2012 NAB Preview: How Will it Impact Our Work?

Every year, more than 150,000 people in the broadcast video industry converge on sin city to ooh and aah at the latest cameras, monitors, and broadcast goodies. For the past several years, the migration to all things digital and HD has taken center stage at the annual National Association of Broadcasters conference and expo. Now, as the 2013 show is upon us, I wonder if several new factors will come into play?

Full HD video is now something your iPhone 4s can do, and Siri isn’t even invited. If you’ve got an iPad, you can accurately claim that you’re an “Avid” editor. Yes, Avid Studio is available for the iPad, and while designed for fun short form content, it’s pretty slick, as is iMovie from Apple. And, if you’re serious, you can purchase an array of lens additions, stabilizers, tripods, and other goodies for your iPhone.

If you want your images to capture stuff moving, the new GoPro2 is as amazing as it gets. I’ve already commented on some of the f@cking great videos I’ve seen where a GoPro has been part of the show kit. Is 4K video the next step in mobile phone capture devices?

Sony, Panasonic, JVC, and about 1,874 other companies will show off new cameras, tripods, lights, storage devices, and lots of weird bits I can’t even describe. But I’ll be taking it in, tweeting, sharing notes, and drinking.

Seriously, because anyone can shoot, and due to the unbelievable amount of content out there, it strikes me that this is a good time to begin to introduce some new strategies and tactics for not only editing and distributing video, but managing media overall. To me, that means media management in the cloud, for one thing. Front Porch Digital is one firm that is expected to push cloud media management at NAB. Their new LYNX product is all about managing media using remote servers and (relatively) low costs to help all types of broadcasters and developers. NOTE: Their website sucks. They should hire (us!) to help them tell a better story.

Another company that will try to gain significant cloud headway is Aspera, with their fasp transfer technology, which essentially provides a fat pipe to move lots of data. NOTE: Do all of these companies build their websites in-house?

Because the HOW and WHY of content is so important these days, those who attend are likely to spend more time listening to those people who are using new technologies to break into new arenas, or to break box office numbers due to great storytelling. For filmmakers, this can be pretty exciting. This year, Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville, the Hunger Games) will speak, as will creative professionals working on shows such as Mad Men, Abduction, The Walking Dead, and other projects. Getting direct experience makes this show valuable to anyone in the biz.

Overall, the key will be to find solutions that are faster, cheaper, and mobile. Higher resolution cameras will be pimped in every corridor, while mobile compression solutions are likely to make even the most seasoned attendee run for the nearest bar (not a long run, mind you). And that brings us to the most challenging issue for any NAB – getting thru the noise to those products and solutions that really matter. For our team, that means editing faster, creating more amazing visual images to tell our stories, and creating better value for our clients. We’re good with cameras. We’re good with story lines. We will specifically look at new ways to manage media, store media, and prepare media for distribution. I already see the end of Blu Ray, as downloading content is THE WAY.

And finally, what about Apple? Last year, Apple introduced Final Cut Pro X just after the NAB event (it was previewed at the show, although Apple does not attend trade shows officially). Professional editors in television and features went into cardiac arrest as FCP X as initially shipped was a different metaphor for editing than pros without much time to learn new tricks could handle (oh, and Apple left out some pretty important functions, too. Bad Apple! Bad!).

This year, Apple was the rage of CES (due to the old and new iPad), and again, they didn’t attend. Avid and Adobe have been busy courting the professional creative crowd, and new versions of their editing and creative solutions will be introduced at the show. For some strange reason, the impact of FCP X on this year’s show is something all of our peers keep talking about. For us, well… we just want to create really nice video stories. The right tool in the right hands (our hands) will result in some pretty amazing stories. We’re excited.



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