For me, this year’s NAB tradeshow turned out to be about so much more than just a preview of new broadcast technology.   I have been attending NAB off and on now for over 10 years.  In each of those years, I have worked the show as press, a consumer, a salesperson, a broadcast professional, an educator, or an executive.  This year, all of those trades went with me and as a part of me.  But it was this year, that I also went as a spectator.

I arrived the weekend before the official start of the show to attend the Avid Connect Conference, a pre-NAB conference in which the Avid Customer Association met and discussed issues and trends facing the media industry.  The conference included panel discussions, keynote addresses, workflow demos and product previews.  With Avid Media Composer and Symphony as the central editing platform of Dodge College, learning about Avid’s push into cloud based editing and online collaboration with Media Composer Cloud and Avid Everywhere was invaluable.  Yet what proved to be most beneficial was stepping back from the milieus of technology and instead network with other Avid users, integrators and educators.  What I learned from my colleagues is that our problems are not always unique, but sometimes our solutions were.  Obstacles and hindrances experienced by many, were often creatively solved by one of us.  And in this forum, we could offer up our solutions but also take their answers back with us to try at home.

The NAB show itself offered a plethora of new products, and a new spin on technology still waiting to be adopted.  4K and all its glory is still waiting in the wings, promising unparalleled picture quality and viewing experience.  But 6K and 8K loomed nearby in this shadows ready to pounce and make a liar of its little brother.  The “Cloud” hung over most booths this year, assuring seamless and collaborative online workflows where the sky’s the limit.  Sharing space in this busy atmosphere were the countless remote-controlled drones and their attached ever-shrinking “point-of-view” or POV action cameras like the GoPro, Sony’s Action Cam, or Panasonic’s POVCAM.  On the ground, products like Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 11 and AJA’s new CION motion picture camera were adapting and transforming their respective companies to become an color-corrector acting like an editor, or an hardware convertor squeezing itself into the crowded camera business.

As a spectator, I’ve learned that more than anything, NAB is an exchange of ideas, a meeting place of solutions, and a forum for innovation.  The sore feet, the sensory overload and the promise of the “next big thing” are only accoutrements to the spectacle of ideas for the spectator.