Category Archives: Trade Shows

NAB Trends

What’s Trending at NAB

Around this time of the year, you start seeing a lot of talk about what’s going to be released at NAB. It’s always interesting to look at some of the larger trends that are out there. Of course, what’s trending for Digital Anarchy is Beauty Box 3.0. The photo version just got released (see below) and the video version is not far behind. But beyond that…

NAB Plugins Software After Effects Final Cut Pro

There are some of the obvious ones:

Continue reading NAB Trends

The CES Hangover

You wake up from a dream of dancing pink elephants being chased on a rollercoaster by planet sized mosquitoes… and discover that waking is even weirder. Welcome to CES.

Ok, maybe not quite weirder, but my god, does the world need 1001 makers of iPhone cases and headphones? That’s innovation? I know those kids in those iPod commercials looked cool and all, but really? 1001 companies? And why did the Postal Service have a booth with Elvis and Marilyn Monroe impersonators? Not to mention the man sized Qbert looking things standing around a table sized Surface device playing a kids game. And then there was the keynote. Fear and Loathing in Vegas indeed. No acid needed.

When they say ‘consumer electronics’, they mean it. It’s not just TVs, it’s every last little doodad that can be plugged into a wall. And in fact, there were many innovative items floating around, but my main interest was video related stuff, so I’ll chat about that. Although, the Audi booth was a photographers dream. Basically you were inside a giant softbox with a bunch of great cars. Very cool if you wanted to work on your car photography.

I still don’t think the TV manufacturers get it. Panasonic and Samsung sort of did. LG and Sharp not so much, and Toshiba didn’t even have someone that spoke english. The Panasonic and Samsung second screen and internet TV offerings were pretty well thought out as a way to control the TV and content. However, you get the feeling that Apple is going to roll into this space and change the way we think about what a TV will do, in the same way they changed what we thought a phone could do. The current offerings just seem lackluster, with the internet tacked on. Not actually rethinking what you can do with a big internet connected screen.

3D was mostly dead. Only LG had a 3D showing… a giant 30 ft wide/12 ft high screen showing headache inducing 3D graphics. Like 3D TV overall, it was a Fail. Good riddance.

UltraHD (4K) is officially here. From the content I saw I have a hard time believing it will get the response HD did. SD compared to HD was night and day. UltraHD is better, but not so much better that it’s a nobrain upgrade. I guess we’ll see. The manufacturers have given up on 3D, so UltraHD is the new 3D.

A few camera vendors announced cameras that could use apps. Samsung will use Android and Sony, of course, will use their own operating system. Sony _could_ do what Amazon does and tweak their own version of Android and create their own store. But, no, they’re going to roll their own and have 6 people develop apps for it. And yes, they’ll be releasing training videos for this new Sony OS on Betamax. Didn’t Sony lose like a trillion dollars last year? No idea why.

And really, the keynote was f’ing bizarre.

Why Don’t TV Manufacturers Get It? Stop Making TVs!

It’s been a couple years since I wrote about no one wanting 3D and people wanting Internet enabled TVs. TV manufacturers still don’t seem to get what people want. We either want TVs to be the same passive viewing experience they’ve always been or we want them to be internet devices (or probably both at the same time).

If Apple comes out with a TV, I don’t think it’s hard to guess what it’ll be. It will not be a TV. It will be built from the ground up as an internet device with a big ass screen whose primary use is displaying content.

internet TV, google, apple, apps

There was a survey recently released that said less than 15% of Smart TV owners are using the smart features. This isn’t particularly surprising because most ‘smart’ TVs aren’t very smart, don’t have well thought out apps that take advantage of it, and still want you to use a remote. Why? Because TV manufacturers still think they’re selling TVs.

Let’s go back to what Apple would release… and if they do, all the other manufacturers will go ‘ooohh… that’s how you do it. (And I’ll point out that I’m not an Apple fanboi… but they do have a habit of releasing game changing devices, so I’m using them as an example.)

Anyways…  features of an Apple branded big screen internet device:

Continue reading Why Don’t TV Manufacturers Get It? Stop Making TVs!

When Cats Go To NAB

We’ve been exhibiting at NAB since 2001 and one of the traditions is that any extra exhibitor badges we have get put in the name of our hard working mascots… Fierce Peanut and Molotov Cupcake (our two cats). They have not made it out to Vegas yet, but we don’t want them to feel left out so they get their own badge.

This has led to them receiving emails, including some amusing ones such as the one below inviting them to speak at a conference. While I’m sure Ms Peanut would be more than happy to speak, her expertise tends to be limited to mobile device viewing, particularly games and media for… well, cats.

