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March 02, 2009

Table of Contents

The Moving Picture: Mistakes and All
Matrox Axio LE Release 4.0 Now Shipping
Final Cut Pro Users Group Network Announes 8th Annual NAB Supermeet
Boris FX to Demonstrate New Boris Continuum Complete 6 Product Line at NAB 2009
OWC Announces Voyager Hard Drive Docking Bundles with FireWire 800/400, USB 2.0, and E-SATA Interfaces
Zacuto Releases New Video on the Panasonic HPX300
WC Announces Faster Mercury Pro 8X Blu-ray drives with FireWire 800/400, USB 2.0, E-SATA "Quad Interface"
Media 100 Delivers Creative Efficiencies for MonsterQuest

The Moving Picture: Mistakes and All

Every spring I speak at Streaming Media East in New York City. Usually, I do a 3-hour, tech-heavy seminar on streaming production or the current state of the codec market, plus a 1-hour discussion on an equally weighty topic. This year I decided to mix it up with a fun, Jerry Springer-like approach: the top X mistakes made by streaming producers, with examples. Though these topics are relevant to anyone who's ever posted a streaming video, I'm guessing that the crossover between EventDV readers and Streaming Media East attendees is pretty slight, so I'll share my ideas here.

The first and most common mistake made when producing for streaming is shooting in an interlaced mode. All streaming video is progressive. And if you shoot interlaced, you start with two fields that may not combine into one clean frame (even if you check the deinterlace box before rendering), especially when motion or sharp diagonal lines are involved. This can result in simple jaggies or bizarre artifacts, such as a table edge that looks like twisted wrought iron in a video produced by one of the largest retail chains in the world. Second, if you do shoot interlaced, remember to deinterlace the video. Streaming producers make this mistake all the time and end up with horizontal slices, almost like Venetian blinds in higher-motion sequences. It sounds obvious, but one trailer I saw for the movie Little Miss Sunshine exhibited obvious deinterlacing artifacts. How film source came to be interlaced is beyond me, but the artifacts were unmistakable.

The third mistake relates to the aspect ratio of the video, which one of the most widely watched news networks in the world can't seem to get right. You know there's an issue if a picture of the subject taken with a digital camera looks different from a video frame grab. If not, Houston (or, in this case, Atlanta), you have a problem. I've worked with a variety of input formats with varying aspect ratios, and one three-part approach always seems to produce the desired result.

  • Use the right preset in your video editor. If your video looks funky in the editor, exporting for streaming isn't going to improve the situation.
  • Always export using square pixels (or 1:1), even if your video source is 16:9. For widescreen video, export using a 16:9 resolution, such as 640x360 or 480x270. But make sure that the pixel aspect ratio is square.
  • When outputting your video and choosing an aspect ratio that is different from the source video, most encoding tools give you the option to maintain the display aspect ratio, crop or letterbox, or (gasp) distort the aspect ratio. But in most instances, distorting the aspect ratio is exactly what you want to do. Here's an example. Say you shot in 4:3 DV, which has a pixel resolution of 720x480 and a pixel aspect ratio of 0.9. That means that the horizontal pixels get shrunk by about 10% when displayed on a TV. Multiple 720 by 0.9 and you get 648, which is close enough to round to 640. Now, suppose you want to output a 640x480 streaming file from the 4:3 DV source. You don't want to crop the right and left edges of the video-that will make your subjects look distorted (and fat rather than skinny). You don't want to add black bars at the top and bottom or sides. Rather, you want to scale the 720x480 video into the 640 box, in essence "distorting" the video. Sounds awful, but it's the right answer.

The next common mistake is to oversize or undersize your video. I've been tracking the resolutions and data rates used by high-profile broadcast and corporate websites for the last 2 years. In November 2008, broadcast sites were distributing 468x324 video at an average combined (video + audio) bitrate of more than 500Kbps. When ESPN recently revamped its site, it used 576x324 video at a combined data rate of 772Kbps. Heck, even YouTube recently launched a high-resolution mode that distributes video at 480x360 at a combined data rate of 730Kbps.

These stats are significant in two very distinct ways. First, they suggest that the average home viewer of streaming media can successfully retrieve and play video at these specs. Unless bandwidth costs are a significant concern, there's no reason to distribute a smaller stream. Second, folks who watch your videos consider the video they see on entertainment sites as the norm. If you're much smaller-say, in the 320x240 range that used to be considered relatively large-your video looks substandard. That said, 7 of the 16 corporate sites that I analyzed still distribute at 320x240 or smaller.

The last error relates to audio. Most producers think that stereo is "better" than mono, and most corporate sites distribute in stereo. However, if the predominant component of the audio is speech, it was almost certainly captured as mono. Producing this in stereo means that you duplicate a mono signal into two channels, doubling the input, which your encoding tool has to compress twice as much to meet your target.

Even if you add stereo music as background to your audio, it's unlikely that the auditory cues (say, piano on the left, guitar on the right) exist or are perceptible to the listener. Producing in mono will either improve the quality of your audio or let you reduce the audio data rate and allocate more bandwidth to video, improving the overall quality of the stream.

Jan Ozer (jan at doceo.com) is a frequent contributor to industry magazines and websites. He is currently writing a book on marketing your business using online video and social networking sites.

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Matrox Axio LE Release 4.0 Now Shipping

Matrox® Video Products Group today announced that software release 4.0 for the Matrox AxioTM LE realtime HD and SD editing platform is now available for download on the Matrox website. Release 4.0 supports Adobe® Creative Suite® 4 Production Premium and Adobe Premiere® Pro CS4 software. In addition, it will make use of the expanded memory and storage management support in the Windows Vista 64-bit operating system to facilitate seamless creative workflow and efficient editing of long-form and multi-format HD projects.

"The exciting new features of Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium combined with the realtime editing capabilities of Matrox Axio LE give video production professionals all the tools they need to ­produce top-quality HD productions - affordably, in real time, with complete flexibility - then easily deliver to tape, DVD, Blu-ray disc, and the web," said Pierre-Martin Dion, Matrox product manager. "Now with Windows 64-bit support, Matrox Axio LE is more powerful and robust than ever before."

About Matrox Axio LE
Matrox Axio LE is ideal for demanding broadcast and post facilities because it goes far beyond the capabilities of systems that combine Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 and a simple I/O card. Additional benefits include:

* Full resolution, full frame rate, realtime editing of many more layers of video and graphics
* Realtime mixed-format timelines and multi-cam
* More effects in real time including color correction, chroma/luma keying, speed changes, 3D DVE, blur/glow/soft focus, and many more
* Realtime native editing of Panasonic P2 and P2 HD and Sony XDCAM, XDCAM HD, and XDCAM HD422 clips (MXF files)
* Realtime native editing of Sony XDCAM EX clips (MP4 files)
* Native support for additional codecs including: DVCPRO HD, MPEG HD, MPEG HD422, offline HD, MPEG-2 I-frame in HD and SD, IMX, DVCPRO, and DVCPRO50
* Composite, Y/C, HD/SD analog component, and HD/SD SDI input and output

* Simultaneous HD and SD output
* Realtime MPEG-2 IBP capture from analog, DV, and SDI sources for DVD authoring
* WYSIWYG video output for graphics and compositing Adobe After Effects, and Photoshop, Autodesk Combustion and 3ds Max, eyeon Fusion, and NewTek LightWave 3D (32-bit versions) with dynamic Alt+Tab switching

Availability
Matrox Axio LE release 4.0 is available for download from the Matrox website free of charge. Current Matrox Axio customers must obtain an upgrade to the new Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 version 4.0.1 software from Adobe in order to use Matrox Axio LE release 4.0.

www.matrox.com/video

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Final Cut Pro Users Group Network Announes 8th Annual NAB Supermeet

The Final Cut Pro User Group Network today announced the 8th Annual NAB FCPUG SuperMeet will be held at the Rio Hotel (Las Vegas, NV) on Tuesday, April 21, 2009. Expected to be one of the largest gatherings of editors, filmmakers, and digital content creators during the NAB 2009 show, the 8th Annual NAB SuperMeet provides an open forum for attendees to discuss the rapidly changing landscape of postproduction and broadcast, talk one-on-one with industry leading digital media technology developers, and network with peers.

"The SuperMeet is and always has been the biggest party in town during NAB week," says Michael Horton, SuperMeet co-producer and founder of the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group. "It has become THE social gathering place for editors and digital content creators looking to network, inspire, Learn from each other and just have a good time."

Final Cut Pro User Groups (FCPUG) started as a grassroots movement to connect Apple Final Cut Pro Editors at a local level. The producers behind the SuperMeet have harnessed the energy of these local chapters and turned FCPUG into the industry's most influential user organized event with an impressive number of members turning out for each SuperMeet.

Now in its 8th year, SuperMeet events are held in conjunction with industry trade shows around the world; MacWorld (San Francisco, CA, USA), NAB (Las Vegas, NV, USA) and IBC (Amsterdam, The
Netherlands). The user-driven format offers engaging presentations and training by community members and industry technologists. Equally popular are the presentations from community member videographers and filmmakers.

"These SuperMeet events provide the postproduction and broadcast community an opportunity to not only learn about the latest technology trends, but to connect with eachother to discuss
experiences and opportunities within the industry in a social setting that is both educational and fun. This is especially important in today's tough economic climate where staying connected
and networking is more important than ever," comments Daniel Berube, SuperMeet co-producer and founder of the Boston Final Cut Pro User Group.

The 8th Annual NAB SuperMeet will also host the "FCP Trade Show." Over 25 developers and manufacturers will showcase the latest in digital media technology. Attendees will have the opportunity to talk one on one with leading manufacturers about the latest innovations for postproduction and broadcast markets.


--> SUPERMEET REGISTRATION INFORMATION
Tickets will go on sale February 23, 2009 for an introductory price of $10.99 USD per ticket. For more details about the 8th Annual NAB SuperMeet, please visit; http://www.lafcpug.org/nab_2009.

:: About the Final Cut Pro User Group Network ::
The Final Cut Pro User Group Network is a worldwide community of Final Cut Pro and Digital Video User Groups officially recognized by Apple. The FCP UG Network's mission is to build connections
between Final Cut Pro users, filmmakers and professionals who wish to lead the digital filmmaking revolution. The FCP UG Network provides both advocacy and education about Digital Video on the Macintosh and membership opportunities for learning and growth in Digital Storytelling. More information is available at www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/resources/.

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Boris FX to Demonstrate New Boris Continuum Complete 6 Product Line at NAB 2009

Boris FX, the leading developer of integrated effects technology for video and film, announced that they will demonstrate their new Boris Continuum Complete (BCC) Version 6 visual effects suite of plug-ins at the NAB 2009 exhibition held in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 20-23, 2009 at Booth SL5320.

Boris Continuum Complete is a widely-adopted, industry-standard visual effects suite with site-wide installations at Turner Studios, CNN, BSkyB, MTV Networks, Digital Kitchen, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, and many other broadcast and post-production facilities throughout the world. Avid includes BCC AVX with every new Avid Media Composer and Avid Symphony video editing system. Fishbowl Films, a Los Angeles-based trailer house, recently used BCC 6 AE to create graphics for the 2009 Academy Awards television show.

Boris Continuum Complete 6 brings nearly 200 filters to leading video editing and compositing applications on Macintosh and Windows. This new release features 13 new filters including Extruded Text, Extruded Spline, Type-On Text, Layer Deformer, Smooth Tone, DV Fixer, and Pixel Fixer. In addition, BCC 6 delivers unique workflow enhancements such as saving and loading of XML-based animated presets and a single-click custom preset navigation tool.

The Boris Continuum Complete 6 product line consists of:

• BCC 6 AE for Adobe CS4 and Adobe CS3
• BCC 6 AVX for Avid editing and finishing systems
• BCC 6 FxPlug for Apple Final Cut Studio and Apple Final Cut Express

BCC 6 AE is available now for an MSRP of $995 USD. BCC 6 AVX and BCC 6 FxPlug will be demonstrated for the first time at NAB 2009. Customers who purchase BCC 5 FxPlug or BCC 5 AVX now will receive a free upgrade to Version 6 when it is available.

