10 Things We're Looking Forward to at NAB 2016

Starting on Saturday (April 16, to be exact) Las Vegas will play host to yet another NAB expo. This is arguably the most anticipated broadcast technology event of the year and so it goes without saying we are looking forward to the latest product announcements, innovative speakers and insights into potentially game changing gear. But what are we looking forward to the most? Here are ten items that should make us giddy with excitement.


1. Virtual Reality Demonstrations

Image courtesy of Occulus Rift

The Kaleidoscope VR Showcase promises to give visitors the most immersive VR experience yet. This will include groundbreaking new works from all over the world along with new 360 cams and head gear. Founded by entrepreneur Rene Pinnel and ex Industrial Light & Magic technical director Michael Breymann, Kaleidoscope has overseen a VR film festival touring across North America. We’re also looking forward to checking out the new, compact Orah 4i VR camera. And, of course, there’s always GoPro’s latest offering.

2. Canon 8K Cameras


Tim Smith, Canon’s Senior Advisor Film and TV Production, had this to say in an interview with NAB Hub: “We will be showing not only our existing product line, with a few surprises, but we will also be showing working 8K cameras and 8K displays that look into the future of production.” Having previewed some of their 8K tech at the Canon Expo of last year, we’re sure a lot has progressed since then. Ergo all eyes will be on Canon at NAB.

3. Sony’s High Frame Rate Camera 

Could Sony's new HFR camera be an upgrade to the F55 Cine-Alta camera (pictured above)?

According to yet another interview on NAB Hub, Deon LeCointe, the Product Manager for Sony Electronics says, “We will showcase current applications, technology strengths and highlight topics ranging from imaging and 4K/IP transmission to Storage/Optical Disc Archive and Display/HDR. At the show, Sony will also debut their newest Ultra HFR camera, building on the success of the HDC-4300 and other popular studio camera systems. This new camera will offer up to 8x the usual high frame rate in 4K and integrates well with the existing lineup.”

Okay, then. But eight times what, exactly? Eight times 24 fps? 60 fps? Inquiring minds want to know. And hopefully they will be satiated this weekend.

4. Session Event: Star Wars

Image credit: Disney

What’s not to love when it comes to everything “Star Wars?” NAB attendees will be treated to a special screening of the new documentary “Star Wars: Awaken to the Power Behind the Force – the Making of Star Wars Episode VII.” It’s a long title. But just under an hour long, it’s a fairly short documentary as well. However, “Star Wars: Awakens to the…. Blah-blah-blah” promises to give a candid, behind-the-scenes look at the development of the audio and visual effects for this beloved film.

5. Session Event Number Two: ”The Future of Storytelling”

Image courtesy of Adobe.

Packaging content in different media formats is becoming more of the norm as there is so many ways to view video online. Therefore this should be a very interesting panel discussion. Featuring representatives of Vimeo, Tera Mater Film Studios, Disney and Conde Nast (and moderated by innovative stock footage company Shutterstock), there’s an opportunity to gain insight from professionals who are not only on the frontlines of cutting edge video distribution, but are primed to move forward into the future as well.

6. We Like a Leica 

CW Sonderoptic will have a booth displaying their award-winning series of Leica cine lenses... and they are always a thing to behold. This will include the new Summicron-C line that CW promises will represent a smaller and more affordable PL mount lens. There’s a new SL mirrorless cam on display as well, allowing professionals to capture native 4K or HD video. So, in layman’s terms, Leica is throwing their hat into the compact filmmaking ring for the very first time. We are pretty eager to hear what the feedback on their display models will be.

7. HDR (High Dynamic Range) Getting Some LoveNext to Virtual Reality, High Dynamic Range is the loudest growing buzz term associated with this year’s NAB. Oscar winning director Ang Lee will preview “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” the first major motion picture release to have been captured in 120 fps 3D, 4K resolution and in High Dynamic Range. This beats Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy what with that having been captured at a 48 high frame rate. Also: there will be 16 panel discussions devoted to this topic during the course of the convention. And a lot of exhibitors will be rolling out their take on the latest HDR technology such as Atomos and their new FLAME series of monitors.

8. Lytro Cinema

Lytro dropped the mic earlier this week when they displayed footage shot from their new cine camera titled, appropriately enough, the Lytro Cinema. Utilizing the acclaimed Light Field technology they applied to still photography, this camera poses as a major game player for big budget filmmakers everywhere. Thanks to 3D data capture and the allotment of image keying based on focal plane data, a camera like this could potentially eliminate the need for green screens not to mention the smoothest workflow from camera to post-production SFX platforms, like, ever. You’ll probably have to fight like mad to get up close and personal when it makes a live appearance at NAB 2016.

9. The Microsoft HoloLens

It will still take many, many years before we can step into our personal holodecks and have tea with Sherlock Holmes or go skiing on a simulated Swiss Alp. But Microsoft seems to be inching us that much closer with their recently announced HoloLens. Check out their website to get a taste of what this technology has to offer and, hopefully, you’ll be able to reach out to some high resolution, 3D images of unicorns on the NAB floor.

10. Post Production Integration Technology 

A lot of NAB attendees are not just there for the cameras or hot topics like 4K, VR or HDR. Innovative post-production solutions are on many people’s minds as well. Whether connectivity from production to post will now be handled by IP technology or collaborations between competing applications (like Final Cut Pro and Adobe CC products) will promise seamless integration, how these platforms plan to work together will be made evident in the week to come.