NAB Show 2016 Recap

Ten students from the University of Northern Iowa had the opportunity to participate in the 3rd Annual Expedition to the NAB Show in Las Vegas this spring. They studied everything from post production editing and media distribution to the latest trends in virtual reality. Check out their videos on the UNI Digital Media Leadership YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page for more post-show updates!

NAB Show 2016 Overview

Here is an overview of the NAB Show 2016. This will give you look and the size and scope of the convention and a taste of the fun these students had.

 

Post Production Overview

Check out the latest in post production software and equipment. These students got a firsthand look at the latest products from companies like Black Magic, Adobe, and GoPro.

 

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality was a hot topic this year at the NAB Show. Media producers are experimenting with new ways of storytelling and incorporating VR into new media work flows.

Media Distribution

The world of media distribution is constantly changing and the sources of revenue for content has shifted a lot in the last few years. See how come companies are staying ahead of the curve.

 

Special thanks to the IBA for making this trip possible! We’re looking forward to next year’s trip and planning to bring you more great content strait from the NAB Show floor.

NAB Show 2016 UNI Digital Media Leadership

2016 NAB Show Welcomes Young Professionals

In a large convention center in the magical city of Las Vegas, Nevada, media professionals, CEO’s, managers, owners, innovators, programmers and several high profile players in the media industry gather to meet, speak, and discover new technologies in the media industry. This convention center is the home of the NAB Show. Even though there are a lot of “suits” at the NAB Show, they also allow young professionals and students to come and explore the media industry and meet some of the amazing people who have built this industry to the prestigious level it is at. These young professionals not only have the privilege to learn from such incredible people who have built this industry, but the people who built it have the opportunity to teach the future leaders and innovators of this crazy and extravagant world of the media industry.

Welcome to Las VegasWith unique opportunities to talk with such distinguished media professionals, listen in on valuable information sessions on a wide variety of topics, and attend a career fair allowing us to hand our resume to potential employers in the industry, the NAB Show is, in several ways, catering to young professionals in the media field. Attendees can tour the exhibit floor, decked out with all of the biggest companies’ newest gadgets and equipment. With so much to do, there is never a dull moment, and certainly no moment we would want to miss taking advantage of. As up and coming media professionals, there is no better place for us to gain insight into the industry and the career opportunities available at the NAB Show. Therefore, bring on the exhibits, sessions, and interviews; the UNI Media Leaders are ready to take on LAs Vegas and work some media!

NAB Show Panel

Even though we are small group from UNI, there are still several other young professionals attending the NAB Show. This allows us to compete for the attention of the media professionals in the media industry and shows us the competition we will face when applying for jobs in the future. This also allows us to meet young professionals from around the country and hopefully network with them. It obviously is important to network with the current media professionals but networking with other young media professionals can hopefully lead to future employment or collaboration in the media industry.

As students in the Digital Media Program at UNI, we are looking to take away a wealth of newfound knowledge and firsthand experiences, such as networking with all of the professionals at the show. These opportunities will help us to advance our education and future careers. Real world exposure and experience can deem our resumes more impressive than other candidates competing for the job. After taking advantage of this invaluable opportunity to attend the NAB Show, we will be very competitive in the job market once we graduate, one of the most beneficial aspects of the trip overall. With such an amazing experience and endless opportunities, how could we not be excited for this trip to begin?! Stay connected with us via social media!

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-Ali, Austin, Connor, & Sam

2016 NAB PREVIEW: Very Real Virtual Reality

With the 2016 installment of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show looming on the horizon, filmmakers, photographers, journalists and scores of other media professionals (approximately 100,000 of them) will converge to the Las Vegas Convention Center for five days to discuss and showcase all things media.

One reason in particular why those that are “in-the-know” in the media industry pay close attention to NAB is because it will give them a good idea of what the future of the media landscape will look like. For example, remember when drones came into the public spotlight two years ago? They were the buzz and hum of NAB the year before.

So that begs the question, where will the attention be directed this year? What is the hot new thing?

Two words: Virtual Reality.

While VR isn’t a completely new concept in the media world, the steadily declining price tag and commercial availability of VR software and hardware is. While companies like Samsung and Oculus paved the way for commercially available VR headsets, HTC will quickly be making waves with their recent release of their own VR setup, dubbed the “Vive”. Vive works with your computer and Valve’s online gaming community hub known as Steam to bring endless VR possibilities right into your home.

