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Thunderlab's 2015 NAB Show Predictions.


Thunderlab's 2015 NAB Show Predictions.

In less than two weeks broadcast, digital media, film, and post production professionals will descend upon Las Vegas to peruse the latest in industry technology. The 2015 NAB show is the largest event of it's kind and manufacturers from around the globe come to unleash their latest creations. Every year vendors one up each other by announcing gear that no one saw coming. 

As a production company, we must follow digital cinema technology trends and figure out what new pieces of equipment that will best suit our needs. With 4K being the next step in camera sensor innovation, we are excited to see who's bringing the game changers. We're definitely in the market to add another camera system to our stable this year. While we shoot lots of projects with the ARRI Alexa & RED Epic, we tend to wind up shooting on the Canon C300/500s and HDSLRs for most of our work. With that being said, we have high hopes for the rumored Canon C300 MKII.

Here are some predictions and hopes that we'd like to see from manufacturers this year.

Let's start off with an industry powerhouse. Rarely will you be on a set without a Canon product being utilized in one way or another. The 5D MKIII is a staple. The C300 is a workhorse and the C500 is capable of kicking out some seriously gorgeous 4K RAW footage. We love the C300 for it's versatility and easy workflow. We hope the fabled C300 MKII does not disappoint. 

C300 MKII - Nothing is written in stone, but it's highly likely that this will be announced at NAB.

  • We know it will be capable of recording 4K on a super 35 sensor, but we hope it will be able to capture 4K RAW internally to boot (unlikely).
  • Since the C300's highest frame rate was only 60i at 1080, it would be absolutely amazing to see the MKII able to capture frame rates all the way up to 240fps. However, it will probably just do 120fps at 1080 and 60fps in compressed 4k.
  • When the C300 MKII rumors started to get hot, it was touted that it would be priced to compete with the Sony FS7 ($7,999). We think that is absurd. The current dual pixel C300  sells for $11,499 EF & $11,999 PL and it can't even handle 60p! Canon has also said that the new C300 will be "better that the FS7 in every way." This would indicate that the camera will have a far more robust price tag somewhere in the $15,000-$20,000 range. Let's hope we're wrong about that!
    • EDIT 4/1/15 - Canon just announced that they slashed the price of the C300 by 40%! B&H has C300 w/ dual pixel AF listed for $6,999. While this sucks for people who recently bought a C300, no idea who would do that, it's great for the people looking to grab a C300MKII. Our new price prediction for the MKII is $12,000-$15,000.
    • EDIT 4/8/15 - C300 MKII has been announced! 4k internal recording, 120fps at 1080, $15,999. We pre-ordered ours through B&H.
  • There's no way on earth this would happen, but it'd be fantastic to see a full frame sensor dropped into the C300 MKII. The only reason to bring that up is the fact that the 5D MKIV will have a full frame sensor that can handle 4K when it comes out. So why not just pop a full frame into the C300 MKII?
  • Better Dynamic Range.
  • Expect to see a PL and EF lens mount option. An EF w/ positive lock would be a cool add.

C500 MKII - This camera is most likely coming out in the foreseeable future, but not at NAB 2015. When it does come out, it will surely have everything we want to see in the C300 MKII for an intensely higher price. 

5DMKIV - It was crazy to see the recent 50MP 5DS/5DSR come out of left field earlier this year. We're sure still photographers are plenty excited about this, but it left the film/video crowd scratching theirs heads when it was revealed these new mega pixel thugs didn't offer any standard issue video features. It's clearly a move on Canon's part to separate the photo and video professionals. Announcing the 5DMKIV at this year's NAB should happen, but won't! That's because Canon has to get the 5DS/5DSR's shipping in high quantities before releasing another camera. Looks like we'll have to wait until fall for the follow up to the 5DMKIII. Too bad.

1DXMKII - So if Canon doesn't drop a new 5DMKIV at NAB maybe they'll drop the next generation 1DX with these specs?

  • 46MP Sensor
  • 4K Video
  • $9,000 price tag

Pioneers of high resolution digital cinema, RED promises to bring some big guns to the table this year. The company is currently urging all it's customers to send in their current cameras for an upgrade "before it's too late" to save money on future upgrades. Here's what we might see at the show this year.

