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  1. #1 Phil's NAB Journal 2014 
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Hellos again Redusers. I am now back in LA after NAB 2014 in Vegas. Just like last year:
    http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthr...B-Journal-2013

    I thought I'd share some images, thoughts, and impressions from this year's show which should be useful for those who didn't attend. There was a lot to see and a few folks are writing up on various things already, so I'll focus on a few things Red related and a couple things that caught my eye.

    Can't stress enough how good it was to meet (and reunite with) some Redusers and folks at Red I've never met before at this year's show. Even ran into a few folks I've worked with on various productions in the last couple years. Good feels and good times.


    The Red Booth


    This year's booth was much more open and inviting with lots of people moving throughout the different sections. Red's focus this year is "One Camera". Which to me means One Camera for cinema, broadcast, and still use. That's exactly what was on display at the booth. And that's pretty much what

    The focus was clearly on Dragon. Over the last year Dragon has landed and I think if anything you could say that this is the year that Dragon spread it's wings a bit.

    In that regard likely the most important announcement for many Dragon shooters is:


    DRAGONcolor and REDgamma4


    This is the new Dragon color science we've been waiting for and Graeme's been cranking on it for a long, long time. Now it is here.

    John Marchant and myself had the distinct privilege to test out DRAGONcolor prior to it's release. As much as Dragon's other technical specifications are important to me, color itself is one of the biggest improvements over Mysterium-X.

    Check out John's comparision between DRAGONcolor/REDgamma4 and REDcolor3/REDgamma3:
    http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthr...=1#post1348170

    I have posted some real world and chart tests here as well showcasing a bit of what DRAGONcolor tackles:
    http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthr...=1#post1348197

    Right now from what I can safely say DRAGONcolor effects:

    - skin tones
    - tonal density across various gamma responses
    - top end super saturation
    - chromatic separation in near neutrals, which is also visible in the skin tones.

    REDgamma4 is appropriately tuned now and you get richer shadows and better pop to your highlights with a nice roll-off.

    The color is freakishly good. I can safely say now that with Dragon we had the best camera in every category on the show floor. There was nothing there that could touch this beast. Even two other manufacturers were extremely impressed by Dragon's new color science, spoken right at the Red booth! Very cool.

    Red was actually showing off just how good color and skin looks with Dragon right at the booth. They had a full blown fashion/runway show 3 times a day during NAB. On the last day I was there I decided to whip out my Dragon and shoot a bit alongside the Red guys. Here are some grabs from 6K FF Dragon using a DRAGONcolor/REDlogFilm with a standard S-Curve applied:



    One of my favorite photographs during the show actually happened during the very first fashion show on the first day:



    That's Jim, Jarred, and Justin shooting on the Monochrome Dragon. Jim was on hand and introduced us to the 2K, 4K, and 70mm IMAX Theater. It was very nice to speak with him for a moment. Epic Dragon is the best motion picture camera I have ever used and it was great to tell that to Jim in person because I think he knows I sincerely mean that. More and more Jarred is going to be running things at Red and it's nice to see these moments in person.


    6K Theater



    I have written more than once about Dragon's relevance to film formats. However, there was a nice surprise at NAB this year. IMAX did some testing with Dragon and scanned in a 70mm 15-perf negative and compared it against the resolving power of the 6K Dragon footage. They found that they resolve nearly the same amount of spatial resolution. Unreal.

    On point with what Jim said here in 2012:
    http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthr...19#post1112019

    And more recently what was discussed here:
    http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthr...mm-Film-cont-d

    So what Red did was they had a 2K projection at scale compared to the following 4K Dragon reel. After that the 6K 70mm 15-perf IMAX projection was shown. And it was freaking awesome.




    That's some of the 15-perf 70mm print they had outside of the theater. We are in some crazy new territory here.

    On the point of large format printing.....




    Red was actually using a large format HP printer and constantly printing Dragon 6K grabs from the fashion show. This was really cool and a lot of booth visitors were just in awe of the whole thing. You can also in the pile see an 8 FOOT print from one of my earliest Dragon frames. It was breathtaking to see this incredible print.


