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January 25, 2010

Table of Contents

Be Here Now: In[Focus] 2010
Class On Demand Releases New Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Pro Training Titles
WEVA 20th Annual Wedding & Event Video Expo Heads to Disney World
Boris FX Announces New Boris Continuum Unit: Materials
Dulce Systems Expands the PRO RX Lineup with the PRO RXqp

Be Here Now: In[Focus] 2010

Every year or so I stop in a Borders or a Barnes & Noble and pick up a Paper Blanks notebook with a nice, fake leather binding with a mildly decorative design. Whenever I head out to an event filmmaking conference, I grab one of these notebooks on the way out the door, open to the first unused page, and start taking copious notes on the seminars I attend. It gets to be a bit haphazard after a while, and inevitably my seminar notes end up side by side with bits of short stories or book reviews, and the odd shopping list or marathon training schedule. But if one could somehow consolidate all the segments with the seminar notes, together they would form a pretty fair appraisal of recent event filmmaking history—or at least a working document of the peer education that's guided and inspired the business maturation and explosion of artistry that have transformed our industry over the last few years.

As you might expect, it's crowded in there, and more than a little disorganized, but I'm happy to report that the ongoing thread of landmark event filmmaking presentation notes stepped to the fore again last week as I scribbled furiously to document the 10 seminars that made the inaugural In[Focus] 2010 as inspiring, engaging, and focused an educational event as our industry has seen.

One of the key themes of Day Three's Ray Roman seminar ("Opening the Book of Ray") was command presence—that is, having the assertiveness and forthright demeanor to take charge at events when it's time to get the shots you need. But before we get too deeply into the overarching themes of the seminars and the command presence of the speakers—because if there was one thing that defined the educators at this event, it was that they were very much there, all bringing their A-games and very committed to engaging with and educating the attendees beyond the confines of their allotted speaking time—In[Focus] 2010 was also an event marked by the absence of one of its guiding forces, co-founder Julian St Pierre, who passed away in early November 2009. Julian is someone I've already said quite a bit about in these pages and at the same time someone I can't say enough about, in terms of his contributions to this industry as an educator and visionary, and for the "pay it forward" ethic he personified. The phrase-turner in me wants to say that the In[Focus] event felt Julian's absence and presence in equal measure, but of course nothing as complex as grief and loss is really that simple. Julian's vision for In[Focus] wasn't confined to a single event—the last few conversations we had were almost entirely about his long-range thinking and beyond-2010 plans—but I do think he would have been proud to see so much of his work rewarded and his In[Focus] concept brought to life this time around. And he surely would have enjoyed what the New Orleans Saints were doing in the NFC title game as I was writing this up Sunday night.

With roughly 110 attendees gathered for this 3-day (plus pre-conference seminars), single-track event, In[Focus]'s 13 presenters all spoke to a full house, which had the added effect of giving all of the event's attendees the same seminars to reflect on and kibbitz about between sessions. Ron Dawson kicked off the event with his ever-evolving treatise on self-reinvention; if it's any indication of how fast Ron is moving, we're only six months past the publication of ReFocus, his book that's largely focused on on 21st-century marketing strategies for growing an event video business, and Ron is already starting to chip away at his public image as a social media evangelist and return to his roots as a filmmaker.

Documentary storyteller extraordinaire Bill Gaff followed in his industry-speaking debut, giving attendees their first glimpse behind the curtain of his interviewing and story-crafting techniques for establishing richly drawn characters in his wedding films. Those who have followed Gaff's work over the years know that he's recently made significant strides in upgrading the visual side of things (especially since he bought that 5D); Gaff, nonetheless, insisted that those elements are secondary: "Real story always trumps visual quality."

Next up was David Perry, an acknowledged master of branding specificity—all he had to do was ask the audience what he was known best for, and the Utah-based filmmaker quickly had his answer: The Temple; i.e., shooting LDS weddings with emphasis on the meaning of the Temple in that tradition. Although a relative newcomer to the speaking circuit himself, Perry went to great lengths to promote and celebrate the contributions of other rising stars, featuring segments from the likes of Sharrone Caliafiore and Antonio Domingo solicited and prepared specifically for use in his presentation. Ever one for the memorable soundbites, Perry offered up one of the week's most thought-provoking—"What do you contribute to the world?"—and followed it up with the most perceptively articulated arguments for eschewing the copycat approach I've heard to date: "Be careful when you're copying other filmmakers because the connection you could make with your clients [through work that reflects your own perspective and style] could be lost."

Closing out Day One were two legends and another up-and-comer: industry icons Steve and Laura Moses and rising spoofmaster Loyd Calomay. The Moseses expounded on a variety of themes both new and familiar with the tightest timing this crack comedy team has ever brought to the stage; alongside discussion of purposeful use of depth of field and the importance of assessing your shots based not only on artistic merit but how flattering they are to your brides, they also addressed a room that reflected an industry that still has too many men in it with some key advice on perspective: "Your target market is women. Men are the head, women are the neck, and the neck controls the head."

In a week full of highlights, Loyd Calomay's "It's All in the Presentation" seminar on concept films and SDEs (i.e., the various types of films presented at weddings) may have taken the top prize for me. Loyd spoke about the spectacle and excitement of a film delivered at a wedding as something akin to the cinematic movie experience-a moment shared with hundreds of others that can't be replicated at home, no matter how big or bold your TV. In a time when online forums, webinars, and web-based conference simulations such as WEVA's virtual-groundbreaking iVideo Online Expo (coming February 17), are availing videographers of many of the sort of educational opportunities that used to be the exclusive province of conferences, workshops, and conventions (at a dramatically reduced cost), Loyd's discussion of the cinematic and SDE experiences is an apt analogy for the "be here now" power of the in-person gathering that no online substitute will ever fully replicate.

The other great thing about Loyd Calomay's approach that always comes through in his work and was abundantly apparent in his seminar is that it's not just talent, creativity, or shooting chops that make him such a great spoofmaster. It's actually a lot simpler than that: Loyd loves movies. And TV shows, and pretty much anything that he spoofs. And he loves them enough to watch them repeatedly, and suss out the less obvious elements that are equally ripe for spoofing, but make for subtler parody. Of course he's not afraid to throw a little lowbrow humor into his films, either, but that's only the more obvious half of the fun.

Tuesday at In[Focus] was megasession day, with the morning devoted to the mom and pop of modern wedding filmmaking, Mark and Trisha Von Lanken, and the afternoon handed over to StillMotion's Patrick Moreau and Konrad Czystowski. 3- and 4-hour sessions were hardly a stretch for these outfits, who routinely present multi-day workshop extravaganzas at their own studio. It's almost impossible to summarize everything that got packed into the day; while the Von Lankens' seminar addressed a whole range of topics under the umbrella theme of keeping your business, your work, and your life "In Focus and In Balance," StillMotion homed in on the theory and practice of Same-Day Edits. What's remarkable about these presenters is not just how much of their knowledge they're willing to hand over (and how neither seminar ever seemed like a teaser or come-on for their workshops), but that in spite of the seemingly unattainable quality of their work, they make it seem remarkably accessible. The Von Lankens in particular, in explaining their "Von Real" ethic—that is, we (the Von Lankens) are not stars, we're real, we're you—genuinely make their accomplishments seem within reach of just about anyone who attends their seminars.

After the Von Lankens slowed things down and broke their topics down into easily digestible chunks, watching StillMotion progress through the magic and minutia of their same-day edit approach and workflow was downright exhausting, and a clear indication that part of what makes this team so successful—the vision and their uncompromising commitment to it—is how unbelievably hard they work on the wedding day.

Wednesday brought another full day of poised and passionate speakers. First was Joe Simon's guide to marketing, booking, and doing Destination Weddings in an economy in which many markets can't sustain a high-end filmmaker's pricing. Industry alpha-dog Ray Roman followed with a look inside "the Book of Ray," which was either incredibly inspiring if you wanted to see how to do the sort of eye-catching, dynamic work that Ray does by adhering to the simple, practiced fundamentals of rock-solid shooting, or disappointing if you wanted to preserve the mystery of his mad-skills camerawork. Ray also had one of my favorite lines of the entire week: Faced with brides who say "It's just not in my budget," he advised attendees to reply, "You just didn't budget enough for a good video. You budgeted for a bad one."

Next up was emerging wedding video business coach Matt Davis, who sketched out his stance with a bold but basic definition of a well-constructed business: "A commercially profitable enterprise that works without you." Whereas his WEVA presentation a few months earlier had focused specifically on the sales process, in Austin Davis turned his attention to business development and management, addressing such issues as "ways to master money" and "ways to master time." On the money front, he advised attendees to "know the numbers, and crunch everything," and go into every shooting knowing "at what point in the day your expenses have been paid, and what you need to know to get past break even."

Event organizer Chris P. Jones (who served all week as a fine MC alongside fellow Team In[Focus] members Don Pham and Terry and Joe Taravella) rounded out the day and the event with his evolving "Get In[Tense]" seminar, delineating radical workflow reform intended to wipe out backlogs, increase editing efficiency, and give back chunks of life that have been lost unnecessarily to work. "How do you want to live your life?" Jones asked. "What do you want to do in your life? Is your business carrying you toward that point or away from it?" Jones concluded his seminar by proceeding through the workflow, in the Final Cut timeline, in detail.

Infocusvideoevent.net

What felt most summational and forward-looking about Jones's turn behind the podium was the set of announcements that preceded his seminar, outlining In[Focus]'s plans for the future, and its initiatives for continuing to implement its educational concepts and strategy outside the confines of its annual national/international event. At the heart of the plan is the new website, www.infocusvideoevent.net, a membership-based site offering a range of benefits and premium content, beginning with a number of the seminars from In[Focus] 2010. The purpose of the site, Jones said, "is to reinforce what was learned by attendees, but also designed for those who live overseas or who couldn't afford IN[FOCUS] 2010 or had a scheduling conflict with coming to IN[FOCUS] 2010. It also allows the studio employees who couldn't make it to benefit from the training." Here are the key vital stats of the site as Jones explained it:

• featuring more than seven hours of presentations by Ray Roman, Ron Dawson, Joe Simon, Loyd Calomay, Bill Gaff, David Perry, and Matt Davis, along with Jones's two-hour, studio-recorded training on developing a backlog-killing workflow
• open to In[Focus] attendees exclusively until February 8, at which time others can access the videos for $250 for a one-year membership. After March 1, the price will go up to $350.
• memberships will last thru March 15, 2011, or be one year in length, whichever is greater.
$25 of every membership fee collected will go toward Haiti relief through December 31, 2010
• 5 free memberships will be given away for those that sign up by February 8th.
• other perks, including more exclusive content, to be added throughout 2010
• members will get "dibs" on registering for IN[FOCUS] 2011
• Chris Jones "killer workflow" will also be sold separately for the pre-order price of $97 from February 8-February 28, before going up to $150 beginning March 1.

All in all, this sounds like the next best thing to being there. But as anyone who's attended In[Focus] or any other major industry educational event knows, there's really no substitute, is there?

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Class On Demand Releases New Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Pro Training Titles

Class on Demand, a provider of professional educational products for creative markets, is pleased to announce that "Basic Training for Final Cut Studio®" and "Complete Training for Final Cut Pro® 7" are now available for pre-order. Apple's new Studio upgrade boasts powerful new application features, which include Final Cut's expanded ProRes variations, a newly enhanced time saving and automated easy export, new speed change tools, improved XMC interchange and multi-touch gesture support. Led by Tom Wolsky, an expert in Apple® video applications and operating systems; the new Class on Demand training courses guide users through task-focused lessons of all of the newest tools and features of the popular editing suite and its flagship non-linear editing application.

"It's important for Class on Demand to remain up-to-speed with all manufacturer software and application upgrades," says Paul Holtz, CEO and founder, Class on Demand. "The recent release of the new Final Cut Studio includes a variety of new and powerful application features. Tom's real-world knowledge and breadth of technological understanding will provide an exceptional learning experience, yielding phenomenal work output for a novice user or a seasoned professional looking to navigate deeper into the new editing suite and its applications. We look forward to continue working with Tom on future Apple releases."

The "Basic Training for Final Cut Studio" title includes 4-hours of instruction. The 7-lesson, project-focused training touches on suite elements ranging from system optimization to Color®, Compressor®, Motion® and other Apple applications. "Complete Training for Final Cut Pro 7" delivers 5-hours of in-depth application instruction and includes 22-lessons from user interface to outputting. The video-based titles deliver exceptional viewing quality and a unique, non-linear training approach, enabling users of all levels to focus on specific new features and functions. While each Class on Demand module provides an in-depth lesson for a specific section of the Apple suite and application, the collective training modules use real-world examples to provide an end-to-end curriculum for information retention and increased productivity.

