The Best of CES 2018: Our Favorite New Video Production Tech

Each year, the Videomaker editors tour the floor and sort through the dazzling sights and sounds to discover the most promising new video production tech. Here are ten of our favorite products from CES 2018.

Best Gimbal

DJI Ronin-S
Taking home our award for Best Gimbal of CES 2018, the Ronin-S is a really simplified version of the original Ronin. It’s also a pretty big release for DJI because it’s their first single-handed stabilizer for DSLR and mirrorless cameras. And, being designed with what DJI calls “powerful high-torque motors,” the Ronin-S should be able to support pretty much all the popular camera and lens combinations, like the Canon 5D, Panasonic GH5s and Sony Alpha series cameras. However, the maximum weight that the Ronin-S can hold is not known as of this writing.

Controlling the Ronin-S seems pretty straight-forward: there’s a tiny thumbstick that you use for panning and framing your shots, and there’s a new Sport mode that’s meant to lock onto fast moving subjects as well as a Push mode that DJI says lets you manually adjust the pan and tilt axis by hand.

The Ronin-S also features SmoothTrack technology, which should allow users to get smoother transitions between angles and camera moves with just one hand.

Best Gimbal - DJI Ronin-S
Best Gimbal – DJI Ronin-S

Best Drone

Yuneec Typhoon H Plus
The Yuneec Typhoon H Plus is the follow-up hexacopter to the Typhoon H and features an all-new six-rotor hex frame than promises improved stability and quieter operation.

Starting on the ground, the new PX4-based controller has been redesigned with additional redundancies for more reliable control. The Typhoon H Plus itself has been optimized for improved airflow, cooling and reliability. Yuneec promises this optimization also results in greater efficiency and a 40 percent reduction in flight noise, making it, Yuneec claims, one of the quietest drones available.

The included C23 camera on the Typhoon H Plus uses a one-inch, 20 megapixel sensor that can record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second. Improvements over previous models promise better low-light performance, and the continuous-rotation gimbal and retractable landing gear make for a clear view in any direction.

Improvements over previous models promise better low-light performance, and the continuous-rotation gimbal and retractable landing gear make for a clear view in any direction.

The Typhoon H Plus uses Intel RealSense technology to sense and avoid obstacles, allowing the drone to navigate around them automatically. Automated flight modes, like Follow Me and Curve Cable Cam, are also available. There’s even a 5-rotor mode that aims to compensate for a motor failure. The Typhoon H Plus is priced at around $1,800 dollars.

Best Drone – Yuneec Typhoon H Plus

Best Storage

SanDisk Extreme SSD
The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is intended to be used for saving and editing hi-res videos and photos on the go. It’s listed to have read speeds up to 550MB/s and has capacities available up to 2TB. It also has an IP55 rating, meaning it should be able to withstand all the rain, splashes and dust you may come across during your shoots.

The Extreme Portable SSD works with both Windows and Mac and includes a USB 3.1 Type C connector, USB-C to Type-C cable and a Type-C to Type-A adapter. It comes in capacities up to 2TB and is priced between$100 and $800 dollars.

Best Storage – SanDisk Extreme SSD
Brian Pridgeon from SanDisk

Best NAS

The QNAP TS-453BT3 is a 4-bay NAS that mixes Thunderbolt 3 with a pre-installed QM2 PCle card combined with M.2 SATA SSD caching and 10GBASE-T connectivity. Proudly painting the TS-453BT3 as a device that provides “an ideal environment for professional collaborative media editing and high-speed file sharing,” QNAP says that it’s ideal for small workgroups or production houses.

With Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and 10GbE connectivity, the TS-453BT3 is reported to help with issues like slow connections and small storage capacity when working with big files like 4K video. The enclosure offers up to 8 gigabytes of RAM.

QNAP also says the TS-453BT3’s Dual M.2 SATA 6 Gb/s SSD “allows for setting up caching or storage pool, improving file access efficiency.” Also, they say the machine’s Qtier auto-tiering technology and SSD caching “enables 24/7 optimized storage efficiency.”

Additionally, the TS-453BT3 offers 4K media playback and real-time transcoding, which should allow you to directly view your projects on an HDTV using an HDMI output. And the TS-453BT3 has Qfiling, which QNAP says “automates file organization, greatly improving work efficiency.”

