NAB 2011 Day 1 into Day 2

Posted By Ed Heede on April 13, 2011 12:08 am | Permalink

Day one was a time of semi-controlled chaos. First up: I threw my hat in the ring for the chance to do a somewhat private interview with James Cameron and Vincent Pace. I assumed the option would come to not much or possibly nothing at all. To my surprise, the interview was granted and scheduled for a slot after high noon. So instead of delving across the NAB floor, my crew and I went through the keynote and general press meet for an intro to James Cameron and Vincent Pace at the official rollout of their Cameron-Pace Group effort.

Next, the scheduled interview for James and Vincent was to be attended by 3 groups, ours for POST Magazine and 2 other media crews for what would have been up to 12 people. Not exactly a one-on-one interview. As it turned out the other 2 crews somehow dropped out and my crew (Paul Gentry, Ken Locsmandi and myself) was the one left standing. Not quite one-on-one setting but very near it.

It was a candid 15 minutes with James Cameron and partner Vincent Pace on the state of 3D cinema, film and production which could have gone much longer but was revealing in its own way. More on this when we edit the footage and post it for one and all. I will say James Cameron had spoken to George Lucas about producing a new theatrical standard for quality control so that the 3D experience is all that it should be for audiences. At the post D.I. stage James Cameron outlined his visual process in lowering gray values and pumping up whites from digital acquisition for achieving a favored target look for exhibition. And if there was an overriding point to the Cameron-Pace Group it is to make 3D as seamless and attractive a process as possible for 2D filmmakers going into the brave new medium.

As far as my very limited time on the floor Monday I was impressed by:

  • Blackmagic HD HyperDeck Shuttle SDI and HDMI SSD recorder ($345)

  • UltraStudio 3D with ThunderBolt I/O (portable 3D capture and playback unit w/ 12 bit hardware architecture, dual link 3 Gb/s w/ full 4:4:4 SD, HD and 2K support, ($995).

The Da Vince Resolve 8 (multi layer timeline support and much more).

CUBIX had a quite refreshing take on expansion / acceleration for high-end production applications in collaboration with powerhouse graphics innovator NVIDIA.

AJA IO Extreme (Thunderbolt enabled) will ship in the not too distant future. AJA KONA 3 does up to 4K playout with appropriate hardware.


Tuesday was a time of simply navigating the show floor looking into nooks and crannies. More on this later.

Highlight of the day was the FCPUG “SuperMeet” where APPLE rolled out its sneak peek of Final Cut Pro X. Have to say this advance was a legit jaw-dropper. Best software I saw at the show from the cost/benefit stance and a breakthrough editorial product at any price.

By now the feature bullet points will be familiar to most anyone near the pro post-production arena. A few standouts:

  • 64 bit w/ OpenGL

  • resolution independent up to 4k

  • Magnetic Timeline (allows movement of clips without disrupting other clips along the timeline)

  • Fully color-managed (ColorSync)

  • shot detection / correction technology for automating and isolating incoming media by things like people in clips (or absent from them) rolling shutter correction, auto color balance, etc

  • Lots more goodies (see the official and un-official releases)

To start off with, FCP is clearly a far more responsive and agile program. Managing incoming material is much streamlined due to shot detection and correction technology. There is also an “Audition” feature that allows quick demo of multiple clip variations in rapid-fire order for client approval (one of my personal favorites). “Compound” clips feature is a utility allowing editors to nest many multiple layers of edits into one collapsed layer for ease of handling: a very powerful management tool. No more issues with losing audio sync on sophisticated cuts (“L” cuts or any other class of cuts due to Magnetic Timeline). Auto scene color matching looks to be a very practical and labor saving feature. Sophisticated keyframe editable speed changes (ramp changes were not shown but could probably be done manually).

The long and the short of FCP? This package will cut a vast amount out of fat out of the editorial process shaving hours and days if not weeks out of longer form projects. This tool has to be seen to be believed. If the crowd at the SuperMeet was any indication, the new FCP stands to be a massive hit with its established base and for new converts to come.