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April 28, 2009

Table of Contents

Re:Frame 09 Austin, Day One
Software Training That's Certifiably from lynda.com
Copyright Clearance Center Teaches "Copyright Basics" with Free Animated Educational Video
Genius Puts High Definition Video In The Palm Of The Hand With Their New HD Digital Video Camera
GE Breakthrough Validates Technology to Enable 500-Gigabyte Disc

Re:Frame 09 Austin, Day One

Re:Frame AustinOn my first trip to Austin in 1998 I visited a honkytonk institution called The Broken Spoke. I made a great impression upon arrival when I saw that they had only one beer on draft, and asked the bartender--who looked like she'd been rooted to her spot behind the bar for decades and seen everything there was to see in that time, from that spot--how the Pearl beer was that night. Rolling her eyes, she replied, "A Pearl's a Pearl." Like most tourists who make one-time pilgrimages to The Spoke, I couldn't leave without a t-shirt; the one I took home (which I still have somewhere) said "I Dance Country at The Broken Spoke" on the front and "31 years of chicken-fried steak" on the back.

11 years later, a Pearl's still a Pearl, and perhaps the biggest thing that's changed at The Broken Spoke is that they're now celebrating forty-two years of chicken-fried steak. As for the rest of Austin, the names at some of the 6th Street clubs have changed, the college kids seem much younger, and--much as in my hometown of Madison, Wis., aka Austin North--the hippies have clearly gotten older. I suppose there have been other changes in Austin in the interim, but probably none as dramatic as the changes in wedding videography and filmmaking over the last 11 years, as evidenced by the view of the vanguard on display at the event I came here this week to attend: Re:Frame 09 Austin.

A scant six months after the first Re:Frame event in New Orleans, Re:Frame a bit restructured: Once a Collective of six studios, Re:Frame now comprises three, with founding members Julie Hill of Elysium, Kristen* of Bliss*, and Bruce Patterson of Cloud Nine Creative still enthusiastically flying the Re:Frame flag, and as determined as ever to raise wedding filmmaking from the muck of misconception and stigma through artistry, storytelling, innovation, and web-savvy business strategy, and the sense that "what we do is pretty frickin' cool."

Whatever the changes in Re:Frame since October, the reconstituted group delivered exactly what was promised on the last day of the New Orleans event. Following the "Day Zero" welcome reception on Sunday evening, Day One kicked off in a venue that's as cool as they said, the Alamo Drafthouse in the heart of Austin's rollicking 6th Street.

The day began with two members of one of the hottest wedding cinematography teams on the planet--StillMotion's Patrick Moreau and Konrad Czystowski--talking about how they do what they do and why: "We've got the same event every single weekend, but our task is to come up with something completely different every single time." How they achieve that seems to be a mix of method--sizing up an event before shooting it with an eye to the light, the characters, the opportunities for "interesting composition," and planning shots that will work in sequences and be amplified by context rather than isolated bits of eye candy--finding projects that will inspire them--they emphasize how they will turn away couples whose stories and personalities don't move them artistically, lest a project "kill a little part of [them]selves" as they try to complete it without inspiration--and a commanding knowledge of lenses and their properties that will help them tell their stories by enabling them to capture the images that fit their vision and tell their stories. (Event sponsor Canon was out in the theater lobby with an array of lenses on display, along with the much-discussed 5D Mark II.) "The more consistent you are with your style," Czystowski said, "the more you're going to attract the couples you like."

Moreau and Czystowski underscored their points by showing (using the Drafthouse's state-of-the-art big-screen HD projection system) and deconstructing a series of ads produced for Cinevate by a handful of leading-edge videographers, including Re:Frame Austin attendees and first-time EventDV 25 honorees Joe Simon and Matthew Ebenezer. Although they worked quite a bit from their own footage as well-breaking down some stunning 5D footage shot for an SDE in San Jose earlier this month-by throwing the spotlight onto Simon and Ebenezer at various times, the StillMotion crew underscored the Re:Frame ethic of making events less of a top-down, talk-at-you approach to education and more collaborative, and with more of an emphasis on making attendees--rather than just speakers--into industry stars.

