I’m sitting in the Seattle airport on my way home extremely worn out from NAB 2010. This was my first year attending and I think it’s going to be my social highlight of the year. So I’ll recap a few of my thoughts here. This will probably a longer post.
First of all (I was not the only one to say this), but Twitter simply revolutionized the way this event went for me. Because of existing relationships made throughout the year via this social service, I knew so many people there already before I even set foot in the door. I made over 25 new connections and many of those will be friends for life. I’m positive new partnerships and collaborations will be the fruit of many of these new and now “face-to-face” relationships. I scheduled myself wall to wall. Some fell through and the time between rapidly filled up from tweets that read “@XXXXX Where you at?”- instant meet-up. We shared workflow, stories, drinks, tips, and lives. So here’s to all the new friends I spent most of my time wandering the show floor and Vegas lounges with.
My relationships were’t the only thing to change. My workflow did a complete 180 while at the same time really falling into place. Post-production is one of those industries where there are lots of tools to do the same thing lots of different ways. Sometimes budgets are the limitation, sometimes platforms, sometimes the tool. My workflow has been pretty simple over the last couple of years: I’ve edited in Premiere and gone back and forth between Premiere and After Effects for titles, FX and grading.
As things have progressed, my skills developed, codecs changed, and projects getting more complicated, I’ve branched out a bit from that; sometimes editing in Premiere or Avid and FXing and grading almost exclusively in After Effects. Grading in particular has become something I’ve spent more and more of time on due to what you can make your film or video feel like. After Effects is the most powerful app I have that does the most. So while not ideal, I’ve been doing my grading there using a variety of tools and plugins; each one doing something different that the other tool doesn’t. Well that’s all changed.
Enter Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve software for color grading for OSX. I was able to get my hands on this astounding tool via a Tangent Wave at NAB. This thing is amazing. It does what I’m currently using about 4 different AE plugins to do right now. Now it’s all in one program formerly only available if you happened to have a spare half a million floating around. It is certainly not the most intuitive so I don’t think you’re going to see every independent guy jumping all over this and at a $1K pricetag, really only those serious about their color grading are going to be picking this up when Apple’s Color or Color Finesse is enough for most people. Like audio post, I believe coloring is a far-too-often neglected necessity in independent production. Like audio mastering it really puts the finishing touch on a piece and brings it all together.
At the same time, NAB was all abuzz about Avid’s Media Composer 5’s new AMA plugin architecture that is compatible with virtually every Quicktime format available; including Cineform (my preferred codec)- which is all over and pushing the DPX format to new and better places. See where I’m going with this? Historically (albeit a limited history), digital visual post production was done with DPX files. Resolve being a DaVinci product and the long-time king of all things color is best used with DPX. Adobe Photoshop and After Effects are DPX powered- Mocha is DPX powered…See how this is coming together for me? When I get a copy of Resolve, I’ll be able to talk more about the DPX portion of the workflow here but until then, I am very, very excited.
As to the REST of the products. It was a candy store. I was able to get my hands on every DSLR rig out there, get my hands on an SI-2K, get my hands on the Euphonix Artist series of control surfaces (compatible with Media Composer, Nuendo and probably late this year Resolve). I was able to test and listen to mics in a variety of situations, physically test almost every portable digital recorder, try out multiple lenses and monitors and walk many, many miles acquiring blisters on my feet and enjoying every second. I didn’t get a chance to look at anything related to media asset management because I didn’t give myself enough time.
What would I change about my NAB experience? I would start by getting a hotel closer to the Monorail, wear better shoes and take only a slightly different wardrobe. I really went casual on my exhibit halls day and feel that was a detriment to being considered a serious buyer. I would also probably NOT do Post-Production world but focus on networking and meeting with vendors and post people. PPW was good but I quickly realized I misjudged my skill level in relation to most of the workshops. They were very basic- but I did get some gems out of them. So I would only attend the exhibits and presentations allowing myself time to use NEW products I’ve never heard about or looked at and connect with a few more people.
I think that’s about it. Click HERE for some random shots I got. I have some vid and other photos I’ll try and get cut and uploaded when I get home.