NAB Day One: Big Surprises, Small Prizes
Today the NAB 2014 trade show saw some big surprises and some smaller cool product intros. I will start with the big shockers and work my way down.
Two years ago, Blackmagic Design, a company known for its post products, surprised the industry by introducing a 2.5K cinema camera, and last year a 4K cinema camera. This year Blackmagic shocked the crowd by introducing the Ursa family of three 4K cameras with a choice of PL, EF and broadcast B4 lens mounts. What was really exciting about these cameras is that they look like cameras. You can carry one on your shoulder without building a huge rig around it (accept maybe a smaller viewfinder for shoulder work), unlike Blackmagic’s previous camera offerings. The Ursa cameras have a massive 10-inch flip-out viewscreen and standard XLR connectors for audio, and BNC for SDI. Pricing Starts at $6000 with shipping in June.
Not to be outdone, AJA introduced its first camera, the Cion. It is also 4K, with a four-inch viewscreen and standard XLR connectors for audio, and BNC for SDI, HDMI, LANC and others. The Cion will start at $8995.
Going compact, Marshall Electronics was showing the tiny CV500 compact 1080 60p camera, only 1.4 inches (36.5 mm) square with HD-SDI and composite video out. That’s sure to be a hit on reality and hidden camera shows. The camera is $399 with different lenses available for only $20.
Marshall also showed a 31-inch 4K reference monitor for use on set and in post. The price has not yet been set.
On the audio side, Azden has added an important feature to all of its field mixers: USB connectors. The three-channel FMX-32 will now be known as the FMX-32u with the USB connector. This adds a whole new dimension to them — namely, post work. This means the same mixer that you use out in the field can now be used as a mic interface for doing voiceovers to your computer edit system, and can also be powered by it. Normally you'd need to pay $150 for a good quality mic interface, but this will take the same mixer used in the field indoors, ready for post work. I can't wait to try it out.
Last year, DJI was a hit at the show with their Phantom quad-copter drone that carried a GoPro camera for $499. This year they are showing the Phantom 2 Vision that has a built in camera attached to a three-axis gimbal for extra-steady shots. This new drone lists for $1299. Their new DJI Lightbridge allows you to transmit 1920×1080 30p video three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) from the drone to an HDMI monitor, recorder or switcher. Pricing is not yet available.
In lighting, Dracast introduced a whole new line of pro LED lights, replacing the old line. One thing that will be noticed right away is the new aluminum frame as opposed to the old plastic ones. The camera-mountable LED 160 lists for only $145 for daylight or tungsten; the bi-color is $195.
Swag for the day? Three t-shirts, one LED flashlight, a stylus, and a cool bag from Yamaha.