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NAB Diary: Sunday Edition

Welcome to Vegas(baby!) By Stephen Schleicher

Looking at the NAB website, one would get the impression that the show starts on Monday.  For those that think that, you would be wrong.  There are so many announcements many announcements made on Sunday, that getting here early really pays off.  Here is a recap of my first day in Vegas(baby!).

Attendance Up
NAB reported that nearly 110,000 people are registered for this years event.  From the first day of events, it is clear that good things are going on.  Taxi lines are longer than I remember, there are more people out and about, and at 8,000,000 square feet, the convention show floor should be a bustle with activity.  The plus to waiting in a taxi line?  The temps in Vegas(baby!) this year are surprisingly mild.  Highs this week are only supposed to be in the mid to upper 70s.  That makes it nice for those of us who will walk to the show instead of waiting in those long lines.


What happens in Vegas(baby!) doesnt have to stay in Vegas(baby!)
Unlike the visitors convention advertisements, what happens in Vegas(baby!) doesnt have to stay here.  In fact, there is so much great information from the Sunday events, they have to be shared.

Apple
If you remember the tragic events from last year, terror at 14,000 feet prevented me from reaching the first press event of the day.  Once again my luck of having DIA (Denver International Airport, yo), keep flights on time prevented me from attending the Apple press conference.  From all reports, this was a heavily attended event.  DMN Producer David Nagel said from his estimate at least 1000 eager people there.  And what did Apple have to show?

I was quite wrong when it came to Final Cut Pro only being released as a .5 upgrade.  Instead Final Cut Pro 5 now called Final Cut Pro HD, made its debut.  The major significant improvement in this release is, as you might have guessed from the name, HiDef.  And not just any HD, HD over Firewire.  Yes, thats right dear reader, native HD without having to use an uncompressed board.  From early reports this was a very slick presentation by Apple, and a great move on the NLE front.  I meet with Apple later in the week, and will have a more detailed report on everything Final Cut Pro HD can do.

The big buzz coming out of the Apple camp Sunday afternoon was their new motion graphics application.  From the looks of this offering from the Cupertino fruit company, Motion will be able to handle most, if not all, of your compositing and motion graphics needs in an Apple environment.  At only $299, some are calling this the After Effects killer, while others are simply saying it does a good job for what it is, but its a long way from competing with the Adobe compositing app, and is definitely not a Shake-lite.  I do have a few hours to kill today (Monday), so you can bet Ill make an appearance at the Apple booth at some point to check this new marvel out.  Even if Motion is not an AE or combustion killer, the price point is something that initially sits in heavy favor here.

Panasonic
Panasonic is not just a camera company, but probably the biggest news this year is the broad use of the P2 camera.  If you remember from last year, this solid state (no moving parts) camera promises to last even under the toughest conditions.  While they did not have a demo unit on display at the press conference, they did point out that the 5 PCMCIA card unit (which retails at around $20k), has been in wide use in the newsgathering community for months now.  In addition to the camera, which you can hook directly to an Avid, Quantel, Grass Valley, and other editing systems, Panasonic also announced a supporting ?deck, and hard drive for connecting the cards too.  There was no mention of what you should do with your media assets once you are done editing off the cards, but as other companies have pointed out, you need to move them off these expensive cards in order to archive your media.

A crowd gathers outside the Panasonic Press Conference

Panasonic did make a very bold statement, which essentially said analog (YUV) was dead.  And in this growing world of digital and HD, they arent far from the truth.

Discreet
I ran over to the ICE club to catch discreets presentation (which included a surprise volunteer appearance by yours truly) to see what the company had to say about their high end systems.  Yes, lustre, flint, flame, smoke, and the rest of the high end apps have had a really good year.  I hate saying, ?New and Improved because something cant be new and improved, but discreet did talk about new features and improved features in their high end units.  Screen shots of some of the new features were shown, but no working demos were done.  Everything is being demonstrated at the booth this year; so again, Ill have more as the week progresses.

Combustion was mentioned briefly, and Im sure discreet will be pushing their entry level compositing application as an assistive product for their high end systems in the near future.  Why?  Well you see flint, flame, smoke, etc. are all pretty high end (?bling-bling) and even though you may be a highly successful post house, can you really see spending all that money on an application you essentially want your entry level people to use for rotoscoping and simple composite work?  In those instances combustion will serve quite well and works in the entire pipeline.


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Related Keywords:NAB 2004, las vegas, avid, panasonic, solid state, p2, apple, motion, final cut pro HD, HD, hidef, avid, nitis, discreet, combustion

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