- Category: More Top Stories
- Published on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:10
- Written by Carl Mrozek
Recently 35,126 delegates from 110+ countries jammed into the sprawling, tropical, palm-studded Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. to attend InfoComm 2013, breaking the prior attendance record of 34,600 in 2008. “We are grateful to the innovative exhibitors and many attendees for making InfoComm a ‘can’t-miss’ event on the industry calendar,” said David Labuskes, CTS, RCDD, executive director and CEO at InfoComm International.
While it wasn’t as big a deal at InfoComm as it was at NAB 2013, 4K (or ultra-HD display) was one of several new themes at this year’s event, with more than a handful of companies debuting new and existing versions of 4K product lines. One such product was Christie Digital’s new three-chip 4K 60Hz projector, the D4K3560. Christie PR Director John Berkovich touted the 35K center lumens as “a quantum leap in video image processing with high frame rate, high-resolution video projection, plus Christie ‘TruLife’ electronics.” The D4K3560 seemed to be the biggest draw at the Christie booth as its dazzlingly detailed and 3D-ish imagery was projected large on a wall screen. And Barco showcased its Galaxy 4K-32 (32K lumens) three-chip 3D stereo projector, with the company’s patented color convergence technology and one option that allows passive 3D viewing at full 4K resolution.
Not to be outshone in 4K displays, Sony unveiled two new 4K projectors, the SRXT 615 and VPL-GT100. Both models operate at 60HZ, challenging Christie’s claim of having the world’s first 60HZ 4K projector. “These aren’t our first or second 4K projectors, but are already our fifth generation,” said Sony PR Manager Tom Di Nome. “The Regal and AMC theaters mainly use our 4K and other digital projectors in hundreds of U.S. cinemas.” However, Sony’s new 4K projectors took a back seat to the company’s first-ever lamp-less projectors, which use blue-laser technology in a 3LCD context to achieve 4,000 lumens of color light at WUXGA resolution (1920x1200). The lamp-less VPL-FHZ55 is rated as maintenance free for its first 20,000 hours of operation, partly thanks to lower power needs and heat output. While it showed no 4K cameras at InfoComm, Sony did display new 4K monitors/TVs, including 55-, 65- and 84-inch models, with the two smaller models both priced well under $10K. All three offer multi-view, where multiple sources are shown as a collage on a single 4K screen for replay, display and critical analysis.
The only thing resembling a 4K production suite at InfoComm was Blackmagic Design’s (BMD) ATEM Production Studio 4K, which is the world’s first 4K production switcher with 6G SDI and 4K HDMI technology. Good for use with up to 8 HD or 4K sources for live production, the suite is controlled via an ATEM software control panel installed on either a Mac or PC. It’s also paired with BMD’s HyperDeck Studio Pro, which enables 4K mastering via 6G SDI input/outputs — all for under $2K! At InfoComm, audio from 4K, HD and SD sources were monitored via BMD’s 6G audio monitor connected to Samsung’s 84-inch Ultra-HD TV/monitor. In short, the suite amounted to a functional 4K live-production studio for under $10K (plus the monitor)!
There was also plenty of interest in BMD’s forthcoming Production Camera 4K. With 12 stops of dynamic range, it captures 4K in compressed CinemaDNG RAW and ProRes 422 (HQ) internally (via its built-in SSD recorder) or externally (via HyperDeck Studio Pro fed via its 6G-SDI output). The camera also includes a Thunderbolt port and UltraScope software for waveform monitoring in real time. BMD’s pocket cinema camera also generated plenty of excitement. It has most of the features of BMD’s original full-sized cinema camera, but in a compact-sized chassis. Both cameras are expected in July 2013.
Canon USA was one of the few exhibitors at InfoComm to display 4K cameras, including its EOS C500 and EOS-1D C, plus other models like the 5D Mark IV and C300. Many of these cameras were available for hands-on evaluation in the company’s booth. Display-wise, Canon highlighted a new series of compact 1080p HD LCOS projectors, notably the Realis WU450 and WX520, which are compact and bright enough to project 1920x1080p imagery on a theatrical screen at close range. “The demand for 4K projection is still in its early days, but we’ll have 4K projectors before it really ramps up, partly for critical 4K monitoring in post,” reported Chuck Wesfall, senior technical advisor at Canon USA. “Right now we’re focused on filling out our 4K camera lineup with new lenses, like the 200–400mm, and by integrating third-party 4K recorders, like Convergent Design’s Odyssey and AJA’s Ki Pro Jr."
LG showcased its 84-inch 4K LCD monitor, which comes in two versions. One model displays 4K in both landscape and portrait mode, while a much cheaper model only offers landscape mode. Displaying 4K video in stunning color and depth, the LG 4K was the monitor of choice for a number of other InfoComm exhibitors. By contrast, Marshall Electronics elected not to display its new 2K/4K monitor at the event. “Our 2K/4K monitor is geared for the content creation market, not for display,” explained Russ Walker, Marshall’s director of strategic planning and business development. “It’s a small screen and costs too much for display applications, but does make perfect sense in a postproduction environment for critical color evaluation, or for [other uses, like] focus and camera matching in production.”
Perhaps the busiest booth at InfoComm 2013 was Gator Cases, not due to any particular new space-age audio gear case, but thanks to a live, toothy, five-foot alligator. With his jaws taped shut, the mellow gator obligingly posed for pictures while in the arms of scores of booth visitors. Suffice it to say, InfoComm 2013 had its share of surprises, spiced with Southern hospitality and charm.