Things to look for at NAB 2016

1700 exhibitors in just four days? Spend your time wisely.

Shuttle buses, product releases, demos, interviews, celebrities, interactive displays, 8K monitors, parties, tents full of drones, and more. NAB 2016 will be the most populous, announcement-centric event in video production history, just as every other year’s NAB before this one has been.

Every company that participates in this industry shows up to NAB - the show for the National Association of Broadcasters - either displaying officially with a corporate booth, or simply attending and booking key meetings, frequenting networking events or simply existing in the world’s temporary epicentre for production and post-production.

So what kinds of things can we completely expect, and what should we keep our eyes peeled for? Rumors have swirled for months about what the OEMs will bring out to show off, but only time will tell what will be on display for sure.

So let’s start with what we’ve got our hearts set on, and see where it takes us. Is it important to pre-plan for NAB 2016? Consider the sheer number of exhibitors, the immensity of the venue, and the inherent distractions of holding the event in Las Vegas, and the likelihood of seeing 100% of your wishlist can be a stunt.

Let's look at a few highlights that might just make the show special for you.

Company: Hewlett-Packard (HP)

What to watch for: The latest HP Z-machines, including the universe-bending Z840 workstation. The workstation has been around for some time now, but this will be the first chance many of us have had to check out the HP Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro, an ultra-fast PCIe-based drive that boasts speeds 16X faster than a SATA SSD with a possible solution that can deliver sequential performance up to 9.0GB/s.

Beyond just the amazing drive, this workstation is probably the most infinitely customizable workstation solution for the post-production industry.

Show-stealing bonus: The workstation is only as good as the peripherals plugged into it, and the  HP DreamColor Z27x Studio and Professional displays are some of the most incredible monitors to hit the scene.

In fact, this professional-grade display - which we’re working on reviewing right now - combined with the Z840 workstation to create the title sequence for the Hollywood blockbuster Deadpool.

Company: RED

What to watch for: The RED booth. Loud, bombastic, polarizing, controversial, and chock-full of top notch, cutting edge cameras, the RED booth always draws a massive crowd complete with displays following in the footsteps of past setups, including bikini fashion shows and horror dungeon surgical scenes. Regardless of what they bring to the show, look forward to checking out the latest update to RED cameras, Weapon.

Company: Divergent Media

What to watch for: For 2016, Divergent Media announced a partnership with Pomfort, facilitating the combination of Divergent’s popular Scopebox with Pomfort’s signature media management software tool, Silverstack XT.

What else? This year Divergent Media will debut a new version of their powerful EditReady with direct integration to ScopeLink. For the uninitiated, EditReady provides filmmakers and editors with a single workflow for digital media transcode, prep, monitor and delivery. Working with a Canon 5D? Maybe a RED? With support for all industry popular camera formats, and editing formats, EditReady converts media for immediate preview and playback, lets users apply LUTs for color correction, view and edit metadata, easily convert between DNxHD and ProRes and run simultaneous batches, allowing them to generate proxy media or convert footage from different cameras.

And now with ScopeLink integration, filmmakers and editors have dedicated, full time scopes without the need for external hardware. With ScopeLink connecting your software editing or compositing application to EditReady, you don't have to be constrained by the built in scopes ever again.

Company: Canon

What has been teased but probably won’t be at the show: An 8K EOS Cinema camera, an 8K reference monitor (you know, for monitoring that not-yet-released camera), and a 120-megapixel DSLR. Canon has announced all of these things are in the works and on the way to a retailer near you, but the chance we’ll seen one at NAB is likely pretty slim.

More likely, Canon will have a massive show of strength as usual, with their entire current lineup of cameras, lenses, and cinema lenses in a colossal booth busy with demos, rows of cameras to test and marketing people ready to talk turkey.

Company: Rampant Design Tools

What to watch for: Rampant Filmmaker's Toolbox! We’ve followed Rampant for quite some time, but this year Rampant Design and iOgrapher LLC have partnered to offer iOS filmmakers and editors the Rampant Filmmaker’s Toolbox for iOgrapher. Packaged in a 1TB USB 3.0 hard drive, the Filmmaker’s Toolbox includes over 1,000 HD drag-and-drop Style Effects that enable editors to add professional-calibre visual effects, motion graphics and backgrounds to their videos.

With this new Toolbox, iOgraphers can easily amp up their videos with high definition visual effects and motion graphics by simply dragging and dropping a Style Effect onto their editing timeline to instantly creating stunning, ultra high definition looks and effects. Rampant Design Style Effects are not plug-ins and therefore, are not platform dependent and work on all editing software platforms.

Company: FxFactory

Show-stealing product: 360VR Toolbox. Covered last month on about.com, FxFactory will debut Dashwood Cinema Solutions’  360-degree virtual reality editing software suite. Dashwood will demonstrate features like stereoscopic 360° slit-scan rendering and stereoscopic fisheye to spherical conversion. Dashwood has also added new plugins, including 360° XYZ-axis re-orientation, projection of 2D logos or video on 360VR, pan and scan output of “flat” video from 360VR sources, output of stereographic “little planet” or cubic “skyboxes” from 360VR sources, and spherical blur, sharpen, glow and noise reduction filters.

Also new to the suite are plugins that can convert stereoscopic 180° fisheye video source to 360VR equirectangular projection or stereoscopically project still images or video sources into a spherical 3D slit-scan rendering environment, a first for the 360° video post industry.

Honourable mention: We’re not done with FxFactory just yet, as this is the year we see CrumplePop Audio Denoise and CrumplePop EchoRemover, two new audio software plugins for video editors.

Compatible with both Final Cut Pro X and Adobe PremierePro, CrumplePop EchoRemover is a software plugin that works by simply dragging and dropping EchoRemover directly onto the video clip. All audio echo is instantly removed, significantly enhancing the audio quality of the clip.

CrumplePop AudioDenoise - also compatible with Final Cut Pro X and Adobe PremierePro, instantly removes all background noise and hiss from a video clip. By simply dragging and dropping AudioDenoise onto the clip, the software automatically identifies and removes all distracting background noises from the video.   


Company: Arc 9

Why we love them: About was lucky enough to catch up with Arc 9 CEO and Founder, Melissa Davies-Barnett last month, and we are finally about to get a test drive of their amazing product. Arc 9 is a collaborative ecosystem for digital media artists and the creative community; it’s a software platform on which creative teams and their clients can connect, share and review visual content - be it in the form of documents, still images, animations or videos.

  Arc 9 supports all the tools the creative community has come to depend on, but neatly ties them together, eliminating the disparity and tedium, while creating  a workflow that inspires creativity.

Editors embrace the integration with all industry popular editing and content creation platforms, including Apple Final Cut Pro X, Adobe PremierePro and PhotoShop, as well as Avid Media Composer. All feedback, comments, changes and annotations are imported directly into the timelines.

Tight integration with the creative community’s most relied upon social, collaborative and video sharing networks like Slack, Vimeo and now YouTube means you’re always in synch with your clients, your team and your audiences, wherever they may be.

Company: Atomos

Our eyes are peeled for: Like RED, Atomos has polarized attendees with their juxtaposition of incredible monitor and capture devices and scantily clad people. Like the high end camera folks such as Blackmagic Design, Panasonic, and RED, Atomos has a handful of cameras with long lenses aimed at a handful of models clad only in speedos and body paint. Those actually interested in buying one of Atomos’ amazing new products will have to wait in line behind oddly-enabled oglers to see how the latest HDR-enabled Shogun Flame.

What: Drone Pavilion

What?!? That’s right. NAB 2016 is bringing back their wildly popular Drone Pavilion. Helmed by aerial hardware headmaster Jeff Foster, this year’s drone pavilion will host the latest in drone hardware, OEMs, third party accessory providers, demos and a handful of the drone industry’s experts, ready to answer questions on safe usage, hardware advancements and competitive analysis, and the latest on the FAA’s pursuit of airborne regulation.

Sound like a lot to see? This is just the tip of the iceberg! Blackmagic Design will have dozens of devices ready to propel your production company into the high-end space. Autodesk will dazzle with software solutions for the best post artists. AJA always has something up their sleeve. Adobe will barrage us with announcements and their wildly-popular demo theatre. If we’re lucky, they’ll bring out Andrew Kramer again to entertain and educate. Dell will have a lineup of face-melting portable workstations, displays and more.

The only problem with NAB 2016 is figuring out where to spend your time.