In many ways IBC2016 felt like a bit of a watermark: the old ‘traditional’ broadcast industry giving way to something newer and perhaps more inclusive. It was all very positive too, something which is reflected in the choices made for this year’s IBC RedShark Awards.
We've just got back from IBC2016, which was, as expected, an extremely positive show for the entire industry. There were a few surprises and very clear evidence that the the extraordinary rate of change in our industry has been maintained and, indeed, boosted by the number of serious collaborations that are taking place between industry-leading manufacturers.
We've given awards to manufacturers who have made big jumps into the future, or who have simply brought out products that are incredible value. Some have simply made devices that have made life significantly easier for professionals in the industry, while others have found ways to bring their amazing products to users at lower prices and in easier ways.
Here are our IBC Awards for 2016. Remember that these are genuine awards based on the opinions of the RedShark team. There was no fee to enter. In fact, there was no need at all to enter: the only qualifying requirement was that the products should be exhibited at the IBC show.
Best Cinema Camera: The Red Helium Sensor (and cameras that use it)
Photo courtesy of Jarred Land via Facebook
We chose this because, while a sensor is not a camera, the new 8K Helium S35 sensor has achieved the seemingly impossible. Its smaller size means that 8K is available to vastly more users because of the huge array of lenses that are available whose image circle will cover the entire sensor.
Conventional thinking would suggest that cramming all those pixels into a smaller space would lead to poorer performance, but, somehow, the opposite is the case, with a wide dynamic range and a very respectable signal-to-noise ratio.
Finally, this is a tipping point. It's the moment when 8K becomes available to everyone. Even if you're not going to deliver in 8K, you can shoot at the higher resolution and everyone benefits because each resolution derived from it will look better as a result of oversampling.
Well done to RED. This is richly deserved.
Best Storage Device: G-Technology Evolution System
G-Tech Evolution Series
G-Tech has won our awards before and they're well-deserved because this is a company that understands the needs of working video professionals. G-Tech uses premium quality drives and houses them in stylish cases. But there's much more than that.
G-Technology's Evolution system is incredibly flexible and it allows the shortest possible path between capturing video in the camera and feeding it into a post production workflow, at the same time as providing safe keeping for valuable material while it's in transit.
What caught our eye this September was G-Technology's willingness to work closely and deeply with other manufacturers to integrate their in-camera or in-recorder storage into the Evolution workflow. A great example of this is the link-up with Atomos' Master Storage Caddy system. Previously, Atomos users would buy an empty storage caddy and fit their own storage media into the plastic case, held in place with screws. This was a working solution, but G-technology has improved it, buy building its own, compatible, master caddies, pre-configured with G-Technology storage. These then slot into Evolution devices and become a part of the overall storage environment.
G-Technology is something of a default choice for video professionals who need robust and intelligently designed storage. It is the clever ways that the company stays ahead that have influenced us to give this award this year.
Best Editing Product: Adobe Premiere Pro CC
There's no shortage of Non-Linear Editing products. To be around and viable today, an editing package has to be good. But Adobe has achieved something amazing with Premiere Pro CC: it has made it the one to beat. Other products might have specific features, but it is the sheer depth of Premiere Pro CC that makes it stand out. But that's not all. Premiere Pro CC is part of a family of applications that are totally integrated. You have to admire that achievement and that's why we gave Premiere Pro CC the award.
Best Post Product: Blackmagic Davinci Resolve
Resolve keeps winning our awards and for the very good reason that there's simply nothing else like it. It's an industry strength colour grading system with increasingly powerful editing and media management features. And it's free, mostly. If you need to upgrade to the full version, then you will have a very good justification for paying the additional price. We know that Blackmagic's philosophy is to bring professional products to market affordably. And Resolve is the best possible illustration of this.
Best Audio Product: iZotope RX5
iZotope's RX5 audio editor is, like all of the company's products, very much more than an audio editor. It fixes audio in ways that are not supposed to be possible. It repairs clipping distortion. It allows you to 'paint out' noises that would otherwise have ruined a recording. It's the 'International Rescue' of audio packages.
To make these features more accessible to a larger group of users, they're now available as plugins for a wide range of DAWs and NLEs. Packaged as the RX Plug-in Pack, it's a collection of tools that bring the essence of RX5 to users at hugely reduced prices.
We think this is a great move that virtually everyone involved in professional video and audio will want and, indeed, need.
Best Optical product: Zeiss LWZ.3
Zeiss LWZ.3 Lightweight Zoom
Zeiss's LWZ.3 Lightweight Zoom practically blew Phil Rhodes, our Technical Editor, away. He's been calling for a lens like this for years, and his excitement on seeing it for the first time was tangible.
To make a lens with these characteristics at this price means allowing a few compromises, but even with these, we were blown away by the LWZ.3. In Phil's own words: "The point is, though, that the lens is a compromise, like all ENG-style lenses, but it's very much the right compromise."
Well done, Zeiss.
Best Recorder/Monitor: Atomos Shogun Inferno
Atomos Shogun Inferno (red line and AtomHDR/LOG split for illustration purposes)
This went to Atomos for its brand new Shogun Inferno. While the company may soon run out of combustion-related superlatives, it doesn't seem to be short of ambition. The Inferno not only includes all the HDR goodness from the Flame series, but with more and faster processing, so that it can record 4K at 60 FPS.
The Atomos HDR range doesn't modify the signal, but by displaying a log image correctly, it allows better decisions about exposure and lighting. We doubt that there's any company that has done more to bring affordable HDR to the masses (that's masses of professional filmmakers) than Atomos.
Most innovative product: NewTek IP Series
You can have innovative products that are merely clever in their own right, but which aren't going to change the world very much, and then you have innovative products that are so complete in their vision that they change the world from now on. NewTek's IP series is such a product: a rare one that represents an inflection point for the future of video.
Quite simply, the NewTek IP series, a full live production studio with Ethernet sockets for interconnectivity, is the biggest jump towards all-IP production we've ever seen. While the standards organisations dance and jostle to achieve interoperability, NewTek's NDI solution simply works now. (It's open, too: anyone can become an NDI developer). And it works so well that there's almost no limit to the number of channels, sources or destinations that can be configured with their new system, all across an IP connection.
The system is completely modular and includes SDI for backward compatibility. But the message is clear: video over IP is not only here, but it's a necessary and beneficial leap into the future.