HTC Virtual RealityAs expected, there will be several sessions at NAB 2016 covering Virtual Reality, ranging from “Establishing Your Brand Presence in Virtual Reality” presented by Selvz to “Being There – Virtual Reality News and Documentaries”. The “Virtual and Augmented Reality Pavilion” will be an entire section of the NAB show floor dedicated to all things VR and its current industry leaders.

My group of NAB’ers consisting of myself, Daniel Hampe and Devin Harschnek are all quite eager to get hands-on with this material. Kaleidoscope, a large online community of VR content creators, will be hosting a Virtual Reality Showcase featuring “…groundbreaking virtual reality films and immersive experiences which hail from North America, Europe, South America and beyond.” Sphericam, a camera company from Dover, DE, will be featuring a 360-degree video camera tailor made for VR that is capable of recording 4k resolution at 60fps. These are only two of the many Virtual Reality exhibits and sessions we will be attending this year at NAB.

Join us on our three-day trip to Las Vegas by following us on Twitter! @ us questions or anything you’d like us to cover during our trip.

@devin24_7

@dj50_cal

@unimedialeader

-Cal Gruening, Devin Harschnek, Daniel Hampe

From Small Town to Tinsel Town: How Does the NAB Show Help Students Achieve Their Career Goals?

As part of the Digital Media Leadership program at the University of Northern Iowa, some of us are fortunate enough to be able to attend the National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB) in Las Vegas. The addition of a set of sessions called “Post Production World University”, the 2016 NAB Show has placed a special emphasis on young professionals and the association’s desire to help them succeed. But does attending the NAB Show actually help students succeed in their careers? We think it does.

NAB Show PanelThe media industry is constantly evolving and upgrading. At the University of Northern Iowa we have access to multiple editing platforms and HD cameras. This practical experience is incredibly valuable, but having the opportunity to talk and meet with current media professionals and get advice for college students and recent graduates about the media world is something far beyond what we can expect from our day to day work in the traditional classroom setting. The ability to learn from masters of their craft and other currently successful members of the industry-this is what students gain at the NAB Show.

Whether a student plans on pursuing production, distribution, marketing, or any other career in the media industry, they will be able to find useful information at the NAB Show. While the sessions aimed at young professionals are designated as part of a “Post Production” conference, topics like “10 Rookie Portfolio Mistakes to Avoid” and “Understanding Intellectual Property” are vital to success in the media industry. The NAB Show is also a tremendous source of inspiration for those of us who are just breaking into the industry. Seeing successful creatives tell their stories, share their techniques, and give advice offers students who attend a leg up on other young professionals by learning certain tricks and tools of the trade at the conference rather than picking them up on the job.

NAB GoPro Booth   Canon Exhibit NAB Show

Personally, we are very excited to talk with individuals who work on large Hollywood films and ask them their advice for young professionals. Coming from a small state with few ties to Hollywood, other than being the birthplace of John Wayne, we plan to ask the speakers at these sessions what specific steps they took on their career path that led them to where they are and if they would recommend we try to follow a similar path. We hope to learn not only tips on how to be successful in the world of big-budget filmmaking, but also advice on what not to do or mistakes to avoid making.

It’s plain to see that students have a lot to gain from attending the NAB Show, especially students with ambitious career goals. Giving us the opportunity to attend the conference is just one of the ways that UNI is making our personal goals achievable.

Carly Beisel, Mackenzi Brophy, Olivia Guns

The Tony Hawk Franchise Fizzles Out

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is a skateboarding video game series credited with having the most successful skating video game of all time, both critically and commercially. That particular game is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, released in 2000.

Tony Hawk Pro SkateSo where did an innovative gaming franchise go wrong? Why was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 released with barely a blip on the radar? I will share my two cents on this, along with other voices of the internet.

If anything, the development team behind this series should be celebrating the game’s history and hyping that aspect as much as they can. Instead, the release of THPS5 felt like a feeble attempt at the last hoorah of a has-been game series that tried to reinvent itself too many times, and ultimately failed to recreate the successful gameplay and excitement of its initial titles.

