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April 06, 2009

Table of Contents

Studio Time | Happily Ever After: Ever After Video Productions
WedFACT Announces Winner of February 2009 Anti-Recession E-Session Competition
HP Reinvents the Workstation
Sachtler Introduces DV 10 SB Fluid Head
Sony Creative Software To Mashup NAB 2009 User Group Event With International Video Remixing Phenomenon Eclectic Method
New Petrol Transparent Raincovers for EX 3, GY-HD200, PDW-700 & AJ-HP2700-sized Cameras
CineForm Adds Powerful Real Time Color Correction Innovations to its Family of Compression-Based Workflow Solutions; Debuts ‘First Light' at NAB 2009
Genius Announces a New Noise-Cancelling Headphone

Studio Time | Happily Ever After: Ever After Video Productions

And they lived happily ever after ...

This ubiquitous idiom—generally associated with fairy tales—presupposes a life of unending happiness until death. It's a universal goal to which most brides and grooms aspire when exchanging their marriage vows.
But this isn't a story about happy endings, per se. Rather, it's about the joy of the journey and the wisdom to be found in one's professional peers, about open-mindedness and risk-taking, and about making the most of opportunities. For Sylvia Broeckx and Niels Puttemans of U.K.-based Ever After Video Productions, 2008 was a transformative year.

Launched in 2002 as a self-described "one-woman band," Broeckx and Puttemans' studio is now basking in the glow of "Best Wedding Day Film" of 2008 honors from the U.K.'s Institute of Videography (IOV) and making the most of the industry's newfound interest in its work by launching a training division. It's a whole new chapter for the Belgium natives, and therein lies the challenge-and the happy pursuit of their fairy tale ending.

Growing up, Broeckx and Puttemans weren't the kids in the AV club, obsessing over the latest gadgets and shooting techniques. They were born 2 years and roughly 12 miles apart-he in Vilvoorde in March 1976; she in Asse in June 1978-and came to know each other through their involvement in a local orchestra, where she played the trumpet, and he played the bass clarinet. "We got to talking and found we had similar interests," Puttemans recalls, including a passion for music, "and in 1995, she asked me out on a date" to a performance of Mozart's "Requiem Mass in D Minor."

Ever After—photo by Daniel Boswell

Over the next several years, they pursued degrees at universities in Leuven, Belgium, and Sheffield, England, about 3 hours north of London. Her academic credentials include a B.A. in art history (1999) from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U. Leuven) and a B.A. (Hons) in film studies (2002) from Sheffield Hallam University; his include an M.A. in musicology (1999) from K.U. Leuven and an M.Phil. (Master of Philosophy) in sound design (2008) from the University of Sheffield. Besides music, their shared hobbies include Latin and ballroom dancing (as students, they participated in a competitive dance program jointly run by their respective universities in Sheffield) and scuba diving.

By their own admission, Broeckx and Puttemans knew little about the profession they would ultimately choose for themselves. Broeckx's study of film history, theory, and criticism at Sheffield Hallam had exposed her to the art form, but the intricacies of event videography itself weren't part of the program. Even as they planned their own Sept. 1, 2001, wedding, they eschewed the idea of hiring a professional videographer because, as Puttemans puts it, "The state of Belgian videography wasn't something we'd consider spending money on." Instead, they turned to trusted friends to shoot the festivities.

Imagine Puttemans' reaction then when, one night the following spring, Broeckx announced she wanted to start a wedding film company. "I was about to graduate with my film studies degree and had noticed that there weren't many jobs in our area," Broeckx explains. At the time, "most film-related work was based in London, but I didn't like the idea of relocating. Because we had recently gotten married, our wedding was still in the back of my mind. Putting the two together resulted in the idea of a wedding day film business." Puttemans admits he "was so surprised" by the idea, he "wasn't sure if she meant it or was joking."

