Once again I was among the Thursday walking techno-zombie dead. But the last day of NAB is actually a good day since 75% of the people have gone home. The floor is wide open and you can actually get some personal time with software managers and the folks who build the gear.
I saw some cool stuff this year. You need to wade through a lot of things you don't need. It takes patience and you have to be that island of calm in a hurricane. It can be sensory overload. Luckily for me, I get to go to Hawaii and have the weekend to chill out, watch palm trees and look out at the ocean. (I do have a job proposal due on Monday, so I have to work on that.)
There's a inordinate amount of gear for Hollywood types with crews and big budgets. I'm not that guy. I don't have focus-puller. If I'm lucky I get to hire a key grip to help haul gear and set it up.
I never found the camera I have been searching for since 2008 - yeah, you know what it is - the Sony EX1R or the Canon XF305 body with a 5D sensor. Simple, unibody design. It's fits in a backpack and is easy to work. No need to change lenses and get Molokai red dirt and salt air on the sensor. So simple to me. A marriage of the best of both worlds. That's what I told Canon in 2008 when I tested the 5D. The journey does continue.
And Memo to Apple: we are still awaiting for the 2013 Mac Pro
GEAR WE CAN USE...AND AFFORD
EDELKROME SLIDER PLUS
How about a little under 4 pound, 15 inch, back-packable 1 foot slider that gives you 2 feet of sliding coverage? The new Edelkrome Slider Plus is pretty ingenious. You push one way and the camera slides in the opposite direction and fits on your tripod. It's hard to explain but really nice for the price. Very smooth gearing and sturdy. Check it out on their website. By the way - I got 20% off at their the booth at NAB. Another reason to be at the show. There are deals that are sometimes only at the show and not online.
I have the Kessler Travel Slider with motor that I love, but this Ekelkrome is so lightweight and small it's easier to have in the pack without carrying an extra bag while hiking to your destination. I'm buying one.
DJI'S PHANTOM GO PRO HELICOPTER
From DJI Innovations a little helicopter that flies your GoPro around. Cheaper than one hour of real helicopter time. Flies 8 minutes on a charge with the camera. Takes a few days to learn and you're a GoPro Top Gun Chopper Pilot. Think of the possibilities of being 50 to 100 feet above the ground doing aerials on your next job. I can hear it now - "And we'll do a few helicopter shots too". You can charge clients more. There's full information and tutorials to get started on the DJI website. Plus no pesky pilot's license.
I do want one.
BTW: get the GoPro3, the 2.7K setting is amazing.
G-RAID EV THUNDERBOLT
I use Other World Computing and G-Raid hard drives exclusively. I found they are the best and most reliable. From G-Raid comes a really good idea I hope they expand on. It's the new G-Raid Dock EV with Thunderbolt. This explanation from the G-Raid website:
Designed with the flexibility to accommodate unique workflows, the Evolution Series is a robust, expandable dual-bay storage solution. The G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt is the hub of the system, which ships with two removable G-DRIVE® ev hard drives.
Now you can seamlessly transfer and store all your digital content with one system. The portable standalone G-DRIVE ev hard drives are your go-to devices in the field, with plug-and-play USB 3.0 connectivity and transfer speeds up to 136MB/s. Back at your workstation, insert drives into the G-DOCK ev and transfer your content with the ultra fast, high-performance Thunderbolt interface.
Have a need for speed? The G-DOCK ev is also compatible with the G-DRIVE ev PLUS. Sold separately, the G-DRIVE ev PLUS packs fast transfer rates up to 250MB/s. Both drives feature USB 3.0 and a SATA connector for use in the G-DOCK ev.
This is very useful for when using a iMac, archiving projects on one hard drive, or portable editing in the field. The unit is fairly lightweight and super easy to set up.
I hope they have hard drive units of more than 1TB in the future for those large projects.
I use their G-Raid Slim as a dump drive when working on the road to just put my daily footage on. It a very small USB pocket drive that's featherweight.
From the Red Rock website: The Red Rock Micro One Man Crew is the first and only parabolic motion system available, designed to provide elegant cinematic movements while keeping the subject both in focus and stationary in the frame. Most importantly, it does this without any operator involvement. The 36" long track offers great flexibility and can set shorter limits for motion.
The One Man Crew allows for camera speed change in real-time and manual start/stop/change direction with speed ramp up/down for consistently great footage.
Halstead at the Panasonic booth
Very late Wednesday afternoon I hunted Dirck Halstead down on the show floor. He was again surrounded by his security goons who tried and failed to blend in with us tech geek types. He was watching a video at Panasonic. I snapped off a quick shot and was immediately wrestled to the ground. I heard him growl to his boys one word "Texas" and with that he walked over me and he was gone. I knew I needed to get to the airport.
Halstead's carry-on baggage
I got a shot of his carry-on baggage on the tarmac and was immediately escorted out of the area by what looked like Halstead's personal SEAL Team. They drove me to deserted part of the airport area and dumped me off. Luckily I got one frame of Air Halstead taking off from two miles away using the Canon 1200mmm F5.6 (I had a hunch I would need that lens today and threw to it in the bag this morning) in the darkness of the Vegas night. There's always next year.