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NAB 2015 Parties and More: Navigating the Show Like a Boss

Danny Greer

Parties, presentations and booths galore – cut through all the noise with our quick guide for getting the most out of the 2015 NAB Show.

So, you’re heading to Las Vegas (with 100,000 other media professionals from around the world) to attend one of the biggest conventions in the world – the National Association of Broadcasters Show. With over 3 million square feet of hardware, software and service exhibitors, NAB Show is a whirlwind four-day event.

It’s easy to get lost in the chaos. As a veteran attendee, I’ll share a few tips for making the most of your NAB Show experience.

Getting Around Vegas

Uber lovers will be disappointed to know that the service is currently prohibited in Nevada. Instead, taxis are the main mode of transportation between the airport and the LV Strip. Be prepared for a wait at the airport in a taxi line (and any other time you need to take a cab in LV). At the airport, and on the strip, taxis are only allowed to pickup from taxi stands, creating atrociously long waits.

The strip itself is walkable to NAB, especially if you are staying on the north end near the LV Convention Center. Otherwise, there is both a shuttle that runs up and down the strip and a monorail that runs along the east side of the strip (behind the hotels). It drops off directly at the Convention Center, making it the transportation of choice for many conference goers. Here are the monorail stops:

NAB 2015: Las Vegas Monorail Map

At the NAB Show

The Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the biggest in the world and navigating it can be intimidating. Most of the conference action happens in the three main halls, each representing a different segment of the broadcast industry.

Plan out your visit! There’s an Interactive Show Planner available online, as well as a mobile app, to keep you organized. Both resources allow you to search for specific exhibitors, schedule events and meetings and provide a layout of the show floor.

Try to knock out each hall (or a portion of each hall) each day. Otherwise, a scattered approach will leave you running between halls all week, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

NAB 2015: Show Map

North Hall

The North Hall is filled with products geared toward large scale, professional broadcast environments (cable distribution, satellite broadcast, etc). It’s expensive, highly technical gear – likely not relevant to the majority of the filmmaker and video production readers of this blog. It’s worth a quick dash through the hall, but you likely won’t spend a lot of time here.

Central Hall

Gearheads flock to the Central Hall to see booths by the giants of film and video production: Sony, Canon, Nikon, JVC and ARRI. You’ll also find loads of support gear (cranes, tripods, dollies), as well as lighting equipment. The back of the Central Hall is geared toward audiophiles and radio broadcasters.

Be sure to stop by Shutterstock in the Central Hall (C1727). They’ll be hosting workshops at their booth throughout the show, as well as giving out cool prizes, like a DJI Phantom and GoPro camera!

South Hall

The Lower South Hall caters to post-production, video editing, and display systems, with booths from some of the biggest companies in this space: Blackmagic Design, Grass Valley, Autodesk and Adobe. You’ll also find some camera equipment here, but not nearly as much as the Central Hall. Additionally, there’s a Plug-In Pavilion with booths from some of the smaller startups in motion design and After Effects templates.

The Upper South Hall (upstairs) is primarily represented by online video and distribution companies. It’s usually much less crowded and is a great spot to hideout and catch your breath.

Note: The free wireless Internet connection at the Convention Center is historically terrible. There is an option to pay for an upgraded wireless connection but in the past even this has been spotty and unreliable. Try to use your phone as a mobile hot spot, but good luck! We’ve never had much success with the Internet at NAB!

Training & Workshops

NAB 2015: Post Production World
Image from NABShow

If you’re looking to up your video skills while at NAB, there are several prime opportunities.

Future Media Concepts will once again be hosting the info-filled Post|Production World, five days of workshops and training by industry pros. You can pick and choose workshops based on topic or go through a certification course on your video editing app of choice (Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, After Effects).

Over the last few years I’ve attended quite a few Future Media Concepts workshops and it’s always been worthwhile. They handpick leaders in the post-production industry to lead the workshops. This year’s presenters include well-known video editors, motion designers and colorists: Eran Stern, Ashley Kennedy, Jeff Greenberg, Kanen Flowers, Jem Schofield, Robbie Carman, Scott Simmons, and Patrick Inhofer, among many others.

Note: The cost for Post|Production World is additional. Head over to that page on the NAB site for details on pricing.

If you’re looking for FREE training and workshops, there are also several good options:

Post|Production World has an extension this year in the Upper South Hall called Post|Production Campus. The ‘campus’ will have ongoing free 30-minute sessions on video editing and motion design throughout the duration of the show. Full schedule here.