And yet, within minutes, the two were thinking about company names and a business plan. "We wanted a name people would easily remember and associate with weddings," Broeckx continues. "We wanted a name that sells a dream rather than a commodity-something that speaks to the imagination." Determined not to use "technology-related terms such as ‘DV' or ‘DVD,' even though that was quite popular in the U.K. at the time," they assembled a list of possibilities and checked domain name availability. "Ever After turned out to be our favorite, and the whole thing just snowballed from there." A few weeks later, Broeckx was filming her first wedding-at no charge-with borrowed camera gear. "At first, I provided technical support only when needed," Puttemans recalls, "but I was quickly bitten by the filming bug and am now an integral part of the business."

Since those early days, the couple has filmed roughly 150 weddings, mostly in the U.K. They work from their four-bedroom home in Sheffield, employing freelancers when needed. Broeckx serves as the main camera operator and editor, while Puttemans manages the equipment, sound acquisition, and DVD authoring. They offer four standard packages priced from roughly $2,300 to $4,400 (the "higher-end of the U.K. market," Broeckx says), as well as a "World Package" that includes all travel expenses; two Wedding Day Edit-only packages priced for basic or extended coverage; and a menu of add-ons, including Trash the Dress, movie trailers, end credits, and photo montages.

Last year was pivotal for Ever After in more ways than one. After 6 years of operation, the studio entered its very first awards competitions-the IOV Awards and inaugural MCPS Musical Marriage Awards, held concurrently in Coventry, England, in mid-October. To the partners' great delight, all three entries did well: Ever After's Trash the Dress entry was chosen by the British public as one of three runners-up for the MCPS Musical Marriage Award; its 2008 show reel earned second place in the IOV Awards' Open category; and its video for the dramatic Dec. 8, 2007, wedding of Claire and Brian at Allerton Castle, in North Yorkshire, earned the top prize in the IOV Awards' Best Wedding Day Film category.

Ever After IOV Award

The timing couldn't have been better. Given the state of the economy in 2008, Puttemans and Broeckx had "briefly flirted with the idea" of doing corporate work using a different company name-mainly, he says, "to protect ourselves from the global economic downturn through diversification." Ironically, they learned of their IOV victories just before they were due "to make a final decision" about whether to proceed with the plan. The wave of industry attention that followed changed everything: Suddenly, "fellow videographers were contacting us with questions and asking about possible training opportunities," he says.

"There's only so much you can describe in an email or on the phone, so we thought, ‘Why not demonstrate it in a typical wedding situation?'" Broeckx said in a December 2008 IOV story announcing the studio's first-ever training workshop. Structured as a "fun and intimate learning experience" with a high degree of interactivity, the Feb. 21-22 event gave 10 participants an opportunity to shoot a faux bride in a variety of locations using unconventional camera movements and setting techniques demonstrated by Broeckx and Puttemans. On the second day, the couple walked participants through Ever After's editing process using footage they captured on Day 1 and helped participants edit their own footage using some of those same techniques.

Puttemans says every Ever After Video Training workshop will be "tailored around the needs and wants of the participants" and will likely cover topics ranging from cinematic shooting and editing techniques to equipment selection and search engine optimization strategies. The training division, which he oversees, also provides exclusive one-on-one sessions with both partners and training DVDs. Adds Broeckx: "Offering training rather than branching out into corporate work allows us to keep the focus on our first love: wedding films."

Not surprisingly, Ever After's style is heavily rooted in Broeckx and Puttemans' art history backgrounds. "Because Sylvia knows a lot about film theory, we've tried to incorporate some of those ideas and techniques into our wedding productions," Puttemans explains. Their "personal art preferences" are also an influence, having led to their "use of darker, highly saturated colors." When they aren't working, Broeckx adds, they try to see "at least five movies a week, spanning the entire spectrum of styles. Quite often, we'll discuss a shot, sequence, composition, or soundtrack-sometimes [as we're watching] the film!"

