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Information Today, Inc.

May 14, 2009

Table of Contents

The Moving Picture: Deep Thoughts on Marketing Videos
Pegasys Announces TMPGEnc Movie Plug-in SpursEngine is Now Available
Sennheiser Presents the Evolution Wireless G3
Ikan Announces the "Wish I Had an Ikan" Short Film Competition
Apple Worldwide Developers Conference to Kick Off with Keynote Address on Monday, June 8
Canon's XH A1 HD Camcorder Chosen By Calamari Productions To Shoot Documentaries On Child Welfare And Juvenile Justice
Organize and Manage Your Video Footage with iDive

The Moving Picture: Deep Thoughts on Marketing Videos

I recently gave a half-day seminar to the greater Wisconsin chapter of the Media Communications Association—International, and I devoted the last hour to creating effective marketing videos for businesses and other organizations. In pulling the materials together, I reviewed 50 or so product-oriented videos from the likes of HP, Apple, Cisco, Microsoft, and IBM. As many of you have already discovered, creating videos for small to midsize businesses gives videographers a nice opportunity to branch out into new markets. In this column, I’ll share the key points from that last hour.

The first thought is that effective videos help move the customer through the organization’s sales cycle, that all-important process of moving customers from attention and interest to conviction and action. In the context of a web video, this means that companies should make the video available where customers looking for information are likely to find it and should have a conclusion that tells the viewer what to do next.

For example, Apple created a 5-minute video on the new battery life of the MacBook Pro; it’s prominently posted on the main product page for the MacBook Pro. What’s not there is any call to action at the end; you don’t even get “for more information, go to www.apple.com.” It just ends. Now, it’s pretty obvious where to get more information for Apple products, but it may not be so easy to direct people who view your corporate promotional videos to where you want them to go next. This is especially true if the customer decides to post the video on YouTube or to enable it to be embedded into other websites. Just as you wouldn’t create a brochure without a call to action and a phone number, you shouldn’t create a video without these directions either.

The next key point is organization. The best videos I saw focused on a limited set of discrete product features, which were made obvious from the start. For example, an HP video on the company’s 2008 notebook class focused on four features: a stiffer, more durable case; a new keyboard; a new technology for hard-drive protection; and a new battery design. The video introduced these points in the first 30 seconds with B-roll or images of the component under discussion, and the speaker made it clear when they transitioned from section to section. Like the old saying goes: First, tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.

The third aspect involves the concept of proof. When making factual claims, the proof should always be the most believable statement and source available. Beyond factual statements such as price and availability, company management is never the best source for this type of information. In the Apple battery advertisement, one of the most important claims in the video is that the battery has a life of up to 8 hours. The video shows how Apple made the battery compartment bigger, how the battery is made, and how it communicates more efficiently with the computer. What’s not there are the results of any benchmark testing or third-party reference confirming the battery life. Plenty of test houses, or even customers, could have confirmed this. But Apple chose to use only the spoken words of their own executives and engineers.

In contrast, to prove that its new “DriveGuard 3D” technology prevents hard-drive crashes when notebooks are dropped while running, HP dropped a notebook while it was running—obvious but effective. My favorite was an advertisement from Winmate regarding its water- and dust-resistant cases for computer monitors. Rather than talking about the cases’ features, they sprayed the encased monitors with dust and water and showed that they took a licking and kept on ticking. Don’t tell, show—and if you can’t show, have someone besides company management do the telling.

The next point is to use text to highlight key points in the video. Cisco did a great job with this, presenting one video in a 960x540 window that alternated between full-screen videos of the product and B-roll to PiPs surrounded by text describing key features and benefits. Some people acquire knowledge by listening, some by reading, some by hearing. Adding text serves those who learn best that way and reinforces the message for others.

The next point relates to B-roll/talking-head ratio. That is, in a new product, case study, or even testimonial, what percentage of the video should be talking head and what percentage should be B-roll and other material? I actually measured this for about 10 of the best videos that I saw, and the talking-head component peaked at about 50%, with the more typical videos keeping the talking-head portion in the 20%–30% range. For most videos, the less talking head, the better.

What are the biggest mistakes that I saw? Big companies made precious few; there are definitely big dollars going into these productions. Smaller companies made a host of errors that no pro videographer make—backlighting, ignoring rule-of-thirds positioning, and text that’s too small for the streaming video window and pixelates as a result. There are a bunch of amateurs shooting a lot of these marketing-oriented videos, leaving plenty of opportunity for pros who actually know what they’re doing.

Jan Ozer (jan at doceo.com) is a frequent contributor to industry magazines and websites on digital video-related topics. He is working on a new book on using streaming video, social networking, and content aggregation sites for marketing purposes.

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Pegasys Announces TMPGEnc Movie Plug-in SpursEngine is Now Available

Pegasys, Inc. (http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com), the company that makes digital video easy, announces the availability of the TMPGEnc Movie Plug-in SpursEngine for TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress. The new Movie Plug-in enables high-speed, hardware H.264 and MPEG-2 encoding on devices embedded with the SpursEngine Media Streaming Processor from Toshiba®. The Plug-in requires TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress and a supported SpursEngine device. A trial download and more information can be found at http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com/en/product/te4xp_spurs.html. The full version of the TMPGEnc Movie Plug-In SpursEngine is available now for $49.95 or can be purchased along with TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress for $149.90.

"Now you can test the incredible processing speeds achieved with SpursEngine video technology and our award-winning TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress software free for two weeks. With this technology you can upscale standard video to a better, higher resolution video. If you have an NVIDIA CUDA graphics card you can experience the fastest speeds available today. TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress plus Toshiba's SpursEngine technology is the ultimate combination for H.264 and MPEG-2 processing available today," commented Tak EBINE, Pegasys CEO.

Toshiba's SpursEngine, a co-processor that uses four Synergistic Processing Element (SPE) cores based on the "Cell Broadband EngineTM", offers high-speed calculations to perform the huge number of processes to transcode/encode standard video into crystal clear 1920_1080 High Definition (HD) video. It offers high performance media streaming, with a fast clock frequency of 1.5GHz, and an ultra-low power consumption range of 10W to 20W. It can also off-load decoding and encoding of MPEG-2 and H.264 from the CPU to SpursEngine devices. Currently supported devices with SpursEngine include the upcoming LeadTek WinFast PxVC1100 transcoding card, Canopus' FIRECODER Blu card and select Toshiba Qosmio series laptop computers.

The ultimate combination of TMPGEnc Movie Plug-in SpursEngine and TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress allows users to take control of the encoder circuits included in the SpursEngine and experience incredible output processing speeds even with the CPU demanding tasks such as high-definition video processing. In addition, everything that the SpursEngine cannot do, such as audio encoding or video and audio multiplexing, is performed by TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress. Users that also have an NVIDIA CUDA graphics card can see a total speed increase of up to 588%. See product webpage for benchmark details.

About PEGASYS Inc.
PEGASYS Inc. makes digital video easy. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, PEGASYS was established in November 2001 with the release of TMPGEnc Plus -- probably the world's most popular MPEG-1/2 video encoding software and at the time, was the only freeware video encoder. The company's two flagship products, the TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress video encoder and the new TMPGEnc Authoring Works 4, anchor a strong line of retail and OEM digital video editing and encoding products for home and professional users.

The recognized leaders in developing quality video encoding tools for MPEG applications, PEGASYS Inc.'s encoding technology is also incorporated into numerous commercial and professional video editing and DVD-creation software products. PEGASYS technologies have been bundled with quality products from top worldwide manufacturers, including Sony Japan and Pioneer. For information about PEGASYS Inc. and its products, visit the company's website at www.pegasys-inc.com.

