Description image

NAB 2012: Day 2 Recap - Las Vegas Supermeet: Adobe CS6, Smoke, Blackmagic, Shane Hurlbut, Morgan Spurlock

No video updates at the moment, as my entire night was spent at the Eleventh Annual Las Vegas Supermeet, a meeting of the Creative Pro User Group Network, which is a gathering of editors and like-minded post people. Unfortunately the event was plagued by projection and sound problems (the in-house staff are the only people who can touch that stuff). It’s ironic that this happened to a room full of nerds who understand the issues and could have fixed it pretty easily! Regardless we got to see a bit of Adobe CS6, the new Smoke, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Shane Hurlbut talked about the Canon 1DC, and we got a wonderfully hilarious talk from Morgan Spurlock, who went into detail about his career.

I can say immediately that I like the look of Adobe CS6 much better than the older versions. They’ve done a lot to try to make editing easier and simpler, and try to get the interface to get out of your way. Here are some of the new features that were shown off:

  • Hover Scrub: Allows you to skim through a clip by hovering over the picture and moving the mouse
  • Adjustment Layers: Exactly what it sounds like – these are added just like they are in Photoshop.
  • Button Editor: Change the buttons on the playback windows – or get rid of them altogether
  • Dynamic Trimming: Trim clips while the timeline is playing or looping – it doesn’t stop even if you change something
  • Multicam: Allows an unlimited number of angles
  • Supports 5K RAW (RED) and ArriRAW
  • Open CL support for AMD GPUs

The Dynamic Trimming mode is absolutely fantastic. The ability to keep playback going indefinitely while you are trimming and changing in/out points is such a faster way to edit. I am also a big fan of adjustment layers, where adjustments are non-destructively added on top of the clips. It makes sense that Adobe is trying to incorporate the better parts of Photoshop into CS6. If a program like Photoshop is that widespread, there’s no reason not to want to emulate certain areas. As far as the layout is concerned, Adobe has changed the program to have just two large windows at the top, the preview and viewer windows. It makes a lot more sense as these are two of the more important aspects of editing, actually being able to see what you’re doing, especially if you’ve only got one screen to work with. Here’s a brief video preview of CS6 from Vincent Laforet:

<embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400" height="300"></embed>

Evan Schechtman from Radical did his best to talk about the new Smoke while dealing with projection issues. One of the big things about Smoke is the ability to keep everything within one program. An XML or EDL can be brought over from the editing program and then all the visual effects can be contained within that one program. This is going to make things very interesting in the post world, and the price has come down significantly from the past, standing at about $3500. For a visual effects product as in-depth as Smoke that is a steal of a price for a post-house or small post-company.

Blackmagic talked a little more about their Cinema Camera, and Grant Petty, the CEO of Blackmagic Design, went a little more in-depth about the design of the camera and their reason for building it. After seeing what the original Canon 5D Mark II had done to democratize filmmaking, they were inspired to try to make their own camera to compliment the 5D. Grant was very clear that the market they are trying to reach is people who will own more than one camera – because the Cinema Camera is not a replacement for all jobs and all purposes. It is a fantastic run-and-gun camera, and that was a big part of their design philosophy. That’s why the big LCD on the back can handle most of the functions of the camera – it makes the rig much simpler. The DSLR revolution, in their mind, was still missing a huge part: a better post workflow. That’s why they have introduced RAW Cinema DNG recording as well as DNxHD and ProRes. The other big part of that post workflow is the ability to do tons of metadata in camera – from complete descriptions to whether a take was good or bad. For a company that is very post-based, it’s logical that they would understand how powerful metadata can be, and that’s why it’s an essential part of the camera’s functionality. This is a professional camera with a professional post workflow inside a camera body that only costs $3000 – and includes Resolve absolutely free. That’s pretty amazing.

Shane Hurlbut reiterated his love for the new Canon 1DC, and he walked us through some of the production of the short film he did for that camera. Part of the reason he likes the camera so much is the fact that it is 4K in such a small package. I think this is also something RED is striving for, but for people who are comfortable with using DSLRs, this camera is no different. He talked about the places that he was able to squeeze the camera – and himself. One shot involved Shane squeezing into the trunk of a Prius and doing a dolly move on a camera slider. Obviously big cameras like the F65 and the Alexa cannot do this. RED can, but that seemed to be most absent from the conversation. Shane really just enjoys the form factor, because there are obviously some pretty major shortcomings when it comes to color space and compression for a camera that is doing such high resolution. I’m going to get my hands on the 1DC and really try to get a feel for it.

Finally Morgan Spurlock came out to talk about about his new film, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope. Here’s the trailer:

Morgan was a little disappointed but also inspired by the fact that this was the first film that his dad in West Virgina could watch immediately upon release thanks to digital distribution. All of his other films have opened in very limited theatrical release, and that makes it really difficult if you don’t live near one of the major metropolitan areas like NYC or LA. There was also a bit of inspiring talk when Morgan described how at one point he was $250,000 in debt with personally and with his company. He was evicted from his apartment and living in his office, and finally MTV picked up a TV show they were creating. He was able to pay off some of the debt, but also had some money left over, around $50,000. In true independent (and maybe foolish) spirit, instead of putting that money towards the debt, he decided to make a film, and that film became Super-Size Me.

Lots of great info at the CPUG, and some truly inspiring and funny stuff from Morgan Spurlock.


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 23 COMMENTS

  • Jordan Carr on 04.18.12 @ 2:48PM

    Great overview for those of us who are not there. Keep it coming!


  • CS6, some Rokinon lenses, the Black Magic camera and a gaming computer is just about everything you need for a medium to high level production. All for under $10k…wow.

    • Jordan Carr on 04.18.12 @ 3:18PM

      Pretty much (though I would gear the computer towards Nvidia and a different HDD / SSD setup vs a gaming computer for better Adobe speed).

      If you haven’t seen/heard about the movie called “Monsters” – check it out. Love it or hate it, it was filmed on the Sony EX1 with lens adapters on a very limited budget. Most of the 500k budget was spent on traveling and the editing of th e movie was done with a computer built with off the rack parts.

      Monsters went on to gross over $4 million.

      2 years after this movie came out we now have access to tools 2x as powerful (at least).

      I honestly believe that someone creative will win an Oscar for best picture with a film budgeted under $100,000 within the next 10 to 12 years.


      • YES! I love Monsters, that movie was done so well with so little. This industry is finally becoming less about politics, bs execs, high budgets, and expensive equipment and more about creating what’s in your mind’s eye. About f**** time.

        • What industry are you talking about? Indie film? Or Hollywood. Because the studios are almost the complete inverse of that, and heading the other way. An average studio comedy now costs over $60M. Not changing anytime soon. Indie film has always existed in the world you describe, except for a terrible patch in the mid-90′s. Cheaper equipment not actually the key to more or better indie films.

  • Again, thanks for the great summary of NAB2012. I love the fact you simply point out what matters.

  • Well, as soon as possible, it would be nice to see how Adobe’s color grade software compares to Davinci Resolve! It makes sense now why the bundled it free with their cinema camera.

    • Power windows are a huge selling point with resolve, their trackers if so good. I have a feeling they didn’t combine the 3D Tracker in AE into Speedgrade, so I think static grading, or grading with masks + key frames will be how they do it, but that is based on pure speculation.

      • My jaw hit the desk the first time I saw Resolve’s trackers in action.

      • Ya, they didn’t talk about key frames. Some good features of SG: multiple playheads, powerful GPU integration, inside/outside masks with control widgets, layers, look presets + saving ability (like Resolve), controller interface integration, awesome output/conform.

        Anyone who wants in-depth, here is 20+ minutes on it:

      • I saw a beta demo on it last week and I can confirm that there are key frames and a point tracker (not 3D though from what I saw). They’ve only had Speedgrade for 4 months so you can’t blame them for not putting their new after effects 3D tracker into it, I’m surprised speedgrade was even ready for CS6!

        • Totally agree. Iridias was taken over by Adobe only in September 2011. Adobe gives us great value by including SG in the suite. On the other hand, keyframeable/trackeable masks is sth that’s badly needed for SG. I can’t imagine that this is not top priority for the 6.5 release next year. Plenty of time to improve my grading skills first.

  • Thanks for the good info. I’ve been following your site for quite a while now and I’ve learned a lot of stuff !

  • All great overviews for an NAB I hated to miss. So, NO Sony Surprise to unveil a F5 camera? Really was hoping for that. Was there even a discusion of what may be coming to replace the F3 or upgrade? Really like your site.

  • One thing that separates adjustment layers in Ps and Ae from Premiere Pro is that you can place multiple ones *behind* each other, instead of only on top of each other. This allows you to create a single grading layers with multiple adjustment clips with varying looks applied to them. Great for matching cameras on clips below.

  • Richard Heads on 04.19.12 @ 12:31PM

    Is there a link to Spurlock’s presentation?

  • I am not sure where the Monsters budget went from 15K to 500,000K. In the interviews I watched at the time of it”s release, the director said that the film was completed for 15K. Maybe the rest was tacked on for marketing and distribution costs, which may have come from the buyers of the film.

    Yes, it is possible to make a viable film on a small budget. It is becoming technically more possible by the month, it seems.

    • Daniel Mimura on 04.21.12 @ 7:12PM

      Well, hopefully he lied on the price to get a little money out of it, as well as to pay those being paid deferred wages (if they this is what they did—if it costs $15k, I would assume so…)