Band Pro One World 2010 Trade Show
Band Pro One World 2010 Trade Show
Band Pro Film & Digital is one of the biggest video resellers in the Los Angeles area (with offices in New York and elsewhere as well). Fifteen years ago, the company started an annual Open House tradition for customers, vendors and friends. There's nothing unique about a reseller holding an open house, except that Band Pro's open house has grown, year after year, into a miniature trade show.
Band Pro One World 2010 Open House
Band Pro's Open House has grown into a miniature trade show.
This year's show, called the Band Pro One World 2010 Open House, took place on December 16, and featured 30 vendors including the Sony, Canon, Fujinon, Litepanels, Anton Bauer, Dolby, etc. I've been to plenty of tradeshows recently, from Cinegear to HD Expo to NAB, and have to say, the quality of information and conversations with vendors felt as informed and productive as anywhere else.
These days, many video-oriented trade shows are struggling with declining attendance, reduced scopes and the nagging fear of irrelevance when customers can get so much information online. So how has the Band Pro One World managed to attract big-name vendors and over 500 attendees? I'd chalk it up to the show's smaller, intimate size. It felt like a friendly mixer, not a sprawling trade show. It was easy to talk to vendors without a long wait, you didn't have to yell to hear each other, and it was also easy to run into other people you knew. Of course, Band Pro's tradition of offering free admittance, and to offer free catered food and an open bar didn't hurt either.
Of course, given its smaller size, One World isn't where you'll find tons of new product introductions. But there were some noteworthy highlights, so read on…
Sony F3 camera (technically, the PMW-F3)
Sony F3 and NXCAM Super 35MM Cameras
The biggest product at the show was a working Sony F3 camera (technically, the PMW-F3). This is a very interesting mid-range camera, which Sony introduced in November, but hasn't been shown to the general public in the U.S. until BandPro's show.
Sony will start selling the F3 for $16,000 in February 2011, merging an EX1 with a much more expensive Cinealta camera like an F23 or F35. They've given the camera a Super 35 CMOS sensor, and the ability to put top-notch lenses on it -- it takes a new line of Sony lenses natively, but also includes a PL adapter. The PL adapter also contacts for Cooke /i Technology and ARRI LDS lens data.
Like an EX1, the F3 camera features two slots for Sony SxS cards, and can record to those using the same XDCAM codecs as the EX1 -- ie, 25Mbps or 35MBps, 8 bit color, with 4:2:0 color sampling, and long-gop compression. But the F3 can also output uncompressed 4:4:4, 10-bit video via dual-link HD-SDI outputs. So you can use one of the growing number of field recorders around to record at much higher quality than SxS cards can handle.
The camera also supports Sony's S-Log and Hyper Gamma settings, which let the camera maximize the dynamic range it records, giving you more to work with in post-production.
When you combine the Super 35 sensor with interchangeable lenses, flexible gamma settings and high-end HD-SDI output, you've got a camera that that can produce some pretty spectacular video (I had a chance to see some F3 footage played on a 4K projector, and it did look exquisite, with a very filmic look similar to what you see from Sony cameras shooting major TV shows). And yet the camera comes in a 5+ pound package, with a 24w power draw that can squeeze about 3 hours of run-time out of a Sony EX-1 style battery. Not bad!
By the way, Sony will also be selling a new high-end field recorder, the SR Memory Portable Recorder, that records up to 880mbps video to solid-state memory cartridges. It's should be shipping in early 2011 and be priced under $20,000.
Sony also showed a non-functioning concept body for its recently announcement NXCAM Super 35mm camera. This is Sony's answer to DSLRs shooting video, which records in the AVCHD codec, and takes Sony's new E-mount lenses, as well as others with an adapter. The camera should be available mid 2011, but price is unknown now.
Anton Bauer Tandem 150 / DIONIC HCX BATTERY
Anton Bauer was showing off its recently-shipping Tandem 150 battery charger / camera power supply ($949). True, it's not exactly the sexiest pieces of gear, but it does something unique in the sprawling Anton Bauer universe, which is power a camera while charging a single battery (as long as the camera doesn't suck up more than 75 watts...if it does, the Tandem 150 simply acts as a 150 watt power supply). But 75 watts is quite a bit of a load. It's enough to accommodate an ENG camera, field monitor, and an LED light.
That's definitely helpful for lean productions working out in the field, especially given the 150's small size (it's about the size of a Dionic 90 battery, along with a small power supply). Also, the Tandem 150 exclusively pairs with Anton Bauer's new solar panel and car charger accessories, so you've got additional power options in case wall power isn't available. Anton Bauer also had its Dionic HCX battery on hand… it's just barely bigger than the Dionic 90 and HC, but packs 120 watts, instead of 90.
The Sola ENG. This 10 ounce light outputs the equivalent of 250 tungsten watts, but draws only 30 watts. It is also focusable from 10-70 degrees, dims from 0-100% and can draw power from a range of different camera batteries or AC.
