Well, IBC 2011 is almost over. Here’s some of the new notable products launched at IBC 2011 that we liked:
The AV-HS400 vision mixer has been a widely accepted small form compact vision mixer. The AV-HS410 is the successor with some nice new additions including a clip video store and 3D capability. It comes as standard with 9 inputs and has option boards to increase this to 13 inputs. Look out for some interesting new options boards that may be released next year.
At NAB 2011, Blackmagic Design released their SmartView Duo monitors – two 8" 3U rackmount monitors. At IBC 2011, Blackmagic launched the Smartview HD monitor – a 17" full HD resolution 3G HD SDI rackmount monitor for an unbelievably low price. Almost too low to mention – £565. As much as we asked the nice Blackmagic man to let us unscrew it from the display wall at IBC to test the weight, he wouldn’t let us – but this thing looks light – and it’s very thin. And as you’d expect from Blackmagic – it’s very aesthetically pleasing. If you rackmount it above or below the SmartDuo monitor, you’ll notice the frames around the screens marry up perfectly.
Blackmagic have also introduced some new rugged field mini converters – basically the same as they’re previous (and well loved) mini converters but built for a bit more rough and tumble in the field – which makes sense given that’s often where you’ll find those Blackmagic Design mini converters.
Other interesting new equipment from Blackmagic Design included the ATEM Studio Converter. Remember the ATEM Camera Converter that Blackmagic announced at NAB 2011, rather than having two of these for each of your cameras – one at the camera and one at ‘control’ area, the ATEM Studio Converter allows you to connect 4 ATEM Camera Converters – all in a 1U frame. They also have a loop function if you have more than 4 cameras.
Other new kit launched at IBC 2011 that caught our eye included some new hot head cameras from Datavideo (that look suspiciously like Sony’s BRC dome range of hot heads – but without the price tag) and a low cost waveform/vectorscope.
Atomos were proudly showing their great Ninja and Samurai tapeless recorders plus the new Connect converter units – HDMI to HD SDI and HD SDI to HMDI. Not groundbreaking technology but they’re nice little units – that also include a test pattern signal and tone generator.
We saw a good demo of Haivision’s Viper portable video streaming unit – think Digital Rapid’s TouchStream on steroids. It can stream two HD signals simultaneously – great for a camera plus a PowerPoint presentation or synchronous slides. Using Haivision’s patented InStream player, your client/the viewer can rearrange and resize the two incoming streams. Nice feature.
For-A gave a good demonstration of their new VRCAM2 sensor less virtual studio system. NewTek’s 450 and 850 series looked equally good and potentially more cost effective as NewTek provide an almost full studio end to end solution.
The TVUpack from TVU Networks is a powerful bit of kit for live, location based video streaming – using 3G bonded sim cards. Turn it on and you’re streaming. Need to tweak a setting, just use your iPhone or iPod.
Aja launched the io XT at IBC 2011. Basically an upgrade of the Io Express with Thunderbolt connectivity.
Remember most of the new equipment launched at IBC 2011 won’t start shipping till Q4 – the end of the year. Just enough time to tweak those budgets and work out how to pay for it all!
We spent this morning testing some of the new portable tapeless and file-based video recorders and players on the market, at Prokit’s showroom.
File-based portable recording is still relatively in it’s infancy. Aja’s KiPro and KiPro mini are big players in this field but it was perhaps Convergent Design’s nanoFlash that initially stirred the industries desire for portable tapeless recorders and kickstarted the trend. The nanoFlash has become so significant in the transition to tapeless and file-based workflows that you’ll find them on most location shoots and they’ve even paved the way for some non-broadcast cameras to make it into the BBC’s infamous Approved HD Camera List. Footage shot on cameras such as the Sony EX3 are only ‘approved for HD acquisition’ (for broadcast on the BBC) if recorded on an external file-based recorder such as the Nano Flash.
