EventDV.net
Search EventDV

EVENT-DV 25
2010 Awards Show
2009 All-Star Team
2008 All-Star Team
2007 All-Star Team
2006 All-Star Team


RELATED SITES
Streaming Media Producer
OnlineVideo.net
Streaming Media
EMediaLive Archive


PRIVACY/COOKIES









Copyright © 2004 -
Information Today, Inc.



July 28, 2008

Table of Contents

TUTORIAL | Graphic Thoughts: Creating Perspective Shadows
StreamingMedia.com Releases First Final Cut Studio Training DVD Focused Solely on Streaming Production
Free LicenseStream for WEVA Members Coming Before WEVA Expo
MotionKit.com Releases 1,500 HD & SD Animated Video Backgrounds
Panasonic Launches AG-HMC151E Tapeless Professional AVCHD Camera
Panasonic Launches AG-HPX171E Compact P2 HD Handheld Camcorder
Boris Graffiti 5.3 Now Available
MXL Introduces the Studio 1 USB Desktop Recording Kit

TUTORIAL | Graphic Thoughts: Creating Perspective Shadows

Perspective—it’s one of the first things you learn about in any art class. The basic idea is that it’s the way your eye actually sees something, represented on a flat surface such as paper or a monitor. A simple example is drawing a group of objects: You represent an object in the distance by making it smaller, while making objects close to the viewer larger—make sense?

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create perspective shadows in Adobe Photoshop CS3. The result is dynamic, but the technique is a breeze!

Step 1: Add an Image or Text as Its Own Layer
As anyone who has come into my area of the PixelPops studio knows, I own a nice collection of rare urban vinyl designer toys. So for this example, I’m going to use an image of one of my recent purchases: Pyro Smash by Joe Ledbetter. As shown in Figure 1 (below), I’ve already cut away all the white areas of my photo, so the Smash character is on his own layer, with the background being the bottom-most layer.

figure 1

If you don’t have an image to use, you can use text to follow along, as text appears on its own layer as soon as you type it.

Step 2: Apply a Drop Shadow Effect
Next, select the graphic (or text) that you want to add a shadow to in your layers palette and double click to the right of the name. You can also select the FX icon at the bottom of the palette.

This will open the Layer Styles palette. Select Drop Shadow (all the defaults are fine) and choose OK (Figure 2, below).

figure 1

Step 3: Create a New Layer
Now I’m going to show you a trick that most of you probably didn’t know existed—which is why you like reading my column, right?

Find the FX icon that got added next to the title of your layer, then right click it. You should now see a drop-down menu. Scan all the way down to the bottom and you’ll see an option that says "Create Layer" (Figure 3, below). Select this option.

figure 1

Step 4: Make Your Shadow Warp
Now take a look at your Layers palette. You should see your original object, but you’ll also see that object’s shadow is now on its very own layer! By the way, you can try this trick with a number of other Layer Style settings.

Go ahead and select the Drop Shadow Layer and press (Ctrl/Cmd+T). This will now give you the nodes on each corner to transform the shadow. Hold down the Ctrl/Cmd key and you can grab each corner independently and move it to wherever you want (Figure 4, below).

figure 1

By doing this you’ll see your shadow warp, creating a perspective shadow. Naturally, you’ll want to tinker around with different settings to achieve the look you’re trying for.

Step 5: Fade Out the Shadow
In this example, I want Smash’s shadow to be cast along the back wall (and yes, I realize that based off the camera and actual lighting it should go a different way, but hey, we’re here to learn). Once I have the shadow where I want it, I click the check mark at the top of the screen to confirm the shadow’s placement.

For added realism, I’ll generally also choose to blur the shadow a bit more (Filter > Blur > Guassian Blur, then choose whatever setting looks right to you). I tend to give it a slight blur, but nothing too over the top.

