Part 3: April 22-23, 2009, Updates Wrap Up
The DV team, including editor David E. Williams, technical editor Jay Holben, and contributing editors Oliver Peters, Ned Soltz and Iain Stasukevich, will make regular blog reports from the 2009 NAB Show from April 18-24, highlighting new tools and technology and events of interest to the DV readership.
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April 22, 12:50a.m. — Avid’s New Branding
By Oliver Peters
Avid made its official return to the NAB, sporting a new corporate makeover. They picked up an anchor slot at the entrance to the South Hall, Upper Level, so attendees have been immediately greeted with a brand spanking new corporate logo. It might be vaguely reminiscent of Avid’s original purple triangle logo to some, but the new, icon-based design spells out A-V-I-D once you look more closely. The shapes of the letters are common keyboard command symbols used in both the audio and video products and is intended to convey that the five major divisions are now part of a single, unified company.
Last year in off-site presentations, Avid presented its “New Thinking” campaign, but that was really only a few months after the start of a new executive team. For the past 15 months, CEO Gary Greenfield and his team have been analyzing and revising the company’s products as well as management, development, support and marketing structures and strategies. It’s taken this long to get everything in place. Avid heads into 2009 with the goal of dealing with customer needs according to market segments (independents, broadcast, large post facilities, etc.). This is a change from the past, in which divisions like Avid Video and Digidesign ran autonomous — and not always cohesive — operations. In the new approach Avid is trying to offer holistic solutions that include both audio and video products where it is appropriate to do so.
There weren’t many new products announced at the show, since updates to Media Composer, Symphony, Newscutter and DS had already been released in the months leading up to NAB. In addition, I have been told by Avid personnel that trade show dates will no longer artificially determine the timing of new product releases. One new product that did debut, however, was Avid Deko 3000 version 5.2, an on-air graphics package. This new version allows customers to import and playback a wide range of 3D models and animations from Softimage, 3ds Max and Cinema 4D. Other announcements included the rollout of new support plans and the ability to run Apple Final Cut Pro on Avid Unity MediaNetwork and ISIS shared storage systems.
Avid plans to do more to leverage the success of its customers as part of the marketing message and this NAB was no exception. Throughout the show the main stage has included numerous guest presentations, including Oscar winners from Slumdog Millionaire – composer A. R. Rahman and editor Chris Dickens (above). The duo also made an appearance at Avid’s costumer party at the Hard Rock Hotel, where the crowd was treated to songs from the film, performed by Rahman, who was accompanied by a band and singers.
April 22, 1:05a.m. — NAB ’09 Tech Trends
By Oliver Peters
At every NAB Show you get a chance to re-evaluate the industry trends – what’s hot and what’s not. This year seemed stronger than most. It’s clear that 3D (stereoscopic) video is here to stay – at least for a while. In past years it has been the domain of high-end products. For example, last year Quantel debuted its 3D upgrade for the Pablo system. At NAB 2009 3D is everywhere – monitors, cameras and post. These include 3D rigs for the Silicon Imaging 2K camera, Avid’s 3D feature set in Media Composer 3.5 and Neo3D by Cineform. The latter adds 3D editing support to Final Cut Pro. (You find more on Cineform below from Ned.)
Another trend as 3G. That’s not your iPhone, but rather the 3Gbps standard for cabling. Uncompressed 4:2:2 HD has a bandwidth close to 1.5 Gbps and that signal can be passed over HD-SDI using a single coax cable. If you up the ante by running 1080p/60 or 4:4:4, then you need a pipe that’s twice as big – in other words 2 cables and dual-link connections. New chips and the 3Gbps standard lets you send that info over one wire. All over the show companies are pronouncing their products as 3G-ready. This includes production switchers, converters, routers, monitors and more. Although there isn’t really an immediate need, the greatest concern surrounds infrastructure products like a router. Buying 3G today means it won’t be obsolete a few years down the road. Or as one exec told me, 3G today is a check-list item for buyers. They just want to make sure you’ve got it.
Another interesting trend is fiber optic cabling to replace coax. This is an infrastructure issue as well. Fiber cabling itself isn’t as expensive as people think. The cost has been in the optical transceivers that have to be at each end of the fiber optic line. New, low-cost chips have made these transceivers inexpensive. Companies like Blackmagic Design and Kramer are among several companies here at the show to offer new I/O and “glue” products with SDI fiber optic connections in addition to or instead of standard SDI for coax. The use of fiber optic cabling instead of traditional coax mean less cable in the floor or ceiling as you change your infrastructure to accommodate the transition to digital or HD production and post.