Ever After Video Productions

They're quick to cite other influences as well. "After joining the IOV, we were introduced to the massive array of tools available to our profession," Broeckx says. "It's also important to acknowledge the opportunities the internet has provided. Apart from attracting most of our customer base, it introduced us to the worldwide community of wedding videographers. Once we joined forums such as Video University and WedFACT, we realized there was much we didn't yet know. The welcoming attitude of American and other videographers has allowed us to improve and differentiate our work beyond our wildest dreams. The sharing of information through forums, conventions, seminars, and training DVDs [has] made a big difference."

"One specific example of this can be seen in our same-day edits," Puttemans elaborates. "We learned about the concept through the VU boards and an article in EventDV. After studying the Wedding Day Edits DVD produced by [four-time EventDV 25 honorees] Mark and Trisha Von Lanken, Sylvia decided the U.K. was ready for this concept, so we began marketing the idea to brides and videographers alike. We're happy to say that our seminar on the subject at the IOV's 2006 annual convention convinced several other U.K. videographers to give it a try."

Sylvia Broecx, Ever After Video Productions—Image by Robert Burress

Clearly, Broeckx and Puttemans aren't the only videographers adapting and evolving; the videography industry within the U.K. has gradually changed as well, and with it, the general public's appreciation for the services it provides. "When we founded the company, we noticed that our fellow videographers were happy to talk about the equipment, but they were very hesitant to show each other their work or to discuss methods or styles. It seemed most people were worried their style would be ripped off" by a competitor, Puttemans says. "In the past few years, this attitude has started to change. U.K. videographers have begun posting clips on their websites so others can see what they're doing and so the public perception of the profession might change. People are finally starting to realize that the only way this can happen is through information-sharing."

Marla Misek Clark (mjmno1 at aol.com) is a freelance writer and editor based in Alexandria, Va.

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WedFACT Announces Winner of February 2009 Anti-Recession E-Session Competition

WedFACT(www.wedfact.net) has announced the winner of February 2009's Anti-Recession E-Session Competition. Through an exclusive, collaborative online peer-rating system, entries were scored and discussed openly by leading wedding film and video artists from all over the world.

Congratulations to Vanessa McKellar of Vanessa McKellar Productions (www.vanessamckellar.com) who rocked the vote with her entry "My Sister's In Love" which featured her own sister.

The scores of all the entrants were very close but Vanessa's entry edged them all out in Perfect 10 ratings which put her over the top. With some of the highest totals in competition history, WedFACT members embraced this contest and took advantage of having their very own front-row seat to view the amazing work on display.

Top Ten Winners Of The Final Competition Of 2008
WedFACT also announced the top ten winners of the Final 2008 Edition Of The Wedding Filmmakers Alliance Of Creative Talent Monthly Competition.

Directors Guild Of America Filmmaker Joth Riggs of Whitestone Productions (www.whitestoneproductions.com) took 1st place with his entry "Intimate Wedding Film."

Rounding out the top three winners were Joe Simon of Joe Simon Productions (www.joesimonproductions.com) with his 2nd Place entry "Wedding Trailer" and Kristen Turick of Artifact Documentaries(http://www.artifactdocumentaries.com/) with her 3rd Place Entry "Our Very First S8 Demo."

With a record-setting amount of entries and the highest average scores yet, it is of noteworthy significance that 6 of the Top Ten places were taken by 3 double-placing contestants: Patrick Moreau Of StillMotion (www.stillmotion.ca), Matthew Ebenezer Of Shadowplay Photography & Video (www.shadowplay.com.au), Sharrone Calafiore Of Fiore Films (www.fiorefilms.net).

The Top Ten winning entries as well as the winning Anti-Recession E-Session entry can be viewed at http://www.wedfact.net.

These competitions are a run-up to later this spring when The Wedding Filmmakers Alliance Of Creative Talent brings you WedFACTION.1 (www.wedfaction.com), the largest international online wedding film festival & competition. Sponsored by Zacuto (www.zacuto.com), Cinevate(www.cinevate.com), VideoCopilot (www.videocopilot.net), Portfoliositez (www.portfoliositez.com), and Shape WLB (www.shapewlb.com) with more to come, WedFACTION rules, requirements and exclusive new categories will be announced shortly on www.wedfaction.com.

About WedFACT
The Wedding Filmmakers Alliance Of Creative Talent serves to encourage, educate and empower film and video artists from around the world to achieve the highest levels of success in the artistic, creative and business aspects of the wedding and event filmmaking industry. Through online collaboration and discussion, WedFACT is the definitive source of shared learning and inspiration for leading visual wedding artists.

http://www.wedfact.com || http://www.wedfact.net || http://www.wedfact.tv

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HP Reinvents the Workstation

HP today unveiled the HP Z Workstation series -- a reinvention of the product category from the core outward that offers customers unprecedented performance, value and serviceability in a sleek new design. The HP Z800, HP Z600 and HP Z400 Workstations are the culmination of more than 20 HP design innovations -- including a self-checking power supply -- and take advantage of the new Intel® Xeon® processor.

Jim Zafarana, vice president and general manager, Workstations, HP, said, "The new Z line marks the first HP workstations to be totally serviceable with your fingers - from the power supply to the motherboard. Early studies show that an HP Z Workstation may pay for itself in a surprisingly short period with its performance and productivity gains."

Verena Kloos, president, BMW Group DesignworksUSA, said, "Opening the door of the new BMW Z4 and the side panel of the new HP Z Workstation reveals that both are as aesthetically powerful and innovative on the inside as they are on the outside."

Three workstation lines to meet every customer need:
* The HP Z800 Workstation is HP's most powerful and expandable workstation for users working with applications such as 3-D animation, broadcast video, oil and gas discovery, and medical imaging.
* The HP Z600 Workstation is designed with the environment in mind, offering high performance in a compact size for professionals in industries such as video production, finance and midrange CAD.
* The HP Z400 is the first single-socket workstation based on the Next-Generation Intel Microarchitecture (Nehalem) and can be built with the latest Intel Xeon processors.


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Sachtler Introduces DV 10 SB Fluid Head

Sachtler, a Vitec Group brand, introduces the DV 10 SB fluid head, the smallest 100mm bowl-mount head in the Sachtler DV line. The DV 10 SB is equipped with an array of state-of-the-art functions, including a 12-step counterbalance as well as five horizontal and five vertical levels of drag plus "0". Its handy SpeedBalance technology enables fast and smooth adjustments, while the head's payload range from 2-26 lbs (1 to 12kg) and tilt range of +90° to -75°, make the DV 10 SB the ideal tool for diverse shooting conditions.

Like other members of Sachtler's DV family of fluid heads, this new head offers the SpeedBalance feature that greatly reduces setup time due to its 12 steps of counterbalance. In addition to finer counterbalance graduation, SpeedBalance expands the payload range, including a reduction in minimum payload, so the DV 10 SB ideal for lightweight camcorders such as those in the DVCAM, HDV and DV classes.

The DV 10 SB also features Sachtler's Touch & Go® Plate DV for quick camera mounting and a wider sliding range, a self-illuminating Touch Bubble, and the ability to operate in diverse climates, from -40 to +140°F (-40° to +60° C). The head weights 5.7 lbs. (2.6kg), and is available as a system with any of Sachtler's 100mm bowl mount tripods.

About Sachtler
Sachtler, founded in 1958 by cameraman Wendelin Sachtler, is the global market leader in professional camera support systems for film and television production. In addition to its complete range of camera support systems, Sachtler has a comprehensive product portfolio of Reporter lighting and studio equipment. For more information, visit www.sachtler.us.

