NAB Technology Preview
Posted Apr 1, 2003

With the Grammys and the Oscars, spring is known as "award show" season in the entertainment biz, and this year the National Association of Broadcasters is getting in on the act. April's NAB show will feature the convention's first annual product awards, called the NAB Award for Innovation in Media (AIM). Voted on by attendees and presented in three categories—content creation, content management, and content delivery—the awards will be handed out during the conference's final day, April 10. Here's a look at some of the products that will vie for recognition in Las Vegas.

Sonic will show off its DVD authoring solutions, including its industry standard Scenarist, which provides users with the highest level of control over the DVD specification, providing support for titles with up to nine video angles, DTS audio, Text Data, Jacket Pictures, and many other features enabling the production of highly interactive titles. Scenarist is now available in three configurations, including the new scaled-down Studio version (see "Scenarist Goes Studio," Sonic will also be highlighting DVD Producer, its all-in-one DVD publishing tool.

Sonic Foundry (subsequently acquired by Sony will showcase its new Vegas 4.0 and Vegas+DVD, two new standards for professional video and audio production on the Windows platform. Vegas 4.0 provides integrated real-time video and audio non-linear editing with comprehensive features that allow for mixing, compositing, color correction, titling, streaming media creation, and surround sound production for content-creation professionals. Vegas+DVD not only includes Vegas 4.0, but also offers complete DVD authoring (featuring DVD Architect) and a Dolby Laboratories-certified multichannel AC-3 encoder (see "Hot Club of Cowtown,"

In early February, Sony previewed a handful of new cameras and recording technology, all of which will be on display at NAB. Its new Optical Disc Recording System consists of two new camcorders and three decks, which record both the high-resolution original footage and a lower-resolution, but frame-accurate, proxy video and audio version. The system offers the choice of recording video with the 25Mbps DVCAM codec or the MPEG IMX codec, which can record at 30, 40, or 50Mbps. Optical decks will accept both formats and offer a full range of analog and digital audio/video standards, including both IEEE 1394 and Ethernet compatibility. The optical media consists of a 5-inch rewritable blue-laser disc that can hold up to 90 minutes of DVCAM and 45 minutes of 50Mbps MPEG footage. In addition to the Optical Disc Recording System, Sony also will introduce a new 4:4:4 portable HDCAM, the HDC-F950, and the HDC-910, a high-definition studio camera.

Discreet's offerings will focus on the expanding use of high-definition media, including the digital intermediate process as a part of digital cinema. The company will show off its new inferno 5, flame 8, and flint 8 visual effects systems, as well as its smoke 5.2 and fire 5.2 editing/finishing systems and cleaner encoding solutions. The company also will display show reels comprised of submissions from creative professionals using Discreet products.

Matrox will demonstrate a slew of its products, including the RT.X100, which offers real-time DV and MPEG-2 output, three-way color correction, chromakeying, and motion control, as well as a vast array of Flex 3D-powered effects. Also on display from Matrox will be the Parhelia/Adobe After Effects bundle, which enhances video compositing productivity with unique dual display-plus-TV output-technology, and the Incite Editor 3.0, an audio/video editor designed around open file formats, transparent collaborative workflow, and versatile database architecture.

Also on the editing side is JVC's new BR-DV6000, a new professional DV editing recorder, and the companion SA-DV6000 MPEG-4 network card. A compact unit compatible with full-size DV tapes for long-form recording or miniDV tapes, the BR-DV6000 boasts a powerful feature set and open architecture with a wide range of interfaces. Designed specifically to function within a non-linear editing system, the unit features a monitor on the front panel with a tri-mode display that allows the user to selectively view video with TC, audio level meter, tape remain, mode, and other useful data superimposed. It features PAL/NTSC recording and playback, as well as DVCAM playback ability and a network board.

