Everyone thinks of NAB as the heartbeat of the video production and filmmaking industry. It's where all the big players come out to show their new products to the media and potential buyers with deep pockets (think B&H Photo or Adarama). Cinegear, which takes place annually at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, features many of the same companies, but is a completely different type of expo.
[image:blog_post:32845]Unlike bigger shows, Cinegear is open to the general public. That means that for $25, anyone who wants to can rub shoulders with the product developers who actually make the gear you and I hope to use on a day-to-day basis. Attendees are free to pick their brains and talk shop about all the camera equipment, audio and lighting gear the show has on display. Not surprisingly, the variety of the gear at Cinegear ranges widely. For example, the Shape rig in the image to the left retails in the thousands—highly professional—yet GoPro, had one of the bigger booths and was one of the primary sponsors. Being Videomaker, we love seeing all the ultra high end gear, but we tried to focus mainly on video production equipment made with limited-budget filmmakers in mind. We spent some time at Cinegear this year to bring you some of the highlights.
Rigs, Rigs, Rigs (and Other Support Systems)
[image:blog_post:32849]A trend at Cinegear (let's face it, video production as a whole) this year was rigs. In addition to the aforementioned Shape, we also spent time checking out Zacuto, Wooden Camera, ikan, F&V, Manfrotto, and Redrock Micro to name a few. The world of camera rigs is very competitive, yet each company has their niche. For most Videomaker readers, checking out camera rigs, and camera support as a whole, may be the most compelling reason to attend Cinegear. Being able to see, touch, and try out all the best rigs, dollies, and stabilizers on the market in one setting is incredibly valuable.
To be honest, Cinegear didn't seem like the best place to check out what's on the market in terms of lighting, likely due to its outdoor setting. At NAB, lighting companies tend to have their products powered on, and it's easy to judge the lighting quality, color, etc. This is much more difficult when you're contending with the sun. That said, we did see a few companies worth mention. In particular, it was nice to visit with Sunbounce. The outdoor setting was perfect for them, considering how much their product line is made up of reflectors, diffusers, and wind-killers. Additionally, we spoke with K 5600, who told us about an upcoming HMI light kit that should be priced reasonably as an entry point for filmmakers looking for their first HMI setup (exact price and availability yet to be announced).
[image:blog_post:32848]Many of the big players were present this year, including Canon, Sony, and Blackmagic. In our experience, filmmakers tend to decide on their camera of choice based on tech-specs or prior experience; not so much based on show-room demos. Still, having a little hands-on time with higher-end cameras, if you don't have access to them otherwise, might be worth the cost of admission. In addition to cameras like the Arri Alexa or the Canon C500, attendees have a chance to see high-end cinema cameras with large, anamorphic lenses, the likes of which many of us never get a chance to purchase for our own collections.
The stand-out camera (at least for us), was the Digital Bolex. here is a camera designed by a husband and wife duo, debuted on Kickstarter in March of 2012. It can be difficult to nail down the Digital Bolex team, as they rarely (if ever) purchase a booth. Rather, they tend to wander the show floor, camera in hand. We had a brief chat with co-founder, Elle Schneider, and got some hands on (though powered off) time with the Bolex. This camera has a truly unique form; one which we highly recommend you try before you buy after the camera is released later this year.
Monitors, Mics, and Miscellaneous
[image:blog_post:32850]Surprisingly, there wasn't a lot in terms of audio equipment at Cinegear. It's especially surprising considering how important audio is for video production. At a projected price of $299, we're excited to try Azden's WR32 Pro dual channel UHF receiver, targeted to be out this September. Also on the floor was The Odyssey 7Q: a video recorder/monitor from Convergent Design which can record a variety of raw formats including 2k raw FS700 footage at 240fps! While not for hobbiests, if you already have a camera that take advantage of the Odyssey 7Q's capabilities, the near $2300 price tag shouldn't scare you. Finally, we saw a really slick system from Paralinx called Arrow. For around $900, this system allows you to transmit uncompressed 4:2:2 1920×1080 video wirelessly up to 300 feet.
Cinegear may not be the biggest filmmaking and video production trade show around, but it might be one of the most fun. It's mostly outdoors, they serve In-n-Out burgers and adult beverages to those that want them, and the atmosphere is casual. You are actually able to have conversations with people without shouting or being interrupted. It's always a treat to be able to converse with both filmmakers and product manufacturers about our craft. If you're in the Los Angeles area this time next year, we recommend forking over the $25 to attend.
Mike Wilhelm is Videomaker's Content Director.