The Ninja 2 now boasts HDMI output as well as HDMI input, which means it can be used to record directly from the amazing new Nikon DSLR sensor (D4/D800) and the retina-display Apple iPad, really taking advantage of their stunning HD output. The Ninja 2 touchscreen has also been upgraded, now incorporating an 800×480 pixel display, with a viewing angle of 170 degrees, both horizontally and vertically, with much improved visibility in direct sunlight.
One of the key new features of AtomOS 3.0 is SmartLog – the ability to mark in and out points and tag clips using XML metadata so that you can effectively make a pre-edit on your Ninja or Samurai before you even get to the edit suite. Another new 3.0 feature is SmartControl, designed specifically for use in James Cameron’s Deep Sea Challenge. It allows start/stop/pause to be triggered on any number of Samurais interconnected via their LANC port.
AtomOS 3.0 also incorporates precision monitoring aides such as Focus Peaking, Zebra, False Color and Blue-Only.
Originally developed in collaboration with Apple, the Ninja and Samurai field recorders allow the recording, monitoring and playback of pristine, 10-bit uncompressed images straight from your DSLR or camcorder directly to Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD.
In today’s post-NAB blog we will be concentrating on lighting. Sure, some of the new sensors out there have incredible low-light performance (such as the Super 35mm newbies covered in our recent NAB camcorder blog) but sensitivity is one thing: You will still need to use some lighting if you want your images to stand out from the rest.
We were lucky enough to see some great upcoming products from some of our best imported brands, including new LED heads from Ikan, innovative softbox solutions from Chimera and a powerful LED studio fixture from Lowel.
Here we go…
We’ve been familiar with the Ikan range of LED heads for two years now, and that range is about to get bigger and better. Ikan’s stand was large, welcoming and had a number of new lighting heads on display.
First up was the IB500 and IB1000 heads, which are the “bi-colour” updates to the hugely popular ID500 and ID1000 heads. As their “bi-colour” description suggests, you have the option of both Daylight and Tungsten output, which is easily controlled via a dial on the back of the head. Just like their single colour temperature equivalents, they are dimmable and also have the option to be powered by 12v batteries. If you have V-lock batteries, they already make a compatible V-lock plate for these heads. The best part is that they’re just as good value as the Daylight fixtures, and hardly cost anything more! You can order this heads now by clicking here.
These next heads are – for me – the most exciting. We saw the new ID508 and IB508 heads, which are like slimline versions of the aforementioned ID500/1000 and IB500/1000 fixtures (the ID508 is the daylight model, and the IB508 is the bi-colour). They have a little less output, but they make up for this with their incredibly slim profile, tiny battery systems and light weight. You see, what’s special about these heads is that they come supplied a Sony-style “L” series battery and charger, making them some of the most portable and practical LED heads around. We get the feeling that the portable interview lighting kit is about to be re-invented with heads like these, and we can’t wait to get them into stock and on display in our showroom.
For those needing something with more power and coverage, Ikan had some good looking new solutions…
The new ID1500 and IB1500 heads are just over three feet long and are effectively like three of the ID500/IB500 heads in a long line, or like a KinoFlo-style 4 foot bank, depending on how you look at it. These ID1500/IB1500 heads will be ideal for lighting a full body shot and especially suited to chromakey work. As before, the ID model is daylight and IB model is dual colour temperature. These are very new, and we will have pricing on the Prokit website shortly.
Finally we saw the ID36 head (pictured above), which has the most powerful throw of all the Ikan range. It’s similar in size to the ID/IB1000 head but uses lensed LEDs to increase the output range. These would be idea in a number of situation, like studios or pieces to camera when outside. Like the ID/IB1000, they can be powered by battery with an optional V-lock plate as well.
Ikan lighting offers excellent value for money and we’re looking forward to getting these new heads into stock!
LED lighting is, by its very nature, a “hard light”. Lots of people are under the impression that LED panels are soft: This is not the case, as a source made up of bare diodes without any lensing or diffusion is effectively the same as lots of small bare halogen lamps. It’s a hard light, and to soften it you will need diffusion.
