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ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Production • Tech

NAB Roundup 2013: LED Fresnels, Camera Accessories

I first wrote about the development of LED Fresnel lights two years ago, tracking earlier reactions by the industry to high energy consumption and high heat output: “Greening the Film Business: LED Fresnels.” This year I followed up with some of the same manufacturers.

Fresnel lenses, originally invented for lighthouses, have long been used on movie lights for careful light control and sharp shadows. Their typical concentric ring style enables them to have great diameter without clumsy thickness. . . . CONTINUE READING: NAB Roundup 2013: LED Fresnels, Camera Accessories

ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Production • Tech

NAB Roundup 2013: Cameras

Las Vegas is known for its buffets, and the NAB Show at the Vegas Convention Center is a grand smorgasbord of technology.

The floor exhibits fill over 800,000 square feet. 92,000 attendees crowd around 1500 exhibitors showing the latest products and services in TV and radio broadcasting, film and video production and postproduction, cloud computing, entertainment technology, file-based workflows, 3D visuals, and pro audio. . . . CONTINUE READING: NAB Roundup 2013: Cameras

ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Travel • Tech

Lost Wages: Everything Looks Great at NAB

In my mind, I’m Danny McCoy, deftly easing my washboard abs into my 69 Camaro ragtop, trolling confidently up and down the Strip, the wind ruffling my hair as I head for a liaison with my all-grown-up childhood pal Mary Connell, or a dalliance with Delinda Deline, the boss’s daughter.

In RL (gamer parlance for Real Life), I’m a middle-aged guy with grey hair, a little too full of sushi and sake, ambling and people-watching from Luxor to New York, New York, trying to take a few interesting photos on the Strip before collapsing into bed after a long day walking the floor at NAB.

Obviously I’ve watched too many episodes of “Las Vegas!” Like the Josh Duhamel character in the Camaro in that now-defunct series, I use a lot of cameras. Unlike him, I’m a freelance DP, not a casino surveillance and security expert.

I’m often asked about how some camera or other looked at the annual NAB Show in Lost Wages. My answer is usually the same: “It looked great.”

The truth is, nearly everything looks great at NAB. The manufacturers show off their cameras in shooting galleries in their booths. Every camera they make is lined up and pointed at a colorful, flatly lit set, populated by a strange race of young people with gleaming teeth, perfect bodies, and flawless skin. Back in the day, the models were all women in some form of flimsy beach attire. Now the galleries hold attractive folks of . . . CONTINUE READING: Lost Wages: Everything Looks Great at NAB

ROVING CAMERA BLOG • Tech

NAB 2012 Preview

I’m winging to Las Vegas for a couple of days to attend the NAB Show, the annual technical meeting and equipment show of the National Association of Broadcasters. In particular, I’m interested to see the latest digital cinema cameras, some recently released, some newly announced this week. I’m especially intrigued by an excellent summary in nofilmschool.com, which compares the newest digital cameras by resolution and price. And as always, I’ll also be looking at new camera accessories and lighting gear at the show. Watch for more reports coming up soon! . . . CONTINUE READING: NAB 2012 Preview

Tech

NAB 2011: Greening the Film Business—LED Fresnel Lights

It’s a vicious cycle in the film business. We use scads of energy to light our sets, usually trying to make them look as natural as possible, then we use scads of energy to cool them. If we can reduce the power required for lighting, we can save money two ways. In the olden days of production, when I was starting out in the business, most movie lights (except for big arc lights) had tungsten or quartz lamps. These lamps employed a simple technology, like Edison’s light bulb, pushing so much electric current though a thin wire filament that it glowed and gave off light—and heat. Tungsten is still the most mature, least expensive, hottest, and least efficient lighting technology available. . . . CONTINUE READING: NAB 2011: Greening the Film Business—LED Fresnel Lights

Tech

NAB 2011: Digital Cinema Camera Shootout

During the recent NAB Show in Las Vegas, I attended a panel discussion and screening of a series of tests called the Single Chip Camera Evaluation. The SCCE shootout, produced by an independent, ad hoc group named Image Quality Geeks, compared 11 single-chip digital cinema cameras, along with two 35mm film emulsions. These extensive tests, designed for “apples-to-apples” comparisons, provided a comprehensive look at the following cameras.

. . . CONTINUE READING: NAB 2011: Digital Cinema Camera Shootout

Tech

NAB 2011: Back to Vegas

The first time I went to the NAB Show, I wore camouflage fatigues and marched through hippies.

I was working the show for Ampex, the television equipment company that had invented videotape. During the 80s, they were buying Sony professional video camera parts, assembling them in Ampex factories, and branding and marketing them as their own. One of their promotions at that time showed a photo of their new, integrated camcorders with a camouflage paint job and the caption “Guerrillacam.”

These Ampex products, based on the Sony 200 and 300 Betacam camcorders, represented a huge improvement in portability. Before this time, most professional video shooting was done either in a two-piece configuration (with camera connected to a separate recorder) or with a “dockable” record deck mounted on the back of a camera. This older dockable rig was pretty heavy, because it mated two units that each could function independently, each with its own rugged case and power supply.

The new Ampex (and Sony) camcorders provided the basic form factor for most professional camcorders for years to come, a sleeker and lighter alternative to the dockable systems. The marketing push was directed at news shooters, especially those navigating the urban jungles. Hence, Guerrillacam.

So Ampex hired me and another cameraman named Dan Cascino to help man their booth at the National Association of Broadcasters annual trade show, oddly held that year in Atlanta. We wore jungle camouflage fatigues on the floor of the show, with camo military caps that said . . . CONTINUE READING: NAB 2011: Back to Vegas

Tech

NAB 2011: Show Preview

The National Association of Broadcasters annual trade show takes place next week at the Las Vegas Convention Center. I’ll be there for a couple of days to check out the new cameras, among other things, and I’ll post several reports from there.

Here are some announced/rumored items I’ll be taking a close look at:

A prototype for the next (and most advanced) addition to Sony’s Cine Alta line, a new camera for digital cinematography with a sensor greater than 4K. Jon Fauer, in an article in Film and Digital Times, says the new camera will shoot from 1-72 fps in normal mode, and 1-120 fps in High Frame Rate mode.

. . . CONTINUE READING: NAB 2011: Show Preview