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve software running on the same workstation as Media Composer. DNxIO is expected to ship in the third quarter. Onboard DNxHR encoding is planned as an upgrade later in the year.

In an effort to attract new users to Media Composer, Avid also announced Media Composer | First, a free version of the software with a reduced feature set. It’s intended as functional starter software from which users can transition to the full, paid application. However, Media Composer | First uses a “freemium” sales model, allowing users to extend functionality through add-on purchases. For example, the software permits users to store only three active projects in the cloud; additional storage for more projects can be purchased from Avid.

Avid has a strong audio presence through Pro Tools and their audio consoles. New for the show was Avid VENUE | S6L, a live sound mixing console with an intuitive touch interface. During the week, Avid also announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Orad Hi-Tec Systems, a leading broadcast graphics provider.

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Lightbox look development in Autodesk Flame 2016. Photo courtesy of a52

AUTODESK’s NAB Show news was all about the 2016 versions of Flame, Maya and 3ds Max. Flame and Flame Premium customers gain new look development tools, including Lightbox—a GPU shader toolkit for 3D color correction—and Matchbox in the Action module. This applies fast Matchbox shaders to texture maps without leaving the 3D compositing scene. Maya 2016 received performance and ease-of-use enhancements. There are also new capabilities in Bifrost that help deliver realistic liquid simulations.

Autodesk announced support in Flame Premium, Maya, Shotgun and RV for ACES 1.0, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ color management and interchange standards.

3ds Max 2016 gains a new node-based creation graph, a new design workspace and template system, and other design enhancements. If you’ve been following Smoke, then this NAB Show was disappointing. Autodesk reps told me that an update is in the works, but development timing didn’t allow it to be ready in time for the show. I would presume we’ll hear something at IBC in September.

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Color page in Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 12

For editors, all eyes are on BLACKMAGIC DESIGN. DaVinci Resolve 12, demonstrated at the show, is the first version of the software the company feels can compete as a full-fledged NLE. Last year, Resolve 11 was introduced as an online editor, but once it was out in the wild, most users found the real-time performance lacking compared to other NLEs. Resolve 12 appears to have licked that issue, with a new audio engine and improved editing features. New in Resolve 12 is a multicamera editing mode with the ability to sync angles by audio, timecode or in/out points. The new high-performance audio engine was designed to greatly improve real-time playback, but it also supports VST and AU audio plug-ins. Editors will also be able to export projects to Pro Tools using AAF. Likewise demonstrated were updates to Resolve’s color correction functions. Aside from interface and control enhancements, the most notable additions are a new keyer and a new perspective tracker. The latter will allow users to better track objects that move off-screen during the clip. Resolve 12 is scheduled to be released in July.

At IBC last year, Blackmagic announced the acquisition of eyeon Software, developer of Fusion, a node-based compositing application built on Microsoft Windows. At its NAB Show booth this year, Blackmagic previewed Fusion 8 on the Mac platform and announced that it will be available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Like Resolve, Fusion 8 will be offered in both a free and a paid version.

The editing market isn’t completely dominated by these five vendors. GRASS VALLEY was on hand to show Edius 7.4, a fully featured 64-bit editor that supports 4K post. It doesn’t have great penetration in production circles, but Edius is popular for broadcast news and documentary production. The NLE supports Blackmagic Design DeckLink cards and sports its own Grass Valley HQX intermediate codec. There’s support for the latest file formats, including Sony XAVC/XAVC S, Panasonic AVC-Intra and Canon EOS-1D C M-JPEG. Edius is considered one of the best NLEs for wide support of a range of codecs. While Edius is designed for Windows 7/8/8.1, it will run on Macs with Parallels Desktop 64-bit Windows.

SONY CREATIVE SOFTWARE demonstrated Vegas 13, which was released last fall, but the company’s newest focus is on the Catalyst product group: Browse, Prepare and Edit. The first two are media organizing and preparation tools that are used after the shooting is completed. Catalyst Edit is intended as a lightweight timeline cutting tool. Optimized for 4K editing with a range of codecs and multichannel audio, it picks up where Catalyst Prepare leaves off. Initial rough cuts made in Catalyst Edit can be passed on to more advanced craft editors.

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Quantel and Snell Pablo Rio

As I said at the start, tools for 8K video were also on display. IKEGAMI had cameras and SHARP had displays, but post is the hitch because of the massive data throughput and storage requirements. Enter Quantel Rio from the now-combined company currently called QUANTEL AND SNELL. To date, Rio is the only editing/grading tool that’s ready for uncompressed 8K/60p post. Rio is built as highly optimized software running on high-end off-the-shelf hardware including NVIDIA GPUs and AJA Corvid 88 I/O cards. Needless to say, 8K imagery is stunning close up, but I doubt it will be in our living rooms anytime soon.

