As a wrap-up to NAB 2010 Iâ€™ve put together a little list of NAB 2010â€™s winners and losers; a bit from the perspective of the South Hall which is post production. Until next year …
Adobe – everywhere you went people were talking about CS5. It was partly because this is a big 64-bit update but partly because Adobe has packed the release with some jaw-dropping features that make a demo. Premiere’s Mercury Playback Engine, After Effect’s RotoBrush and Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill together made Adobe the topic of NAB among post-professionals.
Avid – like Adobe, Avid got a lot of good buzz with the introductionÂ of good product. Even Final Cut Pro only editors were talking about Media Composer 5, it’s native support of all QuickTime formats and the new “drag and drop” timeline. Add 3rd party hardware support and the web-based editing demo and Avid had one of their best NABs in a long time.
3D – It was everywhere with baskets full of 3D glasses at what seemed like most every demo booth. There were hardware and software tools abound to support stereoscopic production and post. And it was a common question at many a vendor’s booth: “Do you do 3D?”
ProRes – The announcement that the new Arri Alexa camera could deliver a native ProRes file started the ProRes win but the Avid QuickTime AMA support in Media Composer 5 continued it. Pretty much every Avid demo you saw mentioned QuickTime AMA support of Apple ProRes as a signature feature. And the AJA KiPro (while introduced at last year’s NAB) still generated it’s share of discussion partly because of that ProRes support.
Canon’s DSLRs – They weren’t just at every booth, atop every tripod, steadicam or crane, or surrounded by vendor after vendor’s support gear but also in the hands of seemingly everyone shooting and covering NAB. This was the year that P2 cards and XDCAM disks were out and CF cards were in.
Mac OS – Smoke on Mac, DaVinci Resolve on Mac, demos on Mac … Apple may be busy with iPads but the post-production community is still busy with Macs. While the Mac OS’s Linux underpinnings probably made it easier to port Smoke and Resolve to Mac it was the ever present Macs on the South Hall show floor that let you know Macs are clearly the platform of choice for post. I hope Apple still notices.
DaVinci – The industry standard in realtime color grading hardware was once expensive to buy and expensive to support. The company had fallen on some tough times and were bought by Blackmagic Design. The marriage had been a bit silent until the bombshell was dropped that the flagship (and six figure) Resolve product would now start at $995. That was big news.
Apple – Sure there was still Final Cut Pro and Macintosh computers all over the show floor (and ProRes as a winner) but FCP really looked long in the tooth and badly in need of a modern update after watching those Avid and Adobe demos.Â Add to this the (silly) rumor of an offsite Apple announcement on the Wednesday of the show and their silence was deafening … and easily ignored. Silly rumor is almost an understatement. The whole thing smelled more of desperation from Mac rumor sites to have something happen from Apple at this NAB. Just look over this posting and you can see the direction they took it. To add insult to injury the FCP product manager began his SuperMeet presentation with the words “I have a secret to tell.” He then went on to tell no secret at all. It was a groan-producing moment after great presentations by Adobe and Avid at the Final Cut Pro User Group SuperMeet.
Canon as a whole – What if you were a company that had produced one of the most popular, paradigm shifting cameras of all time? What if everyone expected a video professional version of that camera as an encore and it never came to be? What if you introduced a couple of new professional video cameras and nobody cared?
FilmLight – Speaking of nobody caring … what if you introduced a new entry-level price for your Baselight color grading system and nobody noticed? When $95,000 is that entry-level price it may be that nobody cared in the wake of the DaVinci price drop. Itâ€™s probably unfair to say that nobody cared but since they werenâ€™t on the show floor (instead showing product at a nearby hotel) out of sight meant out of mind as I only heard about the Baselight price change until after the show.
Film itself – Aside from a film scanner or two there wasn’t all that much to see of real celluloid on the 2010 NAB floor. I was talking with a Evertz engineer (Evertz are the guys who’s name is often synonymous with film and Keycode) and he said this is the first year Evertz didn’t bring a single piece of film-related gear to the NAB show.
Blackmagic Design – Okay, the reintroduction of DaVinci with an affordable Resolve was a clear winner for Blackmagic but their other big development seemed to be support of the new USB 3.0 standard. While interest was good in the products that interest was often followed by the realization that Macs don’t natively support 3.0. At least not yet. Maybe Blackmagic knows something we don’t.
AJA – last year at NAB the buzz was all about the AJA Ki Pro. You were hard pressed to even push you way into the AJA booth to get a demo. While they had a nice, big booth again this year, without any major new products to announce not many folks were talking about AJA this year. And if they were it was usually about last year’s Ki Pro.Â I guess you can’t have a blowout show every year.
Panasonic – While the GH1 DSLR underwhelmed, Panasonicâ€™s new AG-AF100 was being shown under glass and includes the GH1’s Micro Four-Thirds sensor in a proper camera body. Tthe excitement of the camera was often tempered with the discovery of the lower bit rate codec. Same with the 3D ready AG-3DA1. That camera looks like the venerable (and affordable) HVX200 with two lenses but the $21,000 price was what many came away from that camera with. 3D acquisition isn’t cheap!
RED – RED once again didnâ€™t show on the NAB floor, instead opting for a user event, on Wednesday of NAB, at a neighboring hotel. There probably wasnâ€™t as much discussion this year as last about them not being on the show floor but truthfully there probably wasnâ€™t as much RED discussion overall since everyone was shooting Canon DSLRs and talking about the Arri Alexa camera. And there were no Scarlets to been seen. Why is RED a push and not a loser? RED was really pimping the EPIC camera, even having a working prototype at the REDuser event, and those RED users who were able to get up close were very impressed, talking a lot about the cameraâ€™s size and modular design. And those I talked to weren’t just fanboys but rather serious camera owners who are looking for the best tool for the job. When it finally ships it might just be its own revolution.
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