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July 06, 2010

Table of Contents

Vintage Lenses in the DSLR Age
Studio Time | Society Hill Studios & CANON FILMMAKERS LIVE
MusicRevolution.com Announces Launch of Discussion Forum for Production Music
ToonIt! Photo Plugin is Updated for Adobe Photoshop CS5 and 64-bit Native Operation on Mac
Zaxcom Introduces New Lightweight, Mini Timecode-Referenced Audio Recorder
Intensity Shuttle is Now Available

Vintage Lenses in the DSLR Age

Reading this article will save you thousands of dollars. I know that statement sounds like something you'd hear while channel surfing at 3 a.m., but it's absolutely true. All you need is the time it takes to read this article, an open mind, and an adventurous spirit. So let's get started! If you're one of the thousands of videographers who are currently or have recently upgraded to a DSLR such as the Canon 5D Mark II, EOS 7D, or Rebel T2i for video, you've likely experienced the sticker shock of how much money you'll need to invest in lenses. The cost of DSLR purchases is completely different from investing in fixed-lens camcorders; the $2,500 or $1,700 you spend on the 5D or 7D (respectively) is just the beginning when it comes to equipping these cameras to get the shots you want. The conventional wisdom is that there are two ways forward when it comes to lens purchasing: One way is to invest in the fastest glass you can find and write it off as the cost of doing business. The other way is to make compromises and buy slower glass at a lower cost just so you have something to start out with in the hopes of upgrading to something better later. We'll look at the pros and cons of each.

Choosing Your Glass
Let's say you choose the first option and go with the Canon brand lenses. For a minimum suite of lenses for shooting a wedding video, you're looking at an investment of about $2,768. This would include a 17mm-55mm f/2.8 with image stabilizer ($1,119), a 70mm-200mm f/2.8 without image stabilizer ($1,300), and a 50mm f/1.4 ($369.95). You can cut this total nearly in half if you go with lenses from companies such as Sigma, Tokina, and Tamron. But you're still looking at a sizable investment, and the price tag could double or triple if you buy duplicates for a second and third DSLR. You'll be amazed at how quickly it adds up.

The upside of this approach is that there's a reason the Canons are so expensive. They feature quality optics both in build and image quality. If you take care of them, you'll never have to buy lenses again, and you'll be able to resell them at the cost you paid for them. The downside is that they're expensive, and the high cost of just getting started might be a deterrent to those who want to get in the DSLR game.

If you choose the second option, you'll save some money, but you won't get the most you can out of your equipment. The lenses on the budget end of the spectrum tend to be slower and cheaply built. If you're on a budget, you can get a Tamron 18mm-250mm f/3.5-6.3 ($329) and a Canon 50mm f/1.8 ($99) and be somewhat OK for less than $500 per lens suite. But you have to make compromises when it comes to the speed of your main lens, and the budget lenses might be difficult to use in dim locations such as a wedding reception venue. Still, choosing cheaper glass is a good way to at least get started with DSLR video on a restricted budget, but it's not the best way, by far. That leads us to the third way forward: vintage lenses.

Going Old School
Once again, let's take the example of the minimum suite of lenses you'll need for a wedding shoot. Here are the lenses that are in my bag and the prices I paid for them:

  • Standard Zoom: Tokina RMC (OM mount) 28mm-70mm f/2.8-4.3, $35 (shipped)
  • Telephoto Zoom: Vivitar Series 1 (OM mount) 70mm-210mm f/3.5, $90 (shipped)
  • 50(ish) fast prime: Mamiya Sekor (M42 mount) 55mm f/1.4, $40 (local pickup)
  • Adapters: $20 x 3 = $60
  • Grand Total: $225

Canon 550D Rebel T2i with Helios 44M

If you go this route and have a lens budget of $500, you'll have money left over. You can add a few other lenses that I have in my bag just for fun:

  • Helios 44M (M42 mount) 58mm f/2, $35
  • Mamiya Sekor (M42 mount) 35m f/2.8, $27
  • Jupiter 9 (M42 mount) 85mm f/2, $128
  • Adapters: $20 x 3 = $60
  • Aggregate Total: $975

Shot with the Canon Rebel T2i and Jupiter-9 85mm

By now, you probably have a few questions, and they are probably in this order:

  1. Where did you find these lenses a such a great cost?
  2. What lenses can be adapted, and how do I go about doing it?
  3. Are these lenses any good?

