You might see the same company, but what they’re producing may have changed. New camera manufacturers bring change to the cinema landscape, as do gimbals and the ever growing camera support products. NAB 2014 showcased them, now here are the prime selections.
We scoured the NAB 2014 show floor with the broadcast field as packed as ever, and had to look past hundreds of products to bring you these select few to be called tradeshow’s best. We found some companies trying new types of products, expanding on a solid following. This of course brings up some big names like AJA and Blackmagic, but in areas that are fairly new to them. New products are seemingly always coming out in camera support, and each built smarter and stronger. Again, we saw a couple established names crossover into territory that is new, and gimbals are beginning to feel like the new action camera - it’s great that they go together, but everyone is making them and applying them for smooth floating image stabilization. Here’s our Best Products of NAB 2014.
Best of Show Award: Blackmagic URSABlackmagic URSA modular design really represents three cameras and then some, so some might call it cheating, but we'll just say that the versatility will make this camera very appealing to a wide audience. Blackmagic Design’s URSA features a removable component that contains the lens mount and sensor, so the base unit can be equipped to use EF, PL or B4 mounts. The EF and PL versions have a 4K super 35 image sensor, while the B4 will have a sensor aimed at the broadcast market. There’s even a body only version with a 4K HDMI input so any capable camera can take advantage of the multitude of LCD screens on the main unit. The EF version hits a sweet price point at just under $6,000 while the PL version goes for just under $6,500. The B4 and HDMI version prices are pending, as well as shipping dates as of the tradeshow announcement. The Blackmagic URSA is one of the earliest cameras with 12G-SDI, and combats rolling shutter issues by using a global shutter. The built-in 10-inch screen is a first and the camera is designed with two five inch touch screens for DOP and camera assistants stations. It also has the biggest audio meters and dials we’ve seen for the audio engineer. We didn't even mention that DaVinci Resolve 11 is set to be included with the camera, so we're just getting more and more excited to start trying this one out. For shaking up the industry again, the Blackmagic Design URSA deserves our Best of Show Award for NAB 2014.
Best Mirrorless Camera: Panasonic LUMIX GH4GH4, we're very impressed by the little camera that can do great things. With video at both UHD and DCI 4K, a Micro Four Thirds mount and ease of use, this LUMIX camera gets great images. 4K bitrates of 100Mb/s and HD bitrates of 200Mb/s will test the UHS Speed Class U3 SDHC or SDXC card you decide to use, while the flip out OLED will make it easier to shoot. The GH4 is small but strong with a magnesium alloy body, and room to grow with attachments, notably one that can provide XLR inputs and audio meters. The zebra patterns are a very welcome exposure assist, and a Synchro Scan can help take out the flicker from a monitor or fluorescent lights. Since cameras can be very compact these days we decided to celebrate the GH4 for being both small and exceptional.
Best Light of NAB 2014: Kino Flo Celeb 400 DMX
To add gels or mounts, it is a clear and secure task to slide a light modifier into the front slots. Ultimately it makes the job of lighting less of a chore. At nearly four feet long, it's going to cover a lot of your set. The entire case will be 53lb. or less depending on whether you go for the center or yoke mount kit. The Celeb 400 DMX brings great versatility and lighting power to sets, and saves valuable time, so these are clear reasons why we’ll call the Celeb 400 DMX the best light of NAB 2014.
Best Plug-in of NAB 2014 Award: Red Giant Universe
Best Camera Accessory of NAB 2014 Award: Sachtler Ace Accessories
Best Action Camera Support of NAB 2014 Award: Dactylcam Go Rig
Best Stabilizer of NAB 2014 Award: Freefly Movi M5
Best Computer Monitor of NAB 2014 Award: HP Dreamcolor Z24x Display
Colors: 1.07 billion. Not bad, not bad, probably more than you or we could name. Actually, the Z24x is the smaller of two displays, but is significantly less costly at $600. As a color critical display, Ethernet-based remote control, through an integrated Web server, is in a league of its own. It has 1920x1200 resolution and 10-bit color accuracy with an easy-to change color space and color calibration. The quick access to presets includes specific color spaces, including some that sound like named stars beyond the Milky Way: sRGB D65, sRGB D50, Adobe RGB, BT.709, BT.2020 and DCI-P3. Plus users have the ability to create custom color spaces and control the primaries, white point and tone response. While supported for Linux, Mac and Windows, the Z24x must be calibrated on a Windows system. This is some of the best news yet in terms of color critical monitors coming down in price.
Best Storage of NAB 2014 Award: G-Technology G-SPEED Studio RAID
Best Motion Control System of NAB 2014 Award: edelkrone Wizard
Best External Recorder of NAB 2014 Award: Atomos Shogun
Most Innovative Product of NAB 2014 Award: Flo Light CycLight
The news from NAB 2014 may not last very long but the products will and these here will be among the markings of another excellent year in video production innovations. The way we tell stories continues to change and the tools are getting more and more sophisticated. Whether we begin to assign three people to operate a camera, send our camera into floating handheld shots, use effects developed by a visual effects wizard, or light a green screen with one light, the products awarded here, stand to become big reasons for your video production’s success.
Jackson Wong is an associate editor for Videomaker.