NAB 2018: Our Favorites in the Rearview

NAB 2018: Our Favorites in the Rearview

Another year, another round of jaw-dropping innovations. Once again, the National Association of Broadcasters filled the Las Vegas Convention Center and did not disappoint.

For photo/video geeks, NAB is always like being a little kid in 2 million-square foot candy store. We were dazzled by everything from drones to smartphone gimbals to camera robots. For us, some of the most captivating new products included:

  • HP’s DreamColor Z27xG2 Studio Display…a 27-inch, self-calibrating monitor with 10-bit QHD resolution, remote management, and integrated KVM-type switching based on keyboard commands when multiple monitors are present.
  • Sony’s FS5 II…a modular DCI 4K camera with Sony’s Instant HDR Workflow, VENICE color, and the ability to shoot up to four seconds of 120 fps footage at 4K or up to 60 fps of continuous shooting in 4K RAW.
  • Adobe’s Sensei…an artificial intelligence platform that, among many other things, promises to streamline and automate a host of Creative Cloud tasks from font recognition to smart reverse image searching.
  • Japan’s NHK…showed a camera that shoots 8K slo-mo at 240 fps, complete with an 8K VR display and a new compression technology to drop that 40 Gbps 8K broadcast stream down to a mere 8 Gbps.
  • Atomos’s Sumo19…a 19-inch HDR monitor/recorder that not only represents 10+ stops in real-time, it can record four simultaneous 1080p channels as well as Apple’s breakthrough ProRes RAW at up to 5.7Kp30, 4Kp120 DCI/UHD, and 2Kp240 DCI/HD.
  • BlackMagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera 4K…a ridiculously compact Four Thirds 4K video camera with XLR mic input, dual ISO sensor, 13 stops of dynamic range, and 12-bit RAW recording.

No secret – we see what we want to see. But it’s hard for us to absorb NAB 2018 and walk away without seeing a pervasive, almost desperate drive to burst the stretch pants of storage.

High-frame rate 4K and 8K. ProRes RAW. Display and recording tools able to accommodate that expansion of imagery. The market lunges forward in its passion for ever higher amounts of data, but that creates two immediate problems. First, the tools that assist with that expansion must either keep pace or be abandoned. Second, the issue is not solely about the volume of data; it’s also about the need to capture and access that data faster than ever before – faster sometimes than what hard disks can possibly provide.

As we noted in an earlier post, this was a different sort of NAB for G-Technology. Our announcements typically focus on capacity, and there’s no question that more capacity is necessary. ProRes RAW HQ records at up to 1.12 Gb/s. BlackMagic 4K records at 1.4 Gb/s. Canon RAW 4K (12-bit) ratchets up to 2.3 Gb/s – or 1.04 TB/hour. It doesn’t take many hours of footage to fill even a substantial RAID solution.

Of course, thanks to interfaces such as Thunderbolt 3, scores of terabytes can be moved and managed in a fraction of the time needed for earlier interfaces, but that only addresses part of the problem. When working in the field, editors often don’t have the luxury of bulky, high-capacity RAIDs or networked servers. They have a laptop and whatever data management solution can ride along with them – often just in their pocket. Capacity likely won’t matter as much when hammering out dailies and quick edits, but speed will make the difference between working all night and getting six hours of sleep before the next shoot. That’s why G-Technology’s clutch of new SSD solutions for NAB – all focused on data management solutions as extremely compact as they are high-speed – fit squarely in the center of this year’s NAB Venn diagram. They address the trends of resolution, RAW workflows, and the need for dazzlingly professional production as close to real-time as possible, all while adding nearly nothing to a very small crew’s gear footprint.

Capacity will always be important, but NAB 2018 shows that speed in data management will be essential ingredient in capture, ingestion, and editing that helps capacity to pay off deeper into the creative workflow.

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NAB 2018: Our Favorites in the Rearview