Let's go in the opposite direction, because in order to really appreciate the price of these classic lenses, you have to understand the value of vintage lenses, especially for the videographer. Let's start with the objective qualities of manual focus (MF) lenses and move toward more subjective areas.

Build Quality
Most MF lenses that were made before the '90s tend to be made of metal. This results in a much heavier lens but also a more rugged build. These babies are built to last.

Aside from ruggedness and a solid feel in your hands, the manual focus rings on the old lenses are generally smooth and dampened with long focus throws. This makes sense; back in the day, that was the only way to focus your shot, so manufacturers couldn't skimp on that part of the lens design. Aside from image quality and cost, the reason I love working with MF lenses is the confidence I have in nailing perfect focus every time without the need for any expensive accessories. I can't overstate the value of this feature.

Finally, on the subject of build quality, the aperture ring is right on the lens. Owners of the Canon XH A1 already know how fast and convenient this feature is, and it's just as great to use on a video-equipped DSLR. Imagine, for instance, that you're following the bride and groom from the inside of the church to the outside. What's faster than stopping down the aperture through the lens to maintain perfect exposure? This is another feature that makes working with vintage lenses preferable to working with the newer autofocus (AF) lenses for event filmmakers. It's much faster and more intuitive than doing it electronically.

Assorted MF Lenses
Assorted lenses in the Dallas Wedding Films collection: on the camera, Vivitar 70-210 3.5 (OM mount). On the table, top to bottom: Mir 24M (35 f/2), Mamiya Sekor 55mm f/1.4,Helios 44M (58mm f/2), Jupiter-9 (85mm f/2), Tokina RMC 28mm-70mm 2.8-4.3.

There are two ways to talk about optics when it comes to classic lenses. We'll start with an objective view and then move into more subjective areas. Objectively speaking, a 50mm f/1.4 MF lens from the '70s will give you the same light sensitivity and focal length as a digital AF 50mm f/1.4 lens made today. Physics doesn't change. The most significant advancements in lens technology that have occurred are lens coating to reduce flare, image stabilization, and, of course, AF controls. If you don't need those things and if all other things are equal, you should consider investing in a prime lens from the last century.

The second aspect of optics comes down to personal taste. When I started collecting vintage lenses to fill in the gaps in my lens suite, I was just looking at focal length and maximum aperture. What I discovered, though, is how different brands of lenses have their own distinct character. Due to the varying approaches to contrast, sharpness, bokeh, and flare control of lens makers, it's possible to get a totally different picture using different lenses that share the same focal length and aperture.

After a while, you'll start to seek out lenses that have a certain look to them. For instance, as of this writing, I find the look of the Russian Helios lenses the most intriguing, and I'm working on completing a set. For some of you, the Super Takumars by Asahi might pique your interest, while for others, it might be Carl Zeiss glass. The point is, whatever look you're going for, there's a lens out there for you.

More vintage lenses
More fun lenses shown here, clockwise from top: Jupiter-9, Helios 44M, Mir 24M

What Lenses Will Work and How to Adapt Them
Did you know that you can adapt 11 different lens types to the Canon Digital EOS cameras without loss of infinity focus or the need of a glass element? Here's the complete list of lenses, according to Bob Atkins Photography:

  • Contarex
  • Contax RTS
  • Leica R
  • Nikon
  • Olympus OM
  • Pentax K
  • Pentax Screw (M42)
  • Petri Bayonet
  • Ricoh Bayonet
  • T2 mount
  • Yashica FR, FX

That is one heck of a back catalog of lenses out there at your fingertips. So how does one go about bringing those classic lenses out of retirement? Just get an adapter. The job of a lens adapter is not only to conform your legacy lens to the Canon EF (electrofocus) Bayonet mount but also to correct the lens registration (the distance from the lens to the sensor) so you can focus to infinity. There are several inexpensive adapters out there, and I'm sure some of them are great, but the ones I like to use are the Fotodiox brand adapters. They're competitively priced and have a solid feel to them. I highly recommend them.

