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May 04, 2009

Table of Contents

EventDV Chooses Best of NAB 2009; Presents "Almost Live at NAB" 4-part Series for EventDV-TV
Re:Frame 09 Austin, Days Two & Three
WEVA 2009 & Winter 2010 Programs to Harness Combined Impact of New Technologies
Toon Boom Announces Studio 5
Blackmagic Design Announces Converter Utility 1.0 Now Available
K-Tek Intros Custom Logo Windscreens
Pond5 Celebrates 150,000 Clips, Inaugurates Free Clip of the Week
Schneider Intro's Hollywood Black Magic Filters

EventDV Chooses Best of NAB 2009; Presents "Almost Live at NAB" 4-part Series for EventDV-TV

EventDV Best of NAB 2009

EventDV, The Authority for Event Videographers, has announced the winners of its fourth annual "Best of NAB" awards. Chosen each year by contributing editor and leading L.A.-area videographer and filmmaker Marc Franklin, the awards recognize products in four categories: cameras, production gear, and postproduction solutions.

"Even though NAB is a broadcast-oriented show and we're not a broadcast-oriented magazine," said EventDV editor-in-chief Stephen Nathans-Kelly, "it's still the biggest show of the year for our industry in terms of new product announcements and new developments in video technology. Even though much of what we see at NAB scales higher than we do, there's always lots of new gear on display-even if it's still under glass-that's right in the event videographer's wheelhouse," he continued. "I like to think of EventDV's ‘best of NAB' as ‘The Best of for the rest of us.'"

Now, on to the winners' circle.

In the Camera category, Franklin selected four new models as worthy of inclusion on this year's list, including 2 shouldermount models and two handhelds:

Panasonic AG-HPX300
Panasonic AG-HMC40

Next up were the production gear and camera support products. No fewer than 6 products made the cut in this category:

Petrol Inflatable Airline Bag
KATA One Man Band (OMB) Bag
Litepanels Micro Pro
Shining Technology CitiDISK CFR
Focus Enhancements FS-5 2.0
Bodelin Technologies ProPrompter iPhone/iPod Touch Teleprompter

Rounding out this year's list is the Postproduction category, which ranged widely, including a workstation, two NLEs, two hardware acceleration cards, and three timely plug-ins.

HP Z Series Workstations
Sony Vegas Pro 9
Sony Vegas Pro Production Assistant
Matrox MXO2 Mini
Matrox Compress HD
Grass Valley EDIUS 5.1
Boris Continuum Complete 6
SmartSound Sonicfire Pro FCP Plug-in

For more information on the winning products and the EventDV Best of NAB 2009 selection process, see the June issue of EventDV. Also, for more of EventDV's take on NAB 2009, see Marc Franklin's EventDV-TV series, Almost Live from NAB (EventDV-TV.com > Almost Live from NAB tab).


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Re:Frame 09 Austin, Days Two & Three

Re:Frame 09 AustinRe:Frame 09 Austin rolled on into Day Two of the jam-packed two-and-one-half-day event (read about Day One here) with the first Re:Frame presenter from outside the familiar confines of the wedding video world: internationally renowned DoP Philip Bloom. Bloom began his workshop with a series of arresting videos, including a clip from the indie film The Fall that is worth checking out by, well, anyone with an interest in artistic imagery and cinema. His workshop ranged widely with a variety of topics and clips, punctuated with messages like "Time to dump the tape!" (in reference to the migration to tapeless workflows). He then addressed the benefits of overcrank/undercrank in cameras such as the Sony EX3 and the Panasonic HPX170--particularly for time lapse work--and then moved on to his central topic (and the one that those who know his work came to hear about): How do you get a film look? His first recommendation was shooting in progressive; "progressive instantly looks more expensive," he said.

Most important, he said, was composition: "If your composition sucks, everything sucks." He also asserted (echoing Julie Hill's Monday workshop) that "color grading is essential," and showed a convincing sequence of clips with a split-screen of Magic Bullet-corrected footage and original footage that is most likely to be found somewhere on his website.

Deep in the Q & A session, Bloom responded to a question about what inspires him that cut to the heart of his message and his reason for being at the show (and the reason that his workshop was so important to attendees in this business): "I see things I want to film all the time. I love filming and that's my inspiration."