Why, yes, we’d be delighted to speak at your conference. Will there be tuna hors d’oeuvres?

TV and the Interweb

I went to the NewTeeVee conference on Wednesday. There was much ado about how the internet will work on the largest screen. With so much video on the web now (YouTube gets 50,000 hours of content uploaded every DAY)  folks are looking for ways to get it on their 52″ screens. Will it be Google TV, Apple TV, or just plugging an Ethernet cable into your flat screen? Will people want to use their TV as just another computer screen? Will they use apps or use it as a social networking device? Big things in store for that big screen.

I read a report earlier this year that pointed out that TV is still a very social screen.

Continue reading TV and the Interweb

Fashion for female photographers.

I recently came across an article about a photography vest that’s cut for the female figure. The vest is by Foto Fashionista and “offers female photographers a more fashionable choice for carrying necessities while shooting”. The article is on a great industry blog, Picture Soup, and written by Diane Berkenfeld, the blog hostess and writer/photographer extraordinaire. Read the article.

Catering to female fashion is ages old but seems to be a new trend in photography. I did a little googling and didn’t any resources for female-specific clothing though there’s lots of material about how to dress your female models (hint: in very little).

Continue reading Fashion for female photographers.

Trade show amid the palm trees.

Digital Anarchy exhibited at the Senior Portrait Artists (SPA) Event earlier this week. It was yet another trade show, but this time we were on the island of Coronado, just off the sunny coastline of San Diego, CA.

We stayed and worked in the grand Hotel de Coronado, which is a grand hotel dating to 1888 and considered a National Historical Landmark. (Interesting history is here.) It was wonderful to be in a hotel that was next to the beach and lined with palm trees, especially during the winter, but the lush surroundings did present a small problem. Continue reading Trade show amid the palm trees.

Future of Photo, part II

In part 1 I discussed some of the habits that may or may not develop. Now I’m going to talk technology. While at the Digital Imaging conference a few technology things kept coming up… Cameraphones, the cloud, and social networks. Not exactly unexpected.

The interesting thing about cameraphones is 1) how they will evolve and affect point and shoot cameras and 2) how are users storing and managing their photos.

samsung Instinct HDThis little piece of work from Samsung not only has a 5mp camera, but shoots decent HD video as well.

Continue reading Future of Photo, part II

Future of Photography Part I

Just got back from the InfoTrends Digital Imaging conference. There seems to be alot of speculation around the future of photography, including the 6Sight conference which is dedicated to the question. So, let’s talk about prints, clouds, camera phones, and some of the other stuff that came up at the conference.

One of the interesting observations at the conference was the way our picture taking habits are changing. We (as a society) are taking a LOT more pictures. However, these pictures tend to have a lower value on average, with a shorter shelf life so to speak. In the past, pictures were somewhat difficult to take and get printed so there was some value to them, even the crappy ones. Now we snap pictures everywhere, immediately send them around to our network of friends. We can immediately see our friends pictures who are doing the same thing. But a lot of these photos are ‘of the moment’. Pictures from very recent events that are not great photos, but are interesting because of their immediacy. Most are not pictures you’ll be looking at five years from now. There are a few things that can change the value of a picture immediately, for example, if someone passes away any pictures you have of them become more valuable.

Another interesting point was that the value of some pictures have a ‘V’ shaped curve over time. They are very valuable when first taken, but that value diminishes over time. However at some point along the timeline, because of the age of the photo, a death, or something else, the value of the photo starts to increase.

Value of a Photo

Ok, but why does this matter?

Continue reading Future of Photography Part I

Silverlight & other streams.

Another thought about NAB, on the subject of streaming video across the web and other platforms. Companies were talking a lot about tying in with Microsoft Silverlight. This is a web browser plugin that plays video and other media content through the web browsers without requiring other plugins. Does that make sense? Basically, Silverlight is supposed to get around browser and file format related issues to make it easier for all of us to view content.

At least, I think that’s what Silverlight does. Have to laugh because when I went to Microsoft.com’s Silverlight section, the website couldn’t show me its content because I didn’t have Silverlight installed. Wouldn’t it be better if Microsoft showed me why I should WANT to install Silverlight before they require me to install Silverlight in order to read about it?

050209_silverlightc

Continue reading Silverlight & other streams.

The mecca of NAB.

