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December 10, 2009

Table of Contents

Adventures in Prime Time TV Production
CoreMelt Announces Show Us Your Pixels Competition
proDAD Rings in Holiday Season with Free Heroglyph Video Titling Software
Free Registration Opens for New WEVA Online Expo for Wedding Videographers and Event Filmmakers
Stock20's Entire Library Available for $189
Digital Anarchy Announces Beauty Box 1.0 For After Effects and Final Cut Pro
Switronix Releases NEW XP-AJA-5 Regulator Cable
Enhance Technology Now Shipping Storage Systems with 2TB Hard Drives

Adventures in Prime Time TV Production

In the first season of the The Wonder Years (ABC, 1988–1993), there’s an episode in which 12-year-old Kevin Arnold goes to work with his ever-laconic father and finds himself captivated by the driven, purposeful frenzy of the office, a busy adult world in which his father seems (at least at first) to be a very important man. Swiveling, starstruck, in his father’s desk chair, Kevin says, “So, Dad, when did you know you wanted to be a manager of shipping and product services?” His father laughs and explains that no one really grows up dreaming of being a manager of shipping and product services. When he was young he’d dreamed of being captain of a ship, “navigating by the stars,” but the onset of adult life—Korea, marriage, and the birth of Kevin’s older sister—changed his plans. Although Kevin does see the darker side of his father’s job a little later in the episode, this isn’t a rueful moment focused on the bitter recriminations of a defeated man. But there is a bit of wistfulness in Kevin's father's voice as he wonders how things might have gone differently if he’d “taken a few more chances.” For many event videographers—especially full-timers—striking out on one’s own to set up an independent studio is the sort of chance you take to get a little more out of life than the 9-to-5 grind might offer. And though it turns out to be a dream job for many, how many kids really dream about growing up to be wedding videographers?

More often, wedding videography falls somewhere in the middle—more than a job, often a passion, but not exactly something you guessed you’d spend your life doing when the part of life you’d spend doing something still lay before you. Danny Sayson of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Sayson Video Productions has approached his event videography career with immense passion and dedication and has been rewarded with as much success as anyone could ask for. He’s a two-time EventDV 25 honoree and a WEVA Hall of Famer who delivers packed-house seminars at WEVA Expo every year. He’s won numerous WEVA Creative Excellence Awards for his wedding and corporate work, produced award-winning commercials, and landed lucrative regular freelance gigs as a shooter and editor for the Vancouver Canucks NHL franchise and other regional professional sports teams. He also enjoys a close relationship with the British Columbia Professional Videographers Association, Canada’s largest PVA.

But for years, Danny and his wife, Sophia, have dreamed of producing for prime time TV, and this wasn’t just some vague ambition—they knew exactly the show they wanted to produce and had an increasingly clear idea of how to do it. The idea was to combine their lifelong love of the outdoors—particularly the myriad natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest—with their vision of a point-of-view adventure show that brings the user into the midst of the experience. They had the vision, the passion, and—after 14 years of building one of the videography industry’s most successful studios—the production chops to pull it off; it was just a matter of taking the plunge and accepting the risk that no matter how good a show they produced, it might well become another one of the thousands that get pitched to TV networks and never air.

Three-and-a-half years after they agreed to throw caution to the wind (sometimes literally), their show, West Coast Adventures, is entering its second season as a half-hour show about “fun, travel, and adventure in beautiful British Columbia” that runs weekly in four northwestern PBS-TV markets with a combined viewership of nearly 13 million (plus viewers across Canada with satellite packages). But as you might imagine, the journey from dream to screen wasn’t a short or simple one—in fact, it was an adventure all its own.

West Coast Adventures producer Danny Sayson

Jumping In
From the beginning of Danny Sayson’s training in videography and broadcast, he knew what he didn’t want to do: TV news. “When you get trained to do TV broadcast,” he says, “the first thing they teach you is how to do news. I didn’t want to spend my life chasing ambulances and focusing on mishaps and scandals and politicians; I wanted to do stuff that’s fun.” Wedding and sports have provided the sort of “fun, happy environments” in which he wanted to work and have given him a great career. But still, in the back of his mind, he wondered if there was some way to work in the environment in which he found himself the happiest: “What I love to do in real life is travel and be in the outdoors, and certainly in the region where I live there are plenty of opportunities for that.”

The answer, he knew, was a TV show that focused on outdoor activities in the region that not only showed viewers what it was like to do those activities but made them feel it, and for years he and his wife had discussed the why, what, and how of this show. But what they couldn’t commit to was the when. “Eventually, I kept talking about it, and my wife said, ‘When are you going to do it?’ We were reaching a point where we were talking about having kids soon, and she said, ‘It’s now or never,’ and I said, ‘It’s gonna be now.’ That was in the spring of 2006.”

