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The Insider's Guide to NAB

COW Library : NAB Expo : Debra Kaufman : The Insider's Guide to NAB
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CreativeCOW presents The Insider's Guide to NAB -- NAB Expo Feature


Santa Monica California USA

©2012 CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


As Creative COW's associate editor, Debra Kaufman, is preparing to embark upon her 23rd visit to NAB Show, she shares some great advice for making your own trek a little easier.




One of the NAB Show 2012 videos - "Shifting Content"
NAB 2012 will be my 23rd show, if memory serves me right. There's something about going to multiple NABs that makes the memory a little blurry. By the way, that number -- 23 -- makes me a mere babe in the woods for the real veterans who have been coming for 40+ years, but still horrifying for someone who has survived one or two Shows.

I have been going long enough to see some dramatic changes not just in the show but the infrastructure that is Las Vegas and the convention center. Twenty-three years ago the show was much, much smaller. I used to cover editing and graphics and I remember the year when it became impossible to visit all the manufacturers offering products in both those disciplines. It used to be possible -- crazy, yes, but possible -- to visit four booths an hour because they weren't that far away from one another. Bigger is better, but also more challenging.

The other, very positive change has been the influx of great restaurants to NAB. I'm sure other old-timers remember when the best meal in Vegas, outside of a handful of small eateries, was the hotel restaurant. Now it's a food destination...if you can get in the door during NAB that is.

Everybody has their own way of making the most out of the show while staying vertical for as many hours a day as possible. Here are some of my tips and tricks on having a good NAB and living to tell the tale.




Wear comfortable shoes, and bring enough clean socks!
THE PRACTICAL TIPS
Minimize what you carry. After years of carrying a briefcase, I broke down and now pull a wheelie...because I have to have my laptop (which I keep replacing with lighter and lighter versions). If we all pulled wheelies, NAB would have even more serious traffic jams than it already does. So I recommend that, if you're not a journalist, bring a handheld digital tape recorder to record information you've got to have. Forget the briefcase unless it's absolutely necessary.

Bring high protein snacks. Unless you've got a nice leisurely lunch hour, forget the high priced hot dogs and sandwiches, and the very long lines to buy them. Do yourself a favor and bring your own food to stave off hunger until dinnertime (I recommend almonds and high-protein power bars). Or frequent one of the carts in the off-lunch time hours when they don't have a line. Dove bar for lunch? Hell, yeah. Its Vegas, it doesn't count.

Bring enough business cards. It's like B roll: you never shoot enough. Bring double the business cards you think you'll need. You may still run out. There is no social exchange at NAB -- however pro forma or minimal -- that does not spark the exchange of cards ritual.

Wear comfortable shoes and -- says my editor Tim Wilson -- bring enough clean socks. With regard to shoes, I still see women in spike heels at the show. What are they thinking? Pounding that concrete floor, barely covered with a thin rug, all day long is already tough on the spine. Nobody will be looking at your feet. I personally wear incredibly comfortable classic Hush Puppies. Dorky? Absolutely. I don't care.

What to see? First, give up the idea that you can see everything. You might be able to breeze by everything in a drive-by viewing -- and that's certainly one way to do NAB. But it makes more sense to focus on what you're interested in. For lots of attendees, that's not a problem. You're a sound mixer, you go visit all the relevant audio equipment manufacturers. And so on.

Second, expand your definition of NAB to reach beyond the exhibit floor. Yes, of course you want to visit the exhibits relevant to your interests. But there's a lot more going on at NAB that could and should draw your attention. Here's what I suggest.

FOLLOW THE BUZZ
The first day of NAB, everyone is struggling to figure out the show. By Day Two, the buzz begins to build about certain products or certain companies. The buzz could be spurious...but the buzz tells you that attendees' collective imagination has been engaged. It's worth following the buzz, even if it's to satisfy your suspicion that most people are ignorant fools. You might discover something wonderful and, in any case, you will have a story to tell -- and a point of view -- before anyone else has seen whatever the buzz is about. For a brief moment in time, you will be an authority to your colleagues and friends back home.


GO TO THE SESSIONS
Why would you want to spend every waking minute on the show floor when you can sit down, be comfortable and actually learn something? I'm not saying this because I moderate panels at the show (check out "On Set Workflows for Features and Television" and the Hollywood Post Alliance's Post Pit), but because it is true. James Cameron and Vince Pace talking about shooting affordable 3D sounds like one good place to start.


NAB Show Opening - James Cameron and Vince PaceNAB Show Opening - James Cameron, Academy Award Winning Director; Vince Pace, PACE


There's something for everyone. From a quick perusal of the show website, some of the other interesting people who'll be speaking at the show include producer Gale Ann Hurd, cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, ASC, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Betty White and Freakanomics author Stephen Dubner. Cool session topics range from converting Titanic from 2D to 3D and creating cross-platform content to cloud computing and mobile TV.

Mobile TV Panel
Mobile TV Panel at NAB Show, from Flickr.
Bottom line, if you have free time at the show, check out the listings for the panels, keynotes and other sessions and pick the topics that interest you or the ones that have a panelist you'd like to meet. Then go to it. You won't regret it.


CHECK OUT THE "DESTINATIONS"
NAB has done us the favor of crafting 'pavilions' or 'zones' to gather together companies engaged in creating technologies for specific, often emerging arenas. This year, check out pavilions for Cloud Computing, Online Video, and Mobile DTV. There are also International Pavilions. This year, Brazil, Bavaria, Belgium, France and the UK are among those hosting destinations for information.

The Content Market is where you go to tantalize buyers with your unique content. Fremantle Media and YouTube are just two of the companies and organizations you'll find there.

If you're interested in new technologies, I advise a visit to the Start Up Loft, ATSC TechZone and -- my favorite -- the International Research Park. A special note about the latter: the International Research Park has got to be the most interesting, futuristic and quirky spot at the entire show. That's where you'll find the stirrings of research and prototypes from academic, government and advanced research labs around the world. No matter how busy my schedule, I always try to make this a destination at NAB.


FIELD TRIP
You can take your own fieldtrips to the Liberace Museum or the Hoover Dam. But, for the first time, NAB is offering a Saturday field trip with instructor Rich Harrington. It begins with a 90-minute tutorial on shooting time-lapse and panoramic photos and then convenes to the nearby and very spectacular Red Rock National Conservation area for hands-on practice. You'll have a chance to shoot the sunset at arguably the most beautiful spot in the area. And there's not a slot machine in sight. What a nice way to start off the show.


Show Opening


IN CONCLUSION…
A proper visit to NAB is exhausting because there is so much to see and so many people to talk to. As it should be. But that doesn't mean it has to be a slog without meaning, purpose or enjoyment.

Have a great NAB 2012 -- and let us know what you saw this show that really got you excited.







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Re: The Insider's Guide to NAB
by Chris Potter
Deb,

Great tips... I always forget about brining food and get stuck in lines at the starbucks. Each year the preparation gets a little better.

Just wrote a guide on networking at NAB that complements your tips.
The Introverts Guide to NAB: 10 Tips for Success

Hope you like it.

Cheers,
Chris Potter
Re: The Insider's Guide to NAB
by Bruce N. Goren
23rd NAB, cool, I've got you beat by just 4. Mostly good advice, though I gotta say I really hate tripping over wheelies that an increasing number of folks insist on dragging blindly behind them. Mine doubled as a backpack and I used to wear it in hiker mode in the convention center, now I just use a light day pack for the laptop and snacks as I wave off gifts of free literature. I'll add - resist the temptation to collect reams of product one-sheets, white papers, catalogs, etc. Why schlep that bulk home when exhibitors can scan your badge and snail mail or e-mail all that stuff to you later? If you are a journalist picking up a few hundred pounds of press packages, you can always FedEx it to yourself before jetting out. I do make an exception by grabbing up to a dozen sample issues of obscure trade rags I might not otherwise read! Editors and related creatives should consider attending the SuperMeet on Tuesday after the show.
+1
Re: The Insider's Guide to NAB
by Tim Wilson
Oops, replying to you and Dennis on my phone somehow posted it above the questions being asked. Sorry about that. :-)
WiFI on the show floor
by Debra Kaufman
I just found out that, no, there is no continuous WiFi on the show floor. According to an NAB spokesperson, WiFi will only be in the lobbies. However, the NAB app will still work because it's a native app. It'll synch up automatically when you pass through the lobbies. Hope this helps, although I know it's not the answer you want...
Re: WiFI on the show floor
by Tim Wilson
The other thing about wifi anywhere in Las Vegas -- it's so slow as to be useless. There are simply way, way too many people, as many as thousands at a time, using roughly the amount of bandwidth you have in your house. People find a way to get online of course, but I highly recommend data connections, even if roaming.

Of course, if the data bill is that high and coming out of your pocket, Dennis, you can just plan to go online very, very slowly. :-) If it's just for the NAB app, though, you'll be fine.

There's no reason not to bring your socks home to wash. You're bringing fresh underwear every day, right? WAIT, DON'T ANSWER THAT. I really don't want to know.

But my favorite socks are $12/pair. That means I could bring a fresh pair every day, use 'em once and toss 'em for about the price of one dinner. It's all a matter of priorities.

:-)

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

Re: WiFI on the show floor
by Dennis Kutchera
Tim, its too bad Apple doesn't have a booth because I'd drape my soiled socked over the keyboard at one of their their Final Cut X demo stations.

Dennis Kutchera
EggStudios.ca
Re: WiFI on the show floor
by Tim Wilson
For people with laptops, I advised -- and still do -- carrying around an ethernet cable or two. You never know what opportunities you might run into. With a hard line, you can move quickly enough to get actual WORK done online in just a few minutes. Vendors can sometimes be more generous with their routers --with their CUSTOMERS; good luck trying this with strangers -- than their WiFi passwords, because they know you won't be sucking down their bandwidth for the whole show. Certainly also true for your hotel room - if they have ethernet, don't bother with wifi.

Still no solutions for your Canadian phone data plan though, Dennis. :-(
Re: Article: The Insider's Guide to NAB
by Dennis Kutchera
Great article Debra, but I have a question for Tim Wilson: He suggests bringing plenty of clean socks, but what do we do with the old ones we change throughout the day? ;-)

A more serious question for all us non-Americans is whether or not there will be continuous free wifi on the show floor, so we can use the NAB iPhone app to guide us around. Our Canadian cell companies want to charge us $10 per mb for data roaming (down from over $50), so wifi would be a huge asset for us.

Dennis
Re: Dennis
by Debra Kaufman
Hello Dennis - I will let Tim answer about the socks. But that is an EXCELLENT question about WiFi - and not just for people coming from abroad. I will try to find out and post an addendum to the story. Stay tuned. Debra
Re: Article: The Insider's Guide to NAB
by Jon Schilling
Dennis,

I've known some people to rent a Verizon Mifi: Personal Wi-Fi which seem. Might be a viable option for you as free WI-FI is extremely limited to designated areas & slow when you can find a spot.

Jonathan Schilling
Vertical Sales Manager
Proavio
12221 Florence Ave.
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Dir: 562-777-3498
Main: 562-777-3488 X106
Fax: 562-777-3499
Email: jon@proavio.com








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