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Sennheiser Presents the Evolution Wireless G3

Sennheiser Electronic Corporation is pleased to announce the availability of the third generation of its evolution wireless system products in the U.S. The new 100, 300 and 500 G3 series rack-mount wireless products, which incorporate a broad range of enhancements to the company's most successful wireless series, are now shipping. The ew 300 IEM G3 wireless monitoring system, along with portable ENG sets for reporters and filmmakers, are scheduled to ship in July.

New features in Sennheiser's G3 wireless systems promise easy setup and ensure that PA companies, established and up-and-coming performers, musicians, presenters and reporting teams can get up and running quickly. Featuring rugged metal housings, all G3 series true-diversity receivers now have a switching bandwidth of 42 MHz with 1,680 tunable UHF frequencies for
interference-free reception. All third-generation receivers offer a new one-touch synchronization feature, which enables G3 transmitters to communicate with G3 receivers via an infrared interface, simplifying setup dramatically.

The frequency management function makes more compatible frequencies available. The 500 series has up to thirty-two presets on twenty channel banks, and six additional banks can be freely programmed in 25 kHz steps. The 300 series supports twenty channel banks with up to twenty-four compatible presets each, and six further channel banks are freely programmable in 25 kHz steps. And finally, the 100 series offers twenty channel banks with up to twelve presets each, with one further channel bank freely programmable in 25 kHz steps.

On 500 and 300 series receivers, a built-in Ethernet port supports interconnection with a PC running Sennheiser's Wireless System Manager software. This provides monitoring and professional data management for multi-channel systems. For larger systems, the standard output power in both 300 and 500 series may be reduced from 30 mW to 10 mW in order to accommodate even more channels in a given frequency range.

A large, backlit dot matrix display provides access to enhanced menu options and information readouts. For faster access to the most important functions, the operating menu is now separated into a user level and an advanced level. The user level includes everyday functions such as frequency preset selection and audio levels, while the advanced level is reserved for more specialized programming, such as direct frequency selection, reset to factory settings and - for the 500 and 300 series - synchronization and warning settings. All receivers additionally display transmitter battery strength.

All G3 series receivers include an upgraded Soundcheck Mode that was only previously available on the G2 500 series models. Soundcheck Mode can now be operated even during the performance, and the audio and field strength levels are continuously measured, with the receiver recording the maximum values for AF and the minimum values for RF. In addition, the highly popular 500 series five-band equalizer is now included in all G3 series.

With the audio frequency range of all G3 receivers now extended from 18 kHz down to 25 Hz the systems are eminently suited to use with bass guitar. The 500 and 100 series Instrument Sets additionally offer a guitar tuner mode, for tuning an instrument right on the receiver. Another enhancement for instrument use is the guitar cable emulator, which allows users to dial in
the typical change in the sound caused by the capacitance of the guitar cable.

The switching power supply in all G3 receivers is ideal for touring acts and rental companies who need a wireless solution that can be powered from worldwide sources. The tip of the power supply can be changed to suit the AC power plug requirements of a particular country. Offering an environmentally friendly option that also reduces running costs, all portable transmitters and receivers may be powered by optional Sennheiser BA2015 rechargeable battery packs instead of standard batteries. For this, the portable devices (with the exception of the plug-on transmitter) are fitted with external charging contacts so that the battery pack may be conveniently recharged while still in the transmitter.


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Ikan Announces the "Wish I Had an Ikan" Short Film Competition

The Ikan Corporation (Ikan) is proud to announce the launch of the brand-new "Wish I Had an Ikan" short film competition. Through this new contest, Ikan will award almost $5,000 in cash and prizes to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners for their original short films featuring the Ikan name or product line.

The short films will be judged on creativity, adherence to the theme of "Wish I Had an Ikan" and effective placement of Ikan product or the Ikan name. First place will be awarded a check for $2,000 and a V8000HDMI LCD monitor. Second place will receive a check for $1,000. Third place will receive a V8000HDMI LCD monitor.

