Wex’s pro video team share some of their favourite products to come out of the annual International Broadcasting Convention
Another year another IBC, and it has been another busy weekend for the pro video team as we hit Europe’s biggest video expo over in Amsterdam.
In this blog, we’ll highlight some of the most notable new products to come from the show.
Year of the 1-inch sensor
Three of the products in this summary are all cameras that revolve around a 1-inch sensor. Two of the market’s biggest players each introduced three variants of effectively the same camera, but in slightly different flavours. These cameras look to potentially hold a strong position in the newsgathering and run-and-gun documentary style shooters.
With their compact form factors and larger sensors than typically found in the cameras that have dominated this space in the past, they are sure to appeal to filmmakers who crave the more cinematic aesthetic that comes with increased depth of field control.
Let’s roll onto the cameras…
Canon GX10, XF400 and XF405
First up we have the Canon XF405, which as mentioned comes in three different versions. The consumer-targeted GX10 – which lacks professional XLR audio inputs and a top handle – and then the XF400 and XF405, between which the only difference is that the latter has an additional output in the form of a 3G SDI capable of pushing out 10-bit 422 in Full HD. Apart from that, all three camera bodies and sensors that lie within them are pretty much identical.
The real headline feature of this camera is the inclusion of Canon’s highly regarded Dual Pixel Autofocus. Given who this camera is aimed at, this is going to be something that’s very much appreciated. Coupling this sophisticated autofocus with the touchscreen makes for some fantastic touch focus performance – something which we found equally impressive in Canon’s latest cinema camera, the C200.
All three models can record 4K UHD 50p and up to 100fps in Full HD internally to an SD card. They also all come with 5-axis image stabilisation.
Sony FDR-AX700, HXR-NX80 and PXW-Z90
If you were just glancing, you could be forgiven for thinking the Sony camera above was another shot of the new Canon XF405. Not to imply that Sony has in any way copied Canon, as the announcements were made only days apart.
The differences between the three models are similar to Canon’s approach: the AX700 lacks professional XLR audio inputs and a top handle, which both the NX80 & NX90 have, and the NX90 has the addition of 3G SDI that can output 10-bit 422 in full HD.
These cameras include Sony’s popular Fast Hybrid Autofocus system, which uses 273 phase-detection AF points covering approximately 84% of the shooting area. Recording-wise, they are capable of 4K UHD 25p, and Full HD 100p – so just short of what the Canon equivalents can offer in terms of 4K.
These cameras, however, include Sony’s S-Log3 flat profile for maximising dynamic range, and the ability to have an instant HDR workflow through recording in Hybrid Log-Gamma – a feature that we’ve seen implemented on their FS5 and FS7 cinema cameras.
The RX0 proved to be a very popular attraction at the Sony stand at IBC this year. Its small waterproof body resembles that of a GoPro, but that’s where similarities end, as this little camera houses a 15.3MP 1-inch stacked sensor, which essentially dwarfs the 1/2.3-inch sensor in the GoPro Hero5 Black.
This should result in much improved low-light performance, and open up the potential to capture a more cinematic aesthetic, thanks to its ability to shoot at shallower depths of field than rival cameras of its size.
Again Sony has included one of their flat log profiles for maximising dynamic range – S-Log2. It can only record Full HD internally, however, it is capable of outputting uncompressed 4K should you want to connect it up to an external recorder. If you want a pretty nifty little vlogging setup, you can hook it up to an Atomos recorder for capturing detailed 4K.
This little camera looks more suited to broadcast than any of its competition – imagine having a few of these filming inside a car (think Top Gear), all hooked up and gen-locked to external recorders, filming in uncompressed 4K. Pretty impressive.
Canon’s mystery camera
This camera may not have a 1-inch sensor, but given apparent rise of them, it wouldn’t be a bad guess.
Over at the Canon stand, enclosed in a glass cabinet was this diminutive camera. Little information was available. All that accompanied this model was a label stating that Canon is developing a “multi-purpose modular camera” system for a variety of applications, currently going by the catchy name of the Canon MM100-WS.
It’s supposedly going to be built around a customisable body, allowing for different configurations depending on the requirements. We think this really hints that this camera is going to be one designed for broadcast, rather than a consumer-oriented replacement for a GoPro.
Okay, no more talk of 1-inch sensors. We’ve moved onto the larger formats, and first up is the super 35mm Panasonic EVA-1 camera. Since its announcement this camera has been highly anticipated, and IBC 2017 brought filmmakers the opportunity of getting their hands on it for the first time.
At its heart is a 5.6K sensor, which when downsampled can record 4K DCI, UHD, 2K and 720p. Its highly compact size (something it shares with Sony’s FS5 camera) means it weighs in at only 1.2kg, making the EVA-1 a hugely versatile camera that can be mounted to a whole range of gimbals and drones.
The headline feature of this camera is something it shares with its larger siblings – the Varicam35, VariCam LT, and VariCam Pure – and that is its dual native ISO. The camera can switch its standard sensitivity to a high sensitivity without an increase in noise or any other artefacts – in real terms, this means the ability to shoot equally clean footage at ISO 800 and ISO 2500. The EVA-1 can record 4K 60p and 2K at 240p all internally to SD cards, both in 422 10-bit and RAW.
Our most high-end product in this article is the new 6K full frame cinema camera from Sony, Venice. Its full-frame sensor can capture footage in a number of different formats, including full 18mm-height super 35 anamorphic and spherical, and full frame 24mm-height anamorphic and spherical, in almost any aspect ratio.
Its menu system looks straightforward and simple, something similar to what Arri is well-known for with its user interface. The Venice also the first camera of its class to have mechanical ND filters built right into the chassis of the camera.
We look forward to seeing what gets created with this camera – if it’s anything like the short promo film that Sony created then it’s a promising future for the latest addition to their CineAlta line-up. You can see some behind-the-scenes footage here.
Atomos SUMO 19M
Earlier this year Atomos announced a 19-inch external recorder and HDR monitor, the Sumo19. This year at IBC the firm announced another variation to the lineup, and that’s the Sumo19M. Side by side both models look identical, the only difference with the 19M being that it has no recording capabilities. So what you get is well priced super bright 19-inch HDR monitor.
With the absence of the recording features, the interface has had a revamp; an updated Apple Mac-style dock at the bottom now houses most of the features you will need to regularly access with a single touch.
Not as exciting but definitely still worth noting is Atomos’s second announcement at IBC 2017: the launch of 15 new converters. This is similar to what Blackmagic has been offering previously, so it will be interesting to see how this pans out.
Miller CompassX Series
Miller announced the launch of its new CompassX series of fluid tripod heads, featuring five different models – the CX2, CX6, CX8, CX10, and CX18, all of which feature 16 positions of counterbalance for quick and accurate adjustment. On the top we see the inclusion of a side-loading base plate that should make for much quicker camera mounting.
In terms of payload capacity, the CX2 goes up to 8kg and the CX6 up to 12kg, with 3+0 pan-and-tilt positions of drag and a 75mm ball levelling mounting base. The next two models up, the CX8 and CX10, can support up to 12kg payloads, and feature a 5+0 positions pan and tilt of drag, with the option of either 75mm or 100mm ball levelling mounting bases. Finally, the CX18, the top of the range, can support up to a 16kg payload, has 5+0 positions pan and tilt of drag, and comes with a 100mm ball levelling mounting base.
Flowtech 75, brought to you by both Vinten and Sachtler brands, appears to be a revolutionary tripod. When they announced this tripod with the marketing headline of “the only tripod you will ever need” it seemed like a pretty bold statement, but once you get your hands on it and give a try, you can see why this one’s going to be hugely popular.
This new tripod system revolves around a design the makers call the quickest tripod to deploy in the world. This is thanks to the unique quick-release brakes located at the top of the tripod, which enable all of the legs to be deployed simultaneously and adjust automatically to the ground’s surface. This is a truly welcome feature – means no more banding down trying to absorb some of the tripod and camera weight when you are trying to adjust the lower clamps on the more traditional tripod designs. It can take a generous maximum payload of up to 20Kg and be operated at a maximum height of 157cm with the spreader, and up to 153cm without. For low-profile shots, it can be deployed as low as 26cm with the spreader, and 63cm without.
The Gemini from Litepanels is an all-new 2x1 RGB-WW soft panel light, which combines daylight, tungsten, and red-green-blue LEDs to provide super flexible and precise colour control. According to Litepanels, the Gemini can produce true, full-spectrum white light, claiming it’s the industry’s most accurate white light.
There are three different lighting modes: Correlated Colour Temperature Mode, Colour Mode, and Gel Mode. The first allows bicolour with plus and minus green adjustment; the second offers hue, saturation, and intensity control; the third enables emulation of a variety of popular gels. Gemini looks to come in slightly cheaper than its main rival, the Arri SkyPanel, and also provides very similar features, so it will be interesting to see how many filmmakers opt for it.
About the Author
Kristian Hampton is Wex Photographic’s Technical Editor for Pro Video. A video specialist who has worked in corporate studios for companies such as Vodafone Group and PwC, as well as working as a freelance grip on various TV productions and features. He also runs Krade Media, providing enterprises with production services. Follow Kristian on twitter @KrissHampton