For the first time since 2019, The National Association of Broadcasters opened its doors to live attendees. Traditionally the largest broadcast equipment trade show, Alford has always used the NAB show to evaluate gear and find unique solutions for our industry.
While much of our capital expenditures have been ordered for our next fiscal year, finding the products that will make the new gear work together in a smooth and polished design was an excellent opportunity. Being one of the most hectic springs of the last few years, Ben and I were reluctant to be gone away from the office any longer than necessary, so we had a focused two days on the 3 building trade show floor.
12G was the name of the year for the Alford team. Since the new Panasonic cameras and the carbonate switcher will be our UHD workflowâ€™s focal point, we focused on finding state-of-the-art support equipment to ensure they are running at their optimal performance on day one. We looked at 12G over fiber solutions to bring the 4K resolution directly from our E2s to our 4K projectors and 4K LED processors. The slightest loss in signal at this bandwidth can have catastrophic consequences for our shows. Evaluating our old partners at Think-logical and potential new partners like AVMatrix, products were evaluated on usability, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. With the chip shortage, some providers were not promising product delivery for months, but we found some vendors who offered to get us evaluation units in days.
Another challenge with higher resolution is evaluating the signal through the entire signal chain. SRI Technologies demonstrated a test pattern generator for the 4K world that can show scaling and pixel mismanagement errors. This rack appliance can connect to your system with 12G SDI or DisplayPort. When the video is output on any monitor, distortions in the image will show you how the image is being processed and what can be causing the distortions. This gives an engineer the tools to comfortably discuss signal flow and pixel management with the entire production team.
One aspect of any tradeshow is the relationship development between attendees and vendors. Meeting vendors who we have discussed products with over the phone or through email helps us build relationships when we need them. We met with the Wireless Transmission team from WAVE Technology. It allowed us to discuss the wireless workflow that will be integral to one of our high-profile upcoming projects face-to-face. Seeing the technology up close allowed us to get our hands on the gear and better understand how it would improve the clientâ€™s experience. Another face-to-face discussion helped us solve our cross-rental departmentâ€™s equipment availability issue. After a few minutes in the booth discussing the challenges with a vendor, the vendor came up with a solution that saved Alford money and fulfilled a need when others couldnâ€™t.
As everyone in the industry is highly aware, the live event industry is back. We were proud to attend NAB and walk the long exhibit halls of the latest equipment. We will evaluate our conversations and the equipment solutions we discovered during the 36-hour trip. Not all devices will be as glamorous as a high-resolution camera or a multiscreen switch, but all the tools we discussed can make the shows more exciting for our clients and easier for our technicians. Time and money well spent.