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Thursday, 02 December 2010 22:13

IBC 2010 European Technology Showcase

Written by  James Thompson
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OpeningShotFeat_IBC_IMG_0210A poor economic climate, warm days and periodic showers in Amsterdam didn’t stop nearly 50,000 attendees from attending the IBC Show, an annual event for professionals engaged in the creation, management and delivery of entertainment news and content. The event provided attendees with insight on the current state of the industry and the next wave of lighter, faster and more proficient equipment and technology, which happens to be P3 Update’s editorial focus.

The talk of the show was the movement towards capturing and editing content through multiple digital formats, such as HD, HDSLR and Stereoscopic 3D. Many of the world’s leading manufacturers were on hand to discuss the transitions and showcase their products to attendees, many of whom are challenged by a changing industry.

“Our customers are faced with the changing dynamics of a changing business model and the complexities of the different formats,” said Autodesk Senior VP of Media & Entertainment Marc Petit. To help customers adapt to these new trends, Autodesk introduced Flame Premium, a powerful solution for 3D visual effects creation, editorial finishing and real-time color grading. Designed to help postproduction companies expand and diversify their creative services more cost effectively, Flame Premium combines Autodesk finishing tools, including Flame, Smoke Advanced and Lustre, at a reasonable price.

Panasonic had one of the most crowded booths as attendees flocked to see the company’s new 3D and DSLR camcorders. Jan Crittenden Livingston, product line business manager for Panasonic Media & Production Services, demonstrated to videographers how they can integrate 3D into their business with the AG-3DA1, Panasonic’s new, fully integrated, handheld 3D camcorder. The AG-3DA1 makes capturing 3D content more affordable, more flexible and a lot easier to produce, while allowing producers to benefit from a fast and productive file-based workflow. Feat_IBC_Panasonic_JanCrittendenLivingston

Another big Panasonic attraction was the introduction of the AG-AF101 camcorder, which is going to shake up the HDSLR movement. The AG-AF101 offers a DSLR-sized sensor in a professional camcorder that allows for a shallow depth of field. This affordable camcorder has video functions that include variable frame rates and HD-SDI output, as well as a great benefit for moviemakers in that it will take a cinema-style lens.  

FUJINON, Inc., now FUJIFILM Optical Devices U.S.A., Inc., also had several new 3D developments, with the highlight being the new HJ-303A-08A, a synchronous zoom-and-focus control joint-box developed for 2/3-inch 3D applications. The new lenses display extremely small centering tolerances in the optical axis over the entire zoom and focus range. With 3D, there’s an added challenge of focusing two lenses simultaneously. “If it’s out of adjustment you’ll see a drifting,” said Gordon Tubbs, director of FUJIFILM’s Sales, Broadcast and Communications Products Division. The control box incorporates high-grade motors and optical encoders that can give accurate feedback on the zoom, iris and focus. It then reads information from the lens, interpolates what both lenses are sending, and sends the appropriate signal for identical movement. “We’re not talking close, we’re talking identically,” Tubbs explained.



Last year Cooke Optics announced a new line of lenses, including the 5/i Prime and the lightweight Panchro lenses that work together with S4 lenses. “The news this year is that we actually delivered all that,” said Cooke Optics Chairman Les Zellan. He noted that the reduced size and light weight of the Panchro lenses make them ideal for shooting in situations where faster lenses are not as crucial and in difficult situations, such as adverse conditions, crash scenes or VFX shoots. Acclaimed Director Martin Scorsese is currently using Cooke lenses on Hugo Cabret, a 3D film being shot in Europe by Cinematographer Robert Richardson, ASC.

Litepanels presented its complete LED Lighting Series, and the company’s new Sola Fresnel Series of LED-based lights created quite a stir. The three lights include the SolaENG with 30W power consumption and a 250W soft-light output. “We call it an ENG because it is designed to be used as an onboard camera light,” said Barry Rubin, Litepanels’ director of worldwide sales. He indicated that since the lights are so powerful with low-power consumption while being focusable, they can be used extensively outside the camera as well: “[Production crew] are going to put them on C-stands [and] they are going to use them as backlights and key lights.” Other lights in the Sola Fresnel Series include the Sola6 (which is 6x7x9 inches, weighs 6 pounds and has 75W power consumption and 650W output) and the Sola12 (13x12x15 inches, 14 pounds, 250W power consumption, 2K output). All three Sola Fresnels have heat-free LED technology and are ecofriendly and flicker free while producing 50,000+ hours of LED life.

Feat_IBC_KinoFlo_FriederHochheimKino Flo Lighting Systems President Frieder Hocheim showcased the 4Bank Dmx system, which features onboard controls that have dimming and switching capabilities and include remote handheld dimming and universal input voltage of 100VAC to 240VAC. It produces a 1,000W tungsten softlight, is flicker free and quiet, and has built-in barn doors, a louver and center mount system. The Imara S10 and S6 have the characteristics of the Image Series but they provide a more concentrated, even spread of light along a horizontal and vertical axis.

Shotoku Broadcast Systems President Naoki Ebimoto presented the company’s popular high-capacity Robotic Camera Control Systems and seemed really excited about the new line of SP tripods for professional camera use. The advantage of these tripods is a “Four S” solution –– Strong Body, Simple Operation, Smart Design and Smooth Performance –– offered in all five models (SP100, SP80, SP60, SP40 and SP20), so videographers have more choices when dealing cameras of all sizes, from a large studio ENG to a smaller mini HDV camcorder.  

The demands of sending video while working on location have just gotten easier with the introduction of MultiDyne’s LiGHTCuBE and HaLFCuBE optical field transport systems. The LiGHTCuBE is compact and portable with a 14-inch cube design that makes it small enough for sports and ENG as well as other forms of field application. The HaLFCuBE’s 7-inch design is compact and portable while still supplying multiple HD and audio signals, which makes it ideal for in-the-field applications, such as football and basketball games.
Known for single-operator broadcast cranes that are designed to go just about anywhere (including underwater), Polecam presented its new 3D Polecam System. These portable jib systems can extend from 4 feet to 20 feet, and are made of carbon-fiber construction to make them ultra light. “You get a tremendous amount of production value because it’s a crane that sets up in less than 10 minutes and breaks down in less than 10 minutes, and no tools are required for assembly,” said Polecam’s Greg Salman. “And, you can move it anywhere.”

Band Pro had an active booth while showcasing its HDSLR technology and lens line, specifically the Leica Cine lenses. But the company’s real news is that they now handle Marvin Technology Systems in the United States, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Marvin is a data manager that provides data security for the different production formats now required for digital cinematography, and it can be used to automate backups, LTO tape masters, QuickTime proxies for offline editing and DVD dailies.


Transvideo President Jacques Delacoux was at the event to promote a large selection of LCD flat-panel monitors that are often used in the field on film and digital cinematography projects. The company also presented its CineMonitorHD 3DView, which Delacoux labeled as “the first HD SDI monitor in the world for 3D cinema field use.” The CineMonitorHD 3DView includes several modes to help the operator correlate cameras and preview the image in different anaglyph modes.

While Blackmagic Design made several new announcements at this year’s IBC, the DeckLink HD Extreme 3D stood out in the 3D arena. It offers HDMI 1.4 technology resulting in 3D capture and playback, up/down/cross conversion and 12-bit quality. DeckLink HD Extreme 3D allows full-resolution frames for the left and right eyes down the single HDMI connection, so each eye gets a full-resolution image. The previous generation HDMI 1.3 can be used for 3D video, however it’s limited to a side-by-side/line-by-line/top-and-bottom method for transferring 3D video, which are half-resolution 3D modes.

Anton/Bauer had a lot to talk about at the event. For starters, the company was celebrating its 40th birthday, and this longevity says a lot about the company’s stake in powering the film and video industry. President Michael Accardi boasted Anton/Bauer’s accomplishments and eagerly demonstrated the opportunities the company currently provides. With a dressed Panasonic camcorder, he happily demonstrated how Anton/Bauer batteries and an E-grip shoulder mount can offset heavy front weight. “One of the original arguments when we got into video is you want to balance the weight of the lens using Anton/Bauer as a balancing point,” said Accardi.

Accardi also talked about how Anton/Bauer have become a more dependable source for powering monitors and how the company’s powering LED lights are in continuous demand. He also demonstrated the new Tandem 150 Modular Power System, which is sandwiched between the camera and battery and will power the system and charge the battery at the same time. “So I can be on sticks all day long waiting for something to happen, pull the cord [out], go onto my shoulder and have no interruption,” explained Accardi. The Tandem 150 can also be charged through a vehicle AC outlet.

The Autoscript booth offered something different this year. The company had a small iPhone set up with some very easy-to-read teleprompting launched by iPlus, a professional prompting software app for iPad, iPhone and iTouch devices. Managing Director Brian Larter gave some insight into Autoscript’s movement into this new technology that is a direct response to a market that requires “portable, cost-effective prompting.”

When it comes to sound recording on location, having a good UHF wireless system is imperative. Azden promoted a new 330 Series on-camera UHF wireless system, a high-quality, dual-channel UHF camera-mount wireless system that features 188 user-selectable frequencies displayed on an LCD screen that will enable a sound recorder to always find a “free” channel. The 330 Series consists of the 330UPR dual-channel, on-camera receiver; 35BT belt-pack transmitter; 35HT handheld microphone/transmitter and 35XT plug-in transmitter.
After seeing all this new technology at IBC firsthand, it’s obvious that preproduction, production and postproduction processes are becoming more streamlined and cost effective while moving to a file-based system. It will be interesting to see what the broadcasters, filmmakers and storytellers of tomorrow can do with all this technology at their fingertips.

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