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Vegas & NAB 2009 report

Posted: Tue, 19th May 2009, 8:44am

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Simon K Jones

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The ever-expanding FXhome NAB Show Expedition began with just Josh ‘Schwar’ Davies flying out to Las Vegas for a few meetings. Shortly afterwards the plan was changed so that Lucy ‘Leeloo’ Harvey and Jack ‘Jackpot’ Everitt would also attend, enabling us to squeeze in more meetings and also benefit from the cornucopia of technical delights that is to be found at the National Association of Broadcasters Show.

Fast forward to Wednesday 15th of April, just over three days before the trio were flying out of London, and a last minute decision was made to take Simon ‘Tarn’ Jones and Tim ‘Cogz’ Edwards along for the ride, broadening the spectrum of conferences and lectures that we would be able to attend. NAB is not only a chance for manufacturers and developers to show off their latest products, it is also a training event for broadcast professionals, this year expanding to include new media and gaming.


Flying over Nevada - absolutely breathtaking


Therefore, on Sunday 19th, the entire FXhome office headed to Gatwick airport and jumped on a couple of planes. 20 hours later we rendezvoused at the famous Bellagio hotel, welcomed by the amazing fountains that kept us all entertained while we sat in Las Vegas rush hour traffic. For the record, it appears to always be rush hour in Vegas.


The view from the Bellagio


Hotels in Vegas are large. There's a new one being built that could house most of the population of Norwich city. In fact, everything in Vegas is oversized, from Caesar's bizarre Euro-stretch architecture to the Las Vegas Convention Centre itself, which could swallow up pretty much all of London's conference centres combined. Simply going from your room to the street has to be factored into journey times in Vegas, as it can take a good twenty minutes to navigate the Bellagio's various corridors of infinity.


No forced perspective tricks were used in this photo

The Hunt for Cheesecake

Sunday evening and everyone was handling the jet lag in their own unique way. Lucy was succumbing to frequent hysterical laughter. Tim had The Rage. Simon was entirely zombiefied. Jack and Josh were harder to define, but before the end of the night they were sharing a single cheesecake from the same plate, something that would ordinarily never happen in public. Thankfully the jet lag wasn't so severe that they forgot to ask for two forks.


The amazing Bellagio fountains and the bizarre miniature Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel


Getting to the fabled (we don't have them in the UK) Cheesecake Factory proved trickier than expected. Despite having visited Vegas twice already, the last time only a month before for the PMA show, Josh's navigational abilities proved to be a little less than GPS-quality, taking us on an end-to-end tour of the strip before eventually finding ourselves in Caesar's. Given the aforementioned gargantuan size of everything in Vegas, from there it was another twenty minute walk through the bowels of the building before reaching the restaurant and we were all starved by the time we settled down for some Big American Food. You guys sure don't skimp on the portions.

NAB 2009

The following day, refreshed and ready for action, the FXhome team descended upon the Las Vegas Convention Centre like a swarm of information bees searching for data flowers. Our schedule only allowed us to attend the show for two days and we had to make the most of our time.


The NAB Show in full swing


It was a three-pronged strategy. Simon, Jack and Tim were booked to attend the various workshops and panel discussions, while Josh and Lucy conducted a variety of business meetings. On top of this there was the massive show floor to explore, which encompassed everything broadcast-related that you can imagine, from insanely expensive, high end, motion controlled camera rigs to the consumer software everybody here is familiar with from the likes of Adobe, Sony, Maxon et al. Also exhibiting were visual effects studios such as The Orphanage (or what was left of them) and Intelligent Creatures, showcasing amazing work on films such as Iron Man and Watchmen.


The team attends one of the conferences, while outside the show it looks like an Indiana Jones set


The two days went smoothly and we all came away having learnt a lot and met lots of highly talented people from the industry. The show also enabled us to meet face-to-face with people that we've been talking to via email and telephone calls for years.

NAB 2009 had quite an impact on us and you'll gradually start to feel its influence in what we do over the next 12 months. The primary reason for flying all the way to Nevada was to increase the knowledge and skills we have here at FXhome, all of which ultimately filters down into the products you use.

Lots of beef

If you're a vegetarian, look away now.


THIS IS BEEF!


On the Tuesday night, before flying back to the UK, we headed for the MGM Grand to meet up with our chums over at Tubetape, who had arrived in Vegas to say hello. Despite having worked with them for years, only Josh had ever actually met them in the flesh.


The Tubetape and FXhome crews enjoying Craftsteak


After excited introductions and a couple of drinks in the Rouge bar, courtesy of some interestingly-clad waitresses, we headed to Craftsteak to indulge in possibly the most gargantuan bovine-related meal any of us have ever experienced.


