NAB 2012 – Part 1

So NAB is here again.  4K and Thunderbolt seem to be the most popular topics at the show, with 3D hardly being advertised.  There are a lot of new products that have been announced over the last few days.  I have only gotten through the lower South Hall so far, but I will hit the rest of the show over the next couple of days.  (My series of articles on Act of Valor will be continued once NAB is over.)

I am working as a demo artist at the AJA booth this year, so stop by if you are in the area.  They are showing their new Ki Pro Quad, which is a 4K capable version of their successful line of Ki Pro portable recorders.  It’s unique selling point, is that is will be able to ingest RAW 4K video from Canon’s recently announced C500 digital cinema camera.  It can record the 4K ProRes to SSD for portable shooting.  If you are in the position to tether your camera, the Ki Pro Quad can pass the uncompressed RAW 4K image out via Thunderbolt, to be recorded by a separate computer, and pass quad SDI out for monitoring, or capture via the 4K enabled Kona-3G.  We also have a system playing uncompressed 4K off of a Premiere Pro timeline, directly through a Kona-3G onto a 4K display, which looks amazing.

Canon announced two new 4K cameras, the C500 which I referenced above, follows the recently released C300, and the new EOS 1D-C, which has a more traditional HDSLR form factor.  The 1D-C records 4K internally to 8bit Motion-JPEG files, while the C500 requires an external recorder, like the Ki Pro Quad, to capture the full 4K image from the sensor, but this approach allows access to the uncompressed RAW 4K data.  Both cameras have a variety of new HD 1080p recording options, that should improve the quality of the final picture, including options for image sensor windowing or scaling, and frame rates up to 60p.

Blackmagic Design’s big new announcement is that they have developed their own digital cinema camera.  It has a 2.5K sensor, and records to CinemaDNG, ProRes, or DNxHD to removable SSDs.  It kind of looks like a toy, but it packs a lot of existing functionality into a small box, including an Ultrascope display for live monitoring, and similar recording options to their Hyperdeck Studio.

Adobe announced CS6 last week, so most vendors are demonstrating CS6 support for their products.  The inclusion of Speedgrade CS6 adds a new option to the end of their workflow pipeline, and the new Prelude CS6 metadata application adds a new option for the acquisition stage.  I am looking forward to the improved 3rd party integration and performance through the new Adobe Mercury Transit architecture, which will do away with conflicting sequence edit modes, and improve access the Mercury Playback Engine functionality with third party hardware.

That is all I have had time for so far, but more news coming soon, as well as some deeper analysis of how these new workflow options are going to fit together.

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