Earlier in the week we had FCP guru Larry Jordan's take on what he expects to see at NAB next week. This time it's workflow guru Sam Mestman's turn to look into the crystal ball...
Personally, I think NAB 2014 is going to really highlight how the way we are acquiring, editing, and distributing our media is changing. Camera prices are going down and resolution is going up. Shared storage environments are now becoming affordable for smaller shops. 4k workflow with modern hardware is no longer a big deal and HDMI 1.4a (and soon 2.0) make viewing that content really straightforward.
Thunderbolt, 10 gig ethernet, and USB 3.0 have made moving massive amounts of media simple. The DCP file is rapidly replacing the film print in movie theatres. 4k TV’s and monitors are becoming affordable in the same way that 1080 TV’s started to become affordable before HD became the standard. H.265 is going to make distributing that 4k content to the home over the internet a whole lot faster and more efficient.
The cloud and online distribution are quickly pulling away business from traditional cable, and you’re starting to see brand based content delivery systems like NBA League Pass, HBO Go, Netflix (with their original shows), and the WWE Network allowing content creators to distribute directly to their audiences on a subscription model as opposed to being forced into broadcast and pay cable delivery mechanisms. Content is rapidly switching to a curated model where the customer can watch whatever they want whenever they want from whoever they want online (or streamed to their TV) for a small monthly fee. We’re quickly moving from a buffet model of a whole bunch of things nobody wants to watch on paid cable to a model where good content that people actually want to see is going to be the only thing that really matters anymore to broadcasters (whether they’re on TV or in the cloud). I think this theme is going to be reflected pretty much everywhere you turn at NAB.
The reason I think this is that because gear and technology is becoming so much more affordable for the end user, you’re going to start seeing a whole lot more people making content than we’re typically used to seeing. Because of that, you’re going to see a whole lot of people that don’t have built up infrastructures and ways of doing things walking the floor and shopping around looking for gear at their new studio/production company. They’re not going to be looking for things to add to their existing workflows and pipelines. They’re going to be looking for the technologies that are going to give them the best bang for their buck when it comes to adapting to the new standards and delivery mechanisms that are becoming available.
It was just a few years ago when the typical person walking the show floor was asking themselves “what gear is going to give me the best shot of delivering a film print/digibeta/HD-Cam SR to a movie theater or cable network for Broadcast?” This year, I think the majority of people walking the floor are going to be asking themselves “what gear is going to give me the best shot of not only delivering to the network, but also DCP, iTunes, Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, and is there a good way for me to do it in 4k and at half my previous budget?”
I’m not even going to pretend to know what products are going to be the talk of NAB this year. I imagine there’s going to be a heavy emphasis on 4k, affordable shared storage, interesting data asset management solutions, and the beginning of an emphasis on cloud and metadata based workflows. I also imagine that there’s going to be some pretty surprising price points that people will be announcing for some things. However, for those of you who are FCPX focused, I do know of one thing you might want to check out that may interest you.
If you’re going to be in Vegas next mon-weds for NAB, and you have any interest in FCPX workflow, you might want to take a break from the floor and come stop by the Wynn for a little bit where FCPWORKS will have a special demo suite. Whether you’re into 4k, feature film, documentary, broadcast, shared storage, or you’re a metadata junkie, we’ll be showing off some things on real world productions that might interest you. Basically, go walk the floor at NAB and see all the new toys, then come to the Wynn and maybe get a few ideas on what to do with it all.
Among other things, we’re going to have Mac Pros and iMacs running FCPX on Mavericks in a shared storage environment from Quantum. We’ll be showing how FCPX and Shot Notes X can get you from import to your first edit in 10 minutes. We’ll be showing how Lumberjack is going to simplify workflow for documentary and reality editors everywhere (Phillip and Greg from Intelligent Assistance are going to be presenting all their other apps there too). We’ll be showing off how Softron is changing Broadcast workflow, and how Quvis is making DCP creation easy for filmmakers. We’ll be showing off FCPX-Resolve integration, 4k and 6k RED Workflow, and how editors are building their real world projects in FCPX. If any of this seems interesting to you, just sign up here and we’ll see you next week sometime.