Following Bloom was Chris P. Jones of Mason Jar Films, who spoke not so much of pursuing your passion in your business as reducing the demands of your business on your life so the passion doesn't drain out when you're spending all your time simply getting the job done. "If you take away 5-10-15 hours each week that you spend editing," Jones asked attendees, "how would you spend that time?"

He went on to describe his efforts to streamline his business and reduce his backlog to the point where he's promising (and delivering) a two-month turnaround on his edits (after being mired in the 8-12 month range in 2006). "We could deliver in a week with our real workflow," he quipped, "but we want to sit on it a bit to make the value accrue."

One key aspect of the way he's streamlined his business, he said, was training editors to work in his style, which in and of itself demands a level of mastery and understanding of what you do and why and how you do it that many videographers (however distinctive their end product) don't have. "If you don't have a system and know your style," he said, "you can't teach other people how to to do this work for you."

That said, Jones took pains to point out that he, like others, got into this business in part because of a passion for editing, and the purpose of making his workflow more efficient wasn't so much to pass off that work as to reduce his role in it enough to maintain that passion. He then went into detail on the things that bog videographers down in post, ranging from Twitter and Facebook and message boards to office clutter and, simply, not knowing what to do next. Not to mention the essential question: "Are you intense?" And the concomitant: Are you capable of being as intense in everyday work situations as you are when deadlines mean you actually have to be?

The final presenter of the day, Bruce Patterson, picked up right where Jones left off with his ever-incisive perspective on the wedding film business and his insight on how to run a boutique business that demands top pricing in the field. He broke his seminar down into four areas to get the most out of your business:

·     The art of standing out

·     Getting down to business

·     Staying productive

·     Balancing life, work, and passion

Key issues in the "art of standing out" category, he said, include "push[ing] yourself" with the understanding that "average isn't good enough." Also important is paying "attention to all aspects of how your company is perceived." Perhaps the heart of his seminar, however, was the boldest public presentation in our industry to date on the challenges, the ins and outs, the business risks, and the business potential of Fusion. "This is a touchy subject, I know," Patterson began, before laying out the key issues all videographers should consider before going the Fusion route:

·     Are you passionate about photography?

·     Do you think you'll make more money by adding it?

·     Will you lose more in referrals than you'll gain?

And then he added: "It's not as hard as you may think--you already know composition and editing." He also described his first (very well-received by clients) Fusion attempts, while acknowledging the challenges faced by someone who's only worked the video side attempting to cross over: "The hardest part of photography was telling people how to pose. I don't usually do that."

Patterson's final message, in reference to the importance of committing to your business without letting it consume your life: "Like everything in life, it all comes down to balance."

The other two key elements of the day were precisely the kind of thing that wouldn't have happened--or even been possible--at a large conference less focused on providing a hands-on, workshop-type experience to attendees. First was the "30-second film clips," short promo (or other videos) submitted by attendees and projected in HD on the big cinema screen at the Alamo Drafthouse. (All attendees were invited to submit a clip.) The inclusion of these videos--besides being cool and fun--underscored the attendee-centricity of Re:Frame as well as the notion that participants in the workshop aren't just ambitious videographers who came to Austin to learn, but also rising stars and potential future industry leaders with much to show their peers.

Day Two's daylight hours concluded with Re:Frame's first-ever "shootout," in which all attendees (who had been encouraged to bring their cameras) headed down to Sixth St. to shoot "bride and groom" models in various distinctive downtown Austin locations. For the shootout, Julie Hill split the attendees into various groups. There were the XH A1s, the EX1s, and EX3s; a slew of 5Ds and an array of sliders and stabilization devices on display, Glidecams, Smooth Shooters, and monopods of various stripes. Quite the spectacle: 40-some shooters, 2 models, no permit, on the city's busiest sidewalk, swarming the corner of Sixth and San Jacinto, under the blue and white neon that adorns the Aces Lounge. Meanwhile Kristen* of Bliss* led an enthusiastic coterie of 8 and 16mm film shooters, some of them trying out the medium for the first time.

Of course, this was a video/filmmaking workshop, not a photo seminar, so after a few minutes of relatively static shooting by the Aces brick wall, it was time to walk and get the Glidecam and Steadicam shooters in motion. The procession moved on to the steps of the Driskill, one of Austin's oldest and stateliest hotels (built in 1886). By all appearances the crowd of shooters looked like a bunch of paparazzi awaiting the predicted exit of a celebrity on the Driskill steps, but it was really just a group of wedding shooters "geeking out" (as Re:Frame had billed the event) on a crowded city street. On behalf of the city of Austin, I'd like to thank to Re:Frame for doing its part to keep Austin weird.

