Take one city of sin, 1.92 million square feet of floor space over many buildings, mix in 3,250 exhibitors launching 20,000 new products, sprinkle with handful of comfy-shoe-wearing Videomaker editors for frantic coverage of the show floor, and serve to 150,000 enthusiastic attendees along with the countless online audience. This recipe, baked in about four days of dry January air in Las Vegas, yields one 2013 International CES. The vibe at CES is always fun, filled with wonder and the promise of “the next great thing.” Each year has an unofficial focus for those of us in video, from DSLR video a few years ago to 3D in 2012, and this year was no different. So what was everybody talking about this year?

The Belle of the Halls

Of the thousands of products, services and concepts on display, the focus for 2013 CES would have to be Ultra HD. Ultra HD, or 4k video, looks to be where our cameras and televisions – and based on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approving the H.265 compression standard for 4k Web video – our computers, are headed. Clocking in at quadruple the resolution of 1080p (yep, a minimum of 3860 x 2160 or 2160p), it’s going to be important to stay on top of the absolute latest in hardware and software to keep up.

Luckily, the manufacturers and developers brought their top game to CES for us to fawn and fidget over. Let’s take a look at some of what we saw as we ran from one end to the other of the Las Vegas Convention Center this year.

AMD

AMD impressed this year with a number of key products in their lineup of processors. Highlighted were a series of Accelerated Processing Units (APU) promising high, multi-core performance in the next generation of desktops, portables, all-in-ones and tablets.

Also announced was their Radeon HD 8000 and HD 8000M and series of GPUs. Supporting DirectX 11.1 and incorporating AMD Graphics Core Next architecture, the Radeon HD 8000 and 8000M GPUs will be powering visuals on new ASUS, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo and other original equipment manufacturers.

Of special note was the AMD SurRound House. The SurRound House was a room representing a cabin with 10 1080p televisions mounted in portrait on all four walls acting as the cabin’s windows, each paired with four speakers, essentially creating a 10,800 x 1920 (20 megapixel), 32 channel surround experience. Viewers were treated to a stunning two and a half minute vignette where neck craning was essential to take in all that happens around the cabin. Check out YouTube for attendee-shot video from the room.

Corel

The folks at Corel were kind enough to preview their upcoming editing offering, Corel VideoStudio Pro X6. Slated for launch this spring, VideoStudio Pro X6 gives VideoStudio Pro X5 users plenty to look forward to, including 4k output, motion tracking, variable speed control, AVCHD 2.0 support, DSLR stop motion control, and support for QuickTime movies with alpha channels.

Blue Microphones

Blue Microphones updated its award-winning lineup of USB recording products with Nessie, a USB microphone designed to take the work out of recording vocals and instruments. Features include an integrated shock mount, de-esser, pop filter, EQ and automatically adjust level controls.

A single cardioid condenser microphone, the Nessie includes three recording modes to accommodate vocals, instruments and anything else you can bang a stick on.

Canon

Following the Christmas 2012 discontinuation of the epic EOS 5D Mark II, all eyes were on Canon to deliver at CES 2013, and they didn’t disappoint.

Canon announced a new flagship in their VIXIA lineup, the VIXIA HF G20. With 32GB of on-board storage, a 10x optical zoom and a manual focus ring, the VIXIA HF G20 has excellent potential for home users, documentarians and prosumers.

Rounding out the VIXIA lineup are VIXIA HF R42, VIXIA HF R40 and VIXIA HF R400. All feature the same DIGIC DV 4 processor and 3.28-megapixel CMOS sensor. With 53x zoom, recording bitrates up to 35mb/s and a bevy of streaming features, there are no bad options in the Canon lineup.

CyberLink

Creators of PowerDVD 12 and PowerDirector 11, CyberLink previewed a couple of interesting software entries for media users.

An innovative product, and winner of Videomaker’s “Best Video Editing Software” for the 2012 International CES, PowerDirector Mobile will import, edit, style, preview and export videos based on clips stored on a Windows 8 tablet. With an intuitive storyboard-view interface, PowerDirector Mobile will help casual editors close the gap between tablet and desktop editing.

