So when I got on the plane to return to Boston after several days in Vegas and at NAB, I had this sinking feeling that I had missed a lot of things and people that I wanted to see. I’m not sure if it was mis-management of my time, my hurting back or the constant beckoning of the blackjack tables, but I definitely wanted to do more in my time at NAB. Oh well. It was still a great trip and I saw cool things and cool people, and I already can’t wait for next year.
So here’s the highlights of this year’s show:
1. All-In Film
This was the obvious highlight of my time at NAB, and I was so thrilled to see this come together for a second year in a row. Rob Imbs, Justin Carlson, and myself, put a lot of time and effort into planning for this event, and I have to say it went off quite smoothly. We quickly sold out this year, and had a long waiting list of people, but for whatever reason just the right number of people showed up that night and I don’t believe we had to turn anyone away. I have to thank all our awesome headliners: Philip Bloom, Vincent Laforet, Barry Green, Kevin Shahinian, Jon Connor, PlanetMitch, Jared Abrams, and Cristina Valdivieso. Having you all there made for an awesome event. I was thoroughly surprised that Philip, (who Rob and I taught how to play poker the night before) was the last headliner standing, making it to about 25th place. Phil, I knew not to trust you when you said you had no idea what you were doing.
All-In Film could not happen without our generous sponsors and there are too many to list, but thank you. We had over $20K in prizes to give out which was HUGE. In addition we were thrilled with the generosity of all the players and sponsors in helping us raise almost $12K for the American Red Cross Japan Relief Fund (which was close to $5K more than last year).
I was seated with a great group of people at the SmallHD table including the charming Amy Reese, El Skid, Scott Heath from sponsor Synergy-PR, and Jason Konoza (who after several bad beats from me, knocked me out to win the SmallHD DP6 bounty prize). Don’t worry Jason, we can still be friends. I was thrilled to see that even after most people had been knocked out of the game that most were still hanging around, which is a testament to the quality of people attending and the great venue that the Hard Rock provided for us.
If I do say so, I think All-In Film has become one of the best parties at NAB, and I am already looking forward to doing it again next year. Look for more pics and video highlights from the event at www.allinfilm.org in the coming weeks.
2. The Show
So, while my time at the convention center seemed brief and overwhelming here are the highlights of what I wanted to see:
-EVFs: Last year when Zacuto and RedRock Micro announced their EVFs (in the same week) I thought they seemed sort of unnecessary. I definitely don’t mind eating my words now, and think they have an important function, and I think that I can build up a great (fairly compact) shoulder rig with my AF100 (or similar sized camera) by using an EVF product. The Zacuto one was all over the show, and looked very nice, with lots of features and a very high resolution image. In the Panasonic booth they had a great AF100/KiPro shoulder rig with the Zacuto EVF which felt very comfortable but was a little longer than what I’d build. I checked out the Cineroid EVF too (which has actually been shipping for some time). There focus outline-in-blue worked fantastically and they had the function buttons on a remote on a handgrip which was very convenient. The image looked much lower res though, which made focusing a bit harder. SmallHD is coming out with a DP4 monitor which looks interesting. It will work well as a small monitor but has a loupe for EVF type functionality as well. They said it’s an 8-bit panel (as opposed to the 6-bit panel in the DP6) which is a big plus, too. I only got a moment to see one, but I think this may offer the most versatility.
-Big Production Monitors: I think my next purchase is a 17″-or so field/studio monitor. I want something that is VERY accurate as I feel that between the on-cam images with the LCD and even with the DP6, it’s hard to know if I’m right on with color/exposure. When I rent a nicer field monitor (typically the Panasonic LH-1700) I feel a lot more confident in the image I’m capturing, and since I’m typically working with lower bit-rate cameras/codecs, it’s better if I can nail it in-camera. From what I’ve learned very few smaller field monitors will provide this accuracy. So I went to Panasonic, Marshall, JVC, Ikan, and TVLogic to see what they had. The big problem is that it’d be best to see them side-by-side, with the same input. Otherwise I could really just compare specs and features. I think ultimately I’m probably going to go with the current 17″ Panasonic as I know those work well and are quite popular.
-Sony: I spent a bit of time at the HUGE and impressive Sony booth. I really wanted to see the newly announced FS100, which will definitely give the AF100 a run for it’s money. It apparently shares the same sensor with the phenomenal F3, and from what I saw, the images looked fantastic. Feature wise, there were some things I liked and some I didn’t like compared with the AF. I find a lack of built in NDs to be a major PIA. The XLR inputs were in weird locations and not next to each other. The LCD looked great and converts into an excellent EVF, but it also seemed very wobbly (but this was a pre-production model). I think if the FS100 was out when I bought my AF, it would have been a close call, but as it stands, the FS probably won’t be available for at least 3 more months, and my AF has been working hard since January.
-Zacuto Shootout: I got a chance to see a screening of the “Single Chip Camera Shootout” at the Zacuto booth. This was a camera test they sponsored a few months ago, shot in LA with several ASC DPs and countless other technicians, where they compared 12 single sensor cameras ranging from the $1500 7D to the $80K Alexa to 35mm film. The shots ranged from charts and still lifes, to “scenes” with actors lit for low-light, high-light, etc. My initial takeaway was “I want an Alexa NOW”. I mean, REALLY, it looked great and was the baseline for many of the tests they did. I know it’s only 1080p, but I’m not a resolution snob and it just looks beautiful. I also thought the F3 looked fantastic and they weren’t even using the S-Log modification. Having just yesterday seen tests of the S-Log capability, I think the F3 (with modification and recorder for about $20K) will give the Alexa a real run for it’s money. I was interested in seeing how the AF100 held up and in most cases looked quite nice. It held it’s own very well in the low-light tests, which was a bit of a surprise. The DSLRs were ok, but did not look as nice to me as the video specific cameras. One viewer commented after the shootout that we are lucky to work at a time when we can put such a range of cameras up against each other and they all look pretty freaking good. 5 or 10 years ago that would not have been the case. I definitely agree with that statement.
So, while on the one hand I felt like I was in Vegas forever, I also felt like it went by quickly and I missed seeing a bunch of things and people. Still it was a great trip, and I’m looking forward to next year, and All-In Film 3.0.
How soon can I start planning?