One last thing I like to do, which adds a little more realism, is to fade out the shadow very lightly to areas farther away from my object. I do this by selecting the shadow layer and adding a mask to it (Figure 5, below) using the icon at the bottom of the layer that looks like a square with a circle in it (the blue circle in Figure 5). I will then choose my Gradient Tool (the red circle), make sure my foreground color is black (the yellow circle), and drag from the top of the shadow (near Smash’s fist) diagonally down to his belly button. This will fade out the shadow slightly near the upper area, giving a more realistic feel, as though the shadow is fading into the distance.

figure 1

Step 6: Link Each Object and Its Shadow Layer
Also, if you’re going to be moving your object around, it’s probably best that you link your object and its shadow layer together. To do this, simply select each layer and choose the chain icon to "attach" them together. That way, when you move the object, its shadow will go along for the ride!

As always, if you see an image that you wonder, "How could I do that in Photoshop?" email me at lance at pixelpops.com and I’ll try to make a tutorial out of it. You can see my final design in Figure 6 (below).

figure 1

Lance Gray (lance at pixelpops.com) is the chief creative pixelmonkey at PixelPops Design, LLC. For questions, thoughts, or ideas, simply email him.

Back to Contents...

StreamingMedia.com Releases First Final Cut Studio Training DVD Focused Solely on Streaming Production

Final Cut Studio and Compressor are fabulous tools for producing streaming video, but the workflow can be confusing. For example, which de-interlacing option triggers Compressor’s vaunted Optical Flow technology (and which don’t)? How does editing in a custom Final Cut Pro setting or encoding with a QuickTime Export Component impact your options in Compressor’s Geometry Pane? Beyond workflow issues, does Compressor’s output quality match that of other Mac encoding tools like Sorenson Squeeze or Telestream Episode Pro, or could producers improve quality by using these third party tools?

To help streaming producers answer these questions (and many more) StreamingMedia.com today announced a new training product entitled Critical Skills for Final Cut Studio Streaming Producers, a mixed-media tutorial on DVD. The product costs $99.95 and will ship on July 15. Created by author and trainer Jan Ozer, the DVD is the first (and only) streaming-oriented training product that illustrates the techniques and workflows enabling efficient, high quality production of H.264, VP-6 and VC-1 production with Final Cut Studio.

Suits Varying Learning Styles
The product’s primary interface is a 312-page PDF file with over 132 linked video files, including over an hour of screencam-based tutorials detailing Final Cut Pro-specific functions like producing H.264 video or converting 16:9 footage to 4:3 in Compressor. Other videos illustrate technology alternatives like the quality difference between using Compressor’s Best (Optical Flow) and Better deinterlacing Modes or encoding with H.264’s Main or Baseline profiles (and how that impacts playability on low powered computers).

Commenting on the mixed-media approach, product reviewer Todd Gillespie, a television producer with UC-Santa Barbara and EventDV contributing editor, stated "one of the greatest strengths of this mixed-media tutorial is that it can accommodate different learning styles. Whether you are more visually oriented and get great help in watching the video tutorials, or if you learn better by reading along with the PDF, you will benefit from the information included on this DVD."

Details Critical Streaming-Related Operations
The DVD is a Final Cut specific subset of Ozer’s initial product, Critical Skills for Streaming Producers, which also included tutorials for Adobe’s Production Premium CS3 ($249). Final Pro specific tutorials in the current DVD include:

  • Producing a custom preset in Final Cut Pro.
  • Changing a preset in Final Cut Pro.
  • Creating a Compressor preset.
  • Producing a file in Compressor.
  • The Final Cut Pro/Compressor encoding workflow
  • Understanding the Final Cut Pro to Compressor handoff
  • Producing H.264 video with Compressor
  • Converting 16:9 videos to 4:3 output
  • Producing Flash Video with the Adobe Flash QuickTime Export Component
  • Producing Flash Video with On2 Flix Exporter
  • Producing Windows WMV-9/VC-1 Video with the Flip4Mac QuickTime Export Component.
  • Color Correction in Final Cut Pro.
  • Audio cleanup and noise reduction in SoundTrack Pro.
Addresses Complete Streaming Production Workflow
Since streaming video is the classic Garbage In/Garbage Out medium, Critical Skills also devotes three chapters to set design, lighting and shooting for streaming. Regarding these sections, reviewer Gillespie commented, "Ozer really shines with his tutorials on 3-point lighting and camera composition and techniques. These tutorials alone are worth the purchase of the DVD. There are very few resources that give great and helpful lighting and camera-framing information in such an easily understandable form."

