NAB: In the clouds

Posted By Katie Hinsen on April 09, 2013 07:32 pm | Permalink
At a conference like this, it was pretty funny to see that at the Starbucks in the convention center, the televisions broadcasting the morning news were all different aspect ratios and none of them were correct. This one, both pillarbox and letterbox with visible VITC was my favorite.

I've been in Vegas two days, and today was my first day at the NAB Show 2013. The buzz word this year is "cloud".  

The big thing I keep hearing is "what's the most exciting thing you've seen so far, other than the new Blackmagic camera?"

I'm in post. I shouldn't really care about the Blackmagic pocket cinema camera. But I suppose all of us in post care a little bit, for two reasons. Firstly, it's a really cool toy. It's $995, it's 2.5K resolution, it's a micro 4/3, and records DNG (raw) and pro res SxS. It's a slightly less sharp version of last year's Blackmagic cinema camera but it's the size of an iPhone. Secondly, they are marketing it to students and documentary filmmakers, so in post, we will have to deal with it at some stage. So here it is.

Cute, huh? Their standard cinema camera is about to do 4K as well. 

The more interesting thing on the Blackmagic stand was of course Resolve 10.  It has over 50 new features, mostly requests from users of previous versions. 

You can now organize projects into folders. It has a new editor, and now unlimited audio layers as well as the unlimited video layers. The biggest improvements I saw, are that you can now do a bunch of things that we all wish we could do in Resolve before. Slip and slide, titling (although pretty basic), generators, and open FX plugins. You have unlimited shapes in CC mode. There's a new gradient tool, which isn't in every colorist's box. There's now a splitter mode, where you can grade R. G or B channel separately or even offset them if you're doing restoration. You can cut and paste keyframes in tracking/stabilization. Also really cool is that they have added optical flow to their retiming tools. Basically, Resolve is something many of us have in our Swiss Army Knife of tools. Now it's got a few more bits and pieces we all thought "this is an awesome program, if only it had certain features..."

Thunderbolt keeps getting better. More and more of us are seeing it in our professional world now. Exciting news, for us nerds, is that they are working on a 2.0 that is now 20Gbs up and down. Next year we will see that, and also longer thunderbolt cables. Right now we can get up to 30 meters, we're about to get 100 meters optical. And thinner- 3mm. I'm not sure that size matters to us sitting behind the desk, but the length means that we might see more thunderbolt in our edit suites. Which would be nice.

Tomorrow I'm going to see if I can break a few of the new post tools, like Avid MC7. But today, I was wandering around hearing "cloud is the latest thing for post". 

So I looked in to what that really means. 

And don't worry, the reality is "not much". All the companies asserting that their cloud solution for post is the latest game-changer, when I actually started asking questions, had little to offer.

Lots of companies have been offering cloud solutions for a while now. I've seen it used a bit for news, but most of us just use DropBox and are happy with that. Sony has announced their cloud service, called "Ci". Deluxe and Prime Focus are two companies that have been long established post houses now selling some sort of cloud solution. It's an asset, project and data management wiki with an interface for dummies. The only advantage to using one of these new services is that it keeps your production more organized in a central (virtual) place. But speakers on the "post production in the cloud" panel all admitted that no editor cares about metadata tagging enough to get it as accurate as it needs to be, and that no service will ever keep up with the size of files we keep creating. So none of these services can ever really be something we will have to deal with in the near future. It's really a good service for our producers, but it's not going to be a place where our source files live. Even our proxies are too big to be worked with online. I'm yet to see Adobe's new cloud product, I will see if it's any more exciting than this.

So post people, you'll hear all about clouds this year. Don't fret, they're just something we rarely see because we're stuck in a dark room all day. Our productions will (or at least should) start working in some sort of managed cloud platform, so the biggest change we'll see is that our production workflow management will get a bit better.  

More importantly, the free swag report. If you're at the show, there are a few company branded oversized t-shirts floating around. If you ask nicely, Deluxe has portable device chargers. Flanders is giving out a good screen cleaning kit, possibly the most valuable freebie, but if you're really special Canon has the best swag in the form of a USB stick that's a mini replica of their EOS 5D camera. The "prime lens", complete with lens cap, comes off and it's the 8 Gig USB stick part. It even has a little strap. 

For those of you not here in Vegas, your freebie is this little link to content from the Intel Studio Experience booth where they have a lot of really nerdy and interesting sessions every day.