Once you attach the lens to your Canon T2i, 7D, or 5D, you'll get a screen that reads, "please press ‘live view button.'" After you press the button, your lens should work like any of your other lenses in video mode. The only difference will be that you won't have in-camera aperture control. But you do have the aperture ring, which, frankly, is more preferable anyway.

Check out the bokeh
Check out the bokeh achieved with my favorite MF lens (and the Canon 550D), the Helios 44M.

Where to Buy Vintage Lenses
So, finally, how does one find these alternative lenses? There are several ways to go about buying vintage lenses, depending on how much time you have and how much money you want to save. The easiest way to find vintage lenses is through the used sections at Adorama (www.adorama.com), B&H (www.bhvideo.com), and, my personal favorite, KEH.com (www.keh.com). Unlike B&H and Adorama, KEH only deals in vintage cameras and lenses, and the selection is pretty extensive. The prices also happen to be pretty competitive with the "Buy It Now" prices on eBay.

The only downside is that if you're looking for a model that's rare in the U.S. (such as any of the Russian-made lenses or a Meyer-Optik), you might be out of luck. Also, while the prices are amazing when compared to what modern AF lenses go for, there are even better deals out there. It just takes a little more work, which brings us to our next stop: eBay.

eBay can be a great resource for not only finding a great deal on lenses but also for finding rare lenses. While the eBay lens seller is savvier these days, it's still possible to come across someone who just wants to get rid of some old lenses that are collecting dust in the closet. These listings aren't always as easy to find, and you might need to search in the "not specified" section of the camera lens search. This is a little more time-consuming, but there's a better chance of finding an auction with no bidders or a seller who is willing to sell his or her lens outright for a few bucks. You just never know.

Another great resource is your local craigslist. Sometimes, you will see people selling their cameras with lenses at the site for rock-bottom prices. But you can also post a "wanted" ad for the lenses you're searching for. Out of all the online methods, this one is probably my favorite way to go about getting lenses. You don't have to spend hours looking for lenses; the people who want to sell will find you. It saves a lot of time and, potentially, a lot of money.


Pawn Shops
The best deals to be had, though, are in the real world, but they might require the most time investment. Every now and then, you'll get lucky and find some used lenses at rock-bottom prices at pawn shops. That's how I found my Telesar 28mm f/2.8 with macro ring for only $10. The upside to going the pawn shop route is that the dealers aren't as savvy as someone from B&H or KEH. That means you can walk into a pawn shop and walk out with a lens potentially worth 10 times what you paid for it.

The flip side is that a lot of pawn shops don't accept the old manual focus lenses because they think the lenses won't sell (and they're usually right), so finding a treasure trove of classic glass is going to be very hit-and-miss. What I would advise is to call ahead and check if the shop has lenses in stock before heading out. I would then make a list of the places that carry MF lenses and start shopping.

Another place to check for manual focus lenses is the local buy-and-sell shops in your area. They're sometimes listed as consignment shops, and you might get lucky and find dozens of old lenses just sitting there collecting dust. That was my experience when I went into a buy-and-sell shop and found an old Zenit camera with a Helios lens attached to it for only $35. More than likely, you won't find an awesome Soviet lens in a buy-and-sell shop. But at the very least, you may find some incredible values there if you're willing to sift through a lot of stuff to find them.

Quite possibly the best place to get a great price on vintage lenses is at a flea market. Many people on forums talk about vendors willing to make a deal for an entire box of old lenses. We're talking pennies on the dollar here. The downside is that you can spend a day going to the various flea markets and come home empty-handed. Vintage lenses can be found at flea markets, though, as I got a 70mm-150mm f/3.8 from one. However, you're going to waste a lot of time trying to find those treasures. Old 35mm lenses are the proverbial needle in a haystack when it comes to the chaos that is the flea market circuit, so be sure to set aside a Saturday or Sunday if you go this route. The savings, though, might be worth it.

