Saturday, April 24, 2004
NAB 2004 Report
Well, another NAB convention has come and passed.
This year was my 9th show to attend in the last 10 years, and a lot has changed. Since last year (when our fearless blogger leader attended NAB 2003—for some strange reason he preferred to soak up some Puerto Rican sunshine rather than hike the LVCC, go figure!), HD has become the buzzword. (Cinema Source has a PDF file with various video definitions, including HD.) This year’s show also had (according to the Lost Remote TV Weblog) more than 94,500 attendees, up from last year’s 88 thousand. Accordingly, there was less bellyaching about the economy and the exhibitors who came with things to sell seemed to be moving inventory or placing “sold” signs on their demo units.
Ten years ago, the internet didn’t get any attention from the convention goers, and I counted on one hand with two fingers to spare the number of booths that were offering internet services or products. I also recall how, back in ’95, Avid and Media100 had similar-sized booths and were neck and neck in their respective technology. I think Avid is now more worried what Apple engineers are doing. One person I chatted with at the Promax Digital Video Cafe on Tuesday night is a Media100 user. He was telling me how he visited Media100’s booth, hoping to be reassured about the company’s future, but unfortunately left feeling more worried.
Here are the highlights (IMHO) from NAB 2004:
Apple hosted an invitation-only event at the Venetian and announced Final Cut Pro HD (aka FCP 4.5, so it’s a free upgrade available now for FCP 4 users). According to Rob Schoeben, Apple’s vice president of Applications Marketing, there are more than a quarter million FCP editors in the world. Live from NAB has more info on FCP HD.
Apple also announced DVD Studio Pro 3, the Xsan High-performance Storage Networking system, and Shake 3.5. Working together with Panasonic, Apple introduced the new, compact AJ-HD1200A DVCPRO HD VTR. Now you can shoot in HD and import your footage into FCP via Firewire.
The announcement from Apple that I’m most excited about getting my hands on is Motion. Bye-bye After Effects. Well, almost anyway. AE still has the ability to do animation in Z-space. But the way Motion uses behaviors and not keyframes to create animations is very cool, and it will only cost $299 when it ships this summer! Creative Mac has more info on Motion.
Apple’s booth was always very crowded and it’s no wonder they won six National Association of Broadcasters Best of Show awards.
Sony’s killer app—OK, killer hardware, actually—was the Sony Anycast, a control room in a suitcase. The video guy at my church has ordered one, so I am looking forward to getting my hands on it when it ships in August.
In Huge Systems’ booth, I got a close-up look at their MediaVault 320-R. Wouldn’t one of those look sweet next to your G5?? Huge was one of the presenters at the Promax Digital Video Cafe and made some interesting comments about how they feel that the technology of network storage is going to go Ethernet—not Fiberchannel.
Of course, there were many other cool things that time and space don’t allow me to opine upon. Overall, it was a good show and there was not enough time to see everything I wanted to see—and I didn’t spend much time sitting through demonstrations either! It was good to see all the 3rd-party hardware and software for Macs this year—accessories, plugins, and other things made to work with Final Cut. It’s an exciting time to be working in this field and I can’t wait to see what exciting things will be shown at NAB 2005!
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