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Biscardi NAB 2007 Diary - 4/13/07 4:30pm

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Biscardi NAB 2007 Diary - 4/13/07 4:30pm

We've arrived in Sunny Las Vegas! Checked in to the fabulous Flamingo hotel which we really used to enjoy for the penquins in the outdoor habitat, but they checked out last year so it's not quite the same. Still gotta love staying in the "original" strip hotel that started it all.

As you can see from the photo we're staying in the top of the line penthouse suite with a classic Strip view, only the best for Cow members! Laughing

Tonight will be a little rest and relaxation as we'll be taking in the Jay Leno show at the Mirage and then tomorrow it's straight over to North Hall to get my Speaker Badge.

I'm really looking forward to this show to see what Apple really has to announce for us on Sunday and then see how that stacks up with Adobe's impressive return to the Mac platform. Some things I'm most interested in this year for myself are storage, color correction and special effects / plug-ins. Though I'm going to be quite busy working this year, I hope to be able to at least get out and see what everybody is offering in these areas.

I'll give you guys daily updates (hopefully multiple updates per day) and be sure to watch out for my inaugural "All Things Apple" Podcast on Sunday shortly after Apple's event!

Ta ta for now!


Thanks Aharon!
by walter biscardi

Thanks buddy!  Great to finally meet you in person.  You've done so much for the Cow with the podcasts and DVD series that I feel honored to have finally had the chance to say hello.  Too bad it was so bried, but that's the way it is at those shows unfortunately.

I should be in New York sometime this summer at the latest and I'll let you know!

Walter- It was great meeting
by Aharon Rabinowitz

Walter- It was great meeting you at the cow booth. Let me know when you are in NYC, and we'll hang out.



Aharon Rabinowitz

Click the link below to subscribe to the Creative Cow After Effects Podcast, a

Moo-ed for Naught
by Lisa Strong-Aufhauser
Hi Walter --

As I only had carry-on, I couldn't take my 5 oz bottle of Carribean BBQ sauce home with me!  Bummer.


NAB Diary 4/19 9:40pm - Final Entry
by walter biscardi

Well, it was a fun week for us in Vegas, but now we're back home in Atlanta. 

My picks of the show?  AJA Io HD is an easy one.  Never saw that coming, put the power of the Kona 3 into an external box that can even work on a laptop. 

On the software side, take your pick, Apple and Adobe were both huge.  My choice will be the Apple Final Cut Studio 2 suite since that is what we run here.  is another pick of mine.  Very cheap per track, cheap per monthly and even yearly subscriptions.  Lots of music choices and really nice guys.

I really didn't get much of a chance to walk the show floor so I really don't have any other thoughts than those products.  I was so busy working at the show, I really got very little time to walk the show floor and needed to meet with folks for our purchases.

Well, that will wrap up my Diary.  Hopefully you guys enjoyed my little trip to Vegas.  Everyone should make the trek at least once just to take in the magnitude of this show.  It's truly a one of a kind!  Now I just need to make it to Amsterdam one of these days for the IBC. 


I can't wait till I can
by Winston A. Cely
I can't wait till I can go!!!! It might wear me out, but to have the chance to meet everyone and immerse myself in the environment would be great!

Hopefully next year..... of course, I've been saying that for 3 years now :(
NAB Diary 4/18 6:38pm
by walter biscardi

Another long day drawing down. Scheduled to attend a great AJA function tonight, but not sure if we're going to make it. Both my wife and I are pretty wiped out, going to sleep on Vegas time, but waking up on East Coast time.

Today was my day to wander the show a bit and I found a sweet little music library called Great guys and they have about 7,100 cuts of music and 10,000 SFX available online starting at $59.95/cut or $199.95 for 30 cuts on a monthly subscription basis. They also have a yearly subscription basis. Found another music library called Video Helper ( with extremely reasonable prices as well.

Visited the Ciprico and CalDigit Booths looking for new storage and will most likely go with a Fibre Channel shared solution from Ciprico, though CalDigit has requested that we test one of their new HD Pro units. Always a pleasure to see Don McDonnel at Ciprico whom I've known from his Medéa days. One of the nicest guys you will meet in the industry and a salesman who really understands the equipment and how it works.

