Digital camera technology has made some real strides in recent years. It used to be that, if you wanted a good photography camera, you’d buy a high-end DSLR. If you wanted a good video camera, you’d buy a high-end dedicated video camera. But a great convergence has been happening between photo and video-capture, with many modern DSLR cams gaining the ability to take high-definition video, as well as high-resolution images.
Sony is pushing that convergence to the next level with its upcoming a9 camera:
This mechanism-free camera can deliver a-class-above performance conventional mechanical SLRs have only sought. For example, this system realizes a totally blackout-free viewfinder while conventional systems can only try to reduce blackout time. A high-speed, vibration-free, silent Anti-Distortion shutter vastly extends the range of shooting situations while a mechanical system can only aim for lower vibration and quieter shutter release sound. α9 provides continuous tracking of moving subjects for foolproof AF/AE… α9 allows its viewfinder to show not only images of the subject… but also the final image of a shot. Now, thanks to a new image sensor that superbly manages all these roles…
A few highlights of the Sony a9:
- Full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with integral memory
- 24.2-megapixel full-frame image sensor
- Enhanced BIONZ X image-processing engine
- High-speed continuous shooting at up to 20fps
- Non-mechanical electronic shutter eliminates blackout with typical SLR mirror action
- Light directly reaches the image sensor without mechanical interruption
- Electronic shutter speeds up to 1/32000 sec
- Anti-distortion electronic shutter allows silent shooting
- Vibration-free electronic shutter that can keep the camera stable, for razor-sharp images
The Sony a9 DSLR camera body is available now for pre-order with a retail price of $4498.00.
4K video streaming is definitely here to stay. In fact, 4K streaming is becoming so commonplace, it’s even possible to now stream live 4K video from space. That’s exactly what NASA is going to do during the 2017 NAB show, happening later this month in Las Vegas. NAB recently announced via mass e-mail that the space-vid stream will occur during a panel called Reaching for the Stars: Connecting to the Future with NASA and Hollywood:
The panel is co-produced by NAB Show, NASA, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), and will explore how advanced imaging and cloud technologies are taking scientific research and filmmaking to the next level. The live feed from 250 miles above Earth will be encoded AWS Elemental encoding software on board the International Space Station (ISS) and on the ground at Johnson Space Center.
During the NAB Show Super Session, a live 4K stream will enable NASA astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson on the ISS to converse with AWS Elemental CEO and Co-founder Sam Blackman, who will be at the LVCC. In conjunction with the live 4K streaming event, NASA astronaut Dr. Tracy Caldwell Dyson and NASA Imagery Experts Program Manager Rodney Grubbs will take part in an LVCC-based panel discussion featuring Hollywood and technology leaders…
This presentation should appeal to video-production professionals and space/science buffs alike. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, April 26th from 10:30AM-11:30AM at spaces N249-251 during the NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The presentation will also be live-streamed in 4K (with downscaled versions available for non-4K devices) and made available on-demand after the presentation is over.
Wider adoption of the HTML5 standard for media players is a good thing, if for no other reason than, it means Flash will be killed off faster. That’s why it’s good news when larger, established platforms begin to adopt HTML5. That’s what happened when Livestream recently announced the rollout of its new HTML5 player:
Livestream’s HTML5 player is now available to Chrome users on Livestream.com as well as in the live player embed and video-on-demand.
HTML5 has become the industry standard in video viewing. More web browsers are eliminating the need for plugins and add-ons as HTML5 players have greater flexibility than their Flash counterparts.
Now Livestream producers and viewers alike will enjoy more resilient playback on Livestream.com and Livestream’s player embeds as well. This new player is nimble and responsive, equipped for quicker load times and less processing power from your computer so it won’t slow you down.
Livestream hasn’t completely given up on Flash yet. The new HTML5 player is only available to Google Chrome users who are viewing video streams on the Livestream website or embedded Livestream media players. But, the company is planning to implement HTML5 on other browsers and platforms:
We’re eager to implement the HTML5 player across all browsers, including support for Safari, Firefox, and others. These changes are automatic, so users will not need to adjust their account settings, nor will they incur any additional cost.
This is great news for video producers and consumers. Hopefully, more platforms will follow Livestream’s lead and begin implementing HTML5 media players.
Livestream Studio, the software heart of Livestream’s computer-based live media production system was recently upgraded to version 4.2. The latest version of Livestream Studio is designed to increase CPU performance, as well as provide simulcast support, and more.
Here are some of Livestream Studio 4.2’s key features:
Multi-Destination Streaming: Stream simultaneously to multiple livestreaming platforms from Studio. This requires more bandwidth from the network you’re using to stream, but will not use more CPU. For a more optimized setup, you can also leverage the new simulcasting feature of the Livestream Cloud Platform (Premium and Enterprise plan), which sends a single stream to multiple platforms without clogging your venue internet connection.
Hardware Acceleration: Lower your CPU when streaming with PCs running on NVENC-enabled NVIDIA GPU or Intel CPU with QuickSync support. This includes custom Studio configurations, the Livestream Studio HD550 4K Edition, and Studio HD31. Streaming at 4K and 1080p60 is also available on these hardware platforms with our new hardware acceleration support.
Graphics Support in Web Control: Web Control gives producers remote control of your Livestream Studio software using a WebRTC compatible browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox). Web Control now gives you the ability to fully control your Graphics module, including adding and editing data. Delegate graphics tasks to other team members while you focus on cutting the show on the main Studio interface.
Livestream Studio 4.2 is available as a free upgrade to existing Livestream Studio customers.
We’ve written about Network Device Interface (NDI) before, the protocol developed by Newtek that makes it possible to send HD video over networked connections. Newtek has encouraged widespread adoption of NDI by releasing the protocol under free, open-source terms. This has allowed the video production community to find different uses for NDI, and Sienna has the latest development in NDI-compatible software.
Sienna recently released WebCam for NDI, an application that allows users to work with macOS-based webcams over NDI connections:
This unique app turns your macOS Webcam into a powerful network camera, using the NDI IP Video Protocol.
Simply launch the app,select your camera and a new NDI service will be registered on your network.
Now you can select WebCam for NDI from any NDI compatible receiver, such as NewTek TriCaster Advanced edition and use the mac’s Camera as a high quality network video and audio source.
WebCam for NDI is low latency and high quality and adds a convenient way to connect things like MacBook iSight Cameras into your production mix .
WebCam for NDI requires a solid network connection, as NDI can use a lot of bandwidth. WebCam for NDI is compatible with many popular webcams, including the Logitech C920 and Apple iSight cameras. WebCam for NDI also supports AVFoundation compatible devices.
WebCam for NDI is available as a $39.99 purchase from the Mac App Store.
HandBrake has been a handy tool for media creators for over a decade. The free, open-source application makes it easy to convert and encode media of almost any format. HandBrake recently crossed an important milestone in its development, having finally reached an official version 1.0.0 release:
After more than 13 years of development, the HandBrake Team is delighted to present HandBrake 1.0.0. Thank you to all of our many contributors over the years for making HandBrake what it is today.
Here are some features included in HandBrake 1.0.0:
– New online documentation at https://handbrake.fr/docs
– Completely overhauled the official presets
– New general use presets for broad compatibility
– New device presets, now more up-to-date for common devices
– New web presets
– New Matroska (MKV) presets, including VP9 video with Opus audio
– Official presets from HandBrake 0.10.x are still available under “Legacy”
– New JSON-based preset system including command line support
– New JSON-based API for interacting with libhb
– Improvements to audio/video sync engine to better handle difficult sources
– Many miscellaneous bug fixes and improvements
– VP9 video encoding via libvpx
– Intel QuickSync Video H.265/HEVC encoder
– Requires Intel Skylake or newer CPU
– Ultra HD / 4K color pass through (support for BT.2020)
– Additional standard frame rate selections in the graphical interfaces
– New Auto anamorphic mode maximizes storage resolution, replaces Strict anamorphic mode
– New Pad filter (command line only for now)
– New Decomb/Deinterlace filter settings and improved defaults
– Rotate filter now available in all graphical interfaces
– New NLMeans filter tunes Tape and Sprite for analog tape recordings and vintage video games, respectively
– Assembly optimizations NLMeans filter improve performance up to 10%
– Assembly optimizations in x264 encoder improve performance for faster presets by 5-10%
– x265 encoder quality improvements, especially when using tune grain
– High bit depth encoding support via external shared libraries (video pipeline is still 8-bit 4:2:0)
– x264 10-bit
– x265 10-bit and 12-bit
To learn more about HandBrake 1.0.0, click the link at the top of this article. HandBrake is available as a free download for macOS, Windows, and Linux, as a well as a command-line version of the application.
Popular video-streaming service Netflix made a significant change to how it works when it recently announced it’d allow users on mobile devices to download complete videos, instead of offering only streaming. It was a smart move on behalf of Netflix, as it gives mobile users the ability to download movies and TV shows on Wi-Fi and then consume those videos where they may have limited (or no) internet access.