The second piece of software on display was PowerDVD Touch, a touch-optimized media player for Windows 8. PowerDVD Touch supports multi-touch and can deal with most current audio and video file types, including MPEG2, MKV, Blu-ray, DVD, Dolby, and DTS. PowerDVD Touch creates an immersive experience for Windows 8 users looking to play back their audio and video content by hand.

Dolby

While known better for its audio technology, Dolby Laboratories, Inc. showed with its strength in the world of autosteroscopic, or glasses-free, 3D. While its technology, which was developed with Philips, is still in the prototype stage, it was shown in working form on flatscreen televisions, laptops and tablets. Dolby’s prototype has shown that autostereoscopic 3D is likely just around the corner.

On the media format front, Dolby announced that their premium audio standard UltraViolet Common File Format (CFF) using Dolby Digital Plus will be the audio content standard of choice for thousands of TV shows and movies from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. We should be able to pick up our favorite movies on UltraViolet soon.

Glidecam

Our winner for Best Camera Support of CES, the Glidecam’s iGlide, is the latest offering in its series of small camera stabilization systems. The iGlide delivers smooth results for cameras between six and 12 ounces, boasting a 3-way gimbal and solid construction. Whether using the optional iPhone adapter or plunking your favorite action camera on it, the iGlide can smooth out consumer videos everywhere.

JVC
JVC surprised consumers and pros alike with the release of the GC-PX100, a top-of-the-line camera capable of high speed recording at up to 600 frames per second, all at a fast aspherical F1.2 aperture. With a pricetag barely creeping into the four-figure range (a Sony NEX-FS700UK, with a maximum 960fps by comparison, is about $10k), many video enthusiasts will be playing with footage shot at this speed for the first time.

Lenovo

Our winner for Best Workstation of CES is the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S , a revised iteration of the unique and capable IdeaPad Yoga 11 tablet/laptop hybrid. With an 11-inch touch screen that folds all the way around, it’s possible to use the device in a standing tented position, or folded all the way back so it can be used as a tablet. With an Intel Core i7 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage and running Windows 8 Pro, the IdeaPad Yoga 11S definitely contends for one of the most usable devices in the portable space.

Other highlights of the Lenovo booth included the IdeaCentre Horizon hybrid desktop/tabletop computer. With a 27-inch touchscreen, this all-in-one can be laid flat to function as a tabletop computer.

Panasonic

Panasonic brought some fun stuff to CES, including a 4k camcorder. While the model on display wasn’t quite ready for primetime, the footage shown from this prosumer camera was displayed at 4096×2160 from one HDMI output as well as connectivity with a 20-inch 4k display, complete with circuitry in the shape of a heart. This is going to be one to watch.

Panasonic also updated the popular HC-X900 with the HC-X920, a notable update complete with an advanced five-axis image image stabilizing system, built-in Wi-Fi for remote audio and video monitoring on a tablet or smartphone, and 20.4 megapixel still photos. It includes a manual ring around the lens, which can be assigned to zoom, focus, shutter speed, or iris. This camera should appeal to shooters who prefer all of the extra features and controls that DSLR shooting doesn’t.

Also in the Panasonic stable was the HX-A100 wearable camcorder. While designed to take on the action cameras of the world like those from GoPro and Contour, Panasonic has chosen a different form factor. The camera’s recorder, SD card and battery are in a pack kept on your person and connected to the lens by a cable.

Last but not least, Panasonic brought along four rugged, pistol grip format 1080p camcorders, the HX-WA30, HX-WA3 and HX-DC3. Of these, the HX-WA30 is the most interesting, which is waterproof to 10m.

RØDE Microphones

Manufacturers of high-end microphones, RØDE Microphones brought something interesting to CES this year. The RØDE iXY microphone is a bi-directional stereo microphone that hooks up to iPhone 4s and iPads via their 30-pin port, essentially converting it to a professional audio capture device when paired with the six-dollar RØDE Rec app.

