NAB 2014 Review: Gear that Will Make You Go Ahh

Posted by Rebekah Toth Burns on April 30, 2014

After NAB each year one question gets tossed around between our clients, crews, and friends on social media. “What did you see at NAB that we need to check out?” We talk about production gear that we will showcase on our video podcast Information Overdrive. Our friends chat about cool solutions they played with on the NAB show floor. Here is Crews Control’s list of new and noteworthy equipment and solutions from NAB 2014.

Cinema Control Laboratories’ Andra: As a self-admitted “tech guy” Curt Pair loves NAB! He had this to say about Andra. “The folks up north have really hit a home run by combining “motion capture” software/hardware with follow focus technology. The gist is that the subject wears a wireless device with a sensor, a second sensor calibrates the unit, and then the system can TRACK focus of your subject! That’s right, it focus’ the subject for you. You can control the system with a tablet and the unit can track up to 16 subjects for you at once, all you do is select which one you want to follow! It’s about $7900 for the starter kit and about $12K for the Mo-Cap kit.”

BlackMagic Design’s URSA camera: BMD engineered the URSA for high-end feature films and TV commercials with a prosumer price of $5995 for the EF lens mount and $6495 for the PL mount. They designed this camera with production workflow in mind right down to where the DP, audio engineer, and focus puller stand around the camera. The truly wild thing about this camera is that the sensor can be changed by the user. It comes with a Super 35 4K sensor which can be upgraded as BMD comes out with sensors that have more options.

Vision Research’s Phantom Flex4K camera: Crews Control represented DP and contributing blogger Rocky Wyler said “The Phantom 4KFlex is very interesting. It gives much more flexibility when shooting high speed and it is less than half the size of any of the competitors”.

Lectrosonic’s L Series wireless microphones: Rocky also commented on the new L Series which uses Lectrosonic’s Digital Hybrid Wireless technology. Depending of the frequency band, it employs three standard Lectrosonics blocks or 67.5 to 76.8 MHz. The FCC needs to authorize this device before it can be sold or used.

Imagine Products’ HD-VU 2.0: Video producers who record a variety of digital formats will love this software. HD-VU 2.0 for MAC allows the user to view raw files from Canon, RED, Arri, Sony, and others. HD-VU is very intuitive with an interface MAC users are comfortable navigating.

Sony’s Video Journalist Backpack: People love things neatly backed up and tied with a bow. The Video Journalist Backpack is a camera kit complete with audio equipment and everything you would need to capture a story in the field. Peter Di lorio from the System Solutions Group at Sony gives us a peak into the pack for our first ever Tech Minute, a new video series where we will be showcasing corporate video solutions one minute at a time.

AJA’s Cion: “The most surprising product announcement at NAB 2014 was the introduction of the AJA Cion 4k camera. It has 12 stops of dynamic range, 4k, all flavors of Pro Res, Super 35 sensor. This could be the poor man’s ARRI Amira/Alexa. With Corporate media loving Pro Res and the bullet proof product reputation of AJA. My spider senses are tingling” said contributing blogger and Crews Control represented DP Kevin Braband.

Convergent Design’s ATHENA: Mitch Gross described the ATHENA as a “product preview…” that is a “…4K multi-stream player/ recorder that is also an encoder/ decoder”. This little box will be able to record multiple streams of 4K, four streams of 2K or HD at 60p. Additional uses that Mitch spouts for this dedicated hardware machine included recording a concert with four camera and 64 channels of audio, capturing a studio shoot with 4 camera where the GB Ethernet cable can send footage to post, or running a wall of digital displays.

Orca’s gear bags: “The sound mixer bags have a metal skeleton in them! So do the camera bags… they are lightweight but retain their shape and rigidity. Why didn’t someone think of this before? The sound mixer harness even comes with a battery that will power phones and such for you on set. They’ve perfected the harness, for sure. So much more comfortable than others… and I’ve tried them all. They have a light blue interior and each bag, no matter what it’s for is VERY well laid out. I’m on the list! My 10 year old Petrol has been great, but has seen better days. Can’t wait to get mine in June!” said Crews Control represented DP Curt Pair.

Panasonic VariCam HS camera: The HS is a third generation Panasonic VariCam with a modular design. The HS records several AVC-Intra codecs which include: AVC-Intra 100, AVC-Intra 200, and AVC-Intra 444 onto express P2 cards.

Canon’s CINE-SERVO 17-120mm zoom lens: This ENG lens will fit nicely into a lot of camera packages. It is said to ship in August of 2014 with a suggested retail price of $33,000 and will be available in EF or PL mounts. The CINE-SERVO camera-to-lens communication protocol standards ensure compatibility with a wide range of 4K, 2K, and HD cameras.

DRACAST “Tube” LED lights: “I’ve been a fan of Dracast for a few years now… the fact that they now make lights that LOOK and operate like a Kino Flo, but are LED based? Way too cool! They make six foot long – six bank, five foot long – five bank, four foot long – four bank and three foot long – three bank lights. The tubes are ROBUST! Rodney Miller had me use them like DRUM STICKS. I beat the snot out of them and they worked like they didn’t know I had touched them. They are bi-color, but even cooler? What if you want a daylight balance and just a little warmth? You flip a tube around and it’s now the reverse of the tubes in the system! Viola! A little warmth! Add to this the doors! Oh, the doors on the system are incredible. They have hinges that keep them in place… no bending rods in the doors. It also runs on DC power too… A V-mount or Gold mount… and you’re in business anywhere! I can’t wait to get my hands on these” said Curt Pair.

If you are looking for solutions for cameras, audio, and gear bags this NAB didn’t disappoint. The simple truth is that the show is so big that nobody can see everything and we are happy to bring you what excited us at NAB 2014. What did you find new and noteworthy at the show? Do you plan to use any of these new devices in future video shoots? Please comment on our blog, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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