  • The new RED Weapon housing for their 6K Epic Dragon
  • A new 35mm full frame sensor and lens mount which will be known as the Vista Vision Weapon. This full frame sensor could possibly capture 8K?
  • It's possible they will announce a 65mm sensor.
  • Since they will be unveiling a new camera body, it's most likely they debut some new modules to add on as well.
  • RED will be adding ProRes flavors to all their cameras.

Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic is known for bringing the house down with their NAB announcements. They've debuted all their cameras at the show throughout the years starting with the Cinema Camera a couple years back. Then in following years, they wowed crowds with their Production Camera 4K, Pocket Cinema Camera, and URSA. Who's to say what kind of tricks Blackmagic has up their sleeve, but let's speculate wildly and take some guesses as to what they might announce this year.

Pocket Cinema Camera MKII -

  • 4K Recording
  • Mini XLR Inputs
  • Slightly Bigger Body
  • Larger Articulating Touch Screen
  • Better Dynamic Range

URSA Updates -

  • New Sensor Modules
  • A Non 10" Flip Out Screen Version & Other Weight Reductions

Perhaps Blackmagic will come out with a mirrorless 4K hybrid camera to compete with the GH4? They'll surely surprise us with something cool. 

We've had dozens of these action cameras in various flavors since GoPro's inception. They are awesome cameras to have on hand for difficult to get shots but one thing is for sure, this company loves to release new versions of their cameras soon as you get the previous model home. This leads one to believe that the next best thing is coming to NAB or soon after.

GoPro Hero 5

  • 4K at 60fps
  • 6K or 8K at limited frame rates
  • Longer Battery Life
  • Better Bluetooth 

We love Nikon! Their D800/D810/D4s cameras are stellar do it all cameras and while we will always love these cameras for still photography and B-Cams for videos, Nikon continues to disappoint us in regards to cinema. We don't expect to see anything new and exciting from Nikon at NAB this year and it saddens us deeply. How about a proper cinema camera, Nikon!?

This company shocked everyone last year at NAB with the announcement of their 4K Cion. Much like Blackmagic, AJA entered the camera game from nowhere. We don't think AJA will launch any new cameras this year, but we might see some improvements to the Cion's sensor with a possible upgrade option? You never know what to expect from companies like this once they get rolling in new directions.  

A proud company run with German precision. ARRI has always done their own thing on their schedule. Don't expect to see anything out of the ordinary at this years show. Maybe they will release some new camera accessories that cost an exorbitant amount of money? There really is nothing like spending over $100 on a follow focus gear or replacement screw. It's magical!

Supposedly, they have a hybrid successor to the AF100/101 coming out. Not sure why they would go with a hybrid route on a non DSLR style camera body, but maybe it'll be killer? We certainly remember the HVX200 days and it'd be great to see Panasonic come out with a new ride.

Aside from major camera announcements, NAB always motivates vendors to release cutting edge products. Here's what else we'll probably see this year.

  • Lot's of Drones. GoPro is rumored to have one or two. DJI will probably have something new whether it be a drone or camera gimbal for the Inspire 1.
  • More Gimbal Stabilizers from a bunch of companies. DJI will probably have a new version of their popular Ronin.
  • Tons of great new LED lighting fixtures. We hope to see some new stuff from Kino Flo, AAdynTech, and Nila.
  • Boat loads of camera support and accessories. Everyone makes a camera cage now.
  • There should be plenty of new lenses being displayed. Hope to see someone making a quality set of cine primes or zooms at reasonable prices. Canon probably has some new zooms coming out. We'd love to see Schneider Optics make some cine zooms that fall in line with their Xenon FF primes.
  • We don't think they'll be any shortage of monitor and external recorder announcements.
  • Copious amounts of microphones, wireless systems, and audio recorders.
  • Bags and cases. Lots of bags and cases. 
  • Many more innovations and ways to deplete one's pocket book!

Thus concludes our 2015 NAB Show predictions. We can't wait to see how it all plays out.