It should come as little surprise to anyone who's been to NAB or followed the announcements at the show in years past that most of the exciting news at the show concerns products and technologies that won't be generally available for quite some time. The big exceptions to that trend in our space are Sony Vegas 6 and Final Cut Pro 5; Vegas is shipping now, and Apple had review copies of Final Cut 5 in our writers' hands as EventDV went to press in mid-May, along with 2.7GHz dual G5s, which are both solid indicators that they're making good on their May delivery promise.
I recently spoke with a prominent videographer who says he never goes to NAB because he figures he doesn't need to be there, for example, when Panasonic announces P2 because it's not going to affect his life for some time to come. Which is true enough. P2's promise of "solid state" video acquisition has unmistakable appeal, something like a flash-media version of a FireStore or QuickCapture DDR. The $19,500, P2-based, ENG-targeted model offered at the show won't have much pull in event circles, but we're eager to see the forthcoming $5,999 version that's closer to the event videographer's price range and will also support DVCPro that's scheduled to hit the streets in Q4 2005. Plus, perhaps of greater interest to the event video audience will be the $3,000 P2-based HD-capable, compact camera that Panasonic showed in prototype form at NAB. True to form for the most tantalizing NAB announcements, this camera came with no timetable whatsoever. It may be "all in the cards," as Panasonic says, but reading those cards will most likely give you a glimpse of a future that won't kick in for you, in any practical sense, for quite some time.
JVC, meanwhile, used NAB as the launching pad for the GY-HD100U, the long-awaited follow-up to its first-in-field HDV camcorders. JVC says it will ship this summer.
Not to be outdone, Sony announced two new HDV units at press time: the $3,500 professional HVR-A1U (shipping in fally), and the HDR-HC1, a consumer Handycam model that lists for $2,000 (shipping in July) and promises to take HDV into all sorts of new places.