Well it’s been an exciting NAB show so far! There’s been some great new broadcast product launches, notably from AJA, Blackmagic Design and Panasonic.
Here’s a few of the NAB 2012 product launches that got us talking.
The T-TAP (yes an odd name) is a fantastic little bit of kit. Thunderbolt to HD SDI / HDMI. That’s all you need to say. And it’s only £160. Fantastic.
The Ki Pro Quad – a chunkier looking Ki Pro Mini – ups the ante in the 2K and 4K world and comes complete with Thunderbolt connectivity.
Here’s the AJA Ki Pro Quad brochure
The Ki Pro Rack is also a nice addition to the Ki Pro family – it’s essentially the Ki Pro as we know it and love it – but it’s in a 1RU 19" rack-mount form factor. There’s some options already out there to rack-mount the Ki Pro but the Ki Pro Rack – with it’s dual storage docks – is perfect for flyaways, OBs and studio installs. The Ki Pro Rack also supports DNxHD as well as Pro Res.
Here’s the AJA Ki Pro Rack brochure
The HyperDeck Studio has been granted the all-important and long awaited Apple Pro Res codec. A sigh of relief from every HyperDeck owner out there!
Blackmagic have also released a new version of the HyperDeck Studio – the HyperDeck Studio Pro – a 4 channel version with Thunderbolt connectivity. Interesting stuff.
And last out of the Blackmagic Design press department – and no doubt a product that wil garner much publicity – the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera. Yes, Blackmagic Design now make cameras! We hear they’re also designing a new solar powered jet ski and a range of white goods – all with Thunderbolt connectivity. Ok that was a joke, but they really have launched a new camera!
I think the new Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera has to be seen to be believed but the specs read well and as usual, the Blackmagic price tag is extremely competitive.
Panasonic have announced some interesting upgrades and enhancements, including microP2 cards – a P2 card in an SD card form factor – and a new version of the HPX250, the HPX255 which can be controlled via Panasonic’s AG-EC4 RCP – good news for us multi-camera types.
Panasonic also announced the new HPX600 camera – a big brother to the HPX371. Panasonic say it’s future proof, so when AVC-Ultra is finally rolled out, the HPX600 will be one of the first cameras to support it.
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?
NAB 2011 officially kicked off yesterday. News reports of product announcements from the broadcast industries big (and small) players came flooding in all day.
Here’s our pick of some of Blackmagic Design’s new product launches and announcements at NAB:
A compact, 1U file-based HDD featuring uncompressed HD recording (to two solid state drives) and playback. 10-bit SD/HD video via SDI or HDMI connections. It offers full VTR functionality with familiar jog and shuttle control and it even has a built in LCD screen for monitoring. It records to QuickTime .mov files which are compatible with AVID and FCP. At $999, the Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Studio could be a real game changer in the tapeless and file-based world.
A cut down version of the HyperDeck Studio, the HyperDeck Shuttle is designed for on-camera recording to optimise your camera’s uncompressed output. No LCD screen but at $345, it’s a bargain.
Convert your camera SDI signal into optical fibre to extend SDI’s limited distance up to 28 miles. It also includes talkback, an external microphone input, a program return feed, a tally and a built in battery power source. Very impressive and at $595, Blackmagic Design have yet again produced a broadcast quality product at an unbelievable and unbeatable price. Although remember, you’ll need two (one at the camera, one at the control room).
A professional vision mixer with 6 SDI inputs, 4 HDMI inputs, multi-view monitoring and realtime H.264 broadcast quality encoding all housed in a 1U frame? Surely not. Blackmagic Design have extended their ATEM production switcher range to include the ATEM Television Studio.
You may have to see it to believe it, but the specs look pretty impressive. As standard, it comes with a software control panel which you can run on Windows or Mac OS, but physical panels can be purchased as well. Starting at $995, this could give the likes of NewTek with their Tricaster portable studio range, a run for their money.
Yes that’s the infamous Thunderbolt DisplayPort you can see there. It’s here. Finally. Fairly inevitable, that Blackmagic Design would announce this new product at NAB. Matrox and AJA also have SDI I/O boxes with Thunderbolt connectivity too. More on their release in another blog.
The Blackmagic Design UltraStudio 3D is a compact, portable capture and playback device for SD, HD, 2K and 3D and it’s all built on Thunderbolt™ technology – that’s 10Gbps. Will webcasting and video streaming software providers such as Telestream, with their Wirecast streaming software, support it? Blackmagic Design have priced the UltraStudio 3D at their familiar $995 price point.
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