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Pushing the AV technology boundary at NAB Show 2016

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Shining a spotlight on brand experience, best practices, and big-name brands

Industry pros and technology nuts alike swarmed Las Vegas last week for the 2016 NAB Show, the world’s largest electronic media show focusing on digital media from creation to consumption. Hosted by the National Association of Broadcasters, NAB Show is home to an impressive display of the latest and greatest in tools and techniques when it comes to producing broadcast media in the 21st century.

Our team was on hand to take it all in, from the scene on the show floor to Star Wars and Ang Lee in the Creative Master series. Here’s what we saw happening at NAB Show:

A focus on game-changing technology

There were a few notable common threads of revolutionary technologies introduced that everyone wants to incorporate into their respective businesses.

With the film and video industries looking to drive the next wave of content quality and upcoming 21st century video standards, HDR (or High Dynamic Range) will prove to be more than simply an incremental step forward in terms of image quality. Look for more theaters, broadcasters, and consumer electronics to take advantage of this significant step forward in image quality over the next few years. And when that happens, audiences will expect the same high quality from video productions at events and brand experiences.

On a similar note, there was a huge push for 4K video in production at last year’s NAB Show, and now hot on those heels, 8K is here. Manufacturers are hard at work packing more pixels into their products along with added processing to deal with the huge amount of data generated. Several companies displayed working and prototype products this year, and we can expect to see a variety of new 8K cameras and displays in time for NAB in 2017. So if you aren’t yet shooting on 4K, your image quality is about to look obsolete.

And while virtual reality technology is nothing new on the scene, wider adoption is finally coming to fruition thanks to more reasonably priced headsets.  With it comes opportunities for consumer applications and use in the development of unique “unreal” experiences — even at events. NAB showcased numerous vendors who are poised to launch an array of virtual reality products over the next year, giving content creators more avenues to reach their audiences and making VR an even more viable option for the tech-savvy consumer.

Hands-on brand experiences

Pros dying to chat up their favorite brands and get their hands on the latest gear were not disappointed, with multiple opportunities across the show floor that gave them a view into the future of the industry. The VR booths were obviously popular, allowing attendees to get a taste of the virtual experience.

And it wasn’t just the big names with the big booths — smaller exhibitors were stepping up their game too, like the ATOMOS booth, which incorporated rock climbers into the design to give attendees a variety of scenery to focus on when testing cameras and recorders. The adjacent “experience dome” allowed a more focused area for ATOMOS staff to connect with customers on a deeper level.

Industry luminaries and impressive examples

The Creative Masters series was a special track featuring film industry icons, such as director Ang Lee, and pros from companies like Industrial Light & Magic, LucasFilms, Skywalker Sound, Pixar, 20th Century Fox, Disney, and Universal. These sessions provided a unparalleled access to these thought leaders along with a great deal of insight as to the role new technology has in the industry. This type of access is exactly what attracts and retains engaged audiences.

Lee’s session also included a screening of his latest film, which incorporated projection technology not even yet on the market and servers that are still in development phases in order to show the content in its native 4K 3D HDR format at 120 frames per second. This was an amazing example of what’s possible in the future of audio-visual technology… and one that we cannot wait to get our hands on!

The 2016 NAB Show was an exciting, diverse show that highlighted the wide range of tech and tools available that are pushing the boundaries of broadcast. We can’t wait to see everything in action. What was your favorite part of NAB Show? Let us know on Twitter @FreemanCo.

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