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#1 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 02:39 AM

Since it's fresh in my mind I thought I'd list a few interesting things that stuck out to me while browsing the NAB show.

Digital cameras: The prosumer feeling cameras from red were disappointing, although the clips I saw looked decent for the price but for medium budget and up features with professionals expecting commercial quality equipment, their stuff will worry you. The fixed lens Scarlet doesn't deserve mentioning on this forum but Phil had some ideas for how to put it to use and I bet it will end up as a crash cam on small digital shows. The "Epic" is a 5K claimed camera they want to build but I'm not sure I understand the application or viability right now since they haven't finished the claimed 4K camera they are trying to build now. An engineer who was working with the F35 was obviously a little frustrated when someone asked him about those red 4K claims. He said by their standards the new F35 is a 6K camera but that they are not going to call it that. He also made comments about their noise (db) claims that were very misleading and how overall the 4K claim is simply "a lie" and is "barely even 2k". I also got to handle one of the red zooms and I was shocked to feel how cheaply they were made. The focus ring was shaking back and forth. Maybe I had a broken one?

Which leads me to the F35, the 35mm sensor version of the F23. This was by far the best looking footage I saw from any of the digital cameras and while still video looking, it sure was the best video of all. If you dropped the F35 onto a red, it would crush it like a tin can. The same is true of the new D21 from Arri but I didn't get to see much from that. The build, functionality and workflow of both cameras is of course top notch.

Mitch was on Phantom duty and was, well, busy with that. The 65mm version with the Medium format lenses was very cool. I wish I could have got in there better to look it over more. The slow-mo shots were just amazing. I was a little confused though because the way it's been marketed, someone might think it's only for slow-mo work but it looks like it would be functional as a feature camera too, if you are going digital. Why is that Mitch? ;)

Sony also showed off a 4K screen. HD is indeed dead... whenever this becomes possible for the masses at least. The first thing I asked was how the footage was shot. I got an answer, in heavy accent, "65mm IMAX". They weren't the only ones with a 4K screen though. The Ultra high def people were there too but none of them spoke english. The camera was huge. Impressive TV type clips. I didn't understand anything about it though. They also were showing a camera off that used a tube type sensor that they said was going to be a chip soon. It seems to see at about 2000+ asa.

Real cameras: ;)
Aaton was showing the Penelope which was most interesting of all cameras, personally speaking. I got to play with it for a while and was impressed. You can change from 3 perf to 2 perf without a lot of work although it's something best done inside on a bench. The video tap was very advanced (like the Xtera's) and the frame capture to USB flash was just great. I was told "5 are coming out in October". The taps are so good that with a transvideo monitor on there, I could see how someone might be tempted to fall into exposing and shooting off the screen alone!

Nebtek had a very nice little invention. Correct me if my memory is off but I believe Gaylen came up with this (or was it Rob?). It's a little hot-shoe quick release type of device that lets you hard mount something like an monitor arm to your camera but lets you release it with the push of a button and a pull. Yes, it's heavy duty enough and made of metal. He said they had a few left but would make more with more orders soon where the price might drop. The one he has now is $95 but seems very worth it. I'm getting one for sure.

Warwick was nice enough to show me all the latest J.L. Fisher stuff which is simply, as everyone knows, the best dolly gear you can use. Thanks! Wish you could have made it to the meet at MGM though I know being on the floor is tough all day long.

And Dan Vance was there with his very affordable, steel "VanceJib" for lightweight, mobile needs. cineventions.com (That dessert at the MGM was well worth the $8!)

The LED lights are taking over a bigger chunk of the low wattage market and there are a lot of people making them. Litepanels seemed to have the busiest booth at the show. The color problems a couple years ago are fading and the power is going up. One of the engineers I talked to claimed they will be serious competition to small HMI's soon.

Software enabled "automatic" Technocrane's, a Stedicam mounted to a Segway, backlit push buttons with micro, animated OLED mini screens, super small HD cams, Lensbabies and tons more was there but this is what was popping into my head before much needed sleep.
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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 03:51 AM

I also got to handle one of the red zooms and I was shocked to feel how cheaply they were made. The focus ring was shaking back and forth. Maybe I had a broken one?

