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Lost Wages: Everything Looks Great at NAB

In my mind, I’m Danny McCoy, deftly easing my washboard abs into my 69 Camaro ragtop, trolling confidently up and down the Strip, the wind ruffling my hair as I head for a liaison with my all-grown-up childhood pal Mary Connell, or a dalliance with Delinda Deline, the boss’s daughter.

In RL (gamer parlance for Real Life), I’m a middle-aged guy with grey hair, a little too full of sushi and sake, ambling and people-watching from Luxor to New York, New York, trying to take a few interesting photos on the Strip before collapsing into bed after a long day walking the floor at NAB.

Obviously I’ve watched too many episodes of “Las Vegas!” Like the Josh Duhamel character in the Camaro in that now-defunct series, I use a lot of cameras. Unlike him, I’m a freelance DP, not a casino surveillance and security expert.

I’m often asked about how some camera or other looked at the annual NAB Show in Lost Wages. My answer is usually the same: “It looked great.”

The truth is, nearly everything looks great at NAB. The manufacturers show off their cameras in shooting galleries in their booths. Every camera they make is lined up and pointed at a colorful, flatly lit set, populated by a strange race of young people with gleaming teeth, perfect bodies, and flawless skin. Back in the day, the models were all women in some form of flimsy beach attire. Now the galleries hold attractive folks of . . . CONTINUE READING: Lost Wages: Everything Looks Great at NAB

Tech

NAB 2011: Back to Vegas

The first time I went to the NAB Show, I wore camouflage fatigues and marched through hippies.

I was working the show for Ampex, the television equipment company that had invented videotape. During the 80s, they were buying Sony professional video camera parts, assembling them in Ampex factories, and branding and marketing them as their own. One of their promotions at that time showed a photo of their new, integrated camcorders with a camouflage paint job and the caption “Guerrillacam.”

These Ampex products, based on the Sony 200 and 300 Betacam camcorders, represented a huge improvement in portability. Before this time, most professional video shooting was done either in a two-piece configuration (with camera connected to a separate recorder) or with a “dockable” record deck mounted on the back of a camera. This older dockable rig was pretty heavy, because it mated two units that each could function independently, each with its own rugged case and power supply.

The new Ampex (and Sony) camcorders provided the basic form factor for most professional camcorders for years to come, a sleeker and lighter alternative to the dockable systems. The marketing push was directed at news shooters, especially those navigating the urban jungles. Hence, Guerrillacam.

So Ampex hired me and another cameraman named Dan Cascino to help man their booth at the National Association of Broadcasters annual trade show, oddly held that year in Atlanta. We wore jungle camouflage fatigues on the floor of the show, with camo military caps that said . . . CONTINUE READING: NAB 2011: Back to Vegas