At Prokit we have been selling Chimera Softboxes for over 10 years and they are simply the best way to make a hard source into a beautiful, wraparound soft light. Chimera have started to make a range of softboxes to fit the growing number of LED heads on the market…
Chimera now make softboxes for the large Ikan range of LED heads already mentioned in todays blog. These will wrap neatly around the barn door sections, as pictured below.
Chimera also have banks for the smaller range of LED toplights, and with some innovative features. First of all the conveniently fold away for transport, as demonstrated in the photograph. As you can also see, there is a “clear” looking front screen….which, as you can probably guess, is not just a clear screen: it’s much smarter than that. It is designed to reduce the “multi-shadow” effect that LED panels can create, which will mean a much clearer beam and more singular show effect. This front screen technology will also be available for the front of the new banks for larger LED heads.
This next Chimera bank is a little different, as it is designed for still photography rather than video. It’s called the Beauty Dish, works with strobe heads and is made to be a portable portraiture photography bank. We saw it in action and the results were very impressive. It is pictured below:
Lowel’s latest entry into the LED world is the daylight balanced Prime head, which is a powerful studio based fixture with a similar output to the Kino Flo Diva 400.
We also saw a prototype of the upcoming GL-1 head, which is a handheld Tungsten LED head designed mainly for Wedding photography. Think of it as a neat, all-in-one version of the Lowel ID-Light. We saw it in its prototype state and it is looking good.
So there’s our Lighting news from NAB. Exciting stuff, right? We should have the new Ikan heads on display and in stock in around four weeks, and the new Chimera products will be on our website soon. We already have the Tungsten version of the Lowel Prime on display, so come down to our showroom and see these new heads in action.
Today’s blog by Stuart Dennis
Welcome to the first of our post-NAB reports! We saw so much it’s hard to know where to start, but we may as well start with the product type that got the most attention: The small matter of new cameras…
The Large Sensor Camcorders
In the large-sensor arena, this year’s NAB saw the genesis of low-cost 4K acquisition in the shape of new models from Sony and Canon, and the curious 2.5K resolution debut of Blackmagic’s Cinema Camera. Let’s deal with these one by one…
Sony’s latest large sensor camcorder has been designed around the body chassis, layout and lens mount of their FS100 model, but the similarity really ends there: The internal specifications of FS700 make this a different beast altogether.
First of all we have totally new sensor capable of delivering 4K resolution via the 3G-SDI output when using an external recorder. The 4K output will not be active straight away, and will become usable with a future firmware upgrade. Although there is potentially a 4K recorder coming from Sony in the future, this NAB saw the launch of some third-party 4K capable external recorders which I shall cover in more detail next week.
So if 4K for the FS700 is a “future” capability, then what of the specifications on release? Well, as you may have read in previous blogs, the FS700 is set apart from closely priced rivals by its unique framerate capabilities. To quote the marketing blurb from Sony: “The camcorder delivers Full-HD quality images at 120 and 240 frames per second in an 8 or 16 seconds burst mode respectively. The NEX-FS700’s high sensitivity and low noise shooting capability makes super slow motion shooting more convenient without additional equipment. 480 fps and 960 fps rates at reduced resolution are available for faster frame rate recording.”
We saw some slow motion footage of the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas shot by Alister Chapman, which you can see for yourself by clicking here. The YouTube footage doesn’t really do it justice: We saw it on Full HD OLED monitors on the Sony stand and it looked brilliant. There really isn’t another camera even remotely in this price range that has this kind of capability when it comes to frame rates and scalable resolution. Another nice touch is the inclusion of ND filters built into the front of the camera. Yes, that does mean increased girth at the lens mount end but it’s worth it if it means being able to knock down light at the flick of a switch.
All sounding good? Well, it gets better because the handgrip incorporates a zoom rocker. We all know what that means: Sony are planning a motorised servo zoom lens, meaning that the FS700 isn’t just for prime lenses and other fast optics. With the addition of a zoom controlled by the rocker, you’ll be able to use the camcorder in much the same way as a standard small sensor camcorder but with all the added benefits of the FS700’s impressive specification and capabilities (great low light performance, high framerates etc).
