April 18, 2005

NAB Preview 2005
What to see, where to go, how to survive

By Philip Hodgetts

NAB 2005 shows every sign of being, once again, in the boom years. Every indication from accommodation bookings to event attendance suggests that this will be the year that NAB comes back from the doldrums. People are ready to talk business and spend money again.

It's almost like 1999, except that underpinning every deal will need to be a solid value proposition and sound business sense.
One area that is very much like 1999 - the year DV started to be noticed with the VX1000 from Sony and Apple's Final Cut Pro version 1 - is the advent of HDV, and some HDV competitors. This will certainly be the year of affordable HD. If not HDV from Sony, perhaps something "ProHD" from JVC or nearly HDV but on P2 media from Panasonic. There will be an HD solution for every budget, and editing solutions to follow.

For the last several years, NAB has been billed as "The Convergence Marketplace" and it finally seems like there is, perhaps, enough interest in technologies proven five years ago (and abandoned for lack of success) to come back from the cold.

Whatever gets announced at Apple's user extravaganza on Sunday morning, Adobe and Avid's more restrained media events later in the day, or in among the ticker-tape-parade-like waterfall of announcements on Monday morning, DV Guys will be there to keep you up to date and informed, through the Pro Apps Hub news, my blog and live from the show floor every day with the movers and shakers bringing you the buzz of the show.

I think we can safely assume that this will be a very big year for post production and effects software. While all the attention is often on Apple who are masters at orchestrating the "big event' and building buzz, it's unlikely that Adobe and Avid will leave it to the big Apple. With Pinnacle likely to become a division of Avid and is not expected to have any dramatic announcements in the Post Production arena.

Having recently released version 2 of its Creative Suite - Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, GoLive, Acrobat and associate applications - Adobe could be ready to bring new versions of its video applications to market.

Premiere Pro
In fact, it's quite reasonable to expect that Adobe will be talking about, or showing, Premiere Pro 2. Premiere Pro is on a strong maturity path and with the success of Dust to Glory edited on Premiere Pro, the timing would be good to announce a new version, if it's ready. A new version of Premiere Pro is highly likely.

After Effects
Even with competition from Apple's Motion and Discreet's Combustion, Adobe's After Effects remains the strongest application in the Motion Graphics arena. Rumors have been "out there" that a new version - presumably version 7 - but whether or not it's announced at NAB or later in the year is very uncertain. Adobe have announced new versions of After Effects at NAB in the past, so it's entirely likely that a new version is coming.

Given the complete feature set already in After Effects it's hard to know what will be added: possibly direct capture and output.

Other highly sought after features is an improved curves function for defining parameter changes, something the rumor mills are predicting for After Effects. Other reports from the rumor mill (which should always be treated with suspicion) suggest a revamped user interface, support for Photoshop Layer Styles, improved Slow Motion feature (perhaps using a vector interpolation rather than frame blending); improvements to Input and Output performance and the ability to manipulate text characters in 3D space.
The Probability of a new version of After Effects is at best around 50/50 at NAB 100% by the end of the year. Either way it will likely be a full video suite update - Premiere Pro, After Effects, Adobe Encore and Audition.

New Apps
As with Apple, Adobe lack an easy-to-use 3D application in their suite. Although their Sunday night even is focused on HD, a 3D application isn't impossible. In fact some sort of 3D application is probably going to have to be added to Adobe's line-up at some point to make it complete, although integration between After Effects and Cinema 4D is very tight. Perhaps Adobe's solution to 3D will be to beef up the 3D within After Effects.

During the DV Guys/Inside Mac Radio live shows from NAB we'll be talking with Senior Product Manager at Adobe, Steve Kilisky to kick off Tuesday's show 2pm .

Every rumor mill is working overtime on Apple this year - little light on specifics but a lot of "it's going to be a great year for Apple".

Of course, we're almost certainly going to see new versions of Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Motion and Shake. What might we see in those new versions? Will there be new applications as the rumor sites are suggesting, and if so what gaps are there in the Pro Apps to fill?

