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Editors' Pick Of Show 2004

It was another late night in Las Vegas on Tuesday, April 20 as DigitalTV’s Pick of Show Committee narrowed down the field of contenders for this year’s awards. The committee, made up of 13 individuals representing all aspects of television production and engineering, unanimously picked 31 award winners, with a few companies sharing awards. Here are the winners, whose products were chosen for their advancement of the art and science of television.

All Mobile Video
Matrix

What if you could take all the gear in that 52-foot production truck wherever you needed to go? That was AMV’s idea with Matrix—a mobile production package in a box (or, to be accurate, a bunch of flycases). Up to 16 HD 24p-capable cameras, 128 x 128 routing, and an awesome audio package means you can do high-end productions almost anywhere.

Apple Computer (With Panasonic)
100-Mbps DV-HD Over IEEE1394

Whether you call it IEEE1394, FireWire, or iLink, the technology has changed video post for the better. Now Apple has taken it further by adding support for 100Mbps DV-HD (that would be DVCPRO HD) in Final Cut Pro HD for the ultimate plug-and-play connectivity.

Axcera
Innovator HX High-Power Solid-State VHF Transmitter

Remember VHF? It’s where many DTV broadcasters will find themselves once the spectrum is packed after the DTV transition. But it’s also where many stations earn their analog bread and butter today. The Innovator was made for today’s and tomorrow’s VHF landscape, with an FPGA-based control system and a versatile PA and exciter design. It is available in both digital (2-60kW) and internally diplexed or externally diplexed analog (5-120kW) configurations.

Baron Services
VIPIR 24/7 With Optional
Gesture & Voice Recognition

We’ve all seen it—the weather forecaster with their little clicker to change the chromakey. What if you could change the chromakey background with a simple gesture or just by saying a few words? VIPIR 24/7 gets rid of the clicker...just make sure that the gesture you use won’t get you into trouble with the FCC.

Belden
Brilliance DigiTruck 179DT Video Coaxial Cable

Anything that can reduce the weight inside a production truck is a good thing, and Belden’s DigiTruck 179DT does just that. This RG-179 coax weighs in at about 60% less and takes up to 40% less space than standard mini RG-59/U coax and is sweep-tested to 3Ghz.

Camplex
PRO-X1

Turn your Canon XL1 camcorders into studio cameras, or do a live multi-camera remote with your Sony PD150s. Camplex had a more detailed explanation: “The new PRO-X1 bi-directionally multiplexes remote camera composite video, talley, camera program and intercom audio, along with safe microprocessor-controlled DC operating power for the camera.” No matter how you say it, this is a great way to do more with your camcorder resources.

Centurfax
Blue.i

Originally launched at IBC2003, this was the first NAB for Blue.i—a portable, low-cost studio navigation system. Under development for two years and funded by a U.K. Government Smart Award, Blue.i provides absolute position and orientation data to any tracking system...without overhead-mounted sensors or transmitters. When mounted on any moveable device, such as a studio dolly, Blue.i reads a floor covering that is digitally encoded with a specially designed pattern. The floor pattern has been designed and tested to be “bluescreen compatible,” thereby allowing the system to be used unobtrusively within virtual reality studios. Blue.i gives realtime positioning data at 60 times per second with repeatability of ±1mm and a resolution of 0.5mm per axis.

Fuji Television Network
FL Cubic Light

If you learned lighting, you know that the words “fluorescent” and “spotlight” never go together. Well, Fuji Television has changed all that with their FL Cubic Light, a fluorescent spotlight for tight lighting situations. Developed for the network’s own tightly-packed news sets, this means that “fluorescent” means more than just “flood.”

Fujinon
Precision Focus Assist

Ever tried to focus with a long HD lens...on something that’s moving? Fujinon’s Precision Focus Assist allows you to choose a particular area in your image and automatically keeps that area in focus. Makes keeping focus on that running back much easier.

Ikegami
HDL-40HS

Some of you might remember that last year we gave an award to Ikegami for the CMOS version of the HDL-40, but this is a whole new ballgame—and the ballgame is in HD and needs slo-mo. The HDL-40HS is a high-speed 3-CMOS 1280 x 720 POV camera (with ENG option) that outputs 720/120p via dual-link HD SDI to the server for slow-motion HD replay. Plus, standard 720p out is available for live use.

