Play Rocks NAB
Home Up Play Merges w/Electric Image Trinity Ships Play Rocks NAB



Play Rocks National Association of Broadcasters Show
April 14, 1998, Las Vegas, NVHot on the heels of shipping the highly
Kiki Stockhammer
Kiki welcomes the revolution
of television (above)

A crowd of 900 gathers for
Play's Sunday night event

anticipated Trinity video production system, Play Incorporated rolled into Las Vegas with several surprises up its sleeve. Things got started on Sunday night as a standing-room-only crowd of nine hundred people packed a ballroom at Caesar’s Palace. The event was kicked off with a shipping Trinity box being delivered, pallet and all, to the stage. Out popped Kiki Stockhammer, Play Co-Founder and Chief Technology Evangelist, ready to unveil several new features to be added to the shipping Trinity in the coming weeks.  The new features, which had been kept secret until the event, will be a free upgrade to all current Trinity owners.
Ballroom crowd files inKiki Kicks Off Sunday Night Festivities
Kiki and Play Vice-President of Software, Steve Hartford launched into a whirlwind demo, the highlight of which was certainly the new ClipMem RAM Recorder feature. It was disclosed that Trinity was designed to support additional RAM that will allow the system to capture and play back 6.3 seconds of non-compressed CCIR-601 broadcast-quality video. Adding the extra RAM is a simple field upgrade with a widely available standard SIMM that sells for less than $300.  The ClipMem Ram Recorder allows users to capture video that may then be resized, rotoscoped, or composited inside Panamation, Trinity’s powerful animation system. The resulting video clip may then be saved as a real-time Trinity effect with alpha channel. This effect can be simply dropped into the Trinity Switcher or Preditor editing system to be composited in real-time over live video.
     To demonstrate the power of ClipMem, a scene from a commercial was rotoscoped with a perspective-mapped, semi-transparent, full-motion video plane motion-tracked into an on-screen prop to simulate a futuristic viewing panel. Trinity owner Todd Williamson commented after the event, "A digital RAM recorder like ClipMem costs 5 to 10 thousand dollars. To find out that Play made it so that I can just add a SIMM module and do the same thing is amazing. I’ve been waiting a long time for my Trinity and a surprise like this makes the wait worthwhile".
Mike Moore and Paul Montgomery
Play Incorporated co-CEO's, Mike Moore (left) and Paul Montgomery (right)  take the stage to make a very special announcement
   Next Play Co-CEOs Mike Moore and Paul Montgomery took the stage to announce that Play had merged with 3D powerhouse Electric Image. As the announcement was made there was an audible gasp from the crowd which turned into thunderous applause as the on-stage projectors lit up with a demo reel featuring highlights of Electric Image-created visual effects from the most significant science fiction and action-adventure movies of the past decade. From Star Trek to Star Wars, from Mission Impossible to The Mask, from Terminator to Titanic, Electric Image has been one
of the most popular 3D animation systems ever to hit Hollywood.
   As the lights came back up, Electric Image Co-Founders Jay Roth, Mark Granger and Markus Houy took the stage to discuss how the merger will move Electric Image forward by providing additional resources and an ‘explosive’ combination of core technologies. They indicated that the merger will have a dramatic impact not only on both companies current line-up of products but on several new unannounced products and technologies both groups have been working on. Roth summed up Markus Houy, Jay Roth, Mark Granger
Electric Image Co-Founders (from left to right):  Markus Houy, Jay Roth, and Mark Granger
his feelings by saying, "We’ve known each other for many years and have always wanted to work together. This is a marriage made in heaven".

Play Booth Draws Largest Crowds of NAB

Monday morning the Play booth was immediately besieged by show-goers as the doors opened. The spectacular new Play exhibit (designed and built by Play Studios), was visible from across the hall with it’s glowing sculptures backlit in iridescent green and 20
Demo Station
Linear and non-linear editing at Play's Preditor Demo Station
foot high Trinity face. The demo stations in the booth were dedicated to Trinity switcher and effects, Panamation and TitleWave, Preditor, Virtual Sets, Electric Image and Play’s now trademark live television show produced in real-time entirely on one Trinity. The Preditor demo station was showing linear and non-linear editing with Digital-S VTRs hooked up alongside Play’s soon-to-ship non-compressed Time Machine. The editing interface was being shown on a dual monitor
setup under Windows NT. The Panamation/TitleWave demo station was also a hit with in-depth demonstrations of lightning fast graphics creation. The Electric Image demo station marked a first as crowds witnessed sensational 3D images from some of their favorite movies recreated in seconds by the blindingly fast Electric Image renderer. The Virtual Set demo included a green screen stage that featured the unveiling of Trinity’s multi-camera live virtual set capabilities. Being an election year many of the sets focused on election coverage with animating maps and transparent wall effects inter-cutting between wide angle shots and close-ups of the same set.
   As the ‘Play TV’ live stage began it’s first show with Stewart Cheifet host of the award-winning show ‘Computer Chronicles’ seen on PBS and CNBC, the crowds began to grow increasingly large. The show featured Kiki Stockhammer demonstrating many of the new features of Trinity 1.0 and Jay Roth of Electric Image nab_stage.jpg (11670 bytes)
"Play TV" with Kiki and Stewart Cheifet
showing the amazing visual effects created with his software. Many in the crowd were drawn to looking over director Chris Fenwick’s shoulder as he switched the show live on his own Trinity. Fenwick, the veteran director of Computer Chronicles, was seen bringing animated Panamation graphics up for the show opening as well as animated lower-third titles for each guest.
Crowds swarm Play's booth
"Play TV" spectators  spill into the aisles and adjacent booths
     By the time the second Play TV show started the crowds had grown so large they were spilling out of the Play theater’s audience seating area, across the aisles and well into adjacent booths. By mid-day it was impossible to move near the Play booth and the Las Vegas Fire Marshall declared the packed area a safety hazard, briefly shutting down the show. The NAB show management acted quickly to assist Play in re-opening the exhibit by providing six security
officers around the booth to keep walkways open.
     Nearby exhibitors took advantage of the record-breaking crowds around the Play booth with Discreet Logic providing bottled water to the Play TV audience and Nigel B Production Furniture quickly obtaining a Trinity and displaying it rack-mounted in their production suite furniture line. By Tuesday evening the NAB Information Kiosks in the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo Center were declaring the Play booth the number one most requested location.

     On Wednesday the security personnel were still needed as the crowds showed no sign of decreasing, even though crowds elsewhere at the show had thinned by more than half. Because of the overwhelming response, by the end of the day on Wednesday the Play booth began running out of demo video tapes and brochures requiring more to be flown in overnight for the final day of the show.

     In addition to the Play staff, the booth was manned by over 50 dedicated Trinity dealers from around the country many of whom worked the demo stations and assisted in crowd control and in answering questions from the thousands of interested NAB attendees. In all, the dealers reported strong interest at the show from broadcasters eager to get their Trinity’s as soon as possible as well as scheduling hundreds of in-person Trinity follow-up demonstrations in the weeks after the show.

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