NAB 2015 – Drones, Drones, and More Drones

NAB 2015 – Drones, Drones, and More Drones

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NAB 2015 – Drones, Drones, and More, Drones

So my first day at the NAB convention, I was dropped off at the back of the South Hall. I decided to enter the hall on the Upper floor. When I walked into the Hall I was bombarded with a plethora of drones. I thought I was in the wrong place, but I saw NAB badging all around. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of drones and was completely enthralled by the amount of different flying machines surrounding me. There were small ones and very large ones. They even had a demo flying arena caged by webbing. After taking in a few moments of amazement, I continued on my path of looking for new toys and technology.

The NAB convention is a very large show with new and current technology covering the whole convention center by vendors from around the world. The showing this year was full of new technology and products, but 4K, IP based delivery, drones and 1.6mm and 1.2mm LED walls were everywhere. My goal this year was to look at current and future 4K tech. I saw new cameras from Hitachi, Grass Valley, Black Magic and Sony. I even saw routers, multiviewers, and converters for 4K. Did I mention drones?


After walking which seemed for miles, I had an appointment at Riedel and was introduced to their new product called “Tango”. This is a cool product, a non-modular version of the Artist system. In addition, they introduced a user friendly programming software called “Pulse”. This software is easier to use and learn than the current Director Package for the Artist. They also created new Smart Panels to work with this unit, but Tango will work with our existing panels with a converter.

Tango TNG-200 from Riedel

Tango TNG-200 from Riedel

When I left Riedel, I passed by Tektronix to look at their new 4K test scopes. They had two of them, a desktop model and a Rasterizer. Both take in 4 – 3G HDSDI signals and stitch them together. It was interesting that these can even measure the timing between all four inputs. Both were really great products.

I eventually went to see Extron and Evertz and looked at their routers for 4K and for modular multi-format routing. Evertz has great routers that can include outputs for interfacing with their multiviewers. Evertz is a very impressive company and the things they put out for the broadcast industry are more than unique. Extron on the other hand had a great showing with their modular routers and the shear size they can produce. They make modular routers that can house fiber in/out, HDMI, DVI, 3GSDI and they have future plans for Display Port.

Oh, and did I mention the drones at the show? I could not get away from them. At almost every booth, there was something that pertained to drones. I went to Pelican’s booth and they had foam cutouts for drones that fit their cases. They were not the only case company that did this. It was getting a little out of hand. Not only were there flying machines at the show, but things that attached to them as well.


From Wireless HDMI to Gimble controls. Oh, don’t forget drone Cameras. I saw lots of those. There was one booth that had 20 different kinds of small cameras, all of which did something different. And yes, even GoPro was there with everything cool they have to offer.

Towards the end of the day I went to Grass Valley and had a meeting with our sales rep. He showed me their new 4K camera the LDX8600, which was as impressive as our LDK8000’s but more. The low light sensitivity was superb. The image was easy to see and had no noise. The camera connects via SMPTE fiber and output 4K via 3GSDI or IP. I was then rushed over to the new K-Frame line of switchers that will do 3G and even 4K switching. Not only do they have SDI inputs, but also IP based inputs. I thought this to be very interesting, that you could get 3-6 inputs into the switcher via one 10g Ethernet input. Next, I got a full demonstration of the new Grass Valley Director Non-Linear 8×4 switcher, which has built-in CG and Playback. There are no ME’s in this switcher, just layers. It is limited to the GPU processing on the amount of layers you can have. This would be a great addition to our fleet.

By the end of Day 1, I was beat and my dogs were pleading me to stop abusing them on this carpeted concrete floor. So I obliged and had a great dinner with a vendor and some colleagues. The next day I returned to the floor to run through what I had missed the day before and to revisit some that I just needed more information from. While it was tough to ingest everything I was inundated with on Day 1, it was all starting to make sense. The evolution of where video is going is about to change in a great way and what we know now will be different in the next few years. It used to be every action on a piece of gear either had a button or a tweak pot. Then entered the computers that started to replace the buttons and tweak pots with software control. Now the time has come that we are going to get rid of a single cable for a single source and combine multiple sources in a single cable and make it IP based and even have an IP address for each source. I think it still has a few years to get there because of the bandwidth needed, but it will and how we do video now will change forever.

It was another great year at NAB and I learned a lot about the future of broadcast and where it is all going. I will continue to look forward and be energized about where this industry is headed. And last but not least, I just might buy me a new drone!



Bill Brady

Manager of Video Services

Alford Media Services


For more information on some of the technology at NAB this year see the links below:

Tango Riedel System

Tektronics Monitor

Tektronics Rasterizers


Grass Valley Cameras

Grass Valley K-frame

Grass Valley Director




Alford Media