As the pandemic is more and more in our rear view mirror we were looking forward to getting back to in-person events such as conferences and trade-shows. And what better way to kick off this year than attending one of the largest conferences in Las Vegas. NAB 2023! This would be our 8th NAB Conference. Over the years we’ve put somewhat of a priority on attending conferences centered around our field of work. There’s just something about attending an event that is gigantic in scale and everyone in attendance is focused on the industry we love. It re-energizes you, it boosts your excitement to do what you do. We have always tried to maintain a consistent bi-annual schedule of attending NAB. That way you can stay on top of tech trends, get hands-on and get lost in the hype for a minute. Also, visit with friends and colleagues we are just too busy to meet otherwise. The last NAB we attended was 2017.
During the pandemic, the broad consensus of our colleagues in the video and film industry seemed to be that in-person NAB wasn’t missed a lot. Or folks just enjoyed a break from the hamster wheel of product announcements, excitement, brand advocates and paid influencer hype. We can admit, we definitely experienced NAB fatigue. Going into 2023 and booking our flights to LV, we wondered what was NAB going to be like now?
So, what was it like to return in-person to NAB? Well, we’re not gonna lie. It felt…different. Watered-down, like an element of the excitement was missing. We noticed this as soon as we arrived at the convention center; what used to be a parking lot full of vendors and press was now partly empty. Banners, flags and signage was minimum on buildings and South Hall was completely closed. NAB decided to move all of the broadcast specific vendors to the brand new West Hall. West Hall is a beautiful exhibit hall. However, most of our interests resided in Central and North Halls. Which were, for the most part, stacked full of vendors.
Some have speculated that exhibiting at NAB has gotten too costly. We can certainly see this being the case. It’s quite a substantial investment to exhibit at NAB. It’s also quite an investment just to attend. Las Vegas has become unaffordable to a silly extent. Meals, and I’m not talking about fancy meals, just average meals and drinks cost a small fortune. (I’m looking at you Denny’s with your $20+ breakfast grand slams.) You expect to spend some coin when doing anything in Las Vegas, but you didn’t feel a sense of satisfaction or value after the robbery that is purchasing basic food and water. Okay, rant over.
There were a few gear announcements. The Deity Theos wireless lav mics were interesting with the built in 32-bit float recording. There was lot’s of gear coming out of DJI like the DJI Inspire 3 and the DJI Ronin RS3 Pro. We were hoping for something camera related from Black Magic Design, but nothing… We’re still hoping. Not unlike 3D and 8K at previous NAB Shows; virtual production was a huge theme this year. So many LED walls everywhere and it was quite a spectacle. It’s exciting to see where this could lead the industry.
Getting your hands on gear is a huge part of walking the floor at NAB and getting answers to your questions from the pros.
On my short-list was:
• Hands-on with the Arri Alexa 35.
• Finding a new Camera Assistant/Production Bag.
• Exploring more solutions with Frame.io
• Aputure lighting
Besides the gear announcements, you go to NAB to network and hang with some friends. That’s the part we really look forward to. We met up with a few guys from Chicago, talked shop and had a blast at the B&H Party. All in all it was fun, costly but fun. We don’t want to poo-poo NAB too much. We think despite the different vibes of 2023 NAB vs. pre-2020 NAB, it’s on a long journey back to its prior glory days. We’ll see what happens in 2024!
Until then, what’s going on at Cinegear?