Final Cut Pro
It's a fairly safe bet that Apple will at least announce a new version of Final Cut Pro at NAB. We know for sure that it will have "native" HDV support as that was announced back at IBC and apparently has been previewed. There will probably be enhanced HD support - perhaps live transcode of HDV to DVCPRO 100 for editing. (Or is that my own wishful thinking?)

What else will be new is purely guesswork, and maybe a little wishful thinking :). Since Multicam has been at the top of the Feature Request list for years, and that there was an obscure reference to it in the Final Cut Pro 4 manual (exporting Multicam button groups, from memory) it seems that is' high on Apple's priority list as well. So, if they can make it work to their satisfaction, I'm sure we'll see it in Final Cut Pro 5 (or whatever the next version is called). I am equally convinced Apple will not release Multicam inside Final Cut Pro until they performance is up to expectation - at least as good as Avid Adrenaline.

Multichannel audio input is probably, given that the limitation imposed on QuickTime by use of the Sound Manager API has been lifted with QuickTime 7 on Tiger, which uses the CoreAudio API for sound. QuickTime gets multichannel audio input by changing API, so therefore it becomes possible for Final Cut Pro to inherit the feature. Almost a given for multi-channel audio input. This will require a 3rd party sound card or capture card, but already there are many offerings from AJA and Blackmagic that have the capability waiting for Final Cut Pro to turn it on.

Based on other changes in OS X 10.4 Tiger, there could be changes in Final Cut Pro.

Q-Master/X-grid distributed rendering could, in theory, be integrated into Final Cut Pro. There's a big difference between theoretical integration and practical implementation and from the little known about the Final Cut Pro code, integrating distributed rendering would be non-trivial. It would also only really effect rendering performance, not real-time performance so it's entirely likely that the focus has gone to enhanced real-time instead of something that would only be used a relatively small portion of the time.

Much better would be to enhance the real-time performance for the things that editors do. One way they could have achieved that would be to change the effects architecture so that it used the new CoreVideo API wherever possible. CoreVideo puts the processing "heavy lifting" on the graphics card through a standardized set of programming interfaces. One source said that part of the reason that Cinewave had been dropped was because it "would not work with Final Cut Pro 5". If that's accurate then it does add weight to the suggestion that Final Cut Pro 5 has been redesigned to use CoreVideo APIs.

It might also mean that DV Guy Philip gets what he wants added - real time composite modes! Another highly desirable addition to Final Cut Pro would be the ability to mix codecs and image sizes in a Timeline without hardware. It's been possible to do that with Cinewave on Final Cut Pro 4/HD but not without that hardware assist, and yet many other software-only NLEs manage it now - for example Sony Vegas.

If Apple take any of these routes a kick-ass graphics card will really benefit Final Cut Pro as much as it does Motion now.

On a far more speculative and non-glamorous level, some form of project sharing, perhaps in conjunction with Xsan or an asset management tool, would certainly give Final Cut Pro a boost in the high end of the industry. While that's not a huge segment of Apple's market for the application it's an important one because it is high profile.

DVD Studio Pro
Not being a DVD Authoring mavern, I'm not sure I know what even needs to be added to DVD Studio Pro to guess at what might be in a future release.

What would be good to have is some means of video output monitoring from the Simulator inside DVD Studio pro.

Another reasonable expectation is to have some form of the animated templates like those introduced with iDVD 5, but with more flexibility.

Once again, it's hard to determine what might be added to an application I'm not using regularly, but there has been some mutterings that 2.5 D for the stage might be coming. That is, flat planes in 3D space similar to what Adobe After Effects has.

Since Apple are already taking orders for Logic Pro 7.1 and Logic Express 7.1 on their website for delivery in a few weeks, a new version of Logic is unlikely.

Motion 1.0 revealed at last year's NAB meeting is highly likely to get an update to at least a 1.5 revision. Performance tweaks are likely but as Motion is dependent on Graphics card, CPU, memory and bus speeds, hardware improvements will have more influence on speed perceptions in Motion than code tweaking.

