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NAB 2013: On the Post Production Trail - Day Four

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CreativeCOW presents NAB 2013: On the Post Production Trail - Day Four -- NAB Expo Editorial


Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
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Wow, the last day of NAB 2013. I've been in Las Vegas since Saturday and in spite of my Rebok Nordic Walkers, I got a couple of blisters.

Today the show closed at 2:00 p and the crowds were light. It was a fantastic time for Byron and me to take a one hour camera crash course that Red was offering. It was the first time for both of us to handle a Red. The Red is as easy or even easier to use than a Sony XDcam. The menus and indicators on the touch screen all make sense. Since you are shooting raw, most of the settings are for you to create a your LUT as a starting point for how your footage should look. Since it is a raw file, the most important thing to check is whether the whites are burning out. It is all so easy. I've worked with a lot of Red footage on the post side and I love how the exposure and color can be changed after the fact just as if it was in the camera, and without compromise. A nicely equipped RED will run you about $50k. To put that price into perspective, a decent Betacam camera used to cost about $70 k and you couldn't keep upgrading it to the latest model. Red Rocks!

I had a look today at some of the small things that make make editing easier. I bought some keyboard covers for a Mac keyboard at the show for various software I like to use. I used to hate these silicon keyboard covers because they were either too hard on the edge of each key or would eventually stretch near the spacebar and command keys. KB Covers seems to have overcome these issues with covers that don't just sit on top of the keyboard, but fit over the sides, much like a fitted sheet. I prefer a dedicated keyboard, but it would be impractical for to have one for every app. I think I am going to like these KB Covers.

Another cool tool was Shortcuts HD for iPad. This is in the App Store for free and you make in-app purchases for the shortcuts you want. How it works is that both your Mac and iPad need to be on the same network and you use the ipad for shortcuts that you use frequently or the ones you don't have room for on your keyboard. This is not a virtual keyboard like the Bella product I wrote about. Rather this is a companion to your keyboard with your selected shortcuts arranged in your order of preference on your iPad screen sitting beside your keyboard. When you change your app on your computer, Shortcuts HD automatically switches your iPad to the appropriate set of shortcuts. Very nice and inexpensive tool.

Over at Lacie's booth, they were showing a full line of Thunderbolt enabled drives. A year ago, they could only show you one Tbolt drive, but since then, they have built out the line and include a Thunderbolt hub that lets you use your eSata 3 drives on a Tbolt Mac. What I like about Lacie's Thunderbolt drives is that they also have a USB 3 port on board, so you can use also them on computers where Tbolt is not available.

Next door at Caldigit, they had a variation on the Thunderbolt hub without eSata, but USB 3 instead and HDMI. I see these two products as complimentary to each other rather than competing. Caldigit was also showing a new version of their eSata and USB 3 card for the Mac Pro. The updated product should be available by summer and will include a newer USB 3 standard that will speed things up more for products that are built for the updated standard.

Over at G-Technology, we looked at their new Evolution series of Thundebolt drives The G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt is a two-bay, hot-swappable JBOD media drive system with user-configurable RAID 1 or RAID 0. Unlike other two-bay solutions that only offer bare hard drive modules that cannot be taken into the field and used as true standalone external drives, the G-DOCK ev comes with two 1TB removable, portable G-DRIVE ev external hard drive modules with USB 3.0 ports on board.

Assimilate was showing a demo of their upcoming Scratch 8. There is a lot more functionality being added including the ability to do remote grading. I love Scratch. It is a beast to learn unless you are coming from big iron systems that have a similar interface, but it is worth the effort. It is a very powerful color grading tool and DI system with very light hardware requirements. It will run real time circles around DaVinci Resolve with only one GPU and an AJA Kona 3G. If you are on Windows, you can skip the Kona because a Quadro 6000 has an SDI option. That one graphics card is doing all the heavy lifting and being used for your GUI at the same time. There is no need for an expansion chassis filled with GPU cards to get real time performance. Your Mac Pro alone has room for everything, including graphics card, Red Rocket card, raid card and I/O card. Assimilate Scratch carries a higher price tag than some other grading software, but if you planned to use a lot of GPUs and an expansion chassis to get real time, the cost of Scratch becomes much more competitive. It is amazing what that one GPU will do with Scratch - work in real time and transcode files in the background. Sweet! They offer a 30 day free trial and there are loads of tutorials and demos available so you can see if it is right for you. I know a commercial colorist in Europe who can have anything he wants for grading, including the big iron systems from Quantel and Autodesk, but he always choses Scratch because he can do complex grades faster and better in Scratch.

I spent the last part of day 4 of NAB 2013 at the HP booth where I had a detailed look at the HP Z820. What a machine! I will bring you the story in another post. This is my free day in Vegas and I want to see the sights, so I will continue my writing on the plane home tomorrow and bring you more from the floor at NAB 2013.




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