Revisiting NAB 2017

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Canon EOS C700

We’re taking a look back at some of the new products we got to check out at NAB 2017. We’ve since had a chance to review a number of them hands-on since this article appeared in print, so look for the links throughout this article.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas is a massive, sprawling affair each April that brings together nearly every manufacturer in the broadcast and cinema worlds. Product cycles are planned around NAB, and there are new products at every turn. We certainly didn’t have time to look at every new release, but we did sit down with quite a number of companies to look at some of the more anticipated new products.

Here are some of the products that caught our eye on the show floor; we’ll be reviewing many of these in the coming weeks and months. You can find a greater list of product announcements and longer product looks in our Blog section on the HDVideoPro website, hdvideopro.com/blog.

Canon Ships EOS C700, Displays Cine Lenses

On the show floor, we had a chance to play with the Canon EOS C700, which is finally shipping to customers, and it’s an impressive-looking bit of gear. The connection to the camera that launched the whole DSLR cinema market, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, is there in a distant-cousin family resemblance way, but probably in the way I suspect The Rock looks like the rest of his family, only much, much bulkier. With a body-only price of $28,000, the C700 is a different product than the company’s DSLR offerings. The global shutter version has not yet shipped but is expected in the next few months.

Alongside the C700 is a new reference display, the battery-powered DP-V1710. The 4K display is rack-mount-capable, with a wide viewing angle and low glare, and the monitor can also connect to the ARRI ALEXA SXT cameras. There are two line inputs that support 6G-SDI and 4K 60p, and the monitor supports a wide variety of formats and lookup tables. The $12,000 display should begin shipping by the time you read this.

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Canon Compact-Servo 70-200mm

The company also showed us the new Compact-Servo 70-200mm lens, featuring 4K optical performance, a servo drive unit and image stabilization, with autofocus and auto iris functions. It’s compatible with EF-mount Super 35mm large-format cameras, with a focal range of T4.4 (equal to ƒ/4.0). The lens supports the Canon EF 1.4x III and EF 2x III extenders. A nine-blade iris aperture provides beautiful bokeh. usa.canon.com

Sony’s Ecosystem Updates

Across the camera line Sony has introduced the new UMC-S3CA for surround and VR as well as crash cam use (pricing not available as of press time). The FS5 and Z150 have had firmware upgrades to add faster shooting and more features. The company’s firmware version 9 adds new frame rates and wireless transfer formats. The XON format offers 16-bit Scene Linear Performance and faster performance.

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Sony UMC-S3CA

The new AXS-AR1 card reader ($550) has a Thunderbolt 2 interface and superfast transfer. The new HDC04800 camera provides 16X HD and 8x 4K, and can be combined with the company’s media server. Sony is also making its studio cameras HDR- and 4K-compatible with up-conversion of the cameras.

Another development is SR Live for HDR, a workflow that allows for 4K HDR and SDR simultaneously using S-LOG. The company’s HDRC-4000 server allows for conversion to “any flavor of HDR” and allows archive footage to be integrated into an HDR production (pricing available on request).

The company also showed off its new a9 still photography camera ($4,500), which we review in this issuesony.com

Blackmagic Updates Lineup

It’s already shaping up to be a big year for Blackmagic, with nearly a half-dozen new products aimed at the broadcast and motion picture market. Its editing tool, DaVinci Resolve, jumped from version 12 to version 14, with more than 100 new features. blackmagicdesign.com

ATEM Television Studio. This broadcast-quality live production switcher has 4 SDI and 4 HDMI inputs for working with content up to 1080p60. It includes re-sync on all inputs, DVE, multi-view auxiliary out, built-in talkback, 20 still media flash storage, chroma keyer, transitions and more from a front-panel control that works with a software control panel for Mac and Windows. This whole studio-in-a box costs just $995.

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Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio HD

ATEM Television Studio HD. This all-in-one live switcher with integrated hardware control panel includes eight inputs—4 SDI and 4 HDMI—with resolutions up to 1080p60. An integrated control on this unit provides fast access to all switcher controls for fast operation during live multi-cam events. Price: $2,295

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K. Blackmagic wanted to make an affordable 4K camera to provide a fast, light and portable 4K solution for big and small broadcast environments. The newest member of the URSA line, the Mini Pro 4.6K shoots video, as the name implies, with a 4.6K sensor, capturing 15 stops of dynamic range. The camera has built-in ND filters, a user-changeable lens mount, and can capture in RAW and process to its dual CFast or SD slots. The Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6 costs $5,995, and can be extended with the URSA Studio ViewFinder for $1,795 and URSA Mini Pro B4 Mount for $385. The system will have an available API for functionality updates for the camera, and the control software will have a free update in June.

DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel. This compact hardware control panel features three high-res weighted trackballs, 12 control knobs for access to tools, and an upper deck with two 5-inch screens, eight soft button and dedicated keys for switching the tools. Price: $2,995

Sigma Cine Lenses

Announced at the end of 2016, the Sigma Cine lens series was on display at NAB, and the company showed off the original lenses in the series, as well as made some new announcements. All of the lenses (except for the 24-35mm) work with E, EF and PL mounts, with Canon and Sony mounts shipping first and PL shipping in June.