The process for entry into the contest is simple and free of charge. Contestants should first make a video, featuring either the Ikan name or an ikan product in a positive manner using the theme, "I wish I had an Ikan." After completing the video, the contestant should upload their video to Vimeo.com (if you do not already have an account, creating one is fast, easy and free). Once the video is uploaded, the entrant should fill out and send in the Release Form through email, US postal service or fax. For the initial run of the competition, entries will be accepted until Midnight on August 1, 2009. At that time, a panel of industry professionals will judge the entries and the final winners will be announced on August 15, 2009.

Clint Milby, Ikan's Director of Marketing, had this to say about the new film competition; "We're excited about the opportunity for fans of our product line to have an opportunity to win cash and prizes for their creativity. We're looking forward to seeing some interesting videos!"

For more information and to keep up with competition news, contestants can visit www.ikanseeit.com.

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Apple Worldwide Developers Conference to Kick Off with Keynote Address on Monday, June 8

Apple® will kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote address on Monday, June 8 at 10:00 a.m. A team of Apple executives, led by Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the keynote.

WWDC will offer in-depth sessions on both iPhoneTM OS 3.0, the world's most advanced mobile operating system, and Mac OS® X Snow LeopardTM, an even more powerful and refined version of the world's best desktop operating system and the foundation for future Mac® innovation.

"Last June, we gave developers an early look at the powerful new technologies that form the underpinnings of Mac OS X Snow Leopard," said Bertrand Serlet, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "At WWDC, we will be giving our developers a final Developer Preview release so they can see the incredible progress we've made on Snow Leopard and work with us as we move toward its final release."

Snow Leopard and Mac technical sessions will showcase hundreds of refinements to the operating system and dive deep into its new technologies including a 64-bit architecture, QuickTime® X, next-generation multicore and GPU processor support, and amazing new accessibility technologies. iPhone OS 3.0 technical sessions will cover introductory and advanced concepts to help developers get the most out of the iPhone OS 3.0 SDK and over 1,000 new APIs available for iPhone OS 3.0.

WWDC also offers attendees the unique opportunity to work side-by-side with Apple engineers to solve code-level issues, gain insight into development techniques and get expert advice on interface design.

Other activities at Apple's WWDC 2009 include:

* more than 100 technical sessions presented by Apple engineers on a wide range of technology-specific topics for developing, deploying and integrating iPhone OS 3.0 and Mac OS X technologies;
* over 1,000 Apple engineers presenting the latest in Apple technologies and providing one-to-one direction in hands-on labs; and
* the opportunity to connect with thousands of fellow iPhone and Mac developers from around the world.

Visit the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2009 website for registration and more details at http://developer.apple.com/wwdc. Members of the media and industry analysts are invited to attend the keynote presentation and can register by contacting Teresa Brewer tbrewer@apple.com.

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Canon's XH A1 HD Camcorder Chosen By Calamari Productions To Shoot Documentaries On Child Welfare And Juvenile Justice

Film and video cameras used for documentary production must be as inconspicuous as possible so that their presence does not influence the people and events being photographed. This is why Calamari Productions, a multi-faceted independent television and digital media production company with long experience in child-welfare documentaries, uses XH A1 HD camcorders from Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging.

Founded in 1995 by CEO/executive producer Karen Grau, Calamari Productions has obtained state Supreme Court access in several states to film inside America's child welfare and juvenile courts, juvenile detention centers and juvenile prisons. The company - based in Indianapolis with satellite offices in New York - has won many awards for its groundbreaking programming, which has appeared on major broadcast and cable networks.

"We go into a lot of sensitive situations where we have to be as unobtrusive as possible," noted Chip Warren, vice president, media and production, Calamari Productions. "The Canon XH A1 camcorder enables us to get into places - and capture footage - that would not be possible with a larger camera."

