Some cool things I saw at NAB at DVinfo.net

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Old April 29th, 2006, 01:25 AM   #1
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Some cool things I saw at NAB

In my sojourns at NAB I came across some cool tech that may or may not be useful to some.

1. The Nvidia QuadroFX 1500...this midrange graphics card has a built in useful feature whether you are doing video editing or 3d composites in AE...In additon to advanced dual dvi output , it has a 7 pin output connector that connects to an HD component box by PNY. Any software that can take advantage of overlay or redirect their preview to a seperate device can take advantage of this. Their demo system was using AE on a MAC system with video prieview hooked up to an HD studio monitor. It works with Windows XP and Linux as well. msrp is 600 US. The next step up is a QuadroFX 5600 with HD SDI out for around 6K US. the rep I talked to at the Nvidia booth recomened checking out PNY for the card and breakout box.

2. Not for US, but still cool anyway. A credit card sized H.264 decoder that fits into a TVs cable card slot. Currently only SD, it has a built in Ethernet100 connection for direct access to the internet for downloading/streaming programming. Includes a remote to help you cruise the internet looking for content. Essentially puts the features of a HTPC on a card. It's available in Europe and will even work with the open source VLC media player as a host.
From a French companie whos name I forget. Not available in the US because of US based companies not wanting to open up access to the cablecard slot in TVs. I forgot to mention it supports decoding 6 channel audio too.


This could have uses in closed corporate systems or Hotels with IP based content distribution systems.

I'll post more cool stuff I saw at NAB later.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 08:42 AM   #2
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Thanks Joe, For those of us who could not make it to Nab like myself (to far to travel from Africa at the moment) I've been waiting for news.

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Old April 29th, 2006, 12:23 PM   #3
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While I'm on layover at the Denver Airport.....

Other cool things are the option for tv stations to go totally digital, with many systems costing less than 20K US for everything from ingest to broadcast. Not just for low budget public access stations either. Both Matrox and Vela offer decoding cards that can transmit directly into the coax. Vela offers both SD anlog/digital and HD digital. Vela offers an SDK for 2500 US.
Systems built around these broadcast cards has web based interfaces for scheduling, theoretically you can program your tv station from your home. I don't know what Matrox is charging at this time since their OEM people were offsite. One of the Vela integrators was Linux based and even offers live RSS feeds and Flash animation as overlays to the current broadcast. They used Linux, Apache and couldn't remember which database they used.

Some of the big IPTV integrators were using PostGreSQL as the database of choice.

Microsoft was showing the early stages of a station and asset management system based on their off the shelf tools (sharepoint, SQL server, Windows Server 2003) to gage interest. For MS Office and .Net developers this could be the start of a new vertical market revenue stream.

One thing I noticed is with these cards costing under 2.5K US (not counting SDK) you could put together an offordable desktop PC, eSATA drives with over 5terabytes of storage and these cards for less then 12K US if you want to do the software development yourself. One system from an integrator in Minnesota was entirely windows based including using SQL server desktop edition. All the systems can copy (legal stuff only) from DVD and CD to the designated media server.

One company was offering a free box to download 30 and 60 second commercial spots for integration with your system. The deal being instead of you selling air time and having to receive tapes and convert them yourself, the vendors send their spots to this company and it digitizes and sends it around to various markets via Sattlelite or Internet. requires you selling at least 30 30 second spots in 3 months to keep it free.

I had no idea you could put together an operational station for such relatively low cost.

I bring this up, because I betting everyone here already know how to us dv or dvcam tape, or put in a dvd data disk with mpeg2 based content.

Most of them have plenty of USB 2 ports for connecting multiple DVD readers.

For you software developers out there, if you've ever written a basic personal contact management system, you can easily code a scheduling system for a TV station, without having to embed the content in your database, just have a file location string in one of the columns to pass to the SDK. (Hint, I write multi tier database systems for a living, at least until I win that oscar for best picture, hehehe).

The only real obsticle to all this is convincing your cable provider you have something they want to broadcast on their system. If all you want is streaming or downloadable content via the Internet there are even less exepensive ways for that. (Google got a lot of attention for some reason, even though their interface isn't very good). One magazine had an article about a software company called Storm, that turns a Portable Mac into an IP based TV station.

More later folks
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Old April 30th, 2006, 01:45 AM   #4
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Well here's one cool thing that I heard a lot of people talking about. In fact I know a Hollywood camera operator who bought two of 'em. These things were so popular at NAB, they sold out before the show closed.

