Another exciting NAB Show has come and gone, wrapping up officially last Thursday. Put on by the National Association of Broadcasters, the NAB Show brought over 100,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Center to peruse the offerings of 1700+ exhibitors from every field possibly related to audio or video broadcasting. The focus is best described by their “M.E.T. effect” concept: modern industry is shaped powerfully by the intersection of Media, Entertainment, and Technology.
While we’ve traditionally been a still-photography oriented company, we’ve been pushing hard for the last few years to improve our motion-capture offerings. At the end of the day, after all, movies are basically millions of still photos set to recorded audio. As more and more enthusiasts take advantage of the constantly improving video capabilities of their cameras, we’ll be there to provide the equipment and expertise you need to grow.
There are numerous other write-ups of some of the flashiest high-end cinema products—e.g. the Sony FS5 II, Canon EOS C700 FF, and the URSA camera & Pocket Cinema Camera from Blackmagic Designs—so this write-up will focus on items we think are of specific interest to you, our customers. Any input on our picks—and on anything we missed!—is greatly encouraged. The following sections will be arranged alphabetically.
Brands you’ll already find at Mike’s Camera
The microphone company is looking to give better audio quality a cheaper price point, expanding their line of dead cat windscreens for entry-level microphones. We met with Sho Torii, president of Azden, and discussed the concept of highly inexpensive windscreens for built-in mics—would you use one, if you could?
Look for very reasonably-priced gimbals later this Summer!
Canon’s booth was full of high-end goodies like their first truly cinema-specialized full frame camera and the not-new-but-still-insane CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm lens (click through for a good story). They were also showing off a prototype of a smartphone companion 400mm superzoom, in the style of the Sony QX cameras and the Olympus AIR, but they were probably just measuring interest as the prototype was not yet functional.
Known mostly for their mount adapters, Fotodiox had a wide array of cool stuff on display.
• A highly attractive grip extension for the Olympus OM-D E-M10 III with battery access
• Adapters for the medium format Fujifilm GFX camera, including an extremely unusual one that allows the camera to be mounted to large-format graflok-back bellows cameras to take advantage of their capabilities for tilt/shift/swing corrections as well as unique lenses.
• Finally, a series of mount adapters that let you add light leaks to your photos! It sounds like insanity, but whole industries have been built on exploiting the creative effects allowed by low-quality bodies & lenses (hello Holga and Diana). These adapters let you kill two birds with one stone by allowing you to use vintage lenses as well as introduce creative light interference using a variety of colored or pinholed bands around the edge of the adapter. Don’t worry—plain black bands are included for when you just want to limit outside influence.
We didn’t see anything we don’t already carry or plan to carry, but we did get to visit one of our own, who recently left our Colorado Springs store to work directly with Fujifilm and was almost immediately put to the test in a massive trade show. Best of luck, Chris!
Quick news from Lexar: XQD cards should be arriving at last in July.
We found Manfrotto’s expansion of its BeFree line most intriguing. They showed off a Sony Alpha-branded version of the BeFree Advanced (with a custom-molded plate designed to fit the α7 series and the α9) as well as a carbon fiber version of the BeFree Live. We’re also interested in their Cinematic series of backpacks. Both packs are designed for “run and gun” videographers who need a whole kit with them; the Expand is designed for a camera with a 70-200mm f/2.8 attached (with all the lenses and accessories one could want alongside) while the Balance is the drone videographer’s choice, made with a DSLR/DJI Ronin setup in mind.
We’ve presented the D850 mostly as the excellent still camera that it is so far, but the Filmmaker’s Kit reframes the camera to highlight its cinematic prowess. Adding to the body three 1.8 prime lenses (including the N-series 20mm as well as the 35mm and 85mm), extra batteries, a wired shotgun mic, wireless mic, and an Atomos Ninja Fire external monitor, the kit is built for anyone looking for an all-in-one pro solution. The high-impact foam inserts of the packaging are even designed to be reused in a customizable hardshell case (not included). Less likely to appear in stores but equally exciting were the jaw-dropping Bolt Cinebot and Polycam Player, rock-steady robotic camera controllers used to program complex and precise motion.
Brands you might find at Mike’s Camera soon
The Atomos Ninja V, essentially a slimmed-down Atomos Inferno, was one of the stars of the show. A highly advanced field monitor/recording running AtomOS for under $1000, this one fills a lot of roles for the solo videographer.
We met with human-eyes, makers of the Vuze VR camera, and discussed the possibility of offering stereoscopic prints. Coming to a lab near you? Maybe!
Founded in 2014 and now partnering with Apple, Insta360 produces hardware and software intended to make VR/360 capture easy and common-place. 360-degree video has been tricky to bring to the masses so far. If this experience is as straightforward as they make it out to be, you may see a few in a Mike’s Camera showcase near you
Two guys from North Carolina won two (!) Doritos Super Bowl ad contests and put the money into making small, portable video monitors. Their story is pretty interesting, and so are their products!
Not quite as capable as the bazillion-dollar Bolt, mentioned above, Syrp provides incredible automated control for video and time-lapse (most famously with the Genie line of products). Another key difference? We might actually bring some of these in for you to look at (and purchase) in person.
Model-specific cages to make every aspect of your camera’s frame customizable.
Similar but different, we are also looking into the rigs provided by Wooden Camera. Let us know if you have a preference or experience with any camera rigs!
Last but not least, here’s one dear to my musically-obsessed heart. We’re in talks with venerable manufacturer of audio (and some video) recording devices, Zoom. It’s a common mistake for videographers to forget to take the necessary pains to give their videos the great sound they deserve, and the right microphone and/or recording device can make all the difference.
• The Zoom F1 is a compact field recorder that can be worn on a belt or tucked in a pocket. Compatible with any of Zoom’s proprietary interchangeable microphones or corded microphones with a 1/8″ plug, the F1 includes a lavalier mic. Throw a microSD card in, let your subject wear it, and sync it up quickly in post using a syncing tone (built in).
• The H1n is a compact and inexpensive high-res PCM recorder with built in X-Y microphones (and a 1/8″ jack for external mics, of course). The H1 has long been a concert-recorder’s inexpensive device of choice, and the H1n seems to have improved in several ways. This one would be the easiest to mount to your camera’s hot shoe for a compact recording package.
• The H4n Pro adds XLR inputs, a sturdier build, the ability to function as a USB interface, and 4-track recording, among other advanced features.
• The H5 adds (primarily) access to Zoom’s interchangeable microphones and physical level control dials. All of the above stand many stories above the microphones built into just about any camera!
Well, that about does it. It looks to be a very exciting year for videographers in the vicinity of Mike’s Camera. Is there anything else you’d like to see in-store to help you get your footage just right? Let me know in the comments!