NAB highlights


The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show is over for another year with official attendance figures of 103 012 for the 2016 spectacle.

The exhibition featured 1 874 companies spanning 1 063 380 net square-feet of exhibit space. As usual there were many familiar faces, exhibitors and new products on show in what has undoubtably become the new product testing ground for the broadcast market.

On the camera front Craft Camera made headlines as the impressive modular camera that came out of nowhere. The company had leaked information teasing a production camera leading up to NAB 2016. Being modular, you can attach a 4K Video Element that has a Super 35mm CMOS Sensor with Global Shutter or you can attach an HD Video Element with a Super 16mm CMOS Sensor and Global Shutter. Beautifully crafted, this is one to look out for.

Another surprise was Chinese camera manufacturer Kinefinity who unveiled the new 5K and 6K Terra modular cameras. The cameras record ProRes 422HQ 10 bits. Clips can also be recorded in KineRAW, which can be transcoded into CinemaDNG and ProRres by the company’s own KineStation software.

Each year at NAB, Sony releases a product that pushes the limits of technology. Two years ago it was the a7S. Last year it was the a7R II. This year, it’s the HDC­-4800.This new monstrous high-end machine (I have no other words to describe it!) can record 4K images at up to 480fps when paired with the accompanying BPU-4800 processor. This new ENG camera was being described by many at the show as “the future of live production, a lot of everything – very high frame rate, very high resolution – a new era in modern sports production.”

Virtual Reality (VR) was a big part of NAB 2016. Nokia showed off the Ozo, the $60 000 360-degree camera. It’s the first VR camera designed for professional productions – and it has a price point to match. Also on the floor was the new GoPro Omni rig, designed to hold six Hero cameras. The Omni rig won the Best of NAB 2016 product award.

There was no sign of the GoPro Solo drone but competitors DJI featured heavily in the Drone zone and perhaps one of the most impressive drone accessories was their Ronin MX gimbal. At $1 599, this new gimbal from DJI allows for cameras up to 4.5kgs! The gimbal itself is lightweight, and DJI is promoting the ability to easily switch between flight and ground modes, allowing any Ronin MX to get hooked into a drone and fly with relative ease.

Shaking the storage scene was Lacie which is no stranger to Mac workflows big and small as they revealed their 12big Thunderbolt 3 12-Bay Desktop RAID storage solution. Loaded with 12 7200rpm enterprise-class Seagate drives for a record-setting 96TB of desktop storage!

On the audio front some of the more popular new gadgets were accessories for DSLRs. Tascam debuted the DR-10SG, a $199 recorder with built-in microphone that attaches directly to your camera. The DR-10SG also uses a Dual Recording mode with records a secondary track at a lower level, in case you experience any popping or loud bursts of sound from your subject.

Sennheiser announced a new supercardioid microphone designed specifically for DSLR and mirrorless users. The MKE 440 is a stereo pair set up in a new arrangement developed by Sennheiser. The V shaped setup is said to represent the viewpoint of the camera. This allows the microphone to pick up dialogue and ambient noise, offering more sound mapping of the shooting environment.

On the software side, Blackmagic keeps consistent with releasing great new stuff at NAB as they have in years past, and the release of Resolve 12.5 seems to be in line with a great update. Featuring over 1 000 enhancements and 250 new features that give editors and colourists dozens of new editing and trimming tools, incredible new media management and organisation functions. There are new HDR grading tools, vastly improved noise reduction, lens distortion correction, a completely redesigned Deliver page for outputting projects amongst many more!

Adobe wasn’t going to let anyone down on the software side. Premiere users will be delighted to learn about additions to last year’s popular Lumetri Color Panel and Scopes features, support for more native formats (including 6K and 8K files), and even VR workflows. New features in both Premiere Pro and Media Encoder will give more control over the handling of files during the ingest process along with more flexibility when working with very large media. Premiere Pro will also now support 6k and 8k files from RED WEAPON cameras. For those working on more lightweight platforms, you’ll now be able to generate proxies on ingest, automatically associating them with the native full-resolution media. A single click will let you toggle between the two. Pretty neat.

NAB continues to surprise all who visit and I am already looking forward to next year!


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