The promotion of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 started with a clip on instagram five months before release. The clip shows a real-life parody of the skater selection screen of the early Tony Hawk titles, where the player can change the skateboard and style of the clothes for their skater. The clip started some buzz on the rumor of a future game. Later, five separate trailers were released (Launch, Skaters, Skaters 2, THPS, Behind the Scenes), along with a spot with Conan O’Brien and Lil Wayne.

But once the gameplay was seen, it received mixed reviews. People new to the franchise may have been interested, while the general consensus of the hardcore fans was similar to Dave Roth’s sentiments below.

Dave Roth QuoteAs a fan of the series for 16 years now, I reserved my judgement until I could actually get my hands on a copy of the game to play and see for myself. Sadly, I was disappointed. It did not live up to the nostalgia of the great games from my youth. While the new game did bring some cool features, like the online skatepark, multiplayer online sandbox, format gameplay, and downloadable user created skateparks, the game was glitchy, full of bugs, and had almost zero replay value. While the game was intended to be more approachable and easy to pick up and play, it felt oversimplified, with ridiculous physics that exaggerated the arcade style they claimed to be shooting for.

You don’t have to look too far to find a theme among the reviews of the game’s quality. On Metacritic it received 31/100, with a 1.5 out of 5 star user rating. On IGN, it received 3.5/10. There are rumors from YouTube and reddit that suggest the game was rushed to cash in on one more title before Activision’s contract ended at the end of 2015. This would explain the game’s poor quality and reception from fans.

It’s easy to sell a great product, which THPS5 had the potential to be. Great products sell themselves. It is far more difficult to sell a product that is not great and has disengaged fans. Tony Hawk fans felt that the new game seemed to be catering to a new younger crowd with an easier rating and cartoon-like graphics. Unfortunately, that is what THPS5 actually was. Activision assigned THPS5 and the two previous games, Tony Hawk Ride and Tony Hawk Shred, to game developer Robomodo. Robomodo attempted to bridge the success of the originals in the series with the new gaming technology of today, but they created a mutt that didn’t get very far.

Tony Hawk Pro SkaterThe promotion for THPS1 included demo discs which fans could play months before release and voice their opinion to Activision for feedback. This engaging strategy was highly successful in the past. Had the promotion campaign for THPS5 attempted to engage its audience more proactively like this, I would likely be writing about that success, instead of one that failed to build hype and engage its fans.

With this last iteration of the series, it is rumored that THPS may be done for good, and that may be a good thing. Despite the sour taste left from THPS5, the first titles of that franchise will forever be remembered, in my mind and the minds of many, as the best skateboarding video games in history.

Devin Harschnek

BOOM! Storming The Beach of Advertising

Taking on an advertising campaign is like storming a beach with no clue what you will find once you land. Boom Beach, a mobile game, literally stormed the world with its large and successful advertising campaign. From showing in-game play to humorous stories and scenarios, Boom Beach and its creator Supercell, has really shown the mobile gaming world that they know how to conquer the island of mobile advertising.

Boom Beach

Boom Beach is a mobile game distributed through the App Store and the Google Play Store. Boom Beach is a free app which was released on November 11th, 2013 and was created by the company Supercell. Boom Beach is a strategy game where users invade other user’s islands and computer generated islands. Players use their island set in a tropical archipelago to defend their treasures and attack others to gain more. The main objective is to control islands that the Blackguard has taken over and defend from their attacks. Users grown their island and get better by upgrading their troops and defenses. The game uses different currencies in the game to allow upgrades but uses diamonds as a special currency that users can purchase through the game or gain for free in other ways.

(Boom Beach launch ad)

Boom Beach released their launch advertisement on March 28th of 2014. It showed game play the entire advertisement but it included people singing humorously to the background music. That ad now has over 1 million views on YouTube. Since then, Boom Beach has put out 16 official TV commercials and only 3 of those have under 1 million views on YouTube. Clearly Boom Beach and Supercell know what they are doing.

When it comes to the content of the commercials, most of them use humorous dialog that is simple and appeals to a lot of people. They refer to the user as HQ or headquarters. In my opinion, it makes the user feel very in control and gives them a sense of intelligence. They are the ones making the shot and they have to use their skills and strategy to win the island. Their tag line is ‘Come with a plan, or leave in defeat’ which really puts the pressure on the user to have a good strategy before attacking an island. In this commercial, they make fun of the user in a sense but also show the control they have.

