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

NAB SHOW- At Play in the Land of Tech Make-Believe

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

By Noah J. Nelson

The National Association of Broadcasters Show-- NAB Show for short-- is the annual trade show where the nuts & bolts of make-believe are laid bare for tech wizards and producers to see.

On the show floor you can find the stuff that an AV nerd's dreams are made of: from Steadicams to 3D TVs, gear bags to radio transmission tower components. Overwhelming makes for a coy understatement, as the show consumes the entirety of the Las Vegas Convention Center, a space that would put most airports to shame. I'm not sure, but I think I can fit my home town within the perimeter of the show.

2010-04-13-car1.jpgPerhaps the strangest thing I've seen so far is the way that in-studio video cameras are shown off. Elaborate scenes are created, like a bedroom wall which has been demolished by a compact car at the Canon booth. The scene is set, and then a row of tripods are arrayed around it.

The Sony booth was the first place I noticed live actors in front of the cameras. It's surreal, looking in on clearly bored models pretending to be on a pretend set while outside real cameramen pretend to film them. Truly trippy were the two girls playing golf inside one of these living dioramas, the scene was fed in Live 3D to monitors above the set. You could see the girls right in front of you, then slap on some passive 3D specs (the Real 3D kind you might be familiar with from going to the movies) and see them reproduced in 3D.

It's actually in this kind of scenario where the weaknesses of the 3D tech come through. The image quality is good, and the illusion of depth is strong, but when you can glance down and see the real thing in front of you it becomes clear just how much is being lost in the process. It is, ironically, the exact opposite reaction I have to looking at an HD 2D image and the original at the same time.

I did have one question that's been bugging me answered: why consumers are being made to buy active 3D glasses for high quality 3D experiences at home. When we go to the theatre and see a 3D film like Avatar we are handed a pair of recyclable plastic frames which we turn in after the show. Those who are looking to buy a 3D TV this year are discovering that they need to put down cash-- around $100 a pop-- for the active shutter lenses the at-home 3D systems are using. As it turns out, those $100 glasses might just be the better deal right now. The monitors that use the polarization technology the movies use cost a whole lot more than the screens that rely on active 3D.

The question is: how many people will you be inviting over to watch a 3D picture in your living room?

Check out our entire flickr set. More to come!

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

Youth Radio/Youth Media International (YMI) is youth-driven converged media production company that delivers the best youth news, culture and undiscovered talent to a cross section of audiences. To read more youth news from around the globe and explore high quality audio and video features, visit Youthradio.org