There always seems to be a thematic focus at each year’s NAB convention, like drones in 2012-2013, 4K in 2014 and now more alphabet soup with trends like HDR, VR and 8K. This year’s NAB convention will be immersed, so to speak, in virtual reality technology, which is likely to explode in the next few years thanks to so many tremendous projects literally seeing an audience this last year thanks to consumer solutions like the Oculus Rift and VR One hitting home theater markets. (I reviewed Zeiss’ VR One in the current issue of HDVideoPro; subscribe now for exclusive content!)
From The Martian to Star Wars to Deadpool to The Jungle Book and The Revenant (different bear stories), there are also panel discussions for every aspect of interactive and multimedia production conceivable, a few of which you’ll see summarized below. Check out Part One of the article here to find five other “must-sees” at the show. For daily posts covering announcements and new tech, follow us through social media at our brand new Instagram page as well as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. All times below are in PST.
CHUCK LORRE AT THE NAB BROADCASTING HALL OF FAME — Room N249 — Wed., April 20th, 10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Famous Executive Producer Chuck Lorre will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame during a ceremony luncheon on Wednesday the 20th. Just as notorious for his public routs with Charlie Sheen, Lorre has been part of the production team for an unparalleled string of blockbuster sitcoms like Roseanne, The Big Bang Theory, Dharma and Greg and Two and a Half Men. Becoming a household name as a producer is no easy trick, and Lorre deserves a lot of credit for staying on the pulse of the funny bone of America during such a tumultuous time in its history. *Update: Emmy award-winning Jon Cryer from Lorre’s CBS comedy Two and a Half Men will emcee.
LYTRO — Room S222 — Tue., April 19th 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
There are several panels on VR, like Closing General Session: Transforming TV – VR, Cloud and the Multi-Screen Revolution with Daniel Alegre, President of Google, YouTube’s Future – Mobile, VR and Putting Content in Context, in Room N249 with Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer at YouTube, and the panel Being There – Virtual Reality News and Documentaries. The conference keynote, Virtual Reality: Immersive Storytelling Meets Interactive Technology, in Room S220 on Monday the 18th at 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., features Academy Award-winners Kim Libreri, CTO, Epic Games; Robert Stromberg, founder and CCO of The Virtual Reality Company; David Alpert, president, Skybound Entertainment and Academy Award nominee Rob Bredow, CTO of LucasFilm.
I’m very interested in seeing and speaking with Lytro, who recently announced that they would no longer be producing their unique Light Field imaging technologies for still cameras, but instead are making the jump to VR and video. The Light Field imaging is interesting in that it provides maneuverable depth of field. By simply clicking or pointing in the image, you can refocus the constant f/2.0 lens from close to infinity. “As my doubts about our product direction grew,” says a statement from CEO Jason Rosenthal here, “we started to hear from a growing chorus of Virtual Reality companies and Hollywood studios that they were looking for a Light Field powered solution to help them realize their creative vision for cinematic VR and next generation content.” Lytro does not have a booth, but they are doing a presentation titled Light Field Technology and the Future of Cinema.
Q and A With FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler — Room N249 — Wed. April 20th, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
The Honorable Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is doing a presentation called Unlocking Pandora’s Box? A Closer Look At What’s At Stake in the FCC’s Proposal to Open Up Pay TV’s Set Top Boxes. That’s in the Westgate Ballroom A on Monday, April 18th, from 3.30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., where he will lead a talk on the recent decision to dissolve the right of the cable box industry to rent set-top devices in a pay-for-play situation rather than allowing consumers to buy their own preferred device. The cable companies have lobbied vehemently against the move.
For those of you interested in other recent controversial actions by the FCC, like the Broadcast incentive auction, where large portions of the UHF space relocated broadcasters from established channels to offer up frequency to bandwidth-hungry mobile and wireless consumption, or recent developments on retransmission consent, Wheeler will be spending an hour with former NAB TV Board Chair Marci Burdock for a Q and A session in Room N249 on Wednesday the 20th. Hopefully there will be questions accepted from the audience!
CW SONDEROPTIC — Booth C1315
Leica majority holder and chairman of the board Dr. Andreas Kaufmann felt so strongly in bringing Leica quality optics to the world of motion photography that he founded sister company CW Sonderoptic. As a surprise announcement for NAB, a 15mm T2.0 lens, seen in the header image above with a new 40mm, is joining the Summicron-C line, which houses an image circle large enough to cover full frame sensors through PL mount. The top-shelf Summilux-C line, also PL mount, is a hand-made series used on films like Birdman and Gone Girl and the upcoming Snowden from director Oliver Stone as well as broadcast productions like Mr. Robot and Criminal Minds.
I look at the Summilux-C series of primes for the next issue of HDVideoPro, which will be on stands April 24th. (Subscribe to the print edition here for exclusive content and help to support our work!) Find worldwide resellers here for CW Sonderoptic here.
“With the recent popularity of the Leica Summicron-C lenses in the high-end feature film, television and commercial markets,” says Gerhard Baier, Managing Director of CW Sonderoptic, in the press release, “we received many requests to add more focal lengths. Highest on the wish lists were the classic 40mm and a very wide lens. The decision to go with a 15mm is a nod toward one of Leica’s most iconic and popular still photography lenses, the 15mm R lens. Although this is a brand new optical design, we are constantly inspired by Leica’s timeless image quality when designing for motion pictures.”
ZYLIGHT TAILGATE PARTY — Booth C5049 — Wed., April 20th 5:00 p.m. – 6 p.m.
I’ve been a big fan of the company’s tech ever since I first saw the very cool variable color temperature Zylight IS3c LED panel. This year, the newest generations of their high output, low power draw F8 Fresnel series will spotlighted. Available in tungsten (3200K) or daylight (5600K), the company says that their newest model, the F8-300 LED Fresnel, is brighter than a 575-watt HMI Fresnel or 2K tungsten equivalent. The LED only draws 300 watts of power while producing far less heat than a traditional light fixture, and it does so silently thanks to a passive cooling system rather than internal fan. The spot is focusable from 16-70 degrees. No word on pricing for the F8-300, but the just also very recent F8-200 model is also going to be at the show at a price point of $3,299. With slightly less output, it offers similar features in a collapsible unit that outputs roughly the equivalence of a 400-watt HMI Fresnel or 2,000-watt tungsten.
Wrapping up three days of chaos in the convention halls, LED company Zylight is having a seemingly “literal” Tailgate Party from 5-6pm at their booth, possibly including an actual flatbed truck according to graphic on their invite. See you there!