Shutterstock will be hosting a series of free sessions at their booth (C1727) on the show floor. From the list below, it looks like a lot of good topics to up your video and motion graphics game:

NAB 2015: Shutterstock Workshops

Similarly, Vimeo is hosting four daytime sessions at the Wynn (near the Convention Center). You’ll have to jump over to the VimeoStudio page to RSVP for any of the Vimeo sessions you’d like to attend. Topics include:

  • The Future Of Wearables In Film: A Conversation With GoPro’s Jim Geduldick
  • Storytelling With Heart: Filmmakers Who Have Mastered The Art
  • Drones + Filmmaking: Getting The Most Out Of Your Robot In The Sky
  • Selling Your Work Digitally

Just as in years past, there will be ongoing presentations and training workshops by the big kahunas of post-production:

  • Adobe is presenting a Creative Masters Series including a talk with Saturday Night Live editor Adam Epstein. More info on the Adobe Blog • Booth SL5110
  • Autodesk is showcasing their newest products, including Shotgun (a cloud-based production management platform). More info in the Autodesk Area • Booth SL3317
  • The Foundry has presentations by industry leaders from Framestore, Imaginary Forces and (wait for it) Industrial Light and Magic. More info at The Foundry • Booth SL6329
  • MAXON is livestreaming their Cinema 4D presenters, including PremiumBeat favorite Nick Campbell of Greyscalegorilla. Presenter lineup and more info here • Booth SL10405

NAB 2015 Parties

NAB 2015: Parties
Image from AJA NAB Party on Vimeo

The NAB parties – that’s why you’re really reading this post, right? Every night of the NAB Show is packed with events put on by organizations and exhibitors. Broadcast Beat has put together a comprehensive list of the NAB afterparties, but let’s hit the highlights. Here’s how you should spend your nights in Vegas:

Saturday, April 11

NAB Show Exhibitor Welcome Party
TAO Nightclub at the Venetian @ 10pm
Complimentary admission and access to 1 hour well bar with your NAB Show badge.

Sunday, April 12

Colorist Mixer/Blackmagic Design (geared toward professional colorists)
Rockhouse Bar at The Venetian Hotel @ 7:30pm
Visit ColoristMixer.com for more info.

#PostChat Meetup (for those who often participate in the #PostChat Twitter group)
Front of O’Shea’s Bar @ 8pm
For more info follow #PostChat on Twitter.

Content Creators Party
Hakkassan at MGM Grand @ 8:30pm
Complimentary admission and 2 hour open bar with NAB Show Badge. Bring your badge for 8:30 admission. Open to the public at 10:30.

Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire Mini Golf Meetup
Monster Mini Golf, 4501 Paradise Rd. Las Vegas @ 9pm
More info here. Tickets available here.

Monday, April 13

Media Motion Ball 2015
Monte Carlo Hotel @ 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Annual event and dinner for the motion design and video editing crowd. Tickets are sold out but waitlist is here.

NAB Show Opening Party
Marquee at Cosmopolitan @ 10pm
Complimentary admission and 1 hour well bar with NAB Show Badge.

Tuesday, April 14

14th Annual Las Vegas SuperMeet
Riviera Hotel & Casino @ 4:30pm – 11pm
If you’re into production and post this is THE event you don’t want to miss at NAB.  Network with other media pros from around the globe and hear presentations and product announcements from Ripple Training, Blackmagic Design, Brain Farm, GenArts and Adobe. The event concludes with an epic raffle of over $100,000 of production and post gear. Tickets avaliable here.

Official Tuesday After Party
Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace @ 10pm
Complimentary admission with NAB Show badge.

Wednesday, April 15

Official Wednesday After Party
Light Nightclub at Mandalay Bay @ 10:30pm
Complimentary admission with NAB Show badge.

Thursday, April 16

End of Show Wind-Down
The Pub, Monte Carlo Hotel @ 6pm
An informal event, drop by whenever. Vendors, attendees and friends unwind, grab a beer and/or dinner.

NAB Show Closing Party
TAO Nightclub at the Venetian @ 10pm
Complimentary admission and 1 hour well bar with NAB Show badge.

Quick tip: Make sure you bring your ID or passport when going to any of these events. You will be carded – it’s Vegas! 

Each night there’s also a number of smaller parties being held by exhibitors, in the hotels up and down the Vegas strip. These events are typically invite only and require an RSVP in advance. Historically, these events have been far less crowded than the publicized parties, so they provide a good opportunity to network with other pros. Ask around on the show floor – maybe you’ll get the inside scoop on one of these NAB parties!

If you’re heading to NAB, we’d love to connect with you in Vegas. Send us a message on Twitter and we’ll meet up!

Got your own NAB tips to share? Know of any great events that didn’t make our list?
Let us know in the comments below!

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