Biggest Video Product Announcements at NAB 2019
A few weeks ago, we posted about the biggest announcements within the photography world so far this year and teased that video announcements would be coming soon. After last week’s NAB Show, we’ve been hit with a long list of exciting new products, from cameras to lenses, to production suites. So we figured it was time to take a moment and discuss some of our favorite recent announcements in the videography department.
Fujinon’s 28-100mm and 80-250mm Premista Zooms
I had the chance to see the 28-100mm model in this line at NAB and came away extremely impressed with the engineering. It’s already quite a feat to build a full frame ready 28-100mm with a constant T2.9 aperture, but what doesn’t come across in the spec sheets is how shockingly small and light this lens is. Sure, 8 pounds isn’t exactly svelte, but considering how big this lens could be, that weight is a small miracle. It’s about the same as Canon’s 17-120mm for instance, and that lens will only cover Super 35. While I wasn’t able to get my hands on the 80-250mm, Fuji’s documentation says it’ll be the same size and weight as the 28-100. With more and more full-frame cinema options becoming available, I’d imagine these will be extremely popular lenses for documentary or ENG-style shooters.
Canon PL Mount Cine Lenses
Once a product previously made available exclusively for the EF mount, Canon has announced they’re also releasing the Sumire Prime collection for PL-mount camera systems. The full collection of the seven lenses (CN-E14mm T3.1 FP X, CN-E20mm T1.5 FP X, CN-E24mm T1.5 FP X, CN-E35mm T1.5 FP X, CN-E50mm T1.3 FP X, CN-E85mm T1.3 FP X, and CN-E135mm T2.2 FP X) are set to be released in PL-mount variations sometime later this year. One can assume the same incredibly image quality from the original Sumire Prime collection, just available for more systems with the addition of the PL-mount variation.
Inovativ Voyager EVO 36
The Inovativ Scout EVO 37, one of our favorite products of 2018, is a super popular rental item, so I was pleased to see that Inovativ rolled out an updated version this year. Even better, they didn’t blow up an existing product line to do it. All of the accessories that work with the Scout EVO will also work with this new version, and that kind of backward compatibility is all too rare these days. Improvements include nylon-reinforced corners for better durability, a simplified latch system, built-in ¼ 20 and 3/8 threads, and symmetrical upright posts for easier setup.
Rode Wireless Go
Rode has been leading the industry on affordable, but high-quality microphones for a variety of uses. And this year at NAB, Rode possibly announced their most exciting product yet, with the Rode Wireless Go. Containing a built-in omnidirectional microphone inside the transmitter as well as a mic input, it’s being praised as “the world’s smallest belt-pack transmitter for a lavalier microphone.” Additionally, the Rode Wireless Go boasts a 7-hour battery life with encrypted Series II 2.4GHz digital wireless transmission and will hopefully be available in a couple of weeks.
Litepanels Gemini 1×1
The bi-color 6x Litepanels Astra is are our most popular continuous light by a pretty wide margin, so expectations are high for this model, which brings the RGB and effects features from the 1×2 Gemini down to the more commonly-used 1×1 panel size. From what I saw at the show, everything looks great. The UI is the same as the one on the 1×2 Gemini. Most accessories that work on the Astra, such as the Chimera softbox, will be compatible with the 1×1 Gemini as well. And finally, the brightness is there, which can sometimes be a struggle on RGB-capable panels. Rated at 52 footcandles from 3 meters away at 3200K, the Gemini 1×1 should be around 15-20% brighter than the 6x Astra depending on the shooting scenario. I think for most people the determining factor will be the cost. The 1×1 Gemini costs about twice what the 6x Astra does, but, of course, that difference is a little less harsh when you’re looking at a rental rate rather than a retail purchase.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Battery Grip
This upcoming battery grip will allow you to use Sony’s L-series batteries in addition to Canon’s LP-E6. However, given the size of the battery tray, only smaller-capacity L-series batteries like the NP-F750 will work. Blackmagic says this will raise your hypothetical max battery life to two hours. I’d instead use one of the many widely-available v-mount or gold mount plates for this camera, but I could see how that might affect your ability to go handheld. If you need longer battery life but still want to keep your Pocket Cinema Camera as small as possible, this might be a good solution for you.
Panasonic Lumix G95
Panasonic has been leaning in when it comes to making affordable cameras with incredible image quality, and they’ve doubled down with the announcement of the Panasonic G95. This Micro 4/3 system offers 4K/30p as well as 120fps Full HD capabilities (with zero time restrictions) for $999. Inside this small camera is a 20.3-megapixel sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, and up to 9fps continuous shooting. The Panasonic G95 is expected to be released in early June.
Teradek Bolt 4K
It remains to be seen whether we’ll actually ever rent this, but it was an impressive technical demonstration anyway. With the Bolt 4K 750 and Bolt 4K 1500, Teradek now offers a way to transmit 4K, 10-bit 4:2:2 video up to 1500 feet. However, we don’t recommend Bolts in combination with recorders or switchers, and I’m not sure I see a place for this in our inventory unless we carry a 4K monitor. That’s not out of the question, though. Maybe you’ll see both show up in our catalog this year.
