Work and other things have delayed finishing my report on NAB 2012 but here is the rest of my recap:
I mainly stayed around the Adobe booth to watch the presentations about the new Adobe CS6 suite. Adobe has really gone all out to lure more people to its software, especially video editors who are not buying Apple’s “new paradigm” version of Final Cut Pro. Premiere CS6 looks great and seems like a real viable alternative for people who are primarily FCP 7 users who want to future proof themselves. I feel lucky that I have Avid experience to fall back on, while I am actively learning Premiere.
My afternoon was spent meeting the folks from Dell and NVIDIA and some of the other participants in the Dell/NVIDIA/Adobe program for FCP editors who are thinking of making the switch to Adobe Premiere. We started at the Dell booth where we heard from a company that does animation using Dell workstations and had created a render farm with Dell computers.
Next we went over to see the NVIDIA booth where we saw amazing demos of Adobe and Autodesk software using CUDA technology to create amazing images. I was really impressed at the power of the cards to be able to do almost real time animation with compositions that literal had millions of particles. Each year we are seeing Moore’s laws in action in things other than memory and NVIDIA is really creating some incredible products. My Dell system with the Quadro 2000 and the Tesla GPU astonishes me every time I use it.
Next we went to a Dell meeting room where we saw the next generation of the Precision line. Since they have announced them officially I can comment, and I must say that they really have done their homework and addressed many of the issues creative professionals have about their earlier iterations of workstations. The new computer is totally redesigned inside, much neater and modular and, for lack of a better word, friendly. Both the exterior and interior are sleeker and modern and they really have designed a nice system that includes having the hard drives accessible from the front without having to open up the case, which is really important for my workflow- I don’t use a san so I have my projects on internal drive that I swap out and this makes that process totally effortless. Two thumbs up from me for that feature alone.
After that we went for drinks and nosh at Firefly, a neat Tapas restaurant down the street from the convention center. We all shared our experience using the Dell workstations and the unanimous feeling was that Dell was really committed to making modern powerful systems for professionals and were totally interested in listening to us and giving us what we are looking for in a professional level computer. With Apple keeping us guessing about the future of Mac Pro’s we have to look at alternatives and the Dell Precision line is a viable solution.
I went looking at what AJA is offering. I was really interested in the Ki-Pro Quad which is a solid state recorder that handles 4K, Quad HD, 2K and HD signals. It supports 10-bit 4:4:4 and 10-bit 4:2:2 and RAW data and is also a debayer and ProRes encoder in the box.It also has a Thunderbolt port, which more and more vendors are starting to support. I see that recording on to SS Drives seems to be getting more and more popular as the price goes down- I recently purchased 2 115 SSD’s for $90 each so they are really becoming a cost effective alternative to traditional Hard Disk Drives. Aja also showed their new T-Tap, a thunderbolt adaptor that outputs HDMI and HD-SDI, which is a neat way to get video out of a Thunderbolt enabled Mac – makes the iMac look more and more like an alternative to the MacPro for some editing systems…
Next I finally went to the Avid booth to see what was up there. Most of the people I knew at Avid from years back have moved on, and there did not seem to be anything new ( at least for me). Most of what they were talking about was the Interplay system but that is more of an enterprise level solution for large companies. I already did the cross grade to Media Composer 6, which I have not had a chance to work on a real project on because we continue to be a FCP studio house and all our projects are done on FCP just because that is what all out systems are equipped for, although in the future I see us switching to a combo of Avid and Premiere-I really don’t see FCPX in my future unless there are some real radical changes. I actually think it is a desperation move by Avid to so soon after offering the MC6 cross grade to be offering the Symphony cross grade for the same $999 price. Kind of explains why the stock has dropped from $12 back a couple of months ago down to around $7. One highlight of stopping by Avid is that I got to meet an idol of mine, editing icon Larry Bridges! His company, Red Car, is one of the places I have always dreams of working, and at one time I almost got a chance but fate and circumstances did not make that happen. Anyway it was an honor to meet him and chat about the editing business.I then went on to the Central Hall again to look at cameras. Seems that as 3D was the big buzz last year, this year it’s all about 4K. Sounds great for having a nice big juicy image to edit, but I don’t think we will see 4K TV’s in anyone’s house for at least 10 years. We just got through the huge transition to 1080 and I think with the cost of those flat screens, most people are going to try and get years out of the screens they have. I know that this is the cutting edge and preview of what is coming but most of us don’t have systems that can even handle an image that size. On the other hand, the DSLR craze continues, although I think the Blackmagic Camera is going to be a great alternative, if only for the fact that it does not saddle you with the H.264 codec. I like that camera so much that I have pre-ordered one and can’t wait to try it out in July!!!
By this time I was pretty burnt out from the miles of walking and decided to sweep through the convention center one more time to see if I had missed anything. I ended up back at the South Hall and hit some of the smaller vendors to see what they had. I ended up getting a keyboard overlay for Premiere to help me learn where the keys are. The one I have for FCP has really helped although I end up only using the main ones anyway… The last thing that got me excited was when I visited the Pond 5 booth. We use them for stock footage and I was surprised to find out that anyone can contribute footage, you set your own price and Pond 5 splits the money with you. So now I am looking at using the Blackmagic camera to take footage when I travel and see if I can sell it at www.pond5.com .
——- Some other images from NAB 2012 ——