Digital takes the next step

Sunday is always the exception to the rule of my typical NAB experience. For the past 20 plus years, I spend Monday through Thursday running from appointment to appointment spread throughout the massive Las Vegas Convention Center that makes the convention –to me- more like a marathon than an industry gathering. But Sunday is different –particularly Sunday morning.

For the past several years, back-to-back press conferences are held in one specific meeting room on the upper level of the north hall of the convention center. Every hour on the hour, a new press conference put on by a different vendor begins. No running around; no frenetic activity. Just sit there and let the information flow.

Maybe it’s because the need to sprint off to far quadrants of the LVCC universe is absent, but whatever the reason, Sunday morning offers a chance for a little more reflection than the rest of the show.

During my more contemplative moments yesterday, I realized a good portion of this industry is in for a radical transformation. Replacement of black boxes with integrated systems in support of file-based workflows is old news. But now the industry is taking the digital workflow to the next level. Rather than buy graphics software to build news graphics, why not subscribe to a Web service that combines graphics content with the tools and templates to get the job done quickly and easily – a la Chyron’s new AXIS Graphics?

Or, perhaps you need to integrate the workflow of personnel spread out across or a few miles or even across the globe into a collaborative, unified system. Go talk to Quantel about DINO --distance is no object-- technology that already is deployed at TV2 in Norway and KWTV in Waco, TX, to do just that.

Even Snell & Wilcox –which has built a successful business on delivery top-notch video hardware to answer the needs of broadcasters and post professionals- is devoting significant resources in the form of the newly announced spin-off company Amber Fin to address the file based world from content capture to distribution with its own software running on general purpose computing platforms.

NAB2008 will go down in history as “the last analog NAB.” But there’s much more to that label than an acknowledgement of the Feb. 17, 2009, DTV transition. The show may also be remembered for broadcasters and post professionals being introduced to the next wave in digital technology and its impact on how they work.

Parting Thoughts: Sinclair Broadcast Group has committed to using the Snell & Wilcox Kahuna production switcher as the centerpiece of its transition to HD local news at its stations that do news. HD pioneer WRAL-TV in Raleigh-Durham, NC, will adopt Sony XDCAM for news gathering. According to station chief engineer Pete Sockett, WRAL will equip about 30 field news crews with the cameras over the next two years.

Listen to an audio clip about Amber Fin.

Listen to an audio clip from Pete Sockett.