After a three-year hiatus, the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show returned to Las Vegas in April 2022 for a full in-person exhibition and conference program. With over 52,000 registered attendees representing 155 countries across the globe, this year’s event continued its reign as the world’s largest annual convention for the broadcast, entertainment, and technology industries.
“We are thrilled that our exhibitors, attendees, and partners from all corners of the world turned out in force this week in Las Vegas. The enthusiasm and engagement on the show floor, in sessions, and throughout the entire event have been invigorating,” stated NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt. “We thank the NAB Show community for making this year’s convention an incredible experience as we get back to doing business in person.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably transformed the landscape and scope of media technology workflows, with remote collaboration and virtual production becoming more widespread than ever before. The emphasis on streamlined storage, asset sharing, and connectivity solutions has never been stronger.
One of the most evident trends at NAB 2022 was the rise of technology that allows artists and designers to create with greater efficiency and flexibility. From innovative AI and machine learning applications to intelligent cloud storage and collaboration platforms, harnessing the potential of new technology to amplify creativity was a top priority.
Cloud-based virtual worldbuilding
Optimized for collaboration, Nvidia’s new Omniverse Cloud provides creators with instant access to the groundbreaking Omniverse 3D design platform. This includes Nucleus Cloud, a “one-click” sharing tool that allows users to easily access and edit large 3D scenes remotely, with no massive dataset transfers required. Users can send a link to invite other collaborators to join a session instantly.
The cloud platform also includes Omniverse Create, an app that gives designers the tools to interactively build robust 3D worlds in real-time. Rounding out the included services is View, an app that allows non-technical users to view Omniverse scenes streaming with full simulation and rendering capabilities on the Nvidia GeForce NOW platform, powered by cloud-based Nvidia RTX GPUs.
“Designers working remotely collaborate as if in the same studio. Factory planners work inside a digital twin of the real plant to design a new production flow. Software engineers test a new software build on the digital twin of a self-driving car before releasing it to the fleet. A new wave of work is coming that can only be done in virtual worlds,” explained Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia. “Omniverse Cloud will connect tens of millions of designers and creators, and billions of future AIs and robotic systems.”
Expanded support for photorealistic rendering
Artists are now able to utilize the power of select AMD Radeon PRO graphics cards to create photorealistic images with Maxon’s production-class Redshift render engine. This allows users to access Redshift’s high-performance rendering capabilities via AMD’s GPU programming environment, HIP [Heterogeneous Interface for Portability]. Designed for programming high-performance kernels on GPU hardware, HIP is a C++ runtime API and programming language that accommodates easy migration from existing NVIDIA CUDA [Compute Unified Device Architecture Code]. This allows developers to write GPU applications and run code in any environment with comparable performance across platforms, with only minimal adjustments required.
Redshift also now supports rendering with mixed devices such as RS CPU and AMD Radeon PRO graphics cards, which allows teams to work with a variety of hardware setups simultaneously with no compatibility issues. “Our ultimate goal is Redshift Everywhere, in the hands of every artist on every DCC [digital content creation] application, with the ability to take advantage of all the capabilities of their hardware,” announced David McGavran, CEO of Maxon. “This development brings us even closer to that achievement and also satisfies one of the community’s most desired feature requests.”
Powerful workstation, small footprint
Designed to power large workflows while taking up minimal space, HP’s new Z2 Mini G9 Workstation desktop PC can be placed on a variety of work surface setups, mounted behind a monitor, attached below a desk, rack-mounted in a data center, or easily transported between workspaces. Engineered to evolve with a user’s changing needs, a sliding cover design provides tool-free interior access for quick graphics and memory swaps.
The workstation, which supports up to eight displays at 4K resolution, combines NVIDIA RTX A2000 graphics with PCIe G5 high speed bandwidth for seamless design, rendering, and simulation. Intel Core vPro processors — including the high-performance K-Series — allow users to run multiple applications simultaneously, while 2 DIMMS — for up to 64GB DDR5 memory at an increased speed of up to 4800MHz — deliver high-speed performance for complex design tasks. The system also offers up to 8TB of storage with dual M.2 slots plus RAID data storage capabilities to maximize reliability.
Users can easily configure and customize the workstation for their ongoing needs with up to two flexible I/O ports and 13 I/O options to fill them, including DP 1.4, VGA, HDMI, Dual USB Type-A, USB Type-C with Alt-DP or 2nd Serial, and more. The Z2 Mini internal antenna provides higher Wi-Fi bandwidth and more reliable connections on congested networks with full performance Wi-Fi 6E for fast, efficient collaboration.
Elevated virtual production workflows
Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC) partnered with Vū Studio to present the Unreal Ride, a standout exhibit on the NAB 2022 show floor. This virtual production workflow demo gave attendees a chance to experience a hyper-realistic motorcycle ride through a futuristic metropolis, with sharable video footage provided immediately after via a code.
The immersive simulation utilized the Unreal Engine, Puget Systems workstations, Vū Studio’s virtual production LED volumes, and MRMC’s Bolt X Cinebot for precise motion control. The Bolt X has the longest arm reach of MRMC’s high-speed cinema robots — 3.2 meters — allowing for greater flexibility to capture shots at high speed in the studio and on location.
Daniel Mallek at Vū Studio stated, “By connecting our LED wall with the Bolt X robot’s motion data, we are able to create a virtual environment that is indistinguishable from reality. The possibilities of MRMC’s motion control technology paired with our LED volumes are truly endless, that’s why they are gamechangers for the industry.”
The NAB Show will return to Las Vegas in April 2023 for its centennial celebration.