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Beginners Guide to NAB

Notes for newbies attending the conference By Ko Maruyama
If you're planning to attend the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in a couple of weeks, you've probably already signed up and are beginning to receive emails and notices daily.  The emails probably have all kinds of information regarding the various conferences that will be held, some on satellite technology, others on HD delivery specifications.  But you probably haven't received any notices from NAB to wear comfortable shoes.

On my first trip to NAB, I was a newbie to motion graphics, and eager to see every inch of both convention halls.  Back in the day, NAB was held in both the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) at the Hilton space, and in the Sands Convention hall, which is now connected to the back of the Venetian hotel.

Veterans of the convention will remember that most of the software was in the Sands convention hall, while the hardware/software solutions were housed in the LVCC.  If you wanted to see both, you'd have to endure a bus ride or at least a cab ride from one venue to the other.  The cab ride gave your feet a little break, but not enough to recuperate from the hike around the floor.

As a convention newbie, I was overwhelmed by the amount of booths, the vastness of the convention halls, and the amount of time spent walking from one side of a booth to another.  This should have been enough, but it was also my first trip to Las Vegas.  It's a moderate hike to walk from one hotel to another, not to mention walking around town.

I got some great advice from convention veteran Grant Janssen which included two simple directions: comfortable shoes and a map.

Comfortable Shoes

It goes without saying that you'll need to wear appropriate gear when you go for a hike.  Walking around NAB can be considered a hike.  Walking around Las Vegas can be considered a hike.

Of course this is a business trip for most people, so the idea of wearing even your 'nice' REI casual clothes may not be an option.  Slip some extra insole supports into your dress shoes.  As an animator - I sit for most of the day, so the mere act of standing for 12 hours straight will definitely require some support.

Shoes may be the key to the whole thing for newbies.  Even as an atheletic punk (I used to bike 12 miles a day); walking from casino to casino was definitely felt the next day.   (On a freakish, beginners-luck spree, I dragged some friends on a night time excursion that covered the length of the strip - round trip, MGM Grand to Circus Circus and back.  One of those friends vows never to walk in Vegas again).

The distances in Las Vegas are deceptive.  The scale of the strip hotels make them appear close together, and relatively easy to walk to.  Before you know it, you'll be literally miles from where you began that morning.  What makes walking along the strip even more subversive is it's distortion of distance when you get to the convention floor itself.

In contrast to the noisy (visual and aurally noisy) mega plazas of the hotels along the strip, the LVCC seems almost calm.  Thompson, Sony, Apple - - things we recognize; strangely you may feel 'at home'.
However, the new LVCC is gigantic.  You may even find yourself seeking strange booths just for their comfortable seating - 'hmmm, maybe I could use a windshield wiper for my monitor'.

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