This is one of the advantages and major uses of portable file-based recorders – taking the HD SDI output of a camera to avoid the in-camera compression and low recording bitrate. The Sony EX3 for example only records at 35Mbps – the BBC ask for a minimum of 50Mbps. The nanoFlash has a maximum recording bit rate of 280Mbps. Impressive, but a rash of new file-based recording units being released are utilising solid state disks allowing uncompressed video recording.
The recent tape stock shortage has also fuelled the transition to tapeless workflows. We worked on a big ITV studio show recently that had 10 Aja KiPro’s – 9 ISOs and a TX recording.
Interestingly, the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) is about to agree on a set of common specifications for file-based and tapeless delivery of programmes to the UK’s biggest broadcasters. The common file-based specifications are likely to be based on the AVCI standard and MXF-wrapped. Will this have an effect on future portable file-based recording devices and the the formats they record to? Read more about the DPP’s common specifications for tapeless and file-based broadcast delivery here
So, here’s the rundown of the new file-based portable recorders we had a play with:
The Gemini 4:4:4 is a big step up from the original Nano Flash. The Convergent Design Gemini 4:4:4 features a built-in high-brightness 5.0" 800×480 24-bit LCD touch-screen for monitor and playback, and introduces an industry first – the ability to simultaneously record to two removable solid-state drives – creating instant backups; an invaluable insurance against lost footage, as well as opening new workflow options. It records 10-bit uncompressed 4:4:4 / 4:2:2 video in HD/2K/3G formats. There’s also a 3D option allowing you to record and playback dual stream 3D video.
The Cinedeck Extreme gives anyone with a HDMI, HD-SDI and LAN capable camera access to cinema-grade recording, monitoring and playout both in the field or on set. It’s a focus monitor, recording deck and preview/playback monitor in one ultra-compact, lightweight package. 8/10 bit 4:2:2 and 12 bit 4:4:4 recording via HDMI and single/dual link HD SDI and a 3D option soon to be released. At £8K (incl. VAT), the Cinedeck Extreme is one of the most expensive file-based recorder/players on the market but the features help convince parting with the money. The Cinedeck Extreme is the big brother to these other units – it’s aimed at high end productions and serious DOPs and is packed full of features. You may want to schedule a few hours training with one before you actually use it just so you fully utilise all it’s functions!
The Atomos Ninja is one of the cheaper external tapeless recorders on the market and is directly aimed at those users who want to by-pass in-camera compression to record pristine, uncompressed video straight from the HDMI connector of a DSLR or camcorder. The files are Apple ProRes. Atomos also have a HD SDI version, the Samurai. Read more about the Atomos Samurai here. Atomos are an impressive company – ex Blackmagic Design people, they’ve built the Ninja and Samurai for the end user. The reviews online and all the press info and imagery gives it a kitsch, playful look and feel but when you get up close, it’s a good solid unit. Rather impressively for the low cost of £700 and £1,000 for the respective HDMI and HD SDI versions, it includes all you need – a custom made peli case, batteries, HDD cases, cables, a HDD reader and so on. The HDD reader by the way has Firewire 800, USB 2 and USB 3.0. The Atomos units even have a patented battery system allowing seamless switchover from one battery to another. We think Atomos are one to watch…
Sound Devices PIX 220 and PIX 240 record QuickTime files in Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD. The PIX 220 is a HDMI input only and its sibling the PIX 240 is both HDMI and HD-SDI. The QuickTime files record to Compact Flash cards or removable 2.5-inch solid-state hard drives.
The Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Shuttle claims to be the world’s smallest uncompressed video recorder. It bypasses the camera’s compression and records from SDI and HDMI direct onto an SSD in an uncompressed Apple QuickTime .mov. It’s sturdier to hold than the pictures give it credit, and there’s something nice about the way it feels – a slight step away from Blackmagic’s usual style. Blackmagic Design are fast becoming the most cost effective producer of products that are shaking up the industry and at £215 (+VAT), the Hyperdeck Shuttle is extremely affordable. Read more about Blackmagic Design’s HyperDeck Shuttle and HyperDeck Studio and other products they released at NAB 2011 here
So which is your favourite portable file-based recorder?
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