NAB 2017 Review

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Ah NAB, the Mecca of the video production world. This year was the first time we made the trip out to Vegas, where all the biggest (and smallest) names in the industry come out to show off their newest gear.

The other big selling point is the classes, where the NAB staff curates industry leaders and influencers to teach about the top trends. For this year, VR and Drone were the words floating around every other booth, and that was apparent if you took a look at the class options. So overall, what did we think of it? Is it worth making the trip out? I think it’s easiest to separate it into two areas, the show floor and the classes.

First, the show floor. The diversity of vendors and displays were, frankly, daunting. You’d be hard pressed to find a major vendor that wasn’t in attendance. Some stand-outs were DJI, Canon, and Zeiss. DJI’s booth featured a live demonstration of their newest drone tech, including an impressive display of drones hovering in a narrow indoor cage while never hitting the edges. They also had a Ronin 2 available for testing including a hands-on demo, which was quite interesting for us as we use a Ronin 1 frequently, so really digging into the advancements was pretty eye opening.

Canon’s and Zeiss’s booths were also good visits, as it’s rare to be able to get your hands on either of those vendors’ full range of optics in one place and really see the differences in person. A notably missing vendor was RED, who we were hoping to visit to see their latest and greatest. They opted to focus on a different trade show, which means unfortunately we didn’t get to talk a lot one-on-one with the experts that created our newest toy around the office. Overall though, I’d definitely call the NAB show floor a win.

Second, the classes. There’s quite a few different attendance packages available. We ultimately opted to do two of the three-class Post Production World passes, one for Andrew and one for myself. We both attended different classes, and got different impressions on the usefulness of the lessons. The most useful class that I attended was “From lead to finish”, a class from an experienced project manager where she walked the class through how she handles projects from the starting point all the way through final delivery. That class delivered a number of insights into how other teams handle workflows and processes, something that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough.

So what’s our recommendation? Go to the show, or stay home and watch the highlights on B&H’s web series? In my opinion I’d say “Go”, and I’d recommend one of two routes:

  • Go and just do a show floor pass. You can grab a $50 or free pass from most vendors, and the show floor is big enough that you could easily spend 2-3 days just getting your hands-on equipment and talking to vendors. Especially for the price, that’s a great experience.
  • Go and do the Post Production World all-access pass. We did the 3-class option instead of all-access, which was nice, but with the all-access pass, you could take as many classes as you want which is way better bang for your buck. If you book early enough Vegas isn’t a crazy expensive place to stay, so you may as well stay all week and do as many classes as possible/you want, and really get the most for your money.

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