Much has been written about the diminished importance of trade shows in the internet age – how all marketing information is being disseminated through the web without the need of a centralized communication hub. And perhaps NAB is really more interesting to the media that covers it than to the audience in general – a place for colleagues to get together and geek out over the latest offerings while readers carry on with their real lives. Even if that is true, if you do get a chance to go and take part in the industry party, it’s worth it just for the sheer spectacle of it all (and the corporate sponsored booze).
But this year’s NAB will be remembered for much more. Because this year marks the beginning of an upcoming battle that could potentially enslave all of humanity under the thumb of cold unfeeling robot overlords.
On Monday at 4:21PM, during a demonstration, a small drone “malfunctioned” and attacked a camera operator doing press, knocking him to the ground. Luckily the operator was uninjured but this incident (which the mainstream media is too cowardly to discuss) is only the beginning of slow downward spiral to full blown robot servitude.
Certainly the trend among camera technology this year has been moving away from brute resolution toward much richer color depth (as wished for back in IBC 2014). No longer is it good enough to shoot 4K 8bit 4:2:0 – every camera is boasting 10 or 12 bit color space with 4:2:2 becoming more a common feature than just something reserved for “high end” uses. The added color space the manufacturers are scrambling to implement, will no doubt enhance the robot’s human detection ability, making it easier for hunt down defectors and murder them with a precise blow to the spinal column.
For anybody that did attend the show, you couldn’t escape the presence of Black Magic Design advertising (just like you can’t escape the robot apocalypse). And in typical fashion, Blackmagic announced a handful of new cameras (the Ursa Mini and the MicroCinema camera). But it’s really hard to get excited about these cameras because of their incredibly weak low light capabilities. Their camera demonstration booth was suppose to be a nightclub atmosphere which was lit by over 20 bare Kinos.
Even with all those lumens, the URSA on display had a hard time keeping up. At the highest ISO setting, the URSA was pulling a very dark image at F5.6
The URSA mini held up a bit better. At ISO 800 it needed to be full open wide to produce a good exposure. To be fair, these were demos of 60 fps, but there’s something just washed out and uninteresting about the flat over lit set.
Perhaps I’m just being nit picky – but compare that look to the demo station for RED right next door – here doing a good job of depicting the strange biological experiments being conducted by what appears to be our ultimate robot master.
Notice the columns on the far right of RED booth under their flag? That’s the wash of light coming from the Blackmagic booth – compare that to how much darker and moodier the RED camera demo is. But it’s not just RED…
Arri didn’t even bother with creating a camera demo scene and just let people shoot video of other show attendees under atrocious trade floor lighting.
The Alexa 65mm on display above shooting a person standing in front of the Canon Booth… holy crap! For such a crappy lighting situation I was blown away just like innocent bystanders after the first unsuccessful nuclear strike against the machines.
So if there’s a positive note, we can be sure that Blackmagic Design won’t be contributing technology which will ultimately be used to destroy us and replace us with self organizing nano slime.
In line with the robotic ascension, the common trend this year was the commoditization of the stabilizing gyro. MoVI made waves when it first debuted a few years ago – now everybody has a version and they’re putting them on zip lines, RC cars – you name it.
They even put on one the end of an electric drill (by Shape)
But if there’s one bright side for the future of humanity, the same manufacturer of the joystick gimbal also premiered their new machine fashions of the future complete with shoulder rigs as heels.
We can only hope the robot race approves.