Sounding Out Emerging Audio Technologies At NAB 2009

Beachtek DXA5D Audio Adapter for the Canon 5D MarkII

http://www.beachtek.com/dxa5d.html

Beachtek DXA5D Audio Adapter

Beachtek DXA5D Audio Adapter

Another interesting trend that is occring in the industry are DLSR camera’s being equipped to shoot motion imaging at resolutionup to 2K. For those who choose to shoot using a DSLR, Beachtek has and was showing their audio adapter unit for the Canon 5D MarkII. The unit offers two XLR inputs, level controls with VU meters, headphone monitoring, and a AGC-Disable switch that can defeat the 5D’s audio auto gain control.

TASCAM DP-04 Audio Mixer

http://www.tascam.com/products/dp-004.html

TASCAM DP-04 Audio Mixer

TASCAM DP-04 Audio Mixer

This small Audio Mixer called a Digital Pocketstudio caught my eye. The DP-004 can record two sources at once to a SD Card.  It has a built-in stereo condenser microphone makes it simple to record anywhere you go. It also has a pair of 1/4″ jacks on the rear panel allow you to connect your own microphones or line level sources.

Despite having only two inputs the DP-004 is actually a four track recorder. It allows you to build up your arrangement until you’ve filled up all four tracks. It also has a Bounce feature allows you to consolidate tracks and make room for more overdub layers. There is also an autopunch feature for fixing problems, track editing and an undo function.

Its size is smaller than a paperback book and its operation is simple enough for folks who want to keep their recording process simple and creative. A great explaination of the unit is contained in the video below.

Blue 328 – Renegade Labs

http://www.renegadelabs.com

Blue 328

Blue 328

I missed this product in my last NAB visit. I came accross the Blue|328, which is a complete 8 bus, 32 input mixer with a number of features in an incredibly small package. EQ, Dynamics and Surround Sound Monitoring come standard. The unit was designed for NLE edit suites, Telecine bays, Mobile Trucks and similar applications where available space is small and the audio requirements are large.

Logitek JetStream Mini

http://www.logitekaudio.com/jetstream_mini.html

Logitek JetStream Mini

Logitek JetStream Mini

In the area of IP audio, JetStream products have been designed to take advantage of new network protocols. Their specialty was to make the system extremely easy to set up, administer and use. The manufactuer states that one doesn’t need a degree in computer science or even patience and coffee to set it up.

Calrec – Apollo

http://www.calrec.com/product/apollo.htm

Calrec Apollo

Calrec Apollo

The Calrec Apollo caught my eye because of its control surface that takes the concept of user configurability to new levels. Technically the Apollo  utilises Bluefin2 with 1020 channel processing paths, 128 program busses, 96 IFB/Track outputs and 48 auxiliaries. At 96kHz, Apollo provides 510 channel processing paths, 64 program busses, 48 IFB/Track outputs and 24 auxiliaries.

The Apollo control surface is what caught my eye. It features OLED displays and touch screens to provide hi-resolution feedback of function and status. It includes light emitting knobs which change colour depending on function for immediate recognition. The surface can be instantly configured into different operational settings to suit the operator.

Samson – Zoom Technologies – New Audio Devices

Samson Expedition XP308i Portable PA System Audio Mixer

Samson Expedition XP308i Portable PA System Audio Mixer

Samson is one of those companies that are hard to pin down because of the way they operate their branding. I’ve bloged on them before and they make good products such as their Handy H4 and Handy H2 handheld recorders.  This year I saw a couple of items, one being the Expedition XP308i Portable PA System that contains the mixer pictured above. The mixer is an 8-channel powered mixer that includes a built-in iPod dock.

Expedition XP308i Portable PA System a small light portable PA system

Expedition XP308i Portable PA System a small light portable PA system

Q3 – Handheld Video Recorder

Samson Quick Cam Recorder

Samson Quick Cam Recorder

Probably based on success with their Handy H4 and Handy H2 handheld audio recorders, Samson was showing a prototype of handheld video recorder called the Q3. It’s slated to be released later this year. A couple of more views below…..

Samson Quick Cam Recorder - Operator View

Samson Quick Cam Recorder - Operator View

Samson Quick Cam Recorder - Front View

Samson Quick Cam Recorder - Front View

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InfoComm 2008 – Projector Technologies

Projectors From Canon

About the only standard projector(s) that I’ll post on from InfoComm 2008 are Canon’s. At the conference Canon released the WUX10, the world’s first WUXGA (1920×1200) projector using LCOS technology along with the SXGA SX80. Both of these projectors feature LCOS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) and the WUX10 is the highest resolution of any Canon projector incorporating a 0.71-inch WUXGA, the world’s first LCOS panel of its size to achieve such a level of resolution. The SX80 features a 0.55-inch SXGA (1,400 x 1,050 pixels) panel. The panels eliminate the “screen door effect,” which is a visual distraction common to LCD projectors.

The SX80 Multimedia Projector is being the world’s first projector to offer PictBridge connectivity. In addition, both of the new Multimedia Projectors feature Canon’s AISYS (Aspectual Illumination System) Optical Engine and also feature newly developed Genuine Canon 1.5x Powered Zoom/Focus Lenses. In addition both projectors feature Off and Go (which allows users to pack-up quickly after a presentation by simply unplugging the power cord while internal circuitry continues to run the fan and cool the projector), auto Set-Up functions for focus, keystone, signal inputs and screen color-correction; and an RJ-45 Connection with a built-in network interface for centralized monitoring of projector units.

Pocket Projectors

Atlantis Mini Video Projector

I’ve been interested for some time in what is happening in the area of pocket projectors and it turns out that InfoComm is one of the best places to see the latest developments in this area. The Atlantis Mobile Cinema Ultra-Mobile Multi-Application Mini Projector (model APSE-10A) is touted by Atlantis to be the world’s first pocket size projector. According to their website it provides high resolution projection video up to 50 inches in screen size,providing clear VGA resolution pictures. It uses a built-in battery that makes it ideal for presentations in remote areas.

Samsung SP-P400

Samsung was showing its SP-P400 that it has labeled as a pocket projector. It employs an LED lamp, employs SVGA (800 x 600) resolution, and outputs at 150 ANSI lumens. They were showing them working to projecting onto 3M’s Vikuiti display material in the SAMSUNG booth at InfoComm. Below is a video of the unit I found on YouTube;

TAXAN KG-PL105S

Finally the last one that I got a look at was the TAXAN KG-PL105S. Other than the link provided there is not much that I can tell you about this unit other than to click on the pictured specification sheet to enlarge it.

NAB 2008 – Camera Report

Supacam DVD Streaming Camcorder

Over the past few years NAB has become the ultimate show to look at video and film related cameras. Judging by the lineup at the B+H Photo booth this year the market appears hot. While the “big iron” cameras often get the lions share of press at NAB, there appeared to be a brisk business at the $299 Supacam DVD Streaming Camcorder at their booth. Although they could not well them on the floor, (they delivered orders directly to your Las Vegas hotel) as the show went on more people showed up on-site with these cameras. The camera’s are a little hard to explain but the video below will give you the lowdown on this popular NAB item.

3D Cameras

Silicon Imaging

Over the past few years NAB has been showing more and more 3D cameras. While some have been for special theatrical purposes, Hollywood’s recent appetite for 3D movies has spawned a variety of approaches to record 3D. While not a new camera Silicon Imaging, manufacturers of the SI-2K line of 2K resolution cameras, announced some new features in their full-sized cameras. Employing P+S Technik’s Professional 3D Mirror Rig, (covered in my camera mounts blog post) they added a frame-accurate start-and-stop feature for 3D shooting and announced it as a new product for 3D shooting. However Silicon Imaging added a surprise! They introduced a new developmental SI-2K Micro camera that they added to the 3D Mirror Rig, making 2K 3D film making truly portable. Heath McKnight covered this better on his blog and you can find his posting at http://tinyurl.com/55l8cl

Below is some test footage of the SI-2K Mini camera shot last year. (Note: This is obviously not a 3D movie)

Below is a video from NAB 2008 that explains how one 3D system actually works.

Red Digital

Red’s new top of the line camera is the Epic 5K digital cinema camera. It “ups” the quality from the 4K Red One released in 2007. Its smaller than the Red One, features a new S35mm Mysterium full frame X sensor, shoots at 1 – 100 FPS, has 2 XLR inputs, HD-SDI, HDMI, FireWire 800/USB2 and is slated to weigh 6 pounds. Expected price for Epic is $40 000 USD. For those Red One owners who wish to trade up, they will receive the full cost of their original Red One –$17,500– deducted from the $40 000 price of the Epic 5K.

Scarlet is a new low cost camera that will beat 2K cameras in terms of capability. It features a 2/3 inch 3K Mysterium sensor and comes equipped win a non-interchangable 8 x 2.8 zoom lens, auto and manual modes of operation, FireWire 800/USB 2 as well as a still image capture mode. It will produce images suitable for cinema projection and will sell for $3000. Below is a video that features an interview with Ted Schilowitz of Red Digital on the Scarlet camera.

And finally Red Digital announced Red Ray. Red Ray is a playback unit which enables one to play 4K, 2K, 1080P, 720P AND SD direct from DVD or from an SD card. The Red Ray unit will interface to viewing devices such as a 4K projector. one simply chooses the playback standard.

SONY

SONY was showing the F35 CineAlta Camera. Given RED Digitals announcements it seemed odd that this high-end camera which is more advanced than the current F23 was rated as a 2K camera. The F35 promises to deliver more features and functionality for cinematographers through its larger 35mm Single CCD Imager and it accepts 35mm PL mount lenses. Announcement video below;

Given the F-35’s price tag, SONY’s new PMW-EX3 camera caught my eye. It has a shape similar to Canon’s XL-H1, has three 1/2 inch CCDs and records 1920 x 1080 resolution. Lenses can be interchanged on this camera and it can shoot native 24p (23.98 fps)at the more affordable price of $13,000. Click Here For A Review Of The PMW-EX3 Done At NAB 2008

Promotional video below.

PMW-EX3 announcement video below;

The other camera that caught my eye was the Sony HVR-S270U. It’s form factor is “old school” being a of a big, professional style camcorder. It can record in 1080i or 1080p HDV, DVCAM and DV. The 1080p can record at 24p or 30p frame rates and can be recorded to tape in a progressive format. It has 3 – 1/3″ CMOS sensors, an interchangeable lens system, an HD-SDI output and hasthe ability to capture up to 4.5 hours on select Sony tapes. Its price is approx 12K Canadian.

Panasonic

At first Panasonic’s offerings at NAB 2008 appeared to be very confusing. That’s because it now offers two new compression formats in its camera that take a little getting used to. They are AVCHD and AVC-Intra. AVCHD was built as the successor to HDV, a format that Panasonic never adopted. AVCHD was built around MPEG4 compression where HDV was built around older MPEG compression. AVCHD has been built to record on to SD memory cards. AVCHD can record 1080i and 720p at PH mode (average 21 Mbps/Max 24Mbps), HA mode (approx.17 Mbps), HG mode (approx.13 Mbps) and HE mode (approx. 6 Mbps) It’s only drawback is that not all versions of editing software support this new codec. It requires more computing power to edit this codec so there is a requirement for more modern hardware and software packages. Despite this AVCHD has one other advantages. It’s codec is supported by all Blu-ray players so when one writes content out to that media no transcoding is required and burns will occur much faster. Below is a video from NAB 2008 that outlines AVCHD from the Panasonic booth;

AVC-Intra was built by Panasonic to improve the compression capabilities of its DV-50 and DV-100 camera’s that record to more expensive P2 media. AVC-Intra records data for each individual frame making it much easier in the editing cycle. Below is a video of the presentation at the Panasonic booth that explains AVC-Intra.

Again, because of price, I was checking out the AVCHD line. Panasonic was focusing on the HMC150 which uses HVCHD and comes with a 28mm Leica Dicomar wide-angle zoom and has built-in optical image stabilization. The camera supports the same HD formats as the AG-HVX200 including 1080/60i, 1080/50i, 1080/30p, 1080/25p, 1080/24p native, 720/60p, 720/50p, 720/30p, 720/25p, 720/24p native. The camcorder is also 50Hz/59.94Hz switchable. One drawback of these HVCHD camera’s is that they are not DV centric. As such they lack firewire outputs and use USB to transfer out of the camera or employ HDMI as the live output should they lack an HDSDI output. Below is a first look video of this camera where many of the features are highlighted.

Also in the AVCHD line is the AG-HMC70 shoulder-mount AVCHD camcorder. Like all other AVCHD camcorders it records 1080i images onto SD/SDHC memory cards. No comment on how it looks….. Below is a video on Panasonics AG-HMC70.

In P2 Panasonic announced the AG-HPX170 1080p camcorder. The camera has two P2 slots and records in twenty HD and SD formats including a variety of 1080i and 720p formats in DVCPRO HD, in 480i in DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO, and in 480i in DV. It has switchable aspect ratios and offers 720p variable-speed shooting in the 12fps to 60fps range to acquire fast- or slow-motion. No word if it will be able to record employing AVC-Intra to increase recording times. Announcement video below;

Other Manufacturers

ARRI introduced a D21 camera, CANON introduced HF100, HF10, XL H1s & XL H1A cameras.

Video on ARRI D21 Below

Video on Cannon HF 10 Below

Good Wrap Up Video Of Items Discussed In This Post (below)