The final chapter compares Compressor’s SD and HD output quality of H.264, VP6 and WMV-9/VC-1 files with video files produced by third party Mac encoding products Sorenson Squeeze and Telestream Episode Pro. This lets streaming producers know when they can improve compressed quality using a third party tools and how the available Macintosh encoding tools compare.

Overall, Jeff Hanley, Manager of Multimedia at KLA-Tencor’s Corporate Learning Center, commented "Jan Ozer uses streaming media technology to teach streaming media. It’s one of the most thorough and up-to-date resources I’ve ever seen. The content goes many layers deep to explain fundamentals, and still explores brand new developments. It is a great training tool that allows users to tailor their "just in time" learning, and to fill in any gaps in their knowledge."

To purchase Critical Skills for Final Cut Studio Streaming Media Producers, or to view some free demonstration content, click here.

Back to Contents...

Free LicenseStream for WEVA Members Coming Before WEVA Expo

"Before Wedding & Event Video Expo 2008, WEVA members will be provided with free access to LicenseStream, the exciting new service from ImageSpan that enables videographers to generate new revenue by licensing their existing digital videos and photos on a worldwide scale," said Dan Argenas Director of Association Communications for WEVA International.

As an exclusive WEVA membership bonus, he said, "WEVA members will be receiving their own free LicenseStream account plus access to a custom-designed E-commerce portal, which makes it possible for digital content to be priced, licensed, purchased and assigned to buyers automatically 24-hours a day. LicenseStream now makes it possible for videographers and imagers to literally, 'make money while you sleep.'"

Argenas noted that LicenseStream, together with the special E-commerce portal for WEVA members, will be officially unveiled next month at the WEVA 18th Annual Wedding & Event Video Expo. LicenseStream log-in details, he said, will be emailed to WEVA members before EXPO. "Videographers and imagers can come and see how the online system works 'live' by visiting ImageSpan's LicenseStream booth (#217) at the two-day WEVA EXPO 2008 Trade Show on August 12 & 13."

"In past years," said Argenas, "professional videographers and photographers wishing to make their work available for stock license or broadcast, for example, had to jump through hoops in terms of the fine print legal-speak, licensing details, registration rules, intellectual property rights, pricing and assignment, royalty and billing settlement -- the list goes on. Now with LicenseStream, all of that and more is done with just a few mouse-clicks. Videographers can now upload, register and publish their work, licensing it online."

Created by ImageSpan, the same company that developed CurbStream, LicenseStream allows buyers to easily license videos and still images online from anywhere in the world at any time, day or night. Once footage is uploaded, LicenseStream does the rest enabling video producers to stay focused on the creative aspects of their work.

"Together with log-in details, WEVA members will also be getting details on the new WEVA/LicenseStream Gallery Contest, and a printable WEVA EXPO 2008 Program Schedule," Argenas said. "LicenseStream makes licensing your digital content easier. It's that simple."

www.imagespan.com
www.weva.com

Back to Contents...

MotionKit.com Releases 1,500 HD & SD Animated Video Backgrounds

Motionkit.com has released a "one of a kind" animated video background bundle, which includes 1,500 artfully crafted looping animated video backgrounds.

The collection is called "PowerMotion Toolkit" and features 1,000 SD video backgrounds (including both NTSC and PAL versions) as well as 500 HD video backgrounds (1920 x1080). The PowerMotion Toolkit is available for $500, which is less than thirty-four cents per clip.

The collection of 1,500 looping animated video backgrounds features a wide range of stylish, broadcast-quality animation including both 2D and 3D elements. There is also a huge variety of themes within the collection including: "Finance and Money," "Globe and World," "Modern and Clean," "Business and Corporate," "Abstract," "Sports," "Hi Tech," "Worship" and "Wedding."

The PowerMotion bundle is a must-have collection for video editors, motion designers, PowerPoint presenters and any video or multi-media user who needs to have a vast resource of diverse animated video backgrounds in his or her library.

PowerMotion Toolkit is available for immediate purchase and download at MotionKit.com.

www.motionkit.com

Back to Contents...

