NAB 2011 Wrap Up

The tone of the annual National Association of Broadcaster’s Convention in Las Vegas this year continued to build upon the momentum of previous years with a wealth of new products and a further blurring of computing and video technologies and broadcasting and “broader-casting” distributing content over the Internet. I was honored to present at this year’s newest set of breakout sessions, Telepresence World and was able to hear from peers in our field about how they are using this growing communications medium.

My day two webcast has been archived here:

I decided to try a more “time-shifted” approach as well, producing this vodcast:

I hope the products I’ve chosen to highlight here will prove to be a useful resource throughout the year. Please feel free to provide feedback as to how I can help bring all of Duke with me to this very valuable, and intensely packed 4 days in the desert.

Matrox Bringing Thunderbolt To Their Media Converters

Matrox gave proof of concept demos on their Matrox MXO2 devices featuring Thunderbolt™ connectivity featured on new Macintosh computers. These devices provide broadcast-quality video and audio capture, monitoring, output, and H.264 encoding for use with leading editing and content creation applications. The new Thunderbolt technology enabled Matrox MXO2 devices will be available in July 2011 at prices starting from $649. Matrox Thunderbolt adapters for all MXO2 devices (if you already own them can be purchased as an add-on at $299.

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Aspera Sync – Helps sync media across the globe

Aspera Sync is a new software engine the enables highly scalable, multidirectional file replication and synchronization. Sync is designed to overcome the bottlenecks of conventional synchronization tools like rsync and scale up for maximum speed replication and synchronization over WANs, for large file stores  with large file sizes. Aspera Sync reconciles file system changes with remote peers at extremely high speed (500 files per second+) on commodity hardware and does not degrade in performance with the number of files, or with WAN conditions. Built upon patented fasp transport, Aspera Sync transfers new data between peers at full bandwidth capacity, regardless of distance and network conditions (100X+ rsync over long distance and high bandwdith WANs). This could be useful to help stage large media close to different global learning centers as Duke continues to expand the reach of our campus.

Sonnet Brings New Possibilities To The Mac Thanks To Thunderbolt

Sonnet, a long time Mac vendor, had a bunch of new solutions for the Mac based on the newly released 1.5 TB solid state drive the Fusion F2, uses the new Thunderbolt technology to provide incredible speed and capacity in an incredibly small package. The device is about the size of two CD cases stacked one on top of another. Although I don’t have pricing for the new version, their SATA version is about $500.

The Sonnet Echo Expansion Chassis allows you to connect any high performance PCIe 2.0 adapter into any computer with a thunderbolt port, such as the new Macbook Pro. With 2 Thunderbolt ports you can daisy chain up to 6 devices to a single and its speed would allow you to use cards like video capture cards; 8GB Fibre channel cards, RAID controller cards, 10Gigabit Ethernet cards. The Echo Expansion Chassis comes in 2 sizes standard and XL, both come complete with fans to cool the cards, and come with the relevant integrated power supply. It will be released this summer. Pricing has not yet been announced yet, but it would allow you to make the Macbook Pro the centerpiece of your editing system, connecting this device when digitizing or outputting, but working free when editing.

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Affordable Sennheiser For The Classroom

Sennheiser announced a new line of entry level gooseneck microphones that bring their great quality to a level that is affordable for most applications (MSRP: $250). The MEG 14-40 (pictured above)  is a 16 inch gooseneck microphone that features an integrated Sennheiser KE 10 cardioid microphone capsule with a flexible element that helps with the alignment of the microphone. It is also RF shielded to prevent interference from mobile or other wireless devices.

Cache-A Prime – Super Smart Archival Deck

The new Prime-Cache5 (MSRP: $7,995) is smart LTO-5 drive and a 2TB hard disc drive that allows you to archive across a network without the need of a server. It lives on the network and you can simply “drop” files onto the tape as if it were a regular network share. You can search for your media u sing its built-in searchable database of all your tapes – remembering every single tape it has ever seen and will even share its catalog database with all other Cache-A appliances on the network. You can schedule automated backups or events on a one-time, daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Of course you can span archives across multiple cartridges as well. This seems like a good solution for a work group sized way to archive media to tape.

Manfrotto’s New Snake Arm

The new Snake Arm from Manfrotto might be a cool alternative for folks that like flexible mounting for their camera such but need a little more reach than something like the Gorilla Pod can offer. The arm is completely bendable then by tightening the knob at the end, will lock into place. You can connect it to a standard tripod or a clamp and you can connect a light and your camera to the same mount. It will be available in May for around $130.

Blackmagic UltraStudio SDI & UltraStudio 3D

At $395, Blackmagic’s UltraStudio SDI is an extremely affordable SDI capture and playback solution for computers that have USB 3.0 support (Mac users see below) The device provides 10 bit SDI capture and playback, plus HDMI monitoring all powered from the USB connection on your computer. HDMI monitoring allows you to use consumer displays for monitoring.  You also get genlock and RS-422 deck control built in.

The good news, newest generation Mac users and Macbook Pro users can now have HDSDI capture. Bad news? It will cost you $995 (as compared to above). The Blackmagic UltraStudio 3D uses Intel’s new Thunderbolt™ technology (10 Gb/s connection that’s up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0) to allow for SD, HD or 2K captureand  even supports two streams of full resolution video up to 1080p HD for new stereoscopic 3D workflows.

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New ViewCast Osprey Video Cards

ViewCast announced the new PCI Express Osprey 260e and 460e at NAB. The Osprey 260e provides one channel selectable between composite, component, or Y/C video and balanced or unbalanced audio in a low profile form factor great for small enclosures. The Osprey 460e card is designed to simultaneously capture four independent channels of analog video and unbalanced stereo audio signals and process them independently, minimizing internal PC space requirements. The channel density offered by the Osprey 460e dramatically reduces total system cost by increasing the capture capacity within a single system. The 460e A/V option also provides additional video inputs and four stereo balanced audio inputs to the rear panel connectors. The optional video inputs include the selection of component or Y/C (S-Video) for each of the 4 channels or 3 additional composite inputs for a total of 16 switchable composite inputs per card. It will be really interesting to test this card with applications such as Panopto to see how well it can simultaneously capture inputs  from four sources such as different room angles or document cameras.

The 260e is due out at the end of July 2011 and the 460e will be available at the end of May.

Sound Devices USB Microphone Computer Interface

The USBPre® 2 from Sound Devices is a professional microphone pre-amplifier for use when you are using a professional analog microphone and want to capture pristine audio. The $650 device is powered from the USB bus and has a hardware loop through to send computer audio back to an input. With sample rates up to 192 kHz and 24-bit converters, this brings professional mic pre’s into the computer age.

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