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Almost Live from NAB: NAB 2019 Highlights

Shawn Lam recaps the top trends, new gear, and cutting-edge tech from NAB 2019, featuring new offerings from Panasonic, AJA, BirdDog, Datavideo, vMix, and more. Stay tuned for Shawn's in-depth exhibit hall interviews in the weeks to come.


This is Shawn Lam for Streaming Media Producer at NAB 2019. Over the last three days, as we do every year, Michael Rendulic, my camera operator and colleague, and myself, we've been working the trade show floor at NAB to provide coverage for Streaming Media Producer. As the owner of my own corporate video production company, SLV Live, I'm also keenly interested in seeing the new gear and trends for use in my own business.

Our method is well-rehearsed. We spent Monday on the South Lower Hall, and Tuesday in the Central Hall. We scheduled several strategic meetings so we can speak most directly with whomever is the most knowledgeable about the products. But between those scheduled interviews, we're making a lot of unscheduled visits to everyone else that's relevant in our own marketplace. Sometimes these visits are the manufacturers of products that I don't normally use or provide coverage to, and other times it's to look at new companies, who aren't necessarily on my radar, who might not have big marketing budgets, and obviously who show a lot of promise. I think back to a few such companies like Atomos, vMix, and Mogulus who started off that way, with a small initial presence at NAB and who are now household names. Well some of you might not recognize the name Mogulus but they later became Livestream and now they're part of Vimeo as Vimeo Live.

So let's get started here. On Monday morning we started off our coverage as we do every year by attending the AJA Press Breakfast, followed by the Blackmagic Design press conference. Both of these are pre show events. In some years we've covered the Sony Press Conference on the Sunday afternoon but this year our flight schedule just didn't allow that and it was probably a good thing. Not too much was happening there on the Sony front, so we really don't have much to say there. Once the show officially opened we went right to the interviews and meetings in the South Lower Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Our beat that day included Blackmagic Design, Matrox, Datavideo, IBM Watson Media, Magewell, vMix, and many, many more unscheduled stops. On Tuesday we continued our coverage in the central hall. We met with Panasonic, Sony, Roland, BirdDog, PTZOptics, LITRA, and as well, a lot more unscheduled visits to the booths here.

We did make time on Tuesday to attend Rob Reinhardt's lunch session at the Streaming Media Summit and we also attended the Streaming Idiots meetup at the PTZOptics booth. That was after hours on Tuesday. Rather than tell you really what we were looking for in products that we saw and we thought they were unique and innovative. I'm going to just tell you what we saw that we really enjoyed seeing on the show floor. So let's go.

Datavideo NVS 40

Datavideo is a company that we haven't really provided too much coverage to in the past. But this year I really want to focus in on their NVS 40. It's four channel multiview monitor, streaming encoder, and recorder. Kind of an all-in-one, rackmountable system. The neat thing for me is that is records to H.264 on SSD. I also like that you can take embedded audio from the four HDMI or the one SDI input or analog XLR or RCA sources. It has a loop-out on the SDI input. The price on that is really attractive, $1799, so a really neat product by Datavideo. A similar product by AJA is the Ki Pro GO. It's the four-channel H.264 encoder that instead of one recording output, it records on 5 USB outputs. So you can record onto USB flash drives or external drives or external SSDs. It can record embedded HDMI or SDI audio as well as analog audio from an XLR input if there-- And there's even a line mic or 48-volt phantom switchable control on that XLR input. On the video input side it have four HDMI and four HD SDI inputs to choose from with four SDI loop-outs. With the HDMI and SDI, there's a monitor out for both of those. It's only $3,995 so it's really neat to think about four inputs, four archive recordings there. A thousand dollars each or $3995 for the whole unit there.

Panasonic AG-CX350

Moving on to the camcorder world, we saw a really neat camera in the Panasonic AG-CX350. This is a 4K, 60p, 1" sensor camcorder. It has RTMP streaming directly from the camera and with a paid upgrade you can even do NDI/HX streaming. I liked that this camera supports HDR, has 10 bit recording, in both AVCHD and even HEVC codecs. The lens is impressive as well. It's a 24mm, full-frame equivalent wide and it has a 20X optical zoom. The reach goes even further with the iZoom mode that's 32 times in HD or 24 times in Ultra HD. Now iZoom basically increases the zoom range by zooming in on the sensor itself and that results in a fully resolved HD or UHD image. That camera's under $4000.


BirdDog, they make NDI products and this year their full 4K family of NDI products is what I'd like to highlight. It supports the full flavor of NDI and not just the more compressed and higher-latency HX version. For $895 you can get the 4K HDMI version, $995 is the 4K 12G-SDI version or for $1995, there's actually a 4K QUAD version. So four 4K inputs on this device. All these devices have built-in cross-converter, SFP+ port for 10G. So that's 10 gig ethernet connectivity, active loop-outs, audio intercom system, NDI tally, POEs, and compatibility with BirdDog's Comms PRO and Central PRO apps. Really neat family of BirdDog products there.


Moving on to the software now. vMix GT Title Designer is a feature within vMix 22. It's a GPU-accelerated title designer that supports animation. I really like that it supports layers from Photoshop files and one of the cool trends that I notice this year, at NAB, was just how many booths were showcasing vMix software as part of their own hardware's workflow. So really just to show how much vMix has been successful in the last couple years and how they're really taking a well-earned place in the marketplace here.


One of the products I want to throw out a bit of coverage to right now is the LitraPro LP 1200. It's a really nice internal battery or USB-powered, bi-color, full-spectrum, 95 CRI, on-camera light. It has a host of accessories like a softbox, honeycomb grid, barn doors filters, and even Bluetooth controls. So it's a really nice little on-camera light. We're using it right now here with the softbox. In the coming weeks you'll be able to watch my coverage of NAB 2019 on Streaming Media Producer. This is just a taste of some of what's in store and some of the products that I'll be leaving Las Vegas excited about. I really hope you enjoy watching these videos as much as I enjoy producing them for you. On behalf of myself, Shawn Lam and my camera operator Michael Rendulic, thank you very much for watching.

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