As we get closer to April, all of us who love gear and camera technology knows what that means. Vegas baby! And not that we are that excited to play the casinos, but we are pumped for the big show. The NAB Show last year brought in more than 100,000 people. I can not wait to see what 2016 brings. Being a veteran of the show, there are certain things I will be looking for and even advice for the rookies coming in to Vegas this April.
Camera Companies to Check Out
Being a DP and operator myself, this post is more geared towards the camera side of things. I’m sorry sound but you won’t be getting any love this time. Obviously the big players each year include Red, Blackmagic Design, Canon and Sony.
Red has recently released the Weapon, Raven and Scarlet-W which will make for a crazy booth this year. [*TIP – If you want to really spend time and see these cameras wait until later in the week, first thing day 2 or towards the end of any day] I personally can’t wait to see the form factor of these cameras and very excited to see the Scarlet-W, especially as a Dragon owner. The only other camera company with some tricks up their sleeve seems to be Blackmagic Design. The highly anticipated Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6k was announced last year and has yet to hit the public streets. Will they be ready to release, or will they shock us with something new?
Sony and Canon are amazing brands but haven’t heard much coming from them. Will Canon release a new set of professional lenses to keep up with Sigma and Zeiss? I am excited to get my hands on the C300 Mark II and evaluate if it is worth renting for some future projects. Sony has been popular with the FS7 and FS5 and curious to see how their booth will be this year.
Camera Accessories and Rigs
If you come to NAB there is a good chance you love gear. There is so much gear here that the first year I couldn’t even remember what I saw (thank goodness for all those bloggers out there). Zacuto and Kessler always have a great booth. It is full of great quality products and supported by some of the coolest people on the floor. It is my favorite booth to hang out and you are guaranteed to see people you know. In years past they even had a beer stand!
ikan and Tilta always have a solid booth with everything from monitors to lights to rigs. Always great to talk with these guys and see what they’re working on. In addition to rigs, I love checking out the tripods. Where else can you try every single tripod available? Great way to do research for future purchases or rentals. [*Tip – if you are in the market to buy be sure to ask the ones at the booth if you can try a different camera on them to make sure it works well with your rig]
In 2014 DJI’s booth was something of the future. Small and large drones flying in a clear cylinder, gimbals pushing the limit and a lounge to watch product videos. It will be very interesting to see what Freefly Systems and DJI do at the 2016 NAB Show to push the limits yet again. [*Tip – See when they are demoing new products and find the time to be there] When it comes to monitors I am heading straight for SmallHD. These guys are killing it and producing amazing, affordable monitors in both 5” and 7” sizes. If you haven’t seen the 702 or 502 in person, make sure to check these out. However, you may find your self placing in order as you walk away.
My favorite thing to see and especially because I have multiple days to compare and price. Being a cinematographer in Pittsburgh, PA, I don’t have access to all this gear in one place. It’s a great resource to test everything side by side. With LEDs getting better and better, I love to see how companies are pushing the envelop. LiteGear has really impressed me with their Light Mats which are super lightweight and powerful LED panels shaped like a Kino Flo. In addition, they come with tons of accessories to shape the source. Litepanels were at the forefront of LED technology and their new Astra lights are stellar. I love that they are now making soft boxes for them making it an amazing travel light.
The gear is what gets everyone interested in NAB but it is the people that keep everyone coming back. You will be surrounding by like minded professionals and enthusiasts which makes for amazing conversation you don’t get everyday. Make an effort to reach out to all those people you talk to on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I’ve met some amazing people over the years and have even worked with a few of them because of meeting at NAB. There are aways parties an meet ups so make an effort to go to them. I hope all that are going have an amazing trip and looking forward to catching up with you!