Vanessa Jimenez, the Digital Media Specialist for Envoy’s Communications team, recounts her attendance at the 2023 National Association of Broadcasters Show and her participation in the “Women Camera Operators Hands-On Workshop” hosted by the Society of Camera Operators.
Last month, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) hosted the centennial celebration of their #2023NABShow at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV (LAS). Thousands of media content professionals, from all over the world, working in broadcast television, marketing, the film industry, training and development, communications and technology flew to LAS to attend the world’s largest conference for audio and visual experiences.
But first, what is a Digital Media Specialist?
When I’m asked what my professional title is at Envoy, I always say what’s in my e-mail signature (Digital Media Specialist), but always add that it’s a decorative term for Video Producer. And Video Producer can be translated into many things depending on what realm of media you work in, but on the Envoy Communications team, it covers everything from pre-production, production to post production on many of the videos you may see on Envoy’s sites and social media channels.
Some of the things I do in pre-production are brainstorm ideas, create shot lists, write and coordinate on-camera talent (AKA fabulous Envoy employees featured in our videos 😉). During the production process I run camera, sound and lights while also Directing our talent. Afterwards, in post-production I produce, edit and create motion graphics if needed.
Is this a lot for a one-woman show? Absolutely! But all of that can go into even the simplest and shortest videos that you may see, but I’m happy to say that I have a fun job! It has given me the opportunity to travel and create some great content, yet discover, learn and network with the some of the best people and companies as a visual storyteller. And getting the opportunity to attend the NAB Show this year provided that great creative boost of energy that you sometimes need from time to time.
Advancements in Tech
Part of what draws attendees to NAB is seeing the latest and greatest in technological advancements and playing with the tools that we as creators may want, or need, to do our jobs. Back in 2016, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) were the hottest things at NAB. In 2023, it’s no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) is the latest craze and it’s been affecting numerous industries lately (including aviation), but with new tech comes new issues — with AI it’s deep fakes, theft of intellectual property and sometimes just really bad image manipulation!
But, with any new tool, sometimes it’s all about how you invest in it and how you use it — like Italy’s Tourism Ministry who created an AI virtual influencer from Sandro Botticelli’s masterpiece, “The Birth of Venus”, as part of their new marketing campaign to attract tourists to Italy (very clever IMO!). And KIKI, the virtual human interpreter, who was created to help foster an inclusive society as a sign language interpreter.
While AI still has a long way to go, some products that we use, like Adobe Creative Cloud, are rolling out enhancements through their beta programs to support and improve the way we work. I am personally excited about their text-based editing in Premiere Pro, using AI/Machine Learning, that will assist in transcribing media which could cut down on the post production process.
The NAB Show Floor
On the NAB Show floor, is where you can get your hands dirty. While it can sometimes seem overwhelming, this is where you can meet with any and all types of vendors at their booths where they have their equipment, prototypes, demos, etc. This gives you the opportunity to play with the gear, ask questions and get answers from subject matter experts to learn more about how some equipment can assist you with your projects.
For us at the Company, 360° cameras are something our training teams are already using to enhance their training and development courses. We, on the Communications team, have also been using Lucid Link, a fairly new cloud-based system that assists our remote team to work in real-time with our large media files. Visiting and talking with them onsite was a pleasure, as I was able to learn more on how they’re closing the gap between production and post-production so we as creatives can streamline our processes and workflow to maximize our creativity.
Another draw to the NAB Show is attending conference sessions. An interesting one was “Ask the FCC with Larry Walke” (the associate general counsel for NAB), where he spoke with senior staff from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and opened it up to the floor for questions. The FCC regulates Aviation Services in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S. to make sure requirements are met by anyone who uses aviation radio signals. The hot topic that day included NEXTGEN TV, which is requesting a higher powered ATSC (advanced technology systems committee) signal to improve the viewing experience with higher audio and video quality for fixed and mobile devices, which affects the entire U.S. population.
The Power of Diversity and Inclusion
Both industries, aviation and media, have been opening doors for women, and people of color, in what some say are very “white male dominated” fields. A few years ago, the movement of #GalsNGear began training, amplifying and supporting women at large events like the NAB Show. With their educational presentations, leadership summits and networking opportunities, they’ve paved the way for more organizations to get involved in the NAB Show and have pushed for them to be more inclusive at events like this and in the industry as a whole.
While there, I was lucky enough to attend a new “Women Camera Operators Hands-On Workshop”, hosted by the Society of Camera Operators (SOC). During the workshop, an open and honest discussion on work/life balance, life choices and tips on how to continue building our careers prefaced the hands-on training we received. It gave me the opportunity to network, learn about equipment friendly gear made specifically for women, special techniques to support the balance of your body with a camera, along with varying technical skills from some of the top experts in the game.
My overall experience at the NAB Show this year was great! Thinking back, it had been six years since I last attended this event and the world, our technology and the aviation and media industries have changed so much (and that doesn’t even include the effects that COVID-19 had on everything). Having the opportunity to see what’s out there from a spectator’s standpoint just reiterates how much I love what I do. I always learn something new and while it can be tough sometimes to be creative and tech savvy, I know that I don’t know everything, but that’s okay. There’s a plethora of information, organizations, talented people and events like this that can always light my path to help me figure out what I need to do, to get the job done.
To learn more about NAB and their shows, visit NAB.com.
The cover photo and conference session photo are part of the 2023 NAB Show Photo collection, approved for media use.