Not long ago, HD was the hot topic at NAB. Seemingly overnight, the discussion became centered on Ultra HD, or 4k resolution, which offers four times the resolution of 1080p. This year, 8k – or 16 times the resolution of 1080p – was on everyone’s mind, although products supporting 4k were the reality.
Approximately 92,000 attended the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the world’s largest electronic media event covering filmed entertainment and the development, management, and delivery of content across all mediums.
“Once again, the NAB Show serves as the premiere event for content and communications professionals from around the globe,” said NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton. “We’re thrilled by the continued support from our exhibitors and attendees, and delighted that NAB Show’s brand remains a powerful enabling force for technological advancement in media and entertainment.”
NAB reported that exhibit space grew nearly 10 percent over 2012. The event comprised 1,600 exhibitors spanning 900,000 net square feet of exhibit space, up from 815,000 net square feet in 2012. And, that floor space was packed with industry-related products. In the South Hall, companies in the postproduction industry occupied booths both large (Blackmagic Design, Grass Valley, and Red Digital Cinema) and small (the Plug-in Pavilion vendors). Some firms were offering sneak peeks at future offerings, while others were rolling out just-released wares or demonstrating already-released products.
Each year, major industry trade shows like NAB provide vendors with an opportunity to pitch products and users with the chance to see the latest and greatest. Trying to select the best of show is always a daunting task. Technology is advancing so quickly, and there are so many new tools on display. With that said, these are the vendors and their products that CGW has selected as the best in show at NAB 2013 and the winners of Computer Graphics World’s Silver Edge Awards.
Fusion-io’s Fusion ioFX. Resolution is moving into the 4k realm and beyond, making data much more difficult to work with. This high-capacity workstation acceleration platform has the capacity of 1.6tb (in addition to a 420gb version) and is tuned to aid users with data-intensive applications in CAD, 4k and stereo production, video editing, and DI, enabling them to work faster by removing traditional data storage bottlenecks. Fusion-io products can transparently deliver peak performance via Fusion ioMemory software, through an advanced operating system architecture that cuts through the latency introduced by hard drives and solid-state disks, so CPUs and GPUs can operate optimally.
Autodesk’s Smoke 2013. Smoke has been a valuable tool in the industry for 20 years. At NAB, Autodesk introduced Smoke 2013, a redesigned version of its all-in-one video editing and VFX tool for the Mac. And it will carry a very attractive price tag for all users, especially those at smaller facilities: $3,495. The offering is more Mac-like than previous Mac versions of Smoke in terms of the commands and interface, making it less complex to use, especially for editors.
AJA’s Corvid Ultra. AJA has a history of using NAB as a stage to introduce great new offerings. NAB 2013 was no different, as AJA unveiled products driving 4k innovation. What got our attention this year was AJA’s video processing and scaling OEM solution supporting up to 4k, stereoscopic or high frame rates, and other high-bandwidth applications. Corvid Ultra is part of AJA’s OEM program available to partners to incorporate into software applications or hardware systems for facilitating high-bandwidth/high frame rate performance. Corvid Ultra features support for 2k and 4k DI workflows and high-quality scaling capabilities for all resolutions. The company’s Ki Pro Quad, a new solid-state portable video recorder enabling true 4k camera-to-editorial workflows, deserves recognition as well.
Blackmagic Design’s cameras: Pocket Cinema Camera, Blackmagic Production Camera. Every NAB, it’s hard to say where the postproduction magic begins and ends at the Blackmagic Design booth, as the vendor uses the show to roll out a plethora of innovative products. Last year, the company surprised everyone with a camera offering, the Cinema Camera. This year, Blackmagic is offering an inventive Pocket version, a small, Super 16 1080 digital cinema camera for just $995. In addition, the company announced the 4k Blackmagic Production Camera for $3,995 that can be used on live productions. In fact, the company rolled out other 4k products as it focused on Ultra HD/4k. In adopting 6G-SDI video, the offerings can operate in SD and HD video formats using the same BNC connection.
Nvidia’s GRID. Nvidia has been pushing technology boundaries for years and continues to do so with its new GRID Visual Computing Appliance, a GPU-based system that delivers ultra-fast GPU performance to a remote client via the network. This allows companies to create virtual “workspaces” that can be allocated as needed. The GRID VCA entails 16 Nvidia GPUs and GRID VGX software, resulting in Quadro-class performance for up to 16 concurrent users.