Tag Archives: NAB

Hello from NAB land.

Hi all. I’ve been a little “off-the-air” the last few days while shooting a bunch of video blogs for Sony from NAB. Now that’s out of the way I’m going to get a bit of time to check out the show. If you want to learn about the basics of shooting in 3D, why not drop by the Manfrotto booth today at 4pm where I will be giving a brief into talk.

Some of the things that I have seen so fat that have caught my eye are of course the sexy Sony FS100 35mm camcorder, the teeny tiny NX3D1E 3D camcorder, again from Sony. looking at XDCAM HD422 there is a Sony Jukebox machine that can store and retrieve large numbers of XDCAM discs, the new PDW-U2 which is much like the U1 (which will still be sold) but accepts the new 4 layer write only discs plus the new 100Gb 3 layer discs. In addition the read speed is about 2.4x faster than the U1, so a big performance boost there.

There are a couple of new PL mount lenses for the F3, a 1.5 x ultra wide zoom (11-16mm I think)  plus a prototype of the monster 18-252 servo zoom with auto iris: Make no mistake.. this is a BIG lens…. I also guess it won’t come cheap, but it would be an amazing lens to have. Talking of the F3, most of the F3’s here have a beta of the S-Log firmware.  Sony have a working pre-production XDCAM 3D camcorder (PMW-TD300), like the one shown at IBC this looks like a twin lens PMW-350, I’ll try and grab some photos today.

Of course the really big Sony news is the F65. An 8k camcorder recording onto SR Memory. It records 16bit raw form which you can derive 4k, 2k and HD images plus “higher resolution” images. All of this at up to 120fps. When you watch the 4k film shot with the F65 in the theatre on the sony booth, at first you wonder what the fuss is about, the picture look gorgeous but they don’t leap out as being 4k. It’s not until you start looking at deeper into the image that you really start to see the incredible subtle detail and textures captured in the image, very nice indeed.

Of course it’s all very well having all these wonderful cameras but you also need a way to record the material. Sony have a range of SR Master records, the R1, R3 and R4. I’m not completely clued up on the differences between them, but they are capable of recording using the HDCAM SR codecs on to solid state memory sticks about the size of a small mobile phone. While these are excellent devices, they are a little overshadowed (for me at least) by the Convergent Design Gemini which can record 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 uncompressed on to low cost SSD’s. There is also the new BlackMagic designs recorder with a target price of just $345 USD for an uncompressed recorder. Wow.. how times are changing. More tomorrow, hopefully with pictures!

Sony To Launch 35mm compact camcorder

Well one of the big NAB announcements was the intention by Sony to release a compact 35mm equipped camera. A prototype unit was briefly shown at the press event but little details were given. I’ve been trying to find out more but Sony are being very tight lipped. It was announced that it will be available prior to next NAB, so that means that there is likely to be some other launch event in, at my guess 6 to 8 months time, of course there may be more news before then. Last year Sony announced the PMW-350 at Satis which this year is October 19th/20th, so I would expect more news by then. What I would say is that the prototype appears to be more than just a simple mock up as it shows some new switch and control designs that I’ve not seen on a Sony camera before. It has also been stated that this new unit is just part of Sony’s 35mm road map so perhaps there will be more than one new camera. As for pricing, well all that Sony will say is “affordable”. My guess is it will be in the XDCAM EX1 price area depending on lens options. If it uses DSLR lenses and can be purchased without a lens, my guess is that it would be cheaper than an EX but more expensive than a Canon 5DMk2, my guess would be £4k.

So what features can we expect to get? The sensor should have large pixels so it should be good in low light and offer high dynamic range. As it has a 35mm sensor I expect it will shoot 24P, 25P, 30P plus I would hope over-cranking at up to 60fps. It would be really nice if it did 1080P60. It should have decent audio controls and it’s going to need a really, really good viewfinder. I would imagine that you will have a number of different lens options via some form of adapter, possibly being supplied with a Sony Alpha lens mount. The prototype was shown with a PL mount lens and very few users will be able to afford to use them, so there will have to be a lower cost option.

These are exciting times. In the next 12 months we will see a huge change in the tools available for video production. The new 35mm and 4/3? cameras from Sony, Panasonic and Canon will change the way TV is made forever. They won’t be ideal for some applications such as news or run and gun, where you don’t want the focus problems that a big sensor will bring, but for drama, documentary and low budget movies I think we will see a dramayic change in the way things are done.