Motion and a future version of Final Cut Pro will likely benefit greatly from a change to PCI-Express architecture in PowerMacs. All applications would benefit from dual processors based on dual core processors, but despite wild speculation on some rumor sites, new PowerMacs are not expected to be announced at NAB - it would break the pattern.

Even if Motion only gets bumped to 1.5 it will benefit from the code maturity a year's user experience brings and from the integration of features that were planned but no doubt dropped in order to make a shipping release - such is the way with all version 1 applications

It's been said that even at version 3, Final Cut Pro had features from their original planning at Macromedia not yet implemented.

New Applications

There are rumor sites that speculate and indulge based on supposed inside information on the code names for projects. As that's bordering on breaking California's Trade Secrets laws, we'll keep right away from that and speculate based on public knowledge and extrapolation. This is entirely for your enjoyment and indulgence although if it proves to be in any way accurate I'll claim that it was because of brilliant insight!

As I see it, there are four areas where Apple could make additions to the Pro Apps lineup to make it a more complete suite of tools: Image Processing with paint and draw; 3D; Asset Management and Audio Post.

Image Processing
CoreImage lends itself to providing Pro Apps users with an alternative to Adobe's Image Ready that is tightly integrated with the video applications and optimized for screen work. I very specifically note Image Ready not Photoshop - Photoshop is for print work while an Image Ready alterative would work entirely in RGB (or YUV?) video color. If Apple decided to create an application themselves, based on CoreImage it would be more likely to focus on ease of use and temploratization for the functions used in post production rather than a huge, print-oriented application like Photoshop.

But for someone like myself who uses a fraction of Photoshop's power, it would be attractive to have an option that's even more tightly integrated than Photoshop - perhaps with the ability to start a "paint" document from within Final Cut Pro?

An image processing application would be a great showcase for the CoreImage API - Heck Phil Schiller demonstrated a rudimentary version with filters as a technology preview at the WWDC last June.

A "3D Application for the rest of us" (to borrow Avid's description of Avid 3D) is probably an essential addition to Apple's pro line up. Although Apple actively promote Maya and frequently include it in roadshow presentations with Shake, Maya's complexity rules it out for all but serious 3D users.

Avid got Avid 3D very right, in terms of what editors and motion graphic designers need, and with the improvements in OS X's support for OpenGL combined with Apple's undoubted prowess in making the "easy to use" application that meets the needs of that big middle hump in the bell curve of user needs. It won't be powerful enough to challenge Maya, or relatively limited like the excellent ProAnimator. Apple's 3D application, if they do one, will be simple to use - with lots of prepackaged effects and scenes for a quick payback for little effort.

Asset Management
Another need Apple has to make Final Cut Pro and the other Pro Apps a better fit in studios and high end facilities is some form of asset management, particularly since Avid are pushing their Alienbrain acquisition to the forefront and the recent release of Toxik from Autodesk.

One little mystery is the disappearance of "s-a-l-t" - a UK company who had an asset management tool used with Shake (and still linked from the Shake page at Apple.com). The site itself has disappeared to be replaced by a mysterious "S-a-l-t" has been purchased and is no longer available" type message.

There is nothing to suggest that it's Apple that purchased them, but if they did, then some time - this year or next - asset management might be in Apple's future. It would most certainly be welcome by those handling huge projects and workflows on Xsan and Final Cut Pro.

Audio Sweetening/Post Production
While Apple officially don't position Logic as an audio post production application, there are some who feel confident using it that way. However, most people feel that it really is configured more as a music creation and scoring-to-video application, which is where it has been traditionally very strong.

I'd like to see Apple take the core technologies used in Logic and optimize the interface and functions for audio post in the hope of drawing more users from Pro Tools into the Appel Pro Apps world.

Avid won't be left behind in the NAB announcements sweepstakes. While the speculation, and rumor, swirls around Apple, Avid manages to keep their powder dry for NAB announcement.

