NAB 2012: Not for the Big Guns Only

Posted by Valentina Valentini on April 19, 2012 at 10:30 pm

NAB 2012: Not for the Big Guns Only

The NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters) is literally one of the most overwhelming activities I attend annually. But no matter how much sensory surplus I’m given while wandering the massive halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, I always end on this high – like anything is possible.

The technology advances in the last 10 years, 5 years, 5 months even, is astounding. At NAB, the biggest fish (Sony, Canon) to littlest minnow (Emotion3D) get to spread their feathers and strut their stuff for about 90,000 tech nerds, advertisers, rental houses, consumers, prosumers, professionals, media, and more. Not only are there over 1,500 exhibitors at NAB, they hold hundreds of panel discussions throughout the week as well.

As an independent filmmaker, the very best way to learn about any aspect of filmmaking is to listen to the people that have done it before you. Robert Kirkman, writer/creator of The Walking Dead who was on a panel discussing his show, had no idea his tiny comic book would make it to one of the highest rated television shows ever. Stuntmen-turned-studio owners/directors/producers, The Bandito Brothers (Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy – Act of Valor, Dust to Glory), jumped in headfirst because it was the only way they knew how to do it.

“People would always ask what it was like,” said Waugh. “’What is it like to jump off a cliff backward 100 feet on fire?’ I don’t know how to explain that feeling. We just figured it was a lot easier to show them from our perspective how it was. That was the impetus of the style of our filmmaking.”

Beyond listening to the mavericks, I got to hear James Cameron and Vince Pace (well, mavericks in their own class I guess) talk about the future of 3D. Regardless of how you feel about Mr. Cameron (Jim, to his friends), I’m not sure denying that 3D has a place in our cinematic lives is the right way to go about the new wave of this groundhog-like phenom – popping its head out every 15 years or so.

Cameron-Pace Group (CPG) recently surpassed $200 million in their converted re-release of Titanic 3D. I have yet to see it, but after the clips they showed on the panel, I assure you I’m going as soon as I am able. But it isn’t just CPG with their millions of dollars who get to make 3D, on the floor I got to chat with the GoPro guys – another rebel company, started by surfer Nick Woodman. They have solutions to capture 3D footage for under $500. I repeat, you can shoot relatively good 3D for $500. Unheard of five years ago.

And not that that fact needs repeating, but all us indie filmmakers know, Canon’s DSLR line is crazy good for stealing locations, shooting high-quality footage and all for around $2,000, depending on which model you’re looking at. (The new 5D Mark III starts at $3,500.)

So, indie people – if you can make it to Vegas for a weekend (which we all know you can), and can purchase a floor pass for next year’s NAB…do it. It’ll open your eyes and ears in ways that can only enhance your filmmaking ambitions.



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