With a Game Plan, what can you learn touring NAB in 5 hours?
Part 1: Focus on Color Grading
As usual, the National Association of Broadcaster industry trade show and conference was a whirlwind of activity. For Team Mixing Light, NAB 2019 was no exception. It started the way it usually does, preparing for and then executing the annual Colorist Mixer on the night before the show opens. But after that, the Show took a different turn for us.
This year, we had a presence on the floor in the South Lower Hall all week (more on that in a moment). By Wednesday at 1:30 pm I hadn’t had more than 10 minutes at any booth but ours. I am bummed. I LOVE walking the show floor. Luckily, I had a demo scheduled on Wednesday at 2 pm and was free for another hour after that.
Then, there were another 3 hours of ‘me time’ on Thursday morning before I had to be back at the booth, teaching, on Thursday afternoon. For a show like NAB, and a guy like me, that’s not much time! On Wednesday evening it concerned me that I wouldn’t have time to see anything. But then, at a small party, I had a great conversation that set up a solid game plan.
Wednesday evening I ran into Katie Hinsen, and we developed a game plan for my final 3 hours of show floor time
Since I already spent some time at the Blackmagic booth (more on that in a moment), I’d start Thursday morning in the North Hall, then work the Central Hall, and finally cruise the South Upper Hall. This game plan would take me off my typical beaten track and allow me to find interesting or unique solutions and products. This plan included specific booths I needed to hit along the way:
- North Hall Main Destination: NHK. This Japanese broadcaster always has engaging presentations and technology demos that are future facing. The NHK booth is also usually the centerpiece of a larger Future Technology pavilion, providing opportunities for interesting conversations.
- Central Hall Main Destination: Sony. Their booth is always great not just for the high-end reference displays, but like NHK like they like to add wow factor to their booth (and 2019 did not disappoint).
- Upper South Hall Destination: None. Just wander through the front half of the hall. That’s where all the cloud-based solutions congregate. Since Mixing Light uses a half-dozen cloud solutions, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), I agreed with Katie that would be my logical final destination.
While chatting, Katie suggested I keep on eye out for the term ‘distributed workflows.’ She said it seemed like every third vendor was touting some ‘cloud’ solution that allows creatives to integrate their crafts – worldwide. As you’ll see at the end of this travelog, I was hit smack in the face with one amazing example of this. It’s a solution I think I should have known about – but didn’t (more on that in Part 2 of this article).
Let’s begin at the beginning and set the table for my only 5 hours on the NAB 2019 show floor. Let’s start with the Mixing Light Presentation Theater.
The Mixing Light Presentation Theater:
Sponsored by Gaiamount and FSI
After preparing for the Presentation Theater for two months – Robbie, Dan, and I were thrilled by our corner of the South Lower Hall and FSI’s booth. Here’s what it looked like, in action:
About Our Sponsors
Mixing Light’s booth presence was sponsored by Gaiamount – the Chinese training side of ZunZheng (developers and manufacturers of FSI displays). Gaiamount regularly flies out Western educators (including Robbie, Dan, and myself) to various events, including film competitions and BIRTV (the Chinese NAB) in Bejing. Gaiamount also translates some of Mixing Light’s training titles to Mandarin and are sold via the Gaiamount learning platform. We have a good relationship with them – and in conjunction with FSI’s support (redesigning their booth), Mixing Light had a floor presence!
Looking forward to NAB 2020
Are we doing this teaching again next year? In Magic 8 Ball terms, ‘Outlook good’ – but the decision is pending. This year, we spent so much time getting our teaching grid filled out, and all those logistics, that many other choices we should have made didn’t get made. This time we have a year to prepare. So if it happens again, our presence will be more holistic, from a business standpoint. Plus, we need to really promote and get the Mixing Light Meetup to happen, properly.
One thing Dan and I both commented upon: Having a booth presence means not having to chase down your friends, peers, and customers! We had people stopping by all week. Many just wanted to say Hi and were happy to know where our ‘home’ was. It was a NAB highlight for both of us.
Also, a booth highlight was the 4 or 5 people who found out about us while in Las Vegas and sat through every single presentation. They even stayed to watch several presentations, twice. It was a significant validation of the quality of content you can find in Mixing Light.
Now, what were my takeaways from NAB?
I’m breaking the rest of this travelogue into several parts. First, I’ll share my initial impressions about DaVinci Resolve 16 and SGO’s Mistika Boutique. I spent the last part of my Wednesday focused on those two booths. In Part 2 of this article series, we’ll follow my path through the North, Central, and South Upper halls. Part 2 will conclude where my travels actually ended – and where I walked away with my head spinning…
NAB Takeaways: The Keyboard, DaVinci Resolve, and SGO Mistika Boutique
The first day of the show, Monday, Dan whipped out his phone and showed me a picture he took. Of this: