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August 10, 2010

Table of Contents

Review: Datavideo DN-60 Solid State CF Card Recorder
Matrox Announces Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium Support on Matrox MXO2 Family for MacBook Pro and Mac Pro
Matrox Announces Vetura Capture Application
Noise Industries Ships FxFactory Pro 2.5
DVFilm Releases DVFilm EPIC I (Epic One) DSLR Plugin for Sony Vegas Pro
iStockphoto Relaunches Website with a Modern Look, Improved Navigation and Strong Focus on the Customer
AV3 'get' For Apple Final Cut Pro Now Available for Download
Grass Valley ADVCmini Video Converter for the Mac Now Shipping

Review: Datavideo DN-60 Solid State CF Card Recorder

Datavideo DN-60When it comes to camcorders, most everything is moving to compact flash media. There are, however, an incredible amount of HDV and other tape-based HD camcorders out there, still working hard and producing great images. How do you get these camcorders up to speed with the new flash-media workflow? With an external recorder. Thus far, the need for external devices to record HD footage has primarily been served by Focus Enhancements’ FireStore line. However, there has been growth in the segment recently and Datavideo has entered the fray with a unique design and price point under $500. Does the Datavideo DN-60 Solid Stare CF Card Recorder give the more expensive recorders a run for their money? Let’s find out.

Design
When you look at on-camera flash media recorders, there are really only two kinds: those made by the manufacturer to integrate with the camera, such as Sony’s HVR-MRC1 CF recorder, and third-party recorders that are designed to accept a standard cable and video format, and record it to the media inside. All the recorders vary in design dramatically, and the Datavideo DN-60 is no different. 

Front and center, sticking out like a nose, is the main controller knob that enables users to access almost all the device’s functions. A sliding door below that gives easy access to the compact flash card. Compact flash may seem like an interesting choice for a dedicated media recorder such as this. SD cards (SDHC, SDXC) seem to be the prevalent flash media of choice these days, and the data rate of HDV doesn’t tax the throughput of either card format. But compact flash has a few advantages, specifically when you start using larger cards. Foremost among these is the data rate possible for reading the card.

According to Datavideo, the 400x card that came with the DN-60 to review can deliver nearly 60Mbps throughput. While faster SDXC cards are just starting to hit the streets, most SDHC cards currently top out at a theoretical 10Mbps for a Class 10 card. So once you record 16 or 32GB of footage, the CF card will dump all your footage into the computer many times faster. I have found tests of compact flash cards and readers online that confirm the specifications. I found reports of a Lexar Professional 600X 32GB being read at over 80Mbps. That means 32GB of HDV (about 2.5 hours of footage) copies over FireWire 800 in just 6 minutes. You just can't touch this with SD cards. (For more information, see http://bit.ly/bIXt1.)

On the left is your power button, on the right is a DC input jack. In what I find a very odd decision, the FireWire port is on the back. This mans that the DN-60 does not lay down flat while recording. I ended up using the protruding FireWire cable as a kickstand to hold the DN-60 at an angle, but I can see how that could easily be hit and damage the port in the DN-60. It also makes it a bit harder to put the recorder in a pouch or hang it from your belt. A top- or side-mounted port would have made a lot more sense. Also on the back is a 1/4"/20 thread to mount the DN-60 near the camcorder. It’s clear that the designers intended this to be attached to the camcorder, so the placement of the FireWire port would end up being in free space, not on a table or your body. 

The surface has a matte texture, which seems to be an increasing trend and, personally, I like it. It’s grippy and doesn’t show fingerprints. But I know from an Apple Newton I once owned that, after a while, the texture wears and you get shiny edges that belie a device’s age and wear.

As I navigated back and forth through the menu, I couldn’t help but compare this handheld device with a small monochrome display to the original Blackberry devices, and I realized that a jog dial on the side would make it easier and faster to navigate through the menus, which are all up and down. It would also make the device a lot sleeker, and the knob would hopefully respond better. I’d also welcome a menu to keep the backlight on in a dark shooting environment too. We want to assess current status at a glance. It’s a pain to constantly have to rotate the knob to be able to check the display.

Lastly, the back of the recorder has a large door for accessing the four AA batteries that power the recorder. This, again, is typical Datavideo—a clean departure from the industry norm of proprietary Lithium-ion batteries. Use any AAs you want. In a pinch, you can go anywhere and buy 4 alkalines that will give you a couple hours of record time. Save money (and the earth) and use rechargeable HiMH. Or, for really long run time, get a set of lithium AAs and get record longer times than anything other than AC. You can tell the DN-60 what type of batteries it has so that the battery indicator displays the different power curves of the different battery chemistries.

The only down side of using AA batteries is that it takes a bit longer to change out the battery source than it would if, like Sony’s HVR-MRC1 or HVR-DR60, the DN-60 were designed to use the camcorder’s Lithium-ion battery as its power source. The HVR-DR60 promises 13 hours of run time with an NP-F970 lion battery. AAs aren't bad, just slower, and with NiMH, a bit heavier than a lithium ion rechargeable would have been. 

Datavideo DN-60

Menu
The menu system gives you access to recording options, settings and everything that the DN-60 can do. There’s a STATUS menu that lets you quickly review, on four “pages,” the many settings of the recorder. There’s a SETUP menu that lets you set those settings. A TOOLS menu lets you create bins, change bins, format media, make media files, and update the firmware. A PLAY menu lets you select clips for playback back out of the FireWire cable. And lastly the RECORD menu executes recording. 

When recording, you get a display that gives you various continuous status indicators that show, for instance, folder, clip number, total record time possible on the card, battery level with four ticks, length of clip, and time code. There are two simultaneous numeric displays. Time code can follow the camcorder (to match tape), and length will tell you the duration of this particular shot (like a basic counter), both of which are handy. And as the counter counts up, the time left on the card counts down.

I should mention here a couple caveats that I encountered. Jumping right in to recording and then going to access that footage on a computer left me scratching my head. I have a FireStore FS4 Pro HD and am used to getting immediate access to my clips. With the DN-60, no clips are visible on your media until you go into the TOOLS menu and “Make Media Files” out of them. And when I say no clips are visible, I mean that the computer told me the total empty space of the CF card and it was like there was nothing on it. Completely blank. 

This could cause confusion or problems in a fast-paced production where a card that does have precious clips on it, but hasn’t gone through that extra “Make Media Files” step, is handed off to a media wrangler who opens it up to see a completely empty CF card. Once I ran the Make Media Files utility, the video clips and bins were all there and worked perfectly.

The second caveat I found was that the DN-60 cannot deal with both SD and HD clips on the same card. It has to reformat the card if you change settings. This makes it a bit harder, as I was doing, to shoot timelapse (SD-only) and HD footage. I sincerely hope there will be a firmware update soon that will eliminate this format restriction, and also to possibly enable HD timelapse recording (which I know is harder than DV because of the LongGOP issues with HDV). The simplest option is to use an older, smaller, slower CF card for timelapse recording.

With regards to jumping back and forth, the DN-60 does actually let you create and save two user profiles. So I can keep my timelapse settings as USER #1 and my HD video settings as USER #2. HDV is recorded as M2T files only, unlike more expensive units that can rewrap it as QuickTime on the fly. But as more applications are becoming native M2T-capable, this will probably pose less of an issue in the future.

The menu system currently lets you scroll past either end of the menu system, and has a few other minor issues that Datavideo techs say they are already working on. Nothing bad; they’re just making the user interface work better.

Storage
The DN-60 uses CF cards, but unlike most recorders out there, it gives you a choice between FAT32 formatting that forces long recordings to be chopped up into 1.99GB file sizes, and NTFS, which allows for single, long files, but is not supported by older operating systems. 

In reality, the DN-60 actually uses a different underlying file structure altogether. The underlying system was explained to me as a “transactional file system”: Every second, the system closes one transaction and opens a new one. This means that should there be a battery failure, a cable yanked out of the camera, or a power adapter unplugged, the most you can lose is 1 second of video.

This is a big departure from using a computer system to record video where, if you don't have a clean “end of file” written down, the entire file is unusable, even if you've been recording for hours. So the underlying file structure of the DN-60 is designed to provide robustness and peace of mind.

Because of this, access to your footage requires a second step. When you finish recording, you have to go to the Tools menu and choose Make Media Files. Now, depending on which file system you picked in the DN-60’s menu, a single hour-long recording will be either be a series of 1.9GB clips in a FAT32 system, or a single long file recorded under NTFS.

If you’re dealing with DV footage, you can just drop the individual or long clips into your timeline. If you’re dealing with HDV, your files will be M2T files. If your nonlinear editor supports it, you can either drop the individual 1.9GB clips into your timeline where (I am told) they will play back seamlessly, or you can drop the single long M2T file into your timeline, which will also play fine.

A problem arises if your editing application does not like native M2T files. You’ll need to transcode the M2T files to some other codec for editing. If you have a single video recording broken among several 1.9GB clips on a FAT32 partition, the conversion utility may not properly see all of the HDV frames due to the break between the clips and the LongGOP nature of HDV. In my tests with MPEG Streamclip, I saw a loss of 13 frames. But the loss was based on the process—it was not an actual loss of footage.

When I went back and reformatted the DN-60 as NTFS, and Made Media Files again, I could then load the single, long clip into MPEG Streamclip and the resulting file contained all the footage. So, you need to assess your needs and workflow when you try to decide whether the DN-60 is right for you.

Usage
I used the DN-60 to shoot some timelapse footage over the course of two days and it looked beautiful (you can see the results at http://www.youtube.com/user/IEBAcommunications). I wish it could do this in HD, but for now it is an SD-only feature. So I set my HD camera into widescreen SD and let it roll for two days.

This was my second attempt, as my first one involved different settings that did not provide the smooth slow motion I wanted. You can tell the DN-60 how many frames to record and how many seconds or minutes apart those frames should be.

When shooting HDV, the manual states that the M2T files will have a bit of overlap that has to be trimmed, and that there may be flash frames. As I described in the Storage section, if your system can drop M2T clips into the timeline you likely won’t see any problems. If you have to transcode to use the files, you really ought to use NTFS and deal with single, long clips. Otherwise the clips won't parse correctly and you may be missing frames. I never saw flash frames.

When recording SD, you can scoot to the left in the Record menu and use the MARK function to chop a recording into a new clip. This is much better than stopping and starting (especially with tape, which wastes time) and would be perfect for recording multiple takes of the same shot, especially if you have a person that quickly restarts themselves, or you just want to quietly split the takes into separate files without a whole lot of attention. When recording HD, this feature isn’t available, again probably because of the LongGOP structure of the MPEG-2 HDV stream.

Comparison
The nearest competitors to the sub-$500 DN-60 are priced around $750. Sony’s HVR-MRC1 interfaces well with some Sony camcorders, but is an add-on just like the DN-60 to everything else. The DN-60 offers a few more features, like a much more customizable timelapse mode, and a more informative display, but navigation and execution are better on the Sony, plus it uses Sony Lithium-ion batteries. So weigh that into your decision. 

Approaching $800 you get to the FireStore FS-H200, which offers a vastly improved color LCD screen, letting you navigate your clips with certainty. It’s designed to record video footage into many more formats: QuickTime and M2T for HDV and Raw DV, AVI Type 1, AVI Type 2, Matrox AVI, and Canopus AVI for DV. If you need to wrap HDV into QuickTime, this is important because neither of the less expensive models do this. But even with the FireStore, the timelapse function is DV-only.

Maxell has entered the fray with their iVDR system. A dockable media package connects to a camera I/O box with FireWire connections to your camcorder. Two media packages are currently available: a 250GB HDD and a 500GB HDD. Both offer internal FW400 connection to the computer, but an optional external desktop cartridge adapter offers USB 2.0 FW-800 for increased speeds. The recorder has an MSRP in the same $800 range, but it ends up being a bit pricier than all the other single-box systems by the time you add all the pieces together. However, no other on-camera system offers swappable, ruggedized hard drives.

At about $1,000, the FireStore FS-H200 Pro comes in offering several notable features: video playback on the unit’s color LCD, MPEG-4 proxy generation, MXF HDV support (for Avid users), and the ability to dynamically log metadata wirelessly during recording. 

Do you need the extra features? Or do you just want to get your HDV or DV camcorder recording to flash media? I’ve had people contact me specifically about the ability to record to hard drive or flash media. Today’s producers who need to deliver content quickly do not want the additional tape digitization step of the production process. Not to mention the fact that decks, though rentable on an as needed basis, are an additional cost and step that can be avoided with direct hard drive or flash media recording. The DN-60 gets you there without a lot of bells and whistles, or the cost associated with them.

Anthony Burokas (VidPro at ieba.com) of IEBA Communications has shot award-winning corporate video internationally and recorded events since the days of 3/4" tape. He is currently technical director for the PBS series Flavors of America and resides just outside of Dallas. 

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Matrox Announces Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium Support on Matrox MXO2 Family for MacBook Pro and Mac Pro

Matrox® Video Products Group today announced support for Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium software with Matrox MXO2 I/O devices for Mac OS X. The key features of this new release include professional audio and video input and output with 10-bit hardware up/down/cross conversion and HDMI video monitoring with the unique Matrox calibration controls including blue-only. In addition, WYSIWYG support for Adobe Photoshop and After Effects is also provided.

“Users of file-based workflows will love the built-in color calibration tools on the MXO2 devices that turn their inexpensive HDMI displays into professional-grade HD monitors they can trust, even for color grading,” said Wayne Andrews, Matrox product manager. “When they need to capture from analog or SDI sources, we have them covered too, with the new Matrox Vetura Capture application and the high-quality, highly-efficient Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame intermediate codec.”

‘This release rounds out the Matrox MXO2 cross-platform story,” said Alberto Cieri, Matrox senior director of sales and marketing. “We are the only I/O hardware manufacturer that can claim support for the three most popular professional editing applications: Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Avid Media Composer.”

The entire family of Matrox MXO2 devices will be demonstrated at IBC 2010 in Amsterdam, September 10-14, on the Matrox stand 7.B29.

Key features of the Matrox MXO2 family for Mac with Adobe CS5 Production Premium
  • Convenient form factors for use in studio, on set, in the field, and in OB vans
  • Works with MacBook Pros and Mac Pros
  • Broadcast quality HD/SD video and audio input/output
  • Flexible support for leading codecs, file formats, cameras, and workflows
  • Matrox Vetura Capture application for fast capture to HD and SD codecs – highly-efficient Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame at up to 300 Mb/s and Apple Uncompressed
  • Matrox Vetura Playback application for convenient playback of H.264 and .mov files
  • Extensive application support including Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and After Effects
  • 10-bit HDMI input, output, and monitoring with calibration controls including blue-only
  • 10-bit realtime hardware up/down/cross conversion on capture and output
  • Three-year hardware warranty and complimentary telephone support

Availability
Matrox products are available through a worldwide network of authorized dealers. Adobe CS5 support for the Matrox MXO2 devices for Mac (release 2.1) will be available to registered users as a free download from the Matrox website in October 2010.

About Matrox
Matrox Video Products Group is a technology and market leader in the field of HD and SD digital video hardware and software for accelerated H.264 encoding, realtime editing, audio/video input/output, DVD/Blu-ray authoring, scan conversion, capture/playout servers, clip/still stores, and CGs. Matrox's Emmy award-winning technology powers a full range of content creation and delivery platforms used by broadcasters, post-production facilities, project studios, corporate communicators, and videographers worldwide. Founded in 1976, Matrox is a privately held company headquartered in Montreal, Canada. For more information visit http://www.matrox.com/video.

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Matrox Announces Vetura Capture Application

Matrox Video Products Group today announced Matrox Vetura Capture for Mac OS X, a stand-alone capture software application compatible with the Matrox MXO2 family of I/O devices.

Matrox Vetura Capture lets users quickly and easily capture QuickTime files using popular codecs installed on their editing systems. With Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 the Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame codec and Apple Uncompressed formats are supported. With Final Cut Pro 7, ProRes, DVCPRO HD and other popular Final Cut Pro codecs are supported. With Avid Media Composer 5, the Avid DnX, DnXHD, and other popular Avid Media Composer codecs are supported.

“Matrox Vetura Capture enables new on-set workflows when used with a Matrox MXO2 device and a Mac Pro equipped with a Matrox CompressHD H.264 encoding accelerator card,” said Wayne Andrews, Matrox product manager. “While recording XDCAM EX, P2, or RED footage as usual, users can also feed the output of their camera through their Matrox MXO2 device and capture directly into H.264 .mov files using Matrox MAX technology that is built into the CompressHD card. Dailies are immediately available as low bit rate, manageable-sized files for delivery to the client.”

“We’re continuing to add value to the Matrox MXO2 product line,” said Alberto Cieri, Matrox senior director of sales and marketing. “With Matrox Vetura Capture we have started to implement our vision of expanding the capabilities of Matrox MAX technology beyond simple H.264 export acceleration.”

Matrox Vetura Capture will be demonstrated at IBC 2010 in Amsterdam, September 10-14, on the Matrox stand 7.B29.

Availability
Matrox products are available through a worldwide network of authorized dealers. The Matrox Vetura Capture application for Mac will be available in release 2.1 to registered users of Matrox MXO2 devices as a free download from the Matrox website in October 2010.

About Matrox
Matrox Video Products Group is a technology and market leader in the field of HD and SD digital video hardware and software for accelerated H.264 encoding, realtime editing, audio/video input/output, DVD/Blu-ray authoring, scan conversion, capture/playout servers, clip/still stores, and CGs. Matrox's Emmy award-winning technology powers a full range of content creation and delivery platforms used by broadcasters, post-production facilities, project studios, corporate communicators, and videographers worldwide. Founded in 1976, Matrox is a privately held company headquartered in Montreal, Canada. http://www.matrox.com/video

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Noise Industries Ships FxFactory Pro 2.5

 Noise Industries, developer of visual effects tools for the post-production and broadcast markets, is pleased to announce the release of FxFactory Pro 2.5 for Apple® Final Cut Pro®, Motion®, Final Cut Express®, and Adobe® After Effects® applications.

