A Deluge of Technology

NAB 2008 

I’ve been pretty quiet on this blog as of late.  In fact, if you look at many video/production blogs on the web, there’s an obvious silence prior to and including last week.  The reason for this is 3 little letters: NAB. 

Every year, my industry flocks to Las Vegas for the week-long marathon of technology and discussion that is the National Association of Broadcaster’s Convention.  It’s an invaluable experience in an industry that’s constantly changing – the chance to speak with vendors and experience their products in person, as well as meet colleagues who are doing the same things you’re doing (and maybe even doing them better).

Some have begun to question the relevance and usefulness of this kind of large-scale show – after all, everyone has to travel, the companies spend millions on their show presences, and the Internet has made new product information available to all. But I think that’s ignoring two major advantages to physically being at NAB: the ability to physically experience products, and the chance to talk with industry colleagues. If I’m going to be purchasing thousands of dollars worth of production gear, I want to have actually held it in my hands prior to clicking “Complete Order.” I want to push the buttons, pull the levers, and maybe even drop it a few times. In live event production, the gear has to work, work correctly, and work every time. There’s no way to reliably make that kind of purchasing decision from a jpeg and a few user reviews.

As for discussions with colleagues – this year I talked with a television magic trick designer (think Criss Angel, David Blaine) about methods and practices for delivery of Flash Video. That conversation, and others like it, never would have happened without a physical convention.

In closing – I saw thousands of products, walked miles of show floor, and am now filled with new ideas and technologies for the production and distribution of digital media. I look forward to bringing these to bear on current and future NUAMPS projects.