Did a quick podcast interview with Nick Rashy, President AJA Video Systems. Nick is probably the most laid back guy I've ever met in the industry. Actually I could probably say that about the entire AJA team. Nick gave me a one on one chat about the features of the new Io HD along with updates to the Xena and Kona lineup, including some features of Xena that will soon be available on the Kona product line. Watch for the announcements on the Cow for that podcast. One neat tidbit I negelected to bring up in the podcast is the fact that the entire AJA product line is built right here on the West Coast, in an approx. 100 mile radius from the company. The contractors build the products to approx. 75% completion, then AJA completes the product and individually tests each and every product before it's boxed up. I had no idea they were so hands on with their production and it's a very refreshing commitment from a company.

Here's a shot of Steve Barsky and I at the AJA booth. Steve is a fantastic engineer with the company whom I talk to on an almost weekly basis. He's a big fan of Good Eats and a wonderful guy to work with!

Stopped by the Noise Industries booth to look at Peter Wiggin's Volumetrix plug-in (sweet!) I never understood exactly how the Noise Industries business model worked, but it is a very interesting idea to simply set up an interface from which you can purchase plug-ins for use. In addition, you can modify these plug-ins or create entirely new plug-ins from scratch without knowing a single line of code. It's all basically node based and you set all the parameters of the FX by simply attaching the strings of the nodes. Very cool. Also, Peter and I continued our "discussion" of internal vs. external RAIDs. I'm right of course.

Saw Ron and Kathlyn Lindeboom one last time at the Creative Cow booth. It was busy again today with folks coming by to thank us or get introduced to the Creative Cow universe for the first time.

Swung by the Canon booth to hook up with Jim Dobbins who is part of the broadcast lens division. Jim provided the incredible prime lenses for our original short film project two years ago and is just a heckuva nice guy.

Then I did my presentation on "HD Finishing in Final Cut Pro" which truly turned into a comedy of errors. Unfortunately the final cut pro system provided on site kept crashing so I didn't get through everything I wanted to do, but I think we all had a good time anyway.

And that leads us up to the AJA event tonight which we will most likely have to pass on, this whole NAB thing really wears you out!   


NAB Diary 4/17 10:31pm
by walter biscardi

The days just get longer! But tomorrow is my last in Vegas and then we'll be heading home Thursday.

Today was another great day at the show. Spent the morning at the AJA Booth again demoing the AJA Kona 3 2K workflow. Man, I'm really excited about the possibilities of working in 2K and trying to move into a DI type of clientele. That would be fun. The AJA Io HD still rules the floor and I met a bunch of Creative Cow folks at the booth today.

Spent the afternoon at the Creative Cow booth with Boomer and Kathlyn. Met a LOT of great folks who could not have been more kind with their encouragement and praise for what all of us do everyday on the Cow. Meeting people and putting faces to the names in the forums, really makes you appreciate the magnitude of what we do each and every day. It's a wonderful feeling to know how much we help out folks and honestly the kinds words from everyone today are more appreciated than you can imagine.

Prepping now for my HD Finishing in Final Cut Pro presentation tomorrow at the Post Production World conference. That should be a lot of fun and I look forward to meeting some of you there!

I want to send a shout out to my new friend, Stephen Nash and his high school classes back in New Mexico. Here he is below in the Cow Booth with me after searching high and low to find me on the show floor!

And since we're on photos, here another shot of the booth and then the entire All Things Apple Podcast gang!

Walter Biscardi, Jr.: Todd Gilespie: Shane Ross: Peter Wiggins: Kathlyn Lindeboom: Jerry Hofmann: Ron Lindeboom

Thanks to you too!
by walter biscardi
Thanks so much Christian!  Pleasure to meet you (forgive me if it was a blur) and I'm glad the podcast was entertaining.  We'll see you up on the Cow!
by Christian Glawe



I mentioned to Ron, but thought I should tell you... I listened to your guys Podcast re: Apple's Sunday event in the car while driving to NAB Monday morning... I love technology! 

Nice to meet you at the AJA booth... 

"Pain is temporary... film is forever"

Christian Glawe


I hate to be an a$$ but just
by Winston A. Cely
I hate to be an a$$ but just because those other apps have already been doing the "new" features, doesn't mean they're doing it better. Just from the limited previews I've seen of what Motion 3 can do, in an interface I find familiar AND extremely easy to use, I don't I'll ever move to AE now.

Then again, I don't now much about AE. Just what I've heard the professionals talk about here at the Cow.

