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Information Today, Inc.

January 20, 2009

Table of Contents

Strictly Business: Social Networking in the 21st Century
Red Giant Software Ships Magic Bullet Quick Looks
New C-Stand Rolling Bag from Petrol
NewTek Releases LightWave 3D v9.6
Class On Demand Delivers Adobe CS4 Training
Litepanels Expands to Larger Facility

Strictly Business: Social Networking in the 21st Century

"Facebook. I just don’t get it. Same goes for Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, all those social networking sites. I’ve read the information, heard the hype, but just can’t seem to connect with the concept. Guess I’m getting old.” That’s a recent statement from my assistant, who happens to be quite a bit younger than I am and who is also usually very up-to-date with current trends.

Granted, Entertainment Weekly did rank Facebook No. 20 in its 2008 “Entertainer of the Year” review. Reporter Adam Markovitz even wrote, “With over 70 million new users this year, the social networking group … became the preferred time-waster for Netizens from all walks of life.”

I guess I can’t blame Sondra for her disconnect. Me? I’m on Facebook—and Twitter, and MySpace, and LinkedIn. I make it my business to research the tools that are out there and then pass on that information to my clients.

But how much does Facebook really serve as a business tool, and how much of its appeal is as a social distraction? Can Facebook and other social networking sites serve a larger purpose? Can we harness them as marketing tools?

Brian Gunn of PixelPops Design (www.pixelpops.com), fellow EventDV columnist Alan Naumann (www.memoryvision.tv), and South African videographer Howard Neill (www.capevideos.com) are all Facebook users. Gunn is pleased with its “relaxed, personal approach,” and he finds it allows him to better connect with his contacts. Naumann uses Facebook and has had former clients find him on the site. Neill’s foray into social networking sites began with MySpace in 2006. He moved to Facebook after being “bullied” into it by his son. Now he too welcomes the ease of contact with fellow videographers.

None of these guys, however, have seen an increase in business because of social networking—at least, not directly. But one of the things I preach is the importance of your clients and prospects knowing who you are—identifying with you and wanting to work with you. It’s all part of creating a niche, a brand. Social networking sites—fun, informative, and perhaps a bit egocentric—may be a tool to do just that.

Jeff Natalie of Erie, Pa., founder and president of ErieKIDS (www.eriekids.org), is a widely known producer of children's wellness videos whose work with families and the community was the focus of a November 2007 EventDV article. His first foray into social networking was a couple years ago when he began using YouTube. He now uses Facebook (which he calls “the most useful and effective portal”) every day, and he uses LinkedIn and YouTube as needed.

Natalie says that the web and its use are the “very backbone of our marketing strategy. For a nonprofit, prior to Web 2.0 technology, how would I ever hope to have a national presence—especially for free! I’ve worked hard at content creation, but because of the web and my organization’s presence on it, all I need to do is say, ‘Google ErieKIDS.’ It’s leveraging the ’net to build a reputation.”

You might very well recognize Jason Magbanua (www.jasonmagbanua.com) as a two-time EventDV 25 honoree. The Philippines-based event videographer is a canny self-promoter. He began using “regional” sites such as Multiply and Friendster a number of years ago. But within the last year, he has grown to appreciate Facebook because it combines “elegant simplicity” with “sophistication of the back end.” Magbanua sees social networking as part of the marketing process, not a stand-alone tool. “What it can do is shed a little light on the kind of person you are, what you do, what you like, and who you are friends [with] to build your brand.”

Steve Bailey, an award-winning wedding videographer from Seaford, Del. (www.memoriesforevervideo.com), likes Twitter and Facebook for different tasks. Facebook caters more to Bailey’s target demographic, and he sees “a lot of great marketing potential” in the site. Twitter serves to let “people know more about you than from just a business point of view—people can see you’re a real person and that’s made relationships a lot closer with clients and with other vendors we deal with.” He says, “To us, these sites are more about staying connected with past clients (so they constantly keep us in their minds and tell their friends) than anything else. Any business we get from it is really icing on the cake.”

Ryan Koral (www.epicmotion.com), a Detroit-area wedding videographer, has been using social networking sites for more than 4 years. Koral uses Facebook and is a big fan of Twitter. “I’ve been Twittering for 3–4 months and love it. It’s probably my favorite out of all of the tools because it’s so simple, the interface is so clean, and the idea behind it is so perfect.” Does it work? Koral says, “The more I can stay in front of people, and the more authentic I am, the more people are able to relate and feel like they can trust me and Epic Motion. I think it’s something that has helped improve our brand.”

