Videoguys NAB2010 Report Part 1

NAB2010 was very exciting for us and everyone I have spoken to who attended!

We have been waiting for action-packed show full of excitement for a couple of years and thanks to Adobe, Avid, Matrox and others we finally got one! The buzz on the NAB Show Floor was about a bunch of exciting new products, technology and more efficient workflows. Every videographer, producer and editor I spoke to had been waiting for new technology that would finally make their workflow better and I think they've got it!

Over the past couple of years the technology that was being shown was more evolutionary then revolutionary. While the past two shows had some new product announcements and technological innovations, most HD products came with compatibility issues and the need for workarounds and patches. We were in a maturing industry that was migrating to HD, but it was a long slow bumpy ride. Video producers and editors were forced to make compromises in order to get things to work properly. But thankfully, not anymore!

At this years NAB 2010 Avid, Adobe and Matrox announced new products loaded with features and performance that will make working with HD footage and tapeless workflows much easier and more straightforward. No more worrying about whether you can edit the footage you were given without transcoding or re-wrapping it. No more need for 3rd party utilities to get the footage into your NLE. Finally, everything just WORKS!


Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium

Adobe's launch of CS5 at NAB was one of the was the worst kept surprises in the industry, thanks to a teaser campaign started by Adobe several weeks earlier. I actually think the teaser's were great. It let people know what to look for in CS5. The sneak peak videos for Adobe Premiere Pro CS5's Mercury playback engine in and Adobe Photoshop's Content Aware Fill feature were just the tip of the iceberg. The new RotoBrush tool in After Effects is just as amazing!

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Mercury Playback Engine
The Mercury Playback Engine in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 makes this a must have upgrade for editors working with tapeless workflows such as AVCHD, DSLR, P2, XD CAM and RED. Premiere Pro is the first native 64-bit NLE. This allows it to tap into a layer of power and performance that goes well beyond existing NLEs that may be ported to 64-bit operating systems but are still mainly, if not all, 32-bit code. The Mercury Playback Engine taps into multi-core CPUs and CUDA enabled NVIDIA GPUs to deliver an amazing level of real-time performance from the timeline. Now you can easily handle multiple layers of DSLR or AVCHD footage, as long as your computer has the power. With an NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 or higher series graphics card, you'll get multiple layers of video, plus real-time 3D transitions, filters and effects.

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Adobe Photoshop CS5 Content Aware Fill
Content Aware Fill in Photoshop CS5 is so amazing it should be illegal. You will never be able to trust your eyes again when looking at an image. What used to take a skilled design team of artists hours or days to accomplish can now be done in a couple of mouse clicks. It's really that simple and easy. If you don't want to see that dog in the background of an image, Just lasso it, delete it and let Content Fill take care of the rest. You will never know it was there!! Remove shadows, lens flares, or any other objects that don't belong in the image. While this is a still image tool, videographers are going to love it! We all use still images in our productions. Whether it's in a montage, title sequence, as a background image for keying or you're doing the Ken Burns pan & scan effect. Now you can use photos that you never had the time or ability to make look right - AMAZING!
Adobe After Effects CS5 RotoBrush
The RotoBrush tool is another example of how Adobe is blending the abilities of all their products and harnessing the 64-bit power of today's computers. I've tried pulling an object or person out of a moving video and it is one tedious job. You have to create a Matte on one frame at a time for best results, and even then, the results are only as good as your talent. With RotoBrush this arduous task is so much easier and works very well. It still takes time and some talent, but I think it's going to be worth checking out. I can't believe how many Production Premium owners barely use After Effects. With RotoBrush you may find you're not going to be able to live without it.
Matrox Mercury to the MAX
The folks over at Matrox had their own announcement about the new Adobe Mercury Playback Engine. You may use a Matrox MXO2 family I/O device with Matrox MAX technology to tap into the Mercury Playback Engine and deliver multiple layers of AVCHD or DSLR footage with full speed, HD playback to an HDMI enabled flat panel display. Cool! Combine it with a CUDA graphics card and you'll get an amazing level of real-time performance! Note: Initially the Matrox MAX RT Mercury Engine will be for Windows only.

Avid Media Composer 5
Two years ago at NAB2008 Avid launched their "New Thinking" campaign. Last year they launched a new logo. This year they finally delivered what Avid faithful have been wanting for so long - a new version of Media Composer that supports a broad range of tapeless workflows and low cost HD monitoring from the timeline!

Media Composer 5 was one of the biggest hits of the show and it put Avid back in the forefront as the leader in video editing. Over the past year or two, Avid's management has been reaching out to customers on all levels and asking them what features they needed and what they had to do to put Media Composer back on top. Avid listened and Avid delivered!

