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NAB Show Popular, But People Weren’t Buying
By Jay Gondelman

There was a whole lot of looking but not a whole lot of buying for Chicago post operators who attended NAB’s ever-expanding extravaganza of high tech. It’s the only place to go to see everything, talk with everyone, and compare.

More than 70,000 broadcast executives and facilities operators from throughout the world attended the National Association of Broadcasters meeting and equipment show in Las Vegas March 19 to 24-the biggest turnout ever.

“The coolest thing I saw,” said Zaransky, “was a test instrument that looked like a Star Trek Tricorder. We bought one. It’s a handheld test instrument from Tektronix that is a combination color meter, waveform monitor and vectorscope.” (Another example of life imitating tv.)

Michael Cully and Marty Zitlin of Cully & Associates saw a lot of interesting gear and software. Software is high on the list for Cully and Zitlin, although they haven’t decided what to buy. Zitlin says that random access editing was moving forward well.

But what impresses Zitlin is HDTV. Admitting it will probably be the corporate market that matures first because of increased image quality, Zitlin feels HDTV is really coming. “There will be an onslaught of HDTV in five years,” he predicts.

For Ari Golan of Golan Productions, NAB was the culmination of checking out gear he had been eyeing for some time. Although tied up during the show working for Electric Image, he did have a chance to look around and likes what he saw.

Within the next month, Golan will buy the Media100. “Its performance is superior to the Avid,” he says, “and we’ve added that to our product line as well.” Other purchases will be the Intelligent Resources Video Explorer, a frame buffer for Dl out of the Mac. Expect Golan to add a digital Betacam camcorder sometime in the second quarter.

Weinberg notes that “everyone is still struggling with multimedia.” The buzzword is “resolution-independent”. He compares post’s move from large dedicated computers to smaller workstations and desktop units, to what has been happening in the pre-press and printing industry.

“Typographers, typesetters and service bureaus have seen business erode or disappear,” Weinberg states. Desktop units, primarily Macintosh computers and software applications became more powerful, creating a desktop publishing industry and allowing those desktop designers to perform services formally done by specialists. “Whether post will change in this way is yet to be determined,” he said.

Weinberg also debated the merits of building single-purpose rooms in the face of significant impending change, causing him to ponder the advisability of building a traditional edit room today. “Operators are spending a fortune to build a beautiful edifice, but they’re not building multipurpose rooms.”

He predicts the demise of medium-sized facilities, especially those that have dedicated rooms, as competition for the post dollar becomes fiercer. “High-end rooms will go cheap,” he said.

As the post houses that made purchases await delivery on their latest, neatest “toys,” what looms on the horizon for the industry is anybody’s guess. The “desktopping” of certain editorial services will continue. High-bandwidth networks will speed up the process of moving images from location to location, maybe even from production to editorial. Everyone tries to keep up. That’s what NAB is all about.

APRIL 4 1994
VOL 16 NO.13
PG 26,28

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