Finally, don't be shy about asking your friends or relatives if they have an old Pentax camera or an old Olympus sitting in the closet. Chances are, you can get quite a few free lenses to start out with, and they will most likely be well taken care of. If you do know someone who might have some old cameras and/or lenses, you can place an order for some adapters, and you'll be shooting in no time. It's worth trying out.

Testing the Lenses
I am by no means an expert on testing lenses, but these few steps should help you when it comes to picking out a functioning lens. The first thing I do is take off the lens caps, give the lens a good cleaning with your lens cloth, and hold it up to the light. What you're looking for are things like internal dust, oil, and fungus. If everything looks good, then the next step is to check the mechanics.

With the lens still up to the light, open and close the aperture blades to ensure they are opening and closing smoothly. If the aperture ring does not respond to your twisting, don't panic. On some of the old lenses, there's an automatic/manual switch. Just move it over to manual, and you should be able to see the blades open and close. Next, twist the manual focus ring. The signs of a good focus ring are smooth as silk movement and the right amount of resistance. You don't want one that is too stiff or too loose.

Whenever possible, bring your camera along with some adapters when you shop for a vintage lens. This will serve two purposes. The first one is obvious: There's no better way to check out a lens than to put it on the camera itself. Another less obvious reason is for taking pictures of the lenses and lens mounts if you're not sure about their compatibility with your camera.

Are Vintage Lenses Right for You?
We've gone through a number of reasons to go with vintage lenses, but in all fairness, they might not be right for you depending on your needs. This may be due to the older technology inherent in classic glass.

  • No image stabilization: There is no such thing as image stabilization (IS) on vintage lenses. For those of you who use monopods, tripods, and other stabilizing equipment, the lack of this feature will not be a deal breaker for you. I use a Spiderbrace, and I have gotten very acceptable footage out of my non-IS Vivitar 70mm-210mm zoomed all the way in-no microjitters at all. However, for those who shoot handheld and use IS lenses to smooth out the microjitters and bumps, the necessary adjustment in shooting with a camera support system might be a large hurdle to overcome.
  • No autofocus: This is not really a big deal for us, but if you plan on going to the dark side and shooting stills, the lack of autofocus might be a deal breaker if you want to move a little faster on a shoot. Getting off your shot might be a tad slower with manual focus than autofocus. Again, I can't see this being a problem for the vast majority of videographers, but I felt it was fair to mention it.
  • LBA (Lens Buying Addiction): While this is not a scientifically diagnosed medical condition, it's worth discussing because when great classic lenses are in the impulse-buy zone, it's important not to get too crazy about collecting them. When most of us look at AF lenses, the prohibitive cost slows us down and forces us to really consider what we need to do the job. The same process applies to buying vintage lenses. Figure out what you need first, fill those niches, and then maybe expand your collection from there. After all, you don't want to collect a bunch of 50mm lenses when you still have a 35mm, an 85mm, and a long zoom to buy. Once you have your lens suite set up, then you can look into expanding your collection.

Final Thoughts
One thing I don't want readers to take away from this article is that I have something against modern AF lenses. I have a Tamron 17mm-50mm f/2.8 and a Canon 50mm f/1.8 in my bag, and I love them and use them quite often. The main purpose of this article is not only to offer an alternative to AF lenses but also to offer hope to people wondering if they can afford to upgrade to DSLRs for video. Some of you might use manual focus lenses as a stepping stone to the Canon L series or Zeiss Z series, or, if you're like me, you might like the look of classic glass and stay with vintage lenses. Whatever the case may be, I hope this article saves you hours of research and thousands of dollars. Best of luck.

Chris Watson (dynamotv at earthlink.net), a two-time EventDV 25 all-star, runs Dallas Wedding Films in Dallas. A multiple international award winner, producer of two popular training DVDs, and speaker at industry conventions, Chris and his work have been featured on The Wedding Bee, Livin’ the Simple Life, and Platinum Weddings.

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Studio Time | Society Hill Studios & CANON FILMMAKERS LIVE

"Can we talk? Lately I've been feeling like we're growing apart; that we want different things. Plus, I met someone. At Re:Frame. His name is Philip. Actually, I met several people. Kristen* and Kristen Turick, to name a few. They made me realize that I don't have to fit some kind of mold; that I can do amazing things with my camera. It's nothing personal, I promise. It's not you, it's me."

