NAB Show 2013 – Adobe, Blackmagic, VariZoom Wow the Crowds

blackmagic pocket cinema camera back-front

While 3D products and workflows have dominated the discussion at the National Association of Broadcasters Conference in previous years, it was a noticeably absent topic in 2013, replaced by Cloud, 4k and 8k and new concerns about data management and archiving.

Understandable, as while 2.5k cameras and above are shrinking in size and cost, and more are offering 12-bit RAW capture, there are scarce few solutions for the consumer to actually manage the huge amounts of digital media they will create. It would seem this is a good time to invest in digital cold storage companies.

Adobe and SONY have seen this coming and announced Adobe Anywhere and Media Cloud Storage respectively, both Enterprise solutions designed to facilitate workflows between remote parties, create backups, check-in and out privileges and manage metadata from the point of ingestion through delivery and archiving.

Adobe also showed some major updates across the board. The flashiest among these is the integration of Maxon’s Cinema 4D inside After Effects. For those who do not yet own the $2000+ product, a free version of the 3D animation software comes built in. In a demo we saw on the floor, they got tracking points on a video of a car driving across a field, selected pointed on on ground which they defined as the “Ground Plate” with a simple right click, and then did the same for the car’s license plate. In a few clicks, they had exported this to Cinema 4D and were working with an animated wire frame of the vehicle which they then round-tripped back into After Effects.

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SpeedGrade, which Adobe purchased only 50 days before it was bundled into CS6 has now had a year to be further developed and integrated, and the layer-based color correction software is showing huge forward strides. The same goes for Adobe Prelude – the logging and metadata management software, that now allows selective ingestion of DSLR footage – something that was not possible before. Additionally, one can simply create a metadata proxy of the footage, that is forever linked to the original source footage without ever having to transcode.

Elsewhere on the show floor we and others were entranced by VariZoom’s Stealthy a veritable Swiss Army Knife for the DSLR and camcorder shooter. Sold out at the show, we brought one home and took several days figuring out how all the parts screw and unscrew into it various promised permutations. While the tabletop tripod and monopod features are easy enough, getting the gimbal feature to work as a micro Steadicam proved almost impossible.

Setting the balance for any such gimbal device is something of a black art, but even with some tenacity, patience and many different configurations (in other words different sized lenses with out Canon 7D), we were unable to ever get it balanced.

The Stealthy went on to win VideoMaker’s Black Diamond Award for one of the best new products in the show, but we feel that an updated version or some more extensive video tutorials on how to get the damned thing set up correctly would be highly applauded.

Finally Blackmagic stunned the crowds with two new cameras on either end of last year’s stunner the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. In 2013 they unveiled a 4K version that boasts 12 stops dynamic range and the Pocket Cinema Camera, no larger than your standard point and shoot that records native Pro Res, 2.5K and boasts 13 stops of dynamic range….for under a thousand bucks.

blackmagic pocket cinema camera back-front

Of course we would be the first in line to buy one however the cameras are not slated to ship until July 2013. The caveat here, is that there are people who are just now receiving their back-ordered cameras for the 2012 show. So this may be a lot of vaporware for the time being. Other complained/wished that instead of rolling out new models, companies like Blackmagic, Canon and Nikon would continue to improve on existing models rather than deluge the market with new offerings. Even though the DSLR revolution may appear a little long in the tooth, it is still only several years old and people are just starting to make good on their investments while discovering the true possibilities.

Since the show, Adobe has gone on to announce unilateral support of their Adobe Creative Cloud solution, and that they will cease development of further standalone software unlinked to a cloud account.

Also, Apple has just shown the long-awaited, often-doubted-to-exist successor to the venerable Mac Pro – the size of a large coffee mug and featuring AMD graphics cards, the diminutive new model thus abandons Nvidia and its CUDA optimizations for Adobe. Strange days are here. Learn more about the new Mac Pro at the Apple site.


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Chris Daughtry, Randy Jackson, Nigel Lithgow Launch NAB Show 2013

NAB Show 2013

“American Idol” Star Performs as Series Inducted in to NAB Broadcasting Hall Of Fame

LAS VEGAS – April 8th, 2013 – The NAB Show, the world’s largest annual conference and expo for professionals projected more than 90,000 audio, video, and film content professionals from 150 countries will attend the event, which runs through Thursday, April 11 in Las Vegas. The theme this year is “Metamorphosis.”

photo courtesy NAB Shown 2013

NAB Show 2013 TV Luncheon, photo courtesy NAB Show 2013

Metamorphise or Die

Though a variety of industry-intensive training sessions and panels began on Saturday on topics ranging from the latest tools from Adobe to 4k workflows and content creation and media management in the Cloud, today the conference officially opened with a State of the Broadcast Industry Address from Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

“The time has come for us to unite in our embrace of new technology and to realize the consequences if we don’t,” Smith said “Our competitors in the wireless industry want to be a part of the mobile TV business…and they are investing a lot of money in this endeavor. They are even branding their service “mobile TV. But our competitors will never have what we have – the ability to deliver our high-quality content reliably.”

