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posted by - Thursday, 03 April 2014

It’s that time of the year again, and NAB 2014 is just a few days away! We’ve been watching the new product announcements roll in (including the the new lenses from Canon and Fujinon that we blogged about yesterday), but we can’t wait to see what else pops up at the show. Here is a list put together by our technical specialists of some of the new gear that they’re most excited about:

Panasonic VariCam 35 & HS

In the tradition of the VariCam, Panasonic has revealed the new VariCam 35, which we previously blogged about when it was first announced. As the name implies, the camera will use a new Super35 CMOS sensor for multiple format acquisition. Recording formats include 4K Raw output, as well as 4K UHD, 2K and HD video formats. Internal 4K recording will be to Express P2 cards, which there are two slots for. The camera also has two microP2 slots for recording 2K and HD. The VariCam 35 will be capable of recording (internally) 4K up to 120fps and will utilize AVC-Ultra codecs. Simultaneous recording to microP2 is possible for proxy editing and match back. Additionally, the camera will feature a new OLED viewfinder.

A unique aspect of the new VariCam 35 is its modular design. The 4K module (AV-V35C1) can be separated from the recorder (AV-VREC1) via an umbilical cable. This allows the 4K module to be rigged easily in hard to reach areas, as well as in remote applications such as a jib. The camera will output 4K Raw via two 3G HD-SDI outputs. Four 3G HD-SDI outputs allow for 4K Quad monitoring, as well as a monitoring output that will down convert 4K to HD.

Announced at the same time as the VariCam 35 was the VariCam HS, which features a 2/3″ module (AV-V23HS1) that can be attached to the recorder for HD recording. For more details and photos of both cameras, check out this blog post from Kunihiko Miyagi, Director of Panasonic Professional Imaging.


Zeiss Lenses

Announced at IBC late last year, Zeiss will unveil their two latest lenses at NAB. The Master Anamorphic 135mm T1.9 will complete the family of seven Master Anamorphic lenses offered by Zeiss, and the CZ.2 15-30mm T2.9 will join the award winning CZ.2 70-200mm T2.9 and CZ.2 28-80mm T2.9. All of these lenses will be available for viewing at NAB this year and available for purchase from AbelCine.


Zacuto Accessories

The Zacuto Z-Finder EVF was one of the first electronic viewfinder solutions to hit the market, and it certainly made its mark on the industry when it debuted at the height of the HDSLR era. Nowadays, you’ll still find Z-Finder EVFs used on cameras of all types and shapes. Not one to rest on their laurels, Zacuto has announced two brand new EVF’s they will be showing at NAB, the Gratical LT and Gratical HD.

The LT boasts a resolution of a 1024×768, while the HD features a 1280×1024 panel, both utilizing micro OLED displays for expanded contrast range. The usual inputs and outputs are all present, with HD-SDI and HDMI in & out, but the Gratical will also include HDMI to HD-SDI conversion.While the overall shape of the EVF has not yet been finalized, the electronics within are production ready, and include key display tools such as waveform, vectorscope, histogram, and LUTs. The LUTs can be imported, created, and exported via the included USB port.

One of the features we’re most eager to see is the custom cables Zacuto can provide to use the Gratical with the existing EVF ports of your ALEXA, C300 / C500, F5 / F55, and Epic. This allows you to replace the normal EVF supplied with those cameras with the Gratical, a unique feature I’m sure many will take advantage of.

Zacuto will also be showing the new Control Grip and Z-Motor, a full featured replacement handgrip compatible with your Canon, Nikon, and Panasonic DSLRs, as well as the Sony F5 / F55, Arri ALEXA / AMIRA, Red Epic / Scarlet, and Canon C100 / C300 / C500. With five programmable buttons and a full menu control joystick, the Control Grip will interface directly with the new Z-Motor to provide a rocker based servo zoom similar to those found on ENG lenses. Zacuto is well known for making cameras more shoulder-friendly, so the new Control Grip and Z-Motor are welcome additions.

In our booth, we will be showing the full Zacuto Canon C300 / C500 setup that includes the Recoil and Helmet kits with the C300 Z-Finder on an HDx35 Mark II with a 2/3″ B4 lens.


Anton Bauer Digital Battery Series 

Anton Bauer will be releasing their new Digital Battery and Performance Charger series, specially designed to meet the needs of the 4K camera setups being used today. Along with a unique, ergonomic design, each battery (available in three sizes: 90 Wh, 150 Wh, 190 Wh) contains a proprietary digital filter that increases run-time and lengthens life cycle. Featuring standard gold mount connectors, the new series uses constant calibration to provide a more accurate power status. Conveniently, when a battery is connected to a camera or light, it will display its remaining run-time in hours and minutes so you can easily track usage.

