2012 NAB Show recap

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  • 4/24/2012
    I just got back from the 2012 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas (actually, I'm starting this post on the flight back). The NAB Show is an annual event that spotlights anything and everything related to video production and broadcasting. More than 90,000 people attended the show this year. Exhibitors showcased their new products while attendees learned about new technologies and techniques from the show floor and educational sessions.

    A lot of the buzz this year was around 4K (and 2K, 2.5K, 3K…)—which are formats larger than high definition (HD), meaning more pixels and higher resolution. Manufacturers are developing more affordable cameras, which makes them accessible to video producers who will start to adopt them quicker. While this probably won't affect marketers for some time because they’re mainly used for digital cinema, eventually consumer screens will start to reach these higher pixel densities and therefore require high-quality content to fill them. That said, if you work with digital signage, some display setups are currently larger than HD, therefore requiring video to be recorded at these higher resolutions today.

    An affordable, handheld 4K camcorder from JVC. Photo courtesy of JVC America’s flickr account.

    Another trend I saw was more devices enabling mobile broadcasting. While this mainly affects those in news gathering, it also enables marketers to broadcast live events via the Web more easily, with less equipment and more flexibility. I didn't expect to see Verizon at this show, but they were there showing devices that plug into their 4G LTE network enabling high-quality, live broadcasts from just about anywhere you can get a signal. These devices enable someone with as little as a backpack and a camera to broadcast live content.

    Software companies such as Adobe, Avid and Autodesk showed new versions of their editing tools that streamline various parts of the editing process. One big announcement was that Autodesk drastically reduced the price of their visual effects product, Smoke. Smoke is an editing suite that also enables editors to incorporate visual effects without having to jump to other programs. More streamlined editing tools enable producers like thunder::tech to fit more sophisticated effects and graphics within budgets, often with a quicker turnaround.

    Another personal highlight of the show was hearing Bill Dean and Lon Bender speak about their work as sound designers on The Hunger Games. They spoke on the importance of sound in production and how it is used invoke a specific emotion from the viewer and enhance the overall experience. They talked specifically about creating the sound of the tracker jacker, which in the movie is a genetically engineered wasp designed to sting anyone or anything that comes near it and elicits deadly effects on its victims. The primary sound of the insect is actually various bike tires spinning on bike trainers, which was then combined with the sounds of actual insects.

    We look forward to using some of the new technologies coming out this year to enhance the production quality of our work through greater efficiencies and increased capabilities. Let us know if you have any questions about these and other emerging technologies and how they can apply to your brand in the comments below.

    About the author::

    Matt Stevens is the manager of multimedia services and a graphic designer at thunder::tech. When he doesn't have a camera on his shoulder, he's probably swimming, biking or running (aka training for a triathlon). He also considers himself a proud "tree hugger."
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