Any NAB Show is too massive to be summarized in a single blog post. This show represents the current state of a multi-billion dollar industry composed of thousands of wildly different companies. I enjoy walking the halls just to learn about gear that I never use – like helicopters, transmission towers, and radio playout servers. NAB is a very cool place.
Still, in our part of the industry, there is lots of stuff going on. Here are my thoughts, in no particular order.
THE RESOLUTION RACE
NOTE: Though Intel needs to simplify its certification process if it EVER expects Thunderbolt to be successful. Far too many devices are lingering in certification limbo. At some point, if Intel doesn’t speed up, key vendors will stop playing Intel’s game. And that would be bad for all of us.
Let’s put all this advanced resolution in perspective. According to studies done by Panavision, in order to see the increased resolution afforded by 4K images projected in a theater, you would need to sit in the first six rows of that theater, in other words, closer to the screen than one-half the screen height. I suspect that means we need to pull the couch EXTRA close to that 4K monitor in the living room… (Like the ones announced by Sony, Sharp, and Panasonic at prices that rival high-end BMWs.)
Higher resolution images allow creating “ROI,” or “Regions of Interest.” For example, an 8K camera with the appropriate lens, sitting on the 50-yard line can see the entire field from goal line to goal line. The resolution of this camera is so great, that we can create windows, or ROIs, into that massive 8K image. Then, we can follow the action, not by panning the camera, but by panning the ROI as the runner moves down the field.
What seems to be coming is a time when cameras don’t move. Instead, we create “Ken Burns effects” within an extremely high-resolution image to create the framing and movement that we need.
Granted, this allows us to create very cool images that were impossible only two years ago. But it also raises massive privacy concerns. How do you negotiate a deal, resolve a conflict, or have a private conversation when cameras are ubiquitous? Reality TV not withstanding, some things are meant to be private.
THE WORLD OF POST
Turning more specifically to the world of post-production:
NOTE: Apple is still offering encouraging words that a new MacPro is still coming later this year. “When,” not “if,” is the key word. Specs and timing are totally unknown. My feeling is that Apple is constrained by an availability of the right chips; but that doesn’t lessen the pain.
* Autodesk is revitalized. They may still be at the high-end of the price spectrum, but they are doing everything they can to become relevant to the broad market. The release of Smoke 2013 began a trend they continued into NAB with the announcement of the new 2014 Creation Suite shows that they are not willing cede their market to others.
* The big booths get all the attention, but the cool stuff lurks in the corners. A very cool plug-in for FCP X is SliceX, a collaboration between Core Melt and Imagineer Systems. This automated rotoscoping tool allows you to select a region of any shape within an image, then motion track it for the duration of the clip. Very, very cool.
* Another cool discovery was Quiver, a flat-fee-based aggregator that is designed to process and deliver your films for sales on iTunes, Google, and other media platforms. I was impressed with what these folks are doing.
There is a lot more to talk about. I spent the week interviewing key players in our industry at NAB. Rather than restate everything I learned here, for our detailed coverage, including videos for the first time, visit: NABShowBuzz.com.
As always, I am interested in your comments.
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