Takeaways from the 2014 NAB show

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  • 4/14/2014
    I just returned from the 2014 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas. This annual gathering of video and film production professionals showcases the latest technology and trends in the production world. While this is a very high-tech show, I’ll spare you the rambling of technical jargon I’ve heard all week and try to boil this down to some key themes from the week that affect the marketing professional who uses video in any aspect of their marketing.

    UltraHD (4K)

    If you haven’t already heard, HDTV is on its way out. The broadcast and production industry are already heavily talking about the next standard, UltraHD, often referred to as 4K. If you can imagine taking a 2x2 grid of four full HDTVs and cramming all of those pixels into one display, that’s 4K. UltraHD displays are already out on the market and have dropped several thousands of dollars over the past year alone. HiDPI (including Apple's Retina) displays are also approaching 4K resolutions. So what’s the advantage to the consumer? A clearer image, especially close up and on large displays, with smoother motion, more realistic color and dynamic range (AKA the ability to see more details from the bright to dark areas of the image).

    If you are able to master your content in UltraHD today, you are “future proofing” it for later. You can even upload your UltraHD content to YouTube today for early adopters and be ready for the coming years.

    thunder::tech has already been producing fully animated/motion graphics marketing videos in UltraHD for the past year or so at no additional cost to our clients compared to HD. For live action, it does still cost a little more due to the equipment and storage needs, but prices are dropping rapidly and it’s not all that much more even today. If your content needs a long shelf life, consider mastering in UltraHD.

    Accessible ways to uniquely move the camera

    One thing often missing from typical marketing videos is camera movement. Although not always appropriate, moving the camera can add an element of polish to a piece compared to static shots. I won’t get into all the specific rigs we could use (which include flying drones), but exhibitors were showing unique and relatively affordable ways to add camera movement. Here are some examples:

    Making of Audi Driving Experience 2014 (Camera Drone) from skynamic.net

    MōVI BTS from Vincent Laforet

    Post-production in the cloud

    Although our clients probably don’t care what software we use or how we’re doing post-production, this trend will affect turnaround and efficiencies. We all know our industry is demanding an ever-increasing speed to delivery. Moving post-production to the cloud (often an on-site cloud) will help drive speed of delivery by making collaborative workflow more efficient. Currently if multiple people need to work on a production, they need to move a bunch of (often very large) files back and forth between workstations. This also requires manual tracking of versions to prevent overlapping work.

    Post-production in the cloud will enable multiple editors to collaborate on different aspects of a production without the need to move around files, track versions and resolve conflicts. The production team doesn’t even need to be in the same building. An editor can be working on a rough cut from across the globe, while a colorist is starting an early color grade in the office and an account manager is reviewing the footage with a client on a tablet at their office. Everyone is working on the current version and doesn’t need to worry about the files or technology going on behind the scenes.

    Easy high-production broadcasting

    Putting on a TV-like quality live broadcast of a corporate event used to be very expensive. With smaller, more affordable video switchers being shown at NAB, this is changing. Just about anyone could put on a live broadcast cutting between multiple cameras, graphic overlays and transitions. And these cameras don’t even need to be TV studio-like cameras. Livestream-exhibited hardware that can wirelessly pull in feeds from smartphones, tablets, Google Glass and of course professional cameras wired in—all of which can be pulled into the same live production. After the broadcast is over, the client immediately has on-demand content for their customers to view later on.

    We feel it’s important to stay on top of new technologies and industry trends in order to produce the best work we can as efficiently as possible. Our goal is to also help educate our clients on what’s to come, which is why we attend events like this. If you have any questions about what was mentioned above or are ready to start talking about video, feel free to comment below or give us a call today!

    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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