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August 06, 2009

Table of Contents

In the Field: Glidetrack
Boris FX Product Line Supports Apple Final Cut Studio 3 Release
Future Media Concepts Launches FMC|Online: Global Online Training Classes for Post, Broadcast, and Content Creators
Toshiba to Launch World's First 64GB SDXC Card
Anton/Bauer USB Battery Management System Makes IBC 2009 Debut
FilmFellas: A Webisodic Series by Zacuto Films, Releases 10 Webisodes of Wedding Filmmaking
Digital Video Expo Returns With New Location and Focus on HD Content Creation and Distribution for the 21st Century

In the Field: Glidetrack

Getting that Hollywood "look" is a goal that many wedding videographers who are employing a cinematic style in their shooting are trying to achieve. Some are achieving it through smooth moving shots using a stabilizer device such as a Glidecam or Steadicam or creating shots with shallow depth of field with the help of 35mm adapters and, more recently, video-capable DSLRs such as the Canon 5D Mark II. Making our work look more like big-budget movies is one of the ways the industry is battling the stigma that wedding video looks "cheesy."

But what if you don't want the hassle of flying a Glidecam or Steadicam or having to throw on a vest that can get you mistaken for a SWAT team member? What if you just don't have the budget for investing in 35mm lenses? What can you use to get that cinematic look without having to spend a lot of money and with a device that's portable enough for you to carry around during a wedding?

A shot used in many of the movies and TV shows that we watch today is called the dolly shot. As many videographers know, the camera rig is placed on tracks (along with the camera operator) and is pushed by an assistant moving the camera from side to side or forward. But imagine having to set up something like that, let's say, in one of the church aisles so that we can dolly along with the bride and her father as they make their entrance. First, we wouldn't have the time. Second, it would just look so darn ridiculous!

Enter the Glidetrack
Enter the Glidetrack, a portable and very affordable dolly system that can be used quickly and easily to add the "wow" factor into any production. Its design is simple: a single rail that has a carriage mount for
your camera that slides smoothly as you push it. The Glidetrack (www.glidetrack.com) is created and sold by Alastair Brown of A Brown Digital Video in Paisley, Scotland. The Glidetrack site boasts "Minimum Hassle, Maximum Impact!" Having used it since late fall of last year in both weddings and concept video productions, I strongly agree with that assessment. It has become my weapon of choice in the battle against boring, stagnant shots.

At first look, the Glidetrack resembles a capital "I" in shape, the ends being feet for the rail to hover above the ground if laid on the floor. They also serve as weights to keep the rail from slipping while pushing
the camera in the desired direction. The Glidetrack can also be easily laid on top of a table, between chairs, or wherever it may fit (I recently used it between rocks at a beach wedding).

The rail also has a center-threaded hole for placing on top of a tripod or, in my case, a quick-release plate (more on configurations later). The carriage mount uses maintenance-free, self-lubricating aluminum bearings, but for a someone like me who's not much of a gearhead, that just means it runs smoothly and quietly without having to oil it between uses.

Glidetrack

Other Glidetracks, Other Sliders
The version I have was the only one available at the time I purchased it. Since then, two others have been introduced to broaden the product line. The differences are found in the length of the rails and weight. Currently I have the original, dubbed the Glidetrack SD, 1 meter in length and weighing 2.5 kg (that's 3.28' and 5.5 lbs. for those of us in the U.S.). The other two are the Glidetrack Compact (half the size of the SD, designed for ultraportability, and small enough to fit easily in a gym bag) and the Glidetrack HD, which boasts a heavy-duty rail and larger feet. The HD is built for heavier cameras such as the Sony EX1 or cameras that have 35mm adapters and matte boxes, and it weighs a whopping 4.4 kg (9.7 lbs.). U.S. and Canadian customers will have to invest $280 for the Compact, $320 for the SD, or $475 for the HD (plus $25 shipping).

There are other "sliders" available to consumers and professionals, but the Glidetrack is the most affordable and has solid, industrial-grade construction. Speaking to colleagues who have ordered the Glidetrack from Alastair Brown, each has received their Glidetrack within 3 days (including myself). The Glidetrack's creator is also open to any questions regarding the use of the product, and the website has sample videos to show its use in various productions, including same-day edits by three-time EventDV 25 honoree Jason Magbanua.

