Photos courtesy of Amazing Travel Photos
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) holds its annual convention in Las Vegas every year at the Las Vegas Convention center. The NAB is a trade organization whose member are broadcast television and radio stations throughout the U.S. The members hold meetings and presentations about their lobbying efforts in Washington and the laws governing the broadcast industry. Sounds boring, huh?
Well the NAB show is also the number one venue for all things related to television, the movie industry, film and television production, post-production, distribution and exhibition. Every equipment manufacturer announces new products and displays their wares at the show. If you want to learn about the latest HD cameras, visual effects, animation techniques and 3-D production, NAB is the place to see it all.
The annual NAB Convention has become a huge convention with over 90,000 attendees from every country in the world representing every aspect of the entertainment industry.
Integration and 3-D
The theme of NAB 2011 was “integration”. But the biggest idea at NAB 2011 seemed to be 3-D movies. Avatar producer and director James Cameron spoke at the opening meeting on the subject of 3-D production. His company Cameron-Pace provides 3-D production expertise to the movie industry. Cameron’s main point was that 3-D will use the same skills and techniques as conventional 2-D productions. It is not necessary to re-invent everything about movie making to make 3-D movies. Characters, stories and scripts still rule; and stories unfolds through the use of scenes and shots that are part of the language of film.
Show Floor & Booth Babes
Of course, a big part of every trade show is the show floor with all the display booths. The largest companies, like Sony and Canon, have the largest booths. But you can get valuable information and see product demonstrations at every booth.
You also have a chance to meet and chat with industry experts. Garret Brown, the investor of the Steadicam, was in the Steadicam booth demonstrating new products to smooth camera movement for every size camera.
Other booths had presentation by various ASC cinematographers, like Russel Carpenter, who are the directors of photography that shoot all the Hollywood movies we all love to watch.
Many of the vendors like to make the show a circus-like atmosphere, with magicians, jugglers and other kinds of entertainment.
Most companies hire people to man their booths and often employ pretty booth babes to attract the attention of potential customers.
At NAB 2011 there was a chance to see green screen compositing, motion capture, tutorials on post-production software and much, much more.
Now if you are like me and interested in the latest cameras, NAB is the place to see demonstrations of all the latest gear. The Arri booth had the Arri Alexa on display. And the Red booth had Red cameras to look at. Some of these cameras cost as much as a house!
Many of the camera manufacturers set up really cool-looking and colorful sets complete with attractive models so that their cameras can focus on something interesting. (BTW, trade shows are always a job opportunity for models.)
Content & Information Sessions
There are hundreds of presentations and classes, many of which cost extra to attend. But there are also countless content and information sessions that are free to attend.
We attended one content session with the filmmakers behind the new animation Rango, voiced by Johnny Depp. The director and others showed some clips and talked about the production. This looks to be the big animation film of 2011.
The Great Camera Shootout 2011
Another really useful information session was the “Camera Shootout.” Twelve of the latest HD cameras including the Sony F3, Arri Alexa, Red, a couple of Kodak film stocks, and DSLRs from Canon and Nikon were put through their paces by Hollywood cameramen. All kinds of measurements of sharpness, resolution, exposure latitude were made. The results are astonishing. There is also a documentary about it: The Great Camera Shootout 2001. That will have to be another article all by itself.
Plan to Attend NAB 2012
The NAB 2011 show is over now, but NAB 2012 will return to Las Vegas next year. If you work in the film industry, you must attend this event. A free floor pass can be had from many companies in the industry.
View the complete NAB Las Vegas 2011 Photo Gallery