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Sony Creative Software To Mashup NAB 2009 User Group Event With International Video Remixing Phenomenon Eclectic Method

Sony Creative Software Inc. today announced that renowned video remixing group Eclectic Method will be entertaining attendees at its ninth annual NAB Users Group Event - Digital Revelation - with a live demonstration of how and why they use Sony Creative Software products. Hosted in partnership with VASST, and co-sponsored by AMD and Colfax International, the event will be held Monday, April 20 at 6:30 pm in the Las Vegas Convention Center North Hall, rooms N249-251.

Recently featured on "The Colbert Report," the groundbreaking band of London artists has worked with renowned musicians such as U2, the Beastie Boys, Fatboy Slim and Public Enemy and has headlined closing night parties at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals.

"The Eclectic Method relies on Sony Vegas software for incredible live performances and their presentation at our NAB User Group event is sure to be inspirational as more and more producers are looking for new and innovative ways in which to create compelling content for broadcast," said Dave Chaimson, vice president of global marketing for Sony Creative Software. "We're pleased to celebrate the power and flexibility of Vegas Pro by showcasing the talents of these captivating world-class artists and look forward to updating our users on Sony Creative Software product news at the event."

In addition to sharing product developments at the Digital Revelation event, Sony Creative Software will also be giving away a powerful workstation loaded with Sony Creative Software applications, powered by AMD and Colfax. Additional confirmed speakers include VASST Managing Producer and Vegas Pro expert Douglas Spotted Eagle, AMD director of digital media and entertainment Charlie Boswell, Sony Creative Software vice president of global marketing Dave Chaimson and other Sony Corporation executives.

"Sony Creative Software consistently breaks through the barriers to creativity with innovative solutions for video and audio production," said Boswell. "The 64-bit version of Vegas Pro developed by Sony clearly showcases the company's commitment to developing software that seamlessly integrates with the newest hardware available to offer professional editors powerful solutions for their workflow challenges."

Pre-registration at http://www.thefullhd.com is required to attend the Sony Creative Software NAB 2009 User Group event.

About Sony Creative Software
Sony Creative Software inspires artistic expression with its award-winning line of products for digital video, music, DVD, and audio production. The company also develops applications that enhance the experience for users of Sony hardware devices. Sony Creative Software customers span the globe and include seasoned professionals in the film, television, video game, and recording industries, as well as students, educators, hobbyists, and enthusiasts. For more information, visit http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com.

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New Petrol Transparent Raincovers for EX 3, GY-HD200, PDW-700 & AJ-HP2700-sized Cameras

Petrol, a Vitec Group brand, introduces two new versions of the popular Petrol Transparent Raincover. The PCR-15 provides the ultimate weather protection for medium-size video cameras like the Sony PMW-EX3 and JVC GY-HD200, while the extra-large PRC-25 is designed to shelter full-size broadcast cameras like the Sony PDW-700 and Panasonic AJ-HPX2700.

Petrol's ingenious one-piece design makes the raincover extremely easy to install while shooting. Constructed mainly of transparent polyurethane for maximum visibility, both models offer quick and easy access to camera controls. Putting on the cover's viewfinder protector takes just seconds, thanks to its special waterproof zipper. On the new PRC-15, this zipper also provides hand access to the camera's LCD screen. The larger PRC-25 is roomy enough to enable work with the flip-out LCD screen fully open. A rigid front hood section comes outfitted with a hotshoe connector that anchors and stabilizes the raincover on camera. On top of the hood, a unique 6" ABS track allows for the addition of an on-camera light and/or wireless receiver.

U.S. list price is $160 for the PRC-15 and $189 for the PRC-25. For further information on these and other Petrol products, go to http://www.petrolbags.com.

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CineForm Adds Powerful Real Time Color Correction Innovations to its Family of Compression-Based Workflow Solutions; Debuts ‘First Light' at NAB 2009

CineForm®, Inc. (www.cineform.com), creators of high-fidelity compression-based workflow solutions for the post production marketplace, today announced a powerful new real-time, renderless color correction tool - CineForm First LightTM - which will become part of its professional Neo and Prospect product families on both Windows and Mac. First Light uses CineForm's innovative Active MetadataTM architecture to add or adjust color information such as white balance, saturation controls, and even 3D LUTs (Look Up Tables), as metadata "layers" on top of the base image without flattening or rendering the file. Carrying color adjustments as metadata preserves fidelity of the source images while maintaining compatibility with all AVI and QuickTime applications on Windows and Mac.

First Light enables unique capabilities for an editor, including the ability to toggle between several versions of advanced color correction in real-time while in consultation with a client, yet in a non-destructive way that does not modify the source content. CineForm will debut and demonstrate First Light at its booth #SL11605 at NAB 2009 in Las Vegas.

"CineForm is constantly working to eliminate pain points that plague the editorial workflow - anything that stands between the editor and the creative process," said David Taylor, CEO and co-founder of CineForm, Inc. "First Light embodies the flexibility of our Active Metadata architecture applied to the color correction process. By eliminating image-degrading operations like rendering, and replacing them with real-time color adjustments that intelligently protects original imagery, we enable editors to experiment more freely and confidently with color, to find the right mood and tone for a scene without disturbing image fidelity."

CineForm First Light Under the Hood
First Light is designed to work on both Windows and Mac alongside traditional post production software tools such as Premiere® Pro, Final Cut Pro, After Effects®, Vegas, and most other AVI or QuickTime applications. As color adjustments are made to CineForm files through First Light, color changes immediately appear when the CineForm file is played or scrubbed within the editing or compositing application - no rendering, importing, or other processing is required.

Color information is stored in CineForm files as "active" metadata which operates as a non-destructive "layer" above the base image. When color adjustments are performed in First Light, only the metadata layers are modified, never disturbing the base image underneath. When a CineForm file is played within a calling application, CineForm's decoder subsystem first decodes the base image then applies Active Metadata to the image before passing the decoded image to the calling application. Supported non-destructive color adjustments include white balance, gain/offset, gamma, and individual RGB color controls. Additionally, Active Metadata supports 64x64x64 3D LUTs compatible with the Iridas .Look format, also processed in real time, for essentially infinite mapping of one color to another.

Pricing and Availability
CineForm First Light will be available shortly as a public beta release within Neo HD/4K on Windows and Mac, and Prospect HD/4K v4 on Windows. First Light will be included at no additional charge within CineForm products. For more information, please visit www.cineform.com.

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Genius Announces a New Noise-Cancelling Headphone

Genius (www.geniusnetusa.com), a brand division of KYE Systems Corp., has announced a new headphone designed to block outside sound for entertainment fans who are interested in what is playing rather than hearing extraneous sound. The GHP-04NC launched today with a revolutionary sound blocking feature that cancels out background distraction noise allowing only the music to be heard. Built for comfort and long wear, the GHP-04NC is the perfect headphone for PC gamers, music lovers and movie buffs that travel or work/live in a noisy environment.

Built based on the "superposition principle," The GHP-04NC is designed with an inverted version of the noise signal to cancel outside noise when two identical sound waves combine. This result is destructive interference, the most effective way to cancel noise from low-frequency sources. To create great sound quality for the sound that can be heard, the GHP-04NC uses a 40mm unit driver. The padded swivel ear-cup can be adjusted to fit any face contour and the soft headband sponge and leather ear pad are ideal for long time wear. Perfect for trains, airplanes, subways and dorm rooms, the GHP-04NC helps fade away background noise for up to 50 hours of uninterrupted enjoyment on just two AAA Alkaline batteries.

Priced at $49.99, the GHP-04NC comes complete with a 6.3mm dual-plug stereo adapter that can connect to a variety of flight audio sources and a travel leather bag. Interested shoppers can go to New Egg.com, Amazon.com, Tiger Direct, Buy.com or other retailers and distributors listed at http://www.geniusnetusa.com/buy.php. More information on all of Genius' headphones and products at www.geniusnetusa.com.

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