The Social Media at NAB
Another NAB has come and gone and I honestly didn't get around to see as much of the gear as I had hoped. With working two days in the Small Tree Communications booth, evening events and then just one day free to walk the show floor, I spent a lot more time with people than equipment. In fact I would really call this the first real Social Media NAB. It was an interesting show from that perspective....
For Post in general, everyone seemed in a very positive place this year. Either they were happy with where their tools were today, where they are headed, or really happy with the choices available in Post today. While online and in social media the usual bickering and dickishness was still going on (My NLE is still better than Your NLE, Nyah! So and So has sold out and is shilling for XYZ company, Nyah! XYZ Editing Tool is Still Too Expensive, Nyah!) at the show I didn't get any of that.
Hello, Las Vegas
As you saw by the announcements, 4K costs are falling rapidly in Production. AJA and Blackmagic both made splashes this year with larger 4K cameras with a lot more features. This was the year where 4K went from being "that will be cool when we get there" to "we're already cutting in 4K." So while 4K gets easier and more cost effective in the field, it certainly puts a lot more burden on Post. Not so much from an editing standpoint, most all NLEs can handle 4K footage, but from storage and archive.
If you want to work in native 4K RAW files, well you are going to be needing one heckuva storage system both in terms of size and speed. It takes a lot of speed to move 4K files, especially if you want to do anything besides just play a single stream of 4K. And then we're supposed to archive all of that. So expect some rather significant investments in your Post systems to support 4K production and archive. These costs will definitely exceed the "cheap 4K entry point" of the cameras. But then, do you really NEED to edit in 4K RAW or will you be working with something much easier like 4K ProRes, which is really what most people demonstrate at these events.
#WallyCam Sneak Peak with Small Tree Communications | NAB Show 2014
A few of the technical things I DID see in these regards were the new Small Tree Titanium Z storage system (I was in their booth for two days, after all) and the AMD Fire Pro cards for Windows. Small Tree was showing speeds up to 1GB/s via 10gig Ethernet (crazy) and AMD was pushing 6k files with no problem via Open GL in Adobe Premiere Pro on a Dell workstation. With the advent of Creative Cloud, CUDA is no longer required for Premiere Pro, Adobe supports Open GL, which means editors on that system now have options for enhanced productivity through the graphics card.
For the archiving side of things, Imagine Products and M-Logic have produced a solution together for a very cost effective LTO-6 system. Imagine Products "PreRollPost" handles the data management and file transfer while M-Logic supplies the LTO-6 unit. All for around $3600. M-Logic is the brainchild of Roger Mabon who created this other small company a few years back called G-Tech. So a couple of good folks getting together to create an archiving solution that's easy to use and affordable. Honestly, a good LTO archiving solution was my entire focus of the show and this is definitely my leading candidate.
A couple more geeky super good tech things that everyone in Post should consider are the iZotope RX3 audio tools and the Bella Keyboards Killer Keys application. Ridiculous noise reduction for all those super cheap field productions where audio doesn't matter or the locations have a lot of noise inherent in them.
Now let's get back to that whole Social Media NAB thing. Long before Twitter, Facebook and Instagram was the Creative COW and even before that was the WWUG. These were the original "Social Media" hangouts for us creative geeks to share, argue and promote. Within the forum universe, what you say and how you act affects those who read the posts. You can be a dick in there and while it's incredibly annoying, generally your behavior stays within that forum space. With social media, and especially Twitter, how you act impacts how you are received by an entire industry.
First off, Twitter has made those traveling to NAB alone feel much more like they have company on the trip and gives the opportunity to meet more people. Instead of just hanging out in your hotel or wandering the Strip to see if you'll run into someone you recognize, it's as simple as "Hey, anyone near this place want to grab some breakfast?" Tweet and within a few minutes, you're meeting someone new. But they're someone you already "know" through Twitter and social media. There are also so many impromptu events that happen just through "what's everybody doing tonight?" posts.
#PostChat especially has completely changed NAB for the Post industry in just two short years. A weekly virtual conversation about a topic that pulls together independents, post houses and many manufacturers together for an hour. It's a simple concept that has brought together folks from all over the world to help each other out with advice and personal stories. I would estimate over 200 people showed up for this year's #PostChat meet-up and it was one of the most fun and casual events of the entire week. I wish more manufacturers would start hosting casual events like this rather than over-the-top parties where you can't get a word in edgewise.
Twitter in general also made a major impact on how the manufacturers interact with many more users. Manufacturers all have social media teams now who are excited the people behind their favorite twitter feeds. Yes, the manufacturers notice who out there is being helpful and fair and want to interact directly with you.
That's what I saw the most at NAB this year. So many of us "knew each other already" through how we all act towards one another in Social Media. We gravitated towards those we really liked and basically avoided those who, for lack of a better term, are dickish online. Especially in person, nobody wants to hang out with a "dick." Yeah you sound all tough and mighty and I guess you're making yourself feel good, but if you're all negative online, why would we want to hang out with you in person?
Social Media. It's as important as your demo reel today.