Twas the issue before Christmas;


Will Strauss# TV-Bay Magazine
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As it’s nearly Christmas, I figured, what better way to honor the end of anther year than to celebrate everything that has gone before? To do that, I’ve picked my favourite production technology innovations of 2012. But, as we’re fast approaching the festive season, I’ve compiled them in the form a Christmas shopping list. Yes, I know. It’s genius. Why has no one ever thought of this before? They have? Oh well. It’s too late now.
Hopefully, there should be something here for everyone in your extended family (assuming your extended family is either ensconced in the television industry or extremely weird).
So, here goes.
For the cousin with his head in the cloud(s) – A subscription to Aframe
Aframe has had quite a bit of hype this year but for good reason. The cloud-based video production and asset management platform can be used to store, search, collaborate and share video in a way that hasn’t really been possible (or practical) before. While it may take some time to convert the whole industry that the cloud is the way to go, enough people have got on board Aframe so far for me to safely say this is going to be big.
For the uncle who likes his work to flow – An AJA Ki Pro Quad
Everyone loves a nicely wrapped package at Christmas and the solid-state Ki Pro Quad portable video recorder is certainly that. Only slightly larger than the Ki Pro Mini, it has an LCD screen and full Dual Link capabilities yet fits nicely on the back of your camcorder. You can use it to either record 4K RAW directly from the sensor of a camera or for monitoring purposes or even as a direct pass-through to a PC using Thunderbolt. At £3,400 (or thereabouts) including VAT it’s hardly a stocking filler but it’s a great toy that will retain its charm long after the Turkey has.
For the niece that likes to buck trends – A Blackmagic Cinema Camera
Blackmagic was previously best known for its video cards and for buying Da Vinci. But bringing out a cinema camera really changed everyone’s perception of this hugely progressive firm. The camera itself now has two models: one for passive Micro Four Thirds lenses, the MFT, and one for Canon EF and Zeiss ZE mount lenses, the EF. At its core it is a 2.5K resolution camera that costs just two grand (ish) and comes bundled with some pretty nifty software. It records to either onboard SSD or via Thunderbolt to a capture device or a PC. With onboard metadata entry capabilities, 13 stops of dynamic range and LCD touchscreen monitoring, this is no (Christmas) pudding I can assure you.
For the work colleague who likes to take shortcuts – A Sapphire Edge plug-in
The title makes it sound like a negative thing but the Sapphire Edge genuinely looks like the kind of present that will save people time when using Premiere, Final Cut Pro or Vegas. It brings the original Gen Arts Sapphire plug-in’s precise effects engine to a collection of pre-defined looks, visual effects and transitions that can be applied as-is or customized and saved as presets. As the website says, it can “enable time-constrained videographers to easily create the best look for their project in the least amount of time.” If that doesn’t provide a happy new year, nothing will.
For the man who has everything – A Canon C500 camcorder
A continuation of the C300, the Canon C500 captures Raw 4K video footage and offers frame rates of up to 120fps. It’s double the price of the C300 but for that you get a lot more pixels (4,096 x 2,160 to be precise). Both 12-bit and 10-bit RGB 4:4:4 output signals are supported if you want 2K (2048 x 1080 pixels) or Full HD off-board recording while the inclusion of Canon Log Gamma provides the video and wide exposure latitude that most would hope for when spending £15,000 on a camera. With an 8.85-megapixel Super 35 sensor and 50mbps video recording it is strong competition for RED’s Scarlett.
For anyone that needs support over the festive period - Libec SWIFT JIB50 jib
Camera support may look like something out of a Sci-Fi movie but without it our world would literally disappear from beneath us. And no one wants that at Christmas. The Swift JIB50 is a cracking little present from Libec offering quick set-up time and a telescopic arm that can be adjusted using the arm’s lock levers. Retractable at both ends it also has various head options, making it highly versatile. It might be somewhat difficult to wrap though.
For your celebrity friend – A Kino Flo Celeb 200 LED soft light
Potentially the first LED soft light fixture that can actually be used for film and HD, the Celeb 200 is also Kino Flo’s first non-fluorescent lamp. Roughly the size of a Diva 400, it has dial in variable colour temperature control, full range dimming and is programmable from 2700K to 5500K. This is the perfect light for interviews (hence the name).
For the brother with a thing for extreme sports – A Black Edition GoPro Hero 3
You don’t have to call anyone ‘dude’ whilst using a GoPro Hero camera but it certainly helps. Designed to be strapped to snow boarders, BMXers, stunt artists and a host of other people working in extreme shooting conditions, the Hero is a compact video camera. The latest incarnations, the Hero3, come in three flavours with the Black Edition being the most powerful. It has a 12-megapixel sensor capable of grabbing 2.7k images at 30fps or 4k at 15fps. Robust, waterproof, Wi-Fi enabled and with lots of resolution options it allows you to film just about anytime, anyplace, anywhere. And it fits nicely inside a stocking. Bonus.
For the auntie who likes to do things properly – A Sony PMW-200 camcorder
Having stolen the show at IBC, the Sony PMW-200 is now making waves by being a 50Mbps camcorder that hits all the HD broadcast delivery specs and probably the first to be universally accepted for the majority of HD programming. It has three large 1/2-inch Exmor CMOS sensors for improved sensitivity and depth of field characteristics. Recording in Full HD 422, it comes with a 14x Fujinon lens and has WifI so, should you want to, you can use the iPad that Granny buys you to remotely control zoom, focus, iris and white balance (via an adapter of course). What more could you want on Christmas morning?
So, there you have it. All the Christmas shopping done in one fell swoop. You can thank me later. I think this calls for a celebratory drink. Now, where did I put that sherry? Merry Christmas.

Tags: iss072 | aframe | aja ki pro quad | blackmagic cinema camera | sapphire edge | canon c500 | libec swift jib50 jib | kino flo celeb 200 | gopro hero 3 | sony pmw-200 | Will Strauss#
Contributing Author Will Strauss#

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