My Experience at NAB 2024

The National Association of Broadcasters held their annual convention in Las Vegas this week.  The NAB Show attracted 65K attendees and 1300 exhibitors from 41 countries showing off their products in an exhibition that spans four halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center.  The North Hall is closed for construction right now, as part of an ongoing major remodel of the entire complex.
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GTC 2024 – NVidia Announcements

NVidia had their big GPU Technology Conference this week in San Jose.  As the third largest company in the world (by market capitalization value) NVidia’s profile has risen dramatically over the last couple years, primarily due to their position in the datacenter and AI processing world.  As such, their flagship conference becomes less “graphics” related every year, as their products push more into those other spaces.  This year had very few media and entertainment focused sessions, and even those where usually very AI centric.  Generative AI is where graphics and AI meet, and some amazing work is being done in that area, but I would still classify much of that as “art” as opposed to “storytelling” as the tools have not matured that far yet, to give the user enough control over the process to tightly steer the end result.  My friend just won an AI film festival, but optimizing for the tools available was still steering their workflow more than their story was.
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Dell Precision 5480 Mobile Workstation

It has been a few years since I have tested and reviewed a laptop.  Technology has progressed in the meantime, and systems are dramatically more powerful than they were four years ago, although GPUs have improved more than CPUs by most measures.  I recently had the opportunity to test out the new Dell Precision 5480.  This is Dell’s highest end, small form factor laptop.  It is a 14″ system, packed with a 14-Core 13900H CPU, 64GB of DDR5 memory, and an RTX 3000 Ada generation GPU.  There are lots of laptop options out there with a 13900H CPU, with 6 hyperthreaded performance cores and 8 efficiency cores, for a total of 20 processing threads, but not very many of those are in a small 14″ frame.  And the RTX 3000 Ada is even harder to come by.  With 4608 CUDA cores, 8GB of GDDR6 memory, and nearly 20 TeraFlops of processing power, the RTX 3000 GPU is the physical equivalent of the GeForce 4070 Mobile, but with professional level drivers.  So this little laptop system packs a punch.
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Cloud Storage – A Wide Variety of Options

Cloud storage has been around for at least a decade, but I have been slow to really embrace it.  This is for two reasons: trust, and bandwidth. But as both of those concerns get alleviated over time, and cloud based solutions (even beyond storage) continue to mature, I am beginning to move towards more cloud based functions and workflows.  And there are a lot of different options out there for cloud storage, and they are not very similar to each other, so that is a lot of data and variables to sort through when trying to find the best solutions for your needs.  So this is intended to be an introduction to some of the things to consider when weighing those disparate options.
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My Experience at Adobe’s Creativity Conference

My last post was about Adobe’s announcements and new releases at Adobe MAX.  This one will focus on the other things that I did at the conference, and what it was like to attend in person.  The first event was the Opening keynote, which focused on the announcements already covered, and the rest of that day was spent in various sessions.  The second day’s Inspiration Keynote was less technical in nature, followed by another day of sessions, and then Adobe Sneaks, where they reveal new technology still in development.  Between all of these events, there was the Creativity Park, a full hall of booths to explore from different groups within Adobe, as well as their partner companies showcasing both hardware and software solutions to extend the functionality of Adobe’s offerings.  And then of course there was a big party to cap it all off.
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Adobe MAX 2023 Announcements

Adobe held their annual MAX conference at the LA Convention Center this week.  It was my first time back since Covid, but they did host an in-person event last year as well.  The MAX conference is focused on Creativity, and is traditionally where Adobe announces and releases the newest updates to their Creative Cloud apps.  As a Premiere editor, and of course a Photoshop user, I am always interested in seeing what Adobe’s team has been doing to improve their products, and improve my workflows.  I have followed Premiere and After Effects pretty closely through the beta programs for over a decade, but MAX is where I find out about what new things I can do in Photoshop, Illustrator, and various other apps.  (And via the various sessions I also learn some old things I can do as well, that I just didn’t know about yet.)
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IBC 2023 News

Mike McCarthy   September 13, 2023   No Comments on IBC 2023 News

The International Broadcasting Convention is this week in Amsterdam, so we have a number of new product announcements which are relevant to editors and other post professionals.

First off, AJA announced their newest PCIe I/O card, the KONA-X.  At the surface level, the card is a straightforward option, sitting below the existing Kona-5 but far above the T-Tap Pro, with 12G SDI and HDMI 2.0 inputs and outputs, compatible with any of the tools that already support the long standing Kona line of products.  What makes the card unique is its DMA support for lowering input to output latency, for faster turnaround of AR graphics and AI driven video overlays, or virtual production backgrounds, being generated on the fly by game engines. Continue reading

NAB 2023

Mike McCarthy   April 19, 2023   No Comments on NAB 2023

NAB was happening in Las Vegas this week.  I did not make it to last year’s event, which was the first NAB I have missed in over a decade.  And this is also my first in person trade show or convention since 2019.  But it appears that we are returning to business as usual, as I joined 65,000 of my closest friends in the industry, to wander the halls and booths of the recently expanded Las Vegas Convention Center.  The addition of West Hall, and the closing of South Hall for renovations has led to a reshuffling of booth locations.  Most of the post-production related vendors were moved to the North Hall, which also housed the “main stage,” full of programming for a large audience.

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Introduction to High Bandwidth Fiber Networking

As networking bandwidth needs increase for users processing high resolution media files, especially past 10GbE, it is pushing more and more users from copper twisted pair (Cat6, etc.) toward fiber connections.  Fiber optic cable offers a lot more possibilities, making it far more complicated than copper wiring.  There is a whole new vocabulary of acronyms to keep all of the options straight, and various methods to multiply the data rates, which can be combined in numerous ways.  This article is intended to orient the reader to many of the concepts and terms used in fiber networking, and lay the groundwork for understanding the various ways to move data around faster than 10Gb/s.  While there is technically a standard for 25GbE over Cat8 copper cabling, if you have to replace your wiring for that speed, you might as well go to fiber.  Plus twisted pair encoding adds latency and heat.  So fiber is usually the best choice beyond 10GbE.
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GTC 2023 – New GPUs and AI Acceleration

This week was NVidia’s GTC conference, and they had a number of interesting announcements.  Most relevant in the M&E space, are the new Ada Lovelace based GPUs.  To accompany the existing RTX 6000, there is now a new RTX4000 small form factor, as well as 5 new mobile GPUs offering various levels of performance and power usage.
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