And with that, the founders of Society Hill Studios were on their own. Breaking ties amicably with their former employer—a Philadelphia-based outfit producing a high volume of die-cut wedding videos—Cristina Valdivieso, Jon Connor, and Amy Reese have moved on just fine.

After introducing themselves to the crowd at Re:Frame Austin, Cristina and Jon, along with partner Amy Reese (who joined them later at in[focus]) now seem to pop up everywhere with the industry's inner circle. But how did these Young Turks manage to crash this party, seemingly overnight, and set themselves on the road to becoming one of the go-to studios in Philadelphia for couples wanting a high-end, artistic wedding film?

Aversion Therapy
It was a special shared aversion they had to wedding videos-a vow never to shoot them even-that helped bring Jon and Cristina together. A fresh-out-of-high-school student at the Art Institute of Philadelphia in 1999, Jon's pursuit of a digital filmmaking and video production degree led him to produce his first wedding video, which he shot on S-VHS and edited on an A/B-roll system. His remuneration for the video was roughly equal to what you can find between your couch cushions, and the final product was worth little more than that, he felt. "They got a wedding video, and I got a headache," he says.

He vowed never to do it again.

That decision led Jon down a professional path that included the unenviable tasks of selling used cars, managing a mobile phone store, reading meters, and telling jokes on stage, all the while searching for a way to make video production a viable full-time venture.

Meanwhile, in 2006, Jon met Cristina, a photography assistant at the aforementioned wedding video company and student in psychology and photography at the Community College of Philadelphia (she would later continue her studies at Temple University). Cristina's photography program required a class in video production. To her, a class in statistics would have been met with less resistance. "Looking back," she says, "I'm not sure if I was set in my ways or if the fact that my sister was fresh out of NYU film school intimidated me."

For the course, she settled on producing a documentary about the Philadelphia comedy scene, of which Jon was a part. Working on it together, Cristina and Jon discovered that their thoughts on shot composition and editing were strikingly similar. After the documentary wrapped up, they didn't want to stop. "I loved every minute of it," Cristina says of the experience. She became a quick video convert. "With photography, all you have is your image. But being able to use motion and sound to tell a story inspired me, and still does."

Riding on that momentum, the duo went on to produce freelance documentaries, event videos, and promos for local artists and fighters, seeking always to experience new genres of filmmaking.

Luckily, Jon soon found a day job producing and editing video. Unfortunately, it was for the same template-driven company Cristina worked for, now in the additional capacity as video shooter for the 150-plus wedding videos produced yearly there.

But it wasn't all bad. They developed a strong friendship with the company's veteran sales consultant who also has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Amy Reese, who later would prove to be a vital asset to their team.

Society Hill Studios' (left to right) Amy Reese, Cristina Valdivieso, and Jon Connor

In Bloom
In a game-changing—no, life-changing—decision, Jon and Cristina saved up and sent themselves to Re:Frame Austin. When all the wedding video you've seen up until then, and all that you're allowed to produce, is the video equivalent of Wonder Bread, Re:Frame is quite a magical place to be.

Before going, they approached the workshop as if they were preparing for the LSAT. They meticulously researched all the presenters and viewed their work online, awe-struck. "Honestly, we had never seen work like that before," Cristina recalls.

In Austin, Re:Frame's workshops filled them with ideas, but it was in the cozier, after-hours conversations with other attendees that inspired them the most, as they sat up trading stories. On the last day, Cristina's heart-to-heart with Kristen* and Kristen Turick brought her to tears, nearly. "I'm not sure why I wanted to cry, but I was so relieved to finally know what I wanted to do. I was ready
to move on and put my heart into my work."

Meanwhile, a "bromance" was brewing between Jon and U.K. DP extraordinaire and notorious time-lapse addict Philip Bloom. His work and his passion, made all the more evident by his constant companion-his camera-stood out. Jon and Cristina both shared an unexpected chemistry with him, and they have kept in close contact, often collaborating on projects.

For Jon, Re:Frame meant reneging on his vow. Now he was seeing wedding videos for what they could be: wedding films. Re:Frame, he says, "showed me that it didn't have to be everyone's perception of ‘wedding videos.' I could still apply all the creative aspirations I had as a filmmaker, but in a different way. There is a story to be told: the story of their lives, how they met, and their families."

Philadelphia Freedom
Their lives changed. They returned to Philadelphia and cut ties with their employer in order to grow as artists, but not before making a beeline to Amy, who was on board with their plan 100%. To be clear, it wasn't that their employer had done anything to make the three of them want to leave.

Offering an explanation that brings to mind a teary-eyed conversation at a well-attended restaurant, Jon says, "It had very little to do with them. It was about us, and what we wanted. They just didn't have the luxury of bringing out multiple shooters and doing some of the creative things we wanted to do."

Jenni and Jason ~ Meredith Manor from Society Hill Studios on Vimeo.

After making the break official, the next item of business was acquiring a Canon 5D Mark II and learning absolutely everything about it. Only they struggled to find support to help them master it and their complementary camera, the EOS 7D, and wondered if other DSLR ingénues were having similar difficulties.

Inspired by Bloom's always giving back to the industry, Jon wanted to pay something forward himself, by creating a resource for others to go to for education and inspiration. He started Canon Filmmakers (www.canonfilmmakers.com) as a way to blog about the learning process, à la Julie & Julia, and share helpful links, tutorials, and cool videos. The website has developed a strong following and now includes contributions from Cristina as well as Athens, Ga., filmmaker Joseph Stunzi. "Stay tuned for some cool surprises around the corner," Jon says.

Canon Filmmakers Live
Their newest and most ambitious venture yet, Canon Filmmakers Live, a one-day event for DSLR Filmmakers that promises "DSLR Filmmaking + Networking + More" and features marquee attractions Bloom, Dave Williams, and Anthony Quintano, is happening July 11 at Philadelphia's World Cafe.

Canon Filmmakers Live

High Society
With the 5D mastered and a major gig quickly approaching, they knew they needed a name. "The name came out of necessity," Cristina explains. "We started to get a lot of work and we knew we needed a brand." When Jon suggested Society Hill, the name of the neighborhood where their apartment was located in downtown Philly, "it made total sense."

Before long, Amy's business acumen and talent for promoting, despite the group's piggy-bank-sized advertising budget, had them growing at a steady, if not dizzying, clip. "After our first same-day edit at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, things really started to take off," Cristina says. They knew they were doing something right when, at Soiree in the City, a high-end bridal show, attendees were quick to correct themselves when accidentally referring to Society Hill's work as "video." "It's one thing to hear your peers refer to your work as a film, but for a potential client, who has no idea who you are, to refer to your work as a film was just amazing."

Going forward, Jon sees the company continuing to push for the long-overdue respect the industry deserves by competing with itself and seeking out new inspirations. "The biggest source of inspiration though is the couples," he admits.

Producing films they are proud of is Jon and Cristina's No. 1 priority on their agenda for now. But they do have some other irons in the fire. Namely, they would like to branch out beyond Philadelphia at some point-beyond weddings too. They recently partnered up with good friend and photographer Jordan Hayman to launch Third Frame Media (www.thirdframemedia.com), a commercial film and photography company.

So things really did work out for the best, after all. That's what usually happens when you follow your heart, something Cristina believes everyone should do a little more of. It was hearing her father talk about the one passion, photography, he had to give up in order to support his family that struck a chord with her growing up. "Early on he taught me that the key to happiness and success is to follow your heart," she says. From the looks of things, Society Hill has unlocked that door.

Elizabeth Avery Merfeld (www.lizmerfeld.com) is a freelance writer based in Madison, Wis.

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MusicRevolution.com Announces Launch of Discussion Forum for Production Music

MusicRevolution.com (www.musicrevolution.com), an innovative online marketplace for production music, today announced the launch of its discussion forum for production music (https://www.musicrevolution.com/forum/).

"We launched our discussion forum, which is focused on the various aspects production music, to provide an additional resource to serve the community of professional and aspiring musicians that fuels MusicRevolution.com," stated Chris Cardell, Co-Founder of MusicRevolution LLC. "Our objective with this forum is to create an online meeting place where our musicians can share their knowledge and experiences, and collaborate with each other. Our forum will also cover issues that are important to media professionals and music buyers when they are selecting production music," added Cardell.