Using social networking sites isn’t so much about soliciting business as it is about establishing yourself as a real, live person with whom others may wish to do business. Next month, I’ll share examples of how some of your colleagues are making this happen, and I’ll give you some tips on how to hit the social networking ground at full tilt. As to my own social network preferences—stay tuned.

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Red Giant Software Ships Magic Bullet Quick Looks

Red Giant Software, with popular products including Magic Bullet Suite, Knoll Light Factory and Trapcode Suite, today introduced a new color correction tool suited for budget conscious film makers that want professional quality tools.

Magic Bullet Quick Looks (a light version of Magic Bullet Looks) offers the fastest way to give clips a classic film look. Users can choose from 100+ presets to get the look of popular films including: The Matrix, Bad Boys, Saving Private RyanCSI. Highlights include:

100-Look Library
More than one hundred unique Looks, conveniently organized by category in the Look Library, are a great starting point for defining the mood of any scene. The presets range from simple exposure and film process emulation to radical color changes. Best of all users can use the Look Theater to browse through the library using their own images - finding a look couldn't be easier.

Professional Looks quickly - and on a budget
Quick Looks offers the same professional presets as the more expensive Magic Bullet Looks tool, but offers a streamlined interface without the tools to create custom Looks. Instead, choose a Look from the library, adjust a single Strength control. It's that simple.

Blazing speed with DeepColor RT
Maximize performance with the power of the DeepColor RT engine. Play back SD and HD (720p) projects in real-time by efficiently using the system's graphics processing power. The next-generation DeepColor RT engine preserves quality in every application host so that 10-bit projects remain 10-bit.

For more information, visit http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/products/categories/color-correction/quicklooks/.

Why to Buy

  • The fastest way to get classic film looks
  • Professional looks at a budget price
  • Add warmth to wedding videos, even when shot on cloudy days

Pricing and Availability
Magic Bullet Quick Looks is a light version of the full Magic Bullet Looks tool with the same speed and quality but without editing tools for $99 USD. Quick Looks is a plug-in for both Mac OS X and Windows users running Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro, Motion, or Avid Xpress Pro/Media Composer. The product is available now for purchase at http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/.

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New C-Stand Rolling Bag from Petrol

Petrol, a Vitec Group brand, introduces the Petrol C-Stand Rolling Bag. This new padded semi-hard carrier is designed to hold up to four C-stands comfortably and securely.

Dual directional, “upside down” zippers extend the length of the lid and open quickly to fully expose the bag's interior. Inside, the contents are surrounded on all sides by cushioning. A helpful drawing on the bottom of the carrier illustrates how the stands should be placed. Sturdy nylon internal binding straps hold them securely in position. Outside, front and rear handgrips enable easy lifting of the bag from a shelf or back compartment of a car. Features include Petrol's U-Grip ergonomic interlock carrying handle and a smooth-gliding inline skate wheel assembly for convenient roll-away toting. The bag is constructed of durable, water-resistant black ballistic nylon.

U.S. List Price for the Petrol C-Stand Rolling Bag (#PCSB-2) is $175.


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NewTek Releases LightWave 3D v9.6

NewTek Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading 3D animation and video products, today announced the release of LightWave® v9.6, a major update to its award-winning 3D application, LightWave 3D®. LightWave v9.6’s new capabilities include improvements to animation, rendering and workflow, with FiberFX cloning, Layout snapping and automatic drag-and-drop file loading. More than 625 feature requests and reported issues have been implemented and resolved between 9.5 and 9.6. LightWave v9.6 is the fifth free update in the LightWave v9 series.

"The amount of work that NewTek has put into 9.6 is nothing short of incredible," said Matt Gorner, Senior Industrial Designer, Creactive Design, UK. "“The stability, features and render speed make this release, without a doubt, the finest version of LightWave ever released, period."

"This LightWave update again illustrates NewTek’s ability to quickly provide artists with the latest innovations to stay at the top of their games and do their best work," said Jay Roth, president 3D division, NewTek. "Now more than ever, LightWave’s many benefits, including the ability to be used in tandem with other applications, make it a necessary part of the pipeline for those doing 3D projects of any kind."

