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NAB 2005 Sports Packed Halls with Plenty to See

By John Virata

The halls were packed with attendees at NAB 2005.
This year's NAB seemed to be a busier show than last year. The halls were packed with people as was the monorail that efficiently transported many attendees to and from the hotels on the monorail line. NAB reported that more than 100,000 attendees came to check out all the technologies and products at the show. There was a lot to be seen and the noise level (literally and figuratively) in the halls reached peak levels. While HD and HDV editing solutions abounded on the show floor, other technologies were also vying for showtime, ranging from HD and HDV cameras from the likes of Panasonic, Sony, and JVC, to the Manfrotto Fig Rig, a hand held camera stabilizer for DV cameras that resembles a steering wheel. Adobe Systems was showcasing its editing workflow tools, and even had Jacob Rosenberg, online editor and online supervisor for Dana Brown's Dust to Glory, speaking about the use of Adobe tools in the making of the film. The Apple booth was packed, with demo artists showcasing the latest tools in Apple's new Final Cut Suite to many attendees, including legions of Japanese attendees who came to get glimpse of Apple's offerings. What follows below is a snapshot of some new products and announcements made at the show.

ADS Tech was showing its Pyro A/V Link DVD Edition running with Ulead Media Studio Pro 7 and the HD plugin as well as its new alliance with Sony, showing the Pyro Studio, which is comprised of the Pyro A/V link and Sony's Vegas+DVD software, which combines Sony's Vegas 6 with DVD Architect 3 for a complete video editing and DVD authoring package. The company also announced Instant DVD 3.0, with new features such as wide screen signal detection for 16:9 preview and capture, audio only capture capabilities, direct to DVD capture from a DV camcorder, support for DivX video capture, and enhanced DV device control. www.ads-tech.com

AJA announced that its Kona 2 will serve as part of a digital intermediate pipeline using Apple's Final Cut Pro HD and Silicon Colors Final Touch 2K. According to the company, this DI workflow will enable editors better facilitate downconverting from 2K Cineon and DPX files to HD. the company also announced support for Final Cut Pro 5. www.aja.com


Blackmagic Design's MultiBridge starts at $2,595.

Blackmagic Design, in addition to offering its wares as part of the new OpenHD specification, showcased its MultiBridge Extreme and MultiBridge Extreme Studio, all in one bi-directional converters, which gives editors the capability to switch from HD and SD via PCI Express. The device, priced at $2,595 for the MultiBridge Extreme and $3,595 for the MultiBridge Extreme Studio offers support for 10-bit uncompressed standard definition, high definition, all the way up to 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 film resolution. www.blackmagic-design.com

Canopus Corp. was showcasing enhancements to its EDIUS Pro 3 nonlinear editing application, including HQ Batch capture from HDV, advanced audio and color correction tools. The company also announced format support modules for Sony XDCAM, Panasonic P2 and Panasonic Varicam. The company also debuted the ProCoder Station Render Farm, which enables high volume transcoding over the network. The software enables multiple transcoding jobs to be spread over multiple ProCoder Station Render Farm capable machines via a single management interface. www.canopus.com

Matrox was demonstrating Matrox Axio, its realtime HD and SD editing system for Premiere Pro. Matrox Axio enables full quality, full frame rate, full resolution playback of 1080i content at 29.97 fps. It supports two layers of uncompressed 10-bit HD video plus 2 layers of graphics in real time, with effects as well as four layers of uncompressed 10-bit SD video plus 6 layers of graphics in real time, with effects. The solution is also part of the OpenHD Certified Solutions offerings and can be found in HP's real-time uncompressed HD editing solution that will ship Summer 2005. The company also showed its Matrox Parhelia dual link DL256 PCI graphics card driving an Apple 30-inch Cinema Display on the Windows platform. The card supports up to 2560 x 1600 resolution and can connect to a second VGA display or a video monitor. www.matrox.com

The Fig Rig handheld DV camera stabilizer

Manfrotto was showing the Fig Rig, a hand held DV camera stabilizer that is shaped like a steering wheel and gives you the capability to maneuver your camera in a more natural way. The device, developed in conjunction with director Mike Figgis, enables you to acquire virtually shake-free footage at a fraction of the price of a steady cam rig. Priced starting at around $350, the Fig Rig is lightweight in design and enables you to attach all manner of camera accessories to the rig, including remote controls, lights, mics, displays, and zoom controllers. www.bogenimaging.us.

Sonic Solutions debuted several new DVD authoring tools at NAB designed to address both the HD DVD and the Blu-Ray DVD camps. The company showed the Scenarist HD, an HD DVD authoring system that maintains the look and feel of Sonic's Scenarist DVD authoring tool, but gives developers the capability to create DVDs with HD DVD content. According to the company, Scenarist HD will support the H.264 AVC (Apple QuickTime), VC-1 (Windows Media Video 9), and MPEG-2 codecs, as well as the Dolby Digital +, DTS HD, and MLP audio codecs. Other features will include support for up to 48 buttons per menu and 256 color subpicture capability. Sonic's Blu-Ray Creator will offer full support for the Blu-Ray Disc HDMV specification, support for up to 32 tracks of audio for multi-language titles, expanded interactivity such as pop up menus, full color subpictures and subtitling, and navigation capabilities that exceed traditional DVDs. We also got a technology demo of iHD, technology developed by Microsoft and Walt Disney Company that brings advanced interactivity to HD video discs. Using Sonci's Interactual technology, iHD enables you to view interactive content such as bonus material even as a DVD movie is playing. The technology could conceivably pave the way to bring more features such as updated movie trailers from studio websites, advertising, advanced content navigation and even secondary video documentaries to complement the main DVD movie. www.sonic.com


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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
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