|NAB 2001 -- An Editor's Report|
Dennis Kutchera looks at NAB 2001 and draws the conclusion that while there was no big single "wow factor" for him, there was plenty at the show that could keep an award-winning editor occupied. The sizzle and the almost used car salemanship of the show may be waning, but in its place is a robust industry with many great choices and a lot of great hardware and software to chose from.
NAB 2001 stands out for me a a bit of a sleeper. The non-linear revolution is now an historical fact with the quality issue long removed from under the magnifying glass. The personal computer has firmly usurped the black box hardware of the analogue days. And HDTV production standards are now fairly settled. So there just was no one big wow factor this year.
AVID UNITY & XPRESS DV:
The Avid Xpress DV was the closest thing to a show stopper for me. For US $1700.00 you can buy the next generation of Xpress software and install it on a notebook computer or even a desktop with a firewire card and edit in the DV codec. Sure everything has to be rendered and it is only 4:1:1, but heck, what a great idea for editing dailies on the road or getting away from the office to work on a scene. The beauty of this over any of the other software editors is that the project will open in any other Avid or can be OMF'd to other finishing systems that support OMF. As an Avid user, this is on my "must have" list and will change the way I work. Right now Xpress DV is only available for Windows 2000 with Mac development delayed until OSX settles out.
APPLE, FINAL CUT PRO & OSX:
ADOBE PREMIERE 6 & AFTER EFFECTS 5:
AUTOMATIC DUCK: MAKING AVID & A.E. BEST FRIENDS:
MATROX DIGISUITE MAX:
GADGETS, GIZMOS & WIDGETS:
The most amazing shipping product was the DataVideo VDR-3000 CD recorder that also does VCD's in various formats, including CDDVD which records up to 18 minutes of DVD MPEG2 video on a standard CD! This will play on only the newest DVD players or those made in Taiwan. It will also play on a Windows computer with a small player app also burned onto the disc. This all occurs in real time at the press of the "record" button with video input via YC or optional firewire.
Pioneer's DVD/CD R/RW drive was showing. It is a step up from the Apple SuperDrive (made by Pioneer) in that the DVD's it produces are replicable. Pioneer also had a mockup of a real time DVD recorder showing which records a DVD in real time from a video input. It also generates a very simple menu on the disc.
DVD authoring is no longer the big expensive mystery it once was for me with the low cost Apple DVD Pro authoring software and their top G4 which sports a DVD burner. The same drive can be had in a Compaq workstation for about half the price of the G4. Or so the rumour goes as no one at the Compaq booth could point me to it.
I found a company called Compucable making a variety of neat products like firewire boxes that convert standard ATA drives for DV editing and the Gdock-2. This is a multifunctional USB hub with an expansion bay for a floppy drive or Zip disks, 2 Geo/serial ports, 2 ADB ports and the promise of a Memory-card and Smart card reader in the future. This box has a zero footprint, fitting snugly on the top of any Tupperware G3 or G4.
With all the world on DV, how does one integrate analogue and SDI into the mix? Simple. Promax and Laird Telmedia were showing firewire transcoders that handled all manner of signal conversion. Laird had a variety of single and bi-directional converters. Promax had one with the option of SDI and the unique feature of RS-422 machine control and time code converted to DV control and code.
With a the world ablaze in DV, the old rules are often ignored, yet still apply with regards to technical specifications. While there is no way around the siz missing lines of video in DV, there is no excuse for unmatched, un-colour corrected shots. If you have to render, then render. Every edit suite that is doing the final finish must have a professional and calibrated daily video monitor and a waveform monitor and vectorscope.
Sony has introduced new monitors in the PVM-20L5 and 14L5 that meet the challenge of today and can be upgraded tomorrow via optional input cards. In addition to standard analogue inputs, you can also opt for SDI, IEEE 1394 or HD inputs. With 800 lines resolution and SMPTE-C phosphors, Sony has a winner.
For scopes, the bargain comes from ex-editor Steve Nunney's company in England, Hamlet. Both the LCD SCOPE and the ADEPT (on screen overlay on your program monitor) offer SDI, Component, Composite, YC and DV inputs and measurement with a basic familiar waveform or vector display. No confusing new digital measurement and no excuses for not accurately monitoring your output. These are sensibly priced products that belong in every non-linear edit bay.
These are all products that could be put to work in my studio. There were of course impressive high-end products such as Sony's new non-linear HD system and Orad's amazing camera tracking virtual studio system but they are way out of my market.
But the coolest thing I saw at NAB was a Samsung mobile phone similar to the Samsung 8500 displaying streaming video in colour originating on an Emblaze Systems server.
I can't wait for NAB 2006. Our world is changing rapidly and we need to be ready to meet the new demands of HD, streaming video, DVD and who knows what 5 years out from today. I love NAB. It is for me, what a trip to Disney World is for my two sons.
See you their next year!
-- Dennis Kutchera