Sayson’s other source of inspiration at that time was a book called Jump In! Even if You Don’t Know How to Swim by Mark Burnett, producer and creator of Survivor, The Contender, The Apprentice, and other shows that have brought reality TV to the mainstream over the last decade. Burnett describes his struggles as he tried to bring Survivor to market—it was turned down by all the major networks on the first go-round—and the philosophy that motivated him to persevere until he made his outlandish idea into a successful show. “Burnett’s whole point,” says Sayson, “is that at some point you can be so settled in your life that you never do what you want to do because there are so many uncertainties and so many ‘what ifs.’ At some point, you have to make a conscious decision to say, ‘I’m gonna jump in, I’m gonna do this, and I’m gonna learn as I go.’ After I read the book it all made sense. For so long I’ve wanted to do this, but I kept saying, ‘What if this, what if that, what if nobody wants it, and how am I going to pay my bills if I spend all my time doing this?’ When I read his book, I realized, if you keep thinking about the what ifs, at some point in your life you’ll be old and gray and wind up not getting anything done.”

Another reason Sayson decided to jump in when he did was his sense that the timing was right, not only for him to produce this show, but for the rest of the world to appreciate it. With the Olympics coming to Vancouver in 2010, keeping the show regionally based (a necessity for Sayson, not only financially because of the travel a less geographically contained show would involve, but also in terms of time spent away from his family) might actually be an advantage. Granted, it was only 2006 when they started to produce the show, but Sayson realized, even then, that absorbing TV show production into his already busy schedule wouldn’t be easy, and it might be a couple of years until he was ready to start pitching the show. “We started in 2006, and it didn’t air until this year [2009]. Part of that was because I was doing it part-time while traveling, doing seminars, and doing corporate videos, while trying to squeeze it in during the heat of a wedding season. Literally, filming and editing took a couple of years and it took another year to bring it to market, and another 4 months to get PBS to return my call and set up a meeting. Just because you have something done doesn’t mean somebody wants to look at it right away.”

Casting Call
The first step of this long journey was to find a host. Initial casting attempts proved fruitless; Sayson knew that the host would need a unique mix of talents that the first casting call failed to yield. With episodes involving skydiving, paragliding, underwater hockey, honey harvesting, and trapshooting in the works, Sayson knew the job would be a demanding one. “Finding a host who had charisma and screen presence was part of it, obviously, but what was even more challenging for us was finding someone who would be comfortable and be daring enough to do all these things,” Sayson says. “We spent quite a bit of time looking for the right talent, and we didn’t want to use someone who was already recognizable from a different TV series or a certain network. For one thing, that would cost a lot more.”

After several unsuccessful auditions, Sayson remembered Susie Lee, a Vancouver-based actress who had appeared in a commercial he’d shot a few years earlier and combined the energetic and bubbly personality he was looking for with a penchant for world travel and adventure. She came in for a new screen test and was hired. Although a second host appeared on a few segments in the first season when Lee was unavailable because of other commitments, the idea from the outset was to have one host, and Lee remains the host of West Coast Adventures through the show’s second season, which is in postproduction now.

Planning and Production
With the host in place, Sayson assembled his skeleton crew (himself, his wife, and occasionally fellow BCPVA member Scott White, who has become full-time second shooter and editor in the show’s second season) and began setting up shoots at the numerous locations selected for the first season of the show. Each half-hour episode would include two or three different adventures, which meant different locations and, in most cases, different arrangements with the attraction hosts and an array of administrative tasks including acquiring permits and ensuring that the proper insurance was in place for shooting at the various locations.

Episode 1 (which you can see in its entirety, along with the other nine episodes from the first season at www.westcoastadventurestv.com) included three adventures: a canoeing and hiking trip to Greater Vancouver’s stunning Widgeon Creek and Widgeon Falls, a visit to Honeyland Canada to experience firsthand the honey bee world and see a “jaw-dropping bee beard presentation by the world-famous Dr. Bee,” and a skydiving excursion in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, in a segment that captured the host’s first jump.

A skydiving shot from West Coast Adventures episode 1

For each segment, Sayson would prepare a short script—called a “stand-up”—for the host to introduce the location and provide a little context and history. But for the most part, the shows simply took place as the adventure unfolded: “The majority of our stuff is reality-based,” Sayson says, “in terms of getting her impromptu reactions to jumping out of a plane or paddling down a river and encountering things we don’t expect. So, as much as we’d like to have a storyboard or shot list, most of the good stuff actually comes on the spot. One of the most important things I’ve learned,” he continues, “is to tell the story and to have the shots and the b-roll and cutaways to be able to do so when you see something cool that you didn’t expect while you’re on location. So you do have to be prepared, but you also have to be in the mindset of doing things on-the-fly and telling the story as it goes.”

