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ATPM 10.05
May 2004




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by Andy McConnell,

National Association of Broadcasters Convention 2004

Well, another NAB convention has come and passed.

This year was my ninth show in the last ten years, and a lot has changed. Since last year, “HD” has become the buzzword. This year’s show also had (according to the Lost Remote TV Weblog) more than 94,500 attendees, up from last year’s 88,000. Accordingly, there was less bellyaching about the economy, and the exhibitors who came with things to sell seemed to be moving inventory or placing Sold signs on their demo units.

Ten years ago, the Internet didn’t get any attention from the convention-goers, and I counted on one hand with two fingers to spare the number of booths that were offering Internet services or products. I also recall how, back in ’95, Avid and Media100 had similar-sized booths and were neck and neck in their respective technology. I think Avid is now more worried about what Apple engineers are doing. One person I chatted with at the Promax Digital Video Cafe is a Media100 user. He was telling me how he visited Media100’s booth, hoping to be reassured about the company’s future, but unfortunately left feeling more worried.

Here are the highlights (IMHO) from NAB 2004:

Apple hosted an invitation-only event at the Venetian and announced Final Cut Pro HD (a.k.a. FCP 4.5, so it’s a free upgrade available now for FCP 4 users). According to Rob Schoeben, Apple’s vice-president of Applications Marketing, there are more than a quarter million FCP editors in the world. Live from NAB has more info on FCP HD.

Apple also announced DVD Studio Pro 3, the Xsan High-performance Storage Networking system, and Shake 3.5. Working together with Panasonic, Apple introduced the new compact AJ-HD120 0A DVCPRO HD VTR. Now you can shoot in HD and import your footage into FCP via FireWire.

The announcement from Apple that I’m most excited about (read: can’t wait to get my hands on) is Motion. Bye-bye After Effects. Well, almost anyway. AE still has the ability to do animation in Z-space. But the way Motion uses behaviors and not key frames to create animations is very cool, and it will only cost $299 when it ships this summer! Creative Mac has more info on Motion.

Apple’s booth was always very crowded. It’s no wonder Apple won six National Association of Broadcasters Best of Show awards.

Sony’s killer app—OK, killer hardware, actually—was the Sony Anycast, a control room in a suitcase. The video guy at my church has ordered one, so I am looking forward to getting my hands on it when it ships in August.

AJA Video introduced its Kona 2—a new dual rate HD/SD PCI capture card for the Power Mac G5.

Focus Enhancements has been around for a couple of years, and after seeing its latest DR-DV5000 system, I really want one.

In Huge Systems’ booth, I got a close-up look at its MediaVault 320-R. Wouldn’t one of those look sweet next to your G5? Huge was one of the presenters at the Promax Digital Video Cafe and made some interesting comments about how it feels that the technology of network storage is going to go Ethernet—not Fiber Channel.

Of course, there were many other cool things that time and space don’t allow me to opine upon. Overall, it was a good show, but there was not enough time to see everything I wanted to see—and I didn’t spend much time sitting through demonstrations, either! It was good to see all the third-party hardware and software for Macs this year—accessories, plug-ins, and other things made to work with Final Cut. It’s an exciting time to be working in this field, and I can’t wait to see what exciting things will be shown at NAB 2005!

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