Another year, another trip to the desert for the annual NAB conference and exhibition. Under the bright sun (and bright lights) of Vegas, what did I find to be the hot news and offerings for the digital content creation industry? Here are my top picks:
1. Attendance. Okay, this is not a product, but there is some news here. NAB officials contend that attendance at this year’s conference was up by several thousand showgoers from last year (accounting for a six percent increase), which is not bad considering the down economy. Unlike last year, when I walked down the front steps of the South Hall and down the main aisle unencumbered, this year saw some crowds, as folks stopped to check out Grass Valley to the left and Microsoft and AJA to the right as they entered. While NAB notes that the figures are preliminary, comparing 2010 registered attendees to 2009 actual attendees, the news does offer a glimmer of hope as we continue into the 2010 trade-show season. GDC 2010 attendance was on par with the previous year, and I can only hope that with SIGGRAPH 2010 being held in Los Angeles, we will see a crowd.
2. Stereo 3D. Last year, the Content Theater was brimming with stereo 3D content, and this year was no different. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 18 months, you know that stereo 3D is no longer the next big thing; it is the big thing. And, the lines to get into the theater this year snaked all the way through the lobby area outside the North Hall. Sponsored by Sony and RealD, the sessions focused on trends in stereoscopic 3D production in digital cinematography, live sports production, visual effects, large-format filmmaking, underwater videography, and more. While ESPN provided a detailed account of its recent activities, what really packed in viewers was a Q&A about the work on Alice in Wonderland, along with some clips from the movie. Another attention-getter was the panel discussion (and clips) from How to Train your Dragon.
3. Adobe. It seems as if we have been waiting for a year now, but finally Adobe has revealed its latest gem: CS5, with Adobe Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects now native 64-bit applications on both Mac and Windows! 4. Blackmagic. For the past several years, Blackmagic has increased its stage presence at the show, and this show was no different. In an expansive booth, Grant Petty ticked off a long list of new products, including 3D versions of DeckLink HD Extreme and HDLink Pro, multiple new USB 3.0-based products, a complete evolution in color correction with DaVinci Resolve (now on Mac), a new, portable UltraScope, some new routers, a fantastic new router control panel, and more. Petty addressed Blackmagic’s view on stereo 3D, too. In a nutshell, he notes that while stereo 3D is the current buzzword, whether it will prove to be the cornerstone of the future is still undetermined.
Therefore, Blackmagic is rolling out products that it sees as necessary in the industry, adding stereo 3D functionality to them as a plus for those needing them.
5. Autodesk. The company clearly has control over the market, and at NAB, it rolled out 2011 releases of Flame, Flare, Flint, Smoke, and Lustre, featuring stereo 3D workflow support, new creative tools, and improved interoperability.
6. The Foundry. Nuke 6 and NukeX 6 has arrived for compositing, along with Mari, an impressive 3D texture-painting offering originally developed at Weta.
7. The rest. HP made its new, big product rollout just prior to NAB. Also showing off new wares was Boxx. On the graphics card side, AMD and Nvidia continued to break boundaries, with Nvidia unveiling a digital video pipeline, and AMD rolling out the V8800 and a number of other cards while previewing others. And, AJA continued its winning streak by unveiling Ki Pro Version 2.0, with support for Avid systems. A compositing plus: Eyeon revealed Fusion 6.1, the newest version of its 3D software, complete with a next-generation GPU supercomputing framework. NewTek’s latest TriCaster production system was unrivaled, and RED continues with its crowdpleasing offerings.
What did you find impressive at the show? Let us know in a blog on the CGW Web site.