Thought I would share my thoughts on NAB this year and some of the things that I saw and tested. If you have questions feel free to ask, I will do my best to get back to them and whatnot. For those who dont know, I shoot action sports and own Darktide Media. A company based out of San Diego Ca.
One thing that we did this year was said a few weeks before NAB, we are going to NAB to find our 4K camera system. What will fit us and what can we use day in day out for production in the dirt and rain if needed. We are not a huge company by any means but growing. We punish our gear to no end so that is a big part of what system that we want to invest in.
To start things off I will just come out and say this, we are happy that we pre-ordered the GH4 camera, we have chosen this as our camera of choice for the fact of it works and it does some really really amazing things for what you are paying. I will explain this more in a bit.
BlackMagic Design -
I have never used or really seen a BM camera in person before this show, all I know is BM is great in everything they do except cameras. The BMCC was great the 4K was a joke from many people I have talked to. The lack of firmware is also a joke. They need to fix that and get it out. One this I have to say is that the URSA is a real camera, a pro cinema camera and this is what everyone wanted I believe. The main drawback to me is the weight and that just cant do for our company at this point. The way its layout is and the big 10 inch fold out screen may look weird but in person its amazing, pulling focus off that with focus peaking is so easy. The two touch screens are great as well. I dont understand the CFast Card over SSD but we will see soon. The other huge thing is 60p at 4K. This is amazing at this price point no doubt. I talked with some of the BM people and they had a lot to say to me. I have no doubt that this camera will be out in July. They dont want to mess up. They know what people want and firmwares are coming to fix alot of issues. The whole sensor thing is just great as well, now we know what we are buying will not be out of date. There is some talk of 120fps at 4K as well....so we shall see.
AJA Cion -
Not much to say about this camera except this is amazing. The footage is amazing, the layout is amazing. They really though this one though from every angle of shooter. Cant wait to see more footage from this camera in the hands of film makers. If you are looking for a great 4K camera in this style of layout but dont like the BM and dont have the budget for RED, take a good hard look at this system.
Once again not much to say. The new things they came out with are great for those who own REDs or are looking at adding the RED camera to your company's productions. I will continue to rent these cameras when the project calls for it for the sole fact of it hurts my wallet. The Dragon is king. It is the most amazing camera I have every seen. It has soo much power I don't understand how they did for this price and in this size and weight. They were pulling 6K frame grabs, exporting to photoshop for some basic editing and then to print in huge prints that were amazing. They looked better then most DSLR I have ever seen. Lucky I was also one of the 600 to get my hands on the RED 2014 book, that alone should cost around 50 bucks. It is amazing the detail they put into it.
Sorry not much going on at this booth for my company needs. I had Canon at one point but they are way behind if you ask me.
3 Axis Gimbals -
These were everywhere, just every way you look there was a company that had one and somehow it was the best. My thought was that FreeFly really does make the best. The M5 is just one hell of a tool, made to withstand small and large productions. Defy was right behind. I dont really understand the G2 gimbals to be honest. Its good but if you want Defy save a bit and go G5 its great as well. The one gimbal that stole me away thought was the new Silk gimbal from X Heli Pro. Its made for the GH4 and Pocket Camera. Its very light weight and cheap for what it is. The battery is amazing as well. If you want a G2 look at this first if you have a big dslr look at the G5 or M5. My thoughts though as well that the kits online will save you money if you dont mind building you own. This is one path i may end up taking to just save some money.
As a buyer of the new GH4 I had to stop by once I heard about the Shogun Recorder. This is be amazing, I was a big bummed that we didnt see a HyperDeck Shuttle from BM but this is way better. Cant wait to see more and get hands on with it. The other one to me that I will buy for sure is the Ninja Star. They were really talking about this with GoPros and all that and I for sure think that will be a major use but I will have this on my GH4 as soon as I can. Something this small that will give me 10 bit off the GH4 is amazing. If anyone knows please let me know but will the Star do HD at 60p? I would hope since the Hero 3 is doing it and the GH4 is doing it and so are the Sony Cameras.
So I know this isnt much but there is so much at this show its just crazy. These things are the ones that I really thought were good and stood out to me. With so many cameras and new toys we had to ask our selfs what camera and really the choice was easy, the GH4 will be our go to camera for sure in 2014.
Let me start by saying this is no camera like the GH4 right now. Its small, cheap, and easy to use. It also is very unique in the fact that out of the box it shines but also is very basic. To us at Darktide, this is a huge selling point. We can pull it out and shoot no problem, or we can go crazy and put PL glass, a full rig, a 10 bit recorder and more and make this camera shine. Then take that huge set up and strip it down and put an AF lens like the 12-35 on it and put the camera on a gimbal and record some great footage and then take it off there and put it on a heli. Get those shots then throw it in an underwater case and go swimming with it. Then when back home we can pull the 4K frame grabs as well for some of the photos we might need. If you have a 10 bit recorder on this and are shooting 4K then the frame grabs are that much better as well. No its not a RED or a RAW shooting camera. We dont need that on most stuff, most people dont. The GH4 is amazing that its such an open system. Also at this price point we can have a few of the cameras for new angles by the end of this year. We will have a full review of the camera our site as soon as we get it our hands as we start to shoot our new film.
Thanks for reading, there may be mistakes. I just fly back from NAB. hope this helps a bit and free to ask me on here or message about things we saw.