Setup and Shooting
The beauty of the Glidetrack is in the shots that can be achieved with simple camera movements. You definitely get a lot of "bang for your buck" with this device, and it will quickly become your favorite toy to bring to the playground. Setup is quick and easy right out of the shipping container. All you have to do is bolt on the feet. The carriage mount is open to either adding a quick-release plate or placing a good fluid head to give the added dimension of tilts and pans to your Glidetrack shot, which is what I did using a Manfrotto 501HDV head.

Beyond moving from side to side at different speeds, there are many possibilities while using the Glidetrack with a fluid head (panning while moving left to right, tilting upward while pushing forward, etc.). You are literally spoiled by the number of choices you have as the Glidetrack opens up an avenue of creativity that was previously limited by the movement of your body or using a tripod or monopod.

Recently, I discovered that by adding a quick-release plate to the bottom of the rail (instead of threading it directly onto a tripod), you have the freedom to go from a floor-level shot to a high-mounted tripod shot within seconds. This is great for the ceremony and the run-and-gun style used to get creative shots for a cinematic-style wedding video or the variety of images needed for a same-day edit. Unlike dolly tracks and systems used by big budget movies, setup and movement is easy. Just snap in the Glidetrack, lift up your tripod, and reposition.

Glidetrack Quick Release Plate

Creative shots using the Glidetrack are not limited to sliding on the rail. With two fluid heads (one on the Glidetrack and one on the tripod with the assistance of a quick-release plate), you now have a whole host of extra possibilities for simulated "crane" shots when sliding the camera to one end of the rail and then rotating the Glidetrack. Combine that with a tilt and pan and you can create smooth-moving shots without the trouble of rolling in heavy equipment and the assistance of a crew.

Getting ‘Wow' Shots
Some of the tips for creating those "wow" shots when using the Glidetrack are probably things you already do while using a camera handheld. With the Glidetrack, however, the movement is now smoother
and more consistent, and it's easily repeated to get the perfect timing.

Some of the best uses for the Glidetrack are found composing the shot with objects in the foreground while your subject is in the distance. With very subtle movement, objects closer to the camera move quicker while the viewer focuses on what's going on further into the shot.

Jen & Matt | Same Day Edit | Oceanside, CA from Red 5 Studios on Vimeo.

This is great for revealing the vastness of a church versus a stagnant wide shot and for adding delicate movement during readings, speeches, or other moments that would otherwise be dull and boring. The Glidetrack can also be used with the new Canon 5D fitted with macro lenses to get incredible-looking detail shots of rings, flowers, and other items.

The Glidetrack in the Field
Here at Red 5 Studios, we've also utilized the Glidetrack in our concept video productions, most recently in our spoof of the television superhero drama Heroes. After studying the show, I took note of the many dolly shots used in the scenes we would be imitating. Using the Glidetrack on this film resulted in adding production value and an epic feel to our shots.

HEROES from Red 5 Studios on Vimeo.

At Re:Frame Austin, Bruce Patterson of Cloud Nine Creative, Inc. brought out the 18" Glidecam Compact for attendees to use at a hands-on event appropriately called The Shootout. Brian Press of Impressive Creations used the lightweight Glidetrack Compact during The Shootout (in which all attendees and speakers went down to Austin's 6th Street to shoot two models and experiment with different gear) and created a 2-minute clip that was shown the next day on the larger-than-life screen of the Alamo Drafthouse theater (Re:Frame Austin's primary venue). The moving images were beautiful and showed the range of shots that can be achieved with such a simple tool. Oh, and it was Brian's first time using it.

The Glidetrack is an awesome tool to add to your arsenal when trying to get that shot that will dazzle the audience. It's a great investment and comes highly recommended.

Loyd Calomay (loyd at red5studios.net) runs Orange County, CA-based Red 5 Studios with his wife, Hazel. Best-known for their same-day edits and Hollywood spoof concept films, Red 5 won a 2008 WEVA CEA Silver and 2007 4EVER Group AAA Ruby in the Concept Video category. Loyd will present seminars at Re:Frame San Francisco and In[Focus] 2010.

