Industry Trade Shows in a Time of Pandemic

Ron Sussman / 5.6.2020

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been strongly felt in the production industry – but not in the way you might think. For example, the date for NAB 2020 – the must-attend, annual event for the National Association of Broadcasters – has come and gone with hardly a notice thanks to the canceling of this year’s event. But many of this year’s intended vendors have still been able to make a big splash for their new software and tools by doing live streaming presentations about their offerings using platforms like YouTube and Facebook. Thanks to social media, our industry is able to embrace that age-old phrase “the show must go on!” Here are a few of the big announcements Post Production vendors shared via social media that will make a big impact on the industry this year.

Note: I’m going to take a deep dive into the nitty-gritty details of Post Production. If that’s not your cup of tea, check out one of these other awesome blogs from our full-service production studio in Scottsdale, AZ.

Adobe and Premiere Productions

In my opinion, the two biggest announcements were in the NLE editing space, which were followed up with the immediate release of new software versions from Adobe and Avid.

Let’s kick things off with Adobe’s introduction of Premiere Productions. This feature is new and somewhat confusing if I’m being honest. A much-asked-for tool for collaborative workflow improvement, the confusion around this feature stems from how Productions is different from what we have traditionally referred to as a Project in Premiere. In previous versions of Premiere, what was traditionally a Project is now a Production, and a Bin is now a Project. Get why there is confusion?!

The purpose of this new workflow is to enable better and more efficient collaboration between editors working on the same show, film, commercial, etc. It follows the Avid model of the Bins being separate from the Project, allowing any Bin to be opened inside of any Production with project/bin locking to prevent one editor from messing up another editor’s work. Once I dive into this new workflow, I am sure it will make more sense, and I anticipate it being a major improvement on the way we have been sharing projects and assets.

Avid Media Composer 2020.4

This brings us to the other big NLE announcement – the release of Media Composer 2020.4 from Avid. A lot of Avid changes are under the hood, with support of Prores on Windows, support of MAC OS Catalina and differences in how media is ingested, stored and where it’s located on your storage. One of the biggest UI changes is the introduction of the Timeline Sequence Map, which is a fancy way of saying a mini timeline overview of your entire edit timeline. This is not a new concept. Avid had it in the now-dead DS editing software and it’s something Resolve introduced last year as the Cut Page. I assume it will only be a matter of time before Adobe follows suit.

There were a lot more announcements for new versions of Plugins and other Post software like new versions of Maxon Cinema 4D for 3D work and the Boris FX suite of plugins for Premiere and After Effects. Every year seems to bring major advances in usability, workflow and UI, and both companies had a big online streaming presence this year.

Missed Expectations

While there were a lot of key releases and announcements this year, there is one thing that was missing – an anticipated and major update from Blackmagic Design (BMD) for Resolve with the release of Resolve 17. BMD has traditionally introduced a major update at NAB. Either because they recently released Resolve 16.2 or there has been a delay due to the virus situation, Resolve 17 is still in the future.

Live Stream is a Great Plan B

One of the great things about a show like NAB is getting your hands on all of these new tools and interacting with your peers. Last year, I finally met a fellow editor from Jamaica in person who was demoing for Blackmagic. We had known each other and interacted on forums and social media for more than 10 years. It was great to talk face to face. While I have enjoyed and greatly appreciated the live streams of this year’s announcements, I hope that next year’s NAB will resume to normal. It’s an exhilarating couple of days that bring Post-Production people together like nothing else can.

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