To wrap-up some reflections on NAB 2010 I thought I would look at some of the "medium" announcements, after the big and the small. The Medium announcements weren't, in my mind, just about company size but more about the size or impact of the announcements that were made or the products that were demonstrated.

The Medium

Panasonic looks to be taking the large format DSLR sensor and dropping it in a proper video camera. The AF100 will take the micro 4/3 sensor from the their DSLR and do what everyone hoped Canon would do and make a real pro-video form factor camera at an affordable price. The guys at the Panasonic booth were letting Canon have it as they had no similar announcement or introduction. Sony did have a demo of something similar though. I think this from Panasonic is a medium announcement since the codec the camera will use is going to be a bit hobbled at a maximum of 24Mbps. The image will probably be very nice but it just seems like it could be much higher bit rate as we move into this next level of cameras. I guess they don't want to take too much away from their high end cams. The guy at the Panasonic booth did assure me that the camera will shoot 24p native and not embed the 24 fps into a 60i stream like their GH1. That's good news because if this new AF100 was going to make the owner or editor jump through hoops to get true 24p then it would be DOA. But there's still the AVCHD codec to contend with so who knows. Panasonic was also showing their AG-3DA1, an affordable (that is if $21,000 is affordable but relatively speaking in 3D is probably is), integrated 3D camera system. It wasn't under glass this year like it was last year and at the SuperMeet you could pick the thing up and play with it. If nothing else it's an interesting way of thinking about getting 3D into more hands.

Another medium announcement from a large company, at least in my Mac-centric workflow mind, was the USB 3.0 tools introduced by Blackmagic Design. They introduced the "world€™s first broadcast-quality SD/HD capture and playback solution for USB 3.0 computers" with the funky looking UltraStudio Pro. The flashing lights of this thing really caught your eye as you strolled past the Blackmagic booth. There's also the new Pocket UltraScope that will take broadcast single monitoring to a new level for your USB 3.0 PC laptop. At $595 it's a cool option for affordable video scopes on the go. And to round out Blackmagic USB 3.0 stuff, the Intensity Shuttle will let you "capture and playback in the most incredible quality of HDMI and component analog video in both SD and HD," provided you have USB 3.0. There is going to be a PCI Express version available, but at $199, it seems perfectly positioned for USB 3.0 connectivity. Expect it on your Mac.

AJA seemed to have kind of a quite NAB with no big, new products but they did announce a firmware update to the Ki Pro that will enable the RS-422 device control for the unit. This might move the unit into some pipelines that are more linear and tape-based that haven't had a good, affordable option for some type of non-linear deck. And there were all over the fact that a Ki Pro can integrate into Avid workflows now that Avid will support ProRes with Media Composer 5.0.

And then there was Cinedeck, another option in the direct to disk recording tools. It records right to the Cineform codec which can now work in realtime in Final Cut Pro and (in theory) should be able to work with Avid Media Composer 5.0 via AMA. It's both a monitor and record deck in one that's small enough to use with any number of cameras. Since I'm not a shooter so I don't know exactly the ins and outs of this particular device with particular cameras but I love the idea of these direct-to-disk recording devices for post. I hope more of these types of things make it out into the world.

I checked out CatDV from Square Box last year and it really looked like a well thought out way to manage lots of media. It's called a "media asset database and video logging product family." This year they were back in a small booth and while I didn't have time for the full demo I had last year I watched over the shoulders of some others a few times that I walked by the booth. But what I heard repeatedly when talking with a number of folks was that this application might easily take the place of Final Cut Server in many instances. At $340 for the professional edition of CatDV vs. $999 for Final Cut Server it might be worth a look if you are in the Final Cut Server market. I didn't see FC Server anywhere on the show floor nor have I ever seen an install in real life. With Apple's somewhat spotty support for the Pro Apps lately (but look at this – Apple did release a minor Final Cut Server update) a lot of folks might be looking to CatDV. It's too bad they still have DV in the name of CatDV since it's so much more than a DV-based application. I wonder how many folks walked by the booth and didn't give it another look since they thought it was a DV-based product in an HD world.

Remember Lightworks? It was a staple of the non-linear editing world back in the '90s with its funky hardware controller that cut a lot of feature films. It fell out of favor for many when Final Cut Pro came along and ownership changed hands a number of times. It's now owned by EditShare and at NAB 2010 the company announced the Lightworks Open Source platform. Open source can mean many things, but this paragraph from the EditShare press release is very intriguing: "EditShare officially acquired Lightworks in August 2009 and plans to make the first step towards releasing Lightworks Open Source in Q3 of this year in the form of a free Lightworks download. The download will be made available to everybody. Users will be able to familiarize themselves with the Lightworks editing system and its multitude of features including: true shared projects, instant save, multi-cam ingest, 3D editorial functionality, Universal Media File support, native RED editing, native 2K support with DPX and RED, dual outputs, and a format-independent timeline." Imagine if there was an NLE nearly as full featured at Final Cut Pro, available for free, where the core functionality was there and the editor could just buy additional add-ons and functionality as need be, if you need it at all. That's what it sounds like Lightworks Open Source might be. Back in the '90s I assisted with those old systems and while clunky, they got the job done, especially on multicam shoots€”not to mention all the features those systems have cut and still cut. I watched a demo of the new Lightworks and it's a much different beast now; it looks more like a modern NLE application. If you're building an edit suite on the PC side, Lightworks is going to be one to watch to see exactly where this open source path goes. Intriguing, to say the least.