"As a professional musician and composer, I look forward to participating in the MusicRevolution.com forum to share my experiences and to stimulate the various discussions among our community of musicians, "stated Mike Bielenberg, Co-Founder of MusicRevolution LLC. "Musicians are always interested in improving their skills and learning new techniques about producing music. Our forum is a platform to facilitate this learning," added Bielenberg. Forum categories at https://www.musicrevolution.com/forum/ include:
• Music Theory
• Collaboration
• Recording Techniques
• Customer Track Suggestions
• Creative Process
• Track Evaluation
• General Discussion
• Software
• Hardware

About MusicRevolution.com
MusicRevolution (www.musicrevolution.com) is the Internet's production music marketplace. We provide media producers, businesses and other music buyers with great royalty-free production, or stock, music at affordable prices for TV/radio broadcast, film, corporate video, retail & website background music, on-hold music, and other business music applications. Our production music library has thousands of high-quality tracks and new royalty-free music is being added every day. MusicRevolution.com offers four purchase options for customers-- single tracks, CDs, subscriptions and our innovative Internet music stream. As an online marketplace, MusicRevolution.com provides professional and aspiring musicians with the opportunity to license their production music while learning from and collaborating with the best in the music community.

About Our Founders
Chris Cardell is the former President of Jupitermedia (formerly Nasdaq: JUPM), which was the parent of Jupiterimages, Internet.com and other digital properties. In this role, Cardell also lead the creation of Jupiterimages' online production music business, which resulted from a series of acquisitions of royalty-free music libraries and websites. Prior to that he was the President of Mecklermedia (formerly Nasdaq: MECK), creator of the Internet World trade shows and magazine. Cardell has been involved with digital content and E-Commerce since the mid-1990's.
Mike Bielenberg is the former General Manager of Jupiterimages' online production music business. He founded BBM, a royalty-free music licensing website that was acquired by Jupiterimages. Bielenberg's music can be heard on cable and network television during any given week. He has composed and produced music for IBM, Coca Cola, Microsoft, The Cartoon Network as well as several major commercial music libraries. He holds a music composition degree from Georgia State University and has received Aegis, Axiem and Telly awards for his original scores. Bielenberg is a professional composer/keyboardist and resides in the Atlanta area.

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ToonIt! Photo Plugin is Updated for Adobe Photoshop CS5 and 64-bit Native Operation on Mac

Digital Anarchy, a leading provider of cost-effective software for photographers and digital artists, today announced a free update to their popular ToonIt! Photo cartooning plugin. ToonIt! 2.6 adds compatibility for Adobe Photoshop CS5 and 64-bit operation on Mac systems; the Photoshop plugin is already compatible on Windows/Vista.

The 2.6 update also adds many behind-the-scenes improvements, like background rendering, to make ToonIt faster and more responsive.

Commercial photographer and product reviewer Stan Sholik said, "I've had the opportunity to review many Photoshop plug-ins and ToonIt! is unique in its ability to transform images, especially portraits, into unique cartoon-and graphic novel-like creations. And best of all it is easy and fun to use, inviting you to experiment and find new looks that can increase sales."

ToonIt! Photo is used by photographers and digital artists to create a variety of cool cartoon styles, beautiful painted effects, and illustrated looks. One of the key features of ToonIt! is its ability to turn people and faces into believable cartoons and illustrations. The software uses advanced algorithms from Toonamation, Inc and allows ultimate control in customizing the cartoon effect with paint styles, shading and outlines.

"Many artists have used ToonIt to transform personal photos and fine art," said Jim Tierney, president of Digital Anarchy. "We're also finding that pro portrait photographers use ToonIt in clever monetizing ways, like offering a cartoon image to their clients as a part of the portrait package. It's an easy way to offer a whimsical ‘bonus' on top of the more traditional photographs."

Pricing and Availability
ToonIt! Photo for Photoshop is regularly priced at $159 USD, but will be on sale for $89 until July 15, 2010. The plugin works in Adobe Photoshop CS-CS5 and Photoshop Elements 6.0-9.0. The plugin runs on Macintosh 10.3.9-10.6, Windows XP-7.0 and Vista systems.