Panasonic Launches AG-HMC151E Tapeless Professional AVCHD Camera

Panasonic PBITS Professional & Broadcast Systems has announced the AG-HMC151E AVCHD tapeless professional handheld camera. Part of Panasonic's AVCCAM series of products, the AG-HMC151E incorporates the design concept of the highly regarded DVX100 and features a newly developed Leica Dicomar zoom lens, providing the widest angle of any 1/3-inch camcorder. At 1.7 kg, the AG-HMC151E is also the lightest 1/3-inch camcorder on the market.

The AG-HMC151E's AVCHD format allows the camera to record HD digital AV data on SD/SDHC memory cards with the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec, providing the robust and convenient tapeless operation proven in Panasonic's P2 range of professional cameras. Without the need for a motor drive and other moving parts, the camera is instantly ready for recording, and free from problems such as condensation, dropouts, head clogging, and wear. Footage shot with the AG-HMC151E is recorded as files and can be transferred at high speed for immediate use on a PC or Mac, without the need for digitisation.

The AVCHD recording format allows HD video to be recorded in the form of 8-bit digital component video using 4:2:0 chroma subsampling. The AG-HMC151E's "high profile" implementation of the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 standard provides improved compression efficiency and supports full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) recording. The AG-HMC151E also supports variable bit rate (VBR) recording, significantly reducing image quality degradation in scenes with rapid movement.

The AG-HMC151E's newly developed optical x13 Leica Dicomar wide-angle lens is lighter and more compact than the acclaimed lens used for the AG-HVX201E series cameras. With a frontal lens diameter reduced to 53.2 mm from the 67 mm of conventional systems, and a class-leading 28-mm wide angle, the AG-HMC151E provides exceptional versatility without the need for additional conversion lenses.

A range of shooting support functions enhances the AG-HMC151E's performance in demanding conditions. These include the Dynamic Range Stretcher (DRS) function, which reduces blocked shadows and blown highlights in scenes that include both bright and dark objects, such as views of interiors shot from outside. Gradations across bright, halftone, and dark areas are maintained, and colour distortions are minimised, resulting in footage with an exceptionally wide dynamic range. The AG-HMC151E's focus-assist function for HD has been enhanced to provide a histogram in addition to the centre zooming function that enlarges the centre of the viewfinder. A simplified waveform and vectorscope display of the image can be viewed on the LCD monitor.

In keeping with Panasonic's renowned support packages for its professional products, the AG-HMC151E is backed by a three-year, free-of-charge warranty contract, providing reassurance to users and significantly reducing cost of ownership, as well as a premium, five-day turnaround repair service.

Additional functions and specifications include: a high-performance DSP with 14-bit A/D and 19-bit process functions; seven-mode gamma parameters that produce rich gradations and cine-like images; an XLR audio input terminal; and an HDMI output terminal.

"The AG-HMC151E is an exciting addition to our AVCHD camera range," said European Provideo Project Manager Nela Pertl. "With this camera and the others in the AVCHD range, Panasonic is bringing to a wider base of users the benefits in performance, workflow, and creativity we pioneered in our P2 professional solid-state camcorders. Robust and very convenient in operation, and with computer-friendly file-based storage, the AG-HMC151E provides exceptional value in today's market."

The recommended retail price for the AG-HMC151E is 3,650 euros plus VAT. More information is available at www.panasonic-broadcast.com.

Back to Contents...

Panasonic Launches AG-HPX171E Compact P2 HD Handheld Camcorder

\Panasonic PBITS Professional & Broadcast Systems has announced the AG-HPX171E compact and light-weight P2 HD handheld camera. The AG-HPX171E features a newly developed Leica Dicomar zoom lens providing the widest angle of any 1/3-inch class camcorder.

Incorporation of the P2 solid-state recording system reduces the camera's weight by 25% compared with its predecessor, making the AG-HPX171E the lightest compact HD camcorder in its class, and significantly easier for camera operators to handle.

