If this were an NAB session, it would be called "Telling The Story With Pictures," and it would be boring.Alright, here's what the Vegas adventure looked like:
My hotel room and flight were booked on Thursday night, and Monday night I found myself at the Signature at the MGM Grand. HD TV, polished wood details, complete kitchenette (blender and toaster! Has anyone ever stayed at a hotel and said to themselves "if only I had a blender here, that would be something!"), and all the other comforts of home. Not my home, of course, someone's home much nicer than mine.
Much, much nicer. Notice the completely useless glass divider separating the couch from the bed. I tried to think of a good reason for this divider and could not.
"Say, mind if I stay up and read?"
"Go ahead. With this glass divider between us, the light won't bother me."
Plus, it had a little TV in the bathroom so I could watch "Family Guy" or ESPN highlights while showering. I now cannot use a bathroom without constantly being entertained. I can't go back. I won't.
The problem with events like this is that when the floor closes at 6 every night, the 100,000 people at the conference try to become the 100,00 on the monorail back home. Here's what that looks like in the maddening crush to get on the monorail.
And here's what that looks like once you get inside.
After our first day at the conference, we took a couple cabs over to Fremont Street to see the sights. Kevin and I recorded the event for posterity.
There, we took the sort of pictures that last a lifetime of blackmail.
It looks a lot like an album cover, doesn't it? One of those CDs in a record store where you say "who would buy that?"
People weren't kidding about that light show. That thing was a sight to see.
NAB is a strange place. There's people in motion capture suits performing in digital environments.
Also, models hired to sit in stage-like environments and pretend to talk to each other for eight hours abound. I remained perpetually weirded out by this, since viewers are given the option to operate the surrounding cameras and zoom in to extreme close ups on the models faces, and then make suggestive comments (that's probably not what the cameras are there for, but sometimes it was hard to tell) . You haven't seen awkward until you've seen a bored, tired out model being unsubtly hit on by dozens of paunchy gentlemen in polo shirts.
Both this and important multi-million dollar purchasing decisions are helped along by the presence of beer carts.
But nothing trumps the weirdness of the Technologies For Worship stage, which had a full-time worship band playing "This Is Our God" to an audience of no one. I had never once seen someone play a worship set so that people could see how it looks on camera and how the in-ears work. Words can't describe it. It would be like someone putting an entire church on a stage and having everyone worship just so people in the audience could stand back and say "so that's what worship looks like with the True Color lighting system."
Well, that's all I was able to document. I tried to get pictures of some of the other more interesting bits - the largest HD television in the world, Ultra-HD, and the habit of vendors hiring extremely attractive girls to demonstrate their equipment. Let me just say that while I completely understand this system and agree that it is very effective, when I have a camera question, I want to talk someone who has operated that camera and is very familiar with its mechanisms, not someone who memorized a set of talking points over the weekend. Panasonic, I'm looking at you here, since you're the group that took this one step further and also hired what appeared to be the cast of an all-male revue to bring in the 7% of conference attenders who are women. I could not find a single person who knew what they were talking about at your booth.
One way or another, I'm extremely glad I went to NAB this year - I got to run into a few old classmates and go out to dinner with a few of my old professors. I learned how to play blackjack well (though, unfortunately, not in time to help myself), and best of all, I finally got to see Vegas for the first time. All in all, a pretty good week of work.