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From The 2013 NAB Show Floor: Cinematographers “Must Have” Tools

GP Productions

A cinematographer may find a visit to the NAB show floor a playground full of new gadgets to experience.  However, that playground can quickly become an endless maze, filled with hundreds of vendors vying for attention.   To help keep cinematographers on track, the International Cinematographers Guild offered its second annual guided tour of the show floor.  For two hours, ICG President Steven Poster lead a group of roughly twenty people to specific destinations to view equipment he recommends for its quality, performance, and cinematic results.

What follows is a list of this year’s recommended industries as visited on the ICG Tour at the 2013 NAB Show.

Band Pro 
Band Pro is a marketing company that represents a number of light fixtures, cameras, lenses and monitors.  Amongst the new innovations presented were LED light panels.  While LED lights have been available for a number of years, Poster was particularly impressed with the durability of these panels.  The lights were available in two color temperatures: 35 and 55 Calvin, and provide a full wrap-around lighting affect of the subject.  Easily mountable either horizontally or vertically, the lights are wifi controlled and can run on batteries or ac.  also highlighted: their offering of 4K LED widescreen monitors and range of Legacy Lenses available for shooting in 4K.

Tiffen Filters
With the use of film stock dwindling, much of the quality of diffusion comes down to the amount of glass the image passes through when recorded.  The goal at Tiffen is to "try to remove the glass surfaces."  One way they have done this is to incorporate a neutral density filter and an infrared filter in one.  Tiffen has a number of filters designed to aid with diffusion, something Poster encouraged the group to explore

"Training for young cinematographers today does not focus on filters," said Poster.  "Filter rally help with diffusion, and can improve how one views footage." 

Always adding to their repertoire of great SteadiCam rigs, SteadiCam was highlighting a design for the GoPro camera line – a durable piece that would allow for steady shots during extreme action sequences.  They also were demonstrating a device that had a crane attached to the SteadiCam mount, allowing for extended, reaching shots.

Another marketing company offering a wide assortment of camera needs, Poster wanted to highlight their high hat that is able to mount to an optical board as well as handle a great deal of weight.  While visiting the booth, the group was shown a prototype researchers at Tenba are currently developing: a slate devised of black, grey and white stripes aimed to improve wave form and gamma outputs in digital work-flows.

Keno Flow
Presenting a different version of the light panel, the engineers at Keno Flow have devoted a great deal of research to understanding what the camera sees as opposed to what the eye sees.  Software was then developed to create tubes for the lighting panels that light best for camera optics, while also providing a safe lighting source that won’t cause retinal damage to talent exposed to the lights for long durations.  The lights can be used for both daylight and tungsten sources.

Go Pro
The company started by surfers looking for a way to shoot from their boards has grown incredibly over the last couple of years.  This year, they were promoting the Halo 3.  This new camera has an improved bit rate, super dynamic range, and easier color correction.  The camera comes with built-in wifi and wireless remote access.  Up to 50 cameras can be linked and set to record simultaneously.  

The company that was a go-to for still photographers is moving into motion.  They have developed tripods with 300-500 fluid heads that are perfect for panning and tilting with no start/stop stutters.  They also have a 503 version that can handle excessive weight.

4K was a big focus at the Canon booth this year, with everything from cameras to hi-def, widescreen 4K monitors.  Included in their booth was a DY suite that was highlighting 4K test footage Poster shot on the C500 that exhibited different finishing styles.  Also highlighted was the IDC which records 4K footage directly to a flash card (and is still completely usable as a great still camera.)  The tour of Canon concluded with a review of their various lens offerings, including their new line of 4K lenses.

"Every lens presents something different," said Poster.  "Look at the personality of the lens before making any shooting choices."

With 83% of all television and the last two Oscar winning cinematographers using the Arri Alexa, the brand’s reputation is one of high quality.  Their latest upgrade, the Alexa XT, has built codex right into the camera.  They were also displaying a range of amorphic lenses. 

For more information about the ICG and their upcoming events, please visit: