NAB 2005 in 5 minutes

Well, I was at NAB all week long, but I was so busy I ended up seeing very little of the trade show. So here’s a digest of what went on…

nab floor

Autodesk was exhibiting the new Lustre 2.6, and their new Toxik effects system. The idea behind Toxik is that it’s fully scalable, in the sense that you only pay to use it when there’s a project to do. We’ll take a more in-depth look at those later on. More importantly, Autodesk was fairly successful in pushing the fact that they are now known as Autodesk M&E rather than Discreet, which caused a great deal of confusion and annoyance at the show. Having said that, the stand was a real crowd-pleaser and 30 minutes after the show had finished, there were still demos in the booth to an audience of maybe 100 people.

Da Vinci had a rather impressive line-up, as all their Telecine systems have been ported over to a software-based solution (“Resolve”) for use in DI.

Kodak had a very uninteresting set-up, as it seemed like they were just there to collect mailing addresses and not to actually demo anything.

Pandora seemed very excited about their new “software”-based grading systems, however on close inspection, it seemed that they were still hardware-based to some degree and didn’t seem to offer much in the way of features or design over previous products.

Nucoda broke down their DI system into a number of components. Each of them seemed fairly pedestrian.

Thomson/Grass Valley were showing off the Specter FS, which can now work off of a SAN directly, the Spirit 4k (and there was talk about the 2k, but it was absent) which works as both a scanner and a telecine, and the new Bones DI software, combining editing, repair and scaling tools, but only a rudimentary colour grading line-up.

Sony was once again throwing its weight behind its 4k projector, and again I didn’t get to see it.

Panasonic was fairly quiet, still pushing it’s P2 storage paradigm, this time as part of the new DVCPRO HD camera.

Several things struck me at the show. The first is that the vast majority of DI systems cater for more of a telecine style approach. I’ve not seen any products which take a film lab approach and make it digital. By this I mean on that is very simple, allows conforming by key numbers and just has a simple printer light system for grading. Simple being the key. I have no doubt that such a system will be necessary in the coming months as digital cinema gains a footing.
The second was that *everyone* seemed to be talking DI. Between going to the toilet and queing for the (somewhat abysmal) food, there was no escape from people talking about the digital intermediate process. It was apparent that many of them didn’t know what they were talking about, though this didn’t really seem to matter…

Posted: April 26th, 2005
Categories: News
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