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Hot Take: NAB 2022 in Review, Part 1

In Part 1 of his two-part recap of NAB 2022, Streaming Media Producer's Marc Franklin looks at overall trends at the show, with news on key product releases to follow.

A lot has changed in the world since the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) last held their convention in person in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns and restrictions, changed pretty much everything, including professional production from event videography to film and TV. Shows like the nightly news adapted more easily than productions that normally involved large crews, large crowds, or venues with large staffs. Anchors sat a bit farther apart, and if the camerapeople in the newsroom weren't immediately replaced by robotic cameras, some were shortly converted. Talk shows migrated from $100 million studios to the hosts' home office, living room, or backyard, with robotic PTZ cameras and a single crew member on location.

Although social distancing restrictions have mostly disappeared over the last several months, this year’s NAB show reflects all the changes that events of 2020-21 wrought in the industry.

New Cameras: Predominantly PTZs

My expectations for the show were already on the low side, as I didn't get the usual bombardment of pre-show briefings that industry journalists usually get. I saw no new camcorders. I expected to see only two new cinema cameras, the Canon EOS R5 C announced in January, and the Blackmagic Design URSA Broadcast G2 announced in February.

But new PTZ cameras were all the rage at NAB 2022. Panasonic has 3 lines of PTZ cameras with 9 models. Besides Panasonic, Sony, JVC, Canon, and Marshall were all showing new PTZ cameras and support systems.

JVC's new PTZ, the KY-PZ510

Decentralized Postproduction Is Here to Stay

Next to the storm of PTZ cameras, I saw updated or new products from several hardware and software manufacturers that are designed to make remote collaboration in postproduction work more efficient and more permanent. In talking with a lot of people in and out of the business--even some who thought they would hate working at home—I found they now don't want to or don’t intend to go back to the office.

Editors and other postproduction pros soon realized the cost benefits of working from home: no buying gas and less vehicle maintenance, and for corporations, less office space to rent. Those companies are investing in infrastructure from many software and hardware companies such as Adobe, OWC, Blackmagic Design, and others to ensure their postproduction crews can remain scattered across the same town or across the world, and still have access to edit their projects.

A number of camera and software companies are implementing“camera to cloud” solutions that start uploading a proxy clip to the cloud as soon as the cameras stop recording.


What was also telling, was what many companies were normally my must-see list were nowhere to be seen. A short list of companies MIA on the NAB 2022 show floor: Avid, BorisFx, Yamaha, TASCAM, Azden, K-Tek, Manfrotto, LaCie, JVC, GoPro, and many others. Exhibitors I spoke to said that part of the reason many didn't come back is that--like many things in Las Vegas—reserving a booth at NAB has become a financial gamble. When the lockdowns shut down the last 3 attempted NABs, exhibitors got to use 25% of their fees for towards the next NAB, and lost 75% of their investment. Many couldn't risk another loss. Also absent were a lot of the Chinese companies that usually make the trip to show an array of gimbals and reverse-engineered versions other manufacturers' lights, cameras, tripods, bags, and other products at a lower cost.

While Sony, Canon, and Blackmagic Design booked their usual gigantic booths, most other booths’ floor plans were fractions of what they used to be. While NAB booths populated the LVCC’s new smaller “West Hall,” the entire South Hall upper and lower levels (with square footage equivalent to 20 football fields) went unused.

Perhaps the most shocking disappearance from the show was the B & H Photo and Video NAB Show Catalog, replaced by a thin pamphlet with QR codes. Many of us kept those catalogs from NAB to NAB to page through at our leisure, “the old-fashioned way,” without swiping left or right. I used to bring home extra copies for friends who couldn't make it to the show. After 30 years of going to NAB, no longer will I see the smiling faces of my colleagues as I hand them their favorite reading material.

Last of the old-school B&H NAB catalogs?

I looked at NAB 2022 like a patient returning to work after a bad injury. NAB was cleared to work by the doctor, but still not fully recovered. Hopefully, it will be up to full speed in 2023, with all the missing vendors in attendance, without the Omega strain causing another shut down or Russia turning the lights out. In the spirit of having a more cheery outlook, as I microwave myself some “soylent green,” in Part 2 of NAB 2022, I will discuss some of the promising new products I found on the near-comatose show floor.

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