One mainstay of the effects community has been BORIS FX. During the past year, the company acquired IMAGINEER SYSTEMS and opted to maintain each company’s unique identity, though the brands will work together to leverage technical, support, sales and marketing resources. In a combined booth, they demoed the jointly developed BCC 10 and mocha Pro 5. BCC 10’s pixel chooser is now powered by mocha’s planar tracking. Click a button in the filter panel to launch mocha for tracking calculations. Other highlights included BCC Title Studio for real-time 3D titling and motion graphics, as well as BCC Beauty Studio for one-stop digital makeup. mocha Pro can now be launched directly from a host NLE timeline. There are improvements in its planar tracking, rotoscoping and object removal features.

Storage and Collaboration

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Avid ISIS | 1000

AVID’s ISIS storage family is highly regarded but generally thought of as geared for large Avid-based enterprise installations. To broaden the appeal of its SAN products, Avid engineers have been working to optimize performance with multiple hosts. Performance with ISIS shared storage is now claimed to be just as good with Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Apple Final Cut Pro X as with Media Composer. To complement Avid’s ISIS storage family, the company released ISIS | 1000—a lower-cost unit designed for small shops with multiple editors. It’s a single, self-contained system that will support 36 streams of XDCAM 50 or three streams of DNxHR 444. The system supports up to 24 connected client systems. Capacity ranges from 20 TB to 80 TB.

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Facilis TerraBlock

FACILIS TECHNOLOGY’s TerraBlock products are popular high-performance SANs, but Facilis is also in the hunt for smaller shops. New this year is the TerraBlock 8D. It’s an eight-drive, 16 TB, 2 RU turnkey storage server that includes the Facilis Shared File System and an emulation mode for Avid project sharing. It includes gigabit Ethernet connectivity but can be upgraded to 10 GbE or Fibre Channel. The best part is its starting price: about $10K for 16 TB. The storage can be expanded, which means that cost per terabyte is down to around $500. Facilis also introduced the TerraBlock 24D/HA—a hybrid array that includes eight 1 TB SSDs for performance, alongside a larger group of 4 TB spinning disk drives for 72 TB of combined capacity.

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EditShare Flow 3.2

EDITSHARE brought a range of storage and workflow solutions to the show. EditShare Flow’s updated extension panel for Adobe Premiere Pro CC gives editors direct access to Flow’s media management tools from within the Premiere Pro CC application. This in-app integration lets editors search across all online and archive storage locations for clips in the asset management database. EditShare also announced that it would start shipping XStream EF, a scalable storage system based on 16-drive storage nodes, each with its own motherboard, CPU and hardware RAID configuration. An XStream EFS system starts with a minimum of three nodes connected by 10 GbE or 40 GbE. Whenever a file is written to an XStream EFS system, pieces of the data—along with a second level of redundant information—are striped across multiple nodes in such a way that users get the combined speed of the nodes, plus extra security that will protect files.

One newcomer was OPEN DRIVES, whose products were shown in one of the Intel partner pods. Readers may remember them as the vendor that supplied director David Fincher’s editorial team with an optimized SAN solution for postproduction on Gone Girl. Open Drives demonstrated both SSD and traditional disk storage products. Open Drives was able to show amazing performance and load times with Adobe Premiere Pro and SpeedGrade projects. Their products connect via 1, 10 or 40 GbE and range from 18 TB to 1.2 PB.

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Aframe

A number of companies have announced development arrangements with Adobe to implement Adobe Anywhere within their own solutions. One of these is AFRAME, a company built on remote collaborative editing. Aframe puts Adobe Anywhere “into the cloud” for every production. Anywhere requires a set of servers and shared storage at a central location. By integrating Anywhere within Aframe’s data centers, customers get the advantage of stream-based editing paid for by operating expenses rather than their own capital outlay. Once full-resolution footage is uploaded to Aframe, editors can access an Aframe-located Anywhere production from any point in the world with network/Internet access. Masters can be created centrally and generated through Aframe and Anywhere’s publishing functions.

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Wipster

Review-and-approval solutions have proliferated over the years. One of the newest is WIPSTER, from a company of the same name that recently raised $1.2 million in funding for its cloud-based collaborative platform. The site’s founders, New Zealand filmmakers, wanted to create a functional but fun solution. Wipster is built around a team approach to a production. Set up your team and upload the assets for comments and review. Any team member can add markers and comments. The comment posting and tracking process works a bit like Facebook, making it feel like a social media interaction. Single users can start with a free account or grow the size with various monthly plans. Moving forward, Wipster is focusing on expanding the feature set and migrating its platform to mobile devices.

