New Trends And Technologies To Watch At NAB 2018

When the 2018 NAB trade show opens on April 7, 2018, the broadcast industry will take a big step into the future as the world of digital video takes on both new and evolving technologies and trends. More than 100,000 people annually attend this show, making it the de-facto place to discover and sample the tools needed to keep broadcast and cinema video development moving into the future.

We will be on-hand to cover the NAB show here at the HDVideo Pro blog, so check back all week for looks at our favorite gear and tech.

With the consumer electronics industry having already sold countless 4K TV sets—and the price on those sets plummeting due to an economy of scale—CE manufacturers have begun heavily promoting HDR sets. Their promise of bold, accurate colors and enhanced contrast and dynamic range are attracting customers—even if there isn’t a lot of HDR content available yet.

With most content creators embracing 4K and most manufacturers providing various solutions for 4K creation, the world is starting to look to 8K, largely thanks to the 2020 Olympics in Japan, which will be transmitted in-country at 8K.

Since 4K HDR content can take advantage of a wider dynamic range than HD content, the full-frame-sensor approach to 4K (and higher) content creation is becoming more popular.

Canon, for example, has announced a full-frame version of their venerable EOS C700, the EOS C700 FF. This camera, evolved from the DSLR market Canon pioneered, offers full frame image-creation, and the ability to use big, beautiful lenses (including their new 20mm cine lens) for a cine approach to video. This joins the Sony Venice, announced last year, in an increasingly interesting space.

Even the sub-full-frame market is getting more interesting. Panasonic’s EVA-1 just saw a firmware update (Firmware 2.0) that enables raw recording and the All-I codec. Atomos has just announced upgrades for some Shotgun and Sumo models, giving them the ability to record 5.7K raw from the Panasonic EVA1, as well as a partnership with Nikon to record 4K UHD video at 4:2:2.

Panasonic recently introduced the low-light-specific Lunix 5Hs, Fujifilm has released the video-centric X-H1, and Sony has released the a7 III, which means an a7S III is likely around the corner.

RED, which is been a pioneer in 4K and 8K video for a while has just announced the Gemini 5K S35 sensor with “exceptional low light performance” and can record 5K to 96fps at speeds of up to 275 MB/s. The camera can shoot in both REDCODE and ProRes or DNxHD/HR

Blackmagic will hold a press conference Monday morning at the show, and we’re looking forward to seeing what they unveil.

Connectivity is also a big topic this year, with JVC announcing a new GY-HC900 camera, a HD camera with the company’s transmission modules that will allow for full-HD transmission plus two-way voice communications, allowing ENG users to have a two-way conversation without additional gear.

Sony’s MCX-500 mixing station allows for multiple Sony cameras to be connected and controlled by a small device, for live broadcast, streaming and recording., which specializes in workflow management is debuting a new version with 150 new features and updates. The update will ship in Summer of 2018 but we’ll be taking a look at it at the show. Information on it and a teaser video are available on their blog.

We’re also looking forward to seeing new lights, like the new Fiilex Q8 fresnel light from our blog sponsors Fillex. You can check out a video of these lights in use from our friend Jem Scofield of The47.c0m.

Stock video, audio, and stills are a abuzz, thanks to an ever-increasing demand for high-quality content. Pond5 announced today a new AI-based visual search platform allowing for search by images, instead of keywords. The system will let users upload content that “inspire them” and allow the system to find licensed stock that matches. The company also announced a collaboration with DJI to curate UAV stock from FCC Part 107 creatives.

Adobe’s also been busy, with a quiver full of updates for NAB. We took a look a the upgrades to Premier Pro and After Effects, and they’re sweeping and welcome changes. Premier has improved the color matching features, tweaked the interface, and implemented some of the company’s AI-based “Adobe Sensei” technology to help adjust audio and images. Adobe Stock is built-into the tools, giving access to curated HD and 4K videos.

For users of the popular Musicbed, a curated music licensing site, there’s a whole new website design. The site features pricing calculated based on the use of the content, and there’s some great audio up there.

This morning, Apple announced an update to Final Cut Pro X, adding a built-in closed captioning tool, plus a new format, ProRes RAW. The closed captioning tools will support CEA-608, and the iTTT format, used by iTunes. ProRes RAW looks to be a lossless compressed RAW file.

Atomos has announced support in their Sumo and Shotgun external recorders. DJI has also announced an upgrade to the Zenmuse camera we reviewed, giving it support for Apple ProRes RAW.


Technology Trends

There are many other big trends to keep an eye on this year. Here are a few we’re going to keep an eye on.

AR and VR – These two areas are looming large, with more hardware coming for VR and Operating System level support on iOS and Android for AR.

5G – This connectivity technology is still a bit off, and still not exactly defined, but it promises to bring massively faster, connected workflows—something people working in 4K and 8K video desperately need.

AI/Machine Learning – As computational systems get more powerful, the amount of work they can replace will scale rapidly. While right now they’re mostly used to improve search and streamline some workflows, soon they’ll be used to replace whole parts of the production chain. The A.I. Experiential Zone will show attendees what these technologies can do with demonstrations in speech recognition, video analysis and other tasks.

IP – The industry is changing to PI broadcast, and the IP Showcase will feature the companies providing the IP infrastructure tools needed to make it happen.

There’s also an autonomous vehicle that will be shuttling people around to watch locally generated ATSC 3.0 from a live broadcast signal.

We’ll be covering NAB in both our Blog and News sections and bringing you more of these previews.