April 22, 8:50a.m. — FCP User Group Super Meet & Cineform neo3D For FCP
By Ned Soltz
More than 1,000 attendees packed the ballroom at the Rio Hotel for the 8th annual Final Cut Pro User Group SuperMeet. Sponsoring vendors catering to the FCP faithful set up tables in an adjoining ballroom where participants were treated to food and drink. MC for the first half of the program was veteran actor Michael Horton, founder of the Los Angeles FCP user group and the force behind the proliferation of FCP user groups throughout the world. Dan Berube of the Boston FCPUG coordinated the second half.
Presentations are always diverse and lively at these events ranging from hardware presentations by JVC and Blackmagic
Design to a reprise of the inspiring story of the Wounded Marines Career Foundation, a San Diego-based organization which trains disabled veterans for film/tv industry. And as has become customary, the evenng was topped off with a raffle of literally over $100,000 in prizes from such vendors as JVC, Blackmagic Design, Adobe, and a host of others.
It seems that 3D is the word these days at NAB, with hardware/software solutions shown by such vendors as Panasonic, JVC, Avid and a host of others. Cineform has long been known for its codecs and in being an early pioneer in the use of metadata. They are now leveraging that technology to expand into Final Cut Pro 3D integration through its neo3D application.
neo3D works installs as a codec and a standalone application, First Light, to utilize what Cineform is calling Active Metadata to bring 3D images into FCP which then can be output to a 3D monitor, a conventional HD monitor or projector, or even for Web. First Light analyzes right eye-left eye files generated either through a beam-splitter camera or dual-camera arrangement. It controls color, depth, image convergence and a host of parameters. Within First Light, 3D simulation can be viewed by switching to anaglyph mode and viewing through anaglyph glasses. This would also apply for final output for Web as well as for viewing final output on a conventional 2D monitor. Where the 3D output really achieves highest quality is through the use
of a 3D monitor and polarized 3D glasses.
Most impressive about First Light is its technology of embedding the Active Metadata at a level below QuickTime meaning that when FCP picks up the file, all it is seeing is a QuickTime movie with the Cineform codec. First Light runs parallel with FCP and changes are updated in the FCP timeline.
Cineform neo3D should ship within a week after NAB at a price of $3,000-per-seat license.
April 23, 9:09a.m. — Let There Be Light!
By Jay Holben
Today was Let There Be Light Day. Saw a number of interesting new fixtures on the NAB Show floor – and several of them do NOT use LEDs!
P56 Lighting (www.p56.com), a partner of K5600 Lighting demonstrated a prototype 4K HMI Fresnel with a little kick. The fixture itself has a very thin profile, which is achieved primarily by utilizing a special Quartz reflector, instead of the usual Alzac polished aluminum.
The Quartz reflector is extremely heat-resistant and can be positioned very close to the globe. In addition, they’ve made the Fresnel lens removable to have the option of an open-face instrument. The most unique aspect of this new fixture is an additional accessory that slips into the fixture’s accessory frame. It’s a kind of mini space-light, about 12′ long, but instead of having a soft diffused face (as a spacelight would have a soft diffused bottom), it has an extremely fine plastic secondary Fresnel lens – more like what a van owner would put in their back window to be able to see a greater field-of-view. This secondary Fresnel serves to concentrate the beam increase the fixture’s throw considerably. It almost starts to turn the Fresnel into a PAR, while still maintaining the quality of a Fresnel fixture. In addition, as the fixture can be burned pointing straight down (a rarity for a larger fixture), if you put a diffusion skirt around this accessory – it becomes a spacelight with a spotty bottom. An interesting concept, for sure.
K5600 also introduced a new accessory for their Joker Bug fixtures, which have become ubiquitous in the industry as small workhorse HMI fixtures. The accessory is a right angle attachment that snaps over the Bug’s globe with a reflector inside and a duchman of two plano-convex lenses on the front. This turns the Bug into an ellipsoidal spotlight – and it has a front accessory with built-in cutters and can accept standard “M” size gobos to project patterns. A nifty little accessory if you have a couple Bug lights and don’t have the room to also carry around a Source 4 with you.