Boom Beach’s campaign seems to have proven very successful. According to this YouTube blog post, Boom Beach’s most viewed ad on YouTube ranked at number 4 in 2015.

(Boom Beach’s most viewed and successful ad)

And according to MarketingLand.com, two of Boom Beach’s advertisements were number 8 and number 7 on their top advertisements of May in 2015. Boom Beach has been installed between 50,000,000 and 100,000,000 times from Google Play. Google Play and the App Store also have Boom Beach at a 4.5 rating out of 5. The App Store from Apple does not show numbers on how many times it has been installed.

It is pretty obvious that through their campaign they have peaked the interest of many consumers on the mobile platform. People want to see their ads even though they are silly cartoons and people want to play the game. I know from my experience that I feel a sense of accomplishment when taking over an island. I want to build my base and feel like I can make decisions in a simple game. Boom Beach has done an amazing job with attracting people and keeping them there as well.

If you have the chance to download Boom Beach and play it for a while, do it. Millions of people clearly enjoy it and I think you would too. They keep bringing people to their app every day and I think their advertisement campaign has done a lot to help it. Boom Beach definitely came with a plan and I don’t think they are leaving in defeat.

Do you think Boom Beach has had a successful campaign so far? Would you want to play Boom Beach? Do you play Boom Beach and if so what do you like or dislike the most?

Connor Kenney

Living Room Raving All the Rage

Miami Music Week draws hundreds of thousands of eager dance music enthusiasts to club, pool and yacht parties to celebrate dance music and everything it represents. And that’s just the first few days leading up to the main event, Ultra Music Festival.

Miami Music Week

Since it’s inception in 1999, Ultra Music Festival has been a dominant and influential power in the electronic music industry. Due to its unique positioning so early in the year, UMF attendees were the very first to hear the latest and greatest tunes that are sure to continue rocking festival stages and dance floors for the rest of the year. That is, until UMFtv broke onto the scene.

Beginning in 2012, the Ultra livestream has quickly boomed from a casual, under promoted fling to a full blown rave-from-your-couch event. My friends and I actually schedule parties around the livestream.

Flash forward to 2015, and Ultra Music Festival officials decided to change the streaming platform from YouTube to a platform called Twitch.tv, exclusively. Twitch has been expanding in growth and popularity recently due to the rise of eSports streaming, which is what the platform was created for in the first place.

According to an interview with BusinessWire, Adam Russakoff, Director of Business Affairs for Ultra said, “We are always pushing the envelope, working with the most innovative companies to stay ahead of the curve and offer our fans as much value as possible.” In an interview with Billboard, Colin Carrier, CSO and Head of Music at Twitch claimed “…being able to host the Ultra Music Festival on our platform with sponsorship from a brand like 7UP is testament to the power of live social video.”

Now, with the entire world glued to their preferred media streaming device, UMFtv broadcasts DJs and other tastemakers showing us the direction that they believe the “in” sound is going. Not to the surprise of anyone, they’re fairly accurate.

In order to demonstrate the magnitude of Ultra’s influence on the dance music scene, a simple search on the electronic music bazaar Beatport is all that is needed.

Considered by some to be the “Biggest Track of Ultra Music Festival 2015,” Valentino Khan’s “Deep Down Low” was officially released on March 17th, 2015 on Grammy award winner Skrillex’s record label, OWSLA. Despite wearing the impressive moniker that is OWSLA, the track initially did not see impressive sales. But when it came time for the headlining acts to take the mainstage at Ultra, “Deep Down Low” became the star of the show. As of February 2016, “Deep Down Low” was the number one most downloaded OWSLA track on Beatport.

With the electronic music industry only seeing continued growth, I don’t think we’ll see the influence of Miami Music Week diminishing anytime soon. Many critics and skeptics point at the electronic music “bubble” popping at any moment due to the amount of corporate money that has been put into the industry, but that certainly will not stop the creatives from putting their passion and energy into doing what they love most. See you all at my Ultra 2016 livestream party!

Cal Gruening

Discover Dylan Again: The Cutting Edge Bootlegs

“To live outside the law you must be honest”, Dylan sneers as he rounds out the second verse of another lyrical masterpiece. Indeed, he’s been doing just that for a career approaching the six decade mark, and “The Cutting Edge,” the newest in a long-running series of official bootlegs and unreleased material, gives an unprecedented look into the mind of America’s greatest living artist from his most eclectic period.

