Several weeks ago, Rob Ruscher and I attended The National Association of Broadcasters Show (a.k.a. NAB) in Las Vegas, Nevada, where various companies, both large and small, from the film and broadcast industry come to showcase their products. Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, this show boasts 800,000 square feet of exhibits and an estimated 90,000 attendees, annually. Yeah.. it’s a pretty large place.
But we weren’t there to see everything; in fact, quite the contrary. We had a very specific list of people and products we were shooting to see. We brought one camera (a Canon 7D, with a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 lens) a monopod, shotgun mic, and five hundred gigabytes of enthusiasm. We saw tons of cool sights, met some really interesting industry people and ate some pretty awful convention center food.
Here are 5 devices that stood out to us:
I usually save the best for the last, but my excitement over this little slider can not be contained, so it’s getting the top spot. Sliders are a great way to create movement to your shots, adding production value, and effectively blowing your clients minds. The only drawback is, they’re not always portable. Even the smaller models are at least 3 feet long. With Edelkrone’s design, the track slides as the camera slides, giving you twice the range of the length of the slider (1 ft slider = 2 feet of range, 1.5 ft slider = 3 feet of range). This unique feature also keeps the track from creeping in your dolly shots. Oh, and it’s also made of military grade steel, so it’s built to last.
Freefly Systems introduced it’s 3-axis digital stabilized camera gimbal. In plain English that translates to crazy-steady camera rig thing. Based on a silent gyro and gimbal system, the Mõvi allows a single operator to achieve shots that were once, only possible with jibs, dollies, steady-cam rigs, and other large, complex systems. It also comes with a remote control system so a second operator can pan, tilt and pull adjust focus remotely. Weighing in at a mere 3.5 pounds, the Mõvi is a lightweight wrecking ball of innovation and fun. It only costs $15,000.
For the DSLR shooter: the Atomos field recorder, specifically the Ninja, is really an intriguing device. It enables you to record 10-bit, uncompressed, Apple ProRes video directly from the sensor of your HDSLR. Also, because you’re not recording to the compact flash card, you can record as long as you want, eliminating that pesky 12-minute rule. The 4.3’’ touchscreen monitor displays an 800 x 480 image and comes complete with playback, focus assist, zebra, and false color monitoring.
The growing trend in the industry is “going small”, the idea that products should be lighter and more portable, but still deliver a high-level of quality. Kessler’s Pocket Jib Traveler fits that mold perfectly. In it’s collapsed state, it measures 27 inches in length, and has a circular travel distance of 72 inches fully extended. It’s perfect for the DSLR shooter, with a max capacity of 10lbs, and taking only seconds to setup. We even got a chance to chat with Eric Kessler, himself. Check out our interview with the man behind the company here, and an overview of the Pocket Jib Traveler here.
Finally, a camera! We’ve been talking about all these great camera accessories, now it’s time to talk about a great camera. The new Pocket Cinema Camera from Blackmagic Design records full 1920×1080 video in either Apple ProRes 422 or DNG RAW, and boasts 13 stops of dynamic range. Although it’s roughly the size of an iPhone, the device was one of the biggest attractions of NAB. The touch screen is nothing new to the Blackmagic Design; the touch screen makes menu navigation simple and intuitive. Any lens should work with this camera, as you have an adapter (the camera has an active MFT mount), making this a very versatile camera.
To see more from our trip to NAB, check out the latest from our YouTube channel.