    A Focus on Broadcast


    That's Nate up there rocking the pedestal. What viewers were seeing was Dragon at 4K on the UHD 4K screens below at various ISOs. This is using the new 4K Broadcast Module:



    It has been stated before that Dragon wasn't a simple sensor upgrade and here's something that proves it. This 4K Broadcast Module only works with Dragon and will be extremely important as UHD broadcast takes hold in this industry. I've been doing a lot of consulting and demonstrating in this particular field over the last 6 or so months. I can't stress how important this module will be in the very near future.


    The Red Switchblade



    This little guy is something a lot of folks have been asking for. A low profile AC Side menu navigation control for DSMC cameras. I played around with it a bit and it works as expected. Super simple, nice clear screen, and maintains a small camera size. I expect this to be on a lot of rental house cameras in the coming months. Big time. It's going to be tough for an owner/operator to decide between this and a DSMC Side Handle, but for production work the Switchblade is going to really show it's strengths.


    The Red Sidewinder


    This thing is rad. Everybody has seen this by now, but being able to consolidate my tool bag down to this little wrench kit is a oddly satisfying feeling. Considering how often we all rig or build our cameras it's just a nice touch. I can't fathom a DSMC body owner who won't want one, two, or three of these. The model showed at NAB is made of a different material than what the production run will be made of, but the features of the wrenches and all the extra bolt ports will remain the same. Oddly with all of the tech shown at NAB this is one of those little things that I got the most excited about because I know I'll be using it almost everyday. Just sick.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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  2. #2  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Epic Dragon Monochrome


    Here's Justin shooting the fashion show on the new Epic Dragon Monochrome in 6K FF. He was rolling 48fps at ISO 2000 and it looked damn good. I even got behind the camera to check it out and cranked up to ISO 6400 and thought it looked good. I can't wait to get a closer look at this thing. Pretty sure ISO 4000-6400 is actually very doable. At 1:1 magnification the image resolution was....... insane.


    REDLINK Development Kit

    It was a pleasure to meet with Mikeal and see what he's done with the new REDLINK Dev Kit in the last 6 weeks. It's tremendous. He has a full interface for the camera running and you can remotely change the look in camera right from a MacBookPro. Heck, he even had a little USB follow focus setup for use with electronic lenses.

    Actually, speaking of electronic lenses.....


    Red didn't want to show things that weren't ready at the show, but consider this a preview of something coming over the horizon. This is the electronic two axis focus controller (no actual name yet). Tiny and ergonomic, real easy to use. Interfaces directly to the electronic lens mount.




    Jarred grabbed my camera and shot this while I was pulling focus on attendees at f/1.2 with the Canon 85mm L. It was shockingly doable even with the slower motors on a lens like this. In this case it was connected to the REDLINK BRIDGE, but there might be an additional compact receiver module that comes out to make this more ideal for on set rigging. Can't wait for this.


    Camera Firmware and REDCINE-X PRO Updates

    I'm insanely excited for this camera build/firmware update because a few features I've suggested (and others as well) are now in the build!

    Here's a good one that I think is very practical:



    Audio Menus are now consolidated into one menu. So now you can either access them through the Menu itself to bring up this one page with tabs or simply press the audio levels on the LCD Touch. Much easier and saves navigation time. Literally everything audio related is one or two presses away now.

    Another good one is the HDRx A-X Track Toggle. This is a pivotal update for HDRx shooters to help determine exposure and have access to the exposure tools to know for sure if they have the desired amount of HDRx stops retained dialed in. Nice practical update.

    This one isn't just me, but if you haven't checked it out yet you can now store up to 4 Black Shading presets in Dragon cameras. Likely part of the Dragon upgrade is installing a bit more memory on board to handle this. I remember speaking to a few folks at Red and saying that 4 presents would likely handle most operating ranges, so it was nice to see they hit that number.

    Hot Black Shading tip! Black Shading on Dragon is a bit faster than before AND did you know that you can set all four of your desired Black Shade shutter speeds and fire off the Black Shading? The camera will run all four in succession and finish up. I did this in my hotel room in Vegas and was really excited. This is now something that can be done quickly in camera prep at one time and you're good to go.

    Lots of other things in there too, like the new Horizon Tool.