Litepanels demoed its just-shipping Sola ENG fresnel on-camera LED light ($675). A lot of people use older Litepanel models (the Mini, the Micro) on board their cameras, but those lights get lost in daylight or in big, open spaces.
You can't say that about the Sola ENG, though. This 10 ounce light outputs the equivalent of 250 tungsten watts, but draws only 30 watts. It's also focusable from 10-70 degrees, dims from 0-100% and can draw power from a range of different camera batteries or AC. I've waited a while for an on-camera light with big punch and small power drain, and the Sola ENG may be it.
The new Sola 6 light, which is a daylight LED fixture that draws just 75 watts of power but produces the equivalent of 650 tungsten watts.
Litepanels also showed its new Sola 6 light, which is a daylight LED fixture that draws just 75 watts of power but produces the equivalent of 650 tungsten watts. Like the Sola ENG, the Sola 6 uses a fresnel lens with 10-70 degree focusing, and dims from 0-100% with no color shift, and lets you control those settings with its small, built-in touch-screen (or DMX control). If you're sick of working with hot Arri 650s, and gelling them blue for daylight, then this 6 pounder may be for you-- except for the $2895 price. But for studio lighting applications where power consumption gets pricey, the Sola 6 could still be a bargain. It's shipping in January 2011.
And for those following Sola news since their introduction at NAB 2010, you may be wondering about the status of the Sola 12, with 2000 watt light output. From talking with Litepanel representatives at the Band Pro show, it sounds like that light is on hold. It may still ship sometime in 2011, or may not. Time will tell…
Dolby Professional Reference Monitor 4200. Click on image above for larger view.
Dolby Reference Monitor
Dolby was one of the more surprising vendors at Band Pro -- surprising in that Dolby is moving into the world of professional color grading monitors, hoping to do for video what they've already done for audio.
To that end, Dolby showed off the brand-new Dolby Professional Reference Monitor 4200, which is shipping now at $54,950. According to Dolby, that buys you a 42 inch, 1080 flat-panel display that surpasses any previous CRT technology, with true black levels, and industry-leading dynamic range and color accuracy. It can also emulate just about any other display on the market -- from iPads to consumer TVs -- letting you test output without having to keep a number of devices around. I couldn't judge the monitor in trade show conditions, but given Dolby's track record over the decades, I wouldn't be surprised if Dolby has a compelling, disruptive monitor on its hands.
Years ago, 1 Beyond started shipping mobile, in-the-field computers designed for reviewing, backing up and editing file-based footage from P2 cards. Since then, 1 Beyond has expanded its lineup to include backup stations for other formats. At One World, the company showed off the Wrangler Mini3D, which is a unique departure from those backup stations of old. The Wrangler Mini3D is both a field monitor and solid-state video recorder in one 15 pound, battery-operated case. It supports stereo viewing for 3D work, and records/encodes video to small, removable cartridges, in uncompressed and compressed formats such as DPX, MOV, CineForm 3D, SI-2K, etc. Its 10.4", 1024x768 screen also has a waveform monitor, vectorscope, histogram, and other tools to be useful for monitoring. Price is $16,995.
Norbert Filmmaker Kit
K-Tek is known for its boom poles, but it's expanding its camera support work with the new Norbert Filmmaker Kit. The Norbert is basically a black aluminum frame to which you can attach a DSLR or compact video camera, along accessories, such as a monitor, microphone, audio receiver, light, etc. There are a couple of dozen cold shoe mounts around the frame, along with dozens of ¾" and 3/8" threaded holes, so you'll find a place for just about everything.
The Norbert has been shipping since early this year, but the new Filmmaker Kit features a Manfrotto quick-release plate for your camera, a new height-adjustable frame for taller cameras, two locking handgrips, and a rod adapter and two carbon-fiber 8" rods. Now the Norbert can accommodate third-party shoulder-mounts, matte boxes, and follow-focuses.
You can still buy the frame-only Norbert for $199, but the Filmmaker Kit is $530.
Innovision makes a specialized lens and lens attachment system called The Probe that allows you to attach specialty macro lenses to long and angled barrels.
Innovision Lens Accessories
I had never run into Innovision Optics products before, but was impressed with their unique, out-of-the-box line of lens accessories. First was the Spintec Rain Deflector, which is a clear filter that attaches to your camera's lens, and spins so fast that it flings off rain, snow or splashing water before anyone notices it. The system is 12 ounces, fits most lenses, and draws about 10 watts. Apparently, Discovery's Deadliest Catch uses the Spintec quite a bit. Price tops out at $1,995.
Innovision also makes a specialized lens and lens attachment system called The Probe (there's a Probe I and Probe II). Basically, the Probe family lets you attach specialty macro lenses to long and angled barrels. It's like putting your lens at the end of a periscope, which lets you get it into tight, unusual spots -- flat on the ground, in a termite nest, etc. The Probe system can get expensive -- up to $32,000 -- but it can also be rented.
About Helmut Kobler
Helmut Kobler is a Los Angeles-based documentary cameraman. He's also written three editions of Final Cut Pro for Dummies. For more information, go to www.varicaminla.com