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What happens in Vegas should – literally – stay in Vegas Peter Savage enjoys Vegas, as do lots of people, and sometimes he enjoys it too much. However, this time he came away from the world’s largest broadcast trade show more disillusioned than up-beat. T he annual trip to the Mecca of American partying is over for another year and tired and emotional UK broadcast workers have wearily made their ways back to base. As I keep explaining to my staff, it is a tough trip that requires enormous amounts of stamina to be able to work and party (sorry – take clients out) all night, for seven days while dealing with the worst jetlag in the world. I receive little sympathy for my hard work in Vegas at home or in the office, and I would suspect I’m getting little from the readers of this column. Covering up a late night out A huge part of the NAB experience is treading that fine line between entertaining clients and overdoing it in Sin City. The funniest story I’ve heard is of someone who missed his most important meeting of the week after a very late night out with one of his colleagues. He was so in fear of his present-at-the-show and at-the- meeting managing director that he booked himself into hospital claiming he had an incurable lung disease from a recent visit to West Africa. He spent two days in an isolation ward until the tests came back, negative of course, and managed to fly out without bumping into the still-at-the-show MD. Obviously, he was a Vegas first-timer. Stay in the now If I were a Vegas first-timer this year then, nightlife apart, I would have found it all very disappointing. Once again, as predicted, we were subjected to a 4K fest. There were stunning pictures adorning almost every stand and new cameras that would (supposedly) hit the market in September, but very little real substance. No manufacturers were demonstrating an end-to-end current 4K workflow from acquisition (which exists) to workflow editing (which exists, but without an identifiable format) to transmission (which doesn’t) and finally delivery to the home (which doesn’t). So, yes, it’s great to see what we will see in the future – but is this really how NAB should be? Shouldn’t it be about what is current and available and works right now? Sensible and obvious I take my hat off to AJA, not just for its stunning after show party but also because - as I’m reliably informed by UK dealers - the head of channel guaranteed that all the products on AJA’s stand had a price (sensible) and were available to be shipped on the day (obvious). So, my request to the industry as a whole is to use these events as a showcase of what can be delivered now and why it is better than other products on the market, rather than a roadmap to a future that could be years away. We had enough of this with 3D and, while 4K is different, the principle is very much the same. We lost nearly two years of trade shows to 3D – and the format has failed in penetrating worldwide TV. We must also remember that NAB is a show for broadcast, not film. Off his soap box? OK, I’ll step down from my soap box. There were some positives to be taken from the show, but of course they come with caveats. Some of the highlights for me were: Blackmagic again with their 4K for $4K camera (so long as it can be delivered) New super slo-mo cameras from FOR-A and Phantom (absolutely stunning, but not yet deliverable) The first 4K OB truck from Telegenic™ (coming this summer and used to trial 4K at the Confederations Cup in Brazil) Red’s Dragon sensor in a clean room demonstrating a soon-to-be-available 6K upgrade for the Epic (6K coming soon? Now come on chaps, can we not properly establish 4K first?) As ever I welcome your thoughts and will happily eat and not repeat my words if I am wrong. I always thought CES in Vegas was the gadget show, not NAB. Of course broadcast needs a roadmap but we are a nuts and bolts deliverable industry and as long as the world is yet to deliver 100 per cent of its programming in HD (which I remind you is 1K), we need to put our feet firmly back on the ground and look at the best products available for TV and can deliver to audiences today. If you would like a realistic view of how your business could perform better, or read more of these articles, see our website: www.azule.co.uk or get in touch with me on peter.savage@ azule.co.uk and/or write to the TV Bay editor. 36 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 77 MAY 2013 TV-BAY077MAY13.indd 36 02/05/2013 21:18