By Randi Altman
Issue: May 1, 2005


Did anyone else have trouble figuring out the "new math" numbering system for the booths at NAB this year? I walked around the show looking like a tourist - map open, confused look on my face. The show was so large, it literally knocked me on my ass - and to those nice people who expressed concern about whether I broke something, I'm fine, but my pride hurts a bit.

Once I got my bearings and took some Aleve, I got to see some interesting stuff. Of course there was the new offerings from Apple (FCP 5, Tiger OS) and Avid (Symphony Nitris). Discreet was there with its new name, Autodesk, updated product versions, a new VFX software called Toxik, which they've aimed directly at Apple Shake, and the young men who founded color correction technology company Colorfront, which they purchased just before NAB. They are the ones who originally developed Autodesk's digital grading and color system Lustre.

Thomson was showing its 2K Spirit, a stepping-stone to the 4K version, and announced that its products will now carry the Grass Valley moniker. Snell & Wilcox was there with its Niagra HD grain and noise reduction tool for the DI and restoration markets. This product comes in at an affordable $38K, and it's controllable by the da Vinci 2K. Da Vinci was offering Resolve, a color enhancement system that offers realtime 2K playback and image processing.

Cintel was showing, a beta version of its small footprint 2K/4K datacentric film scanner called diTTo. Think film scanning on the desktop. Cintel says it's suitable for apps ranging from high-end DI to VFX to archiving and restoration.

Maxell (working with InPhase) and Fujifilm (working with Optware) had working prototypes of their holographic optical discs that are due out in 2006 (look for an in-depth article on this emerging technology in our June issue).

In addition to its acquisition of Macromedia, and the establishment of Open HD, Adobe also licensed the gFx Pro rotoscoping product from Curious Software, a company that looks to be getting back to its weather map roots. Adobe will develop and distribute the product, and intends to incorporate the technology into After Effects and Photoshop.

Targeted at TV producers wanting a film look on a video budget, Kodak showed its Vision2 HD, which can digitally recreate the look of all of its 16mm film stocks, including those that have been discontinued. Ascent, best known for its post studio services, was at the show with Hub, a Web-based digital asset management system that streamlines workflow and collaboration.