Jadoo Power Systems
NABII

Not a battery, not a brick, and not going to blow up if you drop it (we checked). Hydrogen power is a reality for video production, and Jadoo brings a new choice for portable power to the market. The NABII fuel cell for ENG camcorders lasts longer than your average camera battery, weighs less, is hot-swappable, and is already being used.
JVC3-CMOS HDV ENG-Style Camcorder
When JVC introduced the first HDV camcorder last year it rocked the industry, but we all wondered what they would do next. The CU-VH1 clamshell HDV deck is sweet, but what really got people’s interest was the 3-CMOS HDV prototype. JVC didn’t say much about this camcorder, but we liked what we were able to find out. The camera has a target date of end of winter (which in the real world means NAB2005) and will record in HDV and DV with full-size cassettes. What makes this camcorder just as sweet as its little brother? It’ll have 24p built in.

K-WILL Corporation
TSI-2000

K-WILL’s TSI-2000 is the first MPEG-2 video-quality monitoring technology that provides centralized monitoring of video networks with automated, realtime assessment of the quality of the video data stream. The TSI-2000 inspects the video and audio data in each sequence for errors, analyzing the elementary stream. Using its proprietary Video DNA technology, K-WILL’s new transport stream monitor is the only device that monitors actual video quality to the macro block level, in realtime on an MPEG-2 compressed video stream. And yes, TS headers are also examined.

Leader Instruments
LV 5750 Portable Multi-SDI Monitor

The LV 5750 sports a color XGA (1024 x 768) LCD screen with waveform, vector, audio, picture, and status monitoring. SDI inputs support auto detection of multiple standards, formats, and frame rates. HD-SDI or SD-SDI signals are detected, selected, and output to a re-clocked active serial output. The waveform, vector, picture, audio, and status can be shown full screen, viewed side by side, or as a four-in-one multi-display. The best part: The LV 5750 is equipped with a standard tripod stand mount, allowing the five-pound, six-ounce monitor to be attached to a tripod or camera. Additional available options include a sun hood and dedicated rack mount.

Leitch Technology
VelocityHD

VelocityHD is a format-flexible SD/HD NLE available at a high-end HD price point. Integrating the new Altitude hardware platform with a significantly enhanced version of the Velocity software interface, VelocityHD makes HD nonlinear editing as efficient and easy as SD editing. With guaranteed full-quality HD playback of two video streams, two dynamic graphics streams, and optional realtime 3D DVE, VelocityHD offers true realtime power. This is instant, full-quality realtime playback—not just scaled-down realtime previews, and not just in basic effect combinations.

Link Research
LinkXP

Wireless video is nothing new, but when you’re working wireless and it’s like you’re not, that’s something else. What makes the LinkXP so special? Reverse video so the camera operator can see what the TD is setting up. And a new wideband transmitter for LinkXP operates over the whole 2-Ghz band for greater flexibility with limited spectrum availability.

Lite Panels
Lite Panels

What’s not to love about white LED-based light? It weighs about a pound, can be mounted on almost any camcorder, gives off almost no heat, has a wide selection of custom-fit filters, and can be dimmed without color shift. Cool.

Panasonic (With Apple Computer)
100-Mbps DV-HD Over IEEE1394

What did Panasonic do to help make 100-Mbps FireWire a reality? They made it work with DVCPRO HD in the AJ-1200A HD recorder. That little connector (and the associated technology) will help make Final Cut Pro HD easier in the DVCPRO HD world.

Panavision
300x HD Lens With Compound Zoom

Wow! My first look at what this lens could do was a pullback from a mountain peak. OK, nice pull...but it kept going and going and going until the mountain was the size of a molehill. Panavision is still making improvements to the lens, but this is one nice piece of glass.

PESA Switching Systems
XD Photonic Switcher

This was supposed to be just a technology demonstration, but NAB attendees wanted to know when they could get one and how much it would cost. Using Glimmerglass microphotonics technology and PESA’s 3500PRO control system, the XD photonic routing switcher can switch any signal format without converting light to electrical signals. The 64 x 64 router delivers transparent connectivity between any of its input and output fibers and has built-in fallback switching in case of loss of signal.