    One other thing that I find really nice is that the camera firmware and REDCINE-X PRO now share a very similar design aesthetic. The menus in camera are a bit clearer as the red color has been integrated into the menu selection. Gray has now become a theme. Always been a big fan of color against gray.




    A couple of 4K and Odd Bits




    That's Dan going over the Red Workflow in RCX and 3rd Party applications with some of my footage. It was nice seeing folks takes on material I shot. Interestingly I did my best to get some of my Dragon 6K and finished 4K material out to several vendors this year. All different footage and all shot on Dragon. It was demonstrated in grading applications, NLEs, and FX apps as well as couple of the new 4K players available on the market. Nice to walk around NAB and that up on screens everywhere. I spied hard on folks working with it and was listening with eager eyes when people watched the images playing back. Why is this important to me? It's because I'm all about 4K and the future of UHD. This NAB was a clear example of this motivation and move to the new standards. There's a lot of distribution and standard development going on in regards to delivery as well as some new display tech on the horizon. But things are getting buttoned up and this is happening in a big way.

    It does humor me when I see various somewhat popular/visible DPs/personalities who have bashed 4K in the past now discussing it's merits and a few of them even shooting in 4K now. I witnessed a couple of those interviews go down this year. I haven't had a good laugh like that in a while. To each their own. No judgement here :)

    It was nice spending the last day shooting at the Red booth and driving back to LA. Got to discuss the cameras a bit with DPs who hadn't looked at Red in a while. Many who didn't know about things like the new Fan Algorithms. Lots of crazy misinformation out there too. One thing I noticed was a lot of trepidation when strangers were approaching the camera, treating it almost like a museum piece. Quickly I found that some of these folks have been working with a specific brand of camera for a while and literally didn't see familiar buttons on the camera and were more or less afraid of it. I showed them all the touch screen interface and how it's more or less like a modern smart phone. Quickly a few of them "got it". Pretty cool to see that happen.

    Here's another couple grabs from the Red Booth:



    That's Sean shooting with the R90 during the fashion show opting to go vertical for some of the prints being made.



    And here's a wide shot during the fashion show. Always attracted a good crowd. Rad to see a few of them realize the prints on the floor were from the previous shows. High resolution digital capture might be familiar to a lot of us here on Reduser, but for many seeing those big prints and UHD 4K screens are really big "wow" moments still. You actually here that all around the booth during the show. Lots of wow factor to be found. Also heard a bit of "wow this looks so 3D". One of the bigger advantages of the larger sensors that many still haven't shot on yet. When they see it though... the allure of larger formats is hard to ignore.
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  3. #3  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Onto a few other things.

    Honestly an odd NAB for me as most of what was on display we knew about a year ago. Wasn't really surprised by any of the camera announcements either. Andros 3D moco/focus assist is cool and I'll look forward to seeing where that technology can go. I spent a good bit of my time in on floor meetings and discussions, but here's a few things:

    Lenses

    We had new zooms from Fuji, Angenieux, and Canon this year. All of which are exciting for various markets. There is a focus on servo motors and hand controls and we'll be seeing that more as many manufacturers aren't totally comfortable putting those motors in lenses "all of the time" mostly because some shooters want the option to use them without the motors and would like to save on weight.

    On the inexpensive side the affordable Tokina PL zooms shown last year at NAB are apparently now available at B&H. Oddly they decided that they aren't making a PL 11-16 anymore, though the 16-28mm is still a PL and Canon EF mount. Weirdness.

    Cooke showed off their new anamorphics and they do look lovely. Can't wait to get some time on these soonish.


    PANAVISION


    Not at NAB was Panavision. However, that didn't stop them from making a very big announcement. These are the new Panavision 70 Series. These have been in development for some time and they are just damn gorgeous. The do utilize the new Panavision 70 Mount that is part of their newer digital cinema camera packages.

    For those curious:

    27, 35, 40, 50, 65, 80, 100, 125, 150mm T2 Primes with 200mm and 250 T2.8 Primes. I have seen the primes, but I haven't seen the zooms that also go with the system. They are:
    70-185mm T3.5 and the 200-400mm T4.5.

