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NAB 2012: A Cinematographer’s Perspective

M. Galas

The NAB Show is THE place to learn about new technology emerging into the broadcast and content creation world.  From the latest cameras and digital storage systems to innovations in steadicam technology and VFX software NAB offers everything one needs from shoot to screening.  However, shifting the wheat from the chaff on the show floor can be more than tricky with over 2,500 exhibitors.  To help producers, educators, and cinematographers find some of the top innovations at the show, the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG) provides a guided tour of the NAB Show floor. 

Steven Poster, ICG president and director of photography on films including "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Donnie Darko," and "Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" moderated this year’s tour.  Armed with a walkie talkie to ensure the twenty-five group members could hear him above the show floor’s din, Poster focused the walk through on technologies that will have the greatest impact on shooting 4K, an emerging technology he believes will affect the way cinematographers work as well as video production at large, especially with the rate the technology has been moving towards affordability and reliability.   As the group made it’s way through the various booths and halls on the tour, Poster shared his personal experiences working with the companies the group visited as well as providing an explanation as to why their new developments where essential to the future of production.  Included on the tour were: 

BondPro:  Now renting out the Sony F65 4K camera and all the accessories one would require for shooting (lenses, viewfinders), saving data, monitors to watch playbacks, and batteries to maintain power.  The BondPro team has extremely knowledgeable staff that can help customize your package to ensure you maximize not only the potential of the camera, but that you also capture the best quality images possible.

Tiffen: For the past 35 years research and development has been perfecting steadicam rigs with the goal of obtaining a shot as smooth as the image the normal human eye captures – smooth, fluid movement.  Tiffen has created a new vest that swivels at the hips and shoulders, mimicking the natural movement of the human body.  They’ve removed the straps from the chest area for comfort and ease of breathing, and incorporated a symmetrical structure on the front and back that allows for a 3-arm structure to be hung from the back, greatly extending lifting range. 

Lite Panels:  The makers of light weight, long lasting LED lighting units and panels demoed products such as the ENG, a focusable frennel unit that can be used both on camera and off.  The single chip focus unit provides a lighting range that adjusts from full flood to spot and from bright to dim.  They also highlighted the Chroma, a unit that can switch from tungsten to daylight, allowing for better color captures as well as depth perception, especially useful for digital shooting.

Roscoe Laboratories:  Makers of Litepads and gels, the company unveiled their Litetpad Loop, an LED ring light that provides soft, even lighting that is comfortable on a subject’s eyes.  The Litepad attaches to a camera mount using high powered magnets, and runs on a variety of power sources including double AA batteries.

Matthews Equipment:  Matthews has any type of precision jib and camera mount set up one could want, including their new DC Slider.  The DC Slider has a weight slant that compensates for the weight of the camera package (up to seventy pounds) and the pressure of the user’s hand, allowing for a smooth, gliding movement for straight lines and various angles.  It can become a mini jib or a vertical tower, and with the addition of feet it can be used as a table top. 

Other stops along the tour included Canon, Autodesk, Abel Cine, a digital intermediary software designer, Tiffen Image Matters color correction software and a camera accessory specialist.

Video shot during the tour will be available for viewing in the 411 Production Tech Tips archive.  You may find the 411 Production Tech Tips videos by clicking:

To learn more about the ICG and the many educational opportunities available to its members, please visit: