I made my way out to NAB this year and I thought I would mention a few highlights I had while I was out there, although I won’t be able to get to them all.
Since it’s release last year the Carbonite has created some Buzz. Over the last 5+ months I have had a chance to really get familiar with the “Carb”, and I have really liked the product! All the fundamentals are there to pull off a great production, plus some added features to put your production over the edge and not break the bank. It’s not their flagship but once your on it, it doesn’t matter. It does just about everything you need it to.
This year with the new software updates there is even more to be thankful of for all the current and future Carbonite owners out there. Here is a quick list of the improvements, although I know I will forget 1 or 2.
-More multi-view layouts now with Aux monitoring and up to 32 windows
-Added a Custom Control Shotbox- (Sideshot)
-Remote Aux panel Support
-Audio playback on the Media stores
-Increased integration with Xpression
-Dashboard Live Assist
-New Studio packages with Blackstorm and Xpression
There was also a closed door viewing room showing some other features on Carbonite. For me this is a highlight not for what they were showing but for the fact that Carbonite is here to stay and Ross is going to continue to write code and improve the Carbonite line. If you know anything about Ross, this is not surprising. But for a company this big to release an Economical product with all the features it has and continues to pour resources into it when they have many other products where they are probably making a lot more money on is crazy, and they still give the updates out for free! That makes me want to buy their products all day long.
Carbonite wasn’t the only thing Ross had that was new and updated. Blackstorm, their 2 channel play-out server was shown, they had updates to their line of NK Routers, The recent acquisition of the Cambots and of course new Open Gear and gear lite products as well.
All in all, I thought Ross had the Best booth at NAB! If you have red my stuff at all you know I’m partial to Ross and my opinion can be very bias in their favor, but it was always Crazy there and I think that can speak for itself.
Hitachi released the Z-HD5000 last year at NAB and they didn’t really have any updates to it, so why am I highlighting it this year when it was released last year? Because, Hitachi needs some highlighting.
A few years ago I started to notice the Hitachi line of cameras when I saw a shootout between a variety of cameras. The Hitachi’s stood out as one of the better looking cameras, if not the best looking camera in the line up. The image quality is clean, rich, and has a great color range. The image is smooth and all in all looks like cameras well above it’s price range. With the release of the HD5000 Hitachi gives you that great Hitachi look at a much cheaper price, and with an upgrade path. (you can swap out the head to the 1000 in the future if you would like)
If you have read my blog at all you know I say 2/3” chips are the only way to go, and quality is not always about resolution. This camera only proves my theories.
Based on a Fiber backbone, upgradable to Triax if you would like with many options, lots of controls and it even has a little brother, the DK-Z50 brick with the same chip set. Together they make a perfect camera package for the church market. Full 2/3” chips, Easy to use Fiber, Full studio camera capabilities (None of this camcorders trying to be a studio cam), and cost efficient HD. If you need a field camera for shooting during the week, you can swap out the back and put a deck on it. A true industrial camera!
I think I am becoming as much of a fan of Hitachi as I am Ross. 😉
Now I am not normally a Fan of the small PTZ systems, but I had a chance to play with the new Panasonic AW-HE120 camera attached to AW-RP655 controller and I was extremely impressed at the smooth operation in both the pan and tilt unit as well as the lens. With a built in 20x optical lens, the choice of Black or White and the ease of setup and use it is a win all around.
So if you must go with a small 1/3” chip HD camera, and you must go with a PTZ, (Both are things I try and stay away from) Panasonic has the best camera out there. This just might be the first time Panasonic has made a camera I actually like.
Fast Forward Video Sidekick Studio
Fast Forward Video released their Sidekick studio, a studio version of their on camera version. Fast forward has been giving us DDR’s for a long time. The Omega Deck is still a popular single channel replay device but the new sidekick studio is a big update for FFV.
Priced similar to the Ki-pro it puts it in direct competition with the popular AJA box. It comes in a perfect half rack size with a big Color display on the front. It records in ProRes 4:2:2, ProRes 4:2:2HQ and DNxHD and uses 2.5” removable Sata Drives for storage. It has all the standards for decks these days. RS 422, LTC in, 8Ch embedded audio, HD-SDI and HDMI in & out, Cross-converted Video i/o’s and best of all Gigabit Ethernet File downloads, so you never have to pull out the drives if you don’t want to.
