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Under the Radar at The NAB Show


This will be my 25th NAB, and I am as excited as a teenager about it. For editors, there is always something new to be seen at the big show but unless you spend as much time on the phone talking with post-production exhibitors as I do, there are some highlights that may have flown under your radar screen.

THE POST PIT PAVILION

One of the important new destinations at the NAB Show 2010 will be the Post Pit Pavilion in the middle of the Lower South Hall, with sessions held from open to close every day of the show. Although organized by SuperMeet co-producers Daniel Berube of the Boston Final Cut Pro User Group and Michael Horton of the Los Angeles FCPUG, this is not just one more way for Apple to get a presence at NAB without paying for their own exhibit space. Instead, lots of vendors including Avid, Adobe, Canon and JVC will be showing their wares there.

A major highlight at the Post Pit Pavilion will be the way relatively inexpensive HDSLR still cameras are being used for serious high-definition production work. Industry gurus such as filmmaker Philip Bloom will demonstrate an HDSLR’s practicality for moving video acquisition, and Tim Dashwood will reveal the nuts and bolts of making your own 3D camera rigs on a budget while also releasing Version 2 of his popular Stereo3D Toolbox that allows convergence adjustment with keyframes.

You can follow the Post Pit Pavilion activities on the NAB Show BuZZ, the official production podcast of the 2010 NAB Show, And don’t forget the afterhours Post Pit Party on Monday, April 12, co-sponsored by AJA and Avid.

ON THE 3D FOREFRONT

Adobe Systems has been doing a fan dance worthy of Sally Rand about their NAB announcements, but I can tell you that seeing their new Mercury Playback Engine is worth a visit to their booth. It opens projects faster, enables higher resolution sequences in real time and lets you scrub through the most complex projects in real time without rendering. You can draw your own assumptions whether this will be a big part of any new edition of a potentially 64-bit version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro NLE, but don’t tell them I waved any feathers in your face.

Once again, CineForm will be on the forefront of 3D post, and along with its partners CineDeck and AJA Video, will be demonstrating direct 3D acquisition into CineForm stereo files from 3D sources. Their Neo3D, the first plug-in to crack the challenge of convergence adjustments, will be seen in a new revision on both Windows and Mac platforms, and CineForm will be showing customer projects in a 3D theater that utilized Neo3D software.

JVC’s new IF-2D3D1 3D Image Processor Digital Vision’s presence will be felt with new stereoscopic toolsets for their Nucoda Film Mater image enhancement and color grading system. Look for a full integration with an Avid workflow to Unity ISIS and Interplay.

I always get a kick out of stopping by the DVS booth to ogle their muscle machines for post production. This year our German friends will be presenting the newest additions to the DVS family: Fuze, Atomix, and SpycerBox Ultra. But it is their flagship CLIPSTER system that tears up the tracks by creating 3D Digital Cinema packages in real time even with 4K hardware-accelerated DCI mastering and 3D subtitling. CLIPSTER can even combine RAW data from Red, ARRI D-20 and D-21 and Phantom cameras on a single timeline.

THE CUTTING EDGE

Anyone wrestling with the new AVCHD format will want to check out the new Version 5.5 of Edius at the Grass Valley booth. It’s the only NLE that offers native, full-resolution, real-time editing of multiple layers of AVCHD material. Better still, Edius 5.5 is now fully Windows 7-compatible and upgrades from 5.0 are free for registered users.

Those cutting in a newsroom environment will want to check out Matrox Ventura Playback, a new application on the Mac for convenient playback of H.264 and .mov files using any of the Matrox MXO2 I/O devices. Even field journalists can use its encoding accelerator to create a high-quality H.264 file faster than real time.

If you get past the crowds at Newtek watching the stage demos of their TriCaster production truck in a box, you can get a glimpse of the newest addition to the NLE game, SpeedEDIT 2. We all remember Newtek revolutionizing desktop video production by bringing out the Video Toaster in 1990 on Commodore Amiga 2000 computers, and this new release of SpeedEDIT promises to give some of the other NLE’s a run for their money. SpeedEDIT 2 has a unique GUIworks natively for real-time editing with XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX, QuickTime and AC3 Audio.

Sony Creative Software Vegas Pro 9 Quantel will be powering up its Pablo 4K color correction system in addition to showing off its eQ post-production powerhouse that was used to create the DI for “Avatar.” It’s kind of cute to observe the interface of Final Cut Pro with the monster Quantel systems, but that’s what gives us normal cutters access to their volcanic capabilities.

EDITING ‘BRONX FLAVOR’

There will be lots to see at the Sony Creative Software booth with Justin Fornal showing how he edits his weekly TV show, “Bronx Flavor” using Vegas Pro 9 software, and Douglas Spotted Eagle of VASST demo-ing his speed edit techniques with the latest version of this 64-bit NLE. In addition, Singular Software will show the Vegas Pro multicamera workflow enhanced by their PluralEyes plug-in.

On a second stage, Sony Creative Software will present the enterprise-level capability of Vegas 9 to author 3D Blu-ray discs, even with subtitles in Z-space.

Finally, the 3D Pavilion in the South Hall, produced in partnership with 3D@Home consortium, is sure to be jammed. But while looking at all the passive and active stereo 3D displays along with the latest in glasses-free autostereoscopic attempts, make sure you don’t overlook the new 2D to 3D conversion technologies such as JVC’s new IF-2D3D1 3D Image Processor. Although it can work its wonders on its own in real time, in the hands of an experienced stereographer, the IF-2D3D1 can produce truly spectacular results.

Jay Ankeney is a freelance editor and post-production consultant based in Los Angeles. Write him at 220 39th St. (upper), Manhattan Beach, Calif. 90266 or atJayAnkeney@mac.com.