My .2¢
NAB Diary 4/16 9:26pm
by walter biscardi

Finally back in our hotel room after leave at 7am this morning!  Very long day capped off by a wonderful dinner courtesty of Canon Broadcast.   It's become tradition now for us to join them at Bucca De Beppo along with the fine folks at WH Platts, Inc.   It's one of my favorite things to do in Vegas and thankfully, we have a Bucca in Atlanta too!

Great day today at the show, though it's funny how loud the Apple Booth gets when they're doing the Soundtrack Pro demo.  Geeez, those audio guys LOVE their sound loud!   I worked the AJA Video Systems booth demonstrating the 2K workflow on the Kona 3, which I'll admit, I have very little experience with.  BUT now that I've seen how easy it is to work with 2K on the Kona 3 and the realtime 2K Crop and LUT features, I need to find a 2K project to work on!  

Traffic was very steady and I believe the new Apple location in the center of the floor was a plus for everyone.  There was no logjam at the entrance to South Hall and we were all able to do our demos in peace.  I met quite a few of the folks from the Cow and I'm very appreciative of all your kind words.  It's really nice to know we're that helpful to you all.

In addition to the 2K workflow, we were also playing some 4:4:4 1080p/60 material on a second Kona 3 workstation and it is the most gorgeous footage I've ever seen.  Simply amazing stuff!

Well, that's it.  A quiet Diary entry as I literally stood at the AJA booth from 8am until 6pm and really did not get out to see anything.  I'll try to get a little more information tomorrow, until then, have a super evening! 

NAB Podcast - All Things Apple
by walter biscardi

Recorded immediately after the Apple Event Sunday featuring yours truly as the host with Peter Wiggings, Shane Ross, Ron Lindeboom, Jerry Hofmann and Todd Gilespie.  Enjoy! 

I'm still a little
by walter biscardi

I'm still a little disappointed in Motion.  Now that Color Correction is first-rate, I think this is the one area that FC Studio, as an all-in-one solution, is dragging a bit.

Motion just isn't After Effects.  The "new" things in Motion 3 are features that have been in After Effects and Combustion for several years now.  So, for complex graphics work, I guess we're still stuck with Auto Duck to AE.

Depends on what you're doing.  Based on what i saw, I'm going to try to move all my 3D Animation work from AE to Motion because it just handles the 3D transitions more easily.  The 3D interface is MUCH easier to work with than AE's and actually, I think Motion is really close to AE as far as 75% of the work I currently do in AE.  Can't wait to get my hands on it!

Glad you liked my report. 

A really big update... Thanks, Walter!
by Christian Glawe


Thanks for the rundown, Walter.

A really big Final Cut update from Apple... lots of new, good stuff.

I'm still a little disappointed in Motion.  Now that Color Correction is first-rate, I think this is the one area that FC Studio, as an all-in-one solution, is dragging a bit.

Motion just isn't After Effects.  The "new" things in Motion 3 are features that have been in After Effects and Combustion for several years now.  So, for complex graphics work, I guess we're still stuck with Auto Duck to AE.

 Still, lots to be excited about!


"Pain is temporary... film is forever"

Christian Glawe


NAB Diary 4/15 Apple Event
by walter biscardi

My notes from the Apple Event today at the Venetian:


2005 - 250,000 Registered Final Cut Pro Users

Today - Over 800,000 Registered Final Cut Pro Users.

Final Cut Studio 2 priced at $1,299

Upgrade From Studio 1: $499

Upgrade from ANY version of FCP to Studio 2: $699 

Final Cut Studio Shipping next month. 

Final Cut Server: Media Management Asset software fro groups from 2 to hundreds.  Essentially allows anyone with access to the media to perform keyword searches, review edits and even do proxy edits on both Windows and Mac machines.  Anybody can do a simple edit on any machine and generate a full Final Cut Pro project for the editor to then go in and finish.  $999 for up to 10 concurrent users.  $1999 for unlimited users.


Final Cut Pro 6: Apple ProRes 4:2:2 codec seems to be an answer to the Avid DnX codec.  A highly compressed form of HD that can transform 1TB of uncompressed 10bit 1080i to 170GB of ProRes 4:2:2.  Apple showed several clips with split screens so we could see the quality of it and from where I was sitting I could not see a difference.  Some other folks more towards the center said they could see some additional compression in the ProRes version.  I'm going to be very interested in comparing this to the DVCPro HD codec that I currently use for the bulk of our editing.  They did show two quotes from Sony and Panasonic fully endorsing the use of Apple ProRes 4:2:2 for editing.

