Pro AV Installers and Stagers ‘Stream’ to NAB

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Some installed AV and AV rental & staging pros have always come to the NAB show to check out the booths that may have brought some of their gear for those markets on their trucks to Vegas. But this year’s NAB show– that opened today at the Las Vegas Convention Center– has a completely different dynamic: the market has turned around, and come back to the NAB orbit. Why? Because there is a huge trend that has both installed AV integrators and AV staging pros seeking to quickly ramp up their expertise and fill their gear toolboxes with the latest encoding, IP video streaming, and digital media recording solutions, as customers are demanding new video content capture, transfer, and storage options. Installing or setting up systems that play back content to one room, or campus, or on one stage, is no longer a meal ticket in many market segments.




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AV staging company HB Communications takes NAB by storm. (From left to right): Dana Barron, CEO; James Burke, VP Northeast Sales; General Manager Don Guzauckas; Mitul Patel, Director of Broadcast Engineering. At the Christie booth at NAB on Monday.



I caught up with Mike White, President of MultiMedia Solutions, a well-known AV integrator based in Knoxville, TN, on the show floor. “I’m here at NAB, on a mission to learn streaming solutions”, White said. “We’ve done two big airport projects using solutions from Exterity, a company that is here at the show. “ (booth A500) “Bottom line is, an AV integrator has to be literate on IP streaming technologies in today’s world.”

On the staging side, Chip LaCure, from CMI Communications, based in Rochester NY, had just come from shopping the Christie booth for MicroTiles (Booth SL2609) when I met him at NAB. “For a live staged event, we are doing more video capture, then posting that to the web for others who could not attend live, to view. And for playback later. We are not a production house, but we’re looking for new tools– like some Pandoras Box products we saw at the coolux International booth here (booth C7549), to stream. And on a fun note: check out some of the “drones” on display here. For not a lot of money, you could put GoPros [small portable HD cameras, booth C6537] on a ‘drone’ and fly it over a live event to capture video.”

Actually, the maker of those drones, that I caught up with Monday night at NAB’s ShowStoppers press-only reception, told me that the unit is not a “drone”. DJI, based in Austin, Tx, (NAB booth C6357) makes the “quadcopter”. But it’s not a autopilot device, hence not a drone. It’s a line-of site, remote controlled small propeller-driven unit. The latest version, launched at NAB today, is the Phantom Vision, that includes an integrated HD camera, that captures 14 megapixel still images or 1080P “HD video”. (I like the idea of strapping the GoPro to it.)

HB Communications (HQ’d in North Haven, CT) is a prominent staging/live event technology provider for the east coast markets. I’ve know Don Guzauckas for years (and I don’t think he’s missed a NewBay Rental & Staging Roadshow). Don told me on the show floor Monday that he was particularly looking at digital media recording gear at the show. He was impressed with Haivision’s (booth SL6605) Kulabyte, a software product that a stager could install on a laptop or backstage PC, and do video encoding, or transcoding (depending on the license they bought). So I wandered to the Haivision booth and Tod Green of HaiVision told me, “In past, the bandwidth was not there, but new tools now mean you can ‘broadcast’ video, and stagers’ and installed AV pros’ clients now want it. They want to record the content. And they want to stream it.” Green explained that Kulabyte allows that kind of easy streaming– even for example, pumping video content from a large staged corporate meeting out to smartphones of attendees that could not attend in person.




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Nicholas Wiles demos DJI’s “quadcopter”, a line-of site, remote controlled small propeller-driven unit.



Don Guzauckas and his HB colleagues were also hanging around the Christie booth where Mark Hall, Christie Senior Project Manager and Mark Ouwerkerk, Senior Sales Manager, US Rental & Staging with Christie, were showing their new 4K 60 Hz video projector. This kind of HFR (High Frame Rate) projector we’ve mainly heard about from the famous HFR showings of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit that opened in theatres in November 2012. And the first 4K resolution projector from the DLP Cinema projector manufacturers (Christie is one of three) were released on the market about a year ago. But 4K, HFR, outside the cinema market, is new. And it’s spectacular. It will get into installed AV systems that need the highest res. And it will impress live event producers and stagers who are a bit tired of edge-blending or edge-butting 2K to get the resolution they need for the most demanding shows.

Speaking of 4K, at the Acorn McBride booth at NAB (SL6027), we saw their new A/V Binloop HD. It provides two channels of UltraHD 4K resolution or up to eight channels of full HD, for frame accurate synchronized audio and video player–great for the museum market, or theme park market, among other things HD.

HRS was showing at NAB its software package that, according to HRS’ Greg Byrnes, now has the ability to do network transfer of (video) files more easily. For example, a stager using KeyPros, can manage multiple KeyPros through HRS software. So they can more easily copy to network storage.

No doubt tomorrow on the show floor at NAB I’ll run into more AV pros who are here filling their toolboxes to address a new world of high res content, content on the fly, and content on the move.

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