To sample lessons from "Basic Training for Final Cut Studio®" and "Complete Training for Final Cut Pro® 7" please visit: http://www.classondemand.net/media/final-cut-training/fcs3.aspx and http://www.classondemand.net/media/final-cut-training/fcp7.aspx.

Pricing and Availability
Until January 29th, 2010, both "Basic Training for Final Cut Studio®" and "Complete Training for Final Cut Pro® 7" are available to pre-order through the Class on Demand website (http://www.classondemand.com) at a special introductory price of $99.95 each (regularly priced at $149.95 USD). Customers can type FINALCUT50 at checkout to receive the discount.

For additional training information, please contact Class on Demand directly at 847-843-9939 or visit: http://www.classondemand.com.

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WEVA 20th Annual Wedding & Event Video Expo Heads to Disney World

Discover the new magic in digital wedding and event cinema this summer! Mark your calendar to save the dates, and plan now to attend. The 20th-year Wedding & Event Video Expo will be presented by WEVA International August 23-26, 2010 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.

An industry milestone event, WEVA EXPO 2010 will be held at The Dolphin Resort in the renown Swan and Dolphin Resort complex next to the Disney Boardwalk in Walt Disney World.

Discounted guest room rates for all WEVA attendees at The Dolphin Resort will be just $99/night (single or double occupancy) with free parking for registered guests, free in-room high-speed Internet access, free Health Club access, plus more. The usual Resort Fee has been waived for WEVA, and all WEVA guests will have complimentary access to the adjacent Swan Resort facilities as well.

The special guest room rate is valid for 4 days before and 3 three days after WEVA EXPO 2010. Reservations for WEVA guests will open shortly. More EXPO news will be posted soon. Reserve August 23-26 now for the WEVA 20th Annual Wedding & Event Video Expo at Walt Disney World!

www.weva.com

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Boris FX Announces New Boris Continuum Unit: Materials

Boris FX, the leading developer of integrated effects technology for video and film, announced that a new Boris Continuum Unit, Materials, is now available. The Boris Continuum Materials Unit includes 15 Boris Continuum Complete filters for creating realistic surfaces and animated organic backgrounds.

The Boris Continuum Materials Unit generates realistic textures such as Steel Plates, Bricks, Clouds, Granite, Wooden Planks, and Rock. The textures are procedurally-generated to ensure smooth render at any scale. Each filter provides a variety of animation parameters including controls for the color, width, height, and other aspects of the material. Many of the filters allow users to add 3D detail and lighting to the material surface. Users can apply the materials as realistic surfaces or use them as animated organic backgrounds. All of the filters include presets which make using the materials a point and click operation - even for complex animations.

Boris Continuum Materials Unit Filters

* Steel Plate: generates a non-slip steel plate look for backgrounds or multifaceted objects. The filter provides controls for the number and size of rivets, bolts, and steel plates as well as the shininess of the surface.

* Brick: Brick is a versatile generator of brickwork or tiled surfaces with realistic texture and lighting controls.

* Caustics: The Caustics filter can be used to simulate the effect of light refracting through water onto the bottom of a swimming pool. Caustics is a key element in many popular texture looks.

* Cloth: Cloth creates a texture resembling tightly-woven fabric. It has many creative uses in the texturing of graphics elements.

* Clouds: Clouds can be used as a realistic cloud generator or a noise map for other filters in a composition.

* Fractal Noise: Fractal Noise creates a simulated marble texture.

* Granite: Granite simulates the appearance of granite or any other type of mottled stone.

* Mixed Colors: Mixed Colors produces a color noise map.

* Noise Map 2: Noise Map 2 generates procedurally-based, resolution-independent, auto-animated image clips that can be used as backdrops or as a mask track input for other image clips.

* Reptilian: Reptilian produces a texture resembling a scaly or spotted animal skin.

* Rock: Rock is a realistic rock generator featuring 3D bumps and light effects on a rough rock surface.

* Veined Marble: Veined Marble produces a marble texture with pronounced "veins".