    Can't wait to see what these can do on Dragon. In fact we may not need to wait very long at all :)


    Zeiss

    No new Otus primes this year and much of what I learned last year remains true. There are two lengths that I know if in development for this series and I know more lengths are being "explored". Expect 2.5-3-ish years before we see these in any form of proper cinema housing. Zeiss won't do that until likely 3 lengths are available. Old news, but the good news is people like them.

    Speaking of likable things.



    Here's the 15-30mm T2.9 Compact Zoom. This thing is a tremendous accomplishment of optical engineering. I spoke with Helmut Lenhoff once again this year and congratulated him on a solid design and execution. The 15-30mm doesn't breath and matches the rest of the CZs.



    I've spoken about my fondness for these lenses before, and there's a reason why. They are designed for larger formats like Dragon 6K FF and they have the resolving power to match. What Zeiss is doing with the Compact Zooms and Otus Primes is truly inspired and difficult work.



    Richard Schleuning was able to show me the prototype servo control unit for the Compact Zooms, here shown on the 28-80 T2.9. The cool thing is this one servo unit can drive all three lenses, all you need is each lens' unique mounting bracket. Smart stuff.


    Schneider Optics



    Swung by the Schneider booth the catch up on where the Xenon FF-Primes were at. I saw the three new lengths back in March and everything I posted here back in March 2014 is still on track, though they might get the 18mm out a bit quicker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Holland View Post
    - The 100mm T2.1 is shipping relatively soon (not a macro). Likely less than two months.
    - The 25mm T2.1 is about two months out.
    - The 135mm T2.1 will be shipping approximately Fall 2014.
    - The 18mm T2.4 will be shipping early-ish 2015.




    I did speak to the Xenon FF-Prime Project Manager for a while to learn about some of the challenges they have faced bringing these lenses to the market. Schneider is currently making the most affordable cinema PL lenses on the market and to compound things they are full frame. They have been popular and tricky to manufacture, QC, and ship in good numbers. The 18mm T2.4 was extremely difficult to design and execute, but they accomplished it and now it's good to go to move into production. Optical resolving power on the 18mm and 25mm are pretty good and the entire set matches, which is wonderful. The 100mm is very nice. Looking forward to the 135mm prototype soon.

    Our very own Ketch has been travelling and shooting with the Xenon FF-Primes and they had a nice reel from him playing at the booth.

    I'll have more info on these and future developments in the near future. But, honestly I'm impressed that they have put together a full set of glass this quickly.


    Leica/CW Sonderoptic



    Not much new news on the Leica front. Summilux-C Primes are still my favorite cinema primes available and slowly yet surely they are manufactured and shipped set after set. They have been shipping the Summicron-C Primes in good numbers since December of last year. Slowly I've seen the comparisons between those and the Ultra Primes happening. The Summicron-Cs breath far less that the Ultra Primes and that's the one thing I hear more than anything in the comparison.

    The fun news is they are working a bit on a PL mount Leica M, which would be a joy to use as a finder and in my case general photography even. Leica is looking to add the ability to add custom or have custom frame guides and maybe formats to the system. Stay tuned on that. I think that's super freaking cool.

    On the cool front, I did pick up one other thing I'll keep forever at NAB (don't touch my Sidewinder). This Leica PL Mount Body Cap:



    On my next Summilux-C and Summicron-C jobs I'll be slinging this on my Dragon. Love things like this.


    Duclos Lenses


    As I've been visiting Duclos for various reasons and lens service over the last year I have been slowly watching the development of something Matt has been working extremely hard on. He finally made it over the big hurdle of the 85mm rear element and soon will be offering......

    PL Mounts for Canon CN-E Primes.