And while that flexibility may solve one problem (access to Netflix content), it can create another; maxing out available storage. Modern mobile devices run the range from 8GB to 128GB of storage. And with modern devices doing more and more, internal storage exists at a premium. The new offline mode provided by Netflix wouldn’t get much use if it filled up users’ devices after one or two sessions. With this in mind, Netflix had to devise a way for those downloaded files to use as little space as possible:
One of the biggest differences between shows you download and shows you stream on Netflix is the video format, or codec, the company is using. For streaming, Netflix has been using H.264/AVC almost exclusively. However, users who download Netflix shows to most Android devices instead receive content encoded with VP9 — an open source video codec developed by Google that uses a bunch of advanced encoding tricks to deliver the same video quality with significantly less data, or a better video qualities with the same amount of data.
As VP9 is a Google-developed codec, it’s not currently supported by Apple. For now, Netflix is using a slightly modified version of H.264 on iOS devices. Apple hasn’t yet indicated if it will support VP9 in the future.
Media-streaming service Livestream is offering a special holiday discount on its streaming service, along with a free Mevo camera:
Get 20% off any annual Livestream platform plan through December 23. Receive a free Mevo, the pocket-sized live event camera, with your Enterprise purchase.
This is a great opportunity for anyone looking to take their live internet broadcasting to a new level in 2017. Livestream has proven to be one of the most robust and reliable media-streaming services available, with an array of professional-grade applications that make it easy to get a live stream up and running in short order.
Livestream’s holiday deal is sweetened by the inclusion of a free Mevo camera. The Mevo is a compact but powerful 4K camera that makes it easy to do multi-camera style productions with just one camera:
The app allows users to select specific sections of a live video and then “cut” to those sections as closeups, creating a multi-cam experience for the viewer. Filming a concert and you’d like to cut between a wide shot of the stage along with closeups of invidicual players? No problem. Just tap on one of the performers in the Mevo iOS app and the camera does the rest for you, switching seamlessly from the wide shot to the closeup.
Livestream’s 20% holiday discount and free Mevo camera are available to enterprise users only. For more information, click the link at the top of this article and fill out the form to be contacted by Livestream sales staff.
Online video distribution service Vimeo has been working hard to build its reputation as “the world’s best creative community.” Vimeo launched when the internet video market began to take off during the previous decade. Realizing that the company would never be able to compete with YouTube on a macro level, Vimeo refocused itself as a purveyor of tools and services for independent video producers and filmmakers. Over time, Vimeo has introduced things like digital sales and subscription services that make it easy for producers to sell their videos online.
In its latest move to expand its offerings, Vimeo is introducing Vimeo Business:
…our community is the driving force behind Vimeo Business. Over time, you’ve given us tons of feedback about what you need most: the ability engage with customers and generate leads, market new products, and seamlessly collaborate with colleagues. We built Vimeo Business precisely to address all those things and more.
Some key features of Vimeo Business:
- Unlimited bandwidth in the Vimeo player with no weekly limits, and the ability to upload up to 5TB total of video.
- In-depth video stats when you connect Vimeo to your Google Analytics dashboard.
- Work seamlessly with colleagues, clients, video pros, and more — add up to 10 team members to help manage your account and videos.
- Generate leads with clickable CTAs and e-mail capture in the player, then send the info to MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor.
- Powerful privacy: password protection, domain-level privacy, and private link sharing.
- Player customization: add your colors, logo, and more.
- Upload videos from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box.
A Vimeo Business membership is available now for $599/year.
Video streaming company Livestream recently upped its game in terms of its video-production offerings. Livestream’s portable Studio HD550 and Studio HD51 video production systems are now both available for preorder as 4K editions. Livestream made this announcement in conjunction with its showing at the recent IBC show in London:
Launching at IBC 2016, Livestream’s portable (Studio HD550) and rackmount (Studio HD51) live production switchers are now available in 4K edition for pre-order. Featuring 5 inputs and one output with full size HDMI and SDI connectors. The 4K Edition also features upgraded hardware all around: 64GB RAM, 8 Core Intel i7 CPU (16 Virtual threads), Windows 10, 2TB SSD drive. Pre-order now from Livestream or one of our resellers at store.livestream.com. Shipping in November 2016.
Livestream’s Studio HD series of products provide an all-in-one solution for live-video production. The HD51 is geared more for studio work while the Studio HD550 is a better fit for mobile producers at remote locations. Both models have plenty of inputs to make it easy to connect multiple video sources. Livestream’s Studio Software is included, making the Studio HD series a feature-rich video switcher capable of capturing and/or broadcasting live events. The Studio HD550 even comes with its own protective carrying bag, which makes it easy to transport to different locations.
The original Studio HD series and the new 4K editions can be found in the Livestream Store. Pricing varies, depending on which model you need.