Most of all, he says, he had to be prepared for the unexpected, such as on an episode they shot in the summer of 2009 for the second season, when they were just about to go snorkeling with salmon and found grizzly bears right in front of them. “You have to be ready to go at any given moment. Always have your batteries, always have the tape out of the package, always have your camera ready to roll. The minute you walk out the door, if anything happens, you’ve got to be ready to shoot it.”

Of course, readiness means more than having your camera poised to shoot what comes your way. It means planning ahead, scouting locations thoroughly, and knowing exactly what sort of permits and insurance you’ll need to shoot there legally and with properly limited liability. For insurance, this means not only being insured for yourself and your equipment, but also being insured for $2 million, $5 million, $7 million, or whatever the location requires to cover your liability if you damage anything. As for permits, this part of preproduction planning means calling ahead to the location—say, if it’s a state or provincial park—asking who you need to talk to about permits, asking that person exactly what you need, and making sure you allow plenty of time before the shoot to get the paperwork in order. “You can’t just show up to a location to shoot and then be asked, ‘Where’s your permit?’ and then find out you can’t shoot there after traveling there. These things must be done in advance and some of them don’t take overnight to do.”

West Coast Adventures episode 9

Preparing the Pitch
If there was any question as to whether Sayson’s passion for this project would sustain him long enough into the production phase for him to create something he could pitch to the networks, here’s the answer: He didn’t just go out and produce a teaser or a pilot; he shot and edited an entire season before even beginning the process of trying to sell the show. “Certainly, when you go into something like this, you know what the odds [of selling it to a network] are,” he says, “but after shooting one episode, we were having so much fun, we just decided to keep going. ‘Oh, let’s do another one.’ Next thing you know, we had 10.”

Part of this approach was strategic. “Pilots come and go, and something in the neighborhood of 95%–98% of pilots ever produced are never picked up,” he says. “There are always objections to the content or the presentation. But after I did 3 or 4, I decided, well, I’m going to swing for the fences here. So the idea was to walk up to a broadcaster and say, ‘Here, it’s fully done. Either you’re going to like it or you’re not.’ That was the process. Every broadcaster I saw was surprised to meet anyone insane enough to do that.”

Naturally, Sayson didn’t just walk into network offices and dump 10 tapes into a program director’s lap. While having the sizzle and the steak ready to go certainly renders moot the question of whether you can deliver on the promise of the sizzle, the pitch is still about catching their attention with something succinct. So Sayson prepared a 14-minute highlight reel on DVD and presented that to the networks along with a cover letter and a colorful, professionally assembled booklet containing “one-sheets” on each episode with pictures and a description of the activities featured.

West Coast Adventures one-sheet

Although Sayson says he didn’t follow any particular guidelines in preparing his presentation for the networks, he says putting it together this way was a matter of “common sense”: “Execs don’t have a lot of time to watch. People send me their reels all the time as shooters who want to work for me, and lots of times, the first 5–10 minutes is all I have. If I’m not captured by it, it’s lights out. I kept that in mind as I made my presentations.”

As for delivering the highlight reel on DVD as opposed to a broadcast format such as Beta SP, Sayson says that he imagined that a program director who picked up his show would probably be someone who would take the disc home to watch it rather than a guy reviewing tapes on a Beta SP machine in the studio.

A Question of Gear
This brings up another point about “broadcast standards” and “technical requirements” that Sayson believes is a key part of his story. Although the show, once accepted, had to be re-edited somewhat to match the length of half-hour PBS shows and transferred to the station engineer’s choice of media tape formats, the first season was shot on a Sony PD150 in standard-def, old-school DVCAM.

While Sayson says he was ready to explain that he shot on DVCAM because he was working with a limited budget, “Not once in my conversations with network executives did the question come up until after the series was sold” and the discussion turned to taped delivery and closed-captioning. “The point is, it’s not really about technical merit or format; it’s about content. If they have to ask, ‘What equipment are you using?’ they’re already noticing something wrong.”

Sayson acknowledges that a certain “snobbery” toward prosumer formats does persist among broadcast engineers and shouldn’t be downplayed. He says he did have an encounter with an engineer after the show sold where the question of color sampling came up, with the implication that DVCAM’s 4:1:1 color space would be considered inadequate for broadcast. Sayson deflected the question by offering to send in a sample, which met the engineer’s requirements and resolved the question once and for all.

Season 2, he says, has been shot in HDV, but format remains a non-issue. “This is the only time in the history of television and video production when the average guy—and in this I include myself—can go out and produce a broadcast-quality show. When I started in 1988 with Betamax or 8mm VHS, I could only dream about doing stuff at the broadcast level because of the technical limitations of that time.”