A separate version for use in Apple's Aperture is on sale for $79 USD, normally $129. ToonIt! Aperture is also updated to version 2.6 for the render improvements.

Current owners of ToonIt! Photo and ToonIt! Aperture should contact Digital Anarchy for free update instructions. Demo filters and samples are available at http://www.digitalanarchy.com.

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Zaxcom Introduces New Lightweight, Mini Timecode-Referenced Audio Recorder

Zaxcom today announced the ZFR200 audio recorder, designed to act as an ultra-compact and lightweight replacement for wireless microphones. The ZFR200 records on microSD cards and features an integrated SMPTE timecode reader/generator.

With a high-strength nylon polymer casing that provides water and corrosion resistance, the ZFR200 weighs just 3.5 ounces. The unit can receive remote control and timecode signals via Zaxcom's IFB100, the new ZaxNet 2.4-GHz wireless network, or a manual timecode jam. A timecode jam enables audio professionals to use any quantity of ZFR200 units in sync all day, with the integrated timecode generator ensuring one-frame accuracy over a six-hour period. The ZFR200 can output audio as either 24-bit/48-KHz timecode-stamped broadcast wave (.wav) files or timecode-stamped MP3 files. Each unit is powered with a single AA battery with up to 14 hours of run time.

"Our new ZFR200 is an excellent tool for reality television and similar productions where the production team is faced with interference issues, poor RF range, or no available wireless frequencies," said Glenn Sanders, Zaxcom's president. "By recording directly to microSD cards on the bodypack, the ZFR200 is an excellent low-cost, low-weight replacement for wireless mics."

The ZFR200 is available now with a list price of $899. More information about Zaxcom's full line of audio systems is available at www.zaxcom.com.

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Intensity Shuttle is Now Available

Blackmagic Design today announced Intensity Shuttle, a new low cost and extremely high quality HDMI and analog video capture and playback solution for USB 3.0 computers is now shipping. Intensity Shuttle is powered from the USB 3.0 connection and features an attractive white inline design priced at only $199.

Intensity Shuttle includes separate connections for HDMI 1.3, component, composite and s-video capture and playback at full 10 bit video quality. Intensity Shuttle lets customers connect to the latest AVCHD and HDV cameras for direct capture from the image sensor for incredible video quality, and HDMI and component video outputs provide fantastic quality monitoring with maximum possible real time effects.

USB 3.0 is the new version of the USB computer connection that runs 10 times faster than regular USB. This means, for the first time, there is a built in connection on computers that is fast enough for 10 bit HD uncompressed video. USB 3.0 allows simple to install products with broadcast quality video to be designed for low cost computers. USB 3.0 is already included as standard on computers from HP, ASUS and Gigabyte, and is becoming more popular every day.

Intensity Shuttle includes built in broadcast quality video at a consumer price, making high-end 10 bit broadcast quality video available to even more videographers for true professional work. Many videographers are working on demanding video work such as independent films where quality is important. Intensity Shuttle lets anyone work at the highest video quality regardless of budget!

Intensity Shuttle requires an Intel x58 series Windows computer with USB 3.0 connection. Intensity Shuttle supports Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Fusion, and more. Blackmagic Design's Media Express software is included free, and a free developer SDK is available.

"We are very excited to make the high quality of our Intensity cards available in an attractive, affordable and easy to install USB 3.0 based external design", said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design, "Now even more videographers will have access to the highest quality video with new 10 bit broadcast quality, plus independent connections for HDMI, component, composite and s-video. It's a fantastic solution!"

Intensity Shuttle Key Features
• HDMI in and out.
• Component analog in and out.
• Composite video in and out.
• S-Video in and out.
• Stereo analog audio in and out.
• USB 3.0 connection to Intel x58 series computers.
• Powered via USB 3.0 connection.
• Uncompressed 10 and 8 video and compressed video capture and playback.
• Works with Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Fusion and more.
• Includes Media Express capture and playback software.

Availability and Price
Intensity Shuttle is now shipping for US$199 from all Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.


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