Well, to listen to Scott Kelby tell it (on his blog), he attended a (sold out) love-in. That's not exactly what it felt like in the audience. It was not sold out and the love was cautious and on reserve.
Javits told me they set up 1700 seats in Hall 1A. The day started with possibly 1500 in attendance (based on empty chairs). And about halfway through the day, half the chairs were empty.
The 9:30 AM - Doors Open entry line was blocks long, and Javits is undergoing construction. There was a cloud of sanded concrete in the air, inside and out. We were not offered masks or a forewarning. I'm still coughing up some unknown substance. The things we endure for an Adobe high.
B&H's David Brommer, who somehow manages to combine baldness, a mullet, and a ponytail all at the same time, cheerfully greeted the audience and began the summit. But not before Scott Kelby noticed that David misspelled Lightroom on a large visual flanking the four video screens, detailing the day's schedule. Kelby proceeded to change Light Room 5 to Lightroom 5. David was hoping no one had noticed. All I could think, how does this veteran B&H photographer honcho not know how to spell Lightroom?
Some young, Asian, Adobe guy named David, who said he was a LR product manager but looked like he was playing hooky from high school, took the stage to give a typical Adobe spiel. Near the end of his rah-rah-hey-hey, he mentioned Creative Cloud, and in an instant at least 1200 of the 1500 people let out a collective boo that filled the large hall. It was an awkward, embarrassing 15 seconds for David and Adobe. I saw Julienne Kost flinch, and Katrin Eisman's face and body language scream "I told you so." Nothing more was said about CC.
Kelby was the first "digital star" to take the stage, looking quite robust at the waistline. His sport coat was ill-fitting, and I don't think he could close his jacket (even if he wanted to). He looked rather creaky, creepy, and frumpy. When someone who looks like this mentions the word "fashion," one who actually works in fashion can only cringe in disbelief. Who does he think he's kidding?
The portrait photos Kelby used to begin his LR5 demonstration were god-awful. The art direction was a joke and the exposures were insanely bad, large chunks of facial skin were way beyond clipped. Maybe this made sense if he had planned on demonstrating the Exposure or Brightness slider to a group of blind photographers, but that was not the case.
Later on, Kelby performed his fashion "Shoot-Out" on stage. It was entertaining in an OK Corral sense, but the show seemed geared toward a Midwest audience, photographers who only fantasize about shooting an agency model. IMO, the presentation was displaced in this fashion capital, with the wrong photographer behind the camera.
Kelby openly complained about the $600 price tag of Canon's on-camera flash (I agree, the price is insane), saying he didn't understand why some manufacturers ignore this hard-time economy. Next to Adobe, Canon was the 2nd largest sponsor of this event. Canon endured the slap down while Kelby kept quiet about Adobe's CC pricing. One can only imagine how Canon felt about that.
Katrin Eismann didn't seem quite sure she was in the right place. At one point she said, "I only shoot dead things." There was an offer from an audience member to present a dead body. Perhaps he was offering the Adobe guy.
Ever the skilled speaker and performer, Katrin put her best foot forward and demonstrated she knew her way around the program. Did we not already know this? However, during her attempt to demonstrate this new and "cool" HDR feature, which required opening and closing the file in Photoshop, Lightroom 5 failed to do what it was supposed to do. We all know no software program is perfect, but what a pain when 1500 people are watching when the crap don't work.
It's somehow refreshing when this failure stuff happens to the digital gurus. We suddenly feel it's not just us. But when the gurus publicly admit they have no idea why the failure happened (Katrin tried twice), you certainly have to question your intelligence and wonder why you want to drop $150 for this product.
Adobe is really lucky to have Julienne Kost. Julienne is either a GREAT actress, or she loves the people she serves and educates, and she loves her job. Julienne makes the software look so easy, and she demonstrates a great sense of humor while trying to explain the silly keyboard shortcuts. And it was fun to watch her tackle other people's photos that were submitted beforehand. It would have been nice and helpful to see more of that work. I wish B&H would have given Julienne more time. A photographer of many styles can really learn a lot from her.
Julienne admitted that for masking, she relies on Photoshop, because you can't beat that precision. Without a robust, precise masking ability, Lightroom will always have its limitations for serious photographers.
In the end, I bought Lightroom 5. The improvements to the clone brush and the gradient tools alone make the upgrade worth it to me. As for the summit, one hour of that lengthy day was worthwhile. Most of the day was spent selling something you most likely didn't need.
(The Gitzo-Manfrotto trade-in was a winner promotion. B&H deserves credit for extending that one day.)