Complimenting the Digital Battery series will be a new Performance Charger series, which will be able to charge up to four batteries at a time. The chargers also feature an LCD touch screen and, when charging multiple batteries, can detect which unit has the strongest charge and give it priority. Additionally, the charger series has a regulated XLR output to power a camera.

Schneider Xenon FF Primes

For 2014, Schneider is adding two more focal lengths to their Xenon FF lens line. The 25mm and 100mm primes will share many of the same attributes as their previous family members, while both share a T2.1 aperture and 11-blade iris construction. From inception, Schneider wanted to create 4K-ready primes with an image circle of 44mm that would cover the bigger of the DSLR sensors. A uniform front diameter of 100mm allows for easy transition of a mattebox or sunshade from one lens to another. In addition, each lens has been designed so that the focus and iris gears always line up in the same place, which is a huge time saver if you are using a wireless or studio set up. Each lens has a threaded front for screw-in filters and 300-degree focus barrel rotation provides plenty of marks for pulling focus.

Additionally a base is built into each lens that allows a support post to be tied into the lens, offsetting any torque introduced by a focus unit. This means that there is no shifting of the lens in a DSLR mount or shifting of the image frame during a focus pull. Currently, the entire Xenon family are manufactured to accept PL, Nikon F, or Canon EOS mounts.


PAG Stacking Batteries

The new PAGlink batteries promise to alleviate long charge times and increase operating time for cameras. They have an Anton Bauer-style gold mount and employ an innovative linking technology so that two or more may be stacked together (up to a maximum of eight) to allow higher current and longer run times. Linking the batteries combines their capacities and allows for a high-current draw of up to 12A. Another great aspect of these batteries is that the individual units have a capacity of 96 watt-hours, which means they can be legally carried on passenger aircraft with no restriction on quantity.

Uniquely, four or more battery units can be linked for charging. A standard Anton Bauer Li-Ion charger will give you a 16-channel charging unit, which of course means users will need fewer chargers and less time to charge. This is definitely good news for anyone working in the documentary or ENG world where equipment often needs to be as compact as possible.


Codex Action CAM

Probably one of the more unique things that will be shown on the show floor is the Action CAM from Codex. This lightweight, compact system consists of the Camera Control Recorder and camera heads, connected via co-ax cables. Designed for maximum flexibility and portability, a full camera set featuring the recorder and two camera heads weighs just 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs). 

Speaking of the camera heads, each unit features a 2/3″ CCD sensor, 1920×1080 resolution, global shutter, 14-bit image processing, and a 12-bit Raw output. There are also a number of delivery formats including ProRes 4444/422 HQ, DNxHD 444/422, and uncompressed. Additionally, for those who are interested in 3D,  you can connect two heads to the recorder, and it will easily output completely synchronous 3D.

Codex Vault

The Codex Vault is a modular media management system, which supports the downloading and archiving of codecs from the ALEXA, Sony F5, F55, and F65, Red Epic/Scarlet, and the C500. They’ve now worked with Vision Research to bring Phantom Flex4K Cine Raw to this ever-growing list of popular recording formats, making the vault an even more valuable tool for on-set media management.


LiveGrade 2.0

Pomfort is the Munich-based maker of LiveGrade Pro, the look and color management solution used on shows like HBO’s Game of Thrones. They’ve just announced some major new upgrades to their software, which is now available in two versions: LiveGrade Pro v2 and LiveGrade Basic. Both LiveGrade versions allow users to easily create and apply looks, while LiveGrade Pro further allows created looks to be saved and opened in post by Resolve, ScratchColorfront, and Nucoda grading programs.

The key new features of LiveGrade Pro v2 include a new remote app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, the ability to grade JPEG, TIFF, DPX and QuickTime movie frames, a revised dark UI with dim settings, and the capability to group multiple LUT devices with the new device manager. Additionally, the software allows for mixing of HDLink, Pluto, and Fuji IS-mini hardware setups, comprehensive support for multiple IS-Minis, resizable grade controls, and automated CDL-integration with ALEXA XT and Codex recorder combinations.

LiveGrade Basic has been updated with a darker, revised UI, a new device manager, individual resizable grade controls, and color temperature controls in CDL grading mode. Upgrades are available for existing LiveGrade owners – visit Pomfort’s Downloads page for more information.


We’re definitely looking forward to getting a closer look at these products (and more) at NAB this year. If you’ll be attending, make sure to stop by booth #C6012 to say hi, and let us know in the comments what gear you’re excited to see!


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