Danny Sayson, Susie Lee, and Scott White shooting West Coast Adventures season 2

And as for the question of whether he’d shoot West Coast Adventures with a $100,000 HD camera if he had his druthers, he says, “I don’t have the budget for that, and given the choice, I’m not sure I’d want to because they’re so damn big, and the next thing you know you need an Anton/Bauer battery that’s 5 lbs. heavier, the camera is 5 lbs. heavier, the tripod is bigger, and I can’t hand-hold it while I’m in a raft.”

Licensing, Sponsorship, and Web Presence
Selling the show to PBS exceeded even Sayson's expectations.“PBS is an American network,” Sayson notes. “You just don’t see Canadian content on PBS. To have a show about Canada on PBS was a big deal and was a very well-received thing from a media point of view here.” To describe West Coast Adventures as “sold” to PBS is something of a misnomer. As is the case with many TV shows developed externally, West Coast Adventures is presented by the four regional PBS stations that run it through an agreement that pays Sayson a nominal licensing fee and gives him the right to solicit all sponsorships and to use the proceeds to underwrite production. (Because PBS is a noncommercial network, it doesn’t have traditional commercial breaks, but instead it runs 1-minute blocks of sponsor spots at the beginning and end of each show.) “The majority of our income comes from the sponsors we solicit. That’s the relationship we have this year as well,” Sayson adds, noting that “it doesn’t always work this way.”

One advantage of the nature of West Coast Adventures’ licensing arrangement with PBS is that it allows Sayson to maintain complete autonomy with regard to the show’s website. With all episodes of the TV show presented in full on the site, www.westcoastadven turestv.com boasts broadcast-quality video, which gives it a certain amount of competitive cachet among travel sites. “Travel shows have the highest broadcast website return, because when people see something like this on TV, they want to know how they can find out more, and the first thing they do is go to our website.” In addition to the episodes, Sayson says, “We also have links to the places that we’ve featured plus articles, adventure tips, and so forth. Next thing you know we’re getting emails from China, Taiwan, and Europe—places where our show’s not even seen.”

Although he hasn't had much success in monetizing the site yet, Sayson says he’s exploring preroll and postroll ads for the second season of the show when the episodes are ready to appear online. And even without a lot of advertising support on the site, Sayson says he’s already reaping the rewards of his show’s success in his relationships with the adventure sites and tourist attractions that he visits on the show and that he hopes may become his advertisers in the future. In the first season, he says, he was the one trying to sell them on appearing on his show, usually having to lure them with the promise of a professionally produced promo video in the event that the show never aired. (He emphasizes the effectiveness of this approach as an example of the benefits of thinking of networking as a two-way street.) Now, he says, they’re pursuing him, and he’s fielding offers from places to produce his segments rather than struggling to get his foot in the door.

Anything for the Shot But Your Life!
One thing Sayson decided early in the development of West Coast Adventures was that it wouldn’t be a show made just for “adrenaline junkies”; the idea was always to showcase a broad range of outdoor activities that might encompass anything from skydiving and paragliding to bird-watching and cranberry harvesting. This approach stems in part from what Sayson sees as the show’s educational mission but also from his concern for the breadth of the show’s market reach: “If everything you do is for adrenaline junkies, your audience is really quite limiting, especially on PBS. We always try to have an educational value rather than an adrenaline-type show cut to hip-hop music with cool effects, because there’s really no value in that in terms of longterm marketability.”

Likewise, Sayson’s motive in producing a show like this is not to continually put himself in harm’s way as a shooter in search of some perverse risk-taking rush. As he and his crew shot the first season, their motto quickly became “Anything for the shot but your life!” The lesson there, he says, is to know your limitations, and to always assess your shot choices based (in part) on what you know you can do and what you can’t. For Sayson, this meant yes to shooting while paragliding, but no to shooting while skydiving (he was handling the camera on the ground). Which is not to say that this motto has kept him from suffering the occasional mishap, from kicks in the face during the underwater hockey shoot to a bee sting in his naval cavity sustained while shooting the honey harvesting segment.

“Anything for the shot but your life!” goes the other way too: For what turned out to be a spectacular 4-second shot of 30,000 lesser snow geese taking off in Episode 9, Sayson spent upward of 40 hours in position in a British Columbia bird sanctuary waiting for the geese to assemble and fly. “If you love doing that kind of stuff, time goes by in an instant,” he says. “I’d spend that time with my wife and take my kid along and be out in nature. It’s the kind of stuff that keeps you up at night editing. But when you’ve really got it, that’s the moment when you realize ‘I’ve found my calling in life.’ When you just do things for the sheer passion of it.”