I met up with Frieder Hochheim at the Kino Flo booth and he showed me a new lamp for their popular Diva fixture – a 3200°K “HD” (55W Kino F32 Compact) that was previously not available. Apparently many digital shooters were having troubles with the 2900°K lamp. Upon hearing the concerns, KinoFlo set out to test the fixture and set up a number of digital cameras and thoroughly tested a number of phosphor combinations to achieve true tungsten color. It turned out there was a bias, across the board, to the 2900°K lamp. Although the fixture looks beautiful on film, the digital sensors were not interpreting it cleanly. 3200°K was the better range to match with natural tungsten for the digital medium.
Dedolight (www.dedolight.com) has a nifty new little toy – an onboard LED fixture. The LED fixture utilizes the Dedo optics and has a built-in dimmer and spot/flood option (from 4 to 56 degrees!). It is a daylight 5600°K color balance, but has a flip-down dichroic filter to convert it to tungsten in addition to a flip-down diffuser. The fixture runs off an Anton/Bauer or PAG battery system, car cigarette lighter or off of standard Sony camcorder batteries (a 330 minute run time with the NPF950 battery). Barn doors help control the light.
LEDz (www.hollywoodrentals.com/ledz.html) showed off their new Brute 16 LED – the big brother to the Brute 9 featuring (you guessed it) 16 LEDs instead of 9. A potent little fixture, according to their photometrics it can achieve 75fc at 12′ with a 6 1/2′ x 3′ beam. What’s even more cool, LEDz has worked with Chimera to create a custom softbox (tiny!) to fit the fixture and they’ve manufactured their own speed frame that quickly snaps into the front of the fixture to support the Chimera. The fixture lists for $2620, but the Chimera is just $250 with $150 for the frame.
Finally, Lightpanels (www.litepanels.com) introduces three new fixtures: the MicroPro, 1×1 Bi-Focus and 1×1 Bi-Color. The MicroPro is a double-sized, more robust version of their popular Micro fixture with an upgraded, detachable hot-shoe mount. It runs off 6 “AA” batteries. The 1×1 Bi-Color is an updated version of their 1×1 panel, but featuring both 3200°K and 5600°K LEDs. Most cool of the three is the 1×1 Bi-Focus which ingeniously doubles the amount of LEDs of their normal 1×1 and combines two different types of LEDs, spot and flood. By dimming between the two types of lamps you can create a spot and/or flooding of the 1×1 panel — achieving an impressive throw from the fixture in its spot mode.
Without a doubt, the advancements and creativity of form and function of LED sources prove that the technology is here to stay and will only continue to improve. Although I’m not sure I buy the marketing spin that LEDs will replace Tungsten and HMI fixtures in the not-too-distant future, they will certainly join fluorescent fixtures as a viable production tool giving just that many more options.
April 23, 10:42a.m. — A Peek Behind the Curtain at Adobe
By Oliver Peters
Anyone who’s spent time with any of the Adobe Creative Suite 4 applications knows that a lot of metadata information and tracking has been added in this update. All CS4 media files carry a lot of XMP-based metadata that can be carried from one application to another. For instance, from OnLocation to Premiere Pro.
At this NAB, the Adobe folks were kind enough to show me a bit more of their larger vision through a technology demonstration of Adobe Story. That’s a working title, of course, for something that isn’t a product yet. The basic concept is that the entry of metadata starts at the point a script is written. Adobe Story would allow you to import text, Word or Final Draft docs (among others). Standard script-writing language such as scene locations, wardrobe, character names, etc. become traceable metadata. The most immediate use is that this can be used to create an instance script breakdown. For example, to tell the production team the number of scenes in which the lead actor or actress appears.
In the larger vision, the metadata can be exported from Adobe Story as an XML file. This can be brought into OnLocation with spaceholders for clips and as you shoot, the metadata from the spaceholders becomes part of the matching media file. From there it goes to Premiere Pro and can be tracked and/or exported for other media uses. For example, Adobe envisions that one implementation of this technology might be a Flash-based online website where fans could search and retrieve all past scenes of an episodic series showcasing their favorite character. There is no product yet, but now you have an inkling why Adobe feels metadata is so important in the future of media.
April 23, 10:42a.m. — Cool Tools
By Oliver Peters
By now you’ve heard most of the big NAB Show announcements for this year, but here are a few more items worthy of note – in no particular order.
CoreMelt – This has been a popular set of plug-ins available in Noise Industries’ FxFactory toolset. New this year are the V2 filter sets that run independent of FxFactory. CoreMelt V2 packs can be purchased either as a complete collection for FCP or After Effects, or as individual modules. For example, if you only want color correction filters or only glow filters, then those can be purchased without needing to buy the whole collection. I especially like their color correction filters, which use intuitive sliders and feature a useable heads-up-display for grading curves.
