Oli at NAB 2015

Photo by Mark Forman

Photo with Chimera 4′ Ringlight by Mark Forman

By Oli Laperal Jr.

As usual, the best way to start exploring any major motion picture trade show is to first thoroughly speed-read the latest issue of Film and Digital Times. Since FDT is under strict NDA until the opening bell, the information is only released as NAB opens. It is like being a kid at Disneyland for the first time, a site map in hand, and totally bewildered as to which ride or pavilion to see first. Obviously lunch and rest will not be a priority for the next few days.

NAB is always preceded by several insightful conferences, lectures, keynotes, press conferences and seminars. Following the laws of physics, unfortunately one can only be in one place at any given time.

Here’s an outline of the highlights of NAB for me.

Tech Summit on Cinema: The Future of Motion Imaging & Sound

  • The digital revolution, tech future of cinema complexes.
  • Cinema screen technology.
  • Immersive sound.
  • 80% of theater complexes can show 4K feature films today.
  • Laser projection has been installed at a few locations.
  • Laser projection delivers 14 ft lamberts (14 nits) in 3D.
  • New laser blue light is 3-4x brighter than standard laser.
  • HFR, True blacks, High Dynamic Range are major concerns.
  • Color tech is moving from Rec 709 to Rec 2020 & ACES format.
  • Panasonic Varicam at 5,000 ASA.
  • Fraunhofer demonstrates the light field camera system: refocus in post, and relight in post is now possible.
  • Virtual reality.
  • Cinema delivery by satellite, optical fiber and via IP.


  • Camera data transfer is no longer via SDI, but thru IP (Internet Protocol).
  • BlackMagicDesign never fails to amaze us with so many new products: 4K+ cameras, post tools, switchers, routers, recorders, monitors, standards converter & mini adapters, all in 4K.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions: Quantel & Snell, Light Iron & Panavision
  • Many intelligent drones are heres.
  • 8K is here. 8K cameras & large flat 8K monitors.
  • Next year, Japan & Korea will do test broadcasts of 8K.
  • The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will be shot in 8K.

 A talk with Tom Stern, ASC AFC. Cinematographer on “American Sniper”

  • worked many years with Clint Eastwood
  • likes to try to work with a single light.
  • Of paramount importance: promote actor’s performance.
  • Clint Eastwood likes a quiet no-stress set, relies on loyal, proven, competent keys & crews
  • Tom likes working at T4 or T5.6, easy on actors hitting their marks.
  • Tom likes to make the film set & mess “disappear”, so actors & the director can concentrate on the actor’s performance.
  • Tom “prints” the rehearsal, the first take is used on 30% of the film.
  • “Let the acting and performance evolve”, the screenplay is simply a guide.
  • “Its all about the story and the actor’s performance.”

Fraunhofer Institute

  • Fraunhofer ownership is 1/3 the German government, 2/3 private.
  • looking for international partners.
  • big on image sensor development, DCI, DCP, ACES, post production on DCP, asset management, etc.
  • demonstrated a 10 camera light field system (1 primary with 9 mini supporting cameras for depth mapping) that can re-focus images, and change lighting conditions in post.
  • Feels 36 mm x 24 mm image sensors will be the next standard.
  • 4K for consumers will be the standard in 2-3 years.
  • Camera technology will soon approach human HDR of 20 stops.

Dedo Weigert on the current state of lighting and  future of LEDs on film sets

  • discussed classic lighting, apprenticeship path of learning how to light.
  • compared CRI and lumens output per watt, discussed TLCI.
  • discussed the dreaded color spikes of generic LEDs.
  • CRI is based on 8 colors only.
  • TLCI is based on many more colors including skin tones, thus a better color measurement standard.
  • Use of a Spectrum Analyzer.
  • Safe UV and IR levels.
  • Announced new soft bank & Fresnel LED lights.

 Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion

This is a brand new pavilion showing the latest trends in aerial drones. Nano drones as well as heavy lifter (over 50 lbs) were flown. Also discussed and demonstrated transmitters, controllers, gimbals, down links, navigation & communication systems, surveying software, infrared and FLIR filming, new FAA rulings, aero journalism, and proper flight training.

 New Cameras

  • 3D Robotics Solo drone with better 4K camera & navigation.
  • AJA CION camera updated.
  • ARRI Alexa 65. 6.5K camera, 3x sensor size of the ARRI Alexa.
  • ARRI Alexa Mini. 5 lbs, carbon fiber & titanium, 200 fps.
  • ARRI Alexa SXT ProRes 4K camera. Better color, more SDI output.
  • BlackMagic Design showed the URSA Mini 4.6K, Micro Cinema Camera & 4K studio cameras.
  • Canon C300 Mk II. Now with on-board 4K recorder.
  • Canon XC-10. Mirrorless DSLR with onboard 4K recorder.
  • DJI Phantom 3 drone with improved 4K camera & navigation.
  • Panasonic VariCam 35 4K further improved.
  • Panasonic Lumix GH4 now shoots 4K anamorphic format.
  • Phantom Flex 4K now with audio recording.
  • RED Weapon 8K system, 20x40mm sensor. Upgrade your Epic or Dragon.
  • Sony showed new broadcast 4K cameras.

New Lenses

  • Angenieux showed the new Optimo 30-72 mm anamorphic zoom lens.
  • ARRI showed the 9.5-18 mm, and the 19-36 mm anamorphic WA zoom.
  • ARRI adds front & rear flaring elements for master anamorphic primes.
  • Canon showed the 11-24 mm F4 WA non-fisheye zoom.
  • Cooke adds 25 mm and 135 mm to the anamorphic prime line up.
  • Cooke announced a new anamorphic front element zoom lens.
  • Leica Summicron-C adds focal lengths—especially the 135.
  • P+S showed a new T3.5 35-70 mm front anamorphic element zoom lens.
  • ZEISS ships the CZ 15-30 mm zoom. Otus & Loxia primes too.

 New Lights

  • ARRI showed the new Skypanel LED soft lights
  • ARRI added the L10 LED to L5 and L7 line of fresnels.
  • Chimera adds a new 4’ diameter ring light.
  • Mole Richardson adds LEDs: soft and Fresnel.
  • Nila Arina is Nila’s largest LED fixture.



  • ARRI makes plates, holders, pads, brackets, handles and matte boxes for many digital camera manufacturers
  • Atomos Shogun records more 4K output formats.
  • Avid Media Composer light version, now available for free.
  • Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 12 with many new features and more editing.
  • Canon reference monitor. 12 stops Canon log.
  • cforce mini drive motor from ARRI and cmotion.
  • Convergent Design’s Q7s has a single software to record 4K.
  • Denz shows various plates, lens support, director’s finder, camera angle holders, and testing tools.
  • Gecko-Cam show a lens test projector with OLPF.
  • Mark Roberts Motion Control Systems. Powerful arms on rails.
  • Matthews showed new Vator III stands with various heights, suction car mounts, improved motion control on DC sliders.
  • MoVi drones fly the Alexa Mini or Red Weapon camera.
  • Preston showed Light Range 2 FIZ assist system.
  • Schneider add new IRND filters.
  • Sekonic C-700 color temp spectrum analyzer.
  • Tiffen improved Steadicam M-1, adds new filters.
  • Wooden Camera shows more camera accessories & mattebox

Photos below by Oli Laperal, Jr.


Oli Laperal Jr runs RSVP Films, a production facility in Manila, Philippines. Comments welcome.


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