According to last year’s statistics, NAB attendees from the video production and postproduction world now outnumber TV broadcasters, and people who categorize their primary business as “film/motion pictures” outnumber radio broadcasters.Clearly the show has evolved over the years, and perhaps outgrown its National Association of Broadcasters moniker, but with fresh blood at the head of the organization, NAB is continuing to push into new lateral markets (as if the show wasn’t big enough!).“One of the things people underestimate about NAB is its size. It has over 80 football fields full of stuff—819,000 square feet of exhibit space. The folks who are there generate about $30.4 billion in business” based on sales and sales leads from the show floor, said David Rehr, who took over as NAB president and CEO in December. He plans to push aggressively into new areas of digital media. “It’s better to be on the front of your foot, than the back of your foot,” he told Below the Line.Mobile video and podcasting are two of this year’s biggest buzzwords. The organization has added a segment to the show floor called the Next Generation Content Delivery Showcase, with exhibitors that have never before attended NAB, like Verizon and Qualcomm.3D-HDTV is another huge topic. 3D-pioneer and Titanic director James Cameron will give the keynote at the Digital Cinema Summit, promising an “in-depth look at the future of digital 3D.”Of two huge theaters on the exhibit floor, one will feature 4,000-line, 3D-HDTV, and the other will showcase Ultrahigh-Definition immersive film with 22.2 multichannel—a new technology developed by Japanese broadcaster NHK.On the production side, even if it is only a nonworking prototype, expect a huge crowd around Red Digital Cinema’s booth trying to figure out what all the noise is about.The trend toward 4K is well underway, as processor speeds are finally up to the task. Watch for some interesting developments in storage this year, including holographic storage—a system that promises from 300 GB to 1.6 TB on a single disk. Fujifilm and Maxell will both be demonstrating H-ROMs (holographic ROMs).Plasmon will be showing a new Ultra Density Optical (UDO) jukebox library system developed with Blu-Laser Cinema, specifically for the film and broadcast industries.Blu-Laser has developed a new on-set HD acquisition system that uses a 32-slot jukebox (at 30 GB per disk) to record the equivalent of 60, 40-minute reels at 1080P.Film scanners and color correction systems will continue to be hot areas for manufacturers (in terms of sales) as the DI process is now the norm rather than the exception. Plus, the tools are now within reach of even the smaller commercial postproduction houses.On these pages we take a look at some of the news from the exhibit floor.
Written by Scott Lehane