I’ve attended most NAB’s since the late ’80’s and I enjoyed this NAB more than any other. This year there were more real-world solutions than in the past. Real-world meaning production for the masses, not just those who have investors, or stockholders, or trust fund accounts. Here are the items I’ve bookmarked to watch.

A while ago I developed a distaste for cameras that require an external recorder to make the best pictures.  I don’t want wires, gear, or heavy metal slowing down the shooting process unless the device is absolutely necessary. The external recorder trend seems to be increasing. Sound Devices, Atomos, and Convergent Design all announced new features or products (yes, AJA as well). I don’t want that stuff on my camera! However, there are times when the ability to record some feed, computer monitor, scientific instrument, etc would be useful in a production. I’ve thought about adding a recorder but now I’ve found a different solution. Why not use the MacBook Pro with a Thunderbolt device! The same TB device can also be used for monitoring or to feed a signal to elsewhere. One device, many uses. Sold.

I am always on the lookout for ways footage I’ve lit or shot can be used in post. Technicolor announced two products CineLooks and CineLights at the GoPro and Canon booths. The literature says to get more information on the Technicolor website. The web weenies must be behind because there is no news there yet. It might not matter anyway because Adobe announced CS6. CS6 expands the reasons producers and editors are moving to it. CS6 adds SpeedGrade for color correction and Prelude for media management. Great stuff.

Along the same topic of Thunderbolt and MacBooks, Scopebox 3 is a must. It is not a Leader but at $99 bucks it’s a no brainer. Heck, add a Thunderbolt device plus a new MacBook Pro and you’re still less than half a Leader.

Zeiss has announced more CP.2 lenses including the first three CP.2 Super Speeds – 35mm, 50m, 85mm all at T1.5. Hopefully by October ’12. Competitively priced below Canon’s forthcoming Cinema Prime lenses. With my current lackluster response to the C500 and 1DC, the interchangeability of the Zeiss mounts affords camera changes down the road without the repurchase of lenses. I’ll be watching these.

Another camera related company I’ll be watching is Swedish Chameleon. In their booth was a prototype of an over the shoulder rig that incorporates a gimbal head stabilized by gyros. It is a work in progress. No official information yet. It could be a great new idea.

LED lights were everywhere. I mean everywhere. I fell in love with one LED type and and LED alternative.

First up are LED ellipsoidals. I first found the Coemar LEDko. Great idea! Then, I found the ETC booth where they have a new LED Source Four line. I’ll be checking both out as they near market.  ETC’s literature puts them on top, but none are shipping yet. With LED ellipsoidals, gone are the need for dimmers, gone are the higher power needs, and depending on model, got are color changers. It’s a great new future!

For several years my go-to method of lighting faces has been K5600 Joker HMI’s with Chimera Lightbanks in front. I own four Joker HMI’s and seven Chimeras. This March I was asked to shoot a series of interviews around the country. The expense of flying my normal HMI kit would have priced me out of the gig. So, I added a kit of LED’s to facilitate the fly to travel gig. Zacuto showed a concept of a 1’x1′ Zacuto Plazma Light panel that appears to be softer and more powerful than LED 1’x1′ panels. The concept Zacuto might be a bit heavy for fly to work. If they are able to deliver this concept I will certainly revisit my current HMI/Chimera inventory. Bright soft motivated light that weighs less, has a smaller footprint, operates cooler, and uses less power gets my attention.

If I was still doing live multi-camera productions I would have pre-ordered the Blackmagic Design Digital Cinema Cameras. In its current development, the sensor size, form factor,  and interconnections are a drawback for what I currently shoot. Still, I bet they sell boatloads of these to churches, corporate facilities, internet broadcasters, etc. Really a lot of powerful uses for a game changing price. I will be watching this!

My favorite product at NAB 2012…  still takes a battery!

That’s all for NAB 2012.