End of NAB Day #1 – 8PM and just back to the hotel room with Starbucks in hand. A very busy day.
Last night, we finally decided what we were going to eat. We definitely wanted pasta – no question. We went past three perfectly good Italian restaurants but none quite floated our boat. Bizarrely, we ended up in The Nine Fine Irishmen in New York New York. This place is famous for its traditional Irish food and music. Pasta doesn't quite fit with that, but as if by some magical coincidence, the beef stroganoff we both ordered (don't think that's Irish anyway) had pasta in it!
While engaging in a traditional Irish evening (boozing, eating and foot-tapping to Irish music), I started to think about how Las Vegas is the perfect city for NAB. On a practical level, of course, it has the massive convention space and thousands of hotel rooms that make such an event a practical proposition. It also has another ingredient I think a “convention city” needs and that's an excitement that encourages delegates to get off their back-sides and attend. The European counterpart convention is held in Amsterdam, for example. But last night, I thought of another bond. We were sitting in the middle of a mega-casino, inside a building of concrete and steel, in the middle of the desert, but were totally transported to an old Irish pub with all the atmosphere and fun that this should entail. What struck me was a comparison between what had been achieved by the architects and managers of this “establishment,” with what we all try to achieve in our own part of the story telling process. That is to take someone from their practical environment and transport them to a different place, whether as part of a fictional story or to put them in someone else's shoes in the case of documentary or news. So perhaps Vegas gives us more than just a convenient and agreeable place for a convention. Or perhaps I was just too affected by the Irish “Crack” (which means a good time by the way – no drugs!)
To the show – did I mention I was going to look around the show and find all the stereo wannabes? Well maybe tomorrow – I got to one stand and got stuck! The stand in question was the SGO Mistika stand in the South Hall. This is a product that is new to the US as of this NAB, but I have used it for a few years. It has taken London by storm over the last couple of months, specifically because of its stereo 3D tools. I had vaguely agreed to help out with the odd demo – I figured I could do with the occasional sit down so I might as well do something useful while doing so. However, Mistika has created such a buzz that the stand was almost over-whelmed.
I did some demos of the new 3D convergence tools and that almost knocked people off their chairs. Mistika could already retrospectively change the inter-ocular distance of the cameras (distance between the two lenses) but the latest version can divide the scene into three zones and adjust the effective IO distance differently in each. Those that have experienced the difficulties that are created by a close up subject with a distant background really appreciated how the IO distance could be adjusted to get an agreeable stereo effect from the foreground, whilst then being able to “pull back” the distant background so that it was not over-diverged. I could definitely detect a few brains bordering on exploding.
Speaking of exploding brains, my Starbucks is done and now I need (and I believe I deserve) something much stronger!