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GV Expo 2015 Grows With Drones, Presentations

All-star presenters and new technology create excitement

Taidus Vallandi of Calrec/DiGiCo explains the DiGiCo S21 audio mixer to Eric Lofberg of NASA Television.

The most successful Government Video Expo in recent years wrapped up on Dec. 3, 2015, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

There are many ways to measure success and by most of those measures, the numbers tell the tale of a show moving in the right direction.

“An all-star speaker line-up, new content partners, more top industry exhibitors, a stepped-up marketing program and two days of drone demonstrations yielded a 16-percent increase in attendance, plus some great show energy and buzz,” said Carmel King, executive vice president of NewBay Media, the parent of Government Video magazine and the producer of the GV Expo. “In our post-show survey, 97 percent of respondents rated their experience at the combined event as good to excellent.”

On the exhibitor side, the numbers looked good there, too.

“Exhibitors were also very pleased both in the traffic and the quality of attendees – and it’s no wonder,” King said. “In the survey, 80 percent of responding attendees said they may or definitely will buy a product they saw exhibited at this year’s show.”

Statistics and numbers aside, there was just a continuous buzz on the floor of GV Expo 2015, no doubt enhanced by the fact that the show was co-located with the National Drone Show and partnered with the Federal Government Distance Learning Association. One of the contributors to the buzz was the slate of keynote speakers, which addressed both cable access video channels and one of 2015’s hottest video topics: police body cameras.

Washington Metro Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier spoke to a standing-room-only audience about her department’s experience with the rollout of body cameras to its officers. She pointed out that making body cameras work means more than an officer just clipping on another piece of gear.

Washington Metro Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier talked about her department’s experience with police body cameras.

“I’ve implemented more technology solutions in MPD in the last nine years, and all of those projects combined don’t add up to the complicated logistics of implementing a body-worn camera program,” Lanier said, whose talk was titled “Police Body Cameras and the Urban Patrol.”


Offering additional guidance on this topic was Fairfax County Police Captain Bob Blakley, who is also the chairman of the newly created Body-Worn Camera working group of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Among other points, he said that it is critical to involve the community in decisions regarding body cameras.

“We basically met with any group that was willing to meet with us to discuss our program,” Blakley said. “We learned some things from them and we provided some information in return. All that information together helped mold our policy.”

DCTV President and CEO Nantz Rickard spoke on the topic of “Finding Buried Treasure: Strategic Ingenuity and the PEG Center Advantage.” Rickard pointed out that people watch PEG and cable access channels specifically because they provide coverage no other channel provides.

“[PEG is] not entertainment. It’s not advertising,” Rickard said. “It’s a very special niche and it’s channeled and programmed in a way to be in effective in a way to reach the people that are looking for that information.”

Of course, the GV Expo has a large exhibition floor featuring the best-known companies in the industry, all eager to show their wares to interested attendees. Although many government video operations use video much the same was a television station or video production company, there are many video applications that are unique to government. One of the pleasures of the GV Expo is to see some of this unusual gear.

For example, Canon brought its ME20F-SH, a 35mm full-frame camera with sensitivity as high as ISO 4,000,000. Demonstrating how it can “see” things in deep shadow and near darkness, the people at the Canon booth pointed the ME20F through a gap in the ceiling where a roof truss fastened to a steel column. Unviewable by the naked eye, the image was clear through the ME20F camera.

Blackmagic Design’s small booth was continuously busy with attendees examining the company’s Ursa 4K cameras and across the hall, staffers at Panasonic’s booth reported heavy interest in the new AG-DVX200PJ 4K camcorder that comes with an integrated 13x zoom lens.

Exhibitors at the GV Expo showed a far more diverse product line than production cameras, however.

Rampant Design displayed its video effects library that consists of HD and 4K video clips that can be keyed and overlaid during editing. Effects included natural fire, many kinds of distortion and other full-motion clips.


Rose Electronics had a large booth showing its line of KVM switches, extenders and multiviewers. The company specifically targets the government market and looks forward to the GV Expo to reach its audience.

“Since 1984, Rose Electronics has been providing switching and extension technologies to DOD, Federal, Intelligence and Space & Missile Defense,” said David Rahvar, president of Rose Electronics. “Because of this and [our] working relationship with GV Expo, Rose Electronics has a great deal of exposure, and traffic to our booth is exceptional.”

Rahvar’s position gives him an idea of trends in government video usage and developments.

DCTV President and CEO Nantz Rickard spoke on the topic of “Finding Buried Treasure: Strategic Ingenuity and the PEG Center Advantage.”

“Many of the entities have an ever growing need to furnish video signals to multiple locations or perhaps a video wall type application,” he said. “In today’s world there are unbelievable amounts of video being captured and needing to be distributed. Some of the video must be shared onto larger displays so the command center director can detect which video source has the highest [importance]. Our matrix switches and CATx/fiber extenders support these applications.”

Some of the other exhibitors at GV Expo 2015 include JVC, Adorama, Digital Video Group, Cobalt Digital, ChyronHego, Grass Valley, LTO Program, PESA, Osprey Video, Washington Professional Systems, Quantum Corp. and Telestream.

In addition to the main presentations mentioned above, the GV Expo had an extensive lineup of classroom sessions on a variety of television and management topics. Then there was the content and exhibitors for the National Drone Show, which drew big crowds to the floor that it shared with the GV Expo. Several of the popular drone sessions were led by Fred Bivetto, dean of the School of Unmanned Technology at Unmanned Vehicle University.

A flying cage set up for the drone exhibits was busy throughout the show, with presentations every half-hour on a range of drone-related topics. Some of these topics included video conferencing with drones, HD video downlinks, FAA & commercial use of drones, a demo of the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 drone, and products and applications for fixed-wing UAVs.


The Federal Government Distance Learning Association held a live demonstration of a distance learning classroom. In addition, the FGDLA held discussions and its annual conference at the GV Expo, bringing hundreds of education professionals to the show.

One of the most popular attractions at the GV Expo is its equipment raffle, held at the end of each day of the exhibition. There were excellent prizes given out to those in attendance, including the following items:

Blackmagic Design ATEM Production Studio 4K switcher

Blackmagic Design Teranex Mini converter

Marshall CV505-MB/M HD POV cameras (two of them)

DPA d:screet Slim 4062 microphone

JVC Axxion action camera

Grass Valley EDIUS editing software (two of them)

Telestream Episode software encoder (two of them)

Ikan International on-camera lights (two of them)

NASCAR die-cast model car (courtesy of Panasonic)

15-minute drone introduction and flying cage experience (courtesy of Stampede)

There were also several books on video production and newsgathering among the raffle prizes. The raffle was capped off with the giveaway of a Fender Stratocaster guitar autographed by rocker Tom Petty. This prize was coordinated by Stephen Arnold Music, and it kept attendees at the show until the very end. The staff of Government Video magazine and the GV Expo thanks all the prize donors for their excellent donations.

As the show ended after two exhibition days, the feeling in the air was that next year’s show should have more of both traditional Government Video Expo content and exhibits, as well as more National Drone Show content. It’s not a given that the two shows will be co-located again in 2016, but that is certainly up for discussion.

Then there are partners such as the Federal Government Distance Learning Association, which brought both new content and new attendees to GV Expo 2015. The GV Expo team is working on adding more partners to enhance GV Expo 2016.

In the meantime, the most recent show will be remembered for its on-target presentations and active exhibition hall. If you missed GV Expo 2015, you can catch up with some of the action by reading the nearly 20 articles about it posted on