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Boris FX Product Line Supports Apple Final Cut Studio 3 Release

Boris FX, the leading developer of integrated effects technology for video and film, today announced that the entire Boris FX product line is available for the new Apple Final Cut Studio 3 release:

  • Boris Continuum Complete 6.0.4 FxPlug for Apple Final Cut Pro 7 and Motion 4. BCC 6.0.4 FxPlug is a free update for BCC 6.x FxPlug customers. Owners of older versions of BCC FxPlug may upgrade for an MSRP of $295 USD. All Boris Continuum Units also support Apple Final Cut Studio 3.
  • Final Effects Complete 5.0.2 FxPlug for Apple Final Cut Pro 7 and Motion 4. FEC 5.0.2 FxPlug is a free update for FEC 5.x FxPlug customers. Owners of older versions of Final Effects Complete may upgrade for an MSRP of $295 USD.
  • Boris RED 4.3.3 for Apple Final Cut Pro 7. RED 4.3.3 is a free update for RED 4.x customers. Owners of older versions of RED may upgrade for an MSRP of $295 USD.
  • Boris FX 9.3.2 for Apple Final Cut Pro 7. Boris FX 9.3.2 is a free update for Boris FX 9.x customers. Owners of older versions of Boris FX may upgrade for an MSRP of $199 USD.
  • Boris Graffiti 5.3.2 for Apple Final Cut Pro 7. Graffiti 5.3.2 is a free update for Graffiti 5.x customers. Owners of older versions of Graffiti may upgrade for an MSRP of $199 USD.

Software updates, upgrade information, and full-functioning 14-day trial versions are available from the Boris FX web site at http://www.borisfx.com/

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

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Future Media Concepts Launches FMC|Online: Global Online Training Classes for Post, Broadcast, and Content Creators

Future Media Concepts (FMC), the US premier authorized digital media training organization for postproduction, broadcast professionals, and content creators, is pleased to announce the launch of FMC|Online. Distinct from online training alternatives, FMC|Online offers live group classes conducted by industry recognized, manufacturer certified instructors. Courses cover a wide range of content creation products from leading manufacturers including, Adobe®, Apple®, and Avid®. "With the downsizing of budgets and revenues, more and more content creators are turning to online training to stay ahead of the technology curve and maintain their competitive marketability. No traveling requirements or expenses make online training an attractive option... but not all programs are the same," said Ben Kozuch, president and founder of FMC. "Unlike existing online training, FMC|Online does not provide customers with previously recorded lessons. The live, online training parallels the quality of our classroom training courses. It extends the user experience with hands-on application and interaction from the convenience of your own home or office, ensuring maximum material resonation."

A counterpart to FMC's classroom training, FMC|Online utilizes the latest in desktop sharing technology; providing an interactive platform for instructors to administer immediate feedback and assistance during presentations, exercises and Q&A sessions. "We have received numerous requests for training over the years from prospective students all over the world," said Ben Kozuch. "FMC|Online is designed to bring the classroom experience to students regardless of their geographic location. Interested students will now have the ability to attend FMC courses with an Internet connection being the only requirement."

The FMC Online Training division will begin offering courses in August 2009 in the following disciplines:

• Digital editing (Final Cut Studio® and Avid Media Composer®)
• Desktop publishing (Adobe Photoshop®, Illustrator®, InDesign®, Acrobat®, and Apple iLife® and iWorks®
• Web Design and Development (Adobe Photoshop®, Flash®, Dreamweaver®, Flex®, ColdFusion®, Captivate®, RoboHelp®,
Java®)
• Mac OS X® -(introduction and advanced)
• Motion Graphics (After Effects® and Motion®)

For more information about FMC|Online, please visit: http://www.FMCtraining.com/fmc.asp?l=FMC+|+Online.

To learn more about FMC including facility locations, instructor information and upcoming events, please visit http://www.FMCtraining.com.

About Future Media Concepts
In 1994, Jeff Rothberg and Ben Kozuch launched Future Media Concepts as the world's first Avid Authorized Training Center. Over the years, FMC expanded its curriculum to become the nation's premier digital media training organization representing the leading software manufacturers, including Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Boris FX, Digidesign, NewTek and Softimage.

FMC has established state-of-the-art training centers in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Orlando, Chicago and Dubai, with onsite training worldwide and available courses online. For more information regarding classes and upcoming events please visit http://www.FMCtraining.com.

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Toshiba to Launch World's First 64GB SDXC Card

Toshiba Corporation, a leading innovator in NAND flash memory technologies and solutions, and Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC), a North American subsidiary, today announced the launch of the world's first 64GB SDXC Memory Card capable of operating at the world's fastest data transfer rate for reading and writing to a flash memory card. The new card is compliant with the new SD Memory Standard, Ver. 3.00, UHS104. Toshiba also extended its industry leadership in memory card solutions by unveiling 32GB and 16GB SDHC Memory Cards compliant with the world's fastest data transfer rate. Samples of the new SDXC Memory Cards will be available this November, and samples of the new SDHC Memory Cards will be available in December.

The new SDXC and SDHC Memory Cards are the world's first memory cards compliant with the SD Memory Card Standard Version 3.00, UHS104, which brings a new level of ultra-fast read and write speeds to NAND flash based memory cards: a maximum write speed of 35MB per second, and a read speed of 60MB per second. The combination of large storage capacities and increased data transfer rates will meet the needs of a wide range of consumer electronics applications such as digital still cameras and digital camcorders that require high bandwidth data communication. For example, digital SLR cameras will be able to shoot longer continuous bursts in the highest quality RAW format. Similarly, with these cards, it will be possible to download a 2.4GB video in only 70 seconds.

The SDXC card is the next-generation standard defined by the SD Association in January 2009. The new standard applies to cards with capacities over 32GB and up to 2TB, compared to the SDHC standard, which applies to cards with capacities over 2GB and up to 32GB.

The high level specifications and wide range of memory cards announced by Toshiba will further open the way for developers to bring applications to future generations of consumer products. By further enhancing its SD Memory Card lineups with larger capacity and a higher data transfer rate, Toshiba will continue to meet market demand and to lead the NAND flash memory market.

www.toshiba.com/taec/

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Anton/Bauer USB Battery Management System Makes IBC 2009 Debut

Anton/Bauer®, a brand of The Vitec Group, and the world's premier provider of batteries, chargers, lighting and other mobile power systems for the professional broadcast, video and film industries is introducing its new AB-BMS (Anton/Bauer Battery Management System) to the European market at IBC 2009 (Stand 9.D28b).

This application includes Battery Management software and a USB to Anton/Bauer Gold Mount bracket. The AB-BMS streamlines battery maintenance protocols while delivering critical information to the camera operator.

When a battery is installed on the AB-BMS Gold Mount bracket, information is downloaded from the battery via the Battery Management software into a PC. The software will automatically open a file based on the battery serial number, date of manufacture, and store all battery related data for the purpose of usage tracking. By storing this data, the Battery Management software offers users a selectable battery capacity "trip point" for invoking an early e-mail warning as the battery approaches 60% or 70% of nameplate capacity. The software also provides for end-user defined options for local, regional and Anton/Bauer e-mail addresses.

"When high pressure breaking news events are overwhelming ENG crews, the last thing the operator needs to worry about is current battery charge and overall battery reliability," says Joe Murtha, Anton/Bauer engineering manager. "Our new Battery Management System gives the camera operator the information to verify how much charge is left, but know the details related to overall battery health. The AB-BMS delivers all essential information about the battery and the interaction with the particular camera giving the operator high confidence going into a critical capture situation."

The Battery Management software calculates how long a given battery will run a given camera based on an included database of professional video cameras and their respective load rating in watts. The operator simply selects the camera model and the software automatically displays the runtime for the installed battery. The operator can also enter additional camera specifications into the data base.

Essential information such as the battery model name (e.g. HyTRON® 140) with a picture of the installed battery, the battery's temperature, voltage, present capacity, learned capacity, nameplate capacity and serial number are also displayed. A graphical representation of the battery's RealTime® "fuel gauge" also appears on the screen displaying the percentage of capacity and remaining runtime.

ABOUT ANTON/BAUER
Anton/Bauer is recognized as the world's innovator and premier provider of batteries, chargers, lighting and other key mobile power systems for the professional broadcast, video and film industries. Based in the United States in Shelton, CT, with offices in Europe and Asia, Anton/Bauer was established in 1970 and has expanded its product offerings to include many signature lines such as its leading Gold Mount® system, InterActive® chargers and Logic Series® batteries such as the HyTRON® 50, 100 and 140, and Dionic® 90, 160 and HC. Their products are compatible with virtually every camera brand on the market today. Other Anton/Bauer high performance products include the UltraLight®, ElipZ®, ElightZ®, CINE-VCLX® and CINE VCLX/2®. Their superior-quality products have become an industry standard. For more information on Anton/Bauer, visit http://www.antonbauer.com.

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FilmFellas: A Webisodic Series by Zacuto Films, Releases 10 Webisodes of Wedding Filmmaking

Coming up next in the FilmFellas Webisodic Series, Zacuto Films presents 10 webisodes highlighting avant-garde wedding filmmaking and cinematic storytelling. Cast Four and Five will discuss the changing model of wedding videography and the emergence of Wedding Filmmaking with full-scale productions, camera movement, special effects, scripted concept films, same day edits and more. Steve Weiss, Director of FilmFellas, who started his own film career from 1981 to 1984 by making what was then called, wedding videos, returns to the table along with six exceptional FilmFellas cast members who are changing the landscape of wedding videography/filmmaking.

Starting August 5th, Zacuto Films Productions will release their first webisode of the Wedding Filmmaking Series with FilmFellas Cast Four: "The Artistic Wedding." Offering a fresh perspective to the fellas cast, Kristen* (Bliss* Video Productions) discusses branding her unique style as a Couture Wedding Filmmaker. "My Job," states Kristen*, "allows me to be a documentary filmmaker shooting weddings." John Goolsby, known as The Godfather of Wedding Videography, and a prolific wedding film producer at (www.weddingvideo.com), elaborates on his model of producing over 250 videos a year. Rounding out this cast, Joe Simon (Joe Simon Productions), whose cinematic filmmaking and sound editing create some of the most magical, movie-trailer wedding films in the industry, discusses his approach to creating a film for a couple with the same passion and expertise as his independent films. FilmFellas Cast Four Webisodes: Aug 5, Sept 9, Oct 7, Nov 11, & Dec 9, 2009.

To learn more about these featured filmmakers, view behind the scenes footage, watch previous FilmFellas webisodes, and get a sneak peek at other soon to be released Zacuto Films Productions, visit www.Zacuto.com. Starting Aug 5th, watch exclusive full episodes of Cast 4 at http://www.zacuto.com/filmfellas-cast-4. FilmFellas Cast Five: "The Epic Wedding," premieres August 12th on www.FilmFellas.tv.

To read about FilmFellas in more detail, read Stephen Nathans-Kelly's interview with FilmFellas producer and director Steve Weiss.

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Digital Video Expo Returns With New Location and Focus on HD Content Creation and Distribution for the 21st Century

NewBay Media, a leading publisher of digital content creation media, today announced new features, a new location, and new dates for its 13th annual Digital Video Expo (www.dvexpo.com), which is to be held at the Pasadena Convention Center on September 22-24, 2009. Thousands of professionals in the content creation industry are expected to gather at the show for three full days of intensive education, training, and networking events, as well as the unique opportunity to test drive the latest products and services from over 100 key industry innovators, including Panasonic, Sony, JVC and Matrox Video.

This year's Digital Video Expo includes three new conference tracks, the integration of Broadcast Symposium West, and Apple certification, including Final Cut Pro 7 instruction from authors and master trainers Diana Weynand and Michael Wohl, plus immersion courses for everyone from beginners to advanced users. Also new this year is a special track focusing on career management and development.

"We're excited to present programming that addresses today's incredibly competitive marketplace for our growing family of attendees," says David Williams, Conference Chair, Digital Video Expo, and Editor, DV Magazine. "Not only will we have a great show floor featuring all the latest technology for production and post, but Digital Video Expo takes the next step by also offering insight on how to actually build your career. To quote one of our keynote speakers, veteran entertainment industry career coach Jessica Sitomer, ‘Sometimes talent isn't enough.' Well, technology alone often isn't enough either. Today's creative content professional needs to have not only talent and a firm grasp on technology, but the ability to bring those attributes to the marketplace. And Digital Video Expo is the only show that addresses all three of those elements necessary for your success."

The changes being made by Digital Video Expo have already resonated with the content creation community, as attendee registration is up more than 40 percent to date over last year's event.

"We're gratified by our increased registration, as it confirms our belief that this year's Digital Video Expo programming and message is the right response to today's challenging business realities," says Carmel King, NewBay Executive Vice President. "In addition, our move to the Pasadena Convention Center will offer our attendees a centralized, engaging, and lively destination, featuring a world-class, pedestrian-friendly entertainment district with over 500 restaurants, bars, theaters, and an array of hotel options. Pasadena also has a rich TV and film production industry history, and will make for a safe, convenient, freeway-close, and comfortable destination."

For complete event and registration information, please visit http://www.dvexpo.com.

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