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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.
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: