I did my annual whirlwind trip to Las Vegas for 40 hours of NAB.
Great to see everyone and meet some new faces. This year though it seemed I missed more people than I saw. However I did get to spend some good time talking with Christoph Vonrhein of CHV. Christoph is scary smart and pushing FXScript way beyond what has been done before.
Not much to get really excited about this year. The whole show seemed to lack a certain energy it’s had in the past. If anything it seems like HD is fully here and now people are figuring out how to work with it.
Lots of people around the show seemed to be complaining about various aspects of Panasonic’s P2 cards. Everyone loves how the video looks, but was down on the workflow. Complaints I overheard included the constant swapping of cards, their still astronomical cost, the lack of third-party cards, 8gb maximum available size, the lack of workable hacks (FireStore excepted) contributed to a general malaise about the format.
Far more hostile were the descriptions of working with HDV. It’s great that the format has a relatively low buy-in cost, but people were spitting blood about working with the files. HDV users seemed angry, frustrated and annoyed. And a lot of them are jealous of the Panasonic image quality, HDV looks mushy by comparison. I heard several people who are using HDV cameras steering others away from HDV cameras.
What that basically tells me is that the prosumer HD space is still very much up for grabs. Maybe that’s why the only perceptable buzz at the show was from RED Digital Cinema.
Except for RED
A lot of people seem to think RED is a joke. I’d be feeling the same way except that I know two people working at the company, Ted Schilowitz and Graeme Nattress. They’re both brilliant and dead serious about this camera. I have total confidence in them, this camera is no joke. Despite the fact that it looks more like a weapon from Unreal Tournament than a camera, and with a $17,500 price tag, the RED camera will completely transform the digital filmmaking marketplace.
In the near-term, HDV may yet become the interim standard. It’s just so much cheaper than anything else. Dealing with HDV files is really a software problem, so maybe Apple will shake a better workflow out of Quicktime and FCP making HDV more fun to use.
Overall it was a great trip. Sometimes, working alone in my little dark office, I forget there are people using the stuff I make. I know how absurd that sounds, but it’s real. Meeting so many Joe’s Filters users and hearing stories about how my filters helped people was revitalizing. Thanks to everyone, there’s more stuff coming soon.