We are always excited to see what NAB has to show us. This year NAB for Alias was a look into a combination of things rather than genuine specifics.
The most exciting for us is the increasing range of servo driven cine zoom lenses. Right now, the best of the bunch is the new Canon CN7.
With a great focal range of 17mm to 120mm with lightweight housing similar to a recognisable broadcast lens, this might just be the abler to “run ‘n gun” Canon C300’s, Sony F5’s/F55s’ and of course the Arri Amira. The fact that it’s zoom capacity is similar to Canon’s HJ-17′ (or the new HJ-18) could mean that this lens may become a standard for single lens documentary/observational shoots. This is yet another breakthrough for Film and Video production as it’s a newer, better bridge between those two terms. That gap is getting smaller every year and this will only push things further forward than ever. It may not have the revolution impact of the Canon 5D, nor the C300 for that matter, but if you’re shooting for high-end promo’s or just for regular Ob’s Doc why wouldn’t you use this lens? It will make shooting for “film” a whole lot quicker and easier than before without losing hardly any quality.
Like it’s competitor, the Fujion Cabrio range, the rocker is detachable so it can operate as a genuine cine lens with follow focus rigs etc. Though what we like most about the Canon CN7 is that it’s focal range is pretty much spot on compared to the Cabrio’s in terms of being wide enough for most shoots with a good zoom range at the end of the lens. How it genuinely operates in the field is anyone’s guess but based on what we saw…we like!
Zeiss also launched a servo rocker that can attach to it’s current range of compact zooms. The chap from Zeiss assured us that he had a working prototype but had been broke earlier in the day. They plan to formally launch a full scale model at IBC this year which is exciting. Not least of all due to the fact that Zeiss’ compact zooms have interchangeable mounts which adds so much variation to their use!
Agenieux are also in on the act with a new launch for their servo system. No rocker, so not applicable to handheld shooting, but a unit geared towards zoom and focus demands. Really exciting times for glassware!
Mini cams were a real feature for NAB. Lots of them for sure! Most are palm sizes cube cameras streaming out signals to external recorders. Codex’s Action Cam is a data beast that can record 12-bit RAW via an external Codex recorder. List price is around £20k. At the other end of the scale, the Flare Camera from IO Industries, which is an alternative that allows a multitude of end recorders up to 2K 10bit 4:2:2
The common denominators between most of the mini-cams is the fact that each camera appears to have a global shutter and that they’re all C-Mounts but perfectly adaptable to PL/EF/B4 mounts.
The hype was definitely around the 4K large sensor cameras. The AJA CION, Blackmagic URSA, Panasonic’s Varicam 35 and JVC’s GY-LSX1 to name but a few. All are PL mount equipped for 35mm style shooting. Add this to the F5/F55’s and the RED Epic/Dragon and the likelihood is that there is a glut of cameras that may never be used or at best used a few times based on very specific needs. Too many 4K cameras that roughly do the same thing for the same look? Yes in our opinion. Not all the cameras are going to be successes of course and we all know that 4K is currently very expensive to post and transmit so perhaps the need isn’t that great at the moment. But that shouldn’t stop development of course. It would be nice from our particular bias if there were only a few cameras instead of lots, but for you the users the choice is easy…hire your kit! And when you do, hire from us!