Weighing 4.6 lbs., the Canon XH A1 HD camcorder measures 13.8 inches long by 7.4 inches high. Despite its compact size the Canon XH A1 is designed to shoot true 1080p HD video at 60i, 30F, or 24F frame rates. Engineered with a wide array of advanced, professional Canon camera technologies, the XH A1 captures light through a Genuine Canon 20x HD video zoom lens and directs it to three 1/3-inch native 1440 x 1080 16:9 CCDs with 1.67 million pixels per sensor. These sensors deliver outstanding picture quality, highly accurate color reproduction and wide dynamic range with virtually no color noise. Canon's proprietary DIGIC DV II HD image processor further ensures optimum image clarity. The XH A1 HD Camcorder includes a range of professional user features (including Total Image Control for customizing image and color settings, programmable Auto Exposure modes, Canon SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer and Canon's Instant Auto Focus).

"I have been a Canon loyalist since I started in still photography years ago," Warren recalled. "When it came time to look into buying an affordable digital three-CCD HD camera, we did our research and discovered that everyone had good things to say about the Canon XH A1 HD camcorder. The reputation this camera has in the video production industry is what sealed the deal for me. Anything better would require quite a jump-up in price. That is why I finally made the decision to choose the Canon XH A1. Its image quality speaks for itself. The pictures that we get in the field are excellent. Some of our camera crews will bring in other cameras, but when they get their hands on the Canon XH A1 they're amazed at its functionality and small size. We shoot in a lot of tight and sensitive situations, which is why I'm hard-pressed to use other cameras."

Dynamic, Realistic Shooting
"Small size is a big consideration when you're shooting in court rooms or jail cells," Warren explained. "A larger camera can be intimidating, especially when you're shooting a documentary. The more obtrusive you are, the more aware people are that you are there. We would not be able to go into small cells to do interviews without the Canon XH A1. We also shoot live and move around courtrooms during active cases. The camcorder helps us respect the fact that the courts do not want a circus atmosphere. A shoulder-mounted camera with larger lights would be very distracting. But with our camera operators - who are very good at what they do - and our compact Canon XH A1 HD camcorders, we can be like the proverbial ‘fly on the wall.'

"We are always striving for the stealthiest production we can achieve, but make no mistake: We're not invisible," Warren said. "When you go into the courtroom people are hyper-aware of you at first, no matter what gear you're shooting with. Eventually they will start to ignore you. That is because people's lives are on the line in a courtroom, and that is much more important to them than cameras. What the Canon XH A1 HD camcorder does for us is shorten the window of time required for people to forget we're there."

"With bigger cameras in the courtroom, we pretty much have to set them up, take fixed, locked-off shots of the judge, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and the witness box," Warren continued. "We can't do very much dynamic shooting. You can't really take a big shoulder-mounted camera right next to the witness box to get a good shot, because it could be disruptive. The thing with courtrooms is that unexpected things happen there, the most unexpected stuff of anywhere that we shoot. That is why shooting with the Canon XH A1 allows us to capture much more, both realistically and dynamically. With the Canon XH A1 we shoot with two locked-down cameras and two hand-held cameras moving throughout the courtroom. We tip-toe around, and if something really dramatic is happening we can get a better angle on it. We can zoom in and really capture the emotion. These smaller cameras give us a lot more options."

Audio, Optics, and Overall Image
"The audio quality of the Canon XH A1 is fantastic," Warren stated. "We usually use a fixed shotgun mic or we will wire people up with wireless lavs. That said, the ability for us to record production-quality sound right off the XH A1's built-in microphone has enabled us to capture some wonderful little ‘nuanced moments.' One example was when we were shooting in a detention-center classroom, where teenagers were working on simple skills in an uncharged atmosphere. Like any kids, they can get rowdy and excited when there are cameras around. But with the small, stealthy XH A1 HD camcorder we were able to capture intimate footage of them telling frank, honest, gripping stories of their lives. Had we gone in with bigger cameras and a sound man holding up a mic boom we wouldn't have gotten that kind of footage."

