For years people have been making their own dessert pizzas with Nutella sandwich spread and now a chain restaurant is offering a version in their stores which you can enjoy with or without the Gluten-Free Crust. The flier we got in our mail this week looks a lot less appetizing than this home-made version. Basically the advertised version looked like a lot of gooey chocolate pudding slathered on a pizza crust.
Needless to say DV Dude is not impressed. He was the first person in the world to declare chocolate a health food but this rendition is too much even for him.
The trip to Mono Lake has come to an end, and the here are some sights I saw on the 8 hour drive back to Vegas, before catching the red eye to Toronto. Yes, the hardship of looking at this scenery was most brutal.
I feel much safer now.
This is where I was Sunday morning. Where where you?
Cool that all these people put bumper stickers on this guardrail. But who carries bumper stickers with them?
This grave marks the burying place of a 5 year old boy, who died in 1905. It is beside a low-traffic highway in Nevada. What is weird is people are to this day throwing toys inside the grave. Again, this begs the question - who carries toys with them to throw into roadside graves?
This is the famous Scotty's Castle in Death Valley. Somehow, I have managed to not have been here before on my numerous ventures into Death Valley. It is really cool.
This certainly catches one's attention as you drive along Highway 95 in Nevada. What I didn't get a picture of, was on the other side is the Area 51 Alien Brothel!
When your Dudeness of DV was a young, budding photographer in high school, I came upon a book written by Canadian photographer Freeman Patterson entitled "Photography And The Art of Seeing." It completely changed my outlook on photography, and how to "see." Even though our photo styles are completely different, the lessons I learned way back in Grade 12 still follow me on every photo trip I do.
So this photo is for you Freeman - this is certainly more your style, and certainly not as good as what you could do.
Bizarrely, his web site does not include a photo gallery of his work... But for more info on Freeman, visit his web site at www.freemanpatterson.com
Just north of Mono Lake in California, lies the ghost town of Brodie. Once the home to 10,000 people in the late 1800s, Brodie went into decline in the early 1900s as the mines dried up, and by World War II it was deserted. The State of California decided to preserve what was left of the decaying town and make it a state park. This was a brilliant decision, as ghost towns have a tendency to fall apart and disappear over time. Of all the ghost towns DV Dude has been through, Brodie is by far the best. Here is a small selection of the photos taken.
What is interesting about Brodie is that some interiors have been left intact, and you can peak into windows and see what is there. This is one interior - there are many others, including a school, tavern, general store and church.
So now DV Dude's quest to photograph a ghost town, after many attempts, has been satisfied. Scratch that one off the Photography Bucket List.
Mono Lake, just outside of Yosemite National Park, is famous for their tufas, and its easy to see why. These formations are caused by excess salination in the water. Mono Lake is one of the oldest lakes in North America, and is saltier than the Pacifiic Ocean. So these formations have been forming for thousands of years. They became "above water" when the lake levels dropped significantly, due to mountain stream water, the source for Mono Lake, being diverted to Los Angeles.
But the Mono Lake area is famous not only for these tufas, but also the Brodie Ghost Town. That's the next blog entry. Ghost towns and tufas - DV Dude is in heaven!
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."
The end of another NAB, and perhaps the annual trade show isn't quite the Statue of Liberty of video production, but sometimes it is like a beacon that attracts people from around the world in search of enlightenment. So now that everyone is on a plane back home, and the booths are being torn down, some final thoughts on this year's show. The exhibit space was 900,000 square feet this year, up from last year, and while the crowds seemed smaller to me this year, according to attendance figures, it was a hair above last year.
4K, 4K, 4K
That was the over-whelming theme of this year's show. And unlike 3D, it is being accepted and embraced. My prediction is this will follow the same pattern as HD did - the bigger players with bigger budgets will move quite quickly on acquisition being 4K for future-proofing purposes, getting ready for the eventual migration to 4K. Everyone else will watch closely, knowing they will have to switch at some point. And just like HD, seeing 4K images makes you a believer. At both CES and NAB, the 4K images were breathtaking. Its not quite as dramatic as comparing SD to HD, but you can see the difference. This is why I think its going to take off with the decision makers - because they want this in their home. Also, there are practical reasons to shoot in 4K and deliver HD - the ability to zoom and crop and hold the detail. Canon had demos running in their booth showing a baseball game shot in 4K, and then cropping in for an instant replay. The crop in was quite significant, but there was no apparent loss in quality. So for sports, or even for dramas, the ability to re-frame a shot after the fact, and not suffer like in days past, is a compelling reason to move to 4K.
