NAB Time

It’s over for another year. Las Vegas has been atwitter (literally) with news of new products and releases spilling from the exhibition floor of the biggest broadcast trade show of them all which has just come to a close.

The NAB show in recent years has become a worldwide mecca for film, video production and broadcast professionals alike looking to test out the latest cameras, displays, accessories and software that the industry has to offer.

With a captive audience of 90,000+ industry professionals 1,300 members of the press from across the world – the big names are increasingly using NAB as a platform to announce the big projects they’ve been keeping under wraps.  Here are just a few of the releases we’re excited about at Engine Creative HQ:

The Blackmagic Digital Cinema Camera

Not content with shaking up the world of Post Production alone, Blackmagic Design surprised everyone by throwing their hat into the camera manufacturer ring. And some hat it is too! While the other manufacturers were focusing on 4k resolutions and the £10,000+ price point, Blackmagic quietly unveiled their tiny £2,300 camera aimed squarely at the Digital SLR shooters feeling left behind by the big manufacturers.

There are many things to love about what Blackmagic have done; 2.5k raw output, 13 stops of latitude, options for ProRes and DNxHD at 1080p, swappable (non-proprietary) SSD storage, thunderbolt for data transfer and on-board balanced audio inputs.

As with any release though, there are some sticking points. A sensor size similar to AF-101 is a little smaller than those used to APS-C or full-frame would have hoped and an internal battery essentially requires a third party battery solution. With a maximum ISO of only 1600, the low light performance is no-where near as versatile as it’s DSLR counterparts.

But there is a little something special to mitigate the bad… With every camera you get a free copy of UltraScope and DaVinci Resolve! That’s a complete monitoring system accessible via Thunderbolt capable laptops AND £700 worth of colour grading software for absolutely nothing.

The camera looks like a great addition for DSLR enthusiasts and production companies looking for an in-house camera for jobs when rentals aren’t an option. As with any release, time will tell. I for one can’t wait to see some more footage!

Adobe Production Premium CS6

On the software front, Adobe were out in force promoting the upcoming CS6. A major update on the Production Premium side of things with Adobe clearly making a decisive move in the void left by Apple after their controversial Final Cut X release.

The release is a lot like what the next Final Cut Studio should have been – we’ve got an updated Premiere interface, new software for ingest and meta-logging, a global performance cache to speed up rendering across all applications and even a colour grading suite!

After Effects has seen some serious love, with 3D extrusion of objects and a ray traced renderer sitting along side a new 3D tracker and a host of other features.

I think we may as well just call this Adobe Final Cut Studio 8.

Autodesk Smoke 2013

Smoke is a high-end fully integrated application for finishing video, film and broadcast projects with a completely integrated toolset: colour grading, tracking, stabilisation, keying and 3D compositing all without round-tripping between six different pieces of software. It reportedly takes 35% less time to finish a project in Smoke compared to multi-application methods.

For a long time, working on Smoke has been a dark art known to a comparative few. A complex interface and a £10,000 price tag kept this professional finishing software out of the reach of many. At NAB this year, all that has changed.

Smoke now integrates a full-featured and familiar looking non-linear editor in addition to the many other tools in its already overflowing shed. The complete interface overhaul is only one way that Autodesk has managed to make Smoke more accessible – they’ve also dropped the price to around £2,000.

The jump to Smoke has never been easier. It’s a game-changer.

You can join the mailing list for the free trial starting in June.

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