Our software company, Digital Anarchy, makes an annual mecca to NAB, which is the National Association of Broadcasters convention. The show is held in Las Vegas in late April, when it’s wonderful to stand outside at 2pm in the beating sun, then run back into the over-air conditioned show to dry off the small beads of sweat.

This was the first year since 2001 that Digital Anarchy was not a vendor at NAB. We sold our video/animation product line in August 2008 and are a Photoshop-only developer now. But we love the event and people, and it’s always cool to see new technology, so there we were. Drinking a little more than working, for once, often with colleagues from other plugin companies.

Representing below: Folks from ReVision FX, Digi Effects, Automatic Duck, Grid Iron, and Digital Anarchy.

050209-nabcrew1

Continue reading The mecca of NAB.

PMA is dead.

Just spent two days hanging out at the PMA tradeshow.  There were plenty of exhibitors (so the tradeshow may not be dead and gone yet), but there certainly weren’t any attendees. Occasionally I’d look around for tumbleweeds.

I guess I should have suspected this would be the case when I received no less than 6 emails from PMA over the last two weeks and one phone call begging me to sign up for a free exhibits badge. I can’t recall a tradeshow more earnestly trying to get someone, anyone to show up at their show.

I was just at WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers) which had great attendance. So what’s wrong with PMA? Would love to hear from you all as to why you did or did not go. It’s definitely looking like a show we will no longer do. Judging from the exhibitors we talked to, it may be the last year for many of them as well.

But… was there anything interesting?

Continue reading PMA is dead.

Macworld 2009 (I watched from home, just like you)

I’ve been IM’ing today with industry friends about the Macworld keynote, or lack thereof. Most folks have been complaining that the announcements were lackluster. Which is true… but really, that’s like complaining the bus is late because of those darn passengers. ;) I don’t think that Apple CAN always wow us with new offerings. That development pace simply isn’t possible.

Frankly, as a small software company that’s been trying to keep up with their hardware and OS changes since OS X was birthed, whew, I’m glad Apple isn’t bringing out anything startlingly new right now. It’s nice that they have stopped ‘innovating’ for awhile and allowed us developers to create new products, instead of spending time recoding our older ones to work with the newest processor and platform changes.

heh, anyway….

Continue reading Macworld 2009 (I watched from home, just like you)

Software As A Service

There was some talk at NAB of software as a service… moving all the apps online. While this is an interesting notion for word processors and spreadsheets, I really don’t think it works so well for design applications. Particularly video apps. The issue is that the amount of data we’re dealing with is increasing a lot faster than the bandwidth we have available to upload the stuff. How are you going to edit HD online? Or 4K? (or 5K! jeez…) Same applies to photos… sure, basic iPhoto type stuff _may_ be ripe for online… but even then I’m not sure. Most of the consumer cameras out there are 7-8 megapixels, and while one photo isn’t that big, it’s still pretty easy to generate a GB of shots. If you’re shooting 16mp, RAW files it’s pretty easy to generate 4gb of photos.

Not that it’s impossible to get all this uploaded, but it’s unwieldy. I think moving to online apps is an interesting idea, but for graphics I just don’t see it as being practical. At least, not until bandwidth is increasing as fast as the file sizes.

cheers, Jim

Are We Over NAB Yet?

Is anyone else completely over schelping out to the desert for a week every April?

I mean, the networking is great and useful, but with everyone having broadband I’m really beginning to doubt that I need to give one on one demos to every attendees for four days. There really has to be a better way of interacting with customers and showing off new products.

I’d love to see some comments on why we should keep going to NAB as an exhibitor. It just seems like there should be ways of reaching more of our customers, and doing it more efficiently than with tradeshows.

cheers, Jim

On The Subject of NAB (and Avid)

Now that Avid has pulled out from NAB and won’t be exhibiting in 2008, here have been a lot of users and other folks wondering what it means and what the industry thinks of it. the immediate reaction of the entire industry was to exclaim, “No shit?” and 2.3 seconds later, after the full import of what that meant hit them, was to call their NAB sales rep and promise all manner of favors if they could move their booth to front and center of the show floor.

Since I’m hardly above such things (”I was young and poor and needed the booth space”), I joined in, attempting to move our Plugin Pavilion into the now vacant space of the Avid Developer Community booth. I even had the person from Avid that managed the ADC to call NAB on our behalf. All that got me was a terse email from our NAB rep saying we would definitely NOT be getting it. It’s the new sport in HD, groveling for Avid’s booth space. Look for it on the LVCC cafeteria monitors (instead of the usual strip club ads).

Continue reading On The Subject of NAB (and Avid)