All in all the FS700 excites us. It’s scalable in terms of resolution, offers unique features at an excellent price and the eventual introduction of a powered zoom lens make it a great all round camcorder that will be ideal for accomplishing both cinematic and televisual aesthetics. And we’re taking pre-orders now…
Canon’s follow up to the wildly popular C300 gets their 4K ball rolling in a similar way to the Sony FS700 by equipping the camcorder with a sensor capable of 4K and a 3G-SDI output that will send out the 4K stream. So – like the Sony – no 4K on board but instead you’ll able to get that huge resolution onto the imminent range of 4K capable external recorders.
The C500 differs to the C300 in other ways as well. The 3G-SDI output will be capable of 10bit output, allowing you to go to recorder capable of that bit depth and technically extending the limits of what is possible in the post production grading process. Moreover, on-board you’ll be able to record up to 120FPS, making it a powerful slow-motion camcorder that will likely be broadcast legal due to the 50MBPS bitrate. In a necessary chassis design change from the C300, the C500 foregoes the side grip found on the C300 in order to make space for what looks like a heat sync/vent. One imagines that when in 4K mode, it gets a little hotter inside than its 8 bit/1080P relation.
Just like the C300, the camera will be available in the choice of EOS or PL mount. We’d love to know what you guys would put on the front: Would you be inclined to use feature and commercial level PL glass on a camera capable of such a resolution? Or would you stick it out using EOS glass from your DSLR days? It’s an interesting question, and we’d like to know your answers.
So enough of the tech talk on the Canon C500, onto what the footage looked like…
We saw a demonstration film played on Canon’s insanely impressive 30” 4K monitor (yes, I did say 30” and 4K in the same sentence) and put simply: It was quite beautiful. It probably helped that it had clearly been shot by a very talented crew, but what was striking was how sharp and “filmic” it was. I’m not normally one for the occasionally vague language employed by some of the online production community, and I would never say “filmic” unless I was attempting to convey the textural quality of celluloid itself, but in this case I can’t really find another adjective that really nails the feel of the C500 footage. Even then, it wasn’t so much texture on its own in a tactile sense, but more the way it interacted with the movement, colour and latitude around it. It was a type of aesthetic I hadn’t seen since I first looked at a Red R3D file with the RedSpace setting switched on: Full of detail, colour and punch, but without ever feeling like the OLPF-compensated sharpness of other camcorder footage. Of course, a demo real made to look brilliant through talented crew, high level grading and then displayed on a 4K monitor was always going to look great, but even if you’ve taken all that into account and the hairs on your neck still stand up…then surely you’ve just seen something that is just a little bit special.
The camera will be arriving sometime in the last quarter of this year. I can’t wait.
Blackmagic Cinema Camera
At a broadcast exhibition, always expect the unexpected. The unexpected can come in various forms: At last year’s IBC exhibition in Amsterdam, a man in a gorilla costume demonstrating a very strange piece of camera suspension kit casually sped past me with the aid of rollerblades. This year at I saw a middle-aged businessman singing “My Way” at a dedicated Karaoke tent (yes, really) outside the North hall. His audience? Nobody in particular, just exhibition attendee’s walking past.
Of course, the unexpected can also come in the form of a new product…
This year’s unexpected product was the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which judging by its pricing, ergonomics and capabilities is directly aimed at the DSLR filmmaking community.
It’s intriguing, curious, it looks seriously weird…but boy could it be a neat little B-camera if it does what the specification says. We’ve blogged this already but I’ll run the important specs past you one more time: a 16mm (or ½”) sized sensor/EOS lens mount/touch screen interface/big range of recording options including uncompressed, Avid DNX and Pro Res/records to removable SSD drives. And the cost? About £2,000.
I have seen no footage to wax lyrical about like the aforementioned Sony and Canon cameras, and my experience so far has been limited to peering at this strange, silver, miniature monolith through the glass cabinet you can see in the picture above (which, in a way is kind of apt: the camera looks a little like a science project or an experiment). It essentially feels like a recorder with a sensor and lens mount installed, and of course the 16mm sized sensor will mean a 2x crop over 35mm. Still, the planned capabilities are impressive, and it will be interesting to see a company more famed for converters and recorders make their debut in the world of large sensor camcorders.
The camera is due for release in June.
