But it isn't just proximity that made attending this event worthwhile for me. I got a lot out of it. First and foremost, there were the seminars: For three years now, GV Expo has not only held their own series of seminars (often with thrilling titles like "The Problems of In-Car Cameras" for law enforcement departments), but they've been a site for the Digital Media DC Conference. DMDC, organized by Future Video Concepts, offers a set of seminars on things like Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, video production, business topics for freelancers, and certification tracks in Final Cut Pro and Apple Motion. You'll probably recognize some of the presenters: people like Douglas Spotted Eagle, Luisa Winters, George Avgerakis, and Richard Harrington. I was kept so busy going to DMDC seminars that I had to work hard to squeeze in a couple of visits to the show floor! Everyone in this business needs to budget some time and money towards continuing education, and seminars like these can be highly rewarding.
During the breaks between seminars, and also before and after show hours, I had the privilege of meeting several people who are "names" in our industry, as well as others who don't have such high visibility in the community, but were equally fascinating. Besides the aforementioned Spot and Luisa, I also chatted with Chris Hurd, the author of the original XL1 Watchdog Web site; Martin Hash of Hash Animation Master fame; Philip Nelson, the VP of NewTek's video division; and many others. Not only was it delightful to be able to put faces to names that were well-known from books, magazines, and online forums, but everyone I met was friendly, knowledgeable, and more than willing to share their expertise.
In between schmoozing with the pros and attending seminars, I wandered through the show floor. There were well over 250 exhibitors this year. Many of them were displaying products and services that were of little interest to us event video types, like digital signage, terabyte media storage and search engines, law enforcement video, etc. But there were also a number of products that were of significance to our industry. Here are a few that caught my eye; some of them will be reviewed in more detail here in the coming months:
- An aluminum rail that attaches to the grid of a suspended ceiling, turning any acoustic ceiling into an instant lighting grid.
- The Elite Pro from Disc Makers, an affordable robotic DVD duplicator that won't tie up your main computer while it works
- NewTek's [VT] 4 and TriCaster (the latter an EventDV Best of 2005 selection)
- Several royalty-free music companies--most of them high end "needle drop" license companies, but at least one (Omnimusic) that was preparing a product aimed at the wedding and event market
- Hash Animation Master, an affordable ($300) yet powerful 3D modeling and animation program
- Marshall's line of small, high resolution LCD monitors for field production or studio use.
- Lite Panels' line of LCD lighting instruments--expensive, but intriguing
- A display of Petrol Bags--camera and gear cases for all sizes and occasions
- Lowel Lights--everything from studio soft boxes to tiny on-camera lights (If Lowel didn't have what you wanted, Arri had a booth across the way that probably did.)
- One booth, for the training company Apple/Mac Business Solutions, with a line of Macs running Final Cut Pro. You could sit down at an empty workstation and start following along with the presenter. It looked interesting, and much more hands-on than the usual trade show product demo.
- A new line of high-definition projectors from Canon
- A lavaliere mic that pins to your shirt like a tie-tack, and can be disguised with a decoration.
In addition to the above, there was HD everywhere you looked, ranging from large-screen LCD and plasma displays to HDV camcorders. The Sony HVR-Z1U seemed to be in almost every booth. B&H had their famous "camera shootout" display, where passersby could directly compare the performance of about a dozen different camcorders. Sony had their full lineup of high-def equipment, from the tiny HVR-A1U all the way up through HDCAM. The new JVC GY-HD100U 720p camcorder was available and easy to get hands and eyes on. So was the new Canon XL H1. Unfortunately, the long-awaited Panasonic AG-HVX200 only made an appearance as a prototype unit in a glass case.
Government Video Expo might not be quite as "on target" for our segment of the video world as, say, a WEVA Expo or the upcoming 4EVER Group Video 06 Convention in Orlando, but it was an informative and exciting three-day event for this wedding and event guy. The next one is December 6-7, 2006. If you're in our nation's capital then, maybe we'll meet up and talk shop!