POST-NAB THOUGHTS

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By now you are used to my long absences from the blog.

Today I come back to you with a few brief considerations post NAB.

We had already understood it long ago; however Las Vegas has now confirmed that 4K will be the mass format for the next years.

Despite what some people may have expected, at NAB 2014 there was really no big news.

 

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Also Santa was in Vegas

 

The big brands are certainly a bit confused.

In our industry in particular, marketing is now based on what you see.

Who keeps making plans on paper for the long term is bound to get a thrashing.

I believe many companies, especially the historic brands, must review many of the strategies that are necessary for their own survival.

Everything is too fast nowadays and the big businesses struggle to accept change.

At this point in history, a few selected industry professionals (external consultants) are the biggest asset to find out quickly what the market requirements are.

I have no idea what moves will be made in the future, but we will likely return to a reduced democracy of the means and a much wider range for the high-end productions.

 

Let’s get back to Earth.

I had the chance to try the brand-new Panasonic GH4, truly interesting camera for many reasons: more than affordable price, possibility to shoot in 4K on-board, super slow motion up to 96 fps in full HD, inexpensive recording devices (SD cards), fantastic VF, small and easy to handle.

With suitable adapters the M 4/3 mount allows the use of a great number of photo and cinema lenses of any brand, bearing in mind that, like all its sister cameras, the GH4 performs at its best with dedicated lenses, especially with the primes from the Lumix Leica series and with the 7-14, 12-35 and 35-100 zooms.

Certainly one of the best cameras for “run and gun” jobs among others.

From a photographic point of view, there have been big improvements since the GH3…the proof is in the pudding!

For the more discerning, there is a module with balanced XLR audio inputs and SDI 4K 2:2:2 10 bit outputs.

Panasonic GH4 4K first short test from Filippo Chiesa on Vimeo.

 

Canon has not introduced anything significant and Black Magic has presented us with two new camera concepts, resuming the features of the BMPC for the new URSA and a new innovative studio camera.

I believe what will spark talks on the BM products will be the new DaVinci Resolve, with advanced editing features. Will we be doing everything using this software? We’ll see.

 

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Sony has in part disappointed many users, failing to offer a 4K recording on-board upgrade for the PMW-F5 (even a paid-for upgrade would have been appreciated, and most of all necessary, considering the significant number of low cost cameras on the market which are able to record in compressed 4K format). Instead, they invented a very expensive upgrade from F5 to F55, which very few will take into consideration.

Sony has however made up for it by introducing a new mirrorless camera which promises a high volume of sales when it will be launched next June.

I am talking of course about the marvellous Alpha 7s.

This camera will be the undisputed queen of the low light, with a full frame sensor and unbeatable handling.

Other impressive features are the small size, the possibility of using a considerable number of lenses, the XAVC full HD on-board recording, the S-Log 2, etc.

4K recording requires an external recorder (a perfect match for the new Shogun by Atomos).

 

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Following the path of their cousins at Black Magic, AJA introduced a new camera which seems very interesting on paper: the Cion.

2K and 4K Raw up to 120 fps, affordable price, APSC sensor, global shutter, Pro Res 4:4:4 and 4:2:2.

The design is rough and the camera is as solid as a rock; all features reminiscent of certain cameras of German manufacturing…

 

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One person who certainly understands the market in depth is Dante Cecchin, and he was at the NAB with his state-of-the-art “jewels”.

Italy does not deserve him, and luckily he was welcomed by the Germans in the Bavarian Pavilion together with other legends.

Check out his website, and look at something pleasant for a change: www.lockcircle.com.

 

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Until next time!

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