By Joel Holland, Founder and Executive Chairman of VideoBlocks
Each year, the NAB show in Las Vegas brings us the newest gadgets and gear in the world of video production—and 2017 was no let-down. Despite hefty competition from the many tools and products on display, we’ve identified five new must-have items worth calling out in our NAB round-up.
Before we dive into the new tech, it’s important to note that there were four key themes we noticed at the show that will have a major impact on the rest of 2017:
1. 4K is no longer a novel concept—it is fully integrated into the most basic of camera systems, editing programs and distribution platforms. In fact, many booths had even moved on to 8K! Now that 4K is a mainstay on the production side and TV manufacturers have fully supported the new resolution, perhaps this is the year that good 4K content finally becomes available for consumers.
2. Drones continue to rise in significance, but unlike years past, the NAB floor saw a lot of consolidation of manufacturers in 2017. The reason? DJI continues to kill it, releasing hit after hit at incredible price points. On the floor this year we saw the new Phantom 4 Advanced, Inspire 2, Mavic, and—most impressive—DJI Goggles that let you not only see in first person, but also control the drone and camera by turning your head. More on this below.
3. Live streaming functionality is increasingly being incorporated into cameras and workflows now that the big boys like Facebook and Youtube support it. It’s easier than ever to create a high quality live broadcast—even in VR/360!
4. Virtual reality is here to stay. While NAB 2016 saw a small smattering of VR gear, the jury was still out on whether it was a fad. It’s not, and there were dozens of VR cameras introduced at NAB, including many that support live streaming.
Now for the Top 5 products from NAB 2017:
1. Mevo Camera– As live streaming continues to rise in popularity, LiveStream set out to provide a simple all-in-one solution. Dubbed the “Live Event Camera,” the Mevo fits in the palm of your hand, s capable of recording 4K footage, and can live stream] in HD using its 150 degree lens. It has built-in stereo microphones but also supports external audio input. It supports Wifi and Bluetooth connection to your phone, where you can easily control the shot by touching your screen to pan and zoom and control the production. From there, you can either record to the SD card in the camera, or publish a live stream through LiveStream, Facebook Live, Twitter/Periscope and Youtube. The battery supports 1 hour of shooting.
Full tech specs can be found on the Mevo website.
2. Vuze VR Camera– Rocking an impressive 8 lenses capable of shooting 360 footage in 4K stereoscopic 3D, the Vuze is one powerful all-in-one device for capturing VR footage. The included Humaneyes VR Studio software makes automatic stitching a snap. And the most amazing part? This sleek, flying-saucer shaped camera comes in under $1000, making it one of the first accessible 3D VR cameras for the mass creative class.
The Vuze shoots in H.264 with stereoscopic 4K resolution at 30fps, and records to a removable micro SD card. More tech specs available on the Vuze website.
3. Insta360 Pro 8K VR Camera– The Insta360 takes VR shooting to the next level, with 6 F2.4 fisheye lenses that can capture a whopping 6K stereoscopic 3D or 8K monoscopic video. The included software automatically stitches and prepares an output in H264 or H265 ready to distribute. If this isn’t enough, it even includes gyroscopic image stabilization and supports 360 3D live streaming on any 360-supporting platform—including Facebook, YouTube and Insta360.
The interchangeable battery provides 75 minutes of shooting and records to an SD card
or external device via USB 3.0. Insta360 Pro also has an HDMI output. Find the full tech specs on the Insta360 website.
What really sets this camera apart from the rest is the price point: Coming in at $3,499, the Insta360 Pro compares favorably to the Nokia OZO…which retails for $40,000.
Price: $3,499. Pre-orders available on insta360.com and units start shipping at the end of May.
4. MKE 2 elements Action Mic for GoPro– GoPros have become integral to shooting action sports and for capturing footage in adverse conditions where you don’t want to risk the life of an expensive 4K camera. But once you slap on the waterproof protective housing, you lose audio. That’s where the Sennheiser MKE2 comes in: This waterproof external mic connects to the GoPro though a sealed connection that keeps the camera dry, and lets the audio in. Its windscreen design is made for winds up to 60 MPH, maintaining crisp, clean audio.
5. DJI Goggles– The future has arrived, thanks to DJI. Rounding out our 2017 NAB round up list is the coolest and most futuristic item we saw at the show: VR goggles that not only give you a first person view from the drone you’re flying, but also let you control the camera gimbal by turning your head! Using the Head Tracking system, owners of the Mavic Pro or Phantom 4 can choose to fly the drone by tilting and turning your head, or you can have a friend fly the drone while you take control over the camera, looking where you want to shoot.
Price: $449, and will start shipping after May 20, 2017.
Photo provided by DJI
From everyone here at VideoBlocks, thanks for another great year at NAB—we’ll see you next year!