Expect a strong focus on asset and metadata management, an area where Avid is very strong.

If you're keenly interested in metadata, Avid and the American Society of Cinematographers are holding a meeting at the Alexis Park Hotel on Saturday April 16.

Avid's Alienbrain acquisition will be, I think, a strong part of Avid's story this NAB. Avid is very strong and currently unchallenged in the facility arena: project management (and collaborative project workflows - sharing a project) along with asset management and strong metadata and metadata-rich MXF media.

In other applications we might see the Adrenaline Media Composer software tied in with the HD Nitris DNA for an "HD Symphony" - although may be more wishful thinking on the part of some Avid customers than real expectation.

What is likely is a revision of the Xpress Studio of tools with upgrades announced to some of the programs in the suite. New versions of Xpress Pro, Avid 3D, and Avid DVD authoring are likely - particularly in the DVD Authoring application which is the least developed of the Studio applications.

You can get the full lowdown on Avid's NAB releases on the DV Guys/Inside Mac Radio live broadcasts from NAB. Tim Wilson, Senior Product Manager at Avid will be joining use either Monday or Tuesday.

Sony Vegas
Sony were the surprise purchaser of Profound Effects' Useful Things. Useful Things is a Python interpreter for (previously) Adobe After Effects that let users build complex effects from simpler building blocks, or to write their own scripts.

Sony already have strong scripting support in Vegas, which has been well used by 3rd parties to extend the capabilities of the application. With already strong support among users, perhaps Sony have a new version coming that will integrate features from Useful Things. Vegas does not seem to use the After Effects API natively so some integration work would be required. The lead time between the announcement of the purchase and NAB doesn't seem to be enough but the work could have been started long before a purchase announcement.

Regardless of what happens with the Useful Things purchase, Sony are very likely to release an update to Vegas and DVD Production suite at NAB - they have each NAB for the last couple of years.

Multiple projects per instance of the application (without having to run multiple copies) would be welcome, as would HD ingest and output other than HDV, which is already supported. Sony have been testing Blackmagic DeckLink cards for some time but so far it hasn't lead to a released product.

NLE Hardware

You have to have empathy for Ted Schilowitz, AJA's Product Manager, Desktop Video Engines. Ted is doing his dealer demonstration an hour before Apple's own product launch. Since much of what he'll be announcing will be dependent on, or complementary to, announcements Apple will not yet have made he'll be showing Keynote slides with mostly blacked-out product!

As with Blackmagic I can't imagine what more can be done, for every decreasing amounts of money, but I think we can reasonably expect some great new products from AJA ready to enhance whatever Apple releases an hour later on Sunday.

As well as broadcasting all week from the AJA stand, DV Guys will be talking with Ted Schilowitz at 3pm on Tuesday's show - yes we'll go overtime Tuesday just to keep you well informed.

Blackmagic Design may not be as tight with Apple as AJA but they have released some very innovative products over the last couple of years, beyond just the simple Input/Output cards. VideoHub, HDLink Multibridge in particular are pushing the performance of the digital studio up and the cost down.

Blackmagic's Grant Petty has already told DV Guy Philip that they will have new announcements for NAB but we'll have to wait for the details.

Grant will be live from the Show floor on the DV Guys/Inside Mac Radio show when the Aussie accents will overpower the American!

Convergent Design
HDV-Connect is a sand-alone box that allows ingest of HDV over FireWire material through HD-SDI converting from HDV to HD-SDI in the box. This removes the need to spend tremendous processor time converting the HDV CODEC to an intermediate editing CODEC. HDV-Connect decompresses the HDV video and audio on the fly as well as up-scaling to standard HD-SDI (1080i or 720p). The HDV-Connect also allows RS-422 to 1394 control so you can control the camera/deck remotely.

HDV-Connect also features DVI, component, and AES/EBU output for professional monitoring and LTC output for time code transfer. There is also a HD-SDI input to allow monitoring through component and DVI.