It's the SupaCam! http://www.supacam.com/

(Great to meet you at NAB, Joe!)
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Old April 30th, 2006, 06:28 AM   #5
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Are you serious? I just looked at the Supacam website, and I'm assuming they shot their demo video with it...it looked pretty bad to me. I kind of thought it was a joke. At that price it looks like something that would wind up on the shopping network, nothing that belongs at NAB. If any of you guys actually tried this out and were impressed with the quality...I'd be suprised. Also...11MP? yeah the CCD might be 11MP, but the stills sure aren't gonna look good with a bad lens, (cough: new olympus cams:cough)
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Old April 30th, 2006, 06:58 AM   #6
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A quick google suggests the supacam dvx has a 3.1Mpixel sensor, and the '11Mpixel' stills are interpolated from that.
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Old April 30th, 2006, 01:51 PM   #7
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It was great to see you too Chris (finally) and the others as well. It was nice to make it to the unofficial DVINFO HQ in Las Vegas too!! Make sure to take advantage of those 'photos' of Rob and Dylan to your advantage, hehehe.

More stuff... btw, I didn't go to Apples booth since I don't plan on using their software for the forseable future, please don't take that as a negative, just a choice.

Avid...Software only version of Media Composer due out this fall. Workflow integration tools, asset archiving, other goodies. I registered for a free copy of Media Composer. They've got some new tools for pushing out project files to things like Pro Tools and AE.

Adobe, mainly showing how well their tools work together with bridge, including Flash8. Discounts on software purchased at the show.

Eyeon Fusion, on of the best post/paint tools for video I saw, though I skipped Quantel since there is no way I could afford them. The way they handled multi layered compositing was impressive, even though I knew I was watching a carefully choregraphed demo.

Synthetic Aperatures' color correction tool is coming out for windows according to the person demoing the product, they claim support for 10bit codecs. Synthetic impressed me with it's ease of use.

Scenes from BattleStar Galactica were everyones favorite subject for demo footage among the big players.

Boris Blue is a stand alone post tool with support for importing and using 3ds and obj files in true 3d space/animation. They still have Borid Red for AE.
While it was impressive, I don't think it's worth the price they are asking, consdering the competition. And they only support 8bit output.

All the post production products were either using or converting to 32bit floating point per channel color background renderiung, though only a few were supporting 10bit output on the timeline or for rendering.

Most demos were using very fast BOXX PCs to make their stuff operate in real time. Not very realistic for most of us. Same went for Mac oriented software, people used very loaded up G5 desktops.

There was a vendor called MaxPC I think, who had hardened transportable high performance PCs with up to 3 fold out lcd panels attached. Average price was around 40K US, but they were fast and loaded up. Could easily work as high powered video villages if you can afford them. They basically looked like armor plated desktops with built in lcd panels.

ATI was nowhere to be found. Nvidia bascially owned the show as far as graphics cards went. Their new Quadro line supports high end monitors (like 2 Dell or Apple 30" lcd panels) off of a single card with dual dvi out. No need for using both dvi outs to power one monitor anymore.

As my brain sorts things out, I'll post more in the future.

btw, just as Chris has, if anyone has some cool stuff to talk about from NAB, please add to this thread.
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Old April 30th, 2006, 04:12 PM   #8
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In the North Hall was Dykortech's 10-foot jib.

http://www.dykortech.com/

Price is reasonable. Nicely machined. One of the few that offers pan & tilt. Panning is controlled via cable and tilt is controlled via a simple hydraulic system. The arm is about 3 inches thick and is quite stiff. I didn't have any problems with oscillation or wobble.

Had a chance to try it and managed to get some nice moves out of it even though my prior jib experience is zero. Of course I nearly bopped someone in the head with it!
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Old April 30th, 2006, 11:39 PM   #9
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DVX - Infringing?

I'm suprised Panny hasnt sued the "Supacam" guys for using the letters "DVX." Wow...that looks like something I'd see at Wal-Mart or HSN. I can get one of those crappy tripods for $8 at Target...$25?? I dont even trust those to hold a mic up. Yeesh. 11mp interpolated means nothing...
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Old May 1st, 2006, 07:57 AM   #10
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But, it has a water proof case! Certainly not what some of us are looking for. Don't know anything about this camera myself. There are those who read the forum that may just be starting out, only have 400 dollars for a first or second camera even if there are better ways to spend your money. Maybe it does shoot in the dark at night clubs like Fritz Bischof says.
I do appreciate the word on the NAB from Joe and the rest of you for those unable to attend this year. Thanks.