The Small Sensor Camcorders
Sony expanded their range of small sensor camcorders with the introduction of two new models. They are actually covered in detail in a previous blog which you can read here. Suffice to say we saw them in action on the (enormous) Sony stand and they both look good.
The first model is the NXR-NX30, which is a like a cross between the MC50 and NX70. That means small and neat, recording onto internal memory or onto SD card in the NXCAM format.
The second model is the 50MBPS recording PMW-100 camcorder, which uses SxS cards. Think of this as a 1/3” sensor sidekick to the larger, shoulder mounted PDW-500 camcorder.
Pumping bass. A racing car. Lots and lots of people. It could only be the Go Pro stand.
Last year GoPro acquired a company called Cineform, who create RAW codecs for high end recorders. It may have seemed an odd choice for an up and coming point-of-view camera company primarily concerned with extreme sports, but our visit to the Go Pro at NAB 2012 pushed a little logic our way and now we get it.
The result of the partnership is threefold: An upcoming flat/LOG picture profile to get the most dynamic range possible out the GoPro 2, the ability to shoot at a datarate of 35mbps (just under double the existing data rate) and their new “Protune Software” (basic version is free, fully spec version you need to pay for) which allows manipulation of footage, application of simple LUTs and some 3D manipulation when having shot stereoscopically.
The introduction of a higher data rate and flat picture profiles will make the GoPro 2 a more flexible and powerful tool than it already is, and make it easier to match the footage from the diminutive shooter to other high end camcorders.
So folks, that all for today. This week we’ll have blogs on camera grip, lighting and the latest on external recorders.
Today’s blog by Stuart Dennis
Blackmagic Design today announced Blackmagic Cinema Camera, a revolutionary digital cinema camera design that includes powerful features such as super wide 13 stops of dynamic range, high resolution 2.5K sensor, built in high bandwidth SSD recorder, open file format support, colour correction with full version of DaVinci Resolve and a built in LCD with metadata entry, all in an attractive compact design for only £1925 + vat.
Blackmagic Cinema Camera will be available July 2012. Click HERE to Pre-order
The rack-mounted PIX 260 is a file-based video recorder/player that seamlessly replaces tape-based video decks in production and post-production environments. Using the Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD codecs, the PIX 260 records and plays files up to 220 Mbps in high-quality 10-bit 4:2:2 video as well as 32 tracks of 48 kHz audio. Files from the PIX 260 are ready for direct import into Avid and Final Cut editing environments, eliminating time-consuming transferring and transcoding. Files can also play out of the PIX 260 for real time applications.
The PIX 260 has extensive audio connectivity. With up to 32 track record/playback capability, the PIX 260 accepts eight channels of line-level analog I/O, eight channels of AES digital, 16 channels of embedded SDI, 8 channels of HDMI, and 32 tracks of audio over Ethernet using Audinate’s Dante.
Price and availability coming soon. Please contact Prokit for more info.
If last week’s Sony 4K announcement didn’t quite satisfy your appetite for higher-resolution-than-HD imaging then worry no more, because today Canon have also crashed the 4K party with the announcement of two very exciting and powerful new models.
Canon EOS C500
The first is a 4K update of the C300, called a C500 and essentially a 4K version of the aforementioned Super 35mm shooter. Here are the preliminary specs:
The Canon C500 is clearly designed to be a high resolution tool for top-end acquisition, and will be duking it out with the likes of the Red Scarlet, Red One MX , Sony FS700 and F65 in the world of 4K. No word on pricing yet but we can safely guess that it will be more than its older HD brother, the C300. Be aware that just like the Sony FS700, 4K recording is likely to be via the 3G-SDI and onto an external recorder (not supplied) and the onboard recording is likely to be HD resolution.
Canon EOS 1DC
The second camera announcement is a 4K recording, Full Frame sensor, DSLR-shaped camera called the EOS 1DC. The camera will record 4K onboard using the motion JPEG format, and looks a lot like the Canon 1DS, which also has a full frame sensor. In video mode the camera records in and image size equivalent APS-H, which is larger than Super 35mm (although presumably not as large as full frame).
Obviously these are all preliminary specifications, and when more info is available we will have a more comprehensive idea of the specific camera functions. Hopefully we will see both of these camcorders at the NAB Exhibition next week!
