NAB 2016 Top 10: Part 1
I’ve been on a hiatus from blogging regularly, but I figured the best way to come back is with come NAB coverage (and I apologize for this being so far after the show, I got swamped with unexpected work). This year, instead of doing a product spotlight on lots of different products, I’m going to narrow down what I saw into just 10 products that I think were awesome (or just excited me) because they have new features, are cost-effective, or are things I may actually get. *note: product descriptions are just an overview, I encourage you to visit the links to find out more information.*
Here’s my Top 10 Products from NAB 2016:
10. Pelican Air
It’s really hard to innovate with case technology, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything really worth talking about with cases since TrekPak came out. But Pelican just released the “Air” line of cases and it’s pretty awesome. They’ve developed a new polymer to build their cases with that offers all the security you’d expect from Pelican cases, but made them ~40% lighter.
What this means is that those of us that travel for shoots regularly aren’t going to have to break our backs carrying gear around (assuming you’re not overloading the case). The Pelican Air line has also been redesigned so that of the current line of five cases, three of them can fit in overhead compartments; and the other two cut down on weight for easy checking. Less weight means less money to check gear, less money checking is a very good thing. I’m excited to see if this new line holds up, and I can’t wait until they expand the line to bigger cases!
9. UPRtek cv600 Chrome View Meter
If you’re anything like me you probably walked by (or would’ve if you were at the show) the UPRtek stand half a dozen times before you realized they were there. But I’m so glad I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye and checked them out. The cv600 Chrome View Meter is a color meter/light meter combo unit that offers a ton of awesome features.
The cv600 is a digital meter that allows you to dial in what lenses, lights, and even what gels you’re using in order to get really accurate color and light readings in the field. Beyond just telling you what your colors are at and what stop your lights are at, the cv600 also has a flicker detection feature for working with high-speed footage, which is a huge thing for high frame rates as the flicker shows more the higher your frames get. At under $2000 this is a solid option for DP’s looking for meters and not wanting to break the bank.
8. SmallHD HDR 17″ Monitor
When I look for monitors I judge them on 3 things: build quality, features, and price. SmallHD consistently delivers on two of the three, build quality and features. The new HDR production monitors are no exception to this. SmallHD is releasing three sizes; 17″, 24″, and 32″; but it’s the 17″ that I’m most interested in.
The 17″ offers the same focus, exposure, and LUT tools that you can find in the 502 and 702 monitors; but it also offers quad display so you can monitor different sources at the same time; currently it only has the ability to monitor two sources, so you can pull up to signals and view them both with LUTs at the same time. At $4000 it’s a bit out of the range of feasibility for me; but that doesn’t mean I don’t still want it.
7. Redrock Eclipse Wireless Control System
Redrock Micro, to me, has the same problem as SmallHd; awesome products that are just a tad out of my price range. Ever since I got my Helix last year I’ve been looking to expand the kit with a wireless follow focus, so when I went to the Redrock booth this year I was happy to see that they’ve come out with a line of accessories just for gimbals. The Eclipse line of products is designed to help solo gimbal shooters stay in focus and control the camera.
The line has a ton of cool accessories; but the one I’m especially interested in is the Halo Solo. It uses Redrock’s range finding technology and transmits that data to the wireless focus motor to keep your subjects in focus. The one downside is that the complete Halo Solo rig would run ~$3600. But if that’s in your price range, Redrock is taking pre-orders now.
6. F&V z720 Ring Light
I’m not focusing on buying new lighting gear this year, but if I was, the F&V Z720 ring light would be right up there on my list. This little guy packs all the power that I’ve come to expect out of F&V’s ring lights and adds a ton of new features. The biggest and most intriguing feature to me is the quadrant control. The Z720 allows you to isolate individual sections of the light to dim (or change color on the bi-color model), it also has remote access so you don’t even need to touch the light once it’s going.
The Z720 is rated at 95 CRI and comes with both 15mm and 19mm attachments, making it perfect for video work. F&V is also releasing a series of pancake softboxes that transform the Z720 into so much more than just a ring light. It’s powered by either NP-F batteries or can be cabled straight to a dtap. It’s releasing at just under $1000, so it’s pricey for a ring light, but is definitely worth a look!
Overall I didn’t see anything truly groundbreaking at NAB (the Lytro camera doesn’t count) this year, but what I did see were a lot of very strong and useful upgrades to existing tech that I loved. If you liked the first part of this list, stay tuned for part 2 for even more awesome product goodness.
NAB 2016 Top 10: Part 1