HDV-Connect also has a built in DV CODEC to allow ingest from a DV deck. Also, it can act as a SDI capture device for a PC/MAC with either DV over firewire or uncompressed over firewire.

Compatible with Premiere, Xpress Pro, Final Cut Pro, Liquid Edition, Vegas, News Edit

Convergent Design at NAB Booth # SL4032

There will be a tremendous amount of interest this NAB in the acquisition side - particularly affordable HD - both HDV and beyond. JVC and Panasonic have revealed new low cost HD products, Sony have indicated that an HD version of XD-CAM will be shown (although not necessarily as affordable as JVC and Panasonic's products)

JVC have a confusing marketing strategy for a great product lineup. Branded under the "PROHD" banner are two very different formats. At NAB they will be showing the very professional GY-HD100U with recording completely within the standard HDV specifications. They will also be showing a PROHD XE product that uses a JVC-only recording format at higher data rates and data density. By way of comparision this is like DVCRO50 is to regular DV25 - double data rate with more color information and lower compression.

GY-HD100U Camcorder
A professional HDV camcorder weighing in at around 5 lbs with a heavy duty magnesium body and balanced shoulder mount. The camcorder features 3 x 1/3" 1.1 Mpixel CCDs, which is more than enough for 720P without pixel shifting. Interchangeable 1/3" lenses are supported with JVC offering 16x and 13x Fuji lenses as standard options.

The GY-HD100U supports 720 24P, 720 30P, 480i and 480P with 1080i playback. It records to dual media - MiniDV or hard drive (tape appears to be an option). Other features include Memory stick, camera prices, Image control, including Cinema Gamma, and Motion smoothing filter. It includes a flip-out LCD and monochrome viewfinder with enhanced focus support.

Audio input is via dual XLR and outputs are component, composite and FireWire. FireWire input is also supported.

The camcorder records at the HDV 720 data rate of 19 Mbits/second. Like JVC's other 720 P HDV camcorders it uses a 6 frame GOP instead of the 15 frame GOP of Sony's 1080 I camcorders.

The camcord supports true 24 P sampling but places it within a 60 field structure, presumably similar to the Panasonic DVX100 and similar camcorders.

Compared with the Sony Z1U this camera supports 30P and 24P frame rates in HD at the 1280 x 720 resolution. Although there are slightly fewer pixels in the horizontal (1280 x 1440 for the Z1U) and less in the vertical (1080 v 720) the effective difference in resolution is small. Because the 1080 is interlaced, it effectively only resolves (after allowing for Kell and interlace factors) slightly more than the HD100U.

However, because it only samples time at 24 and 30P there is less temporal resolution in the 720P 30 format than 1080 30i (60 field). The HD100U is a true 24P camera resolving much better detail than the Z1U at 24P because the Z1U is a "fake" 24P.

A professional level camera in a more robust body than the Z1U for a list price of "less than US$10,000 with lens" - some say substantially less than $10,000 because a European release had the price at "less than 6,600 Euro which is around $8500 US, or roughly 3 times the investment of a Sony Z1U. Shipping June 1, 2005. See it previewed at NAB on JVC's stand C4526.

BR-HD50U Full and miniDV Deck with integrated LCD
Along with the HD100U JVC will be shipping the Br-HD50U in June 2005. This deck takes full and miniDV tapes (DV and HDV format playback) with integrated LCD, FireWire I/O and Component Output. More specifications and pricing to come.

JVC PROHD XE - New HDV format
No pricing is currently available but this would be the "professional" version of HDV. A comparison would be DV25 to DVCPRO50 - where the DV25 formats are a compromise on SD quality, DVCPRO50 is not. Likewise, with a higher bit rate (expected to be double HDV standard) PRO HD will not suffer the quality compromises of its lower bitrate cousin.