Atomos Shogun 7
Atomos announced their Shogun 7 – a 7-inch HDR monitor, recorder, and switcher unit with a 1500nit daylight-viewable, 1920×1200 resolution screen with the ability to display a claimed 15+ stops of dynamic range. Using their new 360 zone backlight, Atomos claims the Shogun 7 can display millions of shades of brightness and colors, offering up to 15 stops of dynamic range. Additionally, the Shogun 7 offers 5.7Kp30, 4Kp120 or 2Kp240 from compatible cameras in RAW/Log or HLG/PQ over SDI/HDMI.
Aputure Practical LED Bulb
This is just a great idea elegantly executed. I couldn’t even guess the number of times I’ve had to swap out a practical bulb from, say, a desk lamp, on a shoot because it flickered or didn’t match the color temperature. Most gaffers even carry replacement bulbs for this exact reason. Aputure decided to take this concept one step further by creating a practical replacement bulb with features designed specifically for filmmakers. The bulbs run off an internal lithium battery that charges whenever it’s plugged into house power. So, your practical light doesn’t need to be plugged in, but if it is, charging your light doesn’t take a second thought. The lights are also color temperature and RGB tuneable, flicker-free, and controllable wirelessly over Bluetooth. You can even sync multiple lights together and control them as a set. Finally, the price is right. At 59 dollars a piece, this is the kind of thing I’d recommend picking up like three or four of and just having with you on every shoot.
Frame.io Integration in Davinci Resolve
This won’t be a huge deal for our rental business because it’s post-production software, but I was happy to see Davinci Resolve get Frame.io support, if only for our use. We use Frame ourselves to note and approve cuts on all kinds of promotional and educational videos we make in-house. It’s an invaluable tool that really speeds up our post workflow and keeps me out of the worst thing on earth: note meetings. To save even more time we’ve been considering switching all of our editing over to Resolve. This might be just the thing we needed to encourage that last step.
Teradek RT Updates
Teradek’s new MOTR.X focus motors are quieter, feature FIZ indicator lights for quickly identifying which motor is which, and pass through power and data so they can be daisy-chained together rather than all plugged into a single receiver. The new receiver is around half the size and weight of the old one while increasing range and adding iOS support. Yes, you read that correctly, you can use your phone as a focus controller. While I still wouldn’t recommend that, I was pleasantly surprised how responsive the app was when I tested it at NAB. It’ll do in a pinch, but still, please don’t hand your focus puller an iPhone. Here’s hoping the next thing on the Teradek RT horizon is a thumb controller. Teradek, if you’re listening, please please please make a gimbal-mountable thumb controller.
Wooden Camera Shoulder Rig V3
We’ve been on the hunt for an excellent universal shoulder mount for a while now, and this one is looking pretty promising. It’s 10% lighter than their V2 and adds telescoping handles, rotational adjustment for grip spacing, and a more easily user-replaceable shoulder pad. Plus Wooden has earned a reputation as a reliable manufacturer whose products are made to last through years of abuse.
SmallHD Cine 7
SmallHD announced quite a bit of new stuff at this year’s show, but the most interesting, to me at least, was their new Cine 7 line. This 7” monitor offers, depending on the model you purchase, Arri camera control, Teradek RT integration (for displaying focus pulling data on-screen), and an integrated Teradek Bolt receiver or transmitter. RED and Sony camera support is reportedly coming later this year. As much as I hate The Vitec Group owning half of this industry, all those manufacturers now being under the same roof does allow for some really cool product synergy like this. If everything works out software-wise, I could see this monitor being super popular simply because it combines so many other products into one.
Canon walked into NAB making a pretty big splash, announcing multiple camcorders (6 in total) to their video lineup. Of those camcorders, are four additions to the XA lineup, with the XA55, XA50, XA45, and XA40. All four systems offer 40K/30p out the box and are a perfect all in one solution for someone who is looking for a video camera system, without the complexities of some of the more substantial offerings. Price and features of these cameras vary (though they range from $1,700 to $2,700 depending on the model). For a full breakdown of features, check out NoFilmSchool’s reporting on the newest systems.
Alexa Mini LF
I anticipate this being an extremely popular camera. Given its similarity and relatively low cost compared to the Alexa XT, the standard Alexa Mini has been a great renter for us primarily because of how easy it is to use as an A camera. While Arri may have designed it as a B alternative for, say, gimbal or handheld work, they almost did too good a job. It’s more than capable enough to serve as a primary camera and, at about half the cost of an Alexa XT, is a much more sensible choice for many indie shooters. The Alexa Mini LF looks to fill a similar niche, only now with a full-frame sensor and true 4K. We’ve pre-ordered one already, and I can’t wait to try it out on a shoot.
Those were our favorite announcements at NAB 2019. Do you think we might have missed something? Feel free to add a comment below!
Ryan Hill & Zach Sutton
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