Best NAS – QNAP TS-453BT3
Teddy Kuo from QNAP

Best Mobile Workstation

Dell XPS 13 and 15
The 2017 version of the XPS 13 was the world’s smallest 13.30-inch laptop, but Dell’s managed to make the new 2018 model even smaller. Equipped with either a 4K UHD- or full HD-resolution touch display or a non-touch full HD display, the new XPS is 24 percent smaller by volume, due largely in part to the 4mm border around its InfinityEdge display that in turn gives it an 80.7 percent screen-to-body ratio.

However, to make the laptop more compact, Dell has removed its USB Type-A Ports and full-size SD card reader, offering two Thunderbolt 3 port for connectivity, with a 3.5mm audio jack, a microSD card slot and a USB Type-C port. The XPS 13 2018 will be offered in a number of configurations starting at $1,000 dollars.

Best Desktop Workstation

Acer Predator Orion 9000
The Acer Predator Orion 9000 gaming rig offers up to an Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition processor with 18 cores and 36 threads, and up to dual NVIDA GeForce GTX 1080Ti graphics cards. It also features customizable RGB lighting along the bezel and a push-open top that Acer says will make switching fans easy.

Acer promises that “these desktops can power the hottest games and virtual reality.” More than gaming however, this hardware promises strong performance for video editors as well.

Best Desktop Workstation – Acer Predator Orion 9000

Best Monitor

ViewSonic VP2768-4K
According to ViewSonic, the VP2768-4K professional color critical 4K monitor should have no problem meeting the needs of colorists and post production specialists — and based on what we’ve seen, we agree. This 27-inch display features a 4K UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 and offers Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, promising a fast and versatile connection with speeds up to 40 gigabits per second and a refresh rate of 60Hz

Like previous models in the VP Professional Monitors line, the VP2768-4K is expected to deliver highly accurate color reproduction and uniform brightness across the screen. Each ViewSonic monitor includes an individualized calibration report, but the monitor can also be hardware calibrated with ViewSonic’s Colorbration Kit, developed in collaboration with X-Rite and sold separately. The VP2768-4K is priced at $900 dollars.

Best 360 Camera

Insta360 Nano S
The Insta360 Nano S is the direct successor to the Insta360 Nano. Just like the original Nano, the Nano S is a 360-degree camera that attaches to your iPhone and allows you to capture and share video in 360 degrees.

But unlike the original, which shoots in 3K, the Nano S shoots 4K 360-degree videos along with 20 MP 360-degree photos. The Nano S also introduces 360-video video chatting and a new MultiView feature that Insta360 says will allow Nano S users “to show multiple angles of a scene simultaneously and share them via a live broadcast or one-on-one chat,” according to Insta360.

Insta360 also says that the Nano S will allow its users to make a 360-degree video call to anyone–meaning the recipient doesn’t need an Insta360 camera themselves to move through the 360-degree call.

The Nano S’ MultiView feature should also allow users to adjust content inside each individual section of a split-screen layout. It’s said to offer five different layouts, three simultaneous angles and an adjustable level of zoom. The MultiView feature should be usable for live-streams and video chats, along with editing your 360-degree content.

The MultiView will offer integrated support for 360-degree live-streaming on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (via Periscope), and you'll also be able to share your 360-degree video through the Insta360 Nano S app.

Other attributes of the Nano S include the FreeCapture feature, which Insta360 describes as a “unique method of framing a shot [in which] users can recapture a scene by maneuvering their phone in real-time to explore a 360° clip, exactly as though they had returned to that moment in time and were filming it with a standard smartphone camera.” The Nano S should also be able to sync with an iphone’s gyro and correct wobbles and shakes in real time using a new stabilization algorithm.

Best 360 Camera – Insta360 Nano S

Best Smartphone

LG V30
Like the V10 and V20 before it, the new LG V30 is designed specifically for videographers who want to capture professional-quality video on the go.