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

Re:Frame Day 2 04/28/09 from David Perry on Vimeo.

Following the Tuesday night “Gunslinger’s Get-Down” at Sixth Street’s Buffalo Billiards, attendees reconvened at the Drafthouse Cinema for a second dose of Julie Hill’s cinematic editing workshop, this time with the emphasis on color grading using Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Looks filter. She also described some of the systems she has in place to manage workflow with her team of remote editors, including an extensive description of how tools such as WebEx/WebOffice (networked project management) and Digital Heaven’s DigitalPrint (essentially, Adobe Clip Notes for Final Cut Pro) work.


Always one for the dramatic entrance, three-time EventDV 25 honoree Jason Magbanua arrived after 19 hours in transit, having just shot a hush-hush wedding in Boracay, the Philippines, for a celebrity couple he described as “the Filipino Brad and Angelina.” Magbanua’s (unannounced) topic was a hot one: “A Case for the 3-Minute Highlight.” Stating first the practical advantage of putting your signature effort into a shorter version (on today’s Twitter-terse web, the short, digestible clip is much more effective than a longer one that will challenge an online audience’s attention span), Magbanua went on to argue that “There can be depth, story, and a deeper level of emotion in a shorter clip.” And then he rolled a few breathtaking clips that demonstrated just that. (See for yourself at www.vimeo.com/3661532.)


And for anyone who wondered if Magbanua’s dazzling 16-month run of globe-crossing stateside appearances might be coming to an end, at least for a while, the answer came almost immediately after his workshop. As the reconstituted Re:Frame Three announced plans for the next Re:Frame event (Re:Frame 2.0) in San Francisco in October (with a heightened focus on business and educating attendees from perspectives outside “the wedding video bubble”), they also revealed that Magbanua had officially joined the collective, giving the outfit a truly global demesne. It’s enough to drive a man to Twitter.

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

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WEVA 2009 & Winter 2010 Programs to Harness Combined Impact of New Technologies

Upcoming WEVA 2009 and winter 2010 educational conferences and events will reflect the massive changes in new digital video, digital imaging, and online technologies affecting our industry now and for the immediate future, relates John Zale WEVA's Director of Educational Development.

At the WEVA 19th Annual Wedding & Event Video Expo in September, and in the winter season starting the last week in January 2010, attendees will discover new programs on how to combine cutting-edge technologies and techniques to create breakthroughs in wedding and event video artistry, how to increase workflow efficiency, how to generate more referrals, plus how to increase new business using online technologies, social media, and more. The new programming, presented by leading videographers and others, is being designed to place attendees right at the forefront of new digital memories production and keep demand for services strong all year round.

"The incredible synergy between digital video and digital imaging technologies, first unveiled for videographers by WEVA in January 2008 at WEVA's winter co-convention with PMA, has created an incredible breakthrough in new profit opportunities for our members, " Zale said.

"Since then, and as WEVA predicted, huge changes in video and Internet technologies have occurred, including: the introduction of amazing hybrid cameras like the Canon 5D and Panasonic's GH1, the explosion in mobile video, the skyrocketing demand for Internet video, the massive impact of YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and the flood of demand for pocket-size HD cameras like FLIP. And today, we are now seeing the exciting emergence of LIVE-Streamed video, which WEVA itself is pioneering for videographers through the new WEVA LIVE Eventcasting Series, which began last month."

Zale adds the bottom-line impact looks impressive. "It's a perfect time to embrace the combination of new and emerging digital technologies because we've all entered a new era where digital video and new digital memories production capabilities are creating solid business opportunities for those skilled in new systems, new creativity, and new marketing."

And as Zale relates, "Adapting quickly to meet these widespread changes requires a robust program of cutting-edge education led by an organization whose members have a proven history of advancing our industry year after year - an organization dedicated to not only teaching, but innovating. That's WEVA, and that's what attendees can depend on for WEVA EXPO 2009, and the winter season programs starting in January 2010."

