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#NABShow: Day Three at 2014 NAB Show with Debra Kaufman

By Debra Kaufman

I admit it…I went to a party tonight (thanks, Wall Street Communications) and so I’m starting my post-NAB day wrap-up a little late and a little buzzed. I’ll be writing a NAB 2014 wrap-up story that will give a list of the coolest gear I saw at NAB, as well as other information.

Cameras, cameras, cameras… Another day at NAB, another camera (or two), this time at Panasonic where Steven Cooperman, Varicam CameraSenior Product Manager, Pro Video, gave me a tour of the Varicam 35, a PL-mount camera that records 4K, 2K and HD. The camera also records raw to Codex at 120p uncompressed.

A second new camera is the 2/3rd-inch Varicam HS (High Speed), a High Definition camera for shooting sports with a long lens. The Varicam 35 records up to 120p and will be priced at approximately $60,000. The Varicam HS shoots up to 240p and will be priced under $55,000. ProRes is also a new part of the camera system.

“Other cameras are going high-speed,” said Cooperman. “The Varicam 35 is full-resolution at 120p and the HD camera is also full resolution, not sub-sampled, at 240p.” Both cameras are expected to ship in Fall 2014.

Panasonic also showed the PX270, a small handheld camera, weighing about 5 pounds, with a 1/3-inch 3MOS sensor. The camera offers Ultra Long Gop with a P2 workflow. “Broadcasters want low bitrates,” says Cooperman, who says the camera is aimed at production including documentary, live events and 2nd camera as well as ENG.

Codex also showed a camera, the ActionCam, which was originally created as a witness camera to gather 3D information for Floval CameraVFX.  “But since the camera was announced, people are finding other applications for it,” said Vice President Sarah Priestnall, who noted that the camera outputs HD raw to ProsRes and DNxHD on site. Codex’s Vault has now added RED Dragon, Phantom Flex 4K and Sony F55 and F5 and also offers 4K playback, GPU processing and basic color grading. Filmlight’s Baselight and Vault were shown in a combination as a mobile unit, and Codex also showed Vault XL, which makes the Vault rack-mountable for the machine room. “You can take drives from on-set and put them into the facility’s rack-mounted Vault to download,” said Priestnall. “That way you don’t have to take the Vault from on-set.”

MTI Film debuted CORTEX CarryOn, its new, portable, all-in-one, on-set dailies solution. Priced at $35,000, CORTEX CarryOn can process dailies at resolutions up to 4K and is equipped with MTI Film‘s CORTEX Dailies Enterprise Edition software. It also MTI Cortex features a liquid-cooled Intel i7 processor for ultra-quiet operation, a 12TB SSD RAID, GPU-accelerated rendering and both Thunderbolt 2 and USB3.0 technology for fast transfers. MTI Film also unveiled CORTEX Dailies v 1.5, the latest version of its dailies solution, which makes it faster and easier to copy, color, sync and transcode camera files on-set, near-set and in post-production facilities and includes the CORTEX Manifest, a new tool for managing media and metadata from the set through delivery.

Also new from MTI Film is DRS Nova, a digital restoration software that succeeds Correct DRS. DRS Nova combines native 64-bit processing, resolution independence and a file-based architecture. It includes Correctimage(1) DRS’ tools for noise and grain removal, paint, flicker correction and general defect repairs and offers improved tools for scratch removal, de-warping, image stabilization and 3-layer registration. New features include tools for managing projects more efficiently and for sharing and tracking comments.

FOR-A showed a range of 4K-related gear. The company came out with a high-speed (900 fps) 4K camera two years ago that was used for SuperBowl 2013. New to this family is fiber I/O connection, for better connection between camera and mobile truck. This camera was used at Sochi and will also be used at the World Cup. Hiro Tanoue, Deputy Senior General Manager of Overseas Sales & Marketing, revealed that FOR-A has an extraction system that goes with this camera.

Also new from FOR-A is a 4K Virtual Studio, which is a 4K camera against a green screen, from which multiple virtual cameras can be extracted. “This reduces the number of cameras and operators and therefore costs,” said Tanoue. “It’s both a rendering image and chroma-key device.” This 4K Virtual Studio is expected to ship in Summer 2014.

Also new is FA505, a 5-channel signal processor aimed at the truck market, and a smaller companion to a similar 10-channel signal processor introduced last year. Perhaps the coolest thing that FOR-A showed was the FZ-B3, a high sensitivity camera that can shoot color images in moonlight. Rather than the green, ghostly images of infrared, the FZ-B3 took an image in a nearly pitch-black enclosure and revealed it in full color. Really an amazing device.

Adder Technology has been in the KVM digital signal routing business for many years, but in the last five to six years, the company has been working on IP. “We’ve really focused on this,” said Sales & Marketing Director Simon Clew. Adder Technology showed this at NAB 2014 in conjunction with Tricaster, highlighting the fact that even when the image is manipulated in real-time there is no perceptible latency. “No one but Adder is presenting this level of video quality with this lack of latency,” said Clew, who quantified the latency at less than 200 milliseconds. IP, noted Clew is the transport of choice in a digital world and one that he expects will dominate the industry within five years.

I saw a truly fascinating and potentially groundbreaking exhibit at Dolby, which partnered with Filmlight, for an unusual demonstration. But I’m going to wait to share that, and other NAB news, in my show wrap-up. Stay tuned…it will be online at Broadcast Beat in the next few days.

Debra Kaufman has covered entertainment and technology for 25 years, for publications including International Cinematographer, CineMontage, HD Video Pro, Film & Video, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and American Cinematographer among others. She was most recently Associate Editor at Creative COW. She has organized and moderated panels at the HPA Tech Retreat, NAB, CES, NATPE, SIGGRAPH, Produced By, Editor’s Lounge and many other industry trade shows and events. She taught a course on digital visual effects at UCLA Extension for five years, and edited a series on CGI/animation for Focal Press. Her work has also appeared in Wired, The Los Angeles Times, Reuters and The New York Times.
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