There were a lot of cool things going on at NAB this year. 4K cameras, LED lights, and gimbal-based rigs were everywhere! Beyond the gear, it was reported that over 98,000 people registered for the event! That’s pretty crazy and made for a fun a week. With so much cool gear there, I decided to do a quick debrief on my favorites.
*Disclaimer* – The gear I am going to talk about is based on first impressions only! These statements are based from talking to the company rep and using on the showroom floor.
Kessler Unidrive and Parralax
The guys at Kessler produce high end products that work and back it up with amazing customer service. What caught my eye at their booth this year was the Unidrive and Parralax. The Unidrive is an extremely simple and effective motion controller for your slider. What I love most about it is I was able to get basic looping slides together in seconds without any manual. Anyone that has shot long (and/or multiple) interviews on a slider knows how awesome it would be to have a machine do the work. Not to mention it would save you from hiring a second camera operator and use that money towards another role on set. It is rumored to sell for $700 and you can find out more by checking out News Shooter’s interview.
The Parralax takes away the effort needed to counter pan while sliding. Something clients often ask for and not always an easy task. You will need a Kessler slider however to use this device. When paired with the Unidrive, you have an amazing set up for timelapses, interviews and broll. Find out more at Kessler Crane.
There some new cameras announced at NAB but my favorite was the AJA Cion. For $8,995, you get a camera that shoots in 4K and 2K and can do up to 120fps in 4K. It also records directly to Apple ProRes 422 or 444. Along with the internal features, I loved the design of this camera. A built in shoulder pad and a top handle make this camera perfect for handheld work (although you will need a monitor or EVF). I was able to put the Cion on my shoulder and it was extremely comfortable. Definitely a camera you can shoot on all day. Seems like this was a well thought out design that can be used on a wide range of projects. See all the specs here.
Above all else, lighting is my favorite piece of gear right next to lenses. What really caught my attention was the lights made by Cineo. Specifically the Matchstick lights. Cineo uses remote phosphor to create small, powerful and soft light. What is remote phosphor you ask? Check out their website to get more info on it.
Cineo has a wide range of lighting and the big lights were super powerful. They use a strip of plastic to change the temperature which also softens the light. If you need it even softer they sell soft boxes. The Matchstick are tiny rectangles that come in lengths of 6” and 12”. Don’t let the size fool you, these pack some serious punch and would work great for night scenes and car interiors. A basic kit is going to cost you $799.
Atomos Samurai Blade
Atomos really impressed me with their Samurai Blade. And although it is considered an external recorder, this thing would work great as a secondary monitor. Here’s a few of my favorite features:
- Sharp Image (1280 x 720)
- Audio Levels
- Records Apple ProRed or Avid DNxHD
- Weighs Only 380 Grams
If you don’t have a camera with SDI output no problem! You can get the same features on an HDMI version (Ninja). The SDI version will cost you $1295 while the HDMI (Ninja) will cost you $995. Find out more here.
Andra Motion Focus
With so many companies and even more gear, it is pretty hard to stand out at NAB. There was one company who really stood out to me and had a product unlike any other. Andra created an auto focus device that will track a character eliminating the need to pull focus. Your talent will clip on a box similar to a wireless lav and then clip on a small square to the back of their shirt. You will then attach a box, about the size of a big battery brick, to your camera which then connects to a cinema lens. Note; photography lenses will not work with this as the throw is too short.
Honestly, I was a little skeptical of it but was very impressed when I saw it demoed. There is a very minor delay but was told this is being fixed. It is a pretty hard thing to describe so check out their website and let me know what you think!
Well that wraps up what impressed me the most year. Although, like last year, my favorite part of NAB was connecting with other passionate professionals and talking about gear, techniques and careers. Hope to see you all there next year!