I spent Saturday with Clo at IBC 2006 (Amsterdam), an exhibition about content creation, management and delivery. As boring as that may sound, we did see some neat stuff.

HARDWARE
IBC: AccentureFirst of all, IBC is a paradise for hardware freaks. I’ve never seen so many 30″ plus flat screen displays on such a limited surface. One vendor combined 6 of those into one impressive control room. Accenture was showing off a huge touchscreen display for geo-applications, which reminded of Minory Report. Apple had dropped off several truckloads of equipment, including a full XServe RAID rack which probably packed more than 30 Terabytes. A nice rack to look at.

There are camera support cranes and extensible poles up to 15m high. We saw a lot of steadycam demos, and one guy did a steadycam demo that was some mix between martial arts and ballet.

All vendors of blue screen/green screen solutions for broadcast purposes showed of their equipment with one or more blond girls. Must be the best hair colour for blue screen effects.

SOFTWARE
We were most impressed with the software demos we saw. Apple showed some neat Final Cut Studio stuff. Their podcast presentation was less of a surprise, the presenter didn’t seem to actually understand what he meant with “and then you just make the RSS”. Soundtrack Pro looks like a neat application.

We spent most time at the Autodesk booth. They had really comfy chairs and awesome demos of Maya (3D animation), Smoke (editing), Fire (editing) and Lustre (color-grading) – running on a 4-processor Linux system. Since I’ve never seen a lot of live digital movie editing, I might have been easy to baffle. But what those presenters could do in 5 minutes … Don’t trust anything you see on a screen ever again.

Since we were there with a cheap-o exhibition ticket, and could not attend the conference, we missed out on a lot of the digital cinema presentations. I did see the RED booth: the first 4K digital camera (4520 x 2540 pixels) that records in 2540p (not interlaced). Besides the obvious technical achievements (the camera was demo’d for the first time at IBC) you also have to admire the buzz-marketing around the product.

The RED ONE camera: