By Randi Altman
Welcome to our NAB-themed weekly newsletter. While this space is typically filled with different types of articles, including artist Q&As, product reviews and user stories, this edition features product news and videos from the recent NAB Show in Las Vegas.
This NAB was postPerspective’s first, and it was a good one. We had a booth in South Hall Upper, where it was just quiet enough for our daily interviews with manufactures such as Avid, AJA, Blackmagic, Autodesk and Silverdraft, and users like as Terry Curren of AlphaDogs, Mark Raudonis of Bunim-Murray Productions, Todd Kilponen of The Colbert Report and Oscar-winning editor of Gravity Mark Sanger.
After our video interviews were done, Chris Fenwick and Alex MacLean of the Digital Cinema Cafe hosted their podcast from the postPerspective booth. You can listen to some of that here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dcc046-nab-diamonds-feat./id654281526?i=302054675&mt=2
What Users Are Saying
After the show we checked back in with some post pros we met at NAB to see what they thought of this year’s conference. NAB 2014 was Terry Curren’s 26th. Curren is owner of Burbank’s AlphaDogs. “NAB can be overwhelming if you walk in without a game plan,” he says. “I tend to cruise through rather fast on Monday and make notes on where I might want to focus in the coming days. Monday, day one, is typically the most crowded, which tends to discourage a closer look at things. I enjoy finding new products that are hidden in the back rows since those are the newcomers that don’t have the PR budgets to get noticed the rest of the year.”
This year Curren came in early to catch the Avid Connect experience, which started on Friday morning. “It was an interesting effort by Avid to engage their customer base more closely with their future direction as a company. If it pans out, it could be very helpful to the community at large. The whole event was at a scale I have never before seen from Avid. It was more inline with an Apple event, like the early FCP launches.”
Curren, who is never one to pull any punches, finds that NAB generally runs in two-year cycles: “Last year was all about the push for 4K to save the TV manufacturers. So naturally you would expect this year would be about the 4K workflows everyone figured out. However, this year there wasn’t a lot of consensus on 4K workflows, or if we even need to deliver 4K.
I counted at least five film scanner booths that didn’t realize they had just been put out of business by Blackmagic and its new 4K Cintel Film Scanner http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/press/pressdetails?releaseID=60309. They just revolutionized another segment of the business.”
Curren was also impressed with the NLE within Resolve 11. “It shows more improvements as an NLE than any other NLE out there. This doesn’t mean it’s a great NLE, just that they seem to be doing more development than anyone else. They also have further to go, but at that price point no one can compete with them as they keep pushing ahead in the finishing market.”
See our interview with Blackmagic’s Bob Caniglia, who talks us through many of Blackmagic’s offerings this NAB:
Mark Raudonis, VP of post production at Bunim-Murray Productions, is a regular NAB attendee. “NAB is the one time of the year that I can take the pulse of the industry as a whole and feel like I’m up to speed on trends, developments, and products. It’s also an incredibly efficient way to meet with multiple vendors in a short period of time. Most importantly, since we are in a ‘people business,’ NAB offers the chance to reconnect with colleagues from around the world.”
Since he typically knows what the major players are going to be offering, Raudonis likes to concentrate on some of the little booths in the far flung corners of the show, much like Curren. “These smaller players or startups are where the most interesting new products/developments are. The NAB Daily does a great job of publishing a daily magazine showcasing various products, new releases etc. I will look through that publication at night to see what I may want to check out the next day.”
All in all, Raudonis was impressed that everyone seemed to be acknowledging that workflow is a critical component of a successful post operation. “There were plenty of workflow enhancement products that caught my eye,” he says.
The biggest surprise of the show for him? “AJA getting into the camera business with their Cion. Didn’t see that coming!”
Also like Curren, Raudonis came to Vegas early for the Avid Connect event, which he found to be well worth the extra days in the desert. “Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to meet and interact with many of my colleagues in a relaxed and productive way. Obviously, our common interest in Avid gave us a lot to talk about. Clearly, Avid is making a concerted effort to articulate, define, and promote their vision for the future of post. A major component of that vision is the recognition that Avid is much, much more than just Media Composer. ‘Get on the platform’ was their message, and I think they did a great job of explaining to everyone the benefits of this concept.”
Juan Salvo, founder/head of color at The ColourSpace in NYC, was at NAB looking at product and Tweeting for postPerspective. He finds NAB significant because “as creative professionals in today’s post and production environment, we’re all technologists. We have to stay on top of what our vendors are doing. And there is no better place to do that than NAB. In part, we get a preview of what’s coming over the next year, but we also get a chance to have in-depth conversations with the developers and product managers that shape the future of the systems we use. It’s a great chance to pick their brains, and let them pick ours.”
Salvo typically makes appointments for demos and conversations with key vendors ahead of time, but the best things about NAB are the surprises, he says. “The small discoveries you make just walking from booth to booth, and the enlightening conversations with the folks who make our tools.”
What surprised him? “I think we’ve all become a bit desensitized to have BMD blow our minds every year! If three years ago you had told me we’d see a UHD scanner for $30K I would have laughed. Camera tech development has been even more shocking. But the thing that surprised me the most was seeing ProRes show up in many more third-party hardware and software. There were also technology previews that were rather impressive.”
I ran into editor Adam Epstein, who works on the SNL Film Unit, at an Adobe event during the show. This was his second NAB.
His goal this year, was to take stock of how the new gear and software speaks to the direction that production and post are heading. “The more aware I am about what’s new and next, the more prepared I am to stay ahead of the curve in my day-to-day work life,” Epstein says.
Epstein also enjoyed seeing AJA at the show with a camera. “I thought the AJA Cion was impressive as a bridge between full out Arri Alexa production and the more independent shooters and their needs,” he says. “It seemed to be well thought out.”
Software-wise? “I still like the direction Adobe is pushing post, although the Flame and Smoke demos I saw were the most immediately impressive from an overall scope of what people can now do in one box.”
So enjoy the videos and NAB news, which will continue to be uploaded until we have no more! Next week we will be back with our usual format and a more well-rested team.
We hope you enjoy the coverage!