Editor's Notes - NAB, in High Definition
Issue: Volume: 30 Issue: 5 (May 2007)

Editor's Notes - NAB, in High Definition

Karen Moltenbrey
Chief Editor
Once again, Las Vegas was the hot spot for multimedia professionals working in broadcast and related industries. This year, along with new releases, the product news was focused heavily on workflow and upgrades and offerings positioned to help users do their jobs more efficiently.

The big subject, naturally, was HD in particular, real HD and lossless HD conversion. Granted, those topics have been bantered about in the past. But this time, companies were talking about real offerings that are delivering as promised. In this realm, the belle of the ball was AJA, which launched new converters that support the tag line everything in, everything out architecture for HD and SD video. To this end, the company rolled out the FS1, supporting virtually any video input or output in HD and SD, and the GEN10, an SD/HD/AES sync generator for professional video post and broadcast environments. The FS1 simultaneously supports both HD and SD all in full 10-bit broadcast-quality video. It can up- or down-convert between SD and HD. In addition, AJA debuted its Io HD for 10-bit editing, which natively supports Apple's new ProRes 422 format. The end result is portable HD editing on the MacBook Pro or Mac Pro.

Generating the big news at the conference was Apple. At the traditional Sunday press conference, Apple users as usual created a revival-like atmosphere, applauding frequently as the company unveiled new offerings and the group had good reason to cheer. First, Apple introduced Final Cut Server, a new server application (at an enticing price) that works seamlessly with Final Cut Studio 2 to provide media asset management and workflow automation. The company's big unveil was Final Cut Studio 2, which includes major upgrades to Final Cut Pro (containing the new ProRes 422 format for uncompressed HD quality at SD file sizes), Soundtrack Pro, Motion, and Compressor. The big surprise, though, was the inclusion of the new Color in the suite; Color is a professional color-grading and finishing application for consistent coloring and the creation of signature looks. And, the suite including Color is priced at $1299, or $499 as an upgrade.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Avid also kicked up dust with some new rollouts, as did Autodesk, which launched a series of extensions for visual effects, editing/finishing, and color-grading products.

As expected, Sony and others showed new cameras, but their news took a backseat to the attention received by Red Digital Cinema. Last year, the company piqued interest with its promise to deliver Red One, an HD camcorder that boasts 12 megapixels at up to 60 fps (compared to the typical 2.1 megapixels at 30 fps from competitors), and users lined up to place orders. This year an even longer line snaked around the booth and down the aisles as attendees patiently waited to see if the company indeed made good on its promise. It did. Behind this year's curtain, the company showed off its 9-pound HD camcorder that records 12-bit native RAW or 10-bit oversampled HD all for $17,500.

Due to our deadlines, we were only able to include a few announcements from the show in our products sections this month; look for more news in the next issue and online at www.cgw.com