Now that the 2015 NAB show in Las Vegas is over it’s time to do some coverage! Starting on April 17th and going until the end of the month I will be doing a spotlight on what was good at the show. Each day I’ll focus on something new or exciting that I saw. These are being released in no particular order.
With the advent of digital cameras and LED lights filmmakers have been given the opportunity to unplug from power lines and run solely on battery power. There are a lot of brick options on the market, but Switronix has definitely stepped up the game with a new set of Hypercore batteries and the addition of Voltbridge.
When productions go wireless with power it means that the AC and/or DIT is going to have to monitor battery life so shooting doesn’t have to stop every time a battery drains. I was on a multicam reality shoot with cameras and lights all being powered via gold mount batteries; and running around from fixture to fixture and camera to camera to check charge became a pain in my ass.
To alleviate this pain Switronix has come out with Voltbridge, an app that allows users to monitor brick charge via iOS or Android devices. With Voltbridge you can keep track of up to 25 different devices being charged by batteries. Each device can be renamed to easily match your naming conventions and then sends push notifications to your phone/tablet letting you know when a battery is low.
Switronix’s new battery plates all have a built-in bluetooth capability that allows Voltbridge to wirelessly connect to the device and if you’re using non-“smart” batteries then Switronix is also offering a dongle that plugs into a D-Tap port and sends the battery information via that. The newer Switronix batteries will also feature more information than just charge level and name.
The Voltbridge in conjunction with Switronix’s new Hypercore batteries is the most impressive wireless power setup I’ve seen. The new Hypercore bricks have massive power life meaning you can shoot for longer without swapping, and they’ll tell you when they’re drained through Voltbridge.
If you’re doing battery management on set, this is a must have. The Hypercore batteries are available on B&H now, and you can pick up a set of 4 98wh bricks plus dual charger for $1700. The Voltbridge app will be free of charge and should be released later this year. More info on Voltbridge and the Hypercore batteries is up on Switronix’s site.