Accom will be introducing its Dveous/MX, a universal-format digital video effects system for both standard- and high-definition work, and the WSD/HDi, the company's lowest-cost digital disk recording solution. With a video disk storage array built into its chassis, the WSD/HDi interfaces with a network of graphics rendering computers and film printers without concern for proprietary file formats, eliminating the need for complex transfer scripting or the need to use QuickTime file wrappers. Accom will also unveil Dimension 8.3.3 software for Affinity, with quicker clip editing and an expanded set of importable audio formats, including MP3, WAV, AIFF, AU, and QCP.

The Masstech Group, Inc., will offer the first showing of its series of scalable products developed for efficient control and management of assets within facilities and across entire enterprises, whether over local- or wide-area IP networks. The MassMedia box is a single, expandable platform for end-to-end content management including satellite and terrestrial deliveries, and includes the ability to generate low-resolution proxy versions of MPEG-2 files to allow for use over low-bandwidth networks. The MassExpand is a hardware and software platform for expanding disk-to-disk storage of digital content, which allows third-party SAN or NAS devices to be used with a wide range of industry interface standards for automation and video servers, while also providing open VACP and XML compatibility. Rounding out the series is the MassBrowser, a thin client for Windows that allows low-res proxies generated by MassProxy to be viewed as frame-accurate representations with timecode. The company is also introducing upgrades for its MassStore, MassChannel, and MassAccess products.

MediaSonic will introduce its MS9100D Desktop HD Player, which brings rack-mount HD playback to desktop systems for corporate boardrooms, screening rooms, and classrooms. Based on the Windows Media Player control application, the Desktop HD Player allows users to view HD MPEG images on plasma or LCD displays, or with a projector. The MS9200CP HD Encode Capture Station and Player simplifies encoding and distributing MPEG-2 HD files, capturing the encoded stream on its internal hard disk and then distributing over LAN or WAN, or writing to DVD-R or DVD-RAM discs. Also new from MediaSonic is its ESCAN software, which provides routable TCP control of AV components that's ideal for settings ranging from small corporate application to large museums or amusement parks. While it can be run in "set-and-forget" automated mode, it can also be set to receive input triggers for event-driven operation.

Telestream will unveil its latest ClipMail MPEG delivery appliance, which allows users to send, receive, and play back broadcast-quality video clips such as ad spots for review and approval without the need for encoding. Media can be sent from other ClipMail appliances or Telestream's FlipFactory applications, and then is received unattended like email, stored until recipients are ready to view it or offload to tape. A hand-held remote provides DVD-like control for viewing on full-screen video monitors.

Fast Forward Video will launch a new version of its high-performance, ultra-compact Recon DVR board, which will now allow users to view, store and manipulate Recon-generated video on standard computer systems by retrieving data directly from the hard drive. Despite the board's small size—a mere 2.8"x3.9"—it offers fully integrated Motion JPEG compression, broadcast-quality video capture and playback at 60 fields per second.

Video Design Software will unveil its next-generation broadcast paint product, the Twister Paint Station. It's a complete graphics content application that's compatible with Windows 2000, NT, and XP operating systems, available in either rack-mount or tower configuration.

Video editors looking for stock footage to flesh out their projects will find dozens of new collections in both SD and HD from Artbeats. With footage sourced from 35mm film and computer-generated imagery, Artbeats' new collections include "Family Life," "Deep Forest," "Digital Reflections" and "Military Machines." Prices for SD collections range from $249-$699, with individual clips available from $149-$199; HD collections range from $799-$899, with individual clips selling for $300.

And what's stock video footage without a soundtrack? SmartSound Software (formerly Sonic Desktop Solutions) will show off Sonicfire Pro version 3.0, which features the Infinite Search Maestro, an Internet-based, real-time technology that allows users to preview, buy, and download any selection in the SmartSound Library, all while scoring a visual sequence. It features context-based technology that applies criteria from the user as he or she is working on the project, allowing it to suggest custom soundtracks that relate directly to the project they're scoring (

Finally, Primera will continue its trade show blitz with its Bravo Disc Publisher, now available in both PC and Mac versions. The Bravo offers hands-off production of up to 50 CDs or DVDs with inkjet printing at resolutions up to 2400dpi (