Well IBC was extremely busy for me, producing daily video blogs for Sony in both 2D and 3D. I didn’t really get a lot of time to see the rest of the show, but I did get a chance to look at a few things. Almost every stand had some mention of 3D. 3D was everywhere. JVC had a nice new mid size S3D production monitor, Canon were showing off their new XF series cameras, the XF100, XF105, XF300 and XF305. It’s a pretty impressive line up! Tim Dashwood was showing a demo video he shot with an Arri Alexa on a couple of stands including Zeiss and Matrox and I have to say it was a fantastic demonstration of the cameras dynamic range as the studio doors were opened up revealing perfectly exposed exteriors. Tim also has some very cool new software in the pipelines that uses the Matrox boxes to record and analyse 3D.
On the Sony stand the most interesting things for me were the prototype 3D camera and the prototype 35mm camera. There was a lot of secrecy around the 35mm camera and no details were being given except to expect it early next year. The unit on display (in a box) looked to me to have a PL mount of some sort. There were lots of bits of black tape covering various apertures, one of which appeared to be a slot about the right size for a couple of SxS cards. The 3D camera looked like a PMW-500 with a 3D lens. It had 4 SxS slots and a large convergence control knob on the side. The I/A looked to be less than 65mm, maybe 50 to 60mm.
Nano3D: One of the reccuring issues for 3D producers is feild monitoring. While there are plenty of options in the 24? and larger arena, at the moment the Transvideo HD 3D monitors are the only viable option IMHO. Convergent Design have addressed this issue and are adding Anaglyph out to the Nano3D in a soon to be released firmware update. This means that you will be able to use any existing HDSDI equipped monitor like the lovely Sony OLED PVM-740 or other cheaper monitors to check your 3D in the field.
One of the things that really caught my eye at NAB was Sony’s new PVM-740 field monitor. This is one of the first professional monitors to use OLED technology (Organic Light Emitting Diode). Traditional LCD screens work by using a backlight that has a liquid crystal panel in front of it. When a charge is applied to the liquid crystals they change the polarisation of the light passing through them, this light then passes through a second polariser and between them they vary the amount of light passing through the panel to the viewer (If you have ever seen a VariND filter or tried twisting one polarising filter relative to another you can see how this works). While on the whole this works reasonably well there are some issues with this technology. The first is that the liquid crystals never fully block the passage of all the light, so black is never truly black, some light always seeps through. In addition brightness is limited to that of the backlight and the light is attenuated as it has to pass through the crystals and polariser. In addition if the backlight is too bright then the blacks get brighter too which limits the overall contrast range. Another issue is that LCD’s take time to change state from on to off and off to on. This leads to lag and smear with fast motion or high refresh rates. While a lot of money has been spent over the years developing LCD technology and there are some excellent LCD monitors available, these issues still exist and LCD performance still lags behind that of CRT’s.
Enter OLED. Organic Light Emitting Diode displays use a grid of light emitting devices, each pixel is a separate emitter, so when it’s off, it’s truly off. This means that blacks are completely black. When the emitter is on the light it emits is not passing through a polariser or crystal so it’s brightness is not diminished, this means that whites are really bright. In addition you can switch an LED on and off pretty much instantly so there is no lag or smearing. When you see the new Sony PVM-740 OLED monitor side by side with a similar LCD monitor the difference is striking! It’s like looking through a window, the image is clear and crisp, blacks are… well.. black and whites are bright and sparkle. The pictures from the PVM-740 are much more like the images you would expect to get from a top spec CRT monitor, yet the 740 is light weight, compact and uses less power. It should also be more robust and will not be affected by magnetic fields like a CRT monitor.
You really need to see this monitor in the flesh to appreciate the images it produces.
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