Sigma Electronics
OctaSplice

Don’t you just hate that popping sound when you’re watching HDTV and the station switches sources? Sigma’s OctaSplice technology provides error-free switching of Dolby Digital (AC3) audio signals without decompression. OctaSplice utilizes bit-splicing technology to correctly insert new data into the output stream, ensuring that downstream reception is uninterrupted.

Snell & Wilcox
MXF Express

One thing we love more than anything else is when a company invests its resources in improving the industry. S&W has done just that with MXF Express, a software developer kit for content creators that provides file-sharing interoperability through the MXF file format. And it’s free: Just head over to www.snellwilcox.com/mxf. (And be sure to download a copy of MXF Desktop, which enables Windows Media Player to play MXF files. It’s free, too.)

Sony Electronics
Anycast Station (AWS-G500)

It’s a control room in a suitcase—just add cameras and microphones. The Anycast Station includes a six-input video switcher, six-input audio mixer, CG, program and preview monitors, wireless keyboard, and built-in multi-camera hard-disk recording. You can even mix live video, pre-recorded video, and PowerPoint slides into a single presentation without using an external scaler. Can you say remote production on a budget?

Tektronix
WFMNLE

Want real monitoring capabilities in your Avid NLE? How about a Tektronix scope as a seamless plug-in for both PCs and Macs? The WFMNLE is a software-only waveform monitor developed with editors in mind that helps quickly identify and fix problems within your program with features such as AlarmVu status alarm screen and the Picture With Error Bright-Up Displays. Best of all, there’s a free full-feature demo available from www.tek.com.

Telecast Fiber Systems
Mamba

Originally developed as a great weight and space reduction program for production trucks, Mamba is a total optical infrastructure all the way to the patch—in your truck or in your facility. At Mamba’s heart are Mini-WECO and BANTAM jacks with lighter and small single-mode optical cables with ST and MTP connectors. Add to that a variety of electrical to optical media converters for HD-SDI, SDI, AES-EBU, and analog audio and you’ve got a system designed to allow you to put in more gear—gear that makes you money.

Thomson Grass Valley
LDK 6200 HD Super SloMo Camera

That’s what HD sports has needed—slo-mo. The LDK 6200 HD lets you shoot in either standard HD or in slo-mo at 720/120p. Based on the LDK 6000 mk II, the camera features multi-format, multi-frame rate, and native 1080i/720p image capture.

Triveni Digital (With Terayon)
ANDES-HD

The ANDES-HD (Advanced Network Distribution Enhancement System-High Definition) was jointly developed by Triveni Digital and Terayon Communication Systems (which did not exhibit in its own booth at NAB) and combines Terayon’s BP 5100-HD broadcast platform with Triveni Digital’s SkyScraper data distribution and GuideBuilder products. The ANDES-HD system enables broadcast networks and their affiliates to deliver, splice, brand, monitor, and manage HD and SD broadcast content seamlessly. With ANDES-HD broadcasters can implement complex and dynamic targeting of regional programming content and ensure highly accurate and automated switching between national and local HD and SD streams. FOX will be using the system to power its nationwide HD broadcast delivery system.

Vision Research
Phantom v9.0

In a small corner of the Miranda booth, Vision Research made a splash—its slo-mo footage of an exploding water balloon was amazing. Its Phantom v9.0 extreme digital slo-mo camera captures up to 1,000 frames of HD per second or up to 6,000 frames per second in SD.

WCInteractive
SportsWriter Live
Interactive Sports Presentation System

Nothing like a telestrator on steriods. Combining advanced live analysis and instant pre-production capabilities, SportsWriter brings on-screen analysis to the 21st century. Highlights, animations, perfect straight lines, GPI triggering, complex graphic moves...the system does it all.

Wheatstone
D-5.1 Television Master Control Console

Wheatstone’s D-5.1 makes 5.1 surround sound easy. Every input channel can handle mono, stereo, and 5.1 or generate those signals simultaneously. And the D-5.1 is packed with all the foldback you’ll ever need with bus-minus and bus-plus control on each channel strip, complete with individual solo and talkback switches for control. With dedicated controls for every strip, you can have as many bus-minus feeds as channel faders. The D-5.1 also generates 18 mix-minus outputs each with individual or global confidence feeds for on-air talent.