    One of my absolute biggest issues (as well as many others) is the fact that Canon doesn't offer these lenses in PL. Freakish internal politics at the company are likely due to blame. However, Matt and Duclos Lenses will indeed solve that problem and with that these might find a place in a rental market after all. Final pricing hasn't been announced just yet, but.... soon. And to boot it's a gorgeous conversion. Good stuff and great work on these. Seriously.
    Last edited by Phil Holland; 04-10-2014 at 06:15 PM.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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  4. #4  
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    Lighting

    More or less I was bored by many of the lighting offerings. So many companies are making similar units based on the same technology at this point or just flat out ugly lights. It's almost silly, but I understand this aspect of it. A couple of interesting things I did see were:


    NiLA


    That's the final and now shipping NiLA Zaila, 200W HMI equivalent. Comes with a mini pack of holographic lenses and filters. I like these rugged lights and I do see them more or more on large productions. They now have 4 lights in their range with 200-2500W HMI equivalents all using a draw of 40-500W. That is something you have to respect. I might kit out a 3 or 6 light kit this year. Maybe three Varsas or Zailas. Though the Boxer's power is right up my alley for high speed work. I'll figure it out :) I did recommend the SLs for a product that needed to light a huge lawn at night and they would have been able to use 3 of them on standard US socket without any issue. Real nice.


    Hive Lighting


    Hive is now offering their Bee lights. These use the same "capsule" that the rest of their series uses. Crisp, clean, and nice daylight color. The Bees are a bit different as you can tune them between 4800-6500 kelvin, most of the daylight temps. It takes about 10 seconds for the light to settle when you do this, but it does work well. These are a bit more compact than the other lights, but they do use a ballast. I can see these being very useful as overheads for say broadcast as they don't get too warm. These also employ drop in lenses and diffusion.


    ProSup


    One odd surprise, and this is what NAB is good at. I wasn't exactly in the market for another slider, however I found this ProSup Slider to be pretty baddass. The machined precision and use of bottom wheels really help with the center of gravity issue that happens when placing top heavy loads on the sled. Also, you can undersling it real easy. Realy nicely built, well thought out, and designed around a 100mm ball system.



    This is the full blown system with travel kit that holds 7 feet of track, which locks together in a seamless manner. There's a smaller kit with 4 feet of track too for more travel minded folks. I'll learn more soon on this thing, but I need to put it up against some of the well established sliders out there to know for sure. I might get rid of my other sliders if this works out.


    Devil and Demon


    I did take a look at Ted Schilowitz's new company. Devil and Demon are building high end workstations primarily focused at VFX and post houses. Think SGI, but without the SGI price tag. Pretty impressive stuff. They also have a full blown portable super computer known as "The Devil's Playground". This large trailer is essentially a big rendering powerhouse you can take anywhere it's wheels can go. I expect a few more interesting announcements from these guys in the future, but I like what they are about and what they are doing right now.


    I'm back in LA now. Finishing up some post and color work on a commercial I shot a bit ago. It was a fun NAB. So good to see so many familiar faces and I got to meet some really cool people at the same time. This was a great year to be a Red Shooter. Everybody was looking at Dragon with watchful awestruck eyes. We have the best technology available in Epic Dragon. Scarlet Dragon was on the floor and will be available soon too. Feels good after the show to have this sort of technology in my hands. I drove away like a mad man with a smile on my face. Could have been because of the fashion show though :)

    It's like 10,000 gimbals when all you need is a tripod :)
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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  5. #5  
    REDuser Sponsor Martin Stevens's Avatar
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    AWESOME PHIL!
    Regards,
    Martin Stevens

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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Zeb B's Avatar
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    When I saw the title of this thread I went to the kitchen, brewed a fresh pot of coffee and canceled my evening plans. Knew it would be an epic read. Not disappointed.

    Cheers Phil - Great chatting with you yesterday!
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  7. #7  
    GREAT images Phil. Great to see you at the show - keep kickin' it hard!

    WOW the Dragon Monochrome is just INSANE.
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Mike 'Fireman' Ross's Avatar
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    Great post! Thanks Phil, was a pleasure meeting you and so many others.

    Mike
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  9. #9  
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    Terrific report, Phil -- and those are excellent photos, too.
    www.colorbymarc.com | colorist / post-production consultant
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Samir Patel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Holland View Post

    Actually, speaking of electronic lenses.....


    Red didn't want to show things that weren't ready at the show, but consider this a preview of something coming over the horizon. This is the electronic two axis focus controller (no actual name yet). Tiny and ergonomic, real easy to use. Interfaces directly to the electronic lens mount.
    THIS. Need more info on this. And Thank Phil.
    Samir Patel
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