No doubt this format will carry a higher price tag, with the first camera coming with 3 x 2/3" CCD that support full 1920 x 1080 resolution at 60P (even though MEPG-2 itself, used for the recording format does not support 60P HD bitrates). The camera will support 720 (1280 x 720) at 24P, 30P and 60P and 1080 (1920 x 1080) at 30i (60 fields). This XE format supports four audio channels (but it is not known if there is compression or not).

Like the HD100U this camera will support dual hard drive and DV Tape media.

Delivery date and pricing is not known. JVC will be showing the PRO HD XE on their stand at NAB - C4526, which is likely to be very crowded.

DV Guys and Inside Mac Radio will be talking with JVC's Marketing Manager for the ProHD line, Dave Walton at 2:45 pm on the Monday April 18 live webcast from the show floor. Ask questions via the chat.

Panasonic are not part of the HDV consortium so are taking a different approach with their low-cost HD offerings, based around their P2 solid state media format.

Panasonic AG-HVX200
Unveiling at NAB 2005, the AG-HVX200 is Pansonic's response to HDV. This small-form-factor hand-held P2 camcorder provides 1080i and 720p recording to DVCPROHD (100 Mbits/sec) The AG-HVX200 records on a P2 card in 1080 in 60i, 30p and 24p; in720 in 60p, 30p and 24p; in 480 in 60i, 30p, and 24p either in DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO.

It has true 24P support, which will give a longer record time per card, and is expected to have direct FireWire out to record to a hard drive unit like the Focus Enhancements FireStore - conveniently Focus Enhancements will be showing FireStore HD at NAB on booths SL505 and SL4255E

The downside of the AB-HVX200 is that it uses a fixed lens but the small form factor will find it a niche market.

The small size and lack of moving parts will open a niche for this camcorder, which will likely run US$20,000 for workable configuration of camera, cards and disk conversion. Even if card prices drop dramatically, P2 is still vastly more expensive and less convenient than almost everything else.

The FireWire option will take some of the sting - just $450 for 41 minutes of record time. No archive unless you want to keep it on the iPod.

Other camcorders
Panasonic are likely to have a more professional camcorder - removable lens, larger form factor, similar specification, to the AG-HVX200 previewed at NAB.

My rant on P2 media not quite there yet.
Reasons why I can't get on board with P2: it's expensive (very expensive). yes you can go to hard drive instead of P2 media but now you've traded off every benefit solid state has - portability, lack of magnetic interference, no moving parts - and added weight and battery draing. You could dump the P2 cards to drive periodically but that's a disruption to production - "Sorry, Mr President, hold on a minute with the announcement we're bombing Canada, I've got to clear my P2 media card" (OK, that's an exaggeration but it's not always convenient to stop production for 4-5 minutes while you dump to a hard drive).

And there's no backup. None. Nada, zip. You either keep it on the hard drive (expensive) or you have no backup. Not always important but I like to keep all media because, except for hard drive and P2, the media is the cheapest part of the whole production.

Ask the Panasonic folk about backup and they suggest optical media. Well Sony have optical media source, and it's lighter with lower power consumption than adding a hard drive. The media is archive *or* recycle like tape. It's not that much more than tape. Sony will have an HD XDCAM at NAB.

Solid state media may be viable some time in the future. Maybe. I suspect by the time it is there will be another alternative.

A professional level DVCPRO (25) deck in a half-rack form factor that accepts full size and miniDV tapes for ingest into an NLE and includes DVCAM playback.

Weighing in at 15 pounds, the deck has three assignable function buttons.The deck has three BNC connectors for composite, component, or Y/C I/O. Audio support includes two-channel 48 kHz 16-bit digital audio I/O, one analog cue track, and a separate monitor output. The AJ-SD255 will be available in April 2005 for $5,500.

You'll find Panasonic in the Center Hall at C3617.

Panasonic's Jan Crittendon will no doubt help me understand the error of my ways when she talks with us on the DV Guys/Inside Mac broadcast from the NAB show floor on Thursday's show at 2 pm.

