06/13/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

NAB Show -- March of the Independents

Originally published on, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

By Noah J. Nelson

Blink and you’ll miss the coming insurrection.

The NAB Show is all about the big new toys that filmmakers and TV production companies will build their budgets around for the next year. Meat and potatoes stuff for audio engineers and camera operators. Bigger and better gear that opens up new dimensions for the entertainment industry. Last year the crowd here got a sneak peak at Avatar months before anyone else.

You’d think that’s all there is if you buy into the splashy banners and the flashing video walls across acres and acres of show floor.

But there is a subplot unfolding here on the lushly carpeted floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and it’s not a romance between a prematurely gray video editor and a statuesque booth babe (though that might be happening as well, if truth be told). the subplot I’m talking about is the access to professional grade production equipment that independent -- in some cases recently amateur -- producers now have access to at a fraction of the price.


What if you could shrink a local news station’s broadcast truck and stick it in a backpack?

That’s the question the folks at Texas-based NewTek have been asking for the past few years. They first caught my eye last year when BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin and Dangerous Mind’s Richard Metzger did a video showing off how Richard uses the company’s TV studio device, the Tricaster.

This year NewTek has a big presence at the NAB Show, and what’s really exciting here is that their gear allows independents with small budgets the ability to create live video feeds with a single appliance that has a professional polish. What their Tricaster series of gear does is nothing short of leveling the live playing field for the little guy.

When you can create the illusion of an anchor desk in a hotel room with nothing more than a cheap green screen, some crappy lights and a couple of decent cameras you’ve just altered the battleground between the big studios and all those web video streamers working out of their garages.

Because it is a battlefield. It’s the Networks vs. the YouTube generation. So far the networks have had production values on their side, but that advantage is fading fast. More to the point: the big players in live video are using the Tricaster too. More bad news for the big boys: NewTek's Tricaster is no outlier. The tools for the next new media insurrection are here on the show floor, ready for an uprising.

Noah J. Nelson, professional hypocritic and writer/editor for @YouthRadio, can be harassed on Twitter where he posts as @areyouthatguy.

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