While we’ve seen a number of companies consciously or sub-consciously fulfill the promises they made during NAB, others have used IBC 2014 to launch completely new products and initiatives. It really just depends on what a particular exhibitor was and is looking to focus on in the short and long term.
If you missed our intro or Parts 1 and 2 of our IBC coverage, the links to those pieces are available here. IBC 2014 is just about in the books, so make sure you check out the pictures at the end of the article to get a better sense of what the event was all about.
All New Everything
Leading the charge with new products and announcements at IBC was Sony. As always, they were off in their own hall in an impressive space that featured various sections and technologies, but new products and info about those products were interspersed throughout. We’ll run through the details, but the biggest news was around the new PXW-FS7 Super 35 camcorder. It’s the first 4K XDCAM camera to feature a Super35 CMOS sensor.
“The FS7 is designed to suit the one-man band operators,” said Olivier Bovis from Sony. “It has the rounded shape so you can go on-shoulder, semi-shoulder or handheld. You can modify the handle into almost anyplace you want to go which means filmmakers of all sizes are going to find this camera incredibly versatile and useful.”
Some of the key features include its flexibility across recording codecs, 2 XQD card slots that support simultaneous recording and relay recording and a low-pass video filter. The camera has the ability to record QFHDi with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling up to 600 Mbit/s, with support for a variety of recording formats including XAVC Intra, Long GOP, MPEG HD422 and Apple ProRes 422 available early 2015 by firmware update.
Olivier took us around the booth to the various stations, and we got to take a close look at their re-created 4K broadcast of the World Cup, the BVM-X300, a 30-inch 4K OLED reference monitor and Catalyst, a new media preparation tool that revolutionizes the post-production workflow.
Among other items for the show, Sony unveiled a new addition to its XDCAM range of solid state memory camcorders, the PXW-X200 as well as the CBK-55BK Buildup kit which enables one-person operation of Sony’s PMW-F55 and PMW–F5 cameras. This product allows shooters to easily create a style that works for them.
Sony sent out over 14 press releases during IBC, so this is just a quick look at what attendees were able to see and experience. Pictures from their booth that show off many of these new products are below, but if you want to know more check out this link.
On Friday, RØDE announced a new standard in immersive audio with the release of Stereo VideoMic X. The product has already won numerous awards and was literally pulling people over to the booth at IBC.
“There’s really nothing that competes with the Stereo VideoMic X when it comes to immersive on-camera sound,” said Ryan Burke from RØDE. “It’s the first time we’ve used true-condenser capsules for an on-camera microphone, and it makes for a significant difference.”
In addition to 3.5mm stereo output the SVMX has the option of outputting a balanced signal via mini XLR. These can be used simultaneously, so the user will be able to have a broadcast-grade output for professional camera systems and audio recorders.
The mic is going to be around $800, and should be available by October. It really is an all-encompassing solution that will fit just about any need you might have, regardless of the size of your project.
One of the great things about IBC is that it’s an ideal place to find new companies and products, and that’s what we came across with Timecode Buddy, a wireless timecode and genlock location synch solution. Their mission is to help productions run smoothly both during filming and in post-production through the sharing of accurate, perfectly synced timecode and metadata.
“The :pulse has just launched for IBC 2014, and it’s already won TVBEurope Best of Show,” said Richard Meredith from Timecode Buddy. “The :pulse hosts a Wi-Fi network which allows it to connect to multiple apps on iOS devices. A key part of the app is the content logging. The log is made against accurate on-set timecode which can be exported to post facilities in a number of different export formats. The iPulse also has a choice of input and output protocol including Ethernet, LANC and serial communication. This allows us to communicate with cameras and other devices to exchange metadata.”
Giving users full wireless camera control and status monitoring is obviously something productions of all sizes would find invaluable, and having access to full metadata and lens motor control from an iPad or iDevice makes it even better. Timecode Buddy features numerous other products as well, so check out their site to see what else they have to offer.
Get the Shot You Want
Jeff Foster writes about DJI copters on a consistent basis, and for good reason. Drones open up amazing opportunities for content creators and the recent Phantom 2 Vision+ was a significant upgrade over earlier models. At IBC, the copters took center stage in a literal way, but it was actually the Ronin that the DJI crew was most excited to talk with attendees about.
“The Ronin is really revolutionizing the way people create content as it enables them to go just about anywhere to get whatever shot or angle they’re envisioning,” said Michael Shabun from DJI. “It’s the practicalities that really stand out for users though. It takes five minutes to setup and has an auto-calibrate, so you don’t need to spend much time dealing with any of those details. Because it has three different modes it doesn’t tax any one muscle too much, so if you start to feel strained you can just switch modes and start using a different part of your body. We wanted to make something that would work for different creative in countless environments, and the response to it has been overwhelming.”
The three modes for the Ronin are upright mode, underslung mode and briefcase mode, all of which can be entered without changing settings on the Ronin Assistant app or a 2nd operator remote. The ability to control the unit via an app on a mobile device is something users have responded to as well, and that’s part of what makes one of the developers so happy with how the Ronin has been received.
“The most exciting thing is seeing the footage that’s been shot, because the Ronin is being used in such incredibly creative ways,” said Paul Pan from DJI, who helped develop the Ronin. “It’s now a tool that’s associated with professional cinematography and is being relied on by professionals to generate income. Prior to this some people viewed us as a company that just made toys, but I’m proud to see that the work we put in around making this product as universal as possible has paid off. It’s become an invaluable part of a cinematographers’ tool chest.”
