NAB 2013: Canon Demonstrates 4K Workflow, Intros New Cameras
COW Library : Canon Cameras : Debra Kaufman : NAB 2013: Canon Demonstrates 4K Workflow, Intros New Cameras
At NAB 2013, Canon demonstrated an end-to-end 4K workflow, introduced two new entry-level professional camcorders for HD, and reported that the company is in development of a new Cinema 35mm prime lens. The camera and lens manufacturer also offered a showcase of creative content shot on Canon Cinema EOS equipment in a 90-seat Canon Theatre as well as on-stage presentations by cinematographers, filmmakers and broadcasters. I was lucky enough to stumble upon cinematographer/ICG President Steven Poster, ASC, talking about his work on the short film Rhythm of Life, which was shot with a Canon Cinema EOS C500 camera and lenses (a story we'll cover in a future Creative COW article).
Canon Cinema 35mm prime lens
The heart of the booth, for me, was the Live On-Set 4K Workflow Demonstrations which included a Digital Intermediate Suite and live 4K broadcast demonstrations for HD "Ultra-Zoom" applications. In live color grading sessions (with Quantel Rio Pablo and Colorfront On-Set Dailies), colorist worked with imagery from Canon's Cinema EOS C500 4K camera. Canon also demonstrated a 4K remote broadcast, showing how HD broadcast footage can be captured in 4K, digitally rendered and cropped for live-action broadcast with Canon Cinema EOS gear.
"We've been working hard to develop the Cinema EOS line," said Chuck Westfall, Technical Information Advisor, Professional Engineering & Solutions, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. "Given that tremendous build-up of that line, we've been focusing heavily on maximizing 4K and what can we do with it. The original concept is designed towards high-end motion picture. We've discovered that there are other uses, which we're demonstrating at the show including sports broadcasting."
Canon also showcased the new Cinema EOS C100 EF 24-105 Lens Kit, a cost-effective solution for cinematographers, especially individuals and small crews. Also shown were the Canon 24-inch imagePROGRAF iPF6450, and the 44-inch imagePROGRAF iPF8400, 12-color large-format printers, both equipped with LUCIA EX pigment ink set, an enhanced multi-sensor and advanced printing technologies.
Elsewhere at NAB 2013, Canon hosted a 3-hour learning session on the Canon Cinema EOS C500 4K digital camera, led by DP Suny Behar, and a Canon Professional Services hospitality suite for services and support.
Canon U.S.A. introduced two "ultra-compact" professional camcorders enabling wireless digital content transfer and remote operation. The Canon XA25 and XA20 feature a 20x HD Zoom lens, simultaneous MP4 and AVCHD recording, and wireless connectivity for uploading or remote operation via tablet or smartphone. They are the first Canon video cameras to have an Organic LED (OLED) touch panel; the 3.5" 1.23 million-dot Organic LED touch panel display features five buttons that operators can customize. Both models also weigh only 2.6 pounds.
"The XA-25 camera is our entry level professional camcorder for HD and replaces the XA-10, which has been very popular since 2011," said Westfall. "The Genuine Canon wide-angle 20x HD zoom lens with an ENG-style "rocker" zoom control is a big deal. We also deliver built-in real-time optical image stabilization and outstanding low-light performance. Both the XA25 and XA20 are equipped with a new 2.91 megapixel 1/2.84-inch HD CMOS image sensor and Canon DIGC DV 4 image processor."
"Canon is facilitating bringing the professional camera to every level," Westfall added.
Slated to ship by end of June 2013, the Canon XA25 HD ENG camcorder and XA20 HD professional camcorders will sell for estimated list prices of $2,999.00 and $2,499.00, respectively.
Canon also is developing a 35mm cinema prime lens for large-format single-sensor cameras employing Super 35mm, full-frame 35mm, and APS-C size imagers. This prime lens will be a complement to Canon's existing line of 14mm, 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm EF-mount Cinema prime lenses and is intended to fill a gap between its 24mm and 50mm lenses.
Also new are firmware and application software upgrades for the Canon Cinema EOS System lineup of cameras, including ACES compatibility software for the Cinema EOS C500 and Cinema EOS C500 PL Digital Cameras. Support of the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) color management standard, as defined by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and standardized by the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE), is part of Canon's drive to ensure an end-to-end workflow for 4K-acquired footage.
Available in June 2013, the software will be a free download. Other Cinema EOS firmware upgrades include a 1,440 x 1,080-pixel recording mode at 35Mbps for the Cinema EOS C300 and Cinema EOS C300 PL Digital Cameras, to be available as free downloads starting in October 2013.
Canon also opened a service and support center in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey - just outside of New York City -- to support the company's professional imaging products and the customers who use them. This will include product repair and maintenance. This facility is available only for Platinum and Gold-level members of Canon's Professional Services (CPS) program, including owners of Cinema EOS products, and broadcast lens clients.
Canon's decision to highlight an end-to-end 4K workflow - in partnership with other vendors of 4K gear - was a smart move. So many of those who doubt the efficacy of shooting in 4K do so because they don't believe a workflow exists. At NAB 2013, Canon gave real-world examples of 4K workflows available today with shipping products. The debut of the XA25 and XA20 was also auspicious given an environment with an increasing number of affordable, entry-level cameras. The company's free software upgrade to support ACES is another much-needed boost to universal adoption of another important workflow.
Follow Debra Kaufman on Twitter @MobilizedDebra