There are only two factors that might slow 4K down. One is the pipeline into your house - cable and satellite are nowhere near ready to pump 4K into your house. I believe this will be solved in the next 2 or 3 years - compression technology is amazing and will continue to get even more amazing. The second is more muddled - the internet. The web does not need 4K video. With more and more content being delivered over the web, the need for higher resolution becomes less compelling. So I'm not sure how in the end this is all going to play out. I do believe for certain that production is going to go to 4K in a big way. Delivery? That future is still cloudy.
3D? What's 3D?
No one was talking about 3D. Thankfully. To blow my own horn, I have been predicting 3D was going to die a painful, miserable death. It is.
Apple? No Longer A Player
3 years ago, Apple was the dominant force. Final Cut was killing Avid, Adobe, Microsoft, and anyone else. They seemed unstoppable. And then they threw it all away. No one is talking about Final Cut anymore, and hope for a new Mac Pro tower is fading fast. People have moved on. Sure, most people own an iPhone, an iPad, and a MacBook, but Apple no longer has mindshare. So people use their various Apple devices to read about, take pictures of, or text about some really cool product they saw at NAB, but none of those products are from Apple.
Premiere Is Gaining, Avid Is Losing
Long regarded as the loser in the edit wars, Premiere is gaining steam. They keep getting the program better with each version, and as FCP Orphans look for a new home, they are going to Premiere. Sure, CS7 finally adds things that FCP 1 had (really Adobe, it took you this long to add simple things?), but at least they added them.
On the other hand, Avid is starting to feel like your father's editing program. The new hip, young editors aren't editing on Avid, they are on Premiere. This should worry Avid. Avid doesn't seem to be in the same century sometimes. The program is solid, but is it as in tune with this YouTube/Facebook world we live in today? I will say that FCX is growing, and the users are almost embarrassed to admit it, since it's not cool to like FCX. It reminds me of the people who like Sony Vegas - a small, but very loyal group.
Panasonic? Are you awake?
This is the second NAB where Panasonic has had no significant announcements. In that same amount of time, Blackmagic has launched 3 cameras. If I were the chairman of Panasonic, I'd fire whoever is running the broadcast division. An Austrialian company with no previous experience in video cameras is being more innovative than long-time video camera maker. What's more disturbing is Panasonic isn't reacting. In the same time Blackmagic has launched 3 innovate, game-changing cameras, Panasonic added 60P to the AF100. Panasonic is fighting last year's war, not trying to win the next one. Contrast this to Canon, who had nowhere near the market share that Panasonic had, who has transformed their video division into a market leader. Shades of Fuji-Kodak.
Blackmagic is the new Apple
As I mentioned in a previous blog entry this week, Blackmagic is the King of the Hill. They've become the new Apple.
DSLR Gadget OverKill
Remember the days when there were only a few rig companies? Well, now there are 58,000,000,000 companies doing DSLR rigs. Even Bowen, who make freaking strobe lights, has DSLR shoulder rigs. Stop the insanity!
Thunderbolt Is Still Coming
Thunderbolt products have been shipping for a while now, but the one area they have been lagging is big, fat RAIDs. That will change this summer. A number of vendors are ready with 8 bay enclosures, waiting for Intel certification.
Just another example of how iPhones and iPads have changed things and worked themselves into mainstream production. Here is a custom rig for an iPad to do podcasting/livestreaming called The Padcaster, where their motto is "Turn your iPad into a moblile production studio." Shipping now, and costs about $150. Does not included the lens seen here, just a lens mount adapter so you screw in lenses if you so wish.
A new product from the people at IndiSystem - the Vortex. Think of it as a love child between a slider and a jib, except you don't go up and down. The photo doesn't quite demonstrate what it can do, and until I played with it I wasn't sure about it. But once you start twirling that sucker around, you become sold on it. There are different sizes, and pricing range from $399 to $999. Made in Iowa.
By complete accident, the first thing I saw at NAB, so it will be the last thing I blog about. This unit gives you a 360 degree view, utilizing 6 lenses, shooting at 15 fps. Image quality is web quality, it is aimed to produce 360 degree video for web sites. The example they had running in the booth was of a race car. So they planted the camera inside this race car, and you can use the mouse to go all around while the car is driving. Or, if you're on an iPad, instead of using your finger, you literally turn around in a circle and its like you were there turning around. Really cool actually.