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Old May 3rd, 2006, 02:00 PM   #11
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Impressions from NAB

This was the first NAB I have been able to attend, and it was quite an event. People were everywhere, and although I thought I understood a lot about the technical end of video, about 60 % of the exhibits were beyond my knowledge level. Panasonic HVX-200s were everywhere, although for me, until Blu-ray or HD-DVD recorders and players are readily available, I think I'll wait on the move to HD. The best video I saw from the under $10,000 HD camcorders seemed to come from the JVC HD-100s, but this is only my opinion. I personally don't like shoulder-mounted cameras, and will wait for a hand-held similar to the HVX-200. I think Canon made a huge error by not making their HDV XL camera a progressive-scan unit, but I am a big fan of progressive scan. Apple's Final Cut PRO exhibit was huge - I'm a confirmed PC user, but it made me seriously consider switching to MAC just for Final Cut.

Teranex has a new scan convertor called the mini which looks interesting for converting SD to HD (and vice-versa). It will price out between $ 3000 and $ 7000 depending on the options included.

I was surprised to see many of the large professional cameras used black and white viewfinders, but the rep explained that many cameramen find it easier to focus using a B & W viewfinder as opposed to color. Speaking to focusing, I was very dissapointed to see that Panasonic failed to include the edge-sharpening focus aid which is on the DVX-100, on the new HVX-200. Instead, they have a button that when pushed temporarily causes a small central area of digital zoom to appear, aiding in focusing. This goes back to normal about 10 seconds later, so to repeatedly use the focus aid you have to keep pushing the button. Bad engineering, in my opinion.

Microsoft had many mini-presentations during the show. The one on their VC-1 HD-DVD encoder was interesting. I believe that this is down-loadable for free now, however there are no HD-DVD burners on the market yet. As mentioned elsewhere in this forum, there is a Blu-ray DVD burner on the market now for use with computers, but there are no Blu-ray players yet for sale.

I saw a demo of H.264 (AVC) HD video being played back from a computer onto about a 30 inch LCD - it looked very good, and the output data rate was supposedly 12 Mbs.

The Sony Vegas get-together Tuesday night was excellent, and it was very nice to meet Chris Hurd for the first time. Douglas Spotted Eagle was the primary MC and he did a great job. The free food was also excellent and much-appreciated.

Well, this post is too long already - just wanted to pass on some observations to those who couldn't attend.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 11:52 AM   #12
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Yes it was great at the VASST event, I even won a disk full of Sony loops for Acid.

Here are some additional cool stuff I saw at NAB.

In the Central hall up the steps from JVC was a sattelite company that had a portable transmitter/receiver kit fitted into the hard luggage cases on a Honda ST1300 motorcycle. Those are great, very smooth riding, sport touring bikes, so the possibilities boggle the mind.

A company called Ikan seems to be wanting to edge into Marshalls territory for portable monitors.

Avid is coming out with a software only verson of Media Composer and new workflow/asset managent software/hardware system called Interplay. I don't know enough about AVID to know if a software only version of Media Composer is a great thing, so please someone who better understands Avid jump in and offer an opinion.

If your going to make an independent feature and want to license music, there are some affordable options from various companies at the show. Unfortunately Pin drop rights will not give you the right to release an album associated with the movie. Most of what they offer is developed inhouse and when I asked them about creating complete original scores, they didn't seem interested. For an alternative, check out Magnatunes site and the Creative Commons licensing options. There you can negotiate Pin drop and a movie associated album at the same time.

Black Magic Designs 'On Air' software based Video switcher for live broadcast and simultaneous recording is cool and simplicity itself in use. It's Mac only with the Ultrabridge products. 2 sdi in, 1 out. At the show they said it is still in beta.

A company owned by IDX, called WEVI, was demonstrating a wireless broadcast kit using the HD100. The receiver end had a protable lcd monitor attached. I think the gentleman said they do up to 50 meters, but not quite sure about that one. the products are called VideoWave. I don't know how they compare to the stuff JVC showed at it's booth. If you own an IDX battery kit, it attaches to the back of it. One of the things that is cool about it is they transmit over wireless lan frequencies, giving some interesting possibilites for ethernet based aquisition systems.
Home page is http://www.wevi.tv
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Old May 4th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #13
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Thanks again for the ongoing commentary and info from all, regarding NAB. Arrive in Texas and parts unknown for one month in June from Africa. Looking forward to following up first hand with the money in my briefcase on some of the items mentioned here.

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