It was the week that the long awaited re-write Final Cut Pro was sneak peeked at the LAFCPUG Supermeet, it was the week that video-type cameras with bigger sensors seem to finally (and happily for many of us tired of the technical limitations of HDSLR shooting) be the way of the future, and it was the week I walked 678 miles through the four giant halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Some of my show highlights:
FINAL CUT PRO X
Apple has not had a booth at NAB for several years now and took over part of the LAFCPUG Supermeet on Tuesday night to debut FCP X. As I wrote on my blog last week, it was indeed a "jaw-dropper" as FCP Guru Larry Jordan said at a preview of the new re-written from the ground up editing software program. Native H264 64-bit editing, background rendering and much more. Mr. Jordan wrote a very comprehensive blog on the preview which is well worth reading as well as the comments: http://www.larryjordan.biz/goodies/blog.html
While all these features are very wonderful and time-saving, Apple personnel were very tight-lipped about how FCP X integrates with Motion, Color and Soundtrack Pro, the other apps in the current Final Cut Suite. Are we going to see a new suite - or are the suite tools being integrated in the FCP X program? Apple spent an hour on their
presentation and did not have time to show everything in the the software. I wanted to see more and know more. Hopefully in the weeks ahead more information will be available online and maybe some tutorials from Apple.
Will you be able to turn off some new features and go "manual" at times if you want to? I'm pretty sure you'll be able to do that, but it was not disclosed last night. You know, automatic is great, but sometimes you need or want to go manual - just like on cameras.
It's going to take me about a week to learn the new interface. If you know FCP, the same principles will apply, but in a new way. Plus there's so many time-saving features to achieve faster easier editing - which I'm all for.
My advice is to learn as much as you can before it released, so the transition to the new interface and features is not shocking.
SONY F3 & NEX-FS-100
Both models have Super 35 sensors in interchangeable lens video style bodies with some of the nice things video camera have to offer, like moveable viewfinders, XLR audio connections, peaking, etc. The cameras will accept all present Canon and Nikon lenses with optional adapter along with PL lenses.
And where is Canon on all this? Believe me, the Canon US reps know what we want and assured me it's being worked on back in Japan. Hopefully they will put that 5D sensor into a video body like the XF305 and take over the world in the near future.
Personal note on this: I understand all the good things about having interchangeable lenses on video cameras, but.....here in Hawaii, I work in a lot of dirt, dust, mud and sea salty air. I also in many run & gun situations alone or with one assistant. I've had plenty of trouble keeping my 7D sensor dust-free. It's a real pain. While I'm for interchangeable lenses in theory, for me, the practicality of it is not good.
I would love a large sensor camera with one lens attached to the body, like the Sony EX-1R or Canon XF305, that I can attach high-quality wide angle or tele-adapter lenses. This way the sensor is never exposed and the lenses are much easier to keep clean than a sensor would be. I feel there is a market for both interchangeable and not- interchangeable large sensor camera systems.
THE NINJA & THE SAMURAI
No, this is not some Japanese movie but one of the highlights of the show for me. The very nice guys at Atomos have merged a monitor with interchangeable hard drives that records 10-bit 4:2:2 raw footage in a small footprint device that is very simple to operate. It makes any camera output 8-10 times better quality with better color and smooth gradations. You buy the drives and pop them in. Simple.
How about getting a small 500GB drive that records over 5 hours of 10-bit ProRes422 footage! I loved these units.
The Ninja is made for HDMI connection output (found on HDSLRs) and the Samurai for HD-SCI output (found on video style bodies). Both models come in kits complete with hard case. The Ninja is $995, the Samurai is $1495.
One caveat is that at this time the Ninja is not compatible with Canon EOS camera bodies since you cannot remove the record red button in the viewfinder of the EOS body and it gets recorded onto the output! HDMI is a display connection, HD-SCI is a data output connection. What you can see in the viewfinder is recorded with HDMI. Canon knows about this problem and maybe the next generation of EOS bodies will have a HD-SCI connection. The Ninja can be used with other HDSLR bodies that do not have that display restriction such as the Panasonic GH-2.
I'll be buying the Samurai for my Sony EX-1r as soon as it's released. Think about one of these on a 5D sensor video body in the future - that output would rock.
GoPro the little POV camera was showing their new 3D Hero System which mounts two GoPro cameras in one housing.
GoPro 3D Hero
The demo footage at the booth was very cool - but you still need the glasses to watch it. My question is how many people now have 3D TV's to watch this stuff?
One of the downfalls of using the GoPro has been not being able to see what your shooting - those days are over due to the introduction of the GoPro LCD BacPac, which clicks on the back of the HD Hero camera. Very handy. I'm getting one of these for $79.99 - worth every penny.
GoPro LCD BacPac
In addition they had their new Battery Pac which is both a charger and nearly doubles the record times. One problem is you can't use this battery pack with the LCD BacPac, which would of been nice.
GoPro Battery Pac
For all of you, like myself using the LitePanels 1X1, the problem has always to make the light softer. Even with the diffuser kit from LitePanels, it's still not soft enough for me. Chimera, has a new lightbank made especially for the LitePanels 1x1 called the Chimera LED Lightbank. Nice light output and easy to set up. They also have a new model coming out shortly for the LitePanels MicroPro
Chimera LED Lightbank
Just when you thought we have run out of devices to use with stabilizing device - out comes the Steadicam Smoothee. (Not available in juice bars). This little rig will hold your iPhone, iPod Touch and other video devices BUT the great news is that they showed a new mount for the GoPro Hero. Very handy little item at $179.99
If you shoot often from a helicopter, car, motorcycle, boat or other moving platform you know the name these days is Tyler Mounts - especially the famed Tyler MiniGyro which houses two Kenyon KS-8 gyros to create opposing forces giving you a super smooth stable shot. They were not for sale - You had to rent these units for few hundred dollars a day.
Well, if your doing a lot of this work Tyler announced that due to customer requests you can now buy these units ready to go for $25,000. I had Larry Jordan's credit card and ordered two. (Memo to Larry - Don't worry about those few little extra charges from NAB!)
To LAFCPUG's Michael Horton - happy 10th Anniversary of the Supermeet and thanks for a most fun evening along with the FCP X preview.
Finally my annual word of gratitude to Jeff Greenberg, Abba Shapiro, Steve Martin (the Apple Master Trainer, not that other Steve Martin!) and the rest of the Post Production World gurus for another informative several days of editing, shooting and business sessions. I was luckily enough to be in a FCP session that featured at one point Jeff, Abba and Steve teaching at one time. It was classic.
Keep shooting and editing. See ya next year in Las Vegas April 14-19, 2012.