Passion and Timing
As mentioned earlier, timing was a key factor in Danny Sayson’s decision to start production on West Coast Adventures in 2006 for a number of reasons. One was the fact that he wasn’t getting any younger, and with parenthood lying ahead of him (a possibility that became reality shortly after they began shooting), his already busy and complex life wasn’t about to get any simpler. Another was the approaching 2010 Winter Olympics and the promise of global interest in the British Columbia region that it was likely to bring. And then there was the welcome convergence of prosumer equipment with the ability to produce broadcast-quality work when in the right hands.

Danny Sayson and Scott White on Whistler Mountain

But there was another factor that made the timing right for Sayson to pursue the show in 2006. “Part of the reason that it took me so long to do this, my lifetime dream,” Sayson says, “wasn’t just procrastination and fear, but honestly, my need to develop the skills I needed. If I’d done this 10 years ago,” he explains, “the show wouldn’t have been nearly as good as it is today, simply because of my experience and because I’ve learned so many things as the years went along. You can’t expect to run the Boston Marathon if you haven't trained for it. There needs to be preparation and training.” For Sayson, it comes down to one basic question: “You need to ask yourself, honestly, is your stuff up to par with what’s on TV? If the answer is no, then it’s quite simple: You’re not ready for this yet.”

But if, on the other hand, the answer is yes, and pursuing a dream of producing for broadcast is something you want to do, Sayson says it’s well worth the risks and challenges of doing it, much as it has been for him to realize his dream and achieve even what he acknowledges is modest success in broadcast production. “Producing a TV series from scratch is like climbing Mount Everest,” he says. “There will be many times you’ll second-guess yourself and want to quit. These are the times when you need to keep your eyes on the prize and look up at the summit to visualize how amazing it is going to be once you reach the top. There are also times when you look at the summit and say to yourself it’s still too far and too high. In these instances, look down below and you’ll see how far you’ve gone already, and focus on the immediate steps in front of you and see how close you are to the next plateau. It doesn’t make it any easier to climb, but it certainly makes you more motivated to keep going.”

And what was it like, ultimately, to reach that plateau as producer of his own prime time TV show? “The first time I saw my show on TV I was almost in tears,” Sayson says. “The journey was just so monstrous. To see it come on air was the most gratifying and satisfying experience—tops in my life next to my wedding and my child being born—to turn on the TV and know that millions of people are watching it and to know, ‘I did that’ or ‘I had some part in that.’ It’s just the coolest thing.”

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

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CoreMelt Announces Show Us Your Pixels Competition

CoreMelt today announced the Show Us Your Pixels Competition with over $25,000 in prizes!

Entries will be accepted from December 7, 2009 until February 7, 2010.

The grand prize is a Sumatran Adventure Trek with Rainforest Rescue to help support their rainforest salvation projects. With sponsors like AJA, Black Magic Design, Crumpler, Art Beats and many more, this is a competition not to be missed!

In support of Rainforest Rescue, CoreMelt is asking for submissions of existing or new work created using CoreMelt plugins.

Between December 7, 2009 and February 7, 2010, CoreMelt will contribute 10 percent of its gross sales to Rainforest Rescue with a minimum offering of $7000. The winners will be chosen on Feb 10th 2009.

Competition Categories:

Best existing work:
Work previously created for a commercial or spec project using CoreMelt plugins.

Best student work:
Work created by a current student in Digital Media, Motion Graphics or Editing using CoreMelt plugins.

Best rainforest-themed work:
For creation of a new piece on the theme of Rainforest Rescue's projects. CoreMelt and Rainforest rescue will provide stills and video footage that can be used in this category.

The best five entries will be selected in the above mentioned categories. Runner-ups will be awarded to the best in each category while first place will be randomly chosen from the pool of 5 best in each category.

Grand Prize:
The Grand prize will be a position on the Orangutan Adventure Trek to Sumatra, Indonesia from 5th-15th March 2010 hosted by Rainforest Rescue.
A return airfare will be provided from Los Angeles, London, Perth, Melbourne or Gold Coast only, you must provide your own connecting airfare to one of the departure points above.

AJA, Crumpler, Euphonix, Toolfarm, Digital Heaven, Black Magic Design, Artbeats, Creative Cow, Red Lightning Software, Motionworks, FXPHD, Digital Juice, MotionVFX and many more.
For a complete list, please visit our website.

About Rainforest Rescue:
Rainforest Rescue is a not-for-profit organisation that has been protecting and restoring rainforests in Australia and internationally since 1998 by providing opportunities for individuals and businesses to Protect Rainforests Forever.

Terms and Conditions:
Entrants to the contest agree to allow CoreMelt to use all video footage submitted for promotional purposes and to allow Rainforest Rescue to use any photography or video footage shot on the Trek.
You do not need to own a copy of our plugins, entrants may use the trial version of our software to create an entry.

The contest will be open to residents of Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada and the European Union. In the event the first place cannot take the Sumatran Trek for any reason the amount will be donated to Rainforest Rescue.

