NAB 2024: Manufacturers focus on cinematic look for live productions

With live sports production teams continuing to add a cinematic look to productions, several manufacturers and vendors used NAB as an opportunity to launch tools and services in support of capturing a shallow depth of field, cinematic look.

Arri and Red – two camera manufacturers who between them have a sizeable share of the feature film, high end drama and factual market – both used NAB to showcase their solutions for live productions.

In Las Vegas last week, Arri used its press conference to launch of the ALEXA 35 Live – Multicam System. The system is intended to provide sports producers the ability to capture cinematic images and a shallow depth of field and, the company says, will “seamlessly” integrate into existing live-production environments.

Marc Shipman-Mueller, senior product manager, Arri, described the Multicam System as a “major commitment” for the manufacturer.

He said: “We’ve thrown a lot of resources at this in the past, and we will be throwing more resources at this in the future; the goal is to deliver that cinematic Arri look to live productions but we also realise that we have to integrate with the existing live production infrastructure, so we have really made efforts to do that.

“In the live production environment, you tend to have two different types of cameras:  a system camera which is a camera that has a fibre adaptor built into the camera with a lot of features, however, they can only be used hooked up to the fibre system and they cannot be used standalone.

“And the other thing you have is a dockable camera setup, which is a camera that can be detached from the fibre adapter which is great, but they usually have more flexibility but fewer features. What we’ve done is combine the full feature set of the system camera with the flexibility of the dockable camera.”

The system combines the new Alexa 35 Live camera with the new Live Production System LPS-1, which comprises a fibre camera adapter and fibre base station. According to Arri, the system is open to support a range of remote-control panels, but the recommended panel is Skaarhoj RCP Pro Arri V2B, which provides full control over frame rate, start/stop recording, playback, selection of looks and other camera functions. Three packages — entry, standard, and pro — with pricing to be determined after conversations with potential customers at NAB 2024.

EVS’ AI offering
AI is playing an increasingly significant role in the products and services provided by EVS, including the company’s XtraMotion service that allows production teams to transform live and post-produced footage into super slow-motion content.

At NAB, EVS also showcased  other AI-driven effects, including deblurring, auto-cropping, and shallow depth of field.

Meanwhile, Red Digital Cinema set out how the company is looking to “unlock cinematic imagery for broadcast and live event productions” with the introduction of new broadcast technologies at NAB including the Red Cine-Broadcast Module and broadcast colour pipeline option.

In addition, Red demonstrated the new V-Raptor [X] and V-Raptor XL [X], which Red recently launched as the first-available, large-format cinema camera with a global shutter. Red’s demonstrations focused on its Global Vision suite of tools, including Extended Highlights and Phantom Track for virtual and live productions.

Raptor [X] was launched earlier this year, but as Jeff Goodman, vice president of product management at Red explained, it now features a global shutter.

“And we took no sacrifice in dynamic range or image performance, which is really a huge technological feat,” he said. “But it also has obvious implications in broadcast because most broadcast cameras are global shutter, so now that makes us even more compatible with broadcast systems.”

On the broadcast colour pipeline, Goodman said: “Where cinema cameras normally use CDLs and LUTs for colouring it’s been a real challenge for our customers trying to use our cameras in the broadcast space. But now, with this new broadcast colour pipeline, they can shade the camera exactly as they would normally. It happens in-camera, so from the RCP you’re controlling the camera directly so there’s really no extra step that you have to add into it.

“Our cameras are being used as cinematic cameras in sports like La Liga games, so when they want to cut between cameras they need to have the cameras match even though it’s a different perspective, being cinematic, the colours still have to match and now you can shade it in the exact same way.”

“A lot of what we’re showing here is knocking down the impediments to using the camera in broadcast environment; the broadcast colour for one, global shutter being another, and this new module that we just launched that attaches to the back of the camera from the V lock and then the SDI inputs plug into it.”

The new Red Cine-Broadcast Module is compatible with V-Raptor XL [X], V-Raptor [X] and standard V-Raptor and V-Raptor XL camera systems. The module unlocks live broadcast with up to 2 channels of 4K 60P (HDR/SDR) over 12G-SDI and is IP-broadcast ready with SMPTE ST 2110 (TR-08) and up to a 4K 60P JPEG-XS feed. The module features a Lemo SMPTE 311M/304M hybrid fibre optical cable connector, which connects to a rack mountable 2 RU base station.

Meanwhile, a new outside broadcast truck optimised for live entertainment and corporate events had its debut in Central Hall.

The new 53-foot trailer was built to support live entertainment and corporate events. However, Cinelive president Zack Pittman (pictured, above) told SVG that the reaction from sports production teams at NAB who told him they were keen to explore using the truck for live coverage had taken him by surprise.

He said: “I asked if they meant pre- or post-game, but they were keen for the live part. I can’t say who, but there is a big network that wants to trial a full, all-Super 35 basketball game – the whole coverage.”

The tuck incorporates an array of production technologies from vendors including Sony, RTS, Cyanview, Fujifilm, Fujinon, Ross Video, Genelec, AJA, Lawo and more.

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