Videomaker 2012 NAB Spotlight Awards

Equipment tradeshows are a great way to see the newest products to hit the market in a centralized location. Every year the Videomaker team winds through the halls and weaves through exhibits, spotting the newest trends and changing technology, looking for products that we believe our readers will enjoy learning about. Our Spotlight awards highlight a few of those standout products.

Best Camcorder: Sony NEX-FS700U – 4K High Speed Camcorder

The NEX-FS700U is worth talking about as a 4K camera with a Super CMOS 35mm sensor and optimization for high speed shooting, we don’t know where to start.

We couldn’t give this one the best camera at NAB without mentioning the E-mount that will accept a host of lenses. The total of 11.6MP is plenty for a camera that has high sensitivity, adds little noise and minimal aliasing. You may have expected built-in ND filters, but a whole wheel for it, why not?

At the end of your shoot you’ll be glad the FS700 has 3G HD-SDI and HDMI outputs and was shot either at 960fps or a more pedestrian frame rate, 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, or 24p. This model is ready for 4K, but simply waiting on a future firmware to be provided by Sony. The NEX-FS700 should be available this summer for $9,200. Please read more here.

Best Editing Software: Adobe Production Premium Creative Suite 6 – Editing Suite

You know the name Adobe, what you’re waiting for is CS6 and rightly so, it will be a very strong presence in the video editing world for good reasons, such as a clean and easy-to-use interface and good utilization of 64-bit processing. The suite combines big names like Premiere, Audition, Photoshop and After Effects with many more for a package that gives video professionals and enthusiasts an extensive group of tools.

Their emphasis this time around is to speed up your editing, allowing for hover scrubbing within windows, better/more intuitive performance in Audition and uninterrupted playback in Premiere. Another welcome expansion will be found in the GPU-accelerated warp stabilizing, color correcting and more than four tracks in multicam editing and eliminating nesting. There’s plenty more new features to discover, and as for pricing, the full suite is $1,900 and upgrades are from $375 to $950.

Best Light: Videssence ExceLED Light Kit

These studio lights pack in versatility. Any of the series, E025, E050, E100 and E225 will be good for fill light while the 25 and 50 will also excel as key or back lights, and both the E100 and E225 will be good as general lights for an entire set.

The E025 is tripled up in the ExceLED kit complete with stands, barn doors, gel frames and a flight case. The three lights may either be 3200 or 5600K and no matter the color temperature you’re looking for you’ll have solid and small lights to fill out your set. Please read more here.

Best Support: Zacuto Recoil Stabilizer

The support is only as good as the operator, and in this case it is you. The Recoil will rest the camera on your shoulder. It combines the Gorilla Baseplate which uses both 3/8 and 1/4-inch screws.

What’s special about the Recoil is mounting the camera with the help of a Q-Release directly on top of the shoulder rather than extending away from your body. You won’t find it with any other support, it has the ability to shift the camera’s center of balance and will work best with camera packages measuring less than three feet.

With simple quality, Zacuto has charmed us again with the Recoil, and for $1,375, this support will help you get the job done.


Best Accessory: Roland R26 Portable 6 Track Audio Recorder

We know first hand how useful handheld field recorders are, and the R-26 is sure to be a valuable tool for any videographer. Being able to record six tracks may seem like overkill for video, but it’s actually three stereo inputs and will make it great for two-person interviews and still allow for recording a third mic. The recordings come in as WAVE/BWF or MP3 files and use SD cards. As for inputs to compliment the built-in XY mic, the R-26 sports two phantom powered combo XLR and TRS jacks as well as a plug-in powered miniature mic.

The body of this recorder has two prominent knobs for adjusting volume, which is much preferred to camcorders or other recorders that use an on screen button or side wheel. Overall, the R-26 screams efficient functionality, and sometimes, that’s just what we want.

Spotlight: HP Z1 – Workstation

We’ve been watching this one for a while, and it’s going to have great influence on the layout of many video editors’ desktops. The Z1 brings the upgradeability of a workstation to the desktop, and an all in one desktop at that. Building from a good base is a life lesson, and the Z1 understands it with two of it’s three available processors as a quad-core Intel Xeon processor that is usually reserved for the highest-end computers.

