Well here’s yet another IBC round up. I didn’t get much time to look around the show, I was completely swamped helping people out on the Sony booth (it was great to meet so many of you). So these are just a few things that got my attention. I’ll start with the Sony booth as that’s where I was based.
Of course there was the new XDCAM HD PMW-150. I’ll be getting one for review soon, so full details will come elsewhere and you can read my earlier post with footage from the PMW-150 for more info.
Also on the Sony booth was the NEX-EA50 shoulder mount camcorder. The EA50 has an APS-C sized sensor, so it’s just a little smaller than a Super 35mm sensor. Being a sensor originally developed for stills it’s not quite as optimised for video as the sensor in an FS100 or FS700, but it does a quite reasonable job in most situations although you may get a bit of stair stepping and aliasing or moire in some shots. It is perhaps a little smaller than it looks in many of the pictures, but wow! When you pick this low cost camera up, it really surprises as it feels really well made. The body is nice and solid, the buttons and switches have a good feel. Given that this is an entry level camera I didn’t perhaps expect this high build quality. The demo units were fitted with the new E-Mount servo zoom based on the now familiar Sony 18-200mm f3.5-f6.3 zoom lens (sel18200). This lens will fit on any E-mount camera. The zoom speed is variable but the maximum speed is quite slow, so no crash zooms with this lens. I also noticed some focus shifts as you start to zoom and throughout the zoom range. This was expected, after all this is a very cheap servo zoom based on a stills camera lens and stills zooms are rarely par-focal (constant focus throughout the zoom range). If you used autofocus the lens would hold focus as you zoom, but this isn’t always going to be ideal. I was told by one of Sony’s engineers that they will be improving the focus look-up tables to minimise the focus shifts, but don’t expect it to perform like a $20k broadcast zoom. I think the EA50 will be very popular amongst videographers and schools/colleges on a tight budget but needing a professional looking camera.
Nearby the EA50 was one of Sony’s new HDR-AS15 “Action Cams”. There are two models of this tiny POV camera, one with WiFi, one without. Both have some great features. The lens is a Zeiss lens and the sensor is a back illuminated EXMOR-R sensor so the low light performance is very good indeed. It can shoot at up to 60fps at 1920×1080 and 120fps at 720p. It has an electronic steadyshot system as well as switchable fields of view giving 120 and 170 degree angles. Recording is AVCHD at 16Mb/s in normal modes and 24Mb/s in super slow mo modes on to micro SD cards. The really cool function is the WiFi option that will allow you to use a phone or tablet to align and control the camera as well as play back your recordings. There’s an underwater housing as well as a comprehensive range of additional brackets for things like helmets and handle bars. The price is going to be about £250 for the WiFi version. I’m not sure whether there will be a 25p/50p version but I liked it so much that I’ve placed a pre-order for one. Should be shipping at the beginning of October.
Moving on to post production, one of the biggest headaches for many of us these days is backup and archive. Sony’s optical disc system has always been a good, robust long term solution, but has been too expensive for many and the capacity of an individual disc somewhat limited. But now Sony have developed a new disc cartridge that contains not just one but up to 12 optical discs with total capacities of 300GB, 600GB, 1.2TB and 1.5TB. These cartridges slot into the ODS-D55U (great name… not!) Optical disc Archive unit which connect to your computer using USB3. Included with the ODS-D55U is a content management utility to help you backup and and archive your material or data. It’s much faster than LTO and you can access any part of the cartridge near instantly so excellent for online or near online storage.
The discs can store any type of data, not just video making this a very versatile system. The best bit however is that from what I could gather the disc cartridges won’t be all that much more than similarly sized good quality hard drives. With a projected shelf life in excess of 50 years and no need to spin the discs up regularly or store them in special environments I think this system has a lot going for it.
Of course before you can archive your footage you need to get it off your recording media. If your an XDCAM EX or XDCAM HD shooter using SxS your options have been fairly limited. You can always use the camera as a very expensive card reader, the express card slot in a laptop (if it has one) or there are the various Sonnet eSata and thunderbolt adapters as well as the original Sony SBAC-US10 USB card reader. Well now there is another option from Sony, the SBAC-US20. looking much like the original US10 reader the new US20 has USB 3 so is much, much faster and does not require external power making it far more portable.
As well as the SxS card reader there is also the new PMW-50 field deck. This is a compact player/recorder with a flip up screen, two SxS slots with HDSDI and HDMI in and out as well as USB and Firewire. It can be powered by a BP-U60 battery (Sony also had the new extra capacity BP-U90 battery on show) for field operation and makes an ideal player for satellite trucks, OB units etc or as a recorder for mini cams or remote cameras. It supports all of the current XDCAM HD modes including 50Mb/s 4:2:2 and 35mb/s 4:2:0.
