With 92,414 attendees, plus exhibitors, press, staff and special guests, this year's show is huge. The LVCC is over 2 million square feet of indoor exhibit space. That's a lot of exercise for both the feet and the senses.
So with only two days on the floor, I approached this like I do a typical edit.
Firstly, I planned and scheduled. I got as much information I could, drank a lot of coffee and loosely considered my goals as I might look at my deliverables. Time was fixed, and the content was great, so I had to figure out how to squeeze a decent coherent experience out of something with an impossible shooting ratio. The start and the end were important. Key points in between were important, and montages of the rest of the pretty things could be squeezed in around all of that.
I focused on the message, trying not to be tempted by the halls and booths that were not post focused. Cameras and microphones and trucks and antennae are cool, but a distraction. I looked over the conference sessions and had to be tempted away from things I knew I would be amused by, but were not necessary to attend.
I loaded my calendar with more bookings, sessions, talks and plans than I could ever manage, only so that if I found myself with a spare few minutes, no time would be wasted. There was always somewhere to be. I spent most of my time in the South Hall with post production, attended two conference sessions and did a quick lap of the other halls just in case there was something I had missed. I can't go to to a show without checking out NHK and Fraunhofer Institute, as they have the most imaginitive and astounding technology that has me imagining what I'll be dealing with in the future. But my focus on the South Hall was important.
I had to check out Avid, and they do have the only cloud-based workflow that I can actually see myself using anytime soon. MC7 comes out in 8 weeks time, and in 7 weeks we can download a demo. Here's what it looks like, to have your timeline up online in a web browser.
If you have Avid installed, you can use the full software and just link to your Isis (the old Unity) server media and it streams pretty fast, holding frames in RAM.
I got very excited about Baselight Editions at IBC, now it's fully released and they have in pre-production a mini version of the Baselight Blackboard color grading panel, called Slate.
One conference session I attended was a panel discussion on The Art of Editing. It was nice to get away from the tech of editing for a short moment. The panelists had one very interesting prediction. That 4K is this NAB what 3D was two years ago. It was true that this NAB, you were not relevant unless you had something 4K or higher on your stand, but there was a markedly smaller presence of 3D than before. Now every NLE advertises their ability to handle 4 or 5K material. The prediction was that "unlike 3D, 4K is a reality that's here to stay". It's true that with the availability of cheap high res cameras, we will be seeing more and more material coming through post that is of higher than HD source resolution.
I started NAB 2013 with a conference session about Sony's Ci cloud and their 4K consumer products. I ended NAB with a conference session about the art of editing, a nice overview of the state of the industry and reflections on the show from editors. In between, I visited important and interesting booths, played with the new post toys and occasionally amused myself with pretty toys I'll never need (like the phantom helicopter camera mount).
How to do NAB in two days? I don't recommend trying. It was a rush, and I have arrived home in New York wondering about all the stuff I missed seeing. But it's like an edit where you have lots of material, and a tight deadline. You have to plan well, take the content you think is most important and the first idea that works. Fill in any gaps with the fun shots you can't live without and let go. Because tomorrow it's on to the next job.