Mind Your Business: Is NAB for TV Creators?
NAB, the National Association of Broadcasters, just had their giant and leg-numbing conference in Vegas. Their byline is “Where Content Comes to Life”. I went to see if it really is a place for content creators.
The answer is yes and no, depending on what you want or expect.
No, it’s not a place to present or pitch your concepts. No, you’re not likely to make contacts that will help your show (with an exception I’ll talk about in a minute). Yes, there’s a lot to cool stuff for creators who produce cool content. Yes, there are some (but not enough) content talks.
There were over 92,000 people at the 2012 event. It filled the entire Vegas convention center and part of an outdoor area. Everyone was talking about how much they walked every day. For some reason, I always had to walk to the opposite side of the center for whatever I wanted to see next. Hell, even walking through whatever casino you stay in seems to take forever just to get out to the front door. But at least all that walking makes you hungry enough for the giant buffets in Vegas.
I was told that content was growing at the show and they even have an area called the Content Theater. Not exactly what I thought it would be. The Content Theater is a small free-standing enclosure where they had talks with industry executives. Some speakers were interesting, like Gerhard Zeiler, CEO of the giant RTL Group of stations in Germany, but the questions were pretty dry, so not a lot of interesting tidbits were picked up.
The opening session featured the hot Teri Hatcher from Desperate Housewives, but again, not much creative content discussion.
However, there were a few sessions that rocked. King of the World James Cameron gave a presentation with his Cameron Pace Group partner Vince Pace. They spoke about 3D TV production. You may not be a believer in 3D being the next thing for TV, but that would only be because you weren’t there. Holy shit the samples they showed were amazing! When 3D is shot right, it draws you into the action and into the interviews in a way that 2D can’t touch. Of course, shooting it right is the hard part. At least it was.
Cameron Pace Group has developed systems, cameras, gear and production trucks that can produce 2D and 3D TV at nearly the same price as 2D alone. They recently did a 35 3D camera rig shoot for the X-Games on the snow covered slopes of Aspen. Actually, they called it a 5D shoot. Each 3D camera also output a 2D signal, all of which was switched live in the truck. They also had 14 cameras at the US Open and 28 cameras at the Masters. Next fall we’ll see an 18 camera shoot they did for Cirque du Soleil, the samples of which are amazing, and which included underwater work, steadicam shots, jib rigs, handheld and more. With the right equipment and knowledge, 3D really is spectacular.