The WEVA 19th Annual Wedding & Event Video Expo, the biggest international convention and trade show for professional wedding and event videographers will be held September 14-17, 2009. More information is at: http://www.weva.com/cgi-bin/newsreader.pl?op=render&type=i&storyid=4056.

Watch www.WEVA.com for details on all upcoming 2009 & 2010 WEVA educational conferences and events.

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Toon Boom Announces Studio 5

Toon Boom Animation Inc. today announced the upcoming release of Studio 5, a new version that brings stop-motion animation to its existing wide array of animation capabilities. Rebranded to reflect the various styles of animation and positioned as the proven multi-technique animation software, Studio 5 is the best software for mastering all animation techniques. Ideal for hobbyists,
educators and students, Studio 5 enables users to become familiar with stop-motion, traditional, digital, cut-out and rotoscoping animation methods and to combine them for greater creativity.

What's new in Studio 5?

  • Create stop-motion animation using your favourite characters
    • Speed things up with Time-lapse Imagery
    • Live View/Image Capture lets you see images exactly as they will appear in your movie
  •  Change your backgrounds using Chroma Key Screens (Green & Blue Screens)
    • Position and align elements perfectly using Onion Skinning
    • Use Rotoscoping to take advantage of actual imagery to better position your characters
  • Improved Image Playback Optimization increases speed
  • Annotation Layers for feedback
  • Easily export your animation directly to YouTube or Facebook
  • Import Flip Boom Classic and Animation-ish projects to bring them to the next level
  • Enhanced User Interface

Buy Toon Boom Studio 5 now at the special pre-launch price of $329 US, valid until May 14, 2009. As of May 1, 2009, all new clients will receive a Toon Boom Studio 4.5 key. Their Studio 5 license key will be automatically registered and emailed to them upon product release in May 2009 enabling them to download the software. All new clients will see their version 5 purchase listed on the "my products" page once the transaction is completed. All orders requiring shipping will be processed upon product release.

Information about Toon Boom Studio 5 is now available online at www.toonboom.com/products/toonBoomStudio/.

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Blackmagic Design Announces Converter Utility 1.0 Now Available

Blackmagic Design Inc. today announced the new Converter Utility 1.0 software is now available for download for both Windows and Mac OS X platforms.

Converter Utility 1.0 is an important update for all Blackmagic Design Mini Converter customers as it adds new features by updating the converter software. New features  include a high quality HD down converter in the Mini Converter SDI to Analog model, and support for 1080p/50/60 via 3 Gb/s SDI on the Mini Converter SDI to HDMI model.

Converter Utility 1.0 takes advantage of the built in USB connection on all models of Mini Converters to allow adjustments and settings to be changed. This means all adjustments of video and audio levels can be completed via a simple and easy to use software interface.

Other brand converters use manual adjustments which require opening the converter chassis to perform adjustments with a screwdriver. Mini Converters eliminate this problem as customers can plug into the USB port at any time to make changes. Software level settings also result in a more stable design that requires less adjustment.

The new Converter Utility 1.0 software update also adds new features to some models of Mini Converter. Once this new Converter Utility software is connected to any Mini Converter via USB, an automatic check is performed to see if a firmware update is required. The customer can then update the firmware and receive new features that were not originally included in the converters.

This feature is unique to Blackmagic Design Mini Converters, and enables customers to preserve their hardware investment longer by receiving new features in the future. Because Blackmagic Mini Converters feature new technologies such as 3 Gb/s SDI, this new firmware updating feature allows new video formats to be added in the future.

In Converter Utility 1.0, an update is included for the Mini Converter SDI to Analog model that adds a new high quality hardware down converter. This down converter allows HD to be converted to SD in letterbox, anamorphic 16:9 and center cut 4:3 modes. Analog component video output can be set to directly output HD or, by selecting the bypass switch, will down convert to SD component output. If an HD-SDI input is ever connected to Mini Converter SDI to Analog when the analog output is set to S-Video or composite, the HD down converter is automatically enabled so a picture can always be seen.

Converter Utility 1.0 also includes an update for the Mini Converter SDI to HDMI model to add support for 1080p/50, 1080p/59.94 and 1080p/60 progressive 3 Gb/s SDI video formats.

"I am so happy to announce new software is now available because it's the easiest way to adjust levels and settings on Mini Converters, and you could even use a laptop to make adjustments!" said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. "Also, any customer who has purchased SDI to Analog or SDI to HDMI models of Mini Converter receive all these great new features free of charge!"

