LAS VEGAS – With exhibitors spread between four halls, the first day of the exhibit floor open at NAB 2019 was a day spent checking out the latest in audio, video and lighting gear, specifically items that would be ideally suited for houses of worship.
Following visits to 16 exhibitors, along with sitting in a packed press conference, a good array of products were able to be seen first-hand.
Among the various exhibitors visited, there was a significant focus on video, streaming and LED video wall solutions on that first day, a total of 17 across those four areas. Of those, seven were focused in video technology, five on streaming, four with LED wall solutions, and one specific to audio.
The standouts of note that were notable included an upgrade on a New Product Awards 2018 winner, the Ross Carbonite Ultra. First brought to market a couple of months ago, the Ultra has the dual strong benefits of incorporating Ultra HD functionality (3840x2160), with last year’s model having not included that resolution. In addition, the new model comes with two full mix effect buses, or MEs, along with two MiniMEs, when running in UltraHD. The switcher began shipping to customers in January.
Another impressive Ross Video product on the floor was the Ultritouch, a highly configurable panel to allow for easily designed button layouts to be set differently for full-time staff on the tech team, compared to more basic layouts (with complex settings hidden) for new volunteers working on the same gear.
Aside from the meetings that took up much of the day with exhibitors, was a press conference to kick off the day, held by Blackmagic Design. During the hour-long press conference, Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design and Mary Plummer, the company’s marketing and curriculum development manager, covered a half-dozen products being rolled out for the show.
Of those six products, one that impressed was the Davinci Resolve 16, with its series of significant improvements. While many film editors in the church market may look first to Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, the latest version of Resolve certainly makes it a strong contender as a choice to handle such a workload.
Among its improvements was in how Petty described a top-down effort in eliminating “waste” in “unproductive movements,” to simplify the overall editing process, speeding it up. One such solution was the creation of a “cut” page, housing many of the editing functions on a single screen, eliminating unnecessary submenu usage or transitions to other screens.
To show simplified the configuration was in the clip layout, Petty showed how easily one could drop portions of various clips into the timeline, while avoiding falling back to a cumbersome view of the overall timeline.
One intriguing benefit with the software to help smaller churches, for those working with a single manned or PTZ camera, Petty showed how one could easily crop and zoom a portion of a video clip, to make it look as if the clip originally had been zoomed in, using the video camera, to offer a different look from what might have been a fixed shot originally captured by the camera.
Beyond the video products shown by Blackmagic, I found what was offered by OpenDrives also very intriguing, as I envisioned that their technology could be an ideal fit for some churches streaming services live in 4K, particularly those who also wanted to push out clips of the sermon being recorded, before the recording of the service was completed. As the camera is still ingesting to the EVS camera capture system, and the original file is growing, editors can access the file, and pull a five-minute clip if they so choose, and do the necessary editing via Adobe Premiere, and push that edited clip live, well before the end of the service. An ideal means to get the message out to members of the church’s congregation, as quickly as possible.
Among the many ranges of LED video walls that I had the opportunity to see, one model held strong for its features, flexibility and performance, to potentially serve as the right video wall solution for some churches, that being the Velvet Apex at the Christie booth. While the model has been around for about five years, last year it underwent an upgrade. Beyond the impressive 1.9mm pixel pitch, other features that are of note are the option of remote power for the panels, thereby removing excessive heat from the room with the LED wall, with the ability to relocate the needed power up to 100 meters from the panels.
As noted by Ryan Brenneman on his top 10 products from the Las Vegas conference, I too was impressed with the latest version of NDI, version 4. In much the same way with OpenDrives, if a user is needing to send out short snippets while the stream is still being captured, as explained by Scott Carroll, director of public relations for NewTek, to where it is recording to disk, “it has low overhead, low CPU usage, based on your networking and storage capacity.” A film editor than can take a small segment of what has been captured and send out through social media channels a highlight segment of what is being captured in a couple of minutes.
Lastly, at the VITEC booth, the discussion revolved around the “Zero Latency” product being highlighted during the show. Having recently rolled out its second generation of the MGW Ace, it performs extremely well in encoding, keeping latency well under a single frame (at 16ms), to where a viewer cannot detect any obvious frame lag. Also, with the unit being designed in such a small form factor, the encoder serves as the first portable HEVC encoder, while also handling the H.265 and H.264 codecs.
For those who might not be able to head down to Las Vegas before the show ends Thursday to see these products first-hand, keep in mind that you’ll have a great opportunity to see a good number of them, particularly the Ross Video and VITEC products, in five months’ time at the WFX Conference & Expo, held this year in Orlando.