NAB 2013 Part III

Moving along to part 3 of my NAB 2013 diary log.  At this point I’ve met the BMD team and started training on Resolve 10.  Being an overly prepared person, I’m a little nervous about making a good impression and being well versed in the demonstration that is expected of us.  With one more day of practice, I’m about to dive head first into my first NAB.


NAB Impressions Sunday, April 14th 2013

It’s now Sunday and only 24 more hours until the start of NAB 2013.  We are finally on the main floor, no longer banished to our conference room.  It is fairly clear that we are supposed to keep to our designated Resolve stations as there is still a sense of secrecy in the air.  It was now time to learn the panels and see how we do with the new version after having a nights rest to let this information set in.  Instantly I feel more comfortable with the footage.  After all, I had spent the better part of yesterday looking at it.  However, I’m not out of the woods yet.  The panels seem clunky to me.  Foreign.  “I know how to do this on my panels! Why won’t it work here!”  So I dove in head first.  Pressing buttons and checking the manual.  Back and forth between systems.  As the day went on, I kept practicing with the panels and analyzing the footage.  And, oh yeah, memorizing the 3 pages of new features that we had to spew out at a moments notice.

From 9 AM until 5 PM all 10 of us worked our asses off.  The 5 colorists worrying about their duties as demo artists and the BMD crew assisting in any way possible.  Eventually we became more comfortable with what was being asked of us, but still not completely confident.  Our professional reputations were on the line.  Word spreads fast at NAB and if there is a chatter that the system is constantly crashing or the colorists don’t know what the hell they’re doing, there could be big ramifications.

I crawled into bed at 9 PM feeling mentally and physically exhausted.  I haven’t slept that hard in a long time.

April 8th, 2013.  NAB day 1.  All BMD representatives are to be at the convention center at 8 AM for the gates to open at 9.  Here goes nothing.  I set up my station, looked at the project a couple more times, did a dry run or two, and figured I was ready.  Or at least as ready as I could be.  Black Magic had some prime real estate in the South Hall.  Right by the entrance.  I can only imagine how much it cost.  Since we were stationed so closely to the entrance I was able to get a glimpse of the crowd that had formed right outside of the entrance.  Now I know how Wall Mart employees in mid western America feel on Black Friday.  There was a mob.  I would probably guess at least a thousand people.  And when 9:00 hit, they all rushed in to see the latest and greatest in the world of technology as it relates to the world of entertainment.

My first demo wasn’t bad.  In fact it went quite well.  I showed off the new features like I was trained to do and there were really no hiccups.  I found that the people that came over to me first just wanted to see what was new since in the software since they already had a good understanding of the rest.  Those were the people that were the most excited to see Resolve 10.  The professional colorists.  One of my favorite demos was to Josh Petok.  He just sat there and grinned.  “Oh, that’s awesome!”, “Yes! I always wanted that!”.  Exclamations that are a developers dream.  All their hard work had paid off.  Pat Inhofer also was another great guy to do a demonstration with.  It’s guys like this who’s lives are altered because of this piece of software.  It can make our professional lives easier or a living hell.  And I think it was all pretty clear to everyone very quickly that this was a fantastic upgrade.

Day 1 passed without any glitches.  It went better than I could have ever imagined.  But by the end I was wiped.  9 hours of standing on my feet with a couple of bathroom breaks and a half hour for lunch took it’s toll on me.  I had lost my voice and was very hoarse.  I wasn’t used to talking all day.  Even though I drank what must have been a gallon of water, my voice was nearly gone.  So I went back to my hotel room, ordered a cheeseburger, kicked off my shoes, and watched the Aniheim Angels play the Texas Rangers.  Sleep didn’t take long.

As the days went on I felt more and more confident.  I started to realize that most people just wanted to learn about color grading.  So I really had to read the customer.  It was rather obvious pretty quickly as to what would benefit them the most to see during my presentation.  I had people stay for 5 minutes who were obviously not that interested and I also had people stay for 30-45 minutes trying to learn all the nuances of color grading.  I tried to be as accommodating as possible, and understand what people really wanted to see.  It was quite impressive to see the people from different cultures that passed through those doors.  US, Canada, Japan, France, Spain, just to name a few.  This was a big world that BMD was influencing.

One thing that I had always heard about NAB was that people didn’t go as much for the new technology as they did for the connections that they make over that time.  I had expected to meet some new people, swap some business card, hell, maybe even make a friend or two.  But my week out in Las Vegas far surpassed my expectations.  The night after the Supermeet I went out to dinner with Michael Sandness, Alexis van Hurkman, Warren Eagles, and Joe Owens.  All respected and well known colorists in the post community.  I was a little unsure at first with what I was doing in that company, but quickly realized that these were all really good guys.  They were incredibly knowledgable and personable and really made me feel as if I were part of their experienced group.  I engaged in some conversations that were the most interesting of my professional career, all while enjoying some of the finest food and drink that Las Vegas had to offer.  That was a good night.

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