Since the largest thing you’ll see in this computer is the monitor, HP provides a 27-inch display that can tilt horizontally and snap open to allow you to manually add your upgrades – no tools needed. Cool features also include a Blu-ray slot-load writer, 1080p webcam and SATA storage up to 2TB and 300GB SSD. Please read more here.

Spotlight: AJA – T-TAP Adapter

For a little device, the T-TAP will be a very important adapter. It not only supports 10-bit uncompressed video files up to 2K and 3D, but it can transfer those plus 8-channel audio through the HDMI or SDI outputs. The incredibly simple, single input is Thunderbolt, which will draw power from your Mac. This makes for a grand total of three ports on the T-TAP, input on one side, outputs on the other, and the if you set a one-inch-thick smartphone on your desk, that’s about the size of this puppy.

AJA brings its name in the market of quality I/O in the form of the T-TAP ($249.)

Spotlight: Autodesk Smoke 2013 Post-production Software

Visual effects and Autodesk seem to go together extremely well, and generally, Autodesk Smoke has been used by only top level professionals, but now Smoke 2013 is shaking that notion. The redesign from node to layer-based editing is one part of this overhaul, and the brightest part of the deal – what was once $15,000 – is now $3,500. This still puts it on the high-end of post-production software, but it is much more feasible. By combining the node system within the tracks and layers, Smoke retains its powerful compositing.

There is plenty of ability to work on 3D, including editing, titles, logos and complete lighting control. Since many more people will have the opportunity to try this software out, you may be able to see it for yourself. Please read more here.


Spotlight: Blackmagic Cinema Camera

For all the cinema cameras we’ve looked at, none look like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. This one almost has an Apple-feel in its unique silver casing, black rubber grips and hard drive-esque form.

With resolution at 2592X2192, images captured by this camera have the potential for the cinema and the format may be either CinemaDNG for 12-bit RAW or at 1920X1080 ProRes or DNxHD. One incredible feature is the capability to capture with a dynamic range of 13 stops.

The LCD is 5-inches and is a versatile touch screen much akin to a smartphone and will be used to enter metadata directly onto the files on the SSD which will really speed up the whole workflow. Please read more here.

Spotlight: Canon 5D Mark III DSLR Camera

Canon seems to do so many things right when it comes to video on their DSLRs and the 5D Mark III is the next “right” camera. Start with 22MP, a 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor, EF mount lenses, 1920X1080 video at 30p, 25p or 24p and toss in 61-point AF improved audio control – this leaves you with one camera that deserves a spotlight. The DIGIC 5+ image processor is a big addition in terms of performance and will reduce moiré and artifacts.

A fun and useful feature allows two timecodes to be kept, one for acute timing for your recording, and another called Free Run which can be a huge help in syncing multiple cameras. There are still solid features to discover here, but the 5D Mark III is sure to be a strong camera. Please read more here.

Spotlight: VizTools HandiZoom – Zoom Controller

The HandiZoom provides camera and zoom controls at your fingertips, and helps stabilize your shooting. The motorized drive for manipulating the zoom helps ensure a smooth motion. It can also be set at a maximum speed. The HandGrip balances well in one hand, freeing you to dedicate your second hand to zoom. The flexible system has a quick-release for changing Parfocal Twist Type lenses (on Canon cameras as of release.) Control can also come from a remote, and focus can be adjusted with five and 10x magnification.

Spotlight: SmallHD DP7 – Professional Field Monitor

We, like many other video professionals, have come to appreciate SmallHD, and the DP7 monitor is another such product. There are two versions at the same price, one with high brightness and the other using an OLED.

With brightness as great as 1000nit it’ll be easy to monitor outdoors beneath the sunlight, while the OLED has great color reproduction. Both have resolution of 1280×800 with 160 degrees of viewing angle (horizontal and vertical) and both HDMI and HD-SDI inputs and outputs, whew.

SmallHD’s software and support make it easy to keep up with firmware updates. We are excited after noticing the price at the booth to be $2700.

Jackson Wong is an Associate Editor for Videomaker.

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