Over at the Freefly Systems booth, the biggest news wasn’t about a particular product, although they did announce they would start very limited shipping of the M15 immediately with wider availability by the end of October. Instead, folks were abuzz about the massive price cuts to the M5 and the M10.
“With the M10, we had been basically handbuilding them, and since we're moving into a new location that won't be an issue anymore,” said Steve Westover, from FreeFly Systems. “The M5 was always well positioned, so we had the economy of scales going with it. What’s nice is that at these new price points, so many more people are going to be able to bring them into their productions. It’s going to open up a lot of opportunities for creative professionals.”
It was hard to tell whether attendees were more excited to hear about the price drop or play around with the MoVI lineup, but knowing all of the products would be more affordable than they had envisioned coming into the show had to be a factor in that enthusiasm. Check out more details about their price drop by visiting their site.
We’ve been focused on what’s been new at IBC 2014, and you can’t get much newer than the update Magma had for us. We heard exclusive details around the launch of Magma Studio, which is the company’s commitment to creative professionals and the tools they need to work in a studio environment. Magma has been dedicated to providing creative professionals with the highest quality expansion solutions for awhile now, but this dedicated focus on media & entertainment is going to be something new for them, and we should be able to see those efforts and benefits very soon, starting with a new website in the fall.
Attendees of IBC 2014 didn’t hear those details, but they were able to check out the various products Magma had on display. Their ROBEN-3 series literally pulled people into the booth who happened to catch a glance of the product as they walked by, and their ExpressBox 3T offers something that has quickly become essential.
“What the new Mac doesn’t have is PCIe spots,” said Victoria Kohlhorst from Magma. “So users who want to transfer from the classic tower setup find they don’t have a home for many of their video cards. The solution is the Magma Thunderbolt Expansion chassis.“
The ExpressBox 3T provides an 'outside-the-box' solution for using PCIe cards with Thunderbolt 2-equipped computers, and we also checked out the ROBEN-3 series that adds capabilities like rack mounting and drive bays for storage. The ROBEN-3TM even allows you to mount a Mac mini inside the enclosure, and there are numerous products that make a lot of sense for content creators.
It’s going to be exciting to see how Magma Studio makes their products even better, so stay tuned for more info around that.
SmallHD also had a new product for IBC 2014, as they rolled out their new 7-inch high definition monitor, the DP7. The unit is complete with a color grading system and is available in three versions: the DP7-PRO LCD (SB), DP7-PRO OLED and DP7-PRO High Bright (HB). It’s a significant upgrade from earlier versions.
“Previously you had to load in the lookup tables, but now you can create your own grades on the monitor,” said Barrett Philips from SmallHD. “You can then save and export the grade you create and take it back into DaVinci if you want. It can be saved right to an SD card as a look up table, and you can also use it as a look up table converter.”
Firmware upgrade V3.0 ships with the DP7-PRO on-camera field monitors, and each DP7-PRO monitor provides HDMI and SDI inputs as well as HDMI and SDI ports that can output the graded video for viewing on the client monitor or routing to an external recorder. The update giving users a continuity reference as well as shot composition for future “overlay” use, and the differences it can mean for professionals will be felt immediately.
As the data we’re capturing and working with gets bigger and bigger, storage considerations become more and more critical. We stopped by a couple booths to see how companies are approaching this topic, and it’s only when you talk with people who are focused solely on this aspect of the production process do you realize how essential it really is.
The Crossroads StrongBox is a network-attached storage (NAS) solution built to lower the costs of long-term data preservation. At IBC they featured a process that showed off the conversion of film to LTFS tape for archive, and it was interesting to see how it was approached and realized.
“We are 100% LTFS, as we believe in the open standard,” said David Cerf from Crossroads Strongbox. “With our system, the uniqueness is the performance. As you can see in the booth here, the user can define their workflow, which is what has been done around this conversion of film. What's also important to note though is that we're able to protect our customers’ data in a unique and powerful way. There are numerous data protection elements that are distinctive to StrongBox, and we also have automatic processes that ensure a users' data is protected and their workflow remains as smooth as possible. ”
The film-to-LTFS showcase at the booth was just one example of how this process can work, and the company is committed to putting network capabilities into production houses. Their focus on performance and ease of use means the system can make sense for an organization of almost any size.
Fibrenetix has been around for over 20 years and is one of the oldest storage chassis manufacturers left in Europe. At IBC 2014, they were showing off their hardware in the StorageDNA booth, and their presence marked a return to IBC and to the industry in general.
“We essentially relaunched our efforts in media & entertainment at NAB this year, as the company had gotten away from this market,” said Paul Weiser, CEO of Fibrenetix. “I have a great deal of experience in this industry though, so we’re coming back to it in a very powerful way. I’m looking to showcase how we’re different from our competition, and from the level of detail that you can see in the hardware to the intelligent way we have our units setup, that distinction should be easy to recognize and understand.”
Since Fibrenetix controls their own manufacturing, design and integration, the company is able to provide a high quality product at a great price point. Fibrenetix has also developed a reputation for high-performance, cost-effective RAID storage technology and their state-of-the-arts products are recognized around the globe.