Converter Utility 1.0 is available for download now free of charge from the Blackmagic Design web site at www.blackmagic-design.com/support.

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K-Tek Intros Custom Logo Windscreens

K-Tek introduces Schulze-Brakel custom logo windscreens - a striking yet affordable way to stand out from the crowd. An ideal way to display individual logos, these are an excellent advertising method for radio and TV stations, sports teams, studios, entertainment programming, news shows, and sponsorships.

Schulze-Brakel windscreens can be produced in sizes to fit everything from the smallest handheld mic to larger directional microphones. The windscreens are built according to the client's own design and made in a chosen set of custom colors. Users can select from a single or multicolored flocked exterior. Lightweight and easy to use, Schulze-Brakel windscreens do not alter acoustics while effectively suppressing wind and "plop" noise.


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Pond5 Celebrates 150,000 Clips, Inaugurates Free Clip of the Week

Stock footage marketplace Pond5.com (http://www.pond5.com) announced today that it has marked a significant new milestone: it now offers video producers over 150,000 broadcast quality, royalty-free HD and SD stock video clips available for instant download. Its collection has been doubling in size every 6 months since opening for business in early 2006. The site is now the fastest growing collection of stock video on the web, with an enthusiastic global following at all production levels.

The rapid expansion is a result of Pond5's distinctive approach says Tom Bennett, co-founder and CEO. "We offer the highest royalties and the most artist-friendly contract in the industry, along with a fast, cutting edge interface. That attracts a lot of amazing work, which in turn attracts footage buyers. As a result, our artists are earning great income doing what they love. And our buyers have a fantastic palate of stock footage to work with at incredibly good prices."

Pond5 offers 50% royalties to its artists in an industry where 20-40% royalties are typical, and, uniquely, gives its artists the freedom to set prices themselves. The result, says Bennett, is "an open and efficient footage marketplace offering the widest range of content at the absolute lowest prices anywhere."

In the midst of tough economic times, stock footage is an increasingly attractive option for budget-strapped productions at all levels to cut costs, boost production value, and open up creative possibilities that would otherwise be unavailable. It's also a proven way for footage creators to make money. Currently, over 1,200 video producers contribute footage on Pond5, and many see recurring income in the thousands of dollars per month.

"We're delighted to help provide a means of livelihood for our artists," says Bennett. "And we're committed to continue offering the most artist friendly community and the easiest, fastest interface around, along with the best prices and real customer service."

Free Stock Video Footage Every Week
Pond5 is celebrating its collection's growth by inaugurating its "Free Clip of the Week" offer. Each week a fresh, full-quality HD royalty-free stock video clip will be available to Pond5 users free of charge. Free stock video clips will be highlighted on Pond5's Free Clip page: http://www.pond5.com/Free-Stock-Footage.

About Pond5
Pond5.com, the world's first open marketplace for stock video footage, is a web-based platform where video professionals buy and sell (license) broadcast-quality footage for use in other productions. All footage is licensed royalty-free, and is instantly downloadable. Prices are set by the footage producers, and range from $5 upward. Launched in 2006, the website boasts a rapidly growing collection of more than 150,000 HD and SD stock footage clips, from over 1,200 producers around the world. Clips span all categories, including people and lifestyle, nature and travel, timelapse, animation, motion backgrounds, and alpha channel. Membership is free to both buyers and sellers. Pond5 is based in New York City and Geneva, Switzerland.

To find out more, go to http://www.pond5.com.

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Schneider Intro's Hollywood Black Magic Filters

The Hollywood Black Magic is Schneider Optics latest development in professional diffusion filters for high definition digital cameras. Building on the success of the HD Classic Soft filters with their Micro-lenslet design and the Black Frost filters using Black Micropore technology, Schneider has developed a new line of diffusion filters that combines the best attributes of both.

Hollywood Black Magic filters remove unsightly blemishes and wrinkles while providing a smooth transition in the highlights. These new filters are available in five strengths from 1/8 to 2. The shooter can select from a wide range of diffusion choices from subtly diminishing the "video edge" to removing years off the age of a person. Pleasant softening of bright highlights helps control the exposure while maintaining rich blacks and colors.

New Hollywood Black Magic filters are available in popular professional rectangular sizes for HD, DV, and video as well as screw-on sizes for professional DSLR photography.


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