Bob DylanThe trilogy of “Bringing It All Back Home”, “Highway 61 Revisited”, and “Blonde on Blonde”, still stands today as the most impressive creative output by any American artist in a short timeframe. In 1964, Dylan stood alone, armed with only an acoustic guitar, harmonica, and an unbelievable ability to write songs of succinct poetic power. By the end of 1966, he’s touring with a revved up electric rock band, singing twelve minute ballads about literary cornerstones, and has completely changed the face of rock music forever.

The Cutting Edge is the behind-the-scenes look at everything that went on in the studio during that eighteen-month period of creative output.  It includes takes of classic songs that were tossed or rearranged, extra verses and alternate lyrics, and even some songs that were cut completely from the album, and were never heard from again.

We’ve all heard these songs hundreds of times. “Just Like a Woman”, “She Belongs to Me”, “Like a Rolling Stone”, these are all classic Dylan tunes. As such, the original recordings might not have the same surprise or edge to them that they might have once had. We now know every note, every harmonica break, every asthmatic sneer. Getting a new look at these songs is refreshing, and a reminder of what made us all fall in love the first time we heard these songs.

But we didn’t hear these songs by accident, as Dylan was not an underground artist at the time. Many of these songs were on the Billboard 100, if not in the Top 20, unthinkable by the pop music standards of today. As such, we know that then and now Dylan has always had the savvy marketing department of Colombia Records at his fingertips to handle every distribution deal, and every dime dealt.

They once again have done a fine job for this release. They’ve produced a promotional video voiced by Penn Jillette (above) to tell the story of this particular package. Colombia is aware there are many different levels of Dylan fans to engage with in the marketplace. There are always going to be college kids listening to the new album, and for that audience they’ve put out a twelve song “best of” CD. This solely includes the alternate tracks to the most famous songs from this era.

Bob Dylan CDsThey’ve also released a six CD Collector’s Edition for fans that engage beyond just the greatest hits. Where Colombia has really gone all out, though, is the 18-Disc Limited Collectors Edition. This includes every note that Dylan recorded in this period, along with art books, photographs and memorabilia. There are many fans who were just kids when these songs were recorded, who are in positions of relative power now. They can afford the $599 price tag on the collector’s edition and not think twice about something they consider high art. For the rest of us there’s always the distilled CD release, and the internet radio services to rely on.

Dylan has never been afraid to try something new or different. At first glance the inclusion of a karaoke-based mini game on his website to promote this new compilation might seem out of place, but once you remember just who we’re trying to promote it somehow makes perfect sense. The game requires you to hook up a microphone to your computer, and sing-along to “Like a Rolling Stone”. If you can match Dylan’s unique pitch and timbre, you unlock a bonus track to sing to. I personally got 92%, and if anyone reading this can beat me, I’ll gladly lend you my copy of the CD.

The website also includes the ability to play around with the mixes of the song, and the presentation is phenomenal. You can hear tapes winding in the background as well as Dylan’s asthmatic coughing and wheezing. There’s three different “session” types to play around with. The first is called “Jam Session”, where you can jerk around with the different instrumental tracks + Dylan’s voice to create your own arrangement of the iconic tracks. A “Listening Session” mode, where you can scroll through time and listen to the development of some of these songs. If songwriting was a sport, it’s definitely a game of inches, and that’s no more obvious than in this mode here. Thirdly is the aforementioned karaoke session. Who else is doing this kind of interactive promotional material? It’s different, engaging, and most of all fits the theme of the artist and his music perfectly.

If there’s one thing Dylan has done over the past five decades, it’s subvert expectations. From folk music to rock ’n roll, to gospel, Frank Sinatra and more, he’s never looked back to where he had been, only to the horizon. More importantly, when he does pursue something new, he never breaks away from bringing a piece of himself to the new medium. Even now at seventy-five years old, he’s releasing interesting bootlegs of older material, touring like a man in his twenties, and putting out wonderful new records. The marketing is reflective of that, and it all speaks to a man who shows no signs of slowing down or giving up just yet.

Like the song says, “He not busy being born is busy dying”.

Sam Strajack