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GV Expo Wrap-Up: The Fun, The Finds, The Freebies

Annual show thrives with exhibits, presentations and raffle fun.

Attendees visit exhibitor booths on the Expo floor.

The 2013 Government Video Expo went off without a hitch on Dec. 4 and 5, 2013. Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, the GV Expo combined with GovComm13 to create a good-sized show that took some time and walking to fully navigate.

If you paid attention, it was easy to tell which of the exhibitors were on the GV Expo side of the floor and which were the GovComm exhibitors: The GV Expo side had red carpet and the GovComm side had blue. However, it was designed so that you could walk the whole show and never be aware of the distinction―which was the purpose of the tight integration between the two organizations.

Anchored by some of the best-known companies in the industry, GV Expo 2013 drew good crowds and had a continual buzz going during show hours. There were many impressive products to be found, including Government Video magazine’s Salute Award winners, which are detailed in an article that begins on page 28 of this issue.

Hard to miss was JVC’s sizable booth, strategically located near the main entrance to the hall. Among other products, the company featured the innovative GY-HM650U ENG camera in its booth. A full review of this camera starts on page 24 of this issue.

Across the aisle from JVC was Communication Engineering’s busy booth, which featured products from a range of manufacturers, as well as providing a platform for the company to discuss its integration services.


Rose Electronics, a popular manufacturer of infrastructure products for government facilities, shined the spotlight on its signature Orion X switch and UltraVista video wall controllers at GV Expo 2013. The company must have made a good impression, as the Orion X-series of KVM switchers earned a Salute Award.

A number of Beam Remote Presence Devices left the Suitable Technologies booth in search of attendees to talk with.

Other well-known companies that drew interested crowds at the GV Expo included For-A, Ikegami, Grass Valley (which donated a copy of its Edius 7 editing software for a raffle prize), Evertz, Cobalt Digital (also a raffle prize donor), Canon, Audio-Technica, Adobe (another raffle prize donor), Miranda Technologies, PESA, Shure, Tektronix and Vitec Videocom (yes, another raffle prize donor). These companies all drew their share of attendees, who got to see some of the industry’s best products without traveling to Las Vegas or Europe.

Tucked into a small booth, For-A featured its FT-One 4K variable speed camera. The video sequences played back from this camera were astonishing and mesmerizing, which had much to with the FT-One’s selection as a Salute Award winner.

Aaron Grisham with Verizon FNS (L) learns about the Evertz DVT Video Wall Tiler from Joel Woodruff.

Panasonic not only had a sizable booth, the company led a well-attended seminar that presented an overview of its wide range of video products. Starting with 4K production gear, the Panasonic seminar covered much of the company’s product line, including its novel control systems.

Grass Valley also hosted a seminar on the main stage that included an interesting talk about the advantages and disadvantages of some of the popular camera image sensors.

This brings up the subject of seminars, of which there was an excellent selection at GV Expo 2013. In addition to the presentations already mentioned and five keynote speakers, there were engrossing presentations by the Government Producers Panel and UStream. Of the five keynote speakers, three were coordinated by the GV Expo team: Rodney Grubbs, André Mendes and Sam Sills.

Ross Carbonite switcher buttons.

Leading off the keynote speakers was Grubbs, chairman of NASA’s DTV Working Group and a principal investigator of 4K camera technology for NASA. This highly visual presentation explained why NASA is using 4K cameras and what the results have been so far. If you thought that the government would be among the last to incorporate 4K technology, Grubbs would have informed you that NASA was actually among the first to use such gear.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors might not be the best-known government agency, but it is the parent organization for the Voice of America. As such, it oversees a fascinating array of communications facilities ranging from radio to television, and is growing rapidly into online delivery of content. Mendes, director of the Office of Technology, Services and Innovation for BBG, discussed the agency’s eye-opening operations and concerns, not the least of which was his statement that as recently as four years ago, most of Voice of America’s content servers had been hacked and were under the control of the People’s Republic of China! With a mission to deliver America’s message around the world, Mendes spent some time explaining the browser app VoA provides to allow for uncensored news in any country.

Norman Burt (L) explains to Mark Kaiser with Verizon Digital Media Services how to auto-transcode and auto-caption video using the Telestream Vantage.

The GV Expo’s final keynote speaker was Sills, a media producer for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. How the government uses video to promote the welfare of children is a critical topic, and Sills led through a series of videos used to educate parents on childhood dangers. The secret to a successful adoption was also one of Sills’ absorbing video clips.

Taken together, the three GV Expo keynote speakers represented how government is using the latest gear, getting its message out to the world and looking inward to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable Americans―an outstanding range of thoughtful and inspiring talks.


One of the most fun aspects of GV Expo 2013 was the raffle, in which a herd of valuable prizes were given away. Held at the end of each day of the show, the raffle drew a big and eager-to-win crowd.

The list of prizes and donors was impressive:

Adobe Creative Cloud – One year free subscription

Listec PW-04 Smartphone Prompters (Qty. 2)

Blackmagic Design Atem Production Studio 4K switcher

Petrol Bags – three bags, including a dSLR Camera Rollpack backpack and trolley bag

Litepanels Croma on-camera LED light

Hall Research EMX-HD-AUD audio extractor and HDMI extender

Grass Valley Edius Pro 7 editing software

Ensemble Designs BrightEye 83 HDMI-to-SDI converter

Cobalt Digital BlueBox SDI-to-HDMI converter

Bose QC15 Noise-cancelling headphones (donated by Audio Network)

JVC Adixxion Action camera

Pond5 $100 Stock media certificates (Qty. 2)

In addition to these items, Focal Press donated four books about video production, editing and newsgathering, including Videojournalism by Kenneth Kobre, The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide by Anthony Q. Artis, The Shut Up and Shoot Freelance Video Guide by Anthony Q. Artis and Direct Your Own Damn Movie! by Lloyd Kaufman with Sara Antill and Kurly Tlapoyawa.

The staff at Government Video magazine and the GV Expo sincerely thank the donors for the excellent prizes.

Government Video editor Bob Kovacs draws an entry from the drum during Thursday’s prize raffle.

It was a pleasure for me to meet so many people and listen to your thoughts at GV Expo 2013. Government―especially the federal government―is still reeling from the effects of cutbacks and the sequester. These tight economic times have trickled down to other levels of government, as well as the contractors that provide services to government. Many of the conversations I had at the show contained comments about budgets and procurements, which have been tough over the past few years.

However, everyone was delighted that the chaotic and unpredictable federal government shutdown ended well before the GV Expo, so that federal workers could get back on the job and caught up with their work. Still, the psychic effect of the shutdown lingered on the floor of the show, including conversations along the lines of, “What did you do during the shutdown?”

As the largest video and audiovisual show in the Eastern U.S., GV Expo 2013 made it easy for the thousands of video professionals within convenient distance of Washington to get to a show that serves their industry. Government Video magazine thanks all the attendees and exhibitors, and hopes to see you all―and more―next year.