This was my first time attending NAB and I was very excited. Over the past few years I've become a "pseudo-tech head" and I was looking forward to seeing all the gear which could potentially improve our work flow. We were only able to attend the exhibits for 1 day since we had to get back to NY for Tuesday's episode. We had to move quickly. I later found out that we only covered about 1/3rd of the conference.
The WOW factor this year is Sony's 3D TV- it really feels like you are in the scene. It surpasses any previous 3d technology by making 3D feel natural. We jokingly questioned why we are bothering going to HD when we should skip the step and go directly to 3D. The reality is that camera men need to master this camera and focusing in 3D is quite a challenge due to the depth of field. I can't wait to have one of these in my living room!
There were a lot of great products that we could use in the field to replicate our studio set-up.
Our first stop was AVID where we were excited to find out that we can edit our field pieces on a laptop on location. All we need is a laptop, PC or MAC, Media Composer Software and a MOJO DX box. Loading footage from a digital camera (like the HVX200) which records on p2cards directly into the laptop eliminates lengthy digitizing time.
We started to look for an easy to use, portable broadcast transmission device. We found one company called Bitcentral that advertises a product called Live Truck In A Case. All you have to do is connect a video source (camera, deck, or editing output) to the RCA inputs on the side of the briefcase. The device compresses the footage to a H264 quicktime creating OK picture quality with a frame rate of 15 fps. Apparently, depending on bandwidth, the frame rate can be increased to 30 fps. If you are in an area with little or no cellular service you might want to look into satellite phones or internet from a BGAN device but this could be pricey. This gear is especially useful for news reporting because it eliminates the need for a satellite truck. Not sure if this application is necessary for our needs though it's fantastic to know that it may be an option and solution on a future location shoot.
When we walked by the ProPrompter booth we were attracted to the "teleprompter for Iphone". This application allows you to upload scripts to the teleprompter website and then download them directly to the iphone. The Iphone is able to attach to any camera lens via the proprompter wing. This seems like a great alternative to lugging around bulky teleprompter equipment in the field or creating cue cards.
All Mobile Video was showcasing their multi-cam tapeless carry pack, which was set up in front of their huge high def control room truck which was used on the Miss-America pageant the night before. The tapeless camerapack is shipped using 5 roadcases which include Cameras, tape decks, camera shading, audio, graphics and any other equipment included on a real broadcasting truck. The only thing missing was the transmission equipment. I was told it was unavailable this year but may be part of next year's conference. In the meantime, if picture quality isn't too important try using the "Studio in a case" product described above. Our other favorite fun toy was the mini helicopter camera controlled with a remote control. We have seen and worked with the mini blimp cameras that used lipstick cams but the chopper carries a more powerful camera.
We then hit sensory overload. We also learned that water, chapstick and and throat lozenges as well as super comfortable shoes are survival essentials at NAB!