Boris Continuum Complete 6– Boris FX continues to make one of the best filter collections even better with each new version. BCC6 for After Effects is out and BCC6 for FxPlug (FCP and Motion) is in beta. One of the big features is the addition of extruded text, brought over from Boris Blue.
Singular Software’s PluralEyes– This is the simplest, yet most amazing FCP companion at the show. It’s essential if you do a lot of multicam editing in FCP. PluralEyes automatically synchronizes multiple sources without the use of timecode. Now if you shoot a concert with consumer camcorders, there is no longer any need to hand-sync each clip. Instead, PluralEyes will analyze the audio tracks and line up the various sources in sync with each other based on the alignment of the audio.
Cineform Neo3D – FCP now has a way to edit 3D stereoscopic clips, too, thanks to the innovators at Cineform (above). Once a clip is captured in the Cineform format, their new First Light application can be used for color correction. For example, if these are camera raw clips, such as from the SI-2K camera or converted from RED .r3d files, First Light can be used to non-destructively adjust each clip’s color metadata. First Light can run in tandem with FCP, so an editor can flip between FCP and First Light to make adjustments. If a customer purchased the Neo3D version, First Light includes a 3D pane to control and adjust 3D settings, including view options and intraocular alignment.
Panasonic 1080P Plasma Displays – If you’ve struggled with the search for high-quality, large, but accurate edit suite displays, take a look at the Panasonic series of 1080P professional displays. The cost is only a few grand for sizes from 42″ and up. They are used in various Hollywood facilities and are considered by many pros to be accurate enough for color grading applications.
Euphonix – I love control surfaces and if you hate to mix in FCP, Pro Tools or Logic with the mouse, then the Euphonix Artist Series is for you (see above). These modular panels include MC Mix, MC Control and the new MC Transport. You can mix-and-match modules depending on whether you just want fader control or more panels with programmable hot keys.
April 24, 9:05a.m. — Some Final NAB Notes
By Jay Holben
As NAB 2009 comes to a close, there are a few more little gems I’ve seen to share.
Schneider (schneideroptics.com) introduced a new HD filter – the Hollywood Black Magic, which is a combination of their incredibly popular HD Classic Soft Frost and their Black Frost filters in one. The “HD” aspect is important as smaller cameras and higher resolution camera sensors can often resolve the actual texture of a filter designed for film camera usage. The “HD” filters are created with smaller, tighter patterns which will not be seen by the camera.
I was intrigued by a small booth touting the new Focus Optics Ruby series lenses. These PL mount lenses, I learned, have Nikon glass in them and they were showing a 14-24mm T2.8 on a RED One camera. Their flyer, which is woefully vague, touts “6K READY” which is intriguing. Does that mean the lens covers the area of a future 6K sensor? I’d have to do the math to see what that does to it’s focal length. I tried to ask some questions about the lens, but the representative in the booth seemed downright terrified to talk to me. I did get that the Ruby is a new lens series and they promised several focal lengths. The flyer has no Web site, only a contact – Stuart Rabin, Focus Optics, Tarzana CA 818-757-1007 – and a price: $10,500.
Vinten (vinten.com) is making a splash with their new Vision AS series of fluid heads. The first ever ‘infinite’ counterbalance (without fixed steps and without having to replace springs) the series (AS3, AS5, AS8 and AS10) covers cameras from 4.2 lbs to 32 lb cameras. A repositioned bubble level (at the back of the head where the operator can see it – go figure!) with a pretty blue LED to light up the bubble level. Vinten has also forgone their typical slate gray for slick black – very pretty.
I’m not a sound guy and not up on the toys, but I was impressed with some of K-Tek‘s (ktekbooms.com) new offerings. Focusing on easier-to-travel, Brenda from K-Tek showed me several of their refined compact boom poles – easily fit into a suitcase. They also have a new Kwiksock, which is a smaller windscreen that folds up into a tiny little bag. In addition, they’ve got several accessories (although most not new, most aren’t apparently well known) for mounting mics to the camera shoes – including a bridge for mounting several mics or accessories to a single shoe, offsets to get around funky camera configurations and several other fun options!