This is a true studio deck, even complete with Odetics protocol for advanced machine control for creating playlists and jumping from clip to clip. I’m really excited to get my hands on this deck and I have a feeling FFV will only be adding to the Sidekick family.
AJA Ki-Pro Rack
I know I just talked about a major competitor, FFV, But this has been a long time coming! The ki-pro has found itself in studios since it was first released. Now it is in a single RU complete with AES audio in’s and outs, Redundant power, Dual drives, Dual SDI in’s and out’s, and best of all operates at cooler temperatures. AJA Finally re-released the Ki-pro in the direction we have all been waiting for.
AJA released a lot of cool things at their booth including a Thunderbot to SDI mini converter, and new I/O boxes for editing. AJA had some big releases at NAB this year, but I was by far the most excited about the Ki-pro rack!
Matrox Micro Quad
Matrox released their Micro Quad at NAB this year. It is a full HD quad with HDMI out. Prior to this you couldn’t get an HD-SDI quad split for under 3K. But Matrox is now doing it for just under $1000! On the box you can pull up full screens of all the 4 inputs or view them in the split. The price point and the fact that it is HD makes this a Hit.
I hope to see a follow up version of this device with Tally inputs the ability to customize the naming label and HD-SDI out to add with the HDMI output. I think there is some improvement that could be done on it but either way I’m pretty excited about this little box.
Telairity H.264 Encoders
Last year at NAB I accidentally found the Telairity Booth and it left a lasting impression. Their encoders are top notch! They look good, are reliable, cost efficient, as low as 150ms of delay, and my favorite, Instant on! That is right no boot time, once you plug it in, it starts encoding immediately.
This year they updated some of their encoders for more H.264 encoding as well as they have release some newer IRD’s in both 4:2:2 and 4:20 compete with a Genlock input!
I have used other encoders and decoders and Telairity continues to impress me. They have a resume` a mile long with Top tier clients. The company has been in constant growth. If you are doing live multi-site or even live streaming and haven’t checked out Telairity yet, you need to! I have not even scratched the surface on their product line and all they have to offer.
A side note:
Now this year’s NAB was not all full of highlights. There was a particular booth that I left shaking my head in disappointment, that booth to most of your surprises is Blackmagic Designs. Now like most of you I have appreciated the economical products that BMD has put out the past few years, especially their small routers, Mini and Open gear converters. But as I look at some of the newer products I can’t help but think that a lot of them are only half done. I’m not going to go into too much detail but there are a few products that BMD have made that left me wondering. It also made me realize that just because a company you trusts puts out a product, it doesn’t mean you should trust that every product they put out will be great.
So my challenge to all of you is to really look before you buy, not just BMD products but everything. There is a fine line between economical gear and cheap gear. Buy wisely and know that your purchases are an investment, it is ok to Spend a little more to get a better product, even when working in a church.
I had a conversation with someone at the CTL dinner on Monday night and they made another good point that there is some gear out there that by the time you purchase all the extra stuff you need to make some of this cheaper stuff work, it comes out to be the same amount if not more than the higher end gear.
So buy responsibly, and be smart. My apologies to BMD for calling them out; BMD still makes some good economical gear and I hope they continue to improve on their line.
A note about what I didn’t see:
One of the things I looked long and hard for was an instant replay device (Simultaneous record/ Play or time slip device) for under 10K. In the SD world we had the magnificent Sony DSR-1000a. A solid all around deck! There has been nothing since going HD that meets all the standards of the 1000a in a reasonable price range. The closest thing is the FFV Omega Deck at 17K. If you saw something I didn’t please let me know, however, I am confident that when a manufacture achieves this milestone, it will pay off greatly. I spent a lot of time looking at servers that will do exactly what I want but not at the price or with the simplicity, not that these servers were very difficult to use. I guess I am just looking for a typical Broadcast deck with front controls like the DSR-1000a.
Another thing that is missing, and I’m not convinced will ever happen is an economical long lens. Something that will get the range of focal length to the 400mm’s in the 20K range. Even something that starts at a higher mm, such as 15-30mm and multiplier of around 20 would help. Most churches place their primary camera(s) anywhere from 60-80 feet away from stage and it is hard to get in tight without using a doublers which are never ideal due to the light loss (And I never recommend using anyway). We don’t need to go out wide to do IMAG, we just need to get close, and right now that is extremely expensive to do.
So that was a few of my highlights and thoughts coming out of NAB. All in all I thought it was a good show this year and I learned a lot. Please feel free to post some of your highlights below.