Samsung

Up until now, shooting in 3D has required a camera using two lenses, an attachment with multiple lenses or a custom mount for two separate cameras. Changing that dynamic, Samsung has released its NX300, a single lens 3D consumer camera. That’s right.  It shoots video in 3D with one lens. The lens is interesting one too – an NX 45mm F1.8 2D/3D lens. The camera has a 20 megapixel CMOS sensor and shoots 1080p video along with 3D video. Samsung also extends the usability of the NX300 camera by using the SMART CAMERA App which extends the viewfinder to become a remote, as if the tiltable LCD wasn't good enough. The DRIMe IV imaging engine makes the camera able to capture two or three dimensions of video and better color.

Seagate

Seagate brought some interesting tech to CES this year. Both its Wireless Plus and Seagate Central products garnered attention for their innovation.

Wireless Plus is a storage and streaming device that can store 500 movies and simultaneously stream up to three high-definition videos to your tablet or smartphone using the Seagate Media app, wirelessly and without an Internet connection. With a battery life of up to 10 hours, Seagate’s Wireless Plus should partner up well with iOS, Android and Kindle Fire HD portable devices.

Seagate Central is a device designed to store, organize and centralize your media content. Have you ever re-purchased a song in iTunes or grabbed the same piece of stock footage because you forgot you had it on a different device? This won’t happen unless you want it to. Seagate Central continuously and seamlessly backs up media content, even in mixed Windows 8/iOS environments.

Sony Electronics

Sony brought a few cameras out to 2013 CES as well. A nice, balanced and affordable camera is the HDR-PJ380. While priced at $600, the HDR-PJ380 comes with many functions, including an HDMI input for the built-in projector. This is an attractive camera with its excellent image quality, 16GB of internal storage, a good 230k-dot display in a three-inch LCD.

In Sony’s line of consumer cameras with built-in projectors, the HDR-PJ790 is the top dog, carrying the the brightest projector with 35 lumens. This camera also packs 5.1 surround sound, a versatile multi-interface shoe, 96GB of internal storage, balanced optical image stabilization, and a 24 megapixel sensor. This also goes hand in hand with 1920×1080 24p and 60p recording. Wi-Fi isn’t built-in, but is possible through an optional accessory mounted in the hot shoe.

For the third generation, the HDR-TD30 is a camera that brings a glasses-free 3D display to a handheld camcorder. The TD30’s update includes two BIONZ image processors and can still capture quality HD video with the rest of them.

Technicolor

One of our Spotlight Award winners, Technicolor’s CineStyle Color Assist gives those of us outside Hollywood studios the opportunity to color correct like the pros. After all, the 25 presets, called CineStyle Looks, were created by professional colorists. Featuring non-destructive color correction, using industry-standard 3-Way Color Corrector and curves, CineStyle Color Assist will be an invaluable tool to Final Cut Pro 7 and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 and CS6 editors.

Toshiba

Toshiba was in the thick of the 4K maelstrom, bringing an all-new 84-inch version of the new L9300 series 4K TV to accompany their existing 55-inch model, the 55ZL2. This monster is loaded with smart TV features, such as Wi-Fi, a 240 Hz refresh rate and noise reduction.

Conclusion

As in past years, 2013 International CES brings the best technology from the most advanced companies on the planet. In a centralized location the size of … oh, 38 football fields, consumers have the enviable ability to see some products that will land on the shelves of their favorite big electronics store in the coming year. The ability to peer into the future and see some of the visions these manufacturers, developers and inventors are dreaming up will surely tantalize and inspire each of us to think outside of the box in our own video endeavors.

Russel Fairley owns a turnkey video production company presenting 200+ videos a year, featuring Web videos, TV commercials, and live event coverage.

Sidebar:

Videomaker’s CES Spotlight Awards
CES is always a jam-packed thrilled of new products and innovations, and Videomaker covers the show-floor looking for standouts products that fit our readers interests. Check out our annual CES Awards feature at this link: www.videomaker.com/article/16014.

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