The Most Exciting Announcements from NAB 2015

Every April, the CES for video professional visits Las Vegas and top manufacturers announce their star products. The video world hones in on NAB and everyone marvels at the latests and greatest tech. We’re huge fans on tools and how they help us tell stories. We’re written about NAB before and how these products make their way into our toolkit. We’re going to break down the best product announcements from NAB 2015.

RED is used to shaking things up on the technology front. They have been the most responsible party for making waves in digital cinema camera technology since their inception in 2006. This year is no different and they continue to deliver on their promised upgrades. From Epic, to Dragon and now Weapon, RED is still leading camera technology. You can get into technological specifics here. The Weapon is a full-frame 8K camera built for the future. Japan is talking about covering their next Olympics in 8K, in a time when the most dominant economies are barely upgrading to 4K. More than increased resolution the Weapon offers the ability to stabilize and offer greater detail, even in the pixels you don’t see. The indie film world will undoubtedly clamor over Weapon. The picture should be improved over Dragon and if nothing else it ups the competition requirement and brings down barriers to entry.

4K is definitely here, and maybe even outdated.

Freefly, maker of drones and the iconic MoVI, is out with a new operating tool for their gimbals called the MIMIC. Some are calling this a game changer, which might be a little overstated, but it does make it easier for novices to obtain a shot as if you’re playing a video game. The downside is that it still requires two people to operate- one holding the camera and the other controlling the gimbal movement with the MIMIC. Here’s Chase Jarvis showing off this new tech.

Small HD makes big waves, again

Recently I was directing a shoot where I had a wireless Small HD monitor on set the entire day. It was so fascinating to see exactly what the camera sees in a portable unit. Our shoot was very mobile, so a traditional, stationary monitor setup wouldn’t work. Small HD is at it again, this time with a very high resolution, high color 5″ monitor. The beauty in this monitor is that it is really a 2-in-1, where you can hold it and be portable (since is small enough), or where you can mount it to your camera and use it as a viewfinder. In the later use, since it’s pretty large for a viewfinder at 5″, you have a lot to look at and can get a great idea of what the camera is capturing. The 502 packs more pixels than an iPhone 6.

Tim Ryan with wireless monitor

SmallHD 502 monitor

Lighting

Arri have long been one of the leaders in lighting. While it’s not the most appealing part of NAB 2015, it’s role in storytelling can’t be overstated. We’re huge fans of new technology and anything that makes our shoots happen more swiftly. Arri released a new LED panel for ultra soft light, which will work great in a number of situations (read: beauty). LED are low powered, so they can be taken to into the field and are very bright, so you can use next to a window or even outdoors in some situations. Arri claims the Skypanel has more than a decade of R&D behind the product.

Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X has been out for a number of years and it’s taken it’s fair share of heat from several people, companies, rivals… just about anyone. But the tide is turning, and more people are starting to warm up to the best editing program around, in my humble opinion. We’re exclusively a FCP X shop, and since Apple has just released a small update I thought I’d mention it here. I’ll repeat myself when I say that it’s the best editing program around purely because it allows us to focus on story and tell it that much faster. No more losing your train of thought during an edit.

Adobe Character Animation

Big news from the Adobe camp came out a week before NAB 2015, and it’s incredible: Real time character animation from Adobe. This will cut down on countless hours in post on animated video projects. All the keyframes are recorded, so adjusting animation and presets after the fact will be a breeze. This is just a preview but when it’s out look for it to have a big impact on animated post production workflows.

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