About Boris FX
Founded in 1995, Boris FX is the leading developer of integrated graphics and effects technology, delivering 3D compositing and vector graphic products for the broadcast, post production, film and multimedia markets. Boris products have grown to serve over 200,000 artists worldwide. The company's success lies in its ability to tightly integrate and leverage technologies through strong partnerships with industry-leading manufacturers such as Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Grass Valley, Media 100, and Sony. For more information, visit www.borisfx.com.

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OWC Announces Voyager Hard Drive Docking Bundles with FireWire 800/400, USB 2.0, and E-SATA Interfaces

Other World Computing (OWC), a leading Mac and PC technology company, announced today nine new OWC Voyager Hard Drive Docking Bundles that come complete with the NewerTech Voyager hard drive dock; a high performance, SATA hard drive with options including the most energy efficient operation and/or highest capacity drives available on the market up to 2.0TB; and a $200 retail value disk utility software bundle consisting of Intech SpeedTools/Prosoft Data Backup 3/NovaStor NovaBackup. Priced starting at $109.99, the Voyager Hard Drive Docking Bundles feature either the NewerTech Voyager Q, the only "Quad Interface" FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, & eSATA hard drive docking station on the market or the NewerTech Voyager S2 USB 2.0/eSATA interface model, for Plug & Play compatibility with both Windows and Macintosh systems.

The OWC Voyager Bundle is a Plug and Play easy to use external hard drive solution that works with both Macs and PCs straight from the box. Simply insert the included 3.5" SATA I/II hard drive (up to 2.0TB) into the NewerTech Voyager compact docking base and select the fastest interface supported by the connected computer to backup and store data; archive multiple smaller drives onto the OWC Voyager hard drive; or even create a bootable clone of the primary hard drive. Because there isn't anything to install or configure, Voyager saves users the time and inconvenience of installing a hard drive into a computer or an external hard drive enclosure, which may have limited interface choices and slower speeds.

Voyager Docking Station Makes Swapping Hard Drives as Convenient as USB Memory Keys
With the combination of a high performance 3.5" SATA I/II hard drive along with a NewerTech Voyager docking station, consumers can enjoy the same type of convenience as a flash memory or USB key, but with the much greater storage capacity offered by a hard drive. Plus, with its custom, stylish design, weighted base and drive eject lever, the NewerTech Voyager makes inserting, using, and removing the included hard drive a safe and effortless procedure.

Drive Options with Most Energy Efficiency & Highest Capacity Available On Market
Voyager Bundles feature hard drives that deliver best-in-class performance, boasting options with the largest capacity hard drives and best energy efficiency on the market. Voyager 1.0TB Bundles feature the Hitachi Deskstar 3.5" hard drive that delivers the best energy efficiency on the market, with up to 43% less idle power consumption over previous generation 1.0TB hard drives. Users with massive storage needs can select the Voyager Bundles that feature the 2.0TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive, the largest capacity, eco-friendly single 3.5" hard drive available on the market.

Real-World Applications for OWC Voyager Bundle:

  • Photographers/Videographers: Keep photos and videos archived and organized by using a separate drive for each volume of work.
  • Small Business: Backup important files at the end of day and keep the drive either off-site or in a fire-proof safe. Keep multiple drive backups from any specific date.
  • Computer Technicians: Easily backup client data to separate disks before working on the computer without the need to utilize a hard drive enclosure.
  • Home Users: Save pictures, financial records, scanned legal documents (such as birth certificates), and other personal documents. Backup data to a separate drive and keep the drive in a safe or safe deposit box.
  • All Users: Have the piece of mind of a complete backup plan. The included software creates a bootable clone of the primary hard drive at regular intervals, so if the computer or power goes down, productivity doesn't go down with it. Boot to another computer and keep on working.

Nine OWC Voyager Hard Drive Docking Bundles available priced starting at $109.99:

Voyager S2 "Dual Interface" (USB 2.0 & eSATA) Bundle Models:

  • OWC Voyager S2 500GB Bundle with Dual Interface: 500GB Hitachi Deskstar hard drive, NewerTech Voyager S2 SATA I/II hard drive docking station with Dual Interface for eSATA and USB 2.0. Bundle includes all connecting cables and $200 value disk utility software. Priced at $109.99.
  • OWC Voyager S2 1.0TB Bundle with Dual Interface: 1.0TB Hitachi Deskstar hard drive, NewerTech Voyager S2 SATA I/II hard drive docking station with Dual Interface for eSATA and USB 2.0. Bundle includes all connecting cables and $200 value disk utility software. Priced at $137.99.
  • OWC Voyager S2 1.5TB Bundle with Dual Interface: 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive, NewerTech Voyager S2 SATA I/II hard drive docking station with Dual Interface for eSATA and USB 2.0. Bundle includes all connecting cables and $200 value disk utility software. Priced at $189.99.
  • OWC Voyager S2 2.0TB Bundle with Dual Interface: 2.0TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive, NewerTech Voyager S2 SATA I/II hard drive docking station with Dual Interface for eSATA and USB 2.0. Bundle includes all connecting cables and $200 value disk utility software. Priced at $339.99.

Voyager Q "Quad Interface" (FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0 & eSATA) Bundle Models:

  • OWC Voyager Q 500GB Bundle with Quad Interface: 500GB Hitachi Deskstar hard drive, NewerTech Voyager Q SATA I/II hard drive docking station with Quad Interface for FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA. Bundle includes all connecting cables and $200 value disk utility software. Priced at $149.99.
  • OWC Voyager Q 750GB Bundle with Quad Interface: 750GB Hitachi Deskstar hard drive, NewerTech Voyager Q SATA I/II hard drive docking station with Quad Interface for FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA. Bundle includes all connecting cables and $200 value disk utility software. Priced at $169.99.
  • OWC Voyager Q 1.0TB Bundle with Quad Interface: 1.0TB Hitachi Deskstar hard drive, NewerTech Voyager Q SATA I/II hard drive docking station with Quad Interface for FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA. Bundle includes all connecting cables and $200 value disk utility software. Priced at $184.99.
  • OWC Voyager Q 1.5TB Bundle with Quad Interface: 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive, NewerTech Voyager Q SATA I/II hard drive docking station with Quad Interface for FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA. Bundle includes all connecting cables and $200 value disk utility software. Priced at $229.99.
  • OWC Voyager Q 2.0TB Bundle with Quad Interface: 2.0TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive, NewerTech Voyager Q SATA I/II hard drive docking station with Quad Interface for FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA. Bundle includes all connecting cables and $200 value disk utility software. Priced at $379.99.

For more information on the OWC Voyager Hard Drive Docking Bundles, visit http://Eshop.macsales.com/shop/NewerTech/Voyager/Hard_Drive_Dock.

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Zacuto Releases New Video on the Panasonic HPX300

The Panasonic HPX300 is the hot new camera on the block. The HPX300 is a 1080p 10 bit ENG camera that includes a Fujinon 17x lens and can be purchased for a street price around $8,500. This affordable camera has several stand-out features; shoots in every format including AVC-intra codec, a durable form factor design for shoulder-mount support and has an interchangeable lens system. All of these qualities are going to put Panasonic back in the competition against the Sony EX3.

Ned Johnston, Midwest Sales Manager from Panasonic, stopped by Zacuto USA earlier this week with a sneak peek of the Panasonic HPX300. Together, Zacuto owners Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegn, Ned Johnston and local DP John Terendy discussed the soon-to-be-released Panasonic HPX300 ENG 1080p camera. In typical Zacuto fashion, a video was created to give potential buyers and filmmakers the opportunity to see a side by side comparison of the Sony EX3 and Panasonic HPX300 in action. In addition, a pros and cons conversation to breakdown all of the important features to help determine if it is the camera for you. Go to http://zacutovideo.com to see this new video.

