Gear overload – it must be NAB again!

I would have loved to have gone to NAB this year, unfortunately though it was bad timing and I couldn’t make it so like most of you out there I’ve been trying to keep up with all the announcements of new gear, software and other news from those lucky enough to go.

I must say that I’m reaching that overload point with all the news happening at once. I do wonder why people still release gear at trade shows as a lot of the information gets lost in the wave of announcements. Here’s just a few of the things from the NAB info-wave that caught my eye.

Final Cut Pro X

Apple showed a demo of the latest incarnation of their editing software. After watching the videos below I felt really excited, it brings some excellent usability features and the fact that it’s now using all of the power available in a Mac answers the main reason why I moved away from FCP a few months back.

It does seem to have moved more towards the iMovie camp, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself though. If it improves efficiency without adding additional limitations or workflow issues then it could be great to work with, only time will tell but I’m all for things moving forward and evolving.

FCP X is reported to work with things like h.264 and AVCHD natively now without the need to transcode everything to a quicktime format. It apparently does background rendering too so that you’re no longer plagued with render bars when using effects etc. How well that all works in comparison to something like Premiere Pro’s Mercury Playback Engine we don’t know as yet. There was no mention of FCP X utilising the performance of the GPU, one area where Adobe has a real head start.

It was announced the the FCP X app will be available from the app store for $299. There’s a lot of questions still unanswered, not least of which is the status of the rest of the Final Cut Suite and whether there will still be a workflow integration with the remainder of the apps in the suite.

Small HD DP4 Family

Small HD announced a new 4.3″ monitor, the DP4. This new featherweight model from SmallHD packs most of the power found in the DP6 into an extremely compact design. The DP4 ads a few features not found on it’s bigger brother including  an HDMI Pass-Though connector, and a headphone port. Having a headphone port on the monitor is an excellent idea for DSLR shooters, I’ve lost count of the number of times a client has asked to see a take and I’ve had to show them on the back of the camera because there’s no sound on the DP6. The tiny 4.3 inch screen packs in 800 x 480 pixels and boasts an 8 bit,  16.7 Million+ Colours display.

One other very exciting thing about the DP4 is that Small HD have also announced a viewfinder accessory for it turning it into a high definition EVF. Priced at $749 it looks to be good value too so I’m sure it’s going to be a big hit and I’d love to get my hands on one.

The small HD team really are innovators and it shows with this new product.

For more info see the SmallHD website.

Sony PMW-F3 S-log

Abel Cine apparently had the first Sony PMW-F3 on their stand that had the ability to shoot S-Log via an updated firmware. This firmware isn’t expected to be available for the F3 until later in the year and it’s now known that it will come with a cost of around $3000 in the US. I haven’t seen any announcements of a UK price

Next Level Pictures have shared the results of their time with that very F3 via the video below. Also check out the Behind the Scenes video from the shoot.

In order to record S-Log on the F3 you’ll need an external recorder capable of handling the dual HD-SDI signal. Convergent design, the makers of the well regarded ‘NanoFlash’ recently announced such a device named “Gemini”. Gemini will set you back a cool $6000. You’ll also need to budget for enough 1.8″ SSD drives to handle the mammoth amount of data being sent from the F3 in S-Log mode.

The results look excellent from this setup and it will certainly be interesting to see how it competes with the likes of the Red.

There’s a lot more from NAB that I want to talk about but this will do for now, I’ll post more soon.

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