Pre-NAB 2012 Whirlwind of Announcements

Before the big NAB exhibits begin (April 16th-19th), companies usually push press releases out for PR hype. They do it so effectively on us tech geeks, I sometimes wonder what the main event is for. Anyway, it’s obvious from today’s round-up of new releases that NAB is very nigh.

Canon drops some 4K Bombs (and Delays Others)

NAB 2012 is about 5 days away and we’re already seeing some huge product unveilings. Camera blogs all over the internet are abuzz with the new hardware (that we all pretty much saw coming). To sum it up: Two new 4K cameras, new 4K cinema lenses for those cameras, and some official delays on the 1DX and the new 24-70mm 2.8 II.

The New EOS-1DC

This is the big news that the HDSLR community was waiting for—a 4K enabled video DSLR. The issue here is the price point: $15,000. That puts this camera in a really strange position. While it will be fullframe, it’ll also cost far more than say the newly announced FS700.

Features include: 4K 24fps recording at 4:2:2 (to CF cards, as Motion JPEG), Clean HDMI out, and Canon Log Gamma (to match those C300/C500 cameras). It’s a fullframe camera, but it looks like it crops to APS-H for the 4K recording. Only being able to record at 24fps at the 4K resolution is an interesting (albeit understandable) constraint. But it’s really the price that makes me think twice about this camera.

Some folks seem to feel pretty negatively towards that $15,000 price tag. Canon assures that while it’s much like the EOS-1DX, they’ve got some changes on the hardware that allow it to do 4K magic. I believe them, but I just don’t know what bracket this camera is meant for (maybe B/C/etc cams on big film productions?).

At any rate, I’m completely happy with my 5DMK3 purchase, but I can’t wait to start shooting in 4K sometime in the next few years.

The C500

This is Canon’s cinema camera. When they announced the C300, the release literature was clouded with a strange air of “this is just our first step.” That and the outdated codec made it painfully obvious that Canon was due for a big 4K upgrade soon…and here it is!

Engaget has the official press release attached to their coverage of the C500 announcement (why is it so hard to find this stuff on Canon’s website?). So what’s the big feature? Probably that the new Super35mm sensor that actually records a 4K file (unlike the C300), and also this new “EOS Raw” codec that Canon is dangling over our heads, which is 10-bit uncompressed, from 1fps up to 60fps (and 120fps at 10-bit YbYrCb 4:2:2)! What’s also nice is the 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 signal during 2K output.

Rumored price is $25,000 $30,000 (MSRP straight from Canon, says Engadget), which I think is going directly after the Alexa/Epic crowd. Not only is the price great compared to its competitors, it’ll also record to CF cards, making the system even more affordable (CF cards cost a fraction of SSDs). That codec must be doing some really high processing work in order to achieve this, though I’m assuming we’ll need some really beefy CF cards to actually get a 4K recording. It turns out that the C500 will only OUTPUT 4K, not record. This really boggles my mind…Canon’s release notes seem purposefully confusing (go figure).

In an obvious move, just like the C300, the C500 will have both EF and PL versions (to match those nice new lenses!). The only physical difference seems to be that the C500 doesn’t have that strange adjustable handle.

New 4K Lenses

Wow, Canon is getting really serious about cinema. As Cinescopophilia wrote, They just announced two new 4K-cinema-ready zooms (wide 15.5-47mm T2.8 and telephoto 30-105mm T2.8, both in PL and EF mounts). These new lenses look great, but their isn’t much more to say about them until people actually get a hands-on session.

Delays of the EOS-1DX and The New 24-70mm 2.8

So now that the excitement is out of the way, here’s the other thing about Canon: They’re officially announcing delays on the 1DX (delayed until June) and the new 24-70mm 2.8 II (delayed until July).

And Don’t Forget The Other Guys…

Canon has a lot to say, but there are some other great products being unveiled as well. We’ve got…

The 4K Recorder and Player (for Production and Post-Production)

Keisoku-Giken’s new 4K recorder and player, the UDR-N50, was announced today. Cinescopophilia has an article about this new device…I’m sure we’ll see more of these roll out in the future (to make use of all these new 4K outputs), but for now, it seems to be the first of it’s kind.

Adobe is Getting Real Serious with CS6

Last but not least is Adobe’s announcement of Premiere Pro CS6, which looks like they’ve implemented all the features we’ve expected (SpeedGrade, that awesome dialog syncing software, etc). There are way too many features to go over for Premiere Pro CS6…that’ll be for another post.