Re:Frame co-founder Julie Hill followed with a topic that she's taught several times--Cinematic Editing--but as in all her seminars, the can't-keep-still Hill seems most interested in teaching only the ideas that have occurred to her most recently rather than those she's been implementing for years, which always keeps things fresh. Hill expounded on Elysium Productions' unusual business model, which is a volume-based studio that does 150 weddings a year but operates frequently and visibly at the extreme high-end with packages that start in the $14,000 range. Beginning with the idea that "nothing out of a video camera (with the exception of the Canon 5D) looks filmic," and the goal of making everything look filmic, Hill got right down to the business of guiding attendees through the early stages of editing her latest wedding. Key to her approach is the idea that "filmic" doesn't mean any one particular thing, a sort of wand that can be waved over any video footage to give it a uniform film-like feel; rather, the idea is to "go for a look that matches the day" and to "keep the look consistent with the piece." Even if different sequences within a project have different looks (and Hill contends that they should, to keep things interesting, and to match the tone of different segments), each sequence should have its own unity, as achieved by her choice of music and the filters she applies.

One thing the Re:Frame Collective set up to give the event a contemporary feel and open this limited-registration event at least a little to the world outside the Drafthouse was to set up a Twitter wall to allow attendees to tweet about the event as it unfolded. (Attendees were encouraged to bring their laptops to the event, and power seemed to be fairly widely available throughout the theater.) The tweets weren't exactly going fast and furious but seemed to flow fairly steadily throughout the day. At about the midway point in Hill's nearly three-hour seminar, Julie's husband Alex (who was back home in the OC) tweeted in with an offer to buy everyone in the theater a drink-a gimmick, to be sure, but a much appreciated one. It also served as a nice reminder that attendees weren't at a conventional conference in a conventional setting. (It is a drafthouse cinema, after all.)

In what was supposed to be the penultimate event of the day (an outdoor shootaround in the streets of Austin was cancelled because of rain), Re:Frame cofounder Kristen* of Bliss* closed out the Day One events with a business- and artistry-driven look at the benefits of bringing film into the wedding cinematography world. Speaking directly to how to sell film-based (or partially film-based) productions to clients, why they'll buy, and who will buy-specifically, the "anti-video" bride who thinks video looks too perfect or too "real"-Kristen*'s most resonant point was one of her first: "With film, you don't know exactly what you're getting. You can guess, but you never really know." And therein lies the excitement for the cinematographer. The excitement on the editing end comes in simpler edit: since you're shooting film not to document the entire day but to capture moments, approaching the day like a photographer on the lookout for a few dramatic and definitive shots, you'll end up with much less footage, which means that if you outsource editing as Kristen* does, you'll be paying substantially less for the editing of higher-priced jobs.

Kristen*'s seminar also paid close attention to the different types of film stocks and how they can affect the look and feel of your work (one particular reel made the differences especially vivid) and the value of developing a relationship with a film lab. "Build a rapport with your lab," she said. "Make notes on the look you want and they can dial it in."

And finally, a short, 5D-shot film by David Perry of David Perry Films recapping Day One:


Re:Frame Day 01 04/27/09 from David Perry on Vimeo.

Stephen Nathans-Kelly (stephen.nathans at infotoday.com) is editor-in-chief of EventDV and program director for EventDV-TV.

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Software Training That's Certifiably from lynda.com

lynda.com, the award-winning provider of online software training and education for consumers, businesses and schools, today announced that it is offering a Certificate of Completion program for its vast Online Training Library®.

With more than 550 courses from industry-respected authors and professional trainers in topics ranging from digital photography, Web design, word processing, digital video, animation, and much more, customers may now earn an official Certificate of Completion when they finish a course at lynda.com.

"Historically, when customers have completed courses, they have asked how they may promote their newly learned skills," said Lynda Weinman, co-founder of lynda.com and prominent author and educator. "We're very pleased to now offer our customers a way to share their accomplishments with friends, colleagues or potential clients or employers."

lynda.com is offering banners and links for members to use on their Web sites, blogs or social networking profile. Subscriptions to lynda.com range from $25 for one month to $375 for a Premium annual subscription. All subscriptions provide anytime access to more than 37,000 easy-to-use video tutorials. Premium subscriptions include instructors' exercise files so that members can follow along with the exact examples onscreen. Customers learn at their own pace and may stop, rewind, and replay segments as often as necessary.

"After 20 years as a graphic designer, I find myself looking for work in a difficult job market like a lot of other people," said Gale Erwin, a lynda.com user. "I've been able to sharpen my skill set through lynda.com and the Certificate of Completion program will help me market these skills to potential employers."

About lynda.com
Founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, lynda.com is the nation's foremost authority on online software training and education, and an award-winning provider of educational materials, including the Online Training Library®, CD- and DVD-based video training spanning more than 500 courses for designers, instructors, students, and hobbyists and the Hands-On Training® instructional books.

From professional software tools including Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, Logic, Illustrator and Office, to consumer-friendly education about digital photography, Web design, digital video, and many others, lynda.com's all-star team of trainers and teachers provides comprehensive and unbiased video-based training that subscribers can access 24/7. Learn more at http://www.lynda.com.

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Copyright Clearance Center Teaches "Copyright Basics" with Free Animated Educational Video

 Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), the rights licensing expert, has released a short animated video designed to help people understand copyright law. "Copyright Basics" is a six-and- a-half minute video that follows the dashing "Jim T. Librarian" as he explains the importance of copyright to a co-worker.

The video is free to use for educational purposes by organizations or individuals and can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.copyright.com/copyrightbasicsvideo.

In this first installment, Jim helps his co-worker Jill understand why she shouldn't distribute published content without first checking to see if the company has the rights to do so. He goes on to explain the basics of copyright, what is and isn't covered under U.S. copyright law, how a copyright is created, and why copyright is important. Finally, Jim tackles some of the more confusing issues such as "what is fair use," how the "first sale" doctrine works, and why attribution isn't always enough - and he does it all in less than seven minutes!

Copyright Basics, CCC's newest educational resource, complements the company's mission of advancing the understanding of copyright law and improving respect for intellectual property. CCC has created a variety of workshops, seminars, online tutorials and custom programs that annually reach thousands of people in academic institutions and businesses worldwide.

"Copyright Basics makes copyright approachable," said Bob Weiner, senior vice president at CCC. "We've found that when people understand copyright, they are much more likely to show respect for the intellectually property of others. That is good for publishers of content, because it protects their rights, and also good for organizations and individuals, because it reduces the likelihood that they may inadvertently violate copyright law."

About Copyright Clearance Center
Copyright Clearance Center is the world's largest provider of innovative licensing solutions for the seamless sharing of knowledge. CCC's licensing services, combined with its Web-based applications and tools, allow tens of millions of people worldwide in corporations, universities, law firms and government agencies to use and share published information with ease. Since its founding as a not-for-profit company in 1978, CCC has created and expanded the markets and systems that facilitate content reuse and the distribution of royalties to publishers and authors around the world. Visit http://www.copyright.com for more information.

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Genius Puts High Definition Video In The Palm Of The Hand With Their New HD Digital Video Camera

Genius, a brand division of KYE Systems Corp., has announced a new compact, pocket-size high-definition digital video camera that excels at capturing both high-resolution stills (at 11-megapixels) and high-definition video (at 5-megapixel in MPEG-4/H.264 format) and is light enough (under 6-ozs) and portable enough to allow users to capture activities anytime, anywhere.

This easy-to-use camcorder is ideal for Summer time outings, dads-n-grads, moms on-the-go or anyone looking to capture life's moments in brilliant color and detail. Launched today, the G-Shot HD520 is both Windows (Vista/XP/2000) and Mac (OS10 or higher) compatible and designed with a ultra-bright 2.5" LTPS LCD screen that can rotate up to 270-degrees to allow users to shoot videos from any angle or position.