The new V30 features dual rear cameras — one capturing a wide angle field of view of 120 degrees and the other capturing a more neutral 70-degree field of view. The standard angle camera uses a glass Crystal Clear lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.6 and optical image stabilization, promising improved color reproduction and better low-light performance. There is also a front facing camera with a maximum aperture of f/2.2

Perhaps more impressive than the lens, the phone’s primary camera is powered by a new 10-bit HDR sensor capable of capturing 1.07 billion colors — more than twice as many colors (LG claims) as the typical smartphone. The 10-bit sensor should also reduce dithering and improve shading and depth, giving your image more detail and clarity.

In addition, the new phone features both a fully manual mode and the LG-Cine Log profile along with built-in tools like Cine Effect color-grading presets. The V30 also includes a Point Zoom feature that lets you zoom in — without pinching — to any point in the frame while controlling the zoom speed.

All of this leads to a phone that can record 4K video at 30 frames per second and 720p video at up to 240 frame per second. Time-lapse video is also available, and you can edit your shots in-phone using LG’s Quick Video Editor or Snap Movie.

The V30’s bezel-less design complements its OLED FullVision display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The phone should also be able to withstand the rigors of daily use with its H-beam construction method — it meets U.S. military drop test standards and is rated dust and water resistant at the IP68 standard.

The LG V30 is available in two models: the 825-dollar LG V30 featuring 64GB of internal storage and the 930-dollar V30+ with 128GB of storage. Both support microSD cards up to 2TB and feature 4GB of RAM.

Best Smartphone – LG V30

Best Camera

Panasonic LUMIX GH5s
Yes! It’s finally here. After months of rumors and speculations blazing up the Internet, Panasonic has finally unveiled the highly anticipated successor to the GH5: the GH5s, fittingly unveiling it on the one year anniversary of the GH5 announcement.

The GH5 really lived up to our (high) expectations, so we were super excited to see its follow-up at CES 2018, especially since Panasonic promised us a ton of new features, like a new 10.2-megapixel Digital MOS sensor that’ll further enhance their already outstanding camera.

With that 10.2-megapixel Digital MOS sensor, combined with Dual Native ISO Technology and Venus Engine 10, the hybrid Digital Single Lens Mirrorless GH5s aims to correct one of our only issues with the GH5: its performance in low light. On reviewing the GH5, we started to see noise at ISO 800 and any video shot above ISO 64,000 really wasn’t correctable in post. With the GH5s however, Panasonic promises better low-light performances with higher ISOs, going even as far to say that videographers “no longer need to worry about noise” at higher ISOs, because the GH5s’ Dual Native ISO Technology is supposed to suppress noise in all kinds of light. Its sensor is also supposed to be much more sensitive than the GH5’s, allowing for -5EV luminance detection with Low Light AF.

The sensor is also reported to enable photo shooting in 14-bit RAW format. Both videographers and photographer should be able to have the same diagonal field of view on all aspect ratios with the GH5s thanks to the True “Multi-Aspect Ratio” Function, a feature that Panasonic says will allow users to swap between different aspect ratios for better accuracy with your lenses and make producers’ and editors’ jobs much easier.

The GH5S’ is poised to be the world’s first Digital Single Lens Mirrorless camera that offers 4K 60p video recording in Cinema 4K —a pretty big milestone. And thankfully, just like the GH5, there shouldn’t be any record time limit for either full HD or 4K recording on the GH5s. The GH5s is also said to a offer a low-bit-rate record mode (4K HEVC for HLG) and comply with 4K HDR video with HLG mode in Photo Style.

As for slow-mo, Panasonic reports the GH5s shoots video in 4K at 60 fps, for a maximum 2.5x slow-mo, and in full HD at 240 fps, for a maximum 10x slow-mo. The camera will allow users to shoot time-lapse, as well.

The GH5s promises to improve on the already impressive GH5. Though its $2,499 dollar price, for the body only, is higher than the GH5’s $2,000 dollar price tag, the GH5S aims to offer better performance in areas like low-light shooting and to satisfy both videographers and photographers alike with a bundle of new features.

Best Camera – Panasonic LUMIX GH5s

Until Next Time

Congratulations to all of our award winners from this year’s show, and a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to show off their latest offerings. We’re looking forward to spending more time with all of these new production tools, and we can’t wait to see the video production innovations they make possible.

Susan Schmierer
Susan Schmierer
Susan is the Art Director at Videomaker and Creator Handbook Magazines.

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