NAB Big Hitters: Three Companies who Ruled the Show | ActionVFX

NAB Big Hitters: Three Companies who Ruled the Show

NAB Big Hitters: Three Companies who Ruled the Show

If you want to keep up with the cutting edge in media and technology you need to get used to a slew of event acronyms, among them: GDC, SXSW, SIGGRAPH, and of course NAB. The National Association of Broadcasters annual trade show finished up its 28th event last week and this year once again displayed the ceaseless advancement of both the content we create and the tools we use for it. 

Unlike more focused events such as GDC for interactive media or SIGGRAPH for computer graphics, NAB’s wide range of panels, guests, and convention floor showings stretches across the industries of film, advertising, television, and even radio. For the visual effects artist, the conference offers yet another opportunity to experience the latest in media tech and add at least 500 business cards (networking tokens) to your collection! 

This year’s event saw several new announcements, significant updates, and even some birthdays among the show’s biggest companies. Here are three of the most exciting developments from NAB 2018.  

The all new Frame.io

Post-production collaboration platform Frame.io launched three years ago at NAB. This year on their birthday they entered the conference already expecting an onslaught of questions and inquiries from the showroom floor. In the days leading up to the event, the once-startup now king of online video collaboration announced “The all new” version of their popular platform. 

This time around, they’re taking things to a new level and breaking down the barriers that once defined their software. The update includes optimizations, a touch of fresh paint, and some vast implications for the service. Most significant is the addition or improvement of media types such as photos, PDFs, and audio. While on the surface this may seem like a simple change, it opens whole new worlds for the company and its users. 

Founder Emery Wells was quick to press the possibilities of these new features to guests and press alike at NAB discussing the opportunity for script uploads, location and casting photos, and much more. As the updates to the platform slowly roll out through the summer the question becomes: once a post-production and video-centric tool, will Frame.io become your pre-production ecosystem as well?  

Apple Announces ProRes RAW

In spite of recent developments in the cross-platform flux of Apple codecs, the company piggybacked external recorder manufacturer Atomos for their announcement of ProRes RAW at NAB 2018. The codec has become an industry standard over recent years and finds its way into the workflow of projects both big and small alike. 

This latest update to Apple’s star codec checks a big box for its adoption by cinematographers: RAW capabilities. This step is described by Atomos as combining “the incredible performance of ProRes with the flexibility of RAW video”. The makers of the Sumo, Shogun, and Ninja RAW recorder lines told guests at NAB that their relationship with Apple and the adoption of their latest codec aimed to take away the woes of dealing with RAW footage in post. 

While the data range of RAW footage is incredible and necessary for higher end projects, it adds a layer of complexity and computational need to your post workflow. ProRes RAW aims to find the goldilocks zone in this endeavor by injecting their traditionally stable codec with even more data to play around with (unless you’re a windows user).

Blackmagic adds even more to their Swiss Army Post-Production Suite

If you’ve ever used Blackmagic software there are two things you notice first. One: it’s incredibly affordable (their real business is hardware, after all); and two: Resolve does everything. As you navigate the digital “rooms” of Blackmagic’s Da Vinci Resolve you realize that what was once designed as a professional coloring suite has become an end-to-end post-production powerhouse. 

The same philosophy which fuels Blackmagic’s affordable approach to software as well as the integration of FairLight audio mixing just last year now brings Fusion into the mix. Not unlike Nuke Studio and its industry standard compositing brother, Resolve now includes a full Fusion workspace. This brings Resolve’s post-pro coverage up to six steps: assembly, editing, color, audio, delivery, and now compositing and motion graphics. 

Blackmagic founder Grant Petty went back to the company’s basic approach when describing this move: empowering creativity. Especially on small budget work where its all hands on deck and everyone wears multiple hats, it’s hard to argue with him. A colorist inside of Resolve now has an entirely new world at the click of a button and inside a familiar space. At the very least, Blackmagic continues to bridge gaps — I suppose a 3D render engine for Resolve is all that’s left to announce when next year’s NAB rolls around. 

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