So Tuesday I was back wandering the halls of NAB. I meant to start it at our Studio Prime Awards — but due to a stuck Coca-Cola semi blocking the shuttle bus exit I missed them. I started in the the front of South Hall at Blackmagic Design, then went to the back of Central Hall. Unofficially I refer to it as the knock-off pavilion, but even there, where a large percentage of items are cheap, reverse-engineered products, I found some original products to add to yesterday's standouts.
1. Blackmagic Design Duplicator 4K – This device has an H.265 encoder that can record to 25 SD card slots. It can be hooked up to the output of a camera or switcher during a live production and have 25 copies ready for distribution at the end of the event. The program signal can be looped through to an unlimited number of Duplicator 4K units to make an unlimited number of copies at one time. This unit works in real time only, and can not copy at faster-than-real-time seeds like USB data duplicators. MSRP $1995.
2. Blackmagic Micro Converters – There are two models: HD-SDI to HDMI and HDMI to SDI. They are both one-way converters, but they are only $85 MSRP, so it is easy to afford a couple going in both directions, and they are tiny enough not to get in your way at one-third the size of their mini converters.
3. Matrox Monarch LCS – This device will be of interest to educators and anyone who records a lot of lectures where Power Point-type presentations are used. It has two HDMI and one HD-SDI that can be switched between via software or buttons on the unit. Through the software control, you can set up the sources as full screen, side-by-side, or picture-in-picture, and cut between the different configurations. The unit can record to two USB sticks and one SD card slot. MSRP $2495.
4. Tough Gaff – If you've ever been on a film or TV set, no doubt you've seen a gaffer or production assistant running around, hands full, with a roll of gaffer tape hanging from their belt with rope or a carabiner, requiring two hands to rip off a piece — meaning they probably have to put something down to do it. The “Tough Gaff” mounts as a holster on the gaffer's belt (a Tough Gaff belt is optional), comes in one- or two-inch widths and allows the tape to be ripped with one hand. I spoke to a few people on the show floor who thought it was great and were buying it for themselves and their crew. MSRP: One-inch, $25; two-inch, $30.
5. Tascam DR-701D – This is a six-track recorder for use with DSLRs that includes four XLR microphone inputs, two built-in mics, timecode sync via HDMI for record start, timecode, and perfect clock reference to picture. This should speed up syncing of separate audio and video recordings by a lot. Like other Tascam models, it offers a dual-record system at a lower level, in case your main tracks get overdriven. Street price $599
6. Intellytech FL-40 Airlight – This is a 10×10-inch flat and flexible bi-color (tungsten and daylight) LED light that is less than 1/4-inch thick. It produces 1950 lux at 3 feet. Its brightness and color are controlled via an included control module. The unit's flexibility allows it to be mounted in tight spaces such as cars, and it's light enough to be gaffer-taped to a ceiling. MSRP $499
7. Audio Technica System 10 – This is a digital microphone system that allows two systems to be used together in a configuration with two receivers stacked on the camera with a special mount. Using two systems, the mics can automatically sync with the receivers and keep from interfering with each other, at a moderate price. With an optional cable, the lav transmitter can also be plugged into line-level devices to get feeds from boards. Street price: Lav system, $449.95; handheld, $399.95.
8. Orca Alarm Bag – This equipment bag has a Wi-Fi connection to your smartphone. If someone moves it a settable distance from where you put it down, it will sound an alarm on your phone and give an idea where it is. No pricing yet.
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