"Given the lenses on Canon cameras, I think the optics on the XH A1 HD camcorder are second to none," Warren asserted. "The iris ring on the lens is a great help when shooting in varying lighting conditions. We may be following someone who goes from a really bright and harshly lit corridor situation, and then - in the same shot - walks into their cell, which might not be very well lit at all. Having all of that to deal with while also being able to control your focus and your iris with one hand allows you to move in between those conditions a lot more quickly and easily. In fact, the iris ring on the
XH A1 blows a lot of my camera guys away. They usually associate smaller cameras with less robust features, but as soon as their hands go to the XH A1 lens they'll say, ‘Hey! It's has an iris ring.' "

"Another thing I actually was not even aware of until I started comparing footage shot with other cameras is the picture. A lot of cameras ever-so-slightly over-saturate their color, which I think gives you a bit of a limitation in post in some respects. If you look at the footage from the XH A1 it is toned-down a bit. It gives you a lot more control in post and a lot more options. I think it sets a more realistic baseline. Our editors have commented on that, and I think that is a pretty nice thing."

Gripping Stories
"We are not your typical news documentary production company," Warren explained. "There is literally two of us and our work is a cause as much as it is a job. We are trying to bring attention to kids aging-out of the juvenile system. They make progress, but when they hit 18 years of age, many of their services stop, which is really hard on them. It is vital for us to be able to get every angle of their stories that we can. Having the smaller form-factor XH A1 camcorder enables us to shoot powerful HD video in the field that looks every bit as good as what you would get with larger cameras. And let's face it, when it is on TV the viewers at home are not saying ‘Gosh I wonder what kind of camera that was shot on.' They are concentrating on the story content and their realization that they have never heard these gripping stories of juvenile prisoners before."

"We are also a business, and for the amount of money we would spend just renting larger cameras for a couple months, we can buy a three- or four-camera XH A1 kit," Warren concluded. "That is another reason why the Canon XH A1 HD camcorder hits the absolute ‘sweet spot' for us, which is gratifying. I'm a believer in this camera."

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), a top patent holder of technology, ranked third overall in the U.S. in 2008†, with global revenues of US $45 billion, is listed as number seven in the computer industry on Fortune Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies 2008 list, and is on the 2008 BusinessWeek list of "Top 100 Brands."


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Organize and Manage Your Video Footage with iDive

Aquafadas is pleased to announce the immediate availability of iDive 1.9. iDive is the ideal cataloguing solution for all your video files.

The new version 1.9 of iDive comes with a completely rewritten Capture Module to take advantage of the more modern QuickTime functionalities.

This new version comes with the following new features and improvements:

* new possibility to drop frames between clips,
* new possibility to specify what the camcorder should do after recording,
* improved support for the end of tape detection,
* improved naming of frames when bulk exporting,
* improved support for on-the-fly compression in the capture module,
* various other enhancements and performance improvements.

iDive 1.9 fixed a number of issues when sorting sources in the Sources list and a bug when setting a custom aspect ratio. The movie now plays with the correct ratio and the exported frames are correct. Also, this new version 1.9 of iDive adds support for the Turbo.264 hardware accelerator.

About iDive
iDive is a central hub for your movies and clips. iDive is the ideal cataloguing solution for all your video files. The program will subsequently catalogue any file QuickTime can open. iDive allows you to keep track of your videos on CDs or DVDs. For the first time also, iMovie users will find a tool that lets them browse through their projects and catalog all those clips captured in iMovie.

Langage support:
English, french

System requirements

* Mac OS X Version 10.4.11 or later
* G5, or Intel-based Mac
* 512 MB of RAM (1 GB recommended)
* QuickTime 7.5.5

Pricing and Availability
A single user license for iDive US79.

Aquafadas Website


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