I am writing this is the immediate aftermath of yet another NAB. For me that means a week of walking around,talking to a wide variety of people and taking the temperature of the industry.
This year I developed a theory that there were three sorts of companies exhibiting at NAB,or at least three sorts of spokesmen I talked to. There were a few businesses who understood the real issues and knew how to address them.
The majority I spoke to who had some idea of what was needed but were heading in more or less the wrong direction. And there were a few who really did not understand the question,let alone have any answers.
To take a classic example,there was a lot of 4k about,and also a lot of high dynamic range and extended colour gamu on display. What I failed to find anywhere was anyone showing HDR on HD,which is the real future. There were simply a lot of people desperately trying to perpetuate the myth that 4k and HDR go together like a horse and carriage: you can't have one without the other.
On the Sunday afternoon,before the show started,the estimable Joe Zaller of Devoncroft Partners ran an absolutely fascinating conference session,of which sadly I could only attend the first hour. He revealed he has a lot of evidence that US broadcasters have rejected 4k. "They see it better to spend the money on,say,more super slo-mo - you can tell better stories that way," he said.
His colleague Josh Stinehour did a breathtaking presentation on the current economic state of the industry. The fascinating insights kept coming faster than I could note them down. But here is a killer fact: traditional broadcasting is the green solution. To move all of US television to the internet would demand an additional 5.5 gigawatts of power just for delivery. According to Josh,that means building another six nuclear power plants.
If there was a big new thing,it was so-called "virtual reality",by which people mean actual reality,as seen by a 360 degree camera rig and a headset. Headsets range from mobile phones in a variety of Heath Robinson rigs to the handsomely priced Oculus Rift.
One of the big draws was the Nokia stand where they launched a dedicated camera assembly,the Ozo,which has eight cameras in a small sphere. The stand was always very busy,which I am sure was because of the chance to try a headset and not because it was entirely staffed by models in shiny and very short playsuits. (Really? In 2016 we still have booth bimbos?)