The High Speed Zoom line offers the constant aperture of T2 throughout the zoom range with superior optical performance that’s capable of high-resolution 6K-8K shooting. Delivering the highest image quality in its class, the High Speed Zoom Line is ergonomically compact and designed for E, EF and PL camera system mounts, and will consist of a 18-35mm T2 model and a 50-100mm T2 model ($4,000 each).

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Sigma 135mm T2

The FF High Speed Prime lineup features a 20mm T1.5FF, 24mm T1.5FF, 35mm T1.5FF, 50mm T1.5FF and 85mm T1.5FF ($3,500 each). Highly compact and compatible with full-frame sensors, these lenses offer superior resolution. They bring a consistent level of light to a production, offering greater consistency to any film’s color, contrast and overall look before it enters post-production. The FF High Speed Prime line is designed for E, EF and PL camera system mounts.

The Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom 18-35mm T2 and 50-100mm T2 lenses began shipping in December 2016 for a retail price of $4,000 each. The T1.4 primes (20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm) are $3,500 each, and they’re shipping in EF and E mount in May and in PL in June. The 14mm and 135mm T2 are shipping in July, with pricing to come before launch. sigmaphoto.com

Zeiss CP.3 Lenses

Zeiss announced the new CP.3 and CP.3 XD lens series ($4,390 to $7,490), an update to the legendary CP.2 cine lens series that, according to the company, is the best-selling prime cine lens available, having shipped more than 30,000 units. The new CP.3 and CP.3 XD lenses inherit the CP.2 lens characteristics, with sharp optics, minimal distortion and a smooth focus blur. The CP.3 and CP.3 XD both have similar design, with the new CP.3 XD adding frame-by-frame metadata via industry-standard connections, which allows FX shots to easily correct for the lens characteristics in order to apply the FX and then to re-add the lens characteristics for their signature look.

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Zeiss CP.3 Lenses

The CP.3 will ship in June and the CP.3 will ship to customers in September. The same focal lengths will be available in the CP.3 lineup as the CP.2, with focal lengths from 15mm to 135mm (10 models in all), and they all have a 14-blade aperture.

The CP.3 and CP.3 XD are more compact than the previous models, with a smaller 95mm front element. Focusing systems in the lenses have been improved, with all lenses having the same focus-pulling characteristics, and they retain the same movement regardless of temperature. All the models have the focusing mechanism in the same place, for easy interchangeability between models.

The 15mm, 18mm and 21mm versions are T2.8 while the remaining seven models are T2.1, and the lenses are available in interchangeable PL, EF, F, E and MFT mount, so the same lens can be swapped between different camera systems. zeiss.com

CW Sonderoptic Leica Thalia

While a lot of the conversation at NAB is about the sharpness, resolution and quality of the lenses used in modern cine production, a good bit of the talk is about the character of the lenses of previous generations.

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CW Sonderoptic Leica Thalia Lenses

That’s the idea behind the CW Sonderoptic Leica Thalia lens line, which includes nine lenses in focal lengths from 24mm to 180mm (prices not announced at press time). CW Sonderoptic, whose corporate campus is adjacent to Leica, allowing the companies to freely exchange ideas, has taken the Leica S medium-format lenses, which form the basis of the Thalia line, and re-engineered them mechanically.

Their design has an increased imaging circle, advanced coatings to prevent flare and other image aberrations, plus cinema-based mechanics and exterior body. Each lens has a 95mm front diameter, and the focus and iris rings are in the same place across the whole line. The lens line incorporates a circular iris design for smooth bokeh “without falling apart.” cw-sonderoptic.com

Schneider-Kreuznach Cine Lenses

We’d seen the press release for the new Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon FF-Prime Cine-Tilt Lens ($3,360 to $6,300). These 4K-ready lenses (the company says they’re “beyond 4K”) use a unique tilting mechanism (more on that in a second) and have a similar form factor to the existing Full Frame Prime lenses and the same optical qualities of the company’s existing primes.

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Schneider-Kreuznach 35mm Xenon FF-Prime Cine-Tilt Lens

That means that customers can buy an FF-Prime Cine-Tilt lens and have the same optical quality as a non-tilt lens. Currently available in Sony E-mount (but coming soon for other mirrorless mounts), the lens offers 4º of tilt at the lens, which is activated by a ratcheting mechanism that pivots the rear element of the lens. The ring rotates 120º and feels the same as pulling focus—in fact, the same systems that are used to pull focus can operate the tilt lens actuation. All lenses are T2.1, and they come in 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm focal lengths. schneideroptics.com

Zylight And Chimera Active Diffusion Technology

Zylight and Chimera Lighting have partnered to manufacture and distribute Active Diffusion, Zylight’s patented electronic diffusion technology. Built into a flexible LCD screen, the new Active Diffusion filter produces adjustable levels of diffusion, making diffusion gel changes unnecessary.

