Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Totally Real N.A.B. Survival Guide

I don't know much, but I do know this: the N.A.B conference in Las Vegas is the greatest showcase on Earth for new professional camera gear.  While you're thinking about that, think about this: it also happens to take place in one of the greatest cities the modern world has ever produced.

If you've never been to N.A.B. or Las Vegas, this blog entry can help you navigate the blurry waters of decadence that are Sin City.

1.  The exhibitions are fun for like an hour and a half, then your hangover and poolside cabana keep whispering in your ear to join them.  Don't give in.  Stay and chat.  Meet camera gurus like Philip Bloom, Vincent Laforet, and a full plethora of working professionals who can hire you for your next gig.  Everyone is hungover.  Everyone is sleep deprived.  This all adds to the circus of fun that is N.A.B.  Hunter S. would've had a ball at N.A.B., and so should you.

2.  Hydrate.  You're in the desert.  The dry heat, combined with the free alcohol the casino is supplying, rob you of your moisture.  Your hangover will be greatly reduced by quaffing large quantities of water, coconut water, or Gatorade.  Learn this pro's trick, and you'll be laughing at the noobs who are barricaded in their 62 degree, darkened hotel room.

3.  Leave the casino, and buy supplies, like ASAP.  I highly recommend the 24-hour CVS pharmacy (4490 Paradise Road @ Harmon) across from the Hard Rock Hotel.  This place has been my go to for years.  Instead of trying to hydrate with $15 casino waters, you can purchase all the $2 Fiji water you can carry.  They also have bottles of alcohol, mixers, food things, and any forgotten medicines or pharmacy crap.  But make sure you don't bring alcohol into the casino because it's against the law.  It's better to drink it in the parking lot, before entering N.A.B., because everyone in the professional video business likes a good drunken story or two.  Just DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, DUMMY.  There are plenty of taxis to get you where you need to go.  The taxi will also wait for you in the parking lot, while you shop before you drop.  There's always UBER.

4.  Avoid gambling your rent.  I can't stress this enough.  If you choose to gamble, play games like poker, blackjack and craps.  The other games (e.g. roulette, slots, kino) are sucker's odds.  However, sports books are really good bets with the Final Four, NBA, and beginnings of baseball.  Oh yeah, there's the convention happening, too, so it's always better to be hanging out and talking shop with the kids from Kessler or Vimeo.  However, trying to gamble at Cosmo is the equivalent of running through the casino and throwing your wallet at the dealers.  Stick to MGM, Mandy Bay, Bellagio, or Caeser's.

5.  The Rhino.  'Nuff said.

6.  Avoid large groupings of frat dudes in the pool area.  It's only common sense that most of the large wading pools are, shall we say, a human liter box.  Get back to the convention hall, people.  There's new camera systems on display.

7.  Bring your gear.  Take photos and video, and post them to your blog.  There aren't enough 30-second videos from the Atomos guys' booth.  At worst, you can "gear envy" your fellow cameramen and women, and talk shop with the pros.  Get out at night, and shoot.  Head out to Red Rocks or Valley of Fire.  The Arts District in Downtown Vegas is pretty cool for murals.  Time lapses are your friend.  Bottom line, N.A.B. gives you some time alone to shoot, and get the creative juices flowing.

8.  N.A.B. is advertised as a weekend of conferences and four days of exhibits.  It's more like a weekender that drifts into two solid days of exhibits.  Wrap it up, by Wednesday (Day 3).  Get home and recover.  You have lots of video to edit.

9.  If you need any spare electronics or gear, try Fry's Electronics (6845 South Las Vegas Blvd.).  There's also Best Buy (2050 N. Rainbow Road) for some GoPro stuff.  If you're hungry, there's a new Whole Foods (6689 South Las Vegas Blvd.) that's immaculate.

10. Be friendly, humble, and cool, and you'll fit right in.  Bring business cards, and follow up with a friendly email after N.A.B.  When in doubt, if you forget what to do, see #2.


  1. if ur driving you can park behind south hall its free, desert inn and cambridge entrance. avoid driving down paradise or the strip take back roads like swensen koval etc.

  2. Great tip. Thanks! If anyone has any more totally real NAB survival tips, please post them here.