Scheduled release date and RRP for EOS-C500: Q4 2012 – £16,666 + VAT
Scheduled release date and RRP for EOS 1-DC: Q4 2012 – £8,333 + VAT
Please be aware that as these prices are tentative and are subject to change.
Today’s blog by Stuart Dennis
It’s been an exciting few months for cutting edge camera technology. So far this year we’ve seen the launches of the Canon C300, the Canon 5D Mark 3 and also JVC’s entry into 4K imaging. It was about time Sony reacted, and reacted they have…
This coming NAB Exhibition will see three new – and very different- professional camcorders from Sony.
Sony NEX-FS700E Super 35mm Camcorder
The model that steals the headlines is the NEX-FS700E, which looks and sounds like a future-proofed update to the NEX-FS100, and to all intents and purposes it is an FS100 with the helpful and sensible addition of in-built Neutral Density filters. Using the same body chassis as the FS100, this camcorder packs a Super 35mm sensor behind a familiar E-mount and records AVCHD to SD-HC card. So far, so similar to the NEX-FS100. But the next two features set this apart from its predecessor and indeed the competition:
Getting 4K from this camcorder will have large benefits: you’ll be able to shoot for cinema, have the option of cropping into shots if you’re going for a 1080P/2K finish, and get ultra clean chromakey shots thanks to this heightened resolution to name a few. However this 4K recording will not be on board the camera, and will instead be via the 3G-SDI output and onto an external recorder. Both output and recorder options will be added after the planned release of the camcorder in late June this year.
Now, there will be a bit of a resolution compromise for those ultra-high framerates, and right at the top end they are really “burst modes” (ie you only get it for a very short period) but still, Sony are neatly filling a gap here: quality high-speed filming at a low cost.
The estimated price of this camcorder will be around £7,000 for a body only and £7,600 with a 18-200mm E-Mount lens. Add to this that Birger Engineering’s long awaited Canon EF adapter is launching at NAB in two weeks, and the large sensor camcorder world just got a whole lot sharper.
Sony PMW-100 Compact Solid State Camcorder
Canon have had 50 megabits 422 single-chip shooters for nearly two years now in the form of the XF100 and XF105. In Sony’s world, 50 megabits has either meant spending £20K on the shoulder mount PDW models or adding a third party recorder onto their sub £10K range camcorders to record beyond the on-board datarates.
However, Sony have sensibly seen the high data rate light and will be debuting the PMW-100 compact camcorder at the NAB Exhibition. Here are the main features:
Preliminary pricing looks to be just over £3,000. This camcorder will be ideal for events and corporate videography. Moreover the high data rate and colour compression will make it ideal for chromakey work. No word yet on some of the more specific features: Hopefully a “world” camera? Hopefully the familiar Sony menu system from their professional range? Hopefully uses an existing battery system? Make it happen, Sony.
Sony NXR-NX30E UItra Compact NXCAM Camcorder
Is the diminutive size of the Sony HXR-NX70 still too large for you? Want something even smaller, still supplied with professional level XLR inputs but with the added bonus of an in-built projector? If you answered yes to all of the above then the upcoming NXR-NX30E is for you.
This looks to be the smallest professional level camcorder we have seen. It uses the NXCAM format and looks absolutely tiny. Pro level XLR inputs allow you to use real shotgun and radio microphones, and the inclusion of a projector means you can review your rushes whilst on location/in a hotel room/with your clients. At Prokit we got to have sneak peak of this projector technology in its prototype stage last year and it really is very impressive!
Pricing looks to be a little over £2,000. We still can’t quite get over how small this camcorder looks: let’s hope professional features haven’t been sacrificed in the same way Canon did with the XA10!
So there you go guys. Three new Sony models: One is a biggie in terms of capabilities and potential, one fills a high bitrate gap in the Sony entry-level range and the other is a pro level travel camcorder. We’ll be checking these out at NAB in two weeks and we’ll be keeping you updated with our impressions of the new Sony’s, as well as responding to Canon’s upcoming “EOS 4K” announcement, and the hot new products from other camcorder manufacturers. Sony have set a precedent with these new announcements…it will be fascinating to see how the competition responds.
Today’s blog by Stuart Dennis