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NAB 09 Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of NAB. I'm not going to list every single announcement (for that you can go here), but I'm going to focus on what I feel were the biggest or most interesting announcements.

Avid completely redesigned their logo - I can see what they were trying to do but I'm not a big fan of it. Luckily they had some bombshell announcements to go with it. In a surprising move, Avid qualified Final Cut Pro to run on its Unity MediaNetwork and ISIS storage. This makes it considerably easier to use both FCP and Avid systems on the same project.

Avid also redesigned its support offerings and showcased RED support and stereoscopic 3D integration. Avid has always had the edge on FCP when it comes to media management but the recently-introduced AMA architecture takes that one step further. There is no need to Log and Transfer - just link to the P2 or XDCAM volume and all of the clips just pop up in the bin, complete with metadata. This is clearly a lot better than FCP's clunky implementation (hopefully something Apple will address in FCP 7) and Avid were keen to show it off.

Adobe announced it has partnered with several manufacturers to create TVs with Flash support. So you could theoretically watch a documentary on a subject and then view interactive content related to that subject.

But far more interesting was Adobe's post announcements. Adobe Story is a collaborative screenwriting application that is integrated with Adobe Premiere. There are very few details but it seems likely that it will build on Premiere's transcription function to introduce an Avid-like Script Sync feature.

This continues the recent trend of linking pre-production processes directly to post production software - something we will no doubt see more of in the future. Right now Apple appears to be considering storyboard integration.

Blackmagic Design announces UltraScope - 3Gb/s SDI and optical fibre scopes for $695. This is huge. Hardware scopes cost more than some cars, so a scope for $695 is a real game-changer. Lets hope it's good - Blackmagic's products normally are.

It is a PCI Express card that plugs into a Windows computer with a 24-inch monitor (alas no Mac support as yet) to display output on the screen. As one PVC commenter notes - the lack of Mac support is not necessarily a bad thing as you would probably not use the machine for any other purpose, thus a cheaper PC would be a better option.

This is a clever solution to an age-old problem and I wish I was at NAB to see it in action.

Blackmagic's HDLink looks to be a worthy opponent to the original Matrox MXO. This gives you HD monitoring via DVI or HDMI for only $495. Monitor 4:4:4 SDI video on a regular computer monitor.

In addition, Blackmagic have lowered the prices of several of their existing products.

Matrox CompressHD is a PCI Express hardware H.264 encoder. This allows you to encode H.264 faster than realtime using Matrox's MAX technology. Also announced is the MXO 2 Mini, which is a cut-down, smaller, cross platform version of the MXO 2. It lacks XLR and SDI ports, unlike its larger and more expensive brother but it works on PC, Mac, and all QuickTime-compatible editing applications. It costs $449 or $849 with the H.264-accelerating MAX option.

AJA has a very nice new website and have introduced the KI Pro. It connects to a camera and records to ProRes422 in the field, without the aid of a laptop. It is the only device to do this because AJA have an exclusive contract with Apple for ProRes support.

This means you can import footage into Final Cut Pro instantly without the need for transcoding. It also means that the post production team is dealing with the same video format each time, no matter what type of camera was used on set.

It can accept SD/HD SDI, HDMI and component inputs and can connect to your computer via FireWire 800 or Ethernet. It can also convert from one video standard to another in realtime. You can record to removable ExpressCards or an external hard disk. It can be remotely controlled through Wifi via a laptop or iPhone (nice!).

AJA also announced the Io Express which looks to be similar to the Matrox MXO 2. I haven't had time to do a feature-by-feature comparison yet though.

Finally, Panasonic is developing a 3D camera and JVC is developing a very pricey $200,000 4K camera.

That's what interested me... did I miss anything?

Look for the FCPUG SuperMeet on Day 2 (today) where a brand-new exclusive version of our very own Preference Manager will be given out on the SuperDVD.

Also, a lot of people think that Apple will release new details of Final Cut Studio 3 today. I don't think this will be the case - we'll have to wait and see I guess.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Apr 21 2009 to Analysis, Video Editing, Industry