This was my first year at NAB, last year my buddies "Dave Altizer & Jeffrey Holland" went and blew my mind with all of the incredible gear that came out. Yes, watching online and seeing all of the releases is great...but being here testing everything is a completely different animal. Asking the questions directly to product experts instead of online forums. Meeting all of the filmmakers you follow on twitter...and realizing they are just regular guys doing big things.
It was an amazing experience. Okay, down to business.
Stabilizers :: [ Letus Helix - Defy G2X - Mimic - Ronin Mini ]
In order of most awesome:
1. Letus Helix
We came to the Letus booth on the second day after seeing a TON of handheld gimbal tech. And this was the one that stood out the most. The Helix Junior (smaller of the two). Can carry up to 15lbs...we flew a RED on it. It also lays flat and balanced flat so no more need for an external hook setup to balance it. There is no top handle like you saw with ALL of the other gimbals we saw...because you can turn the whole gimbal sideways and hold it like a top handle. The Helix is small enough to fit in your backpack and only one hand it needed to operate the tilt (right hand). The left hand is there for support. All in all this will be my go to stabilizer over the Movi, Defy and Ronin...especially at $2900.
2. Defy G2X
This was like a smaller version of the Ronin. Fits in your backpack making it super portable. And not a lot of external wires to snag on making it a lot more durable. It had some bugs but we were told it was because the camera wasn't balanced properly. Definitely perfect with the GH4 and Sigma 18-35. I would use this for everything if I owned it because of the size. $2000...Defy and Letus FTW.
3. Freefly Mimic
The Freefly Mimic was super cool. Being able to control the movement of the gimbal with the movement of your body on an external device was very fun to use. I can see this being used for a lot of commercial work...with more involved directors and could be fun for DP's. I've seen some epic videos already using the tech for this...definitely will be interesting to see how it's used.
4. DJI Ronin Mini
I wasn't a huge fan. Still kind of big...I can't fit it in a backpack. DJI kind of lost it's luster for me with all of it's Phantom 3 action and really underplayed the Ronin Mini...never got the price but I've never had really good experiences with the Ronin... Go Letus!
Cameras :: [ Canon C300 Mi & Mii - URSA Mini - Canon XC10 ]
Still in order of most awesome:
1. C300 Mark II & Mark I
So before coming to NAB I knew that I was needing a new A Cam. I am a GH4 owner with a TON of Canon glass...I am a GH4 fan for the 4K, slow motion and price at around $1700. But walking around the Canon booth (a dangerous thing to do as a Canon Fanboy). I noticed several screens playing short trailers of movies and documentaries that have been shot on the Cinema Series in the past year. None of these movies were shot on the new C100 or C300, but were all shot on the older versions. And with the Mark II's coming out, seeing the price drop down to $4000 with the C100 and $6000 with the C300...I got really excited. I was a 5D3 owner and absolutely loved it for the small projects I used it for. But seeing the color and skin tones again from the Canon on renowned films sold me on buying a C300 Mark I. As an indie filmmaker I can't justify dropping $15,000 or more on a camera unless it's going to get me more work and pay for itself over the next 3-5 years...The Canon Series are not RED or Alexa by any means. But ergonomically perfect for what I do as a indie and documentary filmmaker.
2. URSA Mini
I think this is a perfect camera for churches. Having incredible 4K capability for short films or interviews, along with solid HDMI & SDI outs for broadcasting or live streaming. It's lighter and not as bulky as it's predecessor "The BM URSA." Ergonomically similar to the URSA but not as big, it can be rigged out for shoulder nicely...but not a run and gun camera in my opinion. Still has that URSA color and profile but with other features like internal anamorphic (I thought that was cool). Landing around $3000, again this is great for filmmakers and broadcasters alike.
3. Canon XC10
I consider the XC10 to be more of a response to Panasonic's Lumix FZ-1000. The look and feel of the actual camera is almost identical to the XC10. But the price point at roughly $2500 is a major overprice to the FZ1000 at around $900. I shot a wedding a while back with the GH4 and FZ-1000 combo and they matched perfectly in post...my church has also recently purchased one as well. I think it may be a great B-Cam to a 4K Canon or to a Canon C100 or C300 matching with it's color profiling and 4K ability...and could be a great camera for getting into tight quarters for Documentary work. The zoom on it takes away a lot of light...if the prototype we were holding didn't break, we might've been able to see it's ISO capabilities (Price is the kicker for me on this).
Random Cool Things :: [ Halo - 3DR - G-Tech - Small HD 502 ]
In no particular order:
1. 3DR Smart Drone
The 3DR Smart Drone blew me and all of my friends away this year. With GoPro camera integration that allows you to control the camera settings from an iPad. Flight logging which can help track your drone if lost in flight...along with the ability to send that log to 3DR customer service to receive a replacement drone and gopro camera if lost in flight. Costing roughly $1450 depending on what extras you purchase...which granted is more expensive than DJI's new Phantom 3. But with those 2 capabilities alone (not including all of the other features) it's worth it. Look for my DJI Drones on eBay and Craigslist.
2. RedRock Micro Halo
This may be harder to explain, the pictures should help...but the Halo allows you to tracks objects with a sensor attached to the camera. This sensor is connected to an electronic follow focus system that allows you to follow focus on static or moving objects using a touch screen. Crazy cool technology for filmmaking...I would never need to use one with what I do (but it was fun to play with).
3. G-Tech RUGGED
For those of you that travel or our needing a safer way to protect your precious* data (smeagle voice*)...the new G-Tech Rough Cases are the answer. They are waterproof, shock proof and sand proof (they also ran over it with a car). I don't know if they are bulletproof...but these cases were incredibly durable and for approximately $250 WITH a 1TB Hard Drive. (My next drive purchase). Way to go G-Tech. The Lacie Rugged rubber drive ain't got nothing on you.
4. Small HD 502
Small HD finally has a 1080 monitor, YAY... For $1500, BOO. I might rent this...It's about the size of your iPhone and puts out a pretty decent image. Would be great as a stabilizer monitor, with the size and weight.
Overall this was a ton of fun. And thank you Zippy from Story & Heart for getting me a ticket to the Kessler Party. I'll be back next year for sure.