NAB 2013 Preview

NAB Show 2013

In just a few short weeks, NAB 2013 will kick off in Las Vegas, NV. It’s a week of full of new technology, conferences, and announcements from leading manufacturers like RED, Sony, and Canon. For those that haven’t attended in past years, the NAB show is THE place to be to get your hands on the newest cameras, lenses, and accessories first. Camera nerds and fanboys alike will gather in droves to support their favorite brands, and decide which new technology they will invest in.

If you make your living in the world of video, cinema, audio or post-production, NAB sets the tone and provides accurate indicators of where the industry (and technology) is headed. Last year’s show was dominated by talk about the new Blackmagic Cinema Camera, 4K, 5K, and RAW capable cameras. With Netflix announcing 4K streaming coming to subscribers within the next 2-years, this might be the year many production houses bite the bullet and upgrade from HD to 4K. Of course, there will be plenty of talk about the next “DSLR killer,” Camera Company A will accuse Camera Company B of having obsolete technology, and people will attempt to define new “standards” in the industry. When everyone wakes up from their Vegas/technology induced haze, there will be a few standouts, some disappointments, and few products/brands that will redefine the industry as we know it. Here is a rundown of what to expect at NAB 2013.

Sony

With the new F5 and F55 cameras out, expect Sony to have their new workhorses on display front and center. The new CineAlta cameras represent Sony’s entry to the 4K market (minus the high priced F65) and have already been met with much fanfare. Traditional “cinema” guys have started to again look at Sony. Expect them to have their CineAlta PL primes mounted to their cameras. The set includes 20mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm focal lengths. All lenses are T2.0. Many people have asked for an “FS100R” type camera that would allow 10 bit HDMI/SDI out. Sony has voiced their commitment to strengthening the NEX line of cameras, and many have suggested that Sony has something planned, priced in between the NEX-VG20 ($2,000) and the NEX-FS100 ($4,999.00 Body Only). With RED dominating the 4K+ market and Blackmagic offering a $3k RAW camera, expect some exciting news from Sony.

RED

“Assuming that the Mayan calendar doesn’t hold water… you need to book your reservations for NAB 2013. Trust me… if anything I have ever said rings true, you need to be there.” Those were RED founder, Jim Jannard’s words on the REDuser forum last June. Will we see a RED EPIC with a functioning 6K Dragon Sensor? Will we finally see a camera that will give us the elusive 3K for $3k? Stay tuned for the latest, and check out the REDuser NAB thread here: Content Creators Party

For those interested in the new Dragon sensor, the most informative thread on the subject can be found here: RED Dragon Info and Data Sheets.

Arri

Expect the newly announced ALEXA XT to be on display. The new ALEXA XT’s (Xtended Technology) all feature XR (Xtended Recording) modules, which can record ARRIRAW up to 120 fps. One XR Capture Drive will record 55 minutes of ARRIRAW at 24 fps and 11 minutes at 120 fps. Alternatively, it will record 2:12 hours of ProRes 444 at 24 fps (Via- Film & Digital Times). The XT cameras all feature 4:3 sensors, making them perfectly suited for anamorphic shooting. Might we see an ALEXA LT (lite/light) coming soon?

Canon

NAB 2012 saw Canon bringing out the big guns with their $25k EOS C500, and 4K capable EOS-1D C ($12k). Most people considered this a strange move and were afraid Canon was pricing themselves out of the market. Canon says to expect new cinema lenses as well as a new cinema camera. The camera is expected to sit in between the C100 ($6500) and the Canon C300 ($15k). Word has it, Canon may also show a prototype that would come above the C500, but apparently that has yet to be decided internally. (Via- Canon Rumors)

Blackmagic Design

Well, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera was a BIG hit at NAB 2012. Only problem is, most people that have ordered the camera, still haven’t received it! After manufacturing/supplier delays and infinity focus issues, the cameras still aren’t shipping in large quantities. Blackmagic announced a MFT (micro four-thirds) version of the camera coming, but only after existing EF mount cameras are shipped and orders fulfilled. Expect some working MFT bodies to be on display in the Blackmagic booth. There are also rumors that they might be announcing a DaVinci display (Via- ProVideo Coalition).

To add fuel to the MFT fire, 43 Rumors has been reporting since last October that Blackmagic Design has plans to release an active MFT model which would allow for full electronic control of aperture, zoom, and focus. The rumor has been classified as FT4, which means there is a 61-80% chance of the rumor being true. “I got multiple mails from different sources saying that Blackmagic is working on a new version of their Micro Four Thirds mount camera. Unlike the current model, this one will have “active m43 mount” which means it supports electronic contacts for zoom, aperture and focus control. It will also have phantom XLR, larger capacity battery and an external battery mount. And that’s not all! There will be an improved RAW coded and a slightly different design.” (Via- 43 Rumors)

*Added 4/8/2013* Blackmagic Design dropped a bombshell and will announce a Blackmagic 4K Cinema Camera at NAB 2013.

Panasonic

After a quiet (and I mean QUIET) showing at NAB 2012, is Panasonic ready to burst on the scene with a 4K capable contender to the Sony F5? In 2012, many people thought that Panasonic would announce the AF100′s successor… it never happened. Besides the new Panasonic HPX-600 (the first AVC-Ultra camera), Panasonic’s announcements at NAB 2012 were mostly regarding upgrades to existing cameras, namely the AF-100, AC-130, AC-160, and HPX-250. I’d like to give Panasonic the benefit of the doubt and think they’ve just been sitting back and waiting to see how the “4K Wars” played out between Sony, RED and Canon. Will we see a new cinema line of cameras from Panasonic?

Game Changer?!?

Thanks to Bob Gundu via REDuser for the head’s up on this one. Via Vincent Laforet, “I’m also very excited to help introduce a piece of camera equipment that I think clearly deserves being called a “game changer.”" He’s been perfectly clear that the technology mentioned IS NOT a camera, and will not be as affordable as the Canon 5D Mark II was. He will be announcing the new product at NAB 2013. He added, “I really don’t want to oversell this new piece of technology – but I really can’t help but imagine a hundred ways it will affect the way filmmakers approach their shooting, regardless of their budget, in such a “game changing” way.” He also mentioned that this is NOT an April fools joke. *EDIT* The technology in question turned out to be the MoVI camera stabilizer.

One thing is for sure… with technology advancing so quickly, and the price of storage dropping constantly, it’s a great time to be a filmmaker. RAW recording and editing is now within the reach of most professionals and we’ll soon have 4K displays in our homes and on our desktops. To the untrained attendee, NAB may seem like an overwhelming maze of products, difficult to navigate. Get a game plan together and stick to it. Make a list of “must see” cameras/technology/vendors and plan your time around them. If you have extra time, hit up those new vendors you’ve been meaning to check out. Opening day can get pretty crowded at the big booths as people crowd around to look at the new offerings. If you have the time, visit RED, Sony, Panasonic, Canon and Blackmagic after opening day, when the crowds die down. You’ll have more hands on time with the cameras/lenses and you’ll be able to ask questions to the sales reps at the booths. Looking to make a purchase while at the show? WB Financial is offering pre-approved NAB financing and credit lines for videographers, cinematographers, rental houses and other media professionals operating in the United States.

While free exhibits-only passes are no longer available, registration is still open via the NAB site: NAB 2013 Registration.

 

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