Sunday, April 22, 2007

I just flew in from Vegas...

and boy am I sick. every time I get on a frickin’ airplane...

The annual
NAB Show wrapped up on Thursday, and Commercial Recording sent me down to sheckidout. Thousands of exhibitors were at the Las Vegas Convention Center showing off their wares. It’s a great opportunity for gearheads like myself to get our grubby mits on all kinds of brand new cameras, software, gadgetry and such. It's brings in about as many people as Comic Con.

The new Final Cut Studio Pro 2 is extremely impressive. It’s the biggest upgrade in the company’s history. Panasonic had some great stuff as always, and it looks like CRS will be adding a high def AJ-HPC-2000 camera package to our arsenal. I also got to meet editing legend Walter Murch who gave a very inspiring talk.

The biggest buzz came from the
RED Digital Cinema booth. Those who attended the Digital Production seminar at the Cleveland Int. Film Fest will recall that I was suggesting that RED will change the industry as we know it. After sticking my neck out on that one I feel completely vindicated after having experienced their booth.

Until NAB 2007 the Red One Camera was a concept and promise. The concept was based on the premise that - if we have digital still cameras that can create 11 megapixel images that are superior to 35mm, why can’t we take that same technology and apply it to sequencial video frames? It's important to note that they didn’t set out to make something as good as 35mm - they set out to make something better.

This year they were promising to show actual footage. And not just any footage – this was ‘12 minute short film shot by Mr. Peter Jackson starring Kevin Dillon’ footage.

The line to see the film really felt like the wait at an amusement park for the hot new ride. People from all over the globe waited hours to see what this small company from the U.S. of A (that’s right, America) developed. (Cap would be so proud.)

When I finally saw it I can tell you honestly that I was FLOORED. It has well over 4 times the pixels/definition of most current hi-def cameras. I couldn’t believe I was watching digital video, AND it gets even better because this footage was shot with a prototype camera that had NO internal settings and only one shutter speed. Much of the film was shot in the daylight and bright sun which is always the worst condition for digital video, but somehow these bastards actually pulled it off. Don’t take my word for it. Check out still frames and footage on their site.

This is a really hip company, and they really care about keeping this stuff affordable. The price point on the camera is around 18k - I don't know how they can do that. They're also in the process of developing the world's first mini-professional video camera ("not prosumer, mind you") as well as a 4k digital projector. I spoke briefly with company spokesman Ted Schilowitz at a Final Cut Users Group, and basically thanked him for what they are doing for us indie guys.

To date this is probably the most powerful tool digital filmmakers have ever seen. The camera comes out later this year and the worlds of 35mm and digital are about to level out considerably.

God bless you Red people.


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