AMA Support for DSLR,s, RED & ProRES
Media Composer 5 gives you AMA support for DSLR footage, ProRes and any Quicktime video files. This is HUGE! You can simply drag and drop your DSLR video files into Media Composer and start editing. No wrapping, converting or other work-arounds. Using a computer such as our DIY7 Core i7 machine, you can edit a couple of layers of DSLR footage, with some filters, effects and transitions in real-time. While we don't get AMA support for AVCHD files (yet), you can now easily import them into Media Composer as DNxHD. Avid's Mix & Match Timeline introduced in version 4.0 just gets better, allowing you to mix footage with different CODECs and frame rates on the same timeline with ease. AMAZING!

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Matrox MXO2 Mini for HD Monitoring
Just as important was Avid's announcement with Matrox that the MXO2 Mini can now be used as an HD monitoring device! That's right, for under $500 you can monitor your timeline in full HD via your choice of either component video or HDMI. One important feature of Matrox MXO2 family of products that Avid editors are sure to appreciate is it's professional monitor calibration tool. Using this tool you can easily turn any flat panel HDTV into a broadcast monitor. Think about that. You can use an off the shelf HD LCD TV instead of spending thousands of dollars on an HD broadcast monitor. With the money you save on glass, you can get that new DSLR you've been coveting so badly!
The Canon Connection
At the show, Avid, Matrox and Canon held a special event that demonstrated the power of this tapeless workflow solution. Canon and Avid worked together to not only give you AMA with Canon DSLR footage, but the new Canon XF codec (MPEG-2 4:2:2 50Mbps ) used in their two new tapeless Professional HD camcorders (XF300 & 305) introduced at NAB.. When you see a big camcorder manufacturer like Canon investing their resources into AMA, it becomes clear to me that Avid is back on top.

Come back to Avid
All I can say is WOW! Avid has changed the game. When it comes to tapeless workflows, MC5 puts Avid at the head of the class! Over the past few years many Avid editors have switched over or added Final Cut to their edit suite. I get it. It's hard to compete when everyone has access to such affordable tools. If you still have your Avid dongle from Xpress DV, Xpress Pro or Media Composer you can upgrade to MC5 for only $495. Add in the MXO2 Mini @ $449 and for under $1,000 you've got everything you need for your HD Tapeless workflow! You know you always loved editing on Avid, now you have no excuse not to come back.


Matrox Hardware is "Triple AAA rated" Now Supports Avid, Adobe & Apple!

It was only two years ago that Matrox introduced the MXO2, their first Mac and PC based I/O device. Since then the MXO2 family of products has grown to include I/O at every level. From the affordable Mini at $449, to the MXO2 LE with SDI for under $1,000 up to the MXO2 Rack at $1,995. MXO2s are being used in Broadcast trucks, Cable News Rooms, and professional edit suites all over the world. The quality of the products and the video they produce is outstanding. So it should come as no surprise that the Matrox MXO2 Mini is the FIRST and ONLY I/O device recommended by the big 3 NLE vendors Apple, Avid and Adobe. That is why we say Matrox MXO2 family of products are AAA rated. No other hardware company can make this claim. So whether you use PC or Mac; Desktop or Laptop; Adobe, Avid, or Apple, an MXO2 family I/O box is the right choice for you!

Matrox MAX
The Matrox MAX H.264 encoding technology is the other feature that separates Matrox MXO2 I/O devices from the competition. With MAX you can get spectacular quality H.264 encoding for Blu-ray, YouTube, web video, or iTunes - faster then real-time. So a one hour video that takes 4 or 5 hours to encode on an 8-core Mac pro will take less then an hour to encode. Even with your laptop or older, slower computer. At NAB 2010, Matrox announced version 2 of the MAX drivers which will allow for even more web video presets as well as tapping into the Adobe Mercury Playback engine for improved performance and RT effects with Premiere Pro CS5.

Matrox Multi I/O cards
Matrox Multi1 input/output cards which bring a new level of channel density to Mac Pro and Apple Xserve systems. In a single PCIe slot, a Matrox Multi card provides up to four independent inputs or outputs with up to 16 embedded audio channels per SDI stream. User-selectable combinations of 3G, HD, SD, and Dual Link are supported. The Matrox Multi cards are designed to let users get the most from the valuable expansion slots in Apple systems and eliminate the expense of multiple systems in many applications. The innovative features of the Matrox Multi cards make them the ideal choice for capture/playout servers, clip and still stores, character generators, graphics/production servers, and automation/master control units. Available in three flavors (4- input, 4-ouput or 2in/2out), several broadcast production software vendors (IN2CORE, Softron, ToolsOnAir, PrimeStream and Building4Media) have already announce support for them.

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