Checking out the latest broadcast tech: RJI visits NAB Show 2018

The NAB Show in Las Vegas is by far my favorite “work trip” of the year. Not only do I get to trade a Missouri spring (30s and snow) for a Nevada spring (90s and sun), but I get to unleash the normally repressed A/V nerd inside me to mingle, network, shop, swap stories and pick the brains of about 100,000 like-minded individuals. (My goal is to speak to each of you one of these years.)

One of my first stops was at the Broadcast Pix booth. This Boston-based company has been at the center of the RJI control room universe for all 10 years of its operation. One of my goals this year is to explore options for live, animated graphics. As our productions grow, so do the demands of the audience. I think my time with Mizzou Broadcast Operations (ye of SEC Network-ESPN fame) has made me envious of its ability to create graphics on the fly and have them animate on screen. Now that Broadcast Pix is finally on board with the graphics I want, “So long, Inscriber Titlemotion.” For more on BP Fusion and NewBlueFX, visit Broadcast Pix’s website.

I also visited with the folks at Quicklink. This UK-based company is the one behind our Skype abilities, seen mostly on our weekly program Global Journalist. To do that show, we use three rackmount units, one per guest. The big push this year was to adopt version 2.0 of Quicklink’s Studio-in-a-box. What’s in the box? Inside is a monitor, a Panasonic PTZ or pan-tilt-zoom camera and lights. These tools will give you the ability to do green screen and cloud-supported FTP. Did I mention remote control? The box even includes a generous handle. (Need to send talent into the field? The monitor can become a teleprompter!) The price was fair; most of your investment is in the camera. It was suggested to me that I buy a few of these and send them to our guests each week. I told them I’d get back to them on that one.

I spent one morning with Southwest Audio-Visual’s Raun Hamilton and we toured the booths of a handful of companies involved in RJI’s recent studio-camera upgrade. (After 10 years, the RJI Futures Lab finally said goodbye to our JVC GY-HD250s and hello to JVC GY-HM890Us.) As you might expect, our first stop was the JVC booth. Our sales rep, Robert Yarosh, was kind enough to show me how to go live from within the 890. It’s as easy as baking a 12-step cake!

Raun and I also stopped by MultiDyne. Our new studio cameras use fiber backs. Since I’m new to the fiber game, I trusted Raun’s opinion, and MultiDyne was his company of choice. This was our chance to visit with MultiDyne reps in person. Stops at SWIT (our viewfinders), Clear-Com, Sony (our PTZ cameras) and Sachtler (our tripods) rounded out the tour. If you’d like to know more about why we stopped at each of those booths, feel free to shoot me an email.

My one regret? I wasn’t able to hit up every booth I had planned to visit. I assume most people walk away with that feeling. Two days doesn’t go as far as it used to. Visits to Wheatstone, Erector Sets Inc., Masterclock and others never saw the light of day because the day ran out of light — and there’s no such thing as NAB after dark, at least not yet. I mention those booths in particular because I either work with them already or would like to in the future. Speaking of the future, here’s hoping I see you all at NAB 2019.


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