It’s always something of a challenge to uncover the hidden and not so hidden gems at NAB. Teradek’s zero-latency Bolt 4K transmitter with a 1500-foot range is a tour de force of proprietary technology; the manufacturer utilizing its own secret sauce and broadband RF to address one of the most vexing problems we face on set: how to transmit 4K signals from the camera back to video village (4:2:2/10-bit with HDR no less) without the hiccups or a noticeable delay.
One issue for shooters: the new 4K Bolt has a voracious appetite for power, drawing a rather sizable 10W, which brings up another point.
For DPs and shooters who value an orderly, sane way of life, a profound change in how we mount batteries to our gear can be stressful, akin to a serious marital spat or a overdue divorce. And so it is Arri and Bebob have joined forces to introduce a more rugged ‘B’ mount with smoother, more secure mechanics. For years, we’ve managed cameras, lighting, and whatnot fitted with Gold Mount or V-Lock mounts, and we felt okay about life, save for the occasional inadvertent dislodging of a battery — and the resulting injuries to toes and floor in run-and-gun situations.
The new Bebob batteries are lightweight and rugged as hell – you can literally throw them against an NAB badge inspector, not that you should or would want to. And they are bi-voltage in keeping with our times: 12/24V – a huge consideration going forward as Arri and lighting manufacturers like LitePanels turn increasingly to the higher, more efficient operating voltage. The Bebob batteries also auto-sense the appropriate voltage required to power a camera, reducing the deep anxiety many of us feel when confronting 24V, given the prospects of applying the incorrect voltage and suffering the consequences. Of course, this leaves many of us wondering what to do with all our V-Lock and Gold Mount stuff. Bebob currently offers the requisite adapters, and Wooden Camera, Anton Bauer, and many others will no doubt do the same soon. Improvements to our way of life can be a bear.
On the optics side, there was great joy in my wanderings, as Canon at long last has addressed the nagging issue of ramping that has plagued long telephoto zooms forever. Conventional wisdom held that the ugly drop off in resolution and contrast was unavoidable due to inherent physical compromises in lens design considering physical, size, weight, and price. Canon’s new ARIA system – the acronym stands for, uh, ready for this? Automatic Restoration of Illumination Attenuation – compensates for this loss of contrast and resolution by dynamically and continuously increasing gain in camera to compensate. The system, while implemented currently only in the Sony HDC-4300 broadcast camera, will hopefully be applied more broadly in the future to more camera-and-lens combinations from other manufacturers.
Hey, this stuff matters. My quest continues. Stay tuned.