Some of the Panasonic HPX3000 Key Features:

  • Fujinon 17x lens
  • 1080p Sensor
  • Interchangeable lens system
  • 16x9 LCD
  • Genlockable multi-cam capability
  • Sleek shoulder-mount design
  • Full ENG lens
  • Affordable
  • 10-bit recording
  • Durable
  • Compact size

"What intrigues me about this camera is that it is the first camera in this price range that sits on your shoulder right. It has a real lens with a controllable F-stop, big switches/controls and it fits that market where you could be doing corporate, industrial, broadcast work. Plus, you can always put a DOF adapter on it and suddenly be filming a movie. For the price it is a fantastic camera." Says, John Terendy, a 20 year veteran in film and television production and also an owner of some of the latest cameras including a RED, HVX200, DVX100B and a Sony Digital Betacam.

"I've been asking for this for years! You are giving broadcasters, event videographers, corporate videographers and our specialty, independent filmmakers a chance to have an affordable, professional camera" Says, Steve Weiss, Director, Zacuto.

Watch and find out as Steve, Ned, Jens and John answer these questions; What is AVC intra codec? Who is this camera for? Can I use it for digital cinematography? Can I get mount all of my accessory gear to it including a DOF adapter? And much more at www.zacutovideos.com.

To pre-order this camera: http://store.zacuto.com/Panasonic-AG-HPX300.html.

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WC Announces Faster Mercury Pro 8X Blu-ray drives with FireWire 800/400, USB 2.0, E-SATA "Quad Interface"

Other World Computing, a leading Mac and PC technology company, announced today its newest OWC Mercury ProTM Blu-ray/SuperDrive "Quad Interface" External Drive solutions featuring super-fast 8X Blu-ray write speeds of up to 2GB per minute. The Mercury Pro Blu-ray "Quad Interface" External Drives are the only Blu-ray burners on the market that provide the flexibility of a "Quad Interface" of FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, & eSATA interfaces for Plug & Play compatibility with both Windows and Macintosh systems.

Burn 50,000 JPEG Images, 17,500 MP3 Songs, or 25 DVD Movies on a Single Disc!

Available immediately priced starting at $399.99, the Mercury Pro Blu-ray External Drives are ideal for consumers with large amounts of High-Definition or other video, photos, music, and data files that they want to author, archive, or retrieve using a single disk. With twice the Blu-ray burn speed over earlier Mercury Pro models, the new Mercury Pro Blu-ray External Drives are capable of burning 50GB of data -- equal to 50,000 JPEG images, 17,500 MP3 songs, 25 DVD quality movies, or just under four hours of High Definition video -- onto a single disc as quickly as 30 minutes. Additionally, Mercury Pro Blu-ray drives read and/or write virtually all optical media, including DVD-RAM, DVD Dual-Layer R/RW, DVD R/RW, and CD-R/RW, as well as Blu-ray.

Pricing for OWC Mercury Pro Blu-ray "Quad Interface" External Drive solutions:
* OWC Mercury Pro "Quad Interface" External Drive (Model BDR-203X): $399.99. Writes and reads Blu-ray up to 8X, 16X DVD, and 32X CD Burn Speeds. Includes all connection cables and two 25GB BD-R discs.
* OWC Mercury Pro "Quad Interface" External Drive (Model BDR-203XT) with Roxio software: $479.99. Writes and reads Blu-ray up to 8X, 16X DVD, and 32X CD Burn Speeds. Includes all connection cables, two 25GB BD-R discs, and full retail version of Roxio Toast 10 Titanium.

"With Blu-ray write speeds twice as fast as the previous OWC models, as well as the ability to read/write DVDs and CDs, these new OWC Mercury Pro Blu-ray External Drive solutions give anyone with digital entertainment and general data files the ability to dramatically reduce the time and amount of media required to create general use and archive discs," said Larry O'Connor, CEO, OWC.

The OWC Mercury Pro Blu-ray "Quad Interface" External Drive solutions have been fully tested for compatibility with most Apple and Windows built-in and third party DVD/CD tools and players, including Apple iTunes, Apple Disc Burner, Apple iDVD 5, Apple DVD Studio Pro, EMC Retrospect Express, NTI DragonBurn, Roxio Toast, Roxio Easy Media Creator, and Nero Burning.

