NAB 2009: Mark Schubin’s Notables

Veteran video engineer shares the list of items that caught his eye
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Veteran video engineer shares the list of items that caught his eye

LAS VEGAS: Mark Schubin is likely in competition for the man with the most NAB shows under his belt, having just logged his 37th. The engineer-in-charge at New York’s Metropolitan Opera media department scours the floor looking for equipment and innovations that can make life easier and/or more interesting for him and his colleagues. Here are some of Schubin’s notes and notables from the show floor…

“I think it’s interesting that Sony is showing and promoting CompactFlash storage in its new products instead of Sony-developed MemoryStick,” he said of the Tokyo electronics giant. Others on the floor noted Sony’s direction away from its long-held strategy of using proprietary technology. Sir Howard Stringer is thought to be behind the company’s move toward open-standard technology, according to a former colleague. Stringer recently took over as chief executive of all of Sony and reorganized the divisions to increase communications and collaboration across divisions.

The following items caught Schubin’s eye this year on the floor:

- Roland Edirol VC-50 video field converter goes between IEEE-1394 and HD-SDI.
- Fusion-io ioDrive is an extraordinarily fast solid-state drive; great demo shows 1024 different streams playing simultaneously from a single drive.
- Panasonic AG-HMR10, records 3 hours at highest quality on 32 GB SD $2,650 card. Tiny HD-SDI recorders like the AG-HMR10 are also available from Convergent Design (shown last year as a prototype), and Fraunhofer/Mikrom (new).
- Rushworks “The Bridge” is a complete TV station except the transmitter, including the console.
- White Sands AirBNC and the ICM BNCHD, both combine the crimping and sleeving process that is more electronically sound.
- Sky Dolly Powered Paraglider Dolly at the Silicon Imaging can be powered for 2.5 hours, but can turn it off and glide. It has a remote control for camera, so the pilot just has to pilot. It works with Silicon Imaging cameras that can do hi-def and 3D2K.
- Blackmagic Studio Videohub is one of two new models in their exceptionally inexpensive routers; this one is just two rack-units high.
- Inition Stereo Brain converts 3D to various formats of 2D for transmission and monitoring.
- NICT “No longer just a dream” interactive panoramic video technologies, multi-sensory interaction system, spatial sound, virtual touch-screen (dandelion), manipulating box, multi-projector screen and electronic holography.
- JVC’s 4K camera uses a 1.25-inch-format (about twice the size of 2/3-inch format) imager with a Bayer pattern. It’s 3840x2160.
- Fujinon’s XA50x9.5 is a sports lens with a built-in sled.
- Panasonic’s 11-series plasma panels make good cheap reference monitors.
- ARRI has LED background lighting.
- Ortery Technologies’ Photosmile line has desktop “studios” for doing product photography; they’re controlled by a PC .
- ScreenKeys are LCB programmable buttons for keyboards. There are others, but none as detailed.
- JumboBright invisible prompter monitors. Telescript has a rear-projection model that’s similar.
- PortalVideo’s cloud editing is interesting, but MediaSilo has had similar product for a while and charges less. Both of them use a subscription payment model.
- BAL Broadcast Floorman touch-screen, quad-split, handheld portable monitor.
- Digital Design Studio surveillance-type HD3D camera at Astrodesign.
- BTX Expand-On sleeving applicator.
- The Canon 14x4.3 lens seems to be the widest-angle zoom (96.1 degree).
- Lemo’s Meerkat fiber-triax adapters are now available in HD. Stadiums with fiber but no triax is an issue for people who work those venues.
- Firefly LED cable protectors flash so people don’t trip on them.
- Steadicam had a model mounted on a Segway (previous versions had them mounted on the operator who rode a Segway).
- I really liked the Airstar Cutter Cloud at Matthews. It’s a giant helium balloon, like the other Airstar products, but instead of having internal lighting it has a clear bottom and an internally reflective top, so you can aim lights into it from the ground or just use it to make a shadow.
- Cooke’s /i Intelligent Technology lenses can be used to match each other in 3D.
- NHK’s Super Hi-Vision was very good looking this year, except the stuff shot on the strip with the new wide-angle lens.

Also of note:
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon Rebel T1i APS size
Panasonic E cards
Blackmagic UltraScope $695
Kata & Petrol inflatable bags
DM Accessories EX-3 shouldermount at Anton Bauer
Nebtek NEB100HDS daylight LCD monitor
Ikan monitor w/zoom, focus, recorder controls
Zacuto SharpShooter for Canon EOS 5D
ProPrompter iPhone app

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