Jack discovers a prop from Hobbits do Las Vegas and Schwar gets delusions of grandeur


The meal started with a variety of steak-related bites, with some lobster and a few vegetables thrown in to lull us into a false sense of security, before unleashing the full force of the main course: an epic extravaganza of different cuts of kobe beef, all utterly exquisite.


In the botanical gardens at the Bellagio


There are certain foods which you naively presume can't really go above a certain quality – “it's just a steak”, after all. In this case we all had to recalibrate our cow appreciation sensors, though, and steak dinners will now seem ever so slightly lame whenever we have their poor imitations in the UK. Many thanks to Scott and the guys at Tubetape for showing us how it's done in Vegas.


The team assembles on the NAB showfloor


We're all looking forward to Craftsteak 2010, during which we may also find the time to attend the NAB show.

Also, the Delta Air Lines safety video is rather amusing:

Posted: Tue, 19th May 2009, 9:36am

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Xcession

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Jesus! So Delta is staffed by Nicollette Sheridan's uncanny alien-looking sister, huh? I guess i'll be flying with someone else from now on!
Posted: Tue, 19th May 2009, 10:15am

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JackPot

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The kobe beef was the best beef I have ever tasted. And kudos to Scott at TubeTape for picking some great wine to go with it!!

My blood pressure was off the charts after all that food then a rollercoaster straight after! I wish the Travel Lodge offered a 'beef to coaster' service.
Posted: Tue, 19th May 2009, 2:26pm

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Cogz

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I think you'll find that my hotel room view was much better Tarn razz



Yeah, NAB was really cool, so massive you could really get lost. Lots of exciting things happening on all the stands, you looked on in awe as people showed you how they added effects into Ironman for instance. The last night was the best after our awesome meal, the New York New York rollercoaster was certainly worth running to before it closed. I almost won loads of money on blackjack if that last croupier hadn't ruined my good luck streak!
Posted: Tue, 19th May 2009, 4:43pm

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No Respite Productions

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Sounds like you guys had an amazing time! Thanks for the pics and the travelogue, really looking forward to seeing what gets developed over the next year or so (perhaps a RareBeefSteak Lab to replace your long overdue WPD lab?).

P.S. No pictures of those interestingly clad waitresses? Come on wink
Posted: Tue, 19th May 2009, 9:58pm

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Squid

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Sounds like a great trip. I'm amazed you all managed to make it there flying Delta... To say I've had nothing but bad luck with them is a massive understatement.

Also, I second the need for pictures of the waitresses. razz
Posted: Wed, 20th May 2009, 7:48am

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Simon K Jones

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Squid wrote:

Sounds like a great trip. I'm amazed you all managed to make it there flying Delta... To say I've had nothing but bad luck with them is a massive understatement.
Funny you should say that. When me and Tim got to Cincinatti for our connection (the other guys were flying Virgin straight to Vegas) it turned out we didn't actually have seats on the connecting flight. After an extremely stressful 45 minutes they managed to convince some local passengers to defer their flights to the next day, enabling us to get on board. Even then Tim found himself practically sitting in the toilet.

It would have been annoying for any trip, but given that we were only going to be in Vegas for 2 days we REALLY couldn't afford to lose any time. The Cincinatti->Vegas flight was pretty crap, too, really cramped and old plane.

Having said that, the Atlantic flight out with Delta was pretty comfy.

Annoyingly we don't seem to have any photos of the interestingly-clad waitresses. Missed opportunity!
Posted: Wed, 20th May 2009, 2:20pm

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TubeTape

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Thanks for the update. Love the pics! Great job Tarn!

We really had a great time and enjoyed meeting everyone. The food was awesome. Running to the roller coaster after wolfing down desert was probably not the best idea smile

Looking forward to next time.
Posted: Wed, 20th May 2009, 4:14pm

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TubeTape

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Rating: +1

Without further adieu...
Posted: Wed, 20th May 2009, 6:04pm

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Simon K Jones

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I like Scott's expression there. "Oh yeah, I'll be posting this on the forums!"
Posted: Wed, 20th May 2009, 9:22pm

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Paradox Pictures

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Did you guys get to see the Mirage's volcano in action?
Posted: Wed, 20th May 2009, 10:44pm

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Theresa Poppins

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I just love how each of the men are maintaining strong eye contact with the camera wink It was much fun being the only TubeTape lady in the bunch. Cheers to Lu for being my FXhome counterpart!
Posted: Sat, 23rd May 2009, 7:49am

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Redhawksrymmer

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Looks like you all had a great time! I visited a photo exhibition earlier this year which I thought was rather huge, but this was just insane! And the in-flight safety video was well...mildly disturbing, yet everything I expected from an american airline I guess razz Been thinking about going to a trade show like NAB some year, or just to Las Vegas for that matter - just a few more years before I can gamble legally in the U.S. so I guess I should wait til then. smile