Reel Stream Andromeda
One booth that is bound to be crowded all week is upstairs in the South Hall SU9969 - that's where Reel Stream will be demonstrating their Andromeda hardware. Andromeda, allows direct extraction of the uncompressed 4:4:4 data at 8, 10, or 12 bit direct from the camera head of standard DV camcorders, like the AG-DVX100A. Andromeda can be retrofitted to any camcorder at the Reel Stream facility.

The raw CCD data is intercepted before decimation, color space reduction or compression and fed out a USB 2.0 cable to computer or hard drive.

The raw footage is processed into popularly used formats by Ree-stream's SculptorHD software, which also provides a real time monitor system with more detail than available in the camera's viewfinder. The output from SculptorHD can be edited in any standard NLE in standard formats.

The results from Andromeda and Sculptor HD are dramatically better than any other output from the same camera and should be previewed at www.reel-stream.com

Reel Stream just revealed that the latest version of their hardware/software package will output uncompressed 1280 x 720 P HD in raw format.

DV Guys and Inside Mac Radio will be talking with the President of Reel Stream, Jeremy Jacobs at 2:15 on the Wednesday show.

Alongside 3DVX.2 stereoscopic imaging. DV Guys interviewed Jason Goodman form 3DVX.2 on March 17. That interview is still in the archives and the stand is well worth checking out.

Sony have had a lot of great press recently for their HDV-FX1 and HDR-Z1U HDV camcorders. Some great background can be found in DV Guys HDV show on March 3rd, which is still in the archives.

At this NAB Sony are expected to reveal an HD version of their Blu-ray disc-based XD-CAM. Disc based cameras have the advantage of media that is as archivable as tape or can be recycled and reused.

To make this work, it will be necessary to increase the write speed of the blue ray recorder in the camera; the most likely scenario will be to dual head drive mechanism that Sony uses for its off-line transfer stations, which supports faster than real time file transfers thanks to the higher I/O rate. But a new HD compression format could also be in the cards.

There are no indications of pricing for the HD XD-CAM but it's unlikely to be less than current XD-CAM pricing.

While Canon is in the HDV consortium they have not revealed any plans for a camcorder in that format, although they have just recently dramatically dropped pricing, via rebates, for XL-2 and GL-2 camcorders.

Either Canon are going to surprise us with their brilliance and introduce a strong contender in the HDV market, or they are biding their time for a later release. Every indication is that they are biding their time for a later release but who knows

Grass Valley
Formerly known as Thomson Broadcast and Media Solutions Grass Valley are reportedly going to introduce a new HD camcorder that won't be tape based. Most probably hard disk based, it could possibly be flash memory competing with Pansonic's P2.

Thomson Grass Valley can be found in the Upper Level of the South Hall - SU7823A, SU7823, SU9067-MR, where they'll also be showing two new HD studio cameras (LDK 4000 and LDK 400 ITW), new switchers and still stores.

Color Correction

Silicon Color
2K color correction on OS X Silicon color will be demonstration their real-time FinalTouch2K and FinalTouch HD at NAB 2005 on booth SL3665.

Color Finesse
Color Finesse previewed their hardware color correction workstation - integrating with Final Cut Pro via XML and with other applications as a stand alone tool. For a fraction of the price, get control similar to expensive hardware-based workstations.


Popwire will be showing Compression Master 3.1, Compression Engine 3.1 and their Windows Media Export (and import) component for QuickTime.

The new features of Compression Master 3.1, to be highlighted at NAB are:

  • -H.264 (AVC) video;
  • 2-pass Flash video (presumably Flash 7, aka Spark);
  • Windows Media MBR, and High Definition support; and
  • Full QuickTime integration for access to all installed QuickTime codecs.

Popwire consider the H.264 a "preview technology" - an initial release that will be improved upon as H.264 becomes more mainstream and starts to become commonly used by the end of this year.

-Popwire include a Windows Media Playback component with the Windows Media Export Component so you can play Windows Media content in the QuickTime Player. (A similar playback component is expected from Flip4Mac, shortly but it will be a commercial product.)

Popwire Technologies will be exhibiting at NAB in booth SL3966.