Which zooms was that, the 18-50mm or the 18-85mm?

Did you see any other interesting lenses?
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 07:42 PM

Which leads me to the F35, the 35mm sensor version of the F23. This was by far the best looking footage I saw from any of the digital cameras and while still video looking, it sure was the best video of all.

Any info on the ASA and dynamic range of the F35? Is it really the same chip they made for Panavision's Genesis?



-- J.S.
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#4 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 12:45 AM

Which zooms was that, the 18-50mm or the 18-85mm?

Did you see any other interesting lenses?


It was an 18-50 I do believe.

I have to admit the Lensbabies were really cool. It's very simple and cheap but for certain effect shots, it can be interesting. I was working on a way that I can use it on an 16mm Optar prime with the guy at the booth but he wasn't 100% on how it would translate to a S16 sized image area.

Handled one of the Ultra 16's and Arri was playing shots on a plasma/LCD done with the Super speeds and comparing the Ultras side by side. The difference was clear even on the smaller HD monitor.

PS Technik had some of their snorkel type lenses out but I dont think there was anything super new, though I could be wrong. What did stick out was the SI 2k camera and I forgot to mention that above. I only got to see a small screen with the shots playing but it looked to be a nice pro grade camera. The viewfinder and display system was very nice. And they have new 35 digital lenses with Nikon mounts though I didn't get much exposure. Oh they had their Weisscam there too, the new HS-2, which supposedly goes to 4000fps at 720p or 1500fps at 2K and was claiming 1000asa. I didnt get to see anything played though.

And I dont know if it was PS or not but I think it was them that had a new remote focus control with part of the remote's LCD showing you what the video tap was seeing. That was very cool but is that old news or not? And how useful is that?
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#5 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 12:59 AM

Any info on the ASA and dynamic range of the F35? Is it really the same chip they made for Panavision's Genesis?

-- J.S.


I asked him about that and he said he felt very confident that you can push the gain to 6db where it could be rated at a clean 600asa. He said this was the best low light ability of all the cameras out there and stated how this was still a very clean image even with 6db. It helped to understand how the LUTs were applied to the recording or viewing system via a memory stick. Each monitor showed the raw image with the "corrected" one beside it for comparison which was interesting for someone like me who hasn't been around one of the 23's before. It seems like this could be a nightmare with producers looking on if it wasnt handled right. If they saw the raw feed they'd freak, much like when they watch a color monitor from a film camera's tap.

He didn't or wouldn't say if it was Genesis or not specifically but I got the feeling it was although the camera and what's behind the sensor are apparently very different.
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#6 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 11:22 PM

One more thing I just remembered. Aaton said for sure they were working on a digital back for the Penelope. He said at first they weren't happy with the sensors they had tested but didn't say if now they had found something or not specifically. I'm sure one or two others here know more about that.

Sometimes NAB feels more like a CIA convention instead.
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 01:18 AM

Hi,

Band Pro were upfront with me about the fact that F35 uses a Genesis sensor and gave me no reason to consider that information embargoed. It certainly has the same segmented, rolling vertical smear artifact. Although it's a "nice", translucent artifact rather than a "nasty" blasted out white one, it's far worse than the one exhibited by F23 which just glows slightly more vertically than it does horizontally. Other than that, F35 is fantastsic and lovely and wonderful and, by Jannard's reckoning, is a 6K camera. Needless to say it stomps all over the rouge item but then for $300k it rather needs to.

I hesitate to mention it here as it'll just sound as if I'm quoting CML, but the sleeper hit of the show for me was the field emission displays, which seem to combine the very best attributes of TFT and CRT displays. I'm fully aware that they've been promising this for a while now and they were tucked away down the far (far, far) end of the titanic central hall where passing trade could not have been fantastsic, and their sign said "now showing FED" which perhaps betrays a degree of overconfidence that anyone, including tech-heads like me, would recognise the abbreviation. Apparently Ikegami are the integrator for FED panels and availability was projected for the end of next year - although I have been told that this has been heard before.

InPhase had their 300Gb holographic disc storage device there, which (if I recall correctly) was either available or imminently available. At the moment it's ludicrously expensive and the drive is ludicrouslly oversized - about 2'6" deep by seven inches square, I'd guesstimate, but both can be relied upon to shrink in time.

Things which are now reaching the point of unremarkable ubiquity include flash memory camera systems for ENG, LED lighting, steadicams, and ludicrously overpriced pizza.

In other news I can thoroughly recommend the Arri party which traditionally (and appropriately) takes place at the Hofbrauhaus and involves German fare along the lines of pork sausage, mashed potato, and busty wenches in those lace-up bodices some of us find so eyecatching. Avid, though not exhibiting on the show floor, were nonetheless very much in evidence and serving the tastiest canapes I had in a week of not paying for any food. Memories of the Quantel party are necessarily dim although I do recall the food being withdrawn at what seemed to me to be an inconsiderately early juncture.

Lastly thanks are due to Redback Networks, purveyors by sponsorship of sandwiches containing a stack of sliced beef a clear inch high to the labouring journalist corps of the conference.

P
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#8 Mitch Gross

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 12:16 PM

Mitch was on Phantom duty and was, well, busy with that. The 65mm version with the Medium format lenses was very cool. I wish I could have got in there better to look it over more. The slow-mo shots were just amazing. I was a little confused though because the way it's been marketed, someone might think it's only for slow-mo work but it looks like it would be functional as a feature camera too, if you are going digital. Why is that Mitch? ;)

Slow motion is still the bread & butter for Phantom, but yes they shoot wonderful images at 24fps. We have many masters and it's best not to pit them against one another. The Phantom may not be the most cost-effective way to shoot 24fps for many people but for certain clients it can be the best option.
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#9 Richard R. Robbins

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 03:28 PM

To those of you who attended NAB and have an opinion...

What was your impression of the Panasonic 3700 and 2700?
Both of these cams have a very interesting mix of features. Anyone get an estimate on costs?

Regards,
Rich
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#10 Robert Torrance

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 03:36 PM

Since it's fresh in my mind I thought I'd list a few interesting things that stuck out to me while browsing the NAB show.

An engineer who was working with the F35 was obviously a little frustrated when someone asked him about those red 4K claims. He said by their standards the new F35 is a 6K camera but that they are not going to call it that. He also made comments about their noise (db) claims that were very misleading and how overall the 4K claim is simply "a lie" and is "barely even 2k".

Which leads me to the F35, the 35mm sensor version of the F23. This was by far the best looking footage I saw from any of the digital cameras and while still video looking, it sure was the best video of all.


Vincent, was this engineer an independent or working for Sony? I agree that the F35 looked great but still kind of video like in areas. I don't want video. I thought the RED images had a nicer texture. All this 2K or 4K stuff is silly. The F35 has an HD output that makes it 1920 x 1080. The RED output is 4K (open a file in AE and look). What it looks like on screen is what matters. They both looked very good. Soon the market will tell us what is going to happen. I think you will see both working all the time.

bob

Edited by Robert Torrance, 21 April 2008 - 03:38 PM.

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#11 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:37 PM

In answer to the first question, I couldn't say.

Don't all the digital cameras look like video? They do to me and if you don't want that look, then you know what you need. The F35, or what we could see of it, handled highlights and skin tones a lot better to me. It's also better in low light without a doubt and on top of that, is built like a piece of film gear should be, like the D21, where the red is far, far from that. This quality issue will keep the red stuff from being taken seriously by many productions that have a large responsibility I think. Why cut corners at the last second? There are exceptions like usual but their poster boy also used a Canon XL to shoot with before.

There will always be something missing and there will always be an "update" or 1000K model just around the corner. The next indie projects I'm involved in are all shooting film. By winter things on the digital front will just change again. Maybe I'm lucky to be insulated from having to invest too much brain power in these issues, for a while anyway. Isn't at the point where it's all exhausting and kind of boring now?

I agree, there will be more formats, sensor types and post flows being employed on shows, upcoming soon and now, than ever before. I just hope that the ridiculous marketing by the chip guys will calm down a little or at least won't cloud further judgement as much as it has in more than a few cases. Won't happen, but would be nice, so I'm "just hoping". :rolleyes:
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#12 John Sprung

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:46 PM

Thanks, Vincent, for sharing so much good info.




-- J.S.
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