Steve Kilisky's Dynamic Media Blog

May 19, 2006

Hands of Time - The Sequel

The question I posed before NAB was: Besides Japanese camera/VTR manufacturers which video equipment exhibitors had the 10 largest booths at NAB in 1987? To be more specific mfgs. of video post production equipment (VTRs, switchers, edit controllers, cgs, still stores, dves, paint/fx).

Sadly, I never heard back from the research folks at NAB yet, but I speculated that Ampex & Grass Valley Group occupied 2 of the slots. I'll speculate further that Chyron and Quantel occupied 2 additional slots in the top 10. Its probably a safe bet that CMX (not the Finnish band) was somewhere in the mix as well.

Even if they weren't in the "Top 10", they all had a sizable presence at NAB in the mid 80's and were major players in the post production side of the biz [as an aside Abekas joined the big booth club sometime in the late 80's early 90's because I remember the only location where we could get a big enough booth was in the audio equipment section, which actually worked out well as we became an "anchor" booth in tradeshow lingo].

Notice the trend... All are either gone, or at least in terms of square footage at NAB, have downsized. The question that comes to mind is why aren't these companies as prominent/dominant (in my opinion) in their respective categories today? The CMX and Quantel stories are two in particular that intrigue me quite a bit. SGI is another interesting story, but they are part of the 90's wave of companies that dominated NAB only to have seen their star falllen. We'll leave the discussion of the 90's rise and falls for another day.

I bring this up not to stir controversy, but because I am fascinated with the evolution of the industry and any lessons that can be learned on how to avoid becoming less relevant to our industry. At NAB I decided to test my theories about why the companies mentioned above were not able to sustain their position over the long run. I stirred the pot by "socializing" this idea with a few industry veterans and journalists to get their reactions and perspectives.

The reactions were mixed. Some didn't agree with my assertion that Quantel is not the company it once was. Another reacted strongly to my postulation that there is an "A" company out there that might be on the same path that CMX followed and could find itself a shadow of itself before the end of the decade. A few agreed with me.

If we exclude poor management or operational problems as causes, to me it seems like all of these companies were victims of the Innovator's Dilemma (a must read if you have even a mild interest in business subject matter). Since I worked there for 6 years, I can speak from some experience where Abekas went astray and it looks like a classic case of the innovator's dilemma.

I remember walking an Abekas exec (note: Quantel was a sister company of Abkeas, both owned by Carlton Communications at the time) around MacWorld in the early 90's and watching a Photoshop demo. I was amazed by what I saw. His reaction was "look how slow that airbrush is compared to the PaintBox". Oh well...

5:10 PM | Permalink | Comments [9]

May 8, 2006

Leftchannel & RJD2

A colleague emailed me a link to 1976, a music video created by Leftchannel for RJD2. Great stuff (music and the video)! Check out the other pieces on their reel as well.

I don't know about Cleveland, but Columbus rocks (sorry Mott...).

7:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

May 2, 2006

What I learned at NAB - Part 1

The Plug-in pavillion which was next to our booth had some of the coolest new things on the show floor. In no particular order:

The new version of Particular from Trapcode will support 3D particles and depth of field. Best of all it is a free upgrade.

Peder also told me about the launch of Trapcode People, a site intended to promote the "free exchange of creativity". Lots of cool files for exchange there.

If you own an Autodesk stone+wire disk array, and have been frustrated about not being able to use it with After Effects (or Premiere Pro for that matter) then Creative Technology C>me might be just the solution you were looking for.

GridIron debuted Nucleo Pro (intro pricing $295 US) which will adds speculative rendering, background rendering, and commit to disk capabilities to AE.

Cinema 4D has without a doubt in my mind the best 3D integration with After Effects. Maxon introduced Mograph a Cinema 4D module that easily creates very cool 3D motion graphic elements.

More NAB discoveries to come...

9:37 AM | Permalink | No Comments

We'd like to see your work!

At NAB several customers asked how they could submit their work to be included on our customer reel ,or how they could get a copy of the reel. Perfect timing. We're getting ready to put together our 2006 customer reel and would love to see showcase your work using After Effects.

Visit the Reel Submission page on to learn more. The reel is shown at tradeshows, user events, and some Adobe office lobbies. Deadline for submission is June 30th.

While we do not have rights to distribute the reel, a 5 minute sample from the 2005 reel is posted online for your viewing pleasure.

9:21 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]