Odds and Ends

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Matrox VS4Recorder Pro

It’s also great to wander the show floor in search of lower-profile products. MATROX is known to editors for I/O cards but lately has been using the technology for encoding and streaming solutions. One interesting application (among many in their booth) is the VS4Recorder Pro software, which lets users record four live video/audio feeds using a Matrox VS4 quad HD-SDI capture card. It’s ideal for frame-accurate recording of multicamera productions. It enables common timecode, metadata and markers, which are optimized for Premiere Pro. Multiple codecs are supported, including Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame, H.264 (MOV or MP4), as well as DV/DVCAM/DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50 and DVCPRO HD QuickTime files.

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Blackmagic Teranex Mini

BLACKMAGIC DESIGN is no stranger to I/O products, but the company also makes a range of mini-converters, or what I call “glue” products. Blackmagic introduced a number of new ones, including Teranex Mini. (Note that this product is unrelated to the previous Teranex Mini that was marketed years ago by Teranex prior to its acquisition by Blackmagic in 2011-12.) The new Teranex Mini is a family of small modules designed for desktop and/or rack-mount use. Three Minis can fit side-by-side in a rack. The Teranex Mini video converters feature 12G-SDI technology, optional front panel controls and LCD, built-in power supply, and support for all SD, HD and Ultra HD formats up to 2160p60. They use 12-bit video processing for high-quality, low-noise up- and down-scaling between SD, HD and Ultra HD formats.

Selecting a monitor can be a very subjective undertaking. The show floor provided plenty to evaluate from manufacturers including Sony, Panasonic, TVLogic, Flanders Scientific, HP and Blackmagic Design. This year there was also a nice option from EIZO, whose self-calibrating ColorEdge CG318-4K monitor is designed for editing, CGI, compositing and color grading. With a native DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution, it features a 31-inch screen and 149 ppi pixel density. The monitor reproduces 98 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut, 99 percent of Adobe RGB and 100 percent of Rec. 709. Connectivity is via HDMI or DisplayPort.

The popularity of Apple’s tube-shaped Mac Pro was evident at the show, but the workstation’s design isn’t advantageous for many installations. A number of companies have jumped in with solutions, designing cradles and rack-mount enclosures to secure the oddly shaped hardware. The newest and coolest of these is the Lightning product line from JMR ELECTRONICS. The most impressive offering in this family is the black-and-red-painted tower configuration, which features an integrated cylindrical Mac Pro, an internal eight-drive array, an expansion chassis for PCIe cards, and a dock for extra connections. All of this is contained within a single unit that looks a lot like the Mac Pro “cheese grater” tower.

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Shure MOTIV MVL

I’ve glossed over audio in this overview, but one product line worth mentioning is MOTIV from SHURE, which includes the MVL lavalier mic, as well as both standard and large-diaphragm condenser models. With MOTIV, Shure is addressing the increasing amount of field recording done with iPhones and iPads. MOTIV offers integration with Mac, PC and iOS devices using USB and/or Lightning (iPod/iPad/iPhone) connections. The mics work with the free (Apple App Store) ShurePlus MOTIV mobile app for recording and monitoring. MOTIV will be available this summer.

TELESTREAM is one of the more popular media encoding companies, known for best-of-breed products like Episode, Vantage and Wirecast. Telestream announced version 6.5 of its Episode desktop video encoding software, which introduces support for 608 and 708 closed captioning standards, improved audio handling and channel mapping, and HEVC and XAVC encoding. Telestream’s new Lightspeed K80 Server is a GPU-accelerated hardware solution designed for Telestream’s Vantage enterprise-level encoder. The combination of NVIDIA K80 GPU technology and twin 12-core CPUs provides cutting-edge speed.

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Telestream Episode

Telestream is also committed to attracting users on the smaller end of the price spectrum. Addressing the imminent demise of QuickTime Player Pro—the default media encoder favored by many editors—Telestream is actively developing Switch. This media utility is available as either a free player or a paid Pro version. Switch Pro is a full-featured single-file encoder. With Switch Pro, users can easily make changes to their file format, video or audio codec; they can trim, scale or crop their media, rearrange audio tracks, edit speaker assignments, add metadata, and insert chapter markers. It offers similar encoding capabilities to Episode, but without the batch processing functions.

Finally, in the strange but interesting category, FRAUNHOFER HHI—part of the German research institute—demonstrated scalable, mirror-based multicamera systems. A new 360-degree version that is designed to capture high-resolution 2D video panoramas is the latest in this series. It is based on ten 36-degree mirror segments and can be equipped with HD cameras to provide a total resolution of about 10,000 x 2,000 pixels. This new OmniCam-360 camera enables an optimal arrangement for parallax-free stitching of video panoramas. The demo video showed examples of edge-to-edge panoramas, as well as region-of-interest slices from within the full view.

With over a million square feet of exhibits, it’s impossible to cover everything in a single article. If you weren’t there, then I hope this overview touched on many points of interest. There’s plenty to chew on for the coming year until the nerds run again next April.  

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