Going through the halls of NAB, today I looked at some innovative products that add features to make production a little bit easier. (You can see my picks from yesterday in my day 1 report.)
LaCie 2big Dock
This hard drive array made of two drives comes in capacities of 12, 16 or 20 GB. Along with the fast and good-capacity storage, the unit also features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a front USB 3.0 port, a rear USB 3.1 port, a DisplayPort supporting up to 4K video, and in front, both CF and SD card ports. This is super convenient, as the thing many people are likely to forget or lose in the field are the tiny card readers. Having them as part of the drive makes it one less thing you have to worry about. The RAID is also populated with Seagate’s Ironwolf Pro Enterprise class drives that carry a five-year warranty.
Seagate DJI Fly Drive
Seagate and DJI partnered up to launch a unique 2 TB USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3 drive for storing up to 60 hours of 4K footage from DJI’s Mavic Pro. The drive is colored to match the drone, but what is unique, besides the rubber bumper for extra protection, is a built in MicroSD card port right on the drive. This allows you to take the MicroSD card right out of the Mavic (or any other drone or action cam) and have it read right in the drive. Once again, this is super convenient for anyone prone to lose track of their tiny card readers. MSRP $120.
Lumantek VS4 Switcher
This year I saw a number of HD video switchers for producing live events that were coming in under $1,000. What I really liked about the VS4, aside from the full feature set that AV companies have come to expect — multiple HDMI and HD-SDI inputs, keying and a host of transitions — is that this is the only switcher I have seen, at least at this price point, that has a scaler on every input. That means each input can be scaled up to 1080p, or whatever you set the output to. The number-one issue when setting up a multicamera live-switch shoot is making sure all of the video sources have the same frame rate and size. If they don’t, it can cause a source to not be seen by a switcher or cause the switcher to malfunction. The scaler feature basically idiotproofs the set up, just in case someone unknowingly adds a 720p camera to a set up meant for 1080i. This feature is bound to save a lot of headaches. In addition, it is all contained in a nicely laid out console with buttons and a T-bar, rather than needing a computer for control. It has 2x HDMI in and 2x HD-SDI in, with one input that can be either/or. What’s neat about that is, rather than having to fumble through a menu to switch that input, there are dedicated buttons for switching. You can connect sources to both HDMI and HD-SDI on that third input and switch it as needed. At the MSRP of $955, it is a great value.
Ikan SW50 5600K 50 w LED Fresnel
This light is unique in that it is extremely lightweight for its size and it can power from AC or 18650 batteries. The light weight is due to the heavy-duty plastic body, and it includes barn doors as part of the package. While the 3.7v Li-on 18650 batteries it can run on are not as common as AAs, they are used in RC toys, so they are inexpensive and available at many electronic stores or online. You can get a set of four batteries for under $15 and a charger for $10, much less than any of the brick batteries used in the entertainment industry. MSRP $599.99
Atomos 19-inch Sumo Monitor-Recorder
This is the first large 4K recording monitor with recording and switching capabilities. It is a 19-inch HDR 1200 nit 10+ stop panel with 4K 12-bit raw or 10-bit 422 ProRes/DNxHR recording and HD recording up to 240p, or live switching and recording of four 1080p60 channels. With a future software upgrade, you will be able to cross-dissolve between four 1080 60p sources and record the switched show and the ISO camera feeds, along with the metadata, to the Sumo’s internal 2.5-inch SSD recorder. Capture the raw output from Sony FS5/FS7/FS700, Canon C300 mkII/C500 or Panasonic Varicam LT over SDI at up to 12-bit 4Kp30 as CDNG or 10-bit Apple ProRes/Avid DNxHR up to 4Kp60/2Kp240, depending on the camera’s capability. MSRP $2495.