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Attention, Filmmakers: Best Filmmaking Tools from NAB Convention

Attention, Filmmakers: Best Filmmaking Tools from NAB Convention

At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas, new gadgets are everywhere you look. You have no choice but to come to terms with the fact that there’s no way you can check out every new tech goodie on display. But so you don’t feel left out, we’ve highlighted some of the newest and best indie filmmaking tools that were unveiled this week during NAB, which wrapped yesterday.

READ MORE: New Cameras Unveiled in Time for NAB: Here’s Why C300 Mark II Is One to Watch


With the FAA loosening regulations regarding drones for filmmaking, it’s no surprise that this year NAB introduced an Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion, featuring a fully enclosed “flying cage” that enabled attendees to get a close-up look at the technology in action. You might say the flying cameras were all the buzz this year at NAB.

Though the company started out in aerial cinematography, Firefly is perhaps best known for its MoVI camera stabilizers. But that could change now that it’s introducing the Freefly Alta, which it’s billing as “the definitive aerial platform.” Guided by a state-of-the-art Synapse Flight Controller, it unpacks and is ready to shoot in under five minutes. But the biggest plus is that it allows cinematographers to mount their cameras on the top. The catch? It’s priced at $8,495. Check out the demo video below:

If the Freefly Alta is too rich for your blood, you might consider this new more affordable drone, 3DR’s Solo Smart Drone, which is the first drone made exclusively for GoPro. It is easy to use and features video game-style controls. Best of all, it’s priced at $999. Find out more here and watch the video below, which details its specifications:



The biggest news in lighting is that ARRI unveiled the Sky Panel LED series of soft lights, which come in color tunable models from 2800-10000 kelvin. They’re capable of vivid colors and non-color tuneable models that have 10% more light output than its counterparts. They also come in two sizes, the S-60 series and the more compact S-30 series. Because they’re only five inches thick, they can fit where other soft lights can’t. Alas, they aren’t cheap. Depending on the model, they’ll range from just over $3,000 to more than $6,000. Find out more here.

READ MORE: RED Announces 8K Weapon: Here’s Why It’s Impressive…And Disappointing


Cooke released its new anamorphic zoom lens which transmits lens metadata directly to the camera. This means that the camera will record lens information along with your footage. The camera will remember the focal length you were on when you shot the footage even if you don’t. “In the storied tradition of Cooke 5:1 and 10:1 zooms, this is the first in a series of front anamorphic zoom lenses that will complement Cooke’s set of Anamorphic/i primes lenses,” Les Zellan, Chairman and Owner, Cooke Optics, said in a statement.


RED introduced its new RED Weapon brain, which will start at $49,500 for the 6K carbon fiber version. For an optional $10,000 upgrade fee you can get an 8K Vista Vision (full frame) version of the camera. Unfortunately, the $10,000 upgrade fee will jump up to $20,000 after NAB, meaning that the new flagship 8K RED Weapon will retail for nearly $70,000 for the brain only so probably not in the indie filmmaker’s tool box. 

A couple of more affordable options:

Blackmagic unveiled the URSA MINI, which is basically a smaller and lighter version of the URSA. The Super 35 digital film camera features a 4.6K image sensor, switchable global or rolling shutter, up to 15 stops of dynamic range, a large 5 inch fold out viewfinder and dual RAW and ProRes recorders. Blackmagic URSA Mini will be available in July starting from $2,995. At that price point, we expect it will sell big. Blackmagic also announced its Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera, a miniaturized Super 16mm professional digital film camera; and the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera, a tiny Ultra HD and HD studio camera for live production.

Meanwhile, just before NAB kicked off, Canon introduced the new C300 Mark II, a 4K version of its predecessor with some much needed functionality including: 15 stops of dynamic range, RAW ability (to an external recorder), a better codec, 120fps slow motion and much more. It will retail for $15,999.

READ MORE: 6 Film and Video Cameras That Changed The Face of Indie Film

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