Numerous visual effects projects benefit from LightWave's world-class capabilities, including the 2008 Visual Effects Emmy-winning Battlestar Galactica and National Geographic documentary “Inside the Living Body.” LightWave v9.6 numerous benefits to artists include the following:

  • FiberFX Cloning – Provides the ability to place multiple instances of hair on an object
  • Layout Snapping – Allows the quick connection of one item to another, saving time and additional steps
  • Drag and Drop – Allows an icon of an object or scene to be opened by dropping the icon into Modeler or Layout
  • New and Improved Export Buffers– Enables multi-pass pipeline users to output more buffers (layers) in high dynamic range, rather than be limited to 8 bpc (bits per channel), for greater flexibility
  • Multi-threaded Pixel Filters – Provides faster rendering of projects that integrate pixel filters
  • Depth Buffer Normalizing – Allows 3D scene elements exported into film or video footage to automatically blend properly, even if moving relative to one another
  • Ray Cutoff – Enables artists to decide at what point to cease ray bounces when rendering a scene with numerous reflections, refractions and transparency, significantly shortening render time
  • Open to other render engines – Other rendering engines conforming to the LightWave v9.6 SDK can be used directly from within the LightWave interface
  • Three New Nodes –
    • Car Paint: Greatly eases the creation of complex polished surfaces
    • Flake: A simple procedural texture based upon the flakes often seen in car paint
    • Curve: Allows the creation of complex gradients

NewTek LightWave 3D combines a state-of-the-art renderer with intuitive and powerful modeling and animation tools. Known for its fast workflow and ease of use, LightWave integrates well with other popular production tools for 3D and compositing, with support for a wide range of formats. Tools that may cost extra in other professional 3D applications are built into LightWave 3D, including unlimited render nodes, hard- and soft-body dynamics, hair, fur, cloth simulation and more. LightWave is enjoyed worldwide as a complete 3D production tool for visual effects in television, film, broadcast graphics, games, visualization, print and web.

Pricing and Availability
A free trial edition of LightWave v9.6 is available by download from www.lightwave3d.com/lwtrial. There are now more than 30 hours of free LightWave video training at www.lightwave3d.com, in addition to an extensive library of printable tutorials.

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Class On Demand Delivers Adobe CS4 Training

Class on Demand, a provider of professional educational products for creative markets, announced today it has released its much-anticipated "Basic Training for Adobe® CS4 Production Premium" title. Class on Demand has once again turned to award-winning industry veteran and recognized CS4 guru Tim Kolb as the on-camera instructor for the title.

"Class on Demand has a great reputation for delivering high-quality video-based training. We're pleased to see them deliver the latest title that will help our customers get the most from their Adobe® Creative Suite® 4 Production Premium software," said Ginna Baldassarre, senior product manager, Creative Suite Production Premium for Adobe Systems.

"Basic Training for Adobe® CS4 Production Premium" provides over four hours of instruction covering each application within the integrated suite of tools. Kolb teaches users new to Adobe Creative Suite the features of each application, how and when to use each feature, and how to work between applications. Creative elements that Kolb uses for instruction are included on the disk so that students can follow along and compare results.

"The training titles covering Adobe's products are an important part of our business. We have enjoyed tremendous success with our other Adobe titles and early orders for our CS4 product indicate that this will be no exception," says Paul Holtz, founder and CEO of Class on Demand. "We are constantly receiving emails from our customers telling us how our training has really helped them grasp the fundamentals of the product and become proficient users. Tim has once again delivered an outstanding training program for this exciting addition to Adobe's product line."

About Class on Demand
Class on Demand is a leading producer of education and training programs. Its products and services address the needs of individuals, professionals and corporate training. Current programs cover a broad spectrum of content including video capture and editing, computer animation, federally mandated training, customized corporate training and vocational education. Please visit our web site (www.classondemand.com) for additional information regarding our products and services.

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Litepanels Expands to Larger Facility

Litepanels, Inc. welcomed the new year with a move to a larger and more efficient location in Van Nuys, California.

With the success of Litepanels' professional production LED lighting fixtures, the company outgrew its old North Hollywood building. The ample new facility houses both warehousing and shipping areas, with room for separate product development, assembly and repair departments.

At double the size of the previous location, “our move to nearby Van Nuys gives us the space we need for manufacturing and R&D, to keep up with the worldwide demand for Litepanels energy-efficient LED lights,” said Ken Fisher, Litepanels co-founder and partner. Litepanels has plans to introduce several more unique production lights this fall. 

The new location is 16152 Saticoy Street, Van Nuys, CA 91406 tel: +1 818 752 7009


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