The camera attaches to this little yellow box, which does the stitching of the various cameras to create one file. The Surround Video solution will set you back a measly 35,000 euros, and then a monthly fee to host the images, so it's not for the faint of heart. But for certain people, I can see this being useful.
The big theme this year was 4K, 4K, 4K. Everyone had products to shoot, edit and deliver 4K. And those 4K Production Monitors from Panasonic, Sony, TV Logic and others were sweeeeeeet.
Best cart I saw this year. This is a real man's cart, not a pretty boy's cart!
The inside of one of those remote TV trucks. And you thought the iDrive system on a BMW was complicated.
It took a few years, but Hoodman finally figured out how to compete with Zacuto on the DSLR loupe. Improved optics on the finder, and a nice mounting system (made by Custom Brackets) and a good price point makes this a compelling alternative to the Zacuto Z-Finder. Shipping very soon.
Rode is going to have some competition this summer on its VideoMic, as they are set to launch two DSLR mics. One is a straight shotgun, the other is a shotgun with a recorder built in. No pricing or firm ship date yet, just "summer."
We've been keeping an eye on camera accessory maker Edelkrone for the past few years, and this year their booth was much bigger and had they had huge staff. They make really interesting products, and they had two on display that really caught my eye. What is more surprising is where Edelkrone comes from - Turkey. Not a place you'd expect, but such is the nature of the global economy.
First up is the SliderPlus, which is such a brilliant idea for a slider. Looking at the picture doesn't do it justice, you have to watch the video.
And it is smooooooooooth. A very nice slider. Short, but nice.
The new item they previewed at NAB was this little gizmo, the Pocket Shot. It folds up like a Swiss Army knife, and when you unfold it, it becomes a hand grip, unfold it again it becomes a gun stock, unfold another section and it becomes a small support to sit on your belt. And fold it all up and put it in your pocket. It is really cool. Again, photos don't do it justice.
Unfortunately, they only sell direct at this time in North America, so you won't be able to pick up either of these at The DV Shop, but hopefully that will change soon.
For the second straight year, Blackmagic was THE talk of the show, and their climb to the top seems at this point unstoppable. This scrappy Australian company has grown from an upstart capture card company with one product to one of the biggest forces in the industry.
And it is due to this man, Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty. Hats off Grant. You've done it. You're The King of NAB.
And the camera that got the most buzz this year was the surprising announcement of the Pocket Cinema Camera. No one saw this one coming. Of course, no one saw the original Cinema Camera coming either. I thought there would be more buzz on the 4K version of the BMCC, but that seemed almost anti-climatic - it was almost expected and anticipated. But this little guy caught people's attention - I kept over-hearing how people were going to just buy one to have it. And I did hold it in my hands - like its bigger brother, it is solid. FYI - no autofocus though, just auto iris.
Possibly the most insane thing I saw Wednesday - a fully kitted out, bling-to-the-max, totally overkill Pocket Cam. Every single accessory costs way more than the camera it is attached to. This image is the epitome of the DSLR movement. An Arri lens and matte box attached to a camera that costs $999.
The guys at Red always do a cool booth, and this year they decided to bring their clean room to NAB and actually make Red cameras in the booth. It was both fascinating and mystique-killing at the same time.
I'm not sure if I'd want one of the "Vegas" Reds though, considering how much people drink at NAB...
Just a side note on Red - their booth for the last 2 NABs has certainly been a lot quietier than the normal insanity that preceded the first few NABs. And they were right next door to the Blackmagic booth, and had to stare at posters for the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.
Canadian company BeachTek launched a number of new products this year at NAB, and here is two of them. Harry Kaufman, owner of BeachTek, is holding the new MCC2 audio interface, aimed at DSLRs. Coming in May for the low low price of $99. How did they do it? Two mini-jack inputs (no XLR), passive adapter (no pre-amps), no phantom power and no headphone jack. But if you need to get one or two mini-jack inputs in (such as a Rode Video Mic and a Sennheiser wireless), and can use the headphone jack on your DSR, this just might be the adapter for you.
Coming later in the year is the new DXA Connect, which is a different form factor than the traditional BeachTek box. It integrates hot shoe connectors into the top of the unit.
Harry at BeachTek is a big fan of our DV Shop Question Hall of Fame list, and his personal favourite is "Do you sell socks?"