Matt and I visited the DV Expo in Pasadena this afternoon. We didn’t sit in on any sessions, but spoke to a number of vendors on the main floor, mostly scouting out rigs and rental houses that might make sense for a microbudget feature Matt’s planning to make.

Overall, this was a smaller shindig than when I visited a few years ago, when it was held at the LA Convention Center. Back then, a lot of hubbub surrounded Panasonic’s HVX-200 and the transition to a tapeless workflow. The 2010 equivalents are the HD-DSLRs such as the 5D and 7D, still-format cameras which provide an amazing video image but a lot of trade-offs given their shape.

At least a third of the booths were demoing either these cameras or rigs designed to make them more usable, such as shoulder mounts, audio recorders and follow-focus units. I already have (and love) Zacuto’s Z-Finder for the 7D, but I’ll definitely want some sort of shoulder support. Without it, you can’t handhold one very long.

Other observations:

  • No Apple. Earlier expos had a large Apple presence centered around Final Cut Pro and Motion. This time, nothing. They probably didn’t want to have to answer a thousand questions about when the next version of FCP will come.

  • No Adobe or Avid, either. Both have better native support for the formats a lot these cameras use, like AVCHD and MPEG-4. I’m really sick of converting to ProRes.

  • Good-looking 3D. Several manufacturers were showing off 3D monitors. This was the first time I’d ever considered getting one.

  • Lots of panel lights. Everywhere I used to see Kino-Flos, I saw LEDs.

  • My favorite gizmo was probably a Wi-Fi video tap by Teradek that lets you broadcast to nearby laptops, iPads and iPhones. That would be a godsend for a virtual video village. (On Go, we used a somewhat-illegal TV transmitter for the same purpose.)

The Expo continues tomorrow if you’re in town and eager to check out some gear.