Please visit the Terms and Conditions page on our website for more information.

Trademarks of Rainforest Rescue and sponsors are the property of sponsors and used with permission.

CoreMelt Show Us Your Pixels - http://www.coremelt.com/showusyourpixels/
Rainforest Rescue - http://www.rainforestrescue.org.au/
Grand Prize Information - http://www.rainforestrescue.org.au/ourprojects/orangutan-rescue-trek.html
Sponsors and Prizes - http://www.coremelt.com/promo/competition/prizes/sponsors.html
Submit your Entry - http://www.coremelt.com/promo/competition/how-to-enter.html
Terms and Conditions - http://www.coremelt.com/promo/competition/conditions-of-entry.html

About CoreMelt:
CoreMelt are designers of cutting edge, GPU accelerated plugins for Motion Graphics Artists and Video Editors using Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Apple Motion, and After Effects CS3/CS4. With over 15 years of combined industry experience, we know what effects artists need and want. Copyright 2009 CoreMelt. All Rights Reserved. Apple Final Cut Studio and Apple Motion, are registered trademarks of Apple Computer in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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proDAD Rings in Holiday Season with Free Heroglyph Video Titling Software

proDAD GmbH, world-class developer of video effects products for professional and hobbyist video editors, today announced a holiday promotion—a free download of its renowned Heroglyph Rapid title, subtitle, and trailer animation effects plug-in from now until January 31, 2010. This promotion requires no purchase, and it is not a limited-use trial version. It’s the company’s full version of Heroglyph Rapid that sells for $99.00 retail at the proDAD.com website.

Heroglyph Rapid is an easy-to-use titling application that installs seamlessly as a plug-in for popular video editing applications from Adobe, AVID, Canopus, Pinnacle, Sony, and Ulead. Once installed, Heroglyph can be used within the application to add creative titles, subtitles, credits, and trailers to jazz up any home movie or professional video production. Heroglyph Rapid provides more than 300 templates for text, design, and animation. It can be expanded with five available Creative Packs, which are sold separately.

Heroglyph Rapid’s easy-to-use path animation lets you create incredible titles that can move around in the video. It also creates flying 3D video walls, lower-third animations, and scrolling text walls (think “Star Wars”.) Additionally, it can combine text and graphics right into the video. Never before has such creative video titling been so simplified and produce the fantastic results of Heroglyph Rapid.

Download Information
Users can access their free download of Heroglyph Rapid by clicking on the following link. A simple registration process is required: http://www.prodad.de/gb/register_heroglyph_starterkit.html.

For more information on proDAD and its products, please visit www.prodad.com.

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Free Registration Opens for New WEVA Online Expo for Wedding Videographers and Event Filmmakers

Registration is now open for WEVA iVideoShow, our industry's first-ever Online Convention & Trade Show dedicated to wedding videographers & event filmmakers, developed and presented by Wedding & Event Videographers Association International (WEVA).

WEVA iVideoShow registration is FREE and open to all. First 500 to register are automatically entered to WIN two free roundtrip tickets (continental US) from American Airlines in the special WEVA Bonus Prize Drawing. Register online now Click Here!

"With no hotel or travel costs, everyone worldwide can attend and discover new wedding and event video/DSLR techniques, technologies, and marketing strategies for the new season ahead. Best of all, registration for everyone is free," said WEVA International chairman Roy Chapman.

Powered by advanced Unisfair technology, WEVA iVideoShow will present On-Demand presentations by WEVA Creative Excellence Award Winners and Industry Experts, full-day video/DSLR Trade Show (11am-7pm ET) with show-only discounts on new products.

Plus, there will be Live Q&A with Featured Speakers (at scheduled intervals). Network with industry professionals worldwide, and Live-Chat on Round-Table topics throughout the day at your own convenience without leaving your home or studio.

Featured Speakers

WEVA iVideoShow featured presenters and topics will include:

* Ray Roman, Ray Roman Films (FL) - How to Create Killer Wedding Shots Using Basic Techniques

* Philip Bloom & Dennis Lennie F-Stop Academy (London UK) -Fusion: Streamlining Your HD Workflow

* Javier Villarreal, Watermark Studios (IL) - Adobe After Effects Made Easy

* Larry Jordan, Larry Jordan & Associates (CA) - Top New Features in Final Cut 7

* Robert Neal, Glass Slipper Productions (PA) - Tips & Tricks for the Panasonic AG-HMC150

* Sara Frances, Photo Mirage HD (CO) - Fusion Techniques: Using Canon's New DSLR Cameras & Accessories

* Andre Foster, FS Media Solutions (London UK) - Jump-Starting Business Success: What Every New Wedding Filmmaker Needs to Know