The G-Shot HD520 comes equipped with Face Detection to track and detect faces accurately as well as Electronic Image Stabilizers (EIS) to detect and correct hand-shaking when shooting photos. The handheld camcorder has a built-in memory of 32MB and supports additional HCSD memory up to 8GB. The G-Shot easily outputs to today's high-resolution flat-panel televisions using the included HDMI cable for theatre-like viewing or video and photos can be easily uploaded to a computer for digital editing, archiving or sharing with friends. Additionally the Z-Lighting technology enhances brightness in low-light environments, perfect for everything from Mother's Day gatherings in dimly-lit restaurants to Summer sunsets on the beach. The G-Shot HD520 is also capable of shooting still photos (up to 11 megapixels), listening to music, reading e-books, playing voice recordings, and it can also be used as a portable media player.

Priced at $149, the G-Shot HD520 weighs under 6-ozs and comes complete with a 7.1 mm lens, a 5X digital zoom, and a Li-ion rechargeable battery. 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 http://www.geniusnetusa.com.

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GE Breakthrough Validates Technology to Enable 500-Gigabyte Disc

GE Global Research, the technology development arm of the General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), today announced a major breakthrough in the development of next generation optical storage technology. GE researchers have successfully demonstrated a threshold micro-holographic storage material that can support 500 gigabytes of storage capacity in a standard DVD-size disc. This is equal to the capacity of 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs, 100 DVDs or the hard drive for a large desktop computer.

GE's micro-holographic discs will be able to be read and recorded on systems very similar to a typical Blu-ray or DVD player. Holographic storage is different from today's optical storage formats like DVDs and Blu-ray discs. DVDs and Blu-ray discs store information only on the surface of the disc; holographic storage technology uses the entire volume of the disc material. Holograms, or three-dimensional patterns that represent bits of information, are written into the disc and can then be read out. Although GE's holographic storage technology represents a breakthrough in capacity, the hardware and formats are so similar to current optical storage technology that the micro-holographic players will enable consumers to play back their CDs, DVDs and BDs.

The GE team successfully recorded micro-holographic marks approaching one percent reflectivity with a diameter of approximately one micron. When using standard DVD or Blu-ray disc optics, the scaled down marks will have sufficient reflectivity to enable over 500 GB of total capacity in a CD-size disc.

"GE's breakthrough is a huge step toward bringing our next generation holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer," said Brian Lawrence, who leads GE's Holographic Storage program. "Because GE's micro-holographic discs could essentially be read and played using similar optics to those found in standard Blu-ray players, our technology will pave the way for cost-effective, robust and reliable holographic drives that could be in every home. The day when you can store your entire high definition movie collection on one disc and support high resolution formats like 3-D television is closer than you think."

GE has been working on holographic storage technology for over six years. The demonstration of materials that can support 500 gigabytes of capacity represents a major milestone in making micro-holographic discs that ultimately can store more than one terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes of data. In addition to pushing the limits of storage capacity, GE researchers also have been very focused on making the technology easily adaptable to existing optical storage formats and manufacturing techniques.

"GE's holographic storage program has turned the corner, and with this milestone we can now intensify our efforts in commercialization opportunities," said Bill Kernick, who leads GE's Technology Ventures team. "We'll continue to engage with a variety of strategic partners to create the best route from product development to introduction into the marketplace."

GE initially will be focusing on the commercial archival industry followed by the consumer market for its micro-holographic storage technology.

About GE Global Research
GE Global Research is one of the world's most diversified industrial research labs, providing innovative technology for all of GE's businesses. Global Research has been the cornerstone of GE technology for more than 100 years, developing breakthrough innovations in areas such as medical imaging, energy generation technology, jet engines and lighting. GE Global Research is headquartered in Niskayuna, New York and has facilities in Bangalore, India, Shanghai, China and Munich, Germany. Visit GE Global Research at www.ge.com/research.

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