Open Format Timeline editing is now available and this was really really nice.  Not only are we talking about putting all formats of SD in a timeline or mixing SD and HD, but even talking about mixing frame rates in a single timeline, WITH transitions.  All in real time.  A REALLY cool feature of this is that if your first clip does not match the Sequence Settings, FCP will notify you of this and ask if you would like to change the settings to match.  No more seeing the Red Render line and wondering what's wrong.  VERY cool.

Smooth Cam brings some optical flow technology from Shake to FCP 6 by automating the operation of smoothing out a shaky camera move. 

Motion Templates are now available right within FCP 6.  What this means is that creating name supers for example.  Right now if you need multiple name supers, you create them in Motion, then bring each one in to FCP.  Now, you create the base Motion name super, but you only bring that into FCP once.  You now have full text control in FCP and can make all the necessary changes for all the supers right in FCP.  If you have to make a master change to all the supers, like changing the color of the background, you open the original project in Motion, make the change and it's universal across all the supers you built.  Very cool.

All Motion FX Plugs are now available within FCP 6.  So if there are effects and filters in Motion that you like, you can access them in FCP.


Motion 3: 3D cameras and lighting have been added in an incredibly elegant and easy to operate manner.  As an After Effects hard core 3D Camera user, this thing is just incredibly simple with 3D camera behaviors.  You want the camera to zoom to a layer?  Just add the Zoom Layer behavior and drop the layer you want to zoom to in the video well.  Done.  

Vector based paint tool has been added with some incredible lights and brush strokes to play with.  All fully animateable with Motion behaviors and the like and of course, can interact in a 3D world.

Match Moving is just ridiculously simple and again can work in 3D space.  You can manually set movement match points or Motion can literally show you dozens of points it picks out automatically.  Pick a point and watch your graphic move in perfect synchronization with the action on the screen.

Retiming Behaviors is really exciting as the FCP retiming tool has just been a bit weak and combersome.  Now borring the Optical Flow technology from Shake, Motion now has simple behaviors to the do the retiming.

Audio Behaviors is really cool for animating graphics or video to the beat of music or even to the tone of the voice.  You can pick Bass, Mid or High for the range you want to focus in to if you want or just the overall sound range.  Very cool and again, simple to use.

I happened to notice that there were over 1400 items in the Motion library as it was shown today at the demonstration.  Don't know if there were any third party filters in there, but it didn't look like it.  That's a lot more than what we have with Motion 2.


Soundtrack Pro 2: Something I barely use now will start to get a lot of use as we move forward.  Apple has simplified the sound mixing tool, made 5.1 surround mixing very easy and added a ton of new audio samples, including 1,000 SFX in 5.1 surround.

One project, two mixes: You can now mix for Stereo and Surround in one project.  You simple turn on or off the 5.1 mix and Soundtrack retains that information.  So mix in stereo or 5.1 in the same timeline.

3 HUD display is a new display that's kind of the like the current Slip and Slide function in FCP.    Except this tool adds a function where by the third (middle) display shows you the exact frame of video where the cursor is.  This is incredibly helpful when trying to synchronize a sound to a specific frame of video, like in the case of the demo, a door slam.  The demo person put the cursor right on the waveform of the slam, then brought up the 3HUD display and put the slam on the exact right frame of video on the first try.

5.1 Surround Mixing is as simple as bringing up the 5.1 panel and simply moving the mouse into the direction you want the sound to go.  Complete with easy to follow images that show exactly what your sound is doing.

Spectrum analyzer is just amazing as it shows you graphically, using color, where all the sounds are coming from.  In the demo example, a microphone thump was removed while retaining the actor's voice.  With a straight waveform analyzer, the voice disappeared with the noise.  VERY impressive.


Compressor 3: Long just "that app to compress for DVD Studio Pro and H.264" this now is a full finishing tool that will be able to output to practically any format from Broadcast MPEG-2 to WMV's with the addition of the Episode Pro Plug-in (which will be an additional cost).  What I noticed is that the interface is greatly cleaned up and various formats have been grouped together in a much more logical setup.

Timecode Window Burn can now be accomplished through Compressor.  It can read the TC from the timeline, individual clips or you can generate TC starting at 00 from Compressor.

Watermarks can be added during compression as well.  In the example shown, the artist brought in a Motion Project and simply laid it into the compressor video well and it showed up on the video.  

All processors are used to greatly speed up the rendering process.  A 10 minute HDV file took 16:45 to render to H.264 using Compressor 2.  The same file took 6:02 in Compressor 3 on an octo core.


Color is the newly re-branded Final Touch originally from Silicon Color and was priced from $995 to $25,000.  This daVinci quality color correction tool is now included with FCS 2.   Quite simply this is the most powerful CC tool I've ever used and Apple seems to have solved the round trip issues associated with the last version of Final Touch HD via a File > Export to Color feature.  I would love to go into more detail right now about this app, but that will have to wait until later.  I have another engagement to attend to.


Overall, a VERY Exciting event and I believe all FCP users will be quite happy next month as the products begin shipping. 


Are you peeking at this
by David Battistella

I lust noticed this line of mini converters at NAB

Will you be having a peek at this booth while you are down there?


Peace and Love
NAB Diary 4/15 1:05AM
by walter biscardi

Just returned from the musical Mama Mia at the Mandalay Bay. This show is based on the songs of ABBA and while the music and singing were very good, the show itself rates a 6.5 out of 10 for me. Instead of the songs flowing right into the storylines, there was too much of the story just stopping for the songs which were mostly sung by one person to the audience. Some really funny moments and really great singing, but the overall design of the show was a bit flat. Shame because the band and cast are really good.

Ate lunch at Margaritaville here in the Flamingo today. Unless you really want to say you drank a margarita at Jimmy Buffet's restaurant, you can take a pass on this. Food was ok, service was the worst we've experienced in Vegas. Waiter basically ignored us and a 45 minute lunch took about 2.5 hours instead. For two sandwiches and two drinks.

Ok, off to bed and then up early for the Apple event and our inaugural "All Things Apple" podcast.

NAB Diary 4/14 11:32AM
by walter biscardi

Just got back from a visit to the Show Floor and the theme of the day is definitely pallets and forklifts. My eyes just glazed over looking at the stacks and stacks of toys that would certainly look lovely back at Biscardi Creative Media...... but I digress.

I was on a mission to find out a real scoop for my dedicated Cow readers and sure enough I found the AJA Video Systems guys hard at work on their booth and they were the only ones willing to talk to me.

Nick Rashby told me, "Well it's my first year as president of AJA Video Systems and I really think it's great that we'll have Walter Biscardi as a demo artist this year." Jon Thorn replied, "Yes, that is a nice thing." "Would you like your shirts?" added Chuck Whitlock.

From what I can see it appears that AJA is introducing a new line of shipping cases for electronic equipment. Using a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" World War II motif, they appear to be full rack sized units so you can theoretically ship an entire rack unit of equipment anywhere in the world. They're clearly prototype models as the AJA logo was the wrong color. "We're working to correct that," CEO John Abt noted.

Ok, ok, ok, so I can't tell you anything that I saw. Heck I hardly did see anything but shipping cases since everyone is in the early stages of setting up. And when it comes to new products, nobody is talking to anyone, not even to me, so don't ask, I really don't know anything!

Looking around it is truly amazing that everything will be finished and pretty by the time the doors open on Monday. I have a new found respect for what all of these vendors go through to put on a good show for you and me.

I did also wander over to the North Hall to check in on the Post Production World conference area and found a very frantic Gary Adcock. No wonder with all the work he's doing to help put this event on for us and it's a great set up they have over there. Hopefully many of you have signed up for the conferences so you can take home a little more knowledge than just a bunch of glossy brochures, pens and stress balls.

Remember to look out for my inaugural "All Things Apple" podcast tomorrow afternoon (Las Vegas time).


Hey Walter,  Since I am
by David Battistella
Hey Walter, 

Since I am close to 0 Celcius Toronto this week, I will be lookling at this blog regularly.  Let us all know what amazingthings Apple is going to change the world with this year. 
Enjoy the sunshine.  Good luck on the nickle slots. 

Peace and Love
Peace and Love
by David Battistella
Peace and Love
NAB Diary 4/14 1:05am
by walter biscardi
Just got back from the Jay Leno show at the Mirage and it was definitely a lot of fun.  About 2 hours including a great 50's doo wop group call the Alley Cats from California that opened the show.  If any of you are in town Saturday and have nothing to do Saturday night, see if there are any tix left for Jay's Saturday night show, you won't be disappointed.  Definitely cool to actually see Jay live and he's still quite the standup comedian! 

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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