NAB Convention Floor
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What to Look For At NAB 2016

It is that time of year again. NAB is just around the corner. My inbox and social media have already been flooded with official announcements and “unofficial” leaks. What am I excited to see on the show floor? There is a lot to cover, so let’s dive in.

  1. Lytro Cinema Lytro’s light field cameras caused quite a stir in the photography community a while back. And, while the consumer market was not ready for the Illium, Lytro has not been idle. I knew they had VR projects in the pipeline, but I did not see Lytro Cinema coming.

    Most exciting? Depth screen, which allows image keying based on focal plane data and 3D data capture that allows seamless integration into VFX post production pipelines. This technology has the ability to fundamentally change the way ALL films are shot, not just CGI heavy summer blockbusters. Not sure? Watch this.

  2. Monitor/Recorders — As cameras have become more modular, we have been given greater choice in how we frame, monitor and record video in the field. This segment is always innovating and 2016 is no different. Atomos leads the charge with the new FLAME series, which incorporates HDR. We should also see innovation across the price/feature spectrum from Video Devices, SmallHD and Blackmagic Design.

  3. Blackmagic’s Next Disruption Speaking of Blackmagic Design, they have become known for disrupting … through acquisition, pricing and new development … just about every segment of the video production space. Routing Gear? Check. Color grading? Check. Cameras? Check.

    What’s next? Who knows. But, I am always excited to see what they drop at the show.

  4. Drones — Drones are no longer a fad. Remote and autonomous cameras are here to stay. DJI still leads the pack, but 3DR entered the arena last year and GoPro is expected to do so this year. And, it is no longer just about air superiority. iBubble is just one of the many underwater camera drones in development. Expect to see more.

  5. Virtual Reality — Last fall, at the IFP Conference, VR was much discussed. Over the last year, I’ve been approached by several clients about shooting for 360VR. Folks are trying to find a way to tell more immersive stories. While not fully VR, Hardcore Henry is exploring this trend. GoPro, Samsung and Nikon are all expected to show off new advances in 360VR capture and display.

  6. Microsoft HololensTechnically, this is another form of VR. But, this technology produces 3D holographic images. Think “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”. Get the picture? The 3D, holographic picture?

  7. Image Stabilzation — Every year seems to bring some new innovation that improves this space. On the capture side, we have steadicams and gimbals, which seem to get smaller, more robust and less expensive every year. On the post side, we have new tools like Microsoft’s Hyperlapse. What is next?

  8. Compression Codecs — Not very sexy, but very essential. This year, we should finally start to see widestream adoption of HEVC aka .h265 and Google’s VP9. While one might think this means less storage space, this should also be the year we start seeing more teams move to 8K production pipelines with an eye towards 4K deliverables.

  9. Telemetry (and other) Data On Capture — Recently, the Revl Arc caught my eye. As an Indie-Go-Go project, I do not expect to see the Revl Arc at NAB. But, I think that project illustrates the growing impact and utility of cameras and, perhaps, microphones, capturing all manner of additional data beyond image and sound. Motion sensors are already breaking out in the fitness and wearable technology space. The use of telemetry data, as illustrated by Revl, is sure to find its way into production pipelines sooner or later. I am guessing it will be sooner.

  10. Cameras & Lenses — Aside from Blackmagic’s annual mystery box, I do not expect any major surprises in cameras and lenses. There is a lot of speculation that Panasonic may reveal the successor to the DMC-GH4. As GH4 fan, I’d love to see that. I’d also love to see them announce a 4K successor to the AF-100 series to bring the GH4 tech to a standard video camera form factor with interchangeable lenses.

  11. Smaller, Lighter, Faster — Generally speaking, this happens every year. One can already carry a production truck on their back and pack an entire television studio into a Pelican 1650. Expect the trend to continue.

  12. Less from Apple, More from Adobe — Every year, I hope to see Apple re-enter the pro apps space in a big way. Every year, as Apple remains aloof and Avid fades away, Adobe continues to innovate. It is clear who is most hungry to be the post-production platform of the future.

  13. More Innovation in Collaborative Post — A bit over a year ago, I was introduced to Frame.io. Now, I cannot imagine post without it. Recently, they added integration with Adobe Premiere to go along with Final Cut X integration. Can Adobe After Effects integration be far behind?

    While I love Frame, there are other players, like Wipster (video), NIM (Animation/VFX) and PixelKit (stills/design) in the space as well. As these start-ups evolve and compete, the offerings should improve and post life should, in theory, get easier for everyone in the pipe.

There is my list. What has you excited? Let me know in the comments.

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