* Weave: Weave produces a texture resembling loosely-woven fabric, such as burlap or gauze.

* Wood Grain: Wood Grain creates the appearance of a solid piece of wood.

* Wooden Planks: The Wooden Planks generator simulates a surface covered in wooden boards, similar to a parquet floor.


The Boris Continuum Materials Unit supports Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Final Cut Express, Apple Motion, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Premiere Pro.

The Materials Unit is the latest addition to previously-released Boris Continuum Units: Chroma Key, Pan and Zoom, UpRez, Motion Key, Lens Flare, Film Look, Glitters, Optical Stabilizer, Light Rays, 3D Objects, Cartoon Look, Motion Tracker, and Image Restoration.

Pricing and Availability
The Boris Continuum Materials Unit is immediately available through the Boris FX worldwide reseller channel and direct from the Boris FX web site at http://www.borisfx.com for an MSRP of $199 USD. Customers who purchase the Boris Continuum Materials Unit or any other Boris Continuum Unit may credit the price of the Unit towards the full Boris Continuum Complete plug-in suite. For more information, please visit 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 broadcast, post-production, film, and multimedia. Boris products have grown to serve millions of artists worldwide. The company's success lies in its ability to integrate and leverage technologies through strong partnerships with industry-leading developers such as Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Grass Valley, and Sony.

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Dulce Systems Expands the PRO RX Lineup with the PRO RXqp

The PRO RXqp, designed from the dependable and field proven PRO RX, adds the removable RAID protected Quad Packs to enhance creative workflow for the content creation teams by permitting them to sneaker-net contents across town or around the world.

The Quad Packs are solid, removable and portable. Each configured with four high-performance SATA II 3Gb/sec 7200RPM disk drives, each Quad Pack can be made as a RAID protected pack in RAID 0/1/3/5 or 6 configurations. Four Quad Packs can be loaded into the 3u rack mounted PRO RXqp each operating independently or they can be combined to make a single larger RAID setup.

Each Quad Pack can support up to 6TB of useable RAID 5 protected storage capacity, that is large enough to hold 6 hours of 2k DPX material, in double protection RAID 6 mode a Quad Pack provides up to 4TB of useable storage. Combine four Quad Packs and the total storage capacity increases to 24TB in RAID 5 mode.

The PRO RXqp with the Quad Packs also has impressive performance numbers; data can be transferred in and out at substantial speeds for transporting or for online real-time editing and creation. A single Quad Pack in RAID 0 performance mode measures over 500MB/sec, RAID 3/5 protection mode gets 390MB/sec and over 250MB/sec with double drive protection RAID 6. These performance figures enable multiple streams of video resolutions in DVCPRO HD, ProRes, uncompressed HD as well as 2k.

If more performance is required, multiple Quad Packs can be RAIDed together and data rates will exceed 800 MB/sec.

The PRO RXqp and the Quad Packs are Mac, Windows and Linux compatible, and work with Apple's Final Cut Studio, Adobe's Premiere Pro, Avid's Media Composer and other popular video editing and creation tools. Each Quad Pack can be managed to hold different dailies or hold different projects, they can be managed to be independent of each other and each can be conveniently transported or stored.

The PRO RXqp uses the 20Gb/sec PCI-express 8 lane Extender technology to extend the computer's PCI-express bus to the PRO RXqp enclosure. This enables the hardware-based, high performance RAID controller to be housed in the PRO RXqp enclosure which allows it to run at full speed and keep cool, thus reducing the heat buildup that otherwise would be retained inside the computer.

Need additional storage? Just purchase 1, 2, 3 or as many Quad packs as you require for your new project. You can keep your old projects or projects that have been placed on hold on your existing RAID protected Quad packs. There is no need to purchase additional RAID enclosures or RAID controllers! Need to get an old file from one of your old projects? Just plug-in your "qp" to the PRO RX qp and you're set to start work. You don't need to download data or transfer files - just start to work.

About Dulce Systems, Inc.
With clarity and vision, Dulce Systems will redefine video storage and provide a one source one stop for support and innovation for the content creation market. Dulce Systems is located at 9620 Topanga Canyon Place, Suite E, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Tel: (818) 435-6007, Fax: (818) 576-0324, http://www.dulcesystems.com

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