In the previous article, I discussed some large trends evident at the 2012 NAB Show. But, is that why a Media Producer such as myself really wants to attend the show? Nope. I want to get my hands on all the new gear.
Here’s a few things that stood out related to tools for media production:
1. Mobile video tools
- I saw individuals and small crews shooting and posting videos right from the show floor using tablets and phones. One of the best looking setups was The Padcaster.
- I watched as one crew edited and posted their piece using Avid Studio for iPad, which offers some more professional features than the also excellent iMovie for iOS.
- I also saw a few people using the Steadicam Smoothee. Yes, that’s right, a Steadicam for a phone. But I tried it and it works great.
- GoPro had one of the most active booths of the whole show (tossing free cameras to a crowd doesn’t hurt). The new Protune Firmware for the HD HERO2 will allow for higher quality production. In fact, with the upcoming Wi-Fi accessories and app, you could do a very affordable and dynamic multi-camera shoot. I can see lots of potential for this in the learning world.
- If wearing a GoPro on your head is too dorky for you, check out these Pivothead Sunglasses that record in 1080p. If you need to do any POV learning, this could be an exciting option.
2. iPad audio add-ons. Good sound is crucial to production. Since the iPad is silent, portable, and powerful, it makes a great recording device.
- MicW had the most options for display on the show floor. Check out their iSeries of microphones for some great options.
- The iPhone Boom Mic looks great and is only $40 (works on iPad too).
- There was still no sign of Blue Microphone’s highly anticpated Mikey Digital device. For a more stationary approach, I’d recommend the Blue Microphone USB line using Apple’s connection kit.
- Nothing helps the sound like a good quality sound booth, like the ones on display from VocalBooth. Check out the video from this post to hear the difference it can make.
3. DSLR Dominance. It was hard to walk around the floor without bumping into someone shooting with a DSLR camera. There’s a reason they’ve become so popular, especially for lower budgets that still demand high quality video.
- One piece of evidence for this was Nikon’s first ever booth at NAB to support their D800.
- Canon had the largest booth of the entire show as they featured their new cameras from all ranges. I think that any learning company could find dozens of uses for the new 5D Mark III for both video and photos. If that’s out of budget, the 5D Mark II is still a great choice.
- The floor of NAB was filled with tons of different rigs, add-ons, and tools for DSLR production. The Zacuto Z Finder EVF is a fantastical product. The ultraCage from Redrock was a popular item.
- There was one surprise announcement that could pose the first challenge in the DSLR price point. The Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera is going to be very interesting to watch. At $3,000, including $1,000 worth of software, this is going to be a popular device if Blackmagic can deliver on its promises.
4. LED Lighting. I was surprised by how many different manufactures were offering LED lighting.
- If you’re in the market for some LED lights, it’s more important than ever to research carefully. Not all LEDs are created equal. Poor quality lights will make skin turn green and plastic.
- I recommend sticking with proven companies such as Litepanels, Lowel, and Flolight. If those are out of budget, a good tungsten kit or florescent setup is a better bet then cheap LEDs.
- If you need lighting in a tough and/or remote environment, check out the innovative Remote Area Lighting Systems from Pelican.
5. New Products from Wacom
- Wacom was showing off their Cintiq 24HD, a 24-inch screen and tablet combo. It’s a totally different way to use a computer. The size of the screen lets you dive completely into your work. Even on the busy show floor I was totally engrossed in what was in front of me.
- The Inking is a fascinating little device that was also on display. This lets you draw or write on any paper and automatically convert it into a digital file. I’d recommend checking out the reviews on Amazon as there is some concern with its accuracy.
6. 4K and 3D. There was a lot of floor space devoted to 4K Video and 3D. Let’s face it, unless you’re developing learning for James Cameron, this isn’t likely to impact you. Let’s just hope it continues to drive down the cost of regular HD equipment.
New technologies and equipment can help create high-quality learning content, but it’s only a small piece of the puzzle. You still need a solid strategy, reliable platform, and professional team in place to maximize the impact that media can have.