Equipped with a new 1/3-inch progressive 3CCD system, the AG-HPX171E delivers a substantially improved signal-to-noise ratio and prevents smear. The camera offers a 20-step variable frame-rate function for overcrank/undercrank camera effects, a focus assist to support HD shooting, a waveform/vectorscope display function, and an HD/SD switchable output compatible with a wide variety of applications.

The AG-HPX171E's newly developed optical x13 Leica Dicomar wide-angle lens is lighter and more compact than the acclaimed lens used for the AG-HVX201E series cameras. With a frontal lens diameter reduced to 53.2 mm from the 67 mm of conventional systems, and a class-leading 28-mm wide angle, the AG-HPX171E provides exceptional versatility without the need for additional conversion lenses.

The AG-HPX171E's Dynamic Range Stretcher (DRS) function reduces blocked shadows and blown highlights in scenes that include both bright and dark objects, such as views of interiors shot from outside. Gradations across bright, halftone, and dark areas are maintained, and colour distortions are minimised, resulting in footage with an exceptionally wide dynamic range.

The variable frame-rate function, first introduced in Panasonic's highly successful VariCam, gives the AG-HPX171E operator access to a rich palette of camera effects, and the focus-assist function for HD has been enhanced to provide a histogram, in addition to the centre zooming function and a new focusing bar display. A simplified waveform and vectorscope display of the image can be viewed on the LCD monitor.

As part of Panasonic's industry-leading support for its professional products, the AG-HPX171E is backed by a five-year, free-of-charge warranty contract providing reassurance to users and significantly reducing cost of ownership, as well as a premium, five-day turnaround repair service.

Additional functions and specifications include a high-performance DSP with a 14-bit A/D and 19-bit process functions; seven-mode gamma parameters that produce rich gradations and cine-like images; broadcasting DVCPRO HD and multicodec recording; two P2 card slots; loop-rec, one-shot-rec and interval rec functions; and four channel PCM audio recording with XLR terminals.

"Panasonic's P2 HD camera range is redefining the standards for today's broadcasters and film-makers," says European Provideo Project Manager Nela Pertl. "The AG-HPX171E extends the range, offering a high-performance and quality option for operators requiring a compact camera that's easier to handle for long periods of shooting, while providing all the versatility and workflow benefits of the P2 system."

The recommended retail price of the AG-HPX171E is 4,350 euros plus VAT. More information is available at www.panasonic-broadcast.com.

Back to Contents...

Boris Graffiti 5.3 Now Available

Version 5.3 turns Boris Graffiti into a powerful, template-based text generator. The new specialized Library Browser Mode lets you select and edit saved templates without opening the full Graffiti effects creation user interface. Quickly add text slates and animations within your NLE timeline.

Boris Graffiti 5.3 additionally includes a modernized keyframe library. Most effects templates have been improved and many new templates have been added. If you upgrade to Graffiti 5.3 from a previous version of Graffiti, you will be able to override your old keyframe library or use the new library side-by-side with the old library.

To see a tutorial, click here.

Intel Mac customers moving to Graffiti 5.3 will enjoy a significant performance boost.

Free Graffiti 5.3 Update for Graffiti 5.x Users
Own an older version of Graffiti? Upgrade to Graffiti 5.3 for $199 or get Graffiti 5.3 and Boris FX for just $299.

www.borisfx.com

Back to Contents...

MXL Introduces the Studio 1 USB Desktop Recording Kit

MXL (a division of Marshall Electronics) is pleased to announce the introduction of the MXL Studio 1 portable USB condenser microphone for the home recording market. The Studio 1 is the latest addition to the popular and critically acclaimed line of existing USB microphones from MXL.

This new microphone uses the best of both analog and digital technology to deliver low noise, studio-quality audio in a compact and portable design. The Studio 1 features a large two-micron diaphragm condenser capsule with a 40 Hz-20 kHz frequency response for extra warmth and sensitivity. The digital section features a 16-bit Delta Sigma A/D converter with available sampling rates of 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz. A red LED light behind the protective grill indicates that the microphone is active and correctly oriented toward the user.

The MXL Studio 1 includes a hard black plastic carrying case, desktop microphone stand / adapter, 10-foot USB cable, users manual, and application guide to get the most from your recordings.

To view an image of the Studio 1 click

Back to Contents...