Petrol (petrolbags.com) has a fun new bag. For camera owers who need to travel with their equipment by plane, it’s been a challenge to carry on a full-size camera while the case is too large to fit in the overhead bins. Typically the camera owner would have to pad the camera in the overhead with pillows, blankets (which are not available on most flights now-a-days without cost) and clothes. Now Petrol introduces the Inflatable Airline Bag, a compact carry case that folds up and fits into a 13.8″ x 5.7″ pouch. When unfolded, you can inflate four tubes that protect the camera while in the overhead bins. The tubes are positioned so that the viewfinder and accessories can still be attached.
I got over to Redrock Micro (redrockmicro.com) and got to check out their DSLR 2.0 support rig, which, in my opinion, is a head above its competition. Well-designed ergonomics, comfortable grips, flexibility without dozens of adjustment points, robust craftsmanship and incredible prices (in the $300 to $500 range, depending on your choice of package). I was impressed with their options. In addition the M2 lens adapter has received a major renovation to become the M2 Encore. It now has a spinning ground glass (instead of vibrating) and completely redesigned optics to have only 1/2 stop of light loss! An amazing step up from the 1.5 stop loss of the first version. Rechargeable batteries that can run up to 18 hours and priced at only $1,995, it’s one of the best adapters out there. The microMatteBox Deluxe is available for $735 – which is an incredible deal. Good stuff over at Redrock.
Finally, on a quick separate note, I ran across the Static booth (static.com) which is an online service that allows you to sync up your Twitter, MySpace and Facebook pages through one application! For all you social networkers out there, this is a pretty cool tool.
April 24, 1:42p.m. — Storage At NAB
By Oliver Peters
Storage is one of those things most people don’t think they care about until it goes bad and drives die.
There were plenty of choices on offer at NAB, as always, but two companies caught my attention. One is Active Storage. The company was formed by former Apple Xserve RAID engineers and, as you might guess, a casual glance at their drive arrays would have you thinking that Apple brought the Xserve RAID back. In fact, these are the new Active storage cases, which feature updated engineering designs and improved performance. The systems can be purchased as local storage as well as full-blown shared storage solutions.
The other company was EditShare. Those who’ve read my reviews in Videography know that I’ve been following EditShare’s growth since I ran across Andy Liebman’s first booth at the back of the South Hall a few years ago. EditShare was one of the first companies doing shared storage over Ethernet, before it became popular. The secret is that EditShare is all about workflow. To that end, new at this show were end-to-end solutions including Flow — an ingest, browsing and asset tracking application — and EditShare ARK — an automated archival solution. They are the only company to offer both Avid and FCP project sharing as part of their collaborative environment and announced a new partnership with Automatic Duck for shared productivity between these two NLEs. EditShare’s XStream series drives are even fast enough for demanding DI environments. A number of partnerships have been announced, like Assimilate, for new integrated DI solutions.
The 2009 DV Magazine Black Diamond Awards
By David E. Williams
This information has been previously posted on the site, but it seemed right to include it here at the end of our NAB Blog.
Las Vegas, NV (April 22, 2009) — DV magazine, published by NewBay Media, announced its 2009 Black Diamond Awards today at the NAB Show. The Black Diamond Awards recognize the best products making their debut at the NAB Show, specifically those that will appeal to our readership of independent video professionals.
NewBay Media’s Broadcast & Video Group of products, which also includes DV.com, Digital Video Expo, Videography magazine, videography.com, and the Creative Planet Communities, is uniquely poised to recognize the full spectrum video technology. A select panel of engineers, editors and production and post professionals joined the magazine staff to judge the Black Diamond Awards for DV.
The 2009 winners are:
•AJA Video Systems Ki Pro
•Anton/Bauer Solar Charger
•ARRI AS18 HMI Fixture
•Automatic Duck Media Copy 2.0
•Blackmagic Design UltraScope
•Canon 5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera
•Gekko Technology Kedo LED Fixture
•Hoodman RAW SxSxSDHC Adapter
•Imagineer Systems mocha For Final Cut
•JVC GY-HM100U Camcorder
•Litepanels Bi-Focus LED Fixture
•NEXTO Video Storage Pro
•Panasonic AG-HMC40 Camcorder
•Petrol Inflatable Airline Bag
•Redrock Micro DSLR 2.0 Hybrid Support System
•Sony RM1000BP LANC Remote Commander
•Tiffen Photofx iPhone App
•Vinten Vision AS Head Series
•Zacuto Zwing Away
“Our teams searched the NAB show floor for products that were truly deserving of recognition,” says NewBay Media Broadcast & Video Group Vice President of Sales Eric Trabb. “Recognition with an award at NAB from the Broadcast & Video Group is a strong vote of confidence and admiration from this leading publication.”
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