By William Rogers
Let’s dive right into the craziness.
RED sat me down with the other members of the press in a comfortably dark theater, as they blasted my face with footage demoed from their new Weapon-sensor equipped cameras. There was a bit of awkwardness in the air shared between the RED representatives and the press members—RED admitted that they hadn’t done this sort of sleek, private reveal before at NAB.
That was all right—we live in an age where the press releases aren’t the bleeding edge of news, but more a formality to keep the sexiness and lust alive for something like RED cameras. After all, we are in Vegas.
Sit. Wait. Look at our tech. The cookies are over there. Have a good day on the floor.
The rush of their event came from the vastness of the audience in which I was enveloped. I looked around and came to feel like I was a part of the 2016 presidential announcements—cameras and notepads to my left, right, front, back and parked at the rear of the audience was a phalanx of broadcast cameras honed in on the keynote speaker and his array of new tech.
After I finished wrapping up my rapid fire live tweets of the new Blackmagic tech, I made my way back to the RED booth to get a personal demo of the NextVR virtual reality headsets. Each headset was designed to take a Galaxy Note 4, and turn it into a VR experience. This was my first VR experience, and needless to say, I was flabbergasted. I was transported from a trade show floor into a Coldplay concert. I almost reached out to touch the hipster dancing on screen. Almost. Taking the goggles off required a massive reorientation for my brain, but I walked away with a new perspective on the future of entertainment.
The rest of my day consisted of testing out the new soles of my shoes. I’m accustomed to wearing dress shoes all the time, and had somehow forgotten to purchase sneakers in the past two years of my life. I’m very thankful that I was sporting comfy foot-cushions and not sacrificing the arches of my feet.
I visited TV Logic, who specializes in broadcast quality monitors for studios and field production. I got a grand tour of their 10-bit color monitors, brand new UHD studio monitors, along with Observer, their multi-wall monitor management application.
I visited GoPro briefly. They were up to the gills in filmmakers clamoring for a chance to demo their Virtual Reality technology, while also waiting for a camera to get tossed in their direction like bridesmaids wait for the bouquet. They had already given their keynote about their advancements with HEROCast, which is an impressive advancement in lightweight and versatile broadcast cameras.
I trekked back from the Central Hall down to the South Lower hall where more of the niche vendors for post-production were located.
FileCatalyst gave me a one-on-one demo of the general purpose and soul of their company. They stressed the importance of their UDP-based (against standard TCP) file transfers from client to client, and succinctly detailed why file transfer encryption was so important. At a basic level, they provided an excellent argument against simply throwing one’s files up on a free transfer service for download.
Vidcheck was another niche company—not small by any means, but after you’ve been staring at giant booths and elegant floor displays all day, your perception plays tricks on you. They showed off their product solutions for proper quality control for the entirety of the post-production process. They argued why it was so important to have an automated software solution that performs a rigorous QC on your deliverables, versus something that I’m all too familiar with in the more boutique world of filmmaking—manual QC.
Later, I got my first taste of reporter-style on-camera interviewing with AMD, who was there to show off their latest FirePro video cards. I still can’t believe I only had to do two takes of introducing their representatives. For anyone who’s said “hold on, I’m rendering,” AMD’s got some exciting new developments involving optimized and faster rendering between cornerstone post production software and a computer that sports the FirePro cards.
After I was done on the floor of the convention center, I made my way over to the Wynn to attend an event hosted by Vimeo. Despite a 30-minute walk, where I vastly underestimated the closeness of buildings in Vegas, the event was low key, serene and quite elegant. GoPro’s Jim Geduldick was there to discuss “The Future of Wearables in Film”, which was a discussion centered around the bright future of virtual reality, and just how quickly it has come into prominence in the world of entertainment. It was an exciting and informative conversation, capped off by a group selfie with the 30 or so people in attendance. I really hope I can find that photo later, because I always make a point of being animated in any sort of photo-op.
As I’ve been saying to people throughout the show, virtual reality is the secret hero of NAB (so far). Everybody is craving and raving about drones, but VR is what will be ubiquitous in our future of entertainment. Mark my words.
So, that was Monday. Now it is Tuesday evening. I’ve got a whole bunch to say about Tuesday, but I’ll save that for you and your morning coffee.
Will is an editor, artist and all around creative professional working as a Post Production Coordinator for DB Productions in NYC