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TECHNOLOGY NAB 2014 Round-up: A club with 2 ‘k’s, 4k show-stoppers, 6x speed – but it’s A7 heaven for me by Duncan Payne, WTS Sales Manager S itting at 30,000 feet returning home from Las Vegas, surrounded by many friendly, if a little weary, faces it seems that NAB has taken its toll on the great and the good of the UK broadcast industry yet again. This time around, it was a party venue with 2 ‘k’s, and cameras with 4k that were high on the agenda, the new Hakkasan club proving a hit for the customary post-show revelries, while new 4k cameras cropped up in various configurations from some unlikely manufacturers. Hats off to AJA for the surprise announcement of the show. Gasps were audible and whoops inevitable in the early morning dealer meeting as they debuted their new Cion PL mount 4k camera. A packed stand for the entirety of the show confirmed that they had got something very definitely right. The build quality of the Cion seemed solid, the form factor familiar – and it had the connectivity that you’d hope for in a 4k creative camera. With a release date given in the vaguest terms as “summer” it seems that AJA may have learnt lessons from other non-traditional manufacturers who have overpromised on delivery timescales. AJA does have an enviable reputation for making kit that reliably does what it claims it can do, so the roll-out of the camera will be worth keeping an 42 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 89 MAY 2014 eye on. They were already showing some clever applications with their Corvid Ultra processing unit. By lining two 4k cameras up side by side the Corvid Ultra would allow an HD image to be taken from anywhere in the area covered by both cameras, including crossing over between cameras. This functionality is particularly popular in sports coverage for player tracking and off-the-ball incidents, and a relatively low cost point makes this Cion immediately viable. Panasonic, meanwhile, are aiming their new 4k VariCam squarely at the Arri Alexa market, and their new ideas around camera form factor are strikingly clever. They have effectively launched two front ends – a 4k PL- mount version and a 3 x 2/3” CMOS HD sensors version – both of which dock on to the same recording back end. This is a neat solution for camera hire companies, freelancers and production companies who find themselves being asked to produce high-end content for traditional TV one day, and ‘shallow depth of field’ content the next. And recording to AVC Ultra mini P2 cards seems like a well thought-out workflow. With Arri still resisting the move to 4k, there will be an intriguing subplot to how the VariCam fares. The reluctance of film-makers to opt for digital cinema technology rather than film has largely been overcome, in no small part by the Alexa itself, so it will be exciting to see how the Panasonic and the AJA will be adopted. Add into that mix the new Blackmagic 4k offering, the URSA, with its focus on upgradability and buildinwg everything into the camera, even down to a 10” monitor – though reading other blogs subsequently, there does seem to be some concern over the physical size of the unit. JVC previewed four 4k cameras in total – though all are a long way off being finished products – and For-A were showing off their 4k high- speed camera, the FT-One, which also looked impressive. Elsewhere, the newly purple Grass Valley gave a technology demonstration of a 4k systems camera, which promises to be an interesting alternative to Sony’s F55/CA-4000 hybrid solution. They also paraded a new LDX ExtremeSpeed camera channel which can produce 6x speed HD pictures. However this only gives 1080i and this speed – or you can get 3x speed operation at 1080P. As you’d expect, this integrates well with their K2 Dyno slo-mo replay system. Sony seemed a little light on new releases for the broadcast end of the market, though one announcement of note gives an upgrade path for their much-loved F5 camcorder. By returning it to Sony for a new front-end block and global shutter change, you can morph it into an F55. However, with no commencement date and no clues on price, there was something of a sense of anti-climax.