Stil the best overall encoding solution if you can run a Windows box in your studio. SL325

Telestream will be showing their Flip4Mac Windows Media Exporter Component for QuickTime and should be able to show their MXF import component for Final Cut Pro and the Windows Media Import component for QuickTime which will allow import of Windows Media files to Final Cut Pro and playback of Windows Media in QuickTime Player.

Telestream will be exhibiting in the Upper Level of the South Hall at SU11404


Apple Xsan

On the Apple stand - file level locking.

Facilis Technology Terrablock

Volume level SAN with direct connect (no Fiber switch) for Final Cut Pro and Avid SL4446

Network attached storage shared access to media for post production at less than SAN pricing - for Avid, Final Cut Pro and other NLEs SL3445

Will be previewing iSCSI technology SL2265, SL1210R

Possibly showing SanStream 2 plus a range of storage options SL 2628

Wide range of SCSI and FireWire storage options. SL3360

SATA configurations out the wazoo - and also where you can purchase the Intelligent Assistance training products at show special pricing. SL405

Studio Network Solutions
iSCSI SAN solution for OS X - little known as it's being introduced at he show from the makers of SANmp Fibre channel SAN. Also the Hard Drive toss SL3331

InPhase Holographic Drive Protype.
You'll have to find your way to the Center Hall to get a preview of InPhase Technologies holographic drive prototype on the maxell Corp Booth C8530. With storage capacity of 300 GB up to 1.6 TB on a single 12cm/5" optical disc. www.inphase-tech.com

Also - no NAB show booth but..
The Fujifilm Holographic Versatile Disc technology which will someday be able to store up to 3.9 terabytes of data on a single DVD (or more than 200 times today's capacity).

Other Interesting things to look for

Plug-in Pavilion

Automatic Duck

Like holding out a cheesecake an hour before a meal at a Fat Farm Automatic Duck are once again teasing us with their upcoming NAB announcements The official announcements will be made at NAB but they've announced what they will be announcing! (Links will contain more information after the announcements.)

-Premiere Pro users will join the Duck flock with the advent of Pro Export PPro to send edit information out of Premiere Pro to Pro Tools with volume information intact.

The ability to export with volume information is one of the features we now know will be in Pro Export FCP 3.0 - a major upgrade to the existing plug-in Export plug-in for Final Cut Pro - the one that exports "Avid Compatible" OMF files. Now Pro Export FCP 3 will export to Digital Audio Workstations, including Pro Tools with volume and keyframe information intact.

-Naturally Automatic Duck will be having show specials, even if you're not able to make it to the show. If you're at NAB head on down to the Plug-in Pavilion in the Lower Level of the South Hall SL760.

Digital Anarchy
Digital Anarchy will be releasing two new plug-in sets at NAB: EasyChart and Toon.

The centerpiece plug-in, EasyChart, provides a graphical user interface and chart presets for animating the data, simplifying the creation process and making it possible for users to create a wide range of effects with minimal effort. The other plug-ins each offer unique visualization options for animating chart data, from Pie and Bar to 3D effects.

Toon!, is a filter for After Effects and Final Cut Pro that gives video the look of a cartoon. Toon!'s ability to intelligently analyze original footage and its manual controls for solving problem areas make it an ideal tool for giving video projects that frequently sought-after 'cartoon-look.'

Data Animator suite is currently priced at USD $495; Toon is currently priced at USD $129. For more information about the product and their release dates, please visit Digital Anarchy's Web site at: www.digitalanarchy.com

Or stop by the Plugin Pavilion! Booth# SL760!

copyright©2005philip hodgetts

DV Guy Philip Hodgetts is the President of Intelligent Assistance and the co-creator of the Pro Apps Hub. He's a regular contributor to
many websites and magazines, writes the news and tips of the day and comments on the Present and Future of Post Production Business and Technology in his Blog at www.intelligentassistance.com/blog.


This article first appeared on lafcpug and is reprinted here with permission.

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