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Wednesday, 01 May 2013 17:34

Technology Trends Evolve at NAB 2013

Written by  James Thompson
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nab_goproAs technology continues to rapidly evolve, the 2013 NAB Show allowed entertainment industry professionals to stay ahead of the curve with the latest updates and new ideas. “Our goal is to try to always reflect and anticipate the latest technology and business trends, and to help attendees see around the corner so they can learn, adapt and compete,” said NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith at the NAB Show Daily News Q&A. Held in early April, NAB 2013 commanded more than 840,000 square feet of exhibit space at Nevada’s Las Vegas Convention Center, which was loaded with the latest tools and toys to give content creators new ways to tell visual stories. For this story, P3 Update took a close look at some of the top technology aimed to benefit professional storytellers.

While 3D capabilities were almost nonexistent at NAB 2013, Dolby Laboratories is raising the bar on what we can expect from 3D in the future. At the company’s booth, Dolby and software developer The Foundry demonstrated the future integration of the Dolby 3D format into its NUKE and OCULA postproduction products, and monitors were set up to view 3D content without the need for 3D glasses. Dolby 3D was initiated to support the creation, delivery and playback of glasses-free 3D content on TVs, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. 3D capture pioneers James Cameron and Vince Pace of Cameron/Pace Group are in total support of Dolby 3D. “The Dolby 3D format gives filmmakers the means to bring an artistic vision through production and distribution all the way to presentation, while delivering what we believe to be the best possible 3D experience to consumers, without the need for special glasses,” said Pace.

nab_lowelThe Tiffen Company made several new announcements. Its Lowel Lighting division introduced the Prime Power LED 800 studio light (pictured left), which provides 126-foot candles of light output at 9 feet. This new light has a 50-degree beam angle and is dimmable (via DMX or manually on the back of the unit). It offers adjustable color balancing against other light sources, and has a rugged, all-metal housing. Plus, the Tiffen team recently received the Mario Award from TV Technology Columnist Mario Orazio for the Listec PromPTZ, a new teleprompter that offers professional prompting capabilities in a compact setup for remote use. The PromPTZ will work with wall- or tripod-mounted PTZ cameras configurations.

At Mac Tech LED’s first year at the NAB Show, the company introduced its LED lighting options to the broadcast industry. Mac Tech LED has a full line of products gracing the show floor, including the LED Sled, Slim Line, Soft Boxes and China Balls. Meanwhile, TVLogic introduced several new monitors, including the LUM-300W 30-inch 4K DCI (4096x2160) monitor. Based on the new HDMI 2.0 standard, the LUM-300W was designed for onset 4K motion-picture monitoring and 4K postproduction applications. The monitor will be available at the end of 2013.

Zacuto displayed a Recoil Rig for Canon C100, C300 and C500 cameras. It’s called the Recoil because the company converted a bigger system into a smaller, user-friendly system, so users can mount it on their shoulder without the need for a counter weight. The focus mechanism was relocated toward the bottom, while the start/stop/iris and other controls were moved to well-designed handgrips, so two hands can be used for support. The shoulder mount slides and locks in so it won’t fall, and it can pop off so users can mount it on a tripod. All this makes the Recoil an extremely versatile kit that’s great for run-and-gun-style or all-day shoots.

nab_petrolbagsCelebrating 20 years in business, AJA Video Systems demonstrated the Ki Pro Quad, a portable, solid-state video recorder with true camera-to-original 4K workflows. The Ki Pro Quad features the efficiencies of Apple ProRes and flexibility of RAW data in a compact package. It supports 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 recording at HD and 2K resolutions as well as real-time scaling from 4K/Quad to 2K/HD.

Several important companies at NAB 2013 are represented by the Vitec Group. Petrol Bags demonstrated the new Deca large, lightweight audio bag (pictured right) (PS617) that was specifically designed for the Sound Devices 664 mixer, with or without the CL6 controller. Designed for practical field use, the Deca audio bag offers a roomy, cushioned main compartment and a standard removable internal divider that accommodates the 664 mixer and attached CL6 controller, offering easy access to the unit’s XLR connectors. To address growing power demands of the latest digital cameras, Anton/Bauer designed the DIONIC HD, a new lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery that provides first-rate capacities and a longer cycle life and comes with an extended three-year warranty. The DIONIC HD powers high-current applications in a lightweight package, making it ideal for digital cinema cameras like the Sony F65, RED cameras, ARRI ALEXA and Vision Research Phantoms. Litepanels showcased three new traveling light kits featuring cost-effective 1x1 LS fixtures: the LS Traveler Duo Kit (with one 1x1 LS Flood and one 1x1 LS Spot); LS Traveler Trio Kit (with two 1x1 LS Floods and one 1x1 LS Spot); and LS Traveler Trio Plus Kit (with two 1x1 LS Bi-Colors and one 1x1 LS Flood). The kits come with light stands for each fixture and a hard-sided carrying case.

nab_moviOne NAB highlight was the MoVI family of three-axis digital stabilized camera gimbals by Freefly (pictured left). The developers of the successful Cinestar line of multi-rotor camera platforms that allow smooth, stable and dynamic low-altitude aerials, Freefly took that technology to the ground to create MoVI. The company created the MoVI gimbal from scratch and no compromises were made to accommodate its off-the-shelf brushless motors, motor drives or IMUs. It’s lightweight, agile and rigid, and can be used for handheld situations or a miniature remote vehicle named the Freefly Tero.

The German-based company Flightcopter showcased its Quadrocopter, Hexacopter and Octocopter frames that can easily be assembled using a unique plug-in system. Together with the Flightcopter Ground Station and three different remote heads (for mini, DSLR and cinema cameras weighing just over 8 pounds), the system can help users obtain quality aerial shots.

nab_nautusFor capturing audio, K-Tek showcased its latest boom pole kits and the Nautilus Suspension Mount (pictured right). Built around the Klassic Graphite Boom Pole (K-102CCR) and K-Tek Avalon aluminum (KE-89CC), the all-in-one kits include a new, patent-pending Nautilus microphone suspension mount and a Fuzzy windscreen, all packed into the new BLT-35 boom pole hard-shell case. And, for those seeking a small, light camera that can be taken anywhere, GoPro offers a new HERO3 camera that records exceptional video. The new GoPro HERO3 Black Edition is Wi-Fi-capable and is 30-percent smaller, 25-percent lighter and is two times more powerful than previous models. Retailing for $399.99, the HERO3 Black model is capable of capturing ultra-wide 1440p/48fps, 1080p/60fps and 720p/120fps video.

Schneider Optics introduced its 1.4X Century Extender for PL-mount single-sensor cameras. Mounting between a PL-mount camera and PL-mount lens, the extender increases the range toward a more telephoto focal-length range by a factor of 1.4, losing only a single f-stop. What makes this extender even more interesting is that it can zoom while also maintaining focus.

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