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NAB 2009 - Wilt’s Wrap-Up

Three top themes from NAB 2009, and other observations.

By Adam Wilt | April 29, 2009

RED (and other) Cine Camera Accessories

There was a huge increase in camera accessories for digital cine cameras, which mostly means the RED ONE (with all due respect to the Arri D-21 and SI-2K, RED has really blown the market wide open). I've already talked about all the new PL mount lenses, though I missed one in that earlier report:

ActionProducts makes this Leica lens adapter for RED.

OK, it's not a lens itself, it's an adapter that lets you mount a Leica lens. Dig out those Summicrons and party!

Element Technica breakout boxes in designer colors, to match your iPod nano.

Element Technica showed several products, including the Mantis handheld rig previewed at the Plaster City Post DCS meeting last August.

These colored BOBs, alas, aren't for sale; ET did them just for fun. The charcoal on the lower right may be the new standard color, though.

Element Technica's EVF extension arm for RED.

ET has this longer EVF arm for use with a tripod linkage.

Air Sea Land's Remote Interface Box (RIB) for RED ONE.

Air Sea Land (a.k.a. Toys4RED) is now shipping the RIB (Remote Interface Box) and RIP (Remote Interface Panel) for RED. These rationalize the RED ONE's oddball connector choices with industry-standard sockets, and do clever things like providing headphone-volume pots and rotary switches to select connector functions.

Air Sea Land's T-Bag splash bag for RED ONE.

ASL also offers this splash bag to waterproof your RED ONE for watery use.

Viewfactor's Impero wireless FIZ (focus/iris/zoom) controller.

Viewfactor's Inclino lens drive controller and motors.

Viewfactor provides the "Origo" start/stop switch for RED, and the Inclino / Impero remote lens control system. A full 3-axis set is about US$5500, considerably cheaper than competing controllers. Is it any good? It'll be interesting to find out!

Sachtler Artemis EFP HD SE stabilizer for RED ONE.

Sachtler's Artemis is a German alternative to Steadicam. Now there's a RED edition with RED's Lemo power connectors fitted, allowing batteries to be relocated to the sled for balance as well as power. Multiple batteries may be used, allowing for hot-swap without power-down. Depending on options, it'll run you $22,000 to $32,250.

ActionProducts Zero-G stabilizer for RED.

ActionProducts has a couple of RED-adapted stabilizers, the ActionCam Zero-G shown here ($27,500) or the red-edition ($14,800) which uses RED's LCD and battery to keep cost down.

ActionProducts handheld kit components.

ActionProducts has handheld kits, as well.


Ken Freed demonstrates a JVC 200-series HDV camcorder in studio garb.

The JVC booth was aswarm with people clustered around the new GY-HM700 and GY-HM100 cameras, which record QuickTime-wrapped, 35 Mbit MPEG-2 files to SD cards: essentially the XDCAM EX codec in an FCP-ready format. I wasn't able to get any pictures of the cameras, but I did wedge myself in close enough to the monitors to see details. The HM700 makes a very smooth, crisp image. The HM100, alas, shows a lot of fine-detail twinkle and jaggies on diagonals; it appears to be using low-resolution chips and isn't doing a very good job of upconverting their output to HD.

JVC also has some of the best-looking HD LCDs around, with deep blacks, rich colors, excellent motion rendering, and wide viewing angles.


The Panasonic AG-HPX300 1/3" 3MOS camcorder.

The HPX300 is a very interesting looking camera. It has all the flexibility of an HVX200 or HPX500, but with full-resolution MOS sensors. It has all the built-in scopes of the HPX170, and a freakin' awesome high-res LCOS viewfinder.

One reason the HPX300 is special: AVC-Intra recording.

It records not only DV-format clips in SD and HD, but AVC-Intra files, too: 10-bit, 4:2:2, full-raster images. I can't wait to get my hot sweaty hands on one of these puppies to run it through its paces.

Panasonic AG-HMC150 and AG-HMC40 AVCCAM (AVCHD) camcorders.

Panasonic isn't ignoring the small cams, either. The HMC40 appears to be the AVCHD descendant of the DVC30 from a few years ago. It is said to use 3 full-resolution, 2-Megapixel 1/4" MOS sensors. It'll be $3200 when it ships in August.

Panasonic HMR10 AVCCAM (AVCHD) recorder and HKC10 POV camera.

The HMR10 is a pocket-sized AVCHD recorder, and the HKC10 is a POV (point-of-view) camera that plugs into it. Neither is shipping just yet, but the HMR10 should cost around $2650 while the HKC10 will be $2100.


BandPro's Randy Wedick and Jim Hegadorn set up a PDW-800.

In addition to the SRW-9000 and PDW-800, and other cameras previously mentioned, Sony was showing off the HDV-format HVR-Z5u HDV camcorder (which I'll be reviewing soon).

Sony's HXR-MC1 AVCHD POV camera and recorder.

They also showcased their own POV camera, the HXR-MC1. It's a consumer AVCHD camera repackaged into the POV form factor, recording on Memory Stick Pro Duo. Some folks complain that the connecting cable is fixed and not removable, but (a) that keeps cost down (the package is around $2900) and (b) it's only the first HD POV cam Sony has come out with: Sony says to stay tuned if this one isn't quite what you're looking for. I'll be reviewing this one in the near future, too.

Next: Other Cool Things, Interesting Sights, and Final Thoughts...

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mopixels: | April, 30, 2009

Thanks for the great wrap up.  I love seeing the Akeley Audio Camera and “combat” cameras.

Heard you saw the Lunix GH1 and footage.  How does it look, if you can say at this point?

Adam Wilt: | April, 30, 2009

The vintage cams were pretty cool. I haven’t been able to date the Akeley; I think it was the 1920s or thereabouts (there was probably an informative placard on the ASC booth, but that doesn’t help me now!). Any idea when it was made?

As to the GH-1, it looks very interesting in the writeups I’ve seen, and there are supposed to be clips from it on the web (if you can get past all the Guitar Hero 1 clips, grin), but until I get my eager, trembling hands on one and do a proper eval, there’s not much I can say. B&H says, “Approx. Arrival June”, but it’s already shipping in Japan. I think I need to drop by Yodobashi Camera one of these days… how much is a round-trip ticket to Narita?

Adam Wilt: | April, 30, 2009

Panasonic’s Jan Crittenden, on seeing my “crate city” photo, said, “those are only the booth crates, there were another 15 8’X6’X6’ cages full of equipment and another 6-8 pallets of plasmas.” Ouch!

Philip Bloom has posted a GH-1 video: Man, look at all those Canon Super8s, and even a Scoopic. Oh, laddie, it takes you back…

IEBA: | May, 01, 2009

It would be real mice if the HMC40 was indeed a descendant of the DVC30, and kept the 16x optical zoom that went digital to 20x and was super (pro lens) smooth with an external lanc controller. As it is, it’s limited to 12x, which, in this age of true 20x optical on pro, and even more on consumer, you have to wonder how a camera that _evolved_ from the DVC30 would lose 4x of zoom.

Michael Horton: | May, 01, 2009

“Panasonic showed this rather intimidating mockup, clearly the result of an ill-considered assignation between an HPX170 and a pair of binoculars following a night of drunken debauchery.”

Great line!

Steven Bradford: | May, 04, 2009

Too Bad Ikegami didn’t show an HD version of their 3D Zoom camera that shipped back in 1991:
That would have taken away Panasonics thunder, and been very easy to do.

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