Pre-NAB Product Announcements

There are all sorts of new releases across the industry that are being announced before the NAB show even begins in Vegas. While I will do a bit more research after the show opens, here are a few of the things that have already caught my eye. Canon has a variety of new 4K products, including their new DP-V2410 24″ full 4K reference monitor. They also have two new 4K cameras to go with it, the tiny XC10, and the Cinema EOS C300 Mark2. Both cameras record a new 4K XF-AVC format to CFast cards. XF-AVC is an H264 based compression format, in an MXF wrapper, with various color and resolution options. It can record UHD or 4K at up to 30fps at 10bit 4:2:2. It can also record HD or 2K at 120fps and up to 12bit 4:4:4 color. The new C300 is $16K, with a faster sensor for less rolling shudder, and a maximum bitrate of 410Mb for 4K material. The XC-10 with it’s 1″ CMOS sensor is limited to 310Mb XF-AVC, and is expected to be around $2500.

Avid has a number of new items that may be of interest. They have a new update to Media Composer because it is NAB, and there is a limited version for free, but there are more interesting announcements. They are replacing the aging DX hardware with a new DNxIO that supports content up to 4K. It connects via Thunderbolt or PCIe, and has Quad SDI, HDMI and analog inputs and outputs. The hardware unit is expected to cost $4K and is actually built by Blackmagic Design, and it can also be used with PPro, FinalCut, and other applications on the software side. So Avid is finally learning to play well with others. They also announced a new ISIS 1000, which makes shared storage and collabrative editing more affordable for smaller operations. The 20TB chassis is expected to start at $18K and support up to 24 users. I wish they had offered something like that years ago, but it seems like they are finally starting to come around in that market.

As usual, Adobe is releasing updates to most of it’s video applications, as part of it’s ongoing development of Creative Cloud. The biggest feature in their flagship program Premiere Pro is their new color grading features. The addition is called the Lumetri Color Panel, and appears to do most of the tasks that you would need in a color grading pass. Ever since GPUs made serious color correcetion a real time process, I have thought it was crazy to have grading be a separate process with its own application and renders. Dynamic link to SpeedGrade was the closest thing on the high end, and the Fast CCR effect on the timeline were the two approaches available. But even as a non-colorist, I recognized the limitations of these two options, but it looks like Adobe has finally fully integrated grading with the editing process. They even have proper scopes to use right in the software. You can still have a dedicated colorist do a grade on your project, but there will be no issue with rendering to and from a grading application, and changes to the cut will no longer present a stressful problem. This is most significant for longer projects that are integrating color choices earlier in the creative editing process. As presented, Lumetri should be sufficient for 90% of the color needs of any project prior to Final DI. At that stage, it you have the budget for a traditional grading process, then batch remove the effect, and render out a DPX stack for your grading pass. But until then, all of your review cuts should be able to look beautiful with very little work invested in maintaining that look.

Besides that, Adobe has a host of new features to talk about, from MorphCut to cover jump cuts in PPro, to face tracking options in AE, to the TimeTune effect in AME to adjust the duration of an edited piece of media. They also have JPEG2000 MXF and Multitrack Dolby Digital export options. Most of these are cool and useful, but I am not sure about the variety of new software products I have seen with the option to alter the total duration of a finished piece of media. There is another way to do that, which gives the user far more control. It’s called editing, but it does require that the user be able to think, and count.

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