NRB Tech Lab Celebrates Six Years

NRB’s Tech Lab presentations are always popular and well attended.
The NRB Tech Lab has become a mainstay at the NRB convention, marking its sixth anniversary this year. The event is overwhelmingly popular, as it allows convention-goers to experience on a hands-on basis some of the newest technologies in the audio/video field.

The NRB Tech Lab features a complete range of equipment that a religious broadcaster might need—from wireless microphones and high-definition cameras to editing systems and large-scale video displays. Several leading equipment providers will be on hand to field questions and initiate hands-on demos of their latest products, allowing prospective customers to make side-by-side comparisons and come away with the absolute best fit.

Dave Keith, Vice President of Operations for NRB, shared some of his thoughts about this year’s Tech Lab event.

“Tech Lab was originally established to provide convention attendees with peer-to-peer advice for strategic planning when investing is systems hardware and infrastructure for a media ministry,” Keith said. “It gives you the opportunity to meet with your counterparts in media and include their input in the decision-making process. We’re hoping a lot of the attendees at this year’s show will take the opportunity to spend some time in the Tech Lab and on the exhibit floor. It’s a very good environment to find the right vendors with the best fit for your ministry needs.”


The NRB Tech Lab should be especially useful for anyone exploring options and technologies for shaving production costs associated with content generation. However, it isn’t just about showing off new equipment. It also features panel discussions, workshops and training sessions with tips and suggestions for producing the most effective video content, podcasts, Web sites and more.

One of these is the “Internet Future Technology: Open Source” forum. It’s designed to give convention attendees an opportunity to learn about the latest developments in connection with the Internet and their ministries. It’s set for 1:30 p.m. on Monday, and will feature the latest in Web develop-ment tools, including Joomla!, Drupal, Ektron, Ning, Mambo, Zencart and others. Two other Internet-related topics gaining interest lately are net neu-trality and Christian online gaming.

For some time many congregations have been installing video origination equipment and producing their own broadcasts. In the enthusiasm to move into video production, one element is often neglected — lighting for television. Tuesday’s “Church Media: Winning in Worship with Tim Ranson,” 10:30 a.m., provides essential lighting information for “lighting your church sanctuary as stage and studio.”


Visitors to this year’s Tech Lab will be certain to spot many exhibitors who have become regulars at the event, but there will be some new faces, and Ross Video is one of these. Ross will be spotlighting their OverDrive production control system, which provides users with touch-screen control of devices used in their television production facility. The company’s OverDrive marketing product manager, Brad Rochon, is going to be on hand to guide show attendees through OverDrive operations.

“This is our first appearance at the NRB Tech Lab and I’m really looking forward to being there to meet with attendees and provide an overview of the OverDrive technology and feature set,” Rochon said. “We’re planning an educational presentation about our product’s many advantages, and want to show content producers and broadcasters what our product can do in terms of raising the quality of their productions by eliminating a lot of com-mon errors, while at the same time lowering the cost of those productions by letting them operate with a smaller crew.”

Ross Video’s session on Monday, “OverDrive Automated Production Control” is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

Tech Lab gets under way on Sunday, 1 p.m. and continues through Tuesday afternoon.

James E. O’Neal has more than 50 years of experience in the broadcast arena, serving for nearly 37 years as a television broadcast engineer and, following his retirement from that field in 2005, moving into journalism as technology editor for TV Technology for almost the next decade. He continues to provide content for this publication, as well as sister publication Radio World, and others.  He authored the chapter on HF shortwave radio for the 11th Edition of the NAB Engineering Handbook, and serves as editor-in-chief of the IEEE’s Broadcast Technology publication, and as associate editor of the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal. He is a SMPTE Life Fellow, and a Life Member of the IEEE and the SBE.