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Zylight Aladdin BiFold

Housed in a gel frame or coupled with a Chimera softbox, the lightweight panel works with all cool lights, including LEDs and fluorescents. Using a handheld remote, Active Diffusion can be adjusted instantly and precisely. Zylight will produce the electronics and controllers, and Chimera will manufacture the panels in a variety of sizes and provide exclusive worldwide distribution.

Zylight, which distributes Aladdin, was also showing off the BiFold 2 and BiFold 4 by Aladdin ($1,079 to $3,104), which are foldable LED panels that come (as the name implies) in 2-foot and 4-foot lengths, comprised of two or four 1-foot panels, respectively, that fold together much like you’d fold a map. The 2-foot model folds down to about 3 inches tall, while the 4-foot model is about 6 inches tall when folded. The 2-foot unit is around $2,300, and 4-foot unit, around $3,300. zylight.com

SmallHD FOCUS Daylight Viewable Monitor

SmallHD showed us its new FOCUS in an outdoor booth so cinematographers could evaluate the vivid daylight-visible displays. The FOCUS is eye-catching and visible even with direct sunlight thanks to the 800-nit output. The unit is also incredibly light; when I picked up a unit that was powered down, I thought at first I was holding a display model with no internals.

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SmallHD FOCUS Monitor

The back of the unit accepts a Sony L-type battery that drives the FOCUS but also can be used to power the camera as well—the company has adapters for Sony, Panasonic, Canon and Nikon models that slide into the battery grip and provide DC to the camera.

The monitor costs less than $500, including the flexible Tilt Arm, and will also be available in a kit that adds an Anton-Bauer battery, case and charger. smallhd.com

JVC Adds In-Camera Graphics

I’m a sucker for technology that speeds up or improves a workflow, and JVC have two cameras that perfectly fit the bill. The GY-200SP and GY-200HW ($2,795 each) are designed to allow operators to create on-the-fly lower-thirds graphics for sports or houses of worship, respectively. Both models allow for camera operators to select appropriate titles and graphics for live shoots, without the need for any post-production or external hardware.

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JVC GY-200SP

For the sports model, the system provides built-in score boxes and stats displays for most types of sports, which can be updated either via a connected mobile device or laptop (the app allows users to click arrows to increment scores, control a shot clock and more). A collaboration with Sportzcast, a popular scorekeeping control panel used at many event locations, allows a remote accessory Scorebot to automatically update the ticker with information generated by the game officials. pro.jvc.com

ARRI Takes The Upgrade Path

Many of the products in ARRI’s lineup, from cameras to LED lights, are designed to have new features added via firmware update—and a ton of firmware updates were announced for NAB.

The biggest updates came for the ALEXA Mini, which just saw the announcement of the release of Software Update Package 5.0 and is planned to Dropbox mid-May 2017. The update adds integration with the ARRI WCU-4 wireless system, which will have in-camera controls now, wireless playback and the ability to send configurations to the Mini. A single camera can now act as a master to distribute settings to other
Mini units.

Wireless functionality, which ended up being the technological theme of the NAB show, will also allow ALEXA Mini users to send lens “looks” to cameras wirelessly, instead of having to load the files individually with SD cards. arri.com

Tascam Fixes Camera Audio

I stopped by Tascam’s booth to take a look at the DR-701D, which is a beefed-up version of the DR-70D ($500). The DR-701D is featured in our Audio Assist column this month, as a tool to help DSLR and mirrorless videographers capture audio worthy of their image quality.

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Tascam DR-701D

The DR-701D adds to the features of the venerable DR-70D with new HDMI in and output ports, complete with SMPTE timecode sync. If a camera doesn’t support SMTPE, video production apps can still use a multi-
camera mode to sync audio and video.

The Tascam HDDA mic preamps are the secret sauce of the DR-701D, which provides even cleaner audio than the DR-70D and has an input noise of -124 dBu. A 96 kHz/24-bit audio recording is possible when recording across six tracks and 192 kHz/24-bit if laying down two tracks. tascam.com

Rotolight Makes LED Ultra-Portable, Ultra-Sophisticated

We took a look at the new Rotolight AEOS ultra-portable LED, a compact version of the company’s larger, intelligent, connected lighting sources. Smart onboard technology and the ability to handhold this unit make the AEOS a perfect light to take along in a suitcase, and the ability to connect the light over DMX to other Rotolight products means that it can be used as part of a larger studio or theater setup.

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Rotolight AEOS

The unit produces 3070 lumens of light with a 96 CRI across the 3150K-6300K tunable range. Unlike most LED light solutions, the AEOS can be used as a strobe, with the ability to flash for photographic uses with High Speed Sync with no recycle time. Since it can be connected to other units, a whole array of Aeon can flash in sync.

The Rotolight AEOS will be shipping soon, for a price under $1,000. Bundles with multiple lights and stands will also be available. rotolight.com

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