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Preroll: Love & Hate at the NAB Show

Selecting 20 “best” new products at this year’s NAB Show may sound like a fun job to some, but I’m heading into the nomination/judging process for the 2010 DV Black Diamond Awards with the usual trepidation. There will certainly be more than enough great tech offerings to choose from — that’s no issue — but will we choose the the right ones to spotlight in the name of the DV readership?

It would be easy to honor a magnificent $25,000 broadcast-quality monitor, or a 4K HD camera so amazing that if you have to ask the price, you can’t possibly afford it. But our Black Diamond Awards aren’t about that notion of “best.” That’s the same school of thought that perennially picks the latest offering from Ferrari as a “car of the year.” Well, yeah, it’s great, absolutely, but how about what would be the “best” for the rest of us? Those who work for a living, pay their own way and have to deal with the realities of return on investment?

That in mind, your humble narrator will work with the editors of our sister publications — Videography, TV Technology and Government Video — DV technical editor Jay Holben and contributing editors Oliver Peters, Ned Soltz and Iain Stasukevich to find the best new NAB Show products that serve the DV readership of independent professionals. (See page 12 for nomination process details.)

But there can only be so many Black Diamond Award honorees every year, and that’s where the “love and hate” comes in. On that day during the NAB Show when I personally present plaques to our winners. I love introducing myself to a company rep and explaining to them that their latest gizmo is truly outstanding. All the companies exhibiting at the NAB Show want to feel appreciated and that their creativity and investment has been recognized. And winning an award that singles theirs out as one of the event’s best new products is a welcomed event.

What I hate is spending days at the show knowing that not every company I meet with nor every product I seen can be a “winner,” and least not in regard to the Black Diamond Awards. Perhaps they will be perfect for Videography or TV Technology, each of which present their own best-of-show awards designed to recognize companies that serve their respective readers. So I see something, consider it, and, if not right for DV, I’ll pass it on to my cohorts.   

Giving out these awards is a balancing act — juggling all manner of tools and technology and hoping to highlight those most deserving. Yet, invariably, just a day or two after thinking I finally got it right, after the show is long over, someone will mention an astonishingly cool thingamajig that none of my minions had spotted. Something that would have easily been a Black Diamond winner.

I hate that, too.


David E. Williams
DV magazine and