In the keynote conversation that followed between Gordon Smith and Chase Carey, COO and deputy chairman of News Corporation, Carey set the room abuzz while discussing piracy and the recent court ruling pertaining to the transmission of broadcast content by web television startup Aereo. In discussing how to remain “in the driver’s seat,” Carey offered:

“One option could be converting the Fox broadcast network to a pay channel, which we would do in collaboration with both our content partners and affiliates.”

American Idols Honored

Later in the day, and perhaps on a lighter note, the Television Luncheon, Nancy O’Dell, Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of “Entertainment Tonight,” “American Idol” showrunner Nigel Lithgow, judge Randy Jackson, and Trish Kinane, executive producer and president of entertainment programming for FremantleMedia North America participated in the induction of the top-rated television phenomenon into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The presentation closed with an energizing performance by “American Idol” superstar Chris Daughtry.

Director and producer Rhys Thomas offered an unprecedented insight into the methods used by late-night mainstay “Saturday Night Live,” in creating their wildly popular short films within implausibly tight 48-hour deadlines.

Watch a video from the event:

About NAB Show

NAB Show, held April 6-11, 2013 in Las Vegas, is the world’s largest electronic media show covering filmed entertainment and the development, management and delivery of content across all mediums. With more than 90,000 attendees from 151 countries and 1,600+ exhibitors, NAB Show is the ultimate marketplace for digital media and entertainment. From creation to consumption, across multiple platforms and countless nationalities, NAB Show is home to the solutions that transcend traditional broadcasting and embrace content delivery to new screens in new ways. Visit the official NAB Show site for complete details.

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NAB SHOW 2012: The Final Numbers & Highlights

the blackmagic cinema camera

In 2012 the NAB Show in Las Vegas underwent a profound transformation – shifting from a previously cautious stance towards new media distribution models wherein the “heads” were bracing themselves and erecting contingency plans for dealing with the new paradigm, this year the chatter was all about embracing the transmedia model, thinking outside the box and reconfiguring nearly everything.

“The Great Content Shift” was this year’s theme and it could be felt everywhere.  An entire session schedule was devoted to cloud computing, for example.

In the post-production world, there were more sessions about shooting with DSLRs, creating video podcasts and capitalizing on social media marketing than ever before.

On the show floor, Technicolor had a little booth set up to show the new $100 software they will be launching in July 2012 to help preview looks created by their technicians in realtime.  The software then writes the metadata to your assets’ header file for later recall.

Adobe was all about showing off the new CS6 – a meta-data driven suite of applications designed to be a part of the workflow from the very first typed word of a screenplay through analyzing metrics on distributed content. In CS6, Photoshop is capable of video playback, and the interface has been fully redesigned. Meanwhile Flash Catalyst has been phased out and folded into other applications in the suite.

SONY was showing off a prototype design for an auto-stereoscopic screen lay-over. Suggested street price is about US$150.00 for the plastic attachment and software. In other words, you may soon be able to watch things in 3D without glasses.

Blackmagic Design, once makers of only video i/o devices and cards acquired Da Vinci and its top-of-the-line color correction technologies several years back, but took things to yet another level at NAB 2012 by showing what is arguably the next generation of DSLR/low-budget image and motion capture device with its astonishing “Cinema Camera”.

Starting as low as $2995.00, The Blackmagic Cinema Camera features a machined aluminum chassis, interchangeable optics, high resolution 2.5K sensor, 13 stops of dynamic range and 12-bit RAW uncompressed and compressed ProRes and DNxHD file formats! Includes sun shield, power supply, carry strap, UltraScope waveform monitoring software and a full version of DaVinci Resolve Software for Mac OS X and Windows. Whoa…

the blackmagic cinema camera

blackmagic cinema camera-metadata

The backpanel screen for BlackMagic Design's Cinema Camera - easy metadata entry

In addition to the above, Betty White and Gary Marshall were inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame for their lifetime contributions to the entertainment industry, among others.

For more in-depth coverage of this year’s conference, check out our podcast.

As far as the number of attendees – here is the official report from NAB:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Association of Broadcasters today released preliminary figures for the 2012 NAB Show, the world’s largest electronic media event covering filmed entertainment and the development, management and delivery of content across all mediums.

NAB reported an uptick in exhibitor participation and an almost 10 percent increase in size. The event comprised 1,600 exhibitors spanning 815,000 net square feet of exhibit space, up from 1,550 exhibitors occupying 745,000 net square feet in 2011.

  • TOTAL REGISTERED ATTENDEES: 92,112
  • INTERNATIONAL ATTENDEES: 24,928
  • COUNTRIES REPRESENTED: 151
  • NEWS MEDIA ATTENDEES: 1,652
  • The 2011 NAB Show final attendance was 91,932.

International and news media attendance figures are included in the overall registration number. All numbers are based on pre-show and onsite registration and subject to an ongoing audit.

About NAB Show
NAB Show, held April 14-19 in Las Vegas, is the world’s largest electronic media show covering filmed entertainment and the development, management and delivery of content across all mediums. With more than 90,000 attendees from 151 countries and 1,500+ exhibitors, NAB Show is the ultimate marketplace for digital media and entertainment. From creation to consumption, across multiple platforms and countless nationalities, NAB Show is home to the solutions that transcend traditional broadcasting and embrace content delivery to new screens in new ways. Complete details are available at www.nabshow.com.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America’s broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.

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NAB Show 2012 – What Is the Buzz?

NABShow_Logo

NAB Show 2011 was an interesting animal — 3DTV sales weren’t what many had hoped, the DSLR revolution was already showing its age, and the proliferation of LED lights replacing tungstens was coming under fire. The big buzz word was “transmedia”, in other words, how to extrapolate an IP to all media platforms in appropriate ways (thus a TV show may have a mobile streaming component, a flash video game, a fan board, traditional advertising in print and visual platforms, and maybe even an ARG [alternate reality game]). The first sessions covering cloud computing were on the schedule, and video games were nowhere to be seen. Though there were many solid speakers, we left a little forlorn.

The 2012 Nab Show however, seems to be kicking in with a fire in its belly. An entire flat of sessions is dedicated exclusively to Cloud Computing, a new series of powerful 4K cameras have been released from Sony, Canon, and others at price points that will run you less than the cost of a new hatchback, and the buzzword is the acknowledgment of The Great Content Shift.

Stay tuned to this page, our Twitterfeeds @ConstantChange, @kmalickisanchez, @AimeeLChadwick and our podcast @KeramCast (Keramcast.com) for comprehensive coverage from the ground floor of the world’s biggest media conference in Las Vegas April 13th through 19th.

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Best of 2010 in Independent Music, Video Games

Here are some best of lists from 2010 from several of the sites run by Constant Change Media Group – thanks to all the writers, editors and researchers for their excellent work.

TOP 10 BEST INDIE GAMES OF 2010 – INDIE GAME REVIEWER’S FAVORITE GAME PICKS OF THE YEAR

This, was difficult. Selecting ten games from the plethora of independent comers in a watershed year for the indie gaming community was made even more difficult because of our desire to showcase those creative and adventurous minds that are helping to break molds and old patterns and often we have to separate the developer from the game and base our decision on the game itself – its playability, narrative, ease of use, originality, execution and not the potential of its creators.


Top 20 Best Xbox 360 Live Indie Games of 2010

It was an interesting year for the XBOX Live Indie (formerly known as community and XNA respectively) game platform: first Microsoft made the grave mistake of hiding the XBOX Indies inside some esoteric marketplace tab away from the central gaming area. Then the came the backlash. Then the indie devs organized and stormed the gates with the Indie Games Winter Uprising which stated as it’s MO that it would fight against crappy massage apps clones and mediocrity. All told, the foibles and shenanigans galvanized the commitment and momentum of the little guys who deserve better.

So we send out proper respects to all the independent game developers out there who are making it happen – and we believe you are a force to be reckoned with – heck that’s why this site exists! It’s a little home for you. It’s a lighthouse, attempting to illuminate the dark quarters of the valley. Which makes choosing 20 of the best even harder.

Yep, we are certain not all of you will agree with all of our choices, and even more certain that we missed some games that merited placement in this list. But we do our best and hope this helps lead more eyeballs your way. Microdevs, we salute you!


The 50 Best Albums of 2010 – MusicZeitgeist.com’s Favorite Spins

Alright 2010, thank you for helping ease out all the hand-clapping and xylophones. This year it was time to get down and dirty.

Special thanks to Truffle Jones, Tragic Josh and Daniel Waters for their invaluable input in compiling this list and covering the huge selection of excellent options for another very eclectic year in excellent recorded music.

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