Moving on to some non Sony products but still related to XDCAM there is a new backup device from NextoDI. Not available just yet (October) this new box called the NVS-Air (NVS-2825) can back up from SxS and P2 cards as well as SD and compact flash cards via an adapter to it’s internal hard drive as well as an external USB 2 or USB 3 or eSata hard drive.
There are various levels of file verification and the ability to play back the your footage. There’s even a headphone jack for audio playback. The NVS-Air also has built in WiFi and you can connect wirelessly to it with almost any device with a web browser, such as a phone, tablet or PC to view and playback clips remotely. You can even move clips to a trash bin and add notes so that when you get back to the edit suite the editor doesn’t need to sift through any junk clips. Clip copies from SxS cards are extremely fast with a 16GB card taking about 90 seconds to back up. I have an older NVS2500 which has performed extremely well for over 2 years including trips up to the Arctic and I’m really looking forward to reviewing the 2825 in the near future.
My regular followers may be aware that I’m still looking around at video lights at the moment as I wish to update my lighting kit. One of my favourite types of light is the Tungsten Fresnel. A fresnel allows you to focus the light reducing spill and makes it easier to light specific areas of your shot. However tungsten lights are not very efficient and run very hot. LED fresnels are few and far between and often lack the punch of a tungsten lamp.
At IBC Brightcast were showing a new design of LED panel. Whilst not a fresnel in the traditional sense this flat, compact LED panel features a grid of LED emitters with lenses that allow you to focus the light. The BP18F allows you to adjust the light beam between 4 and 50 degrees. It’s very bright, to me it looked to be the equivalent of at least a 1K tungsten lamp. Viewed off-axis there was very little spill, so keeping ambient light levels low while just lighting small areas should be straightforward with this lamp. It can be fitted with barn doors for even greater control and can be dimmed by a dimmer knob on the rear or controlled using DMX. It can be powered from the mains or with a V-Lock battery making it very versatile.
There were some new products for FS700 owners. As well as the very nice but rather pricey 3Ality – Elements rig used on the FS700 on the Sony booth, which I would love to have but cannot afford, there were some lower cost items including a new top cheese plate for the FS700 from GenusTech.
As well as the GenusTech cheese plate range with new top plates for the C300 and F3, GenusTech were also showing off their new shoulder mount system which is very impressive and will fit a wide range of cameras. It has interchangeable base plates which are anodised in a nice looking gold finish. The shoulder pad and arms are heavily machined to minimise the weight and it uses standard Arri rosettes for the joints and links so it’s very adjustable and expandable. Genus also had a rather clever cage system for the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera (which will get a much more useful micro 4/3rds mount later in the year). Although only showing a prototype on the stand this looks like it will really help turn the BMD camera into a more user friendly shooting rig. There are pictures below for those interested.
An essential accessory for anyone shooting outside in Europe with winter just around the corner is a rain cover. Dutch company Camrade have always been quick to bring out high quality rain covers for new camera models and at IBC they had a pre-production rain cover for the FS700. The odd shape of the FS700 makes it hard to cover the camera whilst retaining the ability to see all the controls and use the EVF, but Camrade have managed to produce a rain cover that does just that.
It even zips up underneath for protection in extreme conditions. There are clear panels around the switch and control areas plus a removable sleeve for the viewfinder extension so you can use the camera with or without the viewfinder tube. A panel on the right side opens out to allow you to insert your hand inside the cover so you can easily operate the controls on the hand grip.
Of course Canon were showing the c500 outputting 4K on their stand and the images were very impressive indeed. Helped along by some of their very nice PL and EF mount Cinema lenses. Some serious money there but very nice all the same. However the amount of data that the camera produces is staggering and it requires dual 3G HDSDI outputs to transfer the raw image data to the external recorder or recorders. Convergent Design have new firmware for the Gemini that allows a pair of them to record the 4K C500 data. I’m not sure I’m ready to start dealing with those kinds of data rates just yet but I do hope to get to play with some of those lovely lenses on future projects.
So thats about it. As I said I didn’t get to see much of the show, I know JVC had some new cameras that I would have liked time to see but didn’t get a chance. One last thing…. How about a stunning 84″ 4K TV? This one from Sony was stunning, but I’ll need a bigger living room and deeper pockets first, its $25k!
Here are some pictures of some of the products mentioned above.
Genus shoulder rig.
Genus C300 top plate.
Genus BMD Cinema camera cage.