Was NAB 2019 boring? Maybe. Admittedly I did spend a lot of time upstairs in the South Hall teaching classes for Post|Production World. But after walking the show floor several times and talking to a lot of fellow NAB attendees the verdict was a resounding … shoulder shrug. On the post-production side of things by far the biggest buzz was for a $1000 editing keyboard that wasn’t shipping and won’t work with the current video editing tool of choice! If that doesn’t sum up NAB 2019 I don’t know what does.
There is always this talk of relevance when it comes to trade shows in general. NAB is no exception and many have given up on going to the show. Attendance has mostly been in a decline.
Is that 2019 attendance a reflection of the waning use of the big trade show or the fact that most people who would spend the time and money to go to NAB knew there really wasn’t that much buzz about what 2019 had to offer?
Best in show? This crazy water thing. Yes, it has been around for a while but it’s still mesmerizing and cool. Video doesn’t do it justice as you need to see it in person to appreciate it.
The fads of the past were mostly non-existent. No 3D, no VR … I only saw one drone net. GoPro had a small booth, Autodesk was in the Renaissance hotel, RED was in a meeting room and DJI wasn’t there. It’s always fun to look through the NAB show mapper and plan your time on the show floor but you can also see who isn’t exhibiting.
But it’s not all doom and gloom as there are still great reasons to attend make the annual trek to Las Vegas and attend NAB … as well as trade shows and conferences in general. And they mainly revolve around the people you meet, the experiences you share and still the gear. While you can read about and see pictures of most everything you’d ever want to buy on the Internet it still doesn’t compare to seeing them in person.
You don’t get to sit around a table with like-minded people and enjoy food like this if you stay home and read product announcements on the internet.
I had always loved the simplicity of the Countour Unimouse Mouse but it was originally right handed only. Since they were at the show I went to see if they now have a left-handed one. Sure enough, they do so I was able to give it a play. You can’t do that online.
While I don’t make it to the Central Hall very often I had to go see the Lamborghini camera cars and snap a pic to send back to my boys.
One morning I saw this huge line by the Blackmagic booth and asked what it was. “Signup for free Resvole training” was the answer.
The 2018 Resolve training was held in the classrooms of the upper south hall. 2019 Resolve training was held right on the show floor and was full every time I walked by.
Of note, that Resolve training area was right beside Adobe’s booth. I don’t think it was intentional as vendors can’t just exactly pick their booth location.
But Adobe’s booth wasn’t hurting for visitors as this was the scene almost every time I walked by.
There was a lot of interest in Adobe Premiere Pro and the whole Adobe Creative Cloud. Premiere was all over the show floor and as a Post|Production World teacher who led classes in several different editing tools I can tell you that the Adobe classes were packed.
It was standing room only for all of the Premiere classes that I taught. Resolve had its fair share and from looking in on a few Final Cut Pro X classes, they weren’t packed but had a decent amount. Walking the show floor I didn’t see as many booths running FCPX as I have in the past. Premiere was everywhere as was a good bit of Avid. Definitely more Resolve than in the past.
My Avid classes weren’t nearly as well attended as the others but that might be due to Avid Connect being held the weekend before. I made it over to the Sunday keynote and the ballroom was stuffed from wall to wall.
It wasn’t just the keynote at Avid Connect that was stuffed as I heard that many of the educational sessions of Connect were well attended.
There was a lot of interest in Avid and their announcement of the next generation of Avid Media Composer and Avid Connect allowed an opportunity for editors to sit down and feel this new version before it ships later this year.
You can’t get that from an internet article.
You also can’t sit in on so many different talks and presentations as you can attending NAB in person. Beyond the classes, keynotes and panel discussions that came along with a paid conference admission, just wandering the show floor there were many different booths set up to host talks and provide a place to sit for tired show-goers. What a deal; get some rest and learn something all at the same time!
Frame.io had their first ever standalone NAB booth after a few years of having a kiosk in other people’s booth. They graciously opened that space to some other vendors as well as setting up space for various talks. There were some really great presentations there.
— CHEQROOM (@cheqroom) April 18, 2019
I had assumed 8K would be everywhere and while you were greeted with “8K” on Blackmagic banners as you approached the Las Vegas Convention Center there wasn’t nearly as much 8K in the South Hall as I would have expected.
Blackmagic had a little 8K demo in their booth but it didn’t consume the booth by any means.
Most 8K around the show was at the many different display companies further back in the South Hall though some were just really cool implementations of shaped video walls. Click on the above images for a gallery.
Speaking of the back of the South Hall I ran into old friend Jon Chapell of Digital Rebellion. You know him … maker of the great, free Post Haste app. Oh, and he is the creator of Kollaborate.tv, an og review and approval service. Kollaborate will always hold a special place in my heart at it was the first review and approval service that I ever used and the basis of this article from 5 years ago. Frame.io was just about to launch.
Jon had a small booth at the back of South Hall. Kollaborate continues to churn on and has the ability to run on a client-server, something unique in the review and approval space. It’s nice we have multiple options for R & A as they each offer something unique.
I used to work in a facility that invested heavily in Quantel products so I was wondering if they were there on the floor. Long gone are the days of a big Quantel booth as they were swallowed by Grass Valley.
Just a little desk running a
And Just a little desk running EDIUS. I didn’t see the angry EDIUS guy that yelled at me last year when I told him I’ve never encountered EDIUS in nearly 20 years freelancing.
It has to be noted that next year NAB moves to a Sunday to Wednesday schedule for the show floor.
How will this affect things like press events and Post|Production World? I don’t think anyone knows at this point as schedules are now like a well-oiled machine. But looking at those attendance numbers above a change isn’t shocking. Next year will be interesting if nothing else.
My biggest memory of the week will be from the friends, acquaintances and even strangers who offered condolences and words of encouragement on the passing of my little 13-year-old dog. I got the text that she died while I sat, cramped in the middle of the Blackmagic press conference. I was live blogging the thing as the internet this year was pretty good when I got the message. She had been sick but the hope was she’d make it until I got home. Thankfully my wife and kids were at the vet with her but it was still a sad day. I’m sure some people were wondering why this guy was on the phone crying at the back of the BMD booth after the press conference. That was the reason why as I talked to my family. Nothing about NAB mattered at that point.
Throughout the week many people asked me how I was doing, asked if they could help, sent me messages through various platforms and offered to buy me a beer in her honor. It was comforting to hear other’s stories of their dogs and how their family dealt with a pet’s passing. Having a living creature with personality and emotion in your life for 13 years is a big loss when it is gone. Both of my boys have known her since the day they were born. That event made NAB 2019 one I will never forget.
Carmel “Puddy” Tucker – 10/??/06 – 4/08/19.