* Lance Gray, PixelPops Design, LLC (TX) - Fast & Fabulous: Killer Graphics in Seconds

* JUST ADDED.... Jorge Jaramillo, Cinematografia de Bodas (Matamoros, Mexico) - Creative Editing Techniques, (en Español)

"The WEVA iVideoShow Featured Speakers are scheduled for LIVE-Chat Q&A on their session topics during show hours so you can get your questions answered while you are attending the Show and visiting the exhibit booths online. The Live Q&A schedule will be posted shortly with show updates emailed to all registered attendees," said John Zale WEVA's Director of Educational Development. "In addition to the featured presentations, there will also be an exciting selection of moderated LIVE-Chat sessions on key industry topics including new marketing, new camera/DSLR technologies, ceremony & reception bootcamp topics, moving camera techniques, audio issues, and more."

You won't have to leave your home or studio, or even miss work to attend the show. "The convenience of attending online, matched with new IT developments, social media, and amazing 3D virtual design makes this cutting-edge event unlike any other event produced for our sector of pro video," Chapman said. "Online Expos are now being presented in more sectors of business every day. WEVA iVideoShow - The Online Expo for Wedding & Event Video is an exciting breakthrough for our industry on a global scale."

No Travel Costs
WEVA has teamed with Unisfair (Unisfair.com), the leading developer in virtual event technologies to bring together wedding and event video professionals and industry suppliers worldwide -- all with no travel costs, no geographic barriers, and no time away from work. So far, more than a half million people have participated in over 500 virtual events developed through Unisfair.

Visit the online Trade Show Hall in full-screen display and LIVE-chat at tradeshow booths with digital video and DSLR manufacturers and industry suppliers. Watch video clips streamed from exhibit booths, download product info, scoop-up Show-Only Discounts on new cameras, new digital products, accessories, and more.

In the WEVA iVideoShow Conference Theater you can select On-Demand Video and Audio Sessions then jump to LIVE Q&A with presenters afterwards. And, you can network, share info, and live-chat with colleagues in the Networking Lounge during the entire show. Facebook and Twitter will be tied into iVideoShow to further enrich the social media experience.

Attending WEVA iVideoShow The Online Expo for Wedding & Event Video is the perfect way to bolster your professional development this winter. Watch for more information on registration and programming on www.WEVA.com soon. For exhibitor information, contact Dan Argenas at da@weva.com or Roy Chapman at rc@weva.com or call WEVA at 941-923-5334 or email info@weva.com.

About Wedding & Event Videographers Association International (WEVA)
Founded over a decade ago, WEVA International is the largest trade association for professional wedding & event video producers, shooters and editors and leads the field with education that's on the cutting-edge of industry developments and new technologies. See the full list of WEVA International membership benefits at www.weva.com.

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Stock20's Entire Library Available for $189

For a limited time, Stock20's Complete Production Library will be discounted more than 50%. This collection, which includes 158 song-themes, 1,629 tracks, and over 36 hours of network quality music, can be purchased for $189 until midnight, December 16th (Eastern Time).

For every library sold, Stock20 will donate $20 to World Vision's efforts to alleviate poverty in the developing world.

"We're combining a very good discount with a very good cause," states Daniel Rudd, Stock20's founder and primary composer.

"I'm hoping people will hear the quality of our music, and realize that they can acquire the equivalent of 38 CDs for the same money they might spend on one or two production CDs somewhere else. I think we'll establish lifelong relationships with a lot of new customers, and raise some money for an organization that is leading the fight against poverty."

Stock20.com is entering its fifth year of operation and continues to offer an unending and unlimited satisfaction guarantee on everything they sell.

For more information please visit: http://www.Stock20.com/WorldVision

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Digital Anarchy Announces Beauty Box 1.0 For After Effects and Final Cut Pro

Digital Anarchy, a leading provider of cost-effective special effects software for Adobe and Apple products, has today announced the release of a new product for Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere, and Apple's Final Cut Pro. The Beauty Box 1.0 provides editors and visual effects artists working with film and video an easy and powerful way of smoothing out skin and removing blemishes. Regardless of whether it is used for a feature film, reality TV show, or just a corporate talking head, Beauty Box provides best-of-class skin beautification.

Beauty Box 1.0 marks Digital Anarchy's return to making expert products for the film/video market. "This is a problem we've wanted to solve for a long time," said Jim Tierney, president of Digital Anarchy. "There are so many cases where the on-camera talent doesn't have enough makeup on or you're trying to make a 45 year old rockstar look 25. Especially now that HD is so common, seeing skin flaws has become a big problem. Beauty Box provides a great solution that, in many cases, requires little or no masking on the part of the editor or artist."

Beauty Box uses face detection to automatically identify skin tones and create a mask that limits the smoothing effect to just the skin areas. This process usually requires little or no input from the user and does not involve hand masking. Just apply the filter, click auto-detect, set the amount of smoothing, and render. This is designed to speed up the workflow that is usually required for skin retouching. Effects artists and editors no longer have to manually create masks and retouch frame by frame.

The skin smoothing itself is also new technology. It keeps the important features of the face sharp while reducing or eliminating wrinkles and blemishes. By incorporating state-of-the-art face detection and smoothing algorithms, Beauty Box is designed to give actors a makeover in post-production.

Some of the practical and creative features of Beauty Box 1.0 include:

  • Face Detection: Use face detection algorithms to identify skin tones and create an automatic mask.
    • Skin Smoothing: Advanced smoothing algorithms will reduce wrinkles and remove blemishes.
    • Sharpening: Built-in sharpening keeps important details like facial features.
    • Add Grain: A grain generator helps add back any grain that is lost because of the skin smoothing.
    • Mask Creation: Improve the auto-mask by using optional built-in mask tools.
    • Use An External Mask: Control the amount of smoothing with a separate layer when using other mask/roto tools.
  • Use Paths As Garbage Mattes: In After Effects, paths can be used to set the area of a layer that the effect will be applied to.

Pricing and Availability
Beauty Box is regularly priced at USD $199, and will be available for an introductory discount of $139 through Thursday, January 7, 2010. The filter works in After Effects 7.0 - CS4, Final Cut Pro 6.0 - 7.0, and Premiere Pro CS4. On Macintosh, the product runs on OS 10.4, 10.5 and 10.6. On Windows, the product supports Windows XP Home, Windows XP Pro, Vista 32-bit, Vista 64-bit and Windows 7. Demo filters and samples are available at http://www.digitalanarchy.com.

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Switronix Releases NEW XP-AJA-5 Regulator Cable

Switronix has just released the XP-AJA-5 Regulator cable to its line of DV/HDV Accessories.

XP-AJA-5 cable allows users to plug into any battery via V-mount or Gold Mt Plate and power both 12vdc accessories (i.e. Monitor, light) as well as a AJA converter. Comes with Green LED indication for power input and Red LED indication for AJA power output. The Xp-AJA-5 is compatible with the AJA units accepting 5v, and AJA 2-Pin connector. The XP-AJA-5 is available now.

For more information visit http://www.switronix.com

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Enhance Technology Now Shipping Storage Systems with 2TB Hard Drives

Enhance Technology, the leading data storage designer and manufacturer in the world, has announced full support on the latest Hitachi Ultrastar 2TB 7200RPM hard disks (HDDs) to enhance the performance of its storage systems and populated storage solutions. Storage capacities are now increased to 16TB on the 8-disk desktop & rackmount storage arrays and as much as 32TB on its flagship 16-disk UltraStor Professional Storage Systems which is expandable to 160TB through SAS storage expansion.

As hard disk manufacturers continue to develop higher capacity hard disks at lower cost per GB for storage, Enhance Technology works closely with major hard disk manufacturers from Fujitsu (acquired by Toshiba), Hitachi, Seagate, and Western Digital to ensure the highest compatibility between hard drives and storage systems. As a leader in data storage subsystems, Enhance Technology was among the first group of technology partners to receive the new Hitachi 2TB HDDs when they were released. Based on the laboratory test results, the new Hitachi 2TB HDDs tested with Enhance's JBOD and RAID storage systems yielded an impressive 20% Read/Write performance increment. It reduces the power consumption for the same capacity with 25% more storage spaces than 1.5TB HDDs.

Enhance Technology took the initiative right from the start to test Hitachi Ultrastar 2TB HDDs with its complete product lines, and all the efforts were done to ensure high performance, reliability, and customer confidence across all of the Enhance JBOD, RAID and SAN storage solutions. With extensive engineering and product development history, friendly and knowledgeable technical support team, and our commitment to provide the highest quality in storage products, customers can rely on Enhance Technology for the most up to date, high performance and compatible storage device with a peace of mind.

Enhance Technology's storage systems populated with Hitachi 2TB HDDs will not only increase your data storage capacity but it will also reduce the cost of storage ownership while boosting the computing and data processing performance. For more information on 2TB hard drive compatibility and Enhance's populated storage solutions, please consult with the Enhance sales team or your dedicated account managers.

About Enhance Technology
Founded in 1997, Enhance Technology designs and manufactures high performance storage systems and products for the digital content creation, medical imaging, security surveillance, data archive applications, and IT market spaces. Headquartered in Santa Fe Springs, California with Asia branch in Taipei Taiwan and European branch in Neu-Ulm Germany, Enhance Technology has become a world leader in hybrid I/O storage design and development. For more information about Enhance Technology, please visit www.enhance-tech.com or contact your local dealers.


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