For more information on the OWC Mercury Pro Blu-ray external drive solutions, visit http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/optical-drives/.

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Media 100 Delivers Creative Efficiencies for MonsterQuest

Media 100, a leading provider of advanced editing systems for the corporate, broadcast, postproduction, and new media industries, today announced that Electric Picture Company (EPC) and Whitewolf Entertainment are using Media 100 Producer and Media 100 Suite for MonsterQuest, a History documentary television series.

MonsterQuest uses high-tech equipment to take a scientific look at legendary creatures around the world - creatures eyewitnesses claim to see to this day. Each episode examines the evidence available, from pictures and video to hair and bones, as well as the eyewitness accounts themselves. MonsterQuest is produced by Whitewolf Entertainment of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

EPC and Whitewolf Entertainment use 13 Media 100 Producer systems and one online Media 100 HD Suite system to keep up with MonsterQuest's busy schedule. The systems are used during all aspects of the post-production process.

"Media 100 Producer has been huge for our business and for the series," comments Dan Nyberg, founder, EPC. "Timelines get mailed back and forth between colleagues. The media auto-associate with the timelines, so viewing different stages of a cut is a snap."

Due to the high ratio of tape shot to finished program length, all A and B and sometimes C camera footage is acquired as low-resolution SD clips, using the Media 100 codec as well as DV and DVCPRO50. Forty hours of footage are typically generated for each 46-minute show. The entire media-set for each episode is saved to its own FireWire drive; the drive is mirrored twice and one drive is sent to the episode producer and the other drive is sent to the writer assigned to the episode. A very rough story cut is assembled by the episode producer who sends the cut to one of three formatting editors.

"Using Media 100 Producer for access to my source footage is easy and useful," comments Dave Zdon, episode producer, ilexfilmworks. "The ability to hand off a rough timeline to the offline editors results in a well-integrated editing and writing process."

When the formatting editors get the cut, they work with the senior producing staff, the writer, the CGI house and the archive company to bring each episode through two History approval rounds. Once approved and script-locked by History, data from the offline rough and fine-cuts flows to a Media 100 HD Suite online system for HD conforming, color-correcting, and repo and graphics work. For HD, EPC uses the Media 100 uncompressed codec and DVCPROHD.

"Media 100 HD Suite makes it easy to conform our SD fine cuts up to HD onlines," comments Kelsey Tangney, online editor/colorist, EPC. "Even when the timelines have been through multiple editors and revisions, the data stays intact. My assistant is able to re-rez the 46 minute program within five hours."

EPC takes advantage of Boris RED for fast titling, face and object blurring, pixel replacement and repositioning within Media 100. In addition, they make extensive use of Media 100's color correction tools. Adds Tangney, "Most MonsterQuest scenes require color correction. Media 100's integrated composite and RGB or YRB component color correction tools are accurate, easy-to-use, and fast."

Media 100 Version 13's new audio busing has simplified workflow for MonsterQuest. Audio stays in postproduction until the very last stages of mixing, giving the production team great flexibility, and dramatically reducing the number of exports. "On MonsterQuest, what used to be 12 stereo stem tracks has been literally cut in half," comments Ian Combs, audio post engineer, Lightspeed Group. "With Media 100's new audio busing options, I can funnel groups of channels (VOT, SOT, Narration, MSX, SFX) into buses and use the buses to create the stems that I bring into my DAW to finish mixing. Now I can focus my energy on making the mix sound great and spend less time digging through my stem tracks to make sure I've allocated channels correctly!"

Doug Hajicek, series creator of MonsterQuest, Whitewolf Entertainment, comments, "I have used Media 100 faithfully for 18 years now. It's like a box of sharp pencils for my video 'art creations'. Other systems seem like a box of dull color crayons. Media 100 has helped my career grow and prosper as a successful producer of National TV programming. It allows for creative efficiencies in editing like no other system."

Nyberg concludes, "I like the fact that Media 100 was designed from the ground up as an online solution with built-in, razor-sharp editorial efficiencies. I don't have enough hours in the day to use a system that doesn't operate at my speed or in my work style. I guess that is why you could call me a Media 100 zealot."

www.media100.com

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