The IBC Show in Amsterdam is by far one of my favorite trade shows to attend. Like NAB in Las Vegas, or Cinegear on the Paramount lot in Los Angeles, IBC is a gathering of like minds. While NAB is epitomized in the bright lights and clang of the casinos, where everything is always a farther walk or cab ride that it first appeared, Amsterdam is the polar opposite. Amsterdam is Old World, a place where it is not out of the ordinary to walk by buildings that were built before the Americas were first explored by Europeans, even while much of the city was rebuilt after the bombing during WWII.
Part of the allure of IBC is Amsterdam, stunningly beautiful with the first wisps of fall in the air, but at this show you actually get time to talk to people. The product managers and lens designers are not as harried as they are in Las Vegas. Pausing to talk to people becomes less about the products and more about families, friends and what everyone else is showing on their stand, before getting down to discuss business.
Staring with the cameras, the Sony’s FX9 and Canon’s C500mkII seemed to be the talk of the show. I handled both, each reminiscent of other cameras in their respective product lines, while both are offering Full Frame 6Kp60 sensor, cropped S-35 and 2k sensor modes. Both have timecode in ports but the similarities end after that.
Sony’s FX9 with an EVF will ship with full UHD capabilities. Future software upgrades will include 4K DCI and Raw external recording of the 5.9K image, with 10bit; XAVC-I internal recording using SLog-3; and it uses the latest XQD memory cards that are expected to start shipping later this year. I found it interesting that the FX9 includes a genlock port for syncing cameras when used in broadcast style multi-cam production.
The Canon C500mkII is expected to ship in late December, with full 5.9K recording internally using Canon’s Cinema Raw Light codec with 10bit and 12bit options, or recording of Canon’s XF-AVC codec in 8 or 10bit to CFexpress Card media. I am not surprised at the Native ISO capabilities from 160 to 25,600, but I wonder why they did not include a viewfinder.
One camera not mentioned by most was the Sigma FP, quietly setting on the counter in Sigma’s booth. The Sigma FP is one of the first mirrorless cameras with the “L” style mount that Leica, Panasonic and Sigma joined together to develop as part of the L-Mount Alliance. Designed as a still / motion hybrid, Sigma focused more on the Cine capabilities than people estimated.
This camera is meant to take on Sony’s mirrorless camera options directly. It is smaller, lighter, recording 12 bit Raw as Cinema DNG and even sports a Directors Viewfinder Mode that mimic’s other manufacturers sensor sizes, including Alexa LF, Sony Venice and Red Monstro. It also includes anamorphic de-squeeze for under $3K.
Lenses are usually the second big thing at IBC and this year was no exception. Angenieux’s yet to be released Optimo Prime lenses were highlighted in a short video by Band Pro’s Randy Wedick, shot on the streets of LA. Across the aisle Cooke Optics were showing their latest S7/i full frame and Anamorphic releases.
IBE also showed finished versions of their Raptor Prime lenses, companions to the Raptor Macro’s and even snuck in a prototype of their coming LF series Anamorphic’s.
LPL mount adaptors were everywhere, I saw them on multiple stands with models for EF, PL and E series cameras, hinting that larger format sensors and their lenses are here to stay.
Arri dropped a bomb with the Orbiter lighting system just before the show started, with multiple focusable lensing options and a raft of accessories. The Orbiter’s Spectra 6 color light engine and remote control system is about as sophisticated as a lighting control module can be and I expect it to be every bit as popular as their SkyPanel’s have been.
Cineo / NBC Universal showed a radical new way to focus beams of light on a prototype light that is expected out early next year, so cool to the touch I asked about thermal issues being used outdoors in winter.
Monitors and on-camera
SmallHD captured everyone’s attention with their Small4K monitor announcement, offering both the Vision series for production and the Cine series reference monitors in 13”, 17” and 24” models designed specifically for the needs of HDR Production and Post. They feature 2000 zone localized dimming, 1,000,000 to 1 contrast ratio’s and 100% P3 color rendition.
Parent company Teradek leapt past the Bolt 4K announcement from NAB and added the Bolt 4K MAX, updating their oncamera system that can deliver up to 4k120p as a 10bit, HDR compatible signal nearly a mile away when using their new Array 4K Panel antenna.
Teradek also announced the Orbit Wireless system designed to compete in the linear broadcast market for covering live sports, arenas, concert halls and events where the number of people or distance from the transmitters wreak havoc on standard wireless video transmission. The Orbit includes Tally and IFB, a 7pin Lemo connection enabling RS-232 and RS-422 control protocols for ENG or PTZ style production cameras, while adding the ability to supply multiple receivers, independently supporting different resolutions and frame rates based on what each receiver can support for playback.
Food and Flowers
Amsterdam and the Dutch are known for their flowers, right?
This display above was a stunning insult for Google to not show real tulips. You can buy inexpensive flowers on nearly every street corner in Amsterdam, there are 2x flower shops to every one of the tourist “coffee” shops. Mostly it was young attendees from Asia that took pics of the Google display. The fake flowers seemed to get vandalized regularly so by the second day of the show those fake flowers had special attention from security for their own protection.
Lastly one of the things that makes IBC such a great show is the varied food options available to attendee’s and NAB should take notice. Last year IBC added a couple of dozen food trucks around the RAI Convention center, and it has really made a difference with the diversity of dining options. While I would never even consider eating sushi in one of the halls of the LVCC, I think nothing of stopping for some nigiri and a beer on my walk between halls at IBC. That alone makes IBC one to take in.
Note: I traveled to IBC without financial or logistical support from any manufacturer or publication. I have consulted or been associated with many of the companies mentioned in this article, but I have not been compensated in any manner so that I would include them herein.