FxFactory is an award-winning, revolutionary platform, powering over 300 visual effects plug-ins optimized for real-time performance on the Macintosh platform. The new FxFactory Pro 2.5 introduces 8 new visionary filters and transition plug-ins, as well as significant enhancements to the platform's unique slideshow generator, which includes a sleek new user interface for selecting and arranging images. The update is free for current FxFactory Pro 2.0 users at: http://www.noiseindustries.com/support/fxfactory250.

"The latest update to FxFactory Pro features some extremely creative and stylistic new plug-ins, as well as important improvements to the platform's popular slideshow generator," comments Niclas Bahn, director of business development, Noise Industries. "As with each new release, customer feedback has played a huge role in developing Version 2.5. The new filters and transitions create eye-popping graphic effects, while the slideshow generators' innovative new user interface allows users to choose, re-order and re-name sets of images directly within the Final Cut Pro application. This is now the easiest and most efficient way to create captivating slideshows in Final Cut Pro, Motion and After Effects. With the Version 2.5 update, users have more flexibility and control than ever before."

What's New in FxFactory Pro 2.5
FxFactory Pro 2.5 introduces users to 8 brand new visually stimulating distortion, color correction and transition plug-ins, as well as major quality and performance improvements to its distinctive slideshow generator. FxFactory Pro 2.5 features and benefits include:

New Filter and Transition Plug-Ins
  • Local Contrast: Local contrast enhancement increases the appearance of light-dark transitions in your source media.
  • Vibrance: Adjusts the saturation in your source media while minimizing clipping as colors approach full saturation.
  • Genie Filter: Pinches, stretches and slides the input image for a unique "genie bottle" effect.
  • Accordion: Reveals the destination by pushing the source clip to one side and unfolding the incoming clip to the full frame. The animation can be reversed, thus folding the outgoing clip to reveal the incoming clip.
  • Origami (Square): Reveals the destination clip by folding the source to one corner, or by unfolding the destination clip over the entire frame. This effect has become famous because of it's use on the iPad.
  • Origami (Triangle): Reveals the destination clip by folding the source to one side, or by unfolding the destination clip over the entire frame.
  • Genie Transition: Pinches, stretches and slides one clip out of the frame to reveal the next clip.
  • Page Turn: Flip the source clip to one direction to reveal the incoming clip, or flip the destination clip over the entire frame.

Significant Slideshow Generator Updates
An innovative new user interface gives users increased flexibility in selecting and re-ordering image files, and complete creative control to produce stunning slideshows in Final Cut Pro, Motion and After Effects. The newly enhanced slideshow generator also includes 4 new transition effects applied automatically between slides.

For more information FxFactory Pro 2.5 please visit: http://www.noiseindustries.com/support/fxfactory250.

Availability and Pricing of FxFactory
FxFactory Pro is available today for $399.00 USD. Additional plug-ins are available for free or commercially starting at a price point of $29.00 USD. FxFactory products can be purchased via the Noise Industries website (http://www.noiseindustries.com ) or through select resellers. Adobe After Effects, Apple, Final Cut Studio, and Apple Final Cut Express users can also test drive hundreds of FxFactory plug-ins by downloading the trial version from: http://www.noiseindustries.com/fxfactory

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DVFilm Releases DVFilm EPIC I (Epic One) DSLR Plugin for Sony Vegas Pro

Today DVFilm (dvfilm.com) releases DVFilm EPIC I ("Epic One") a DSLR editing plug-in for Sony Vegas Pro 9.0, 32-bit and 64-bit versions, for all versions of Window XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

DVFilm EPIC I provides real-time editing without transcoding for video DSLRs in Vegas Pro 9 as well as Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10. It works perfectly for the Canon 5d MkII, Canon 7d, Rebel T2i/550d and Rebel T1i/500d.

It's priced at only $45 from DVFilmStore.com.

The latest generation of digital SLRs shoot spectacular HD video and give filmmakers a wide range of creative control from interchangeable SLR lenses to low-light sensitivity. However, one drawback has been the H.264 codec they use to record video. Most non-linear editing systems cannot play back these files, with multiple streams, in real time, unless you have an extremely fast computer. There can also be reliability problems with a large number of files in the project. This is where DVFilm EPIC I comes in.

The EPIC I plug-in for Sony Vegas allows you to edit DSLR H.264 Quicktime files in real time by using our "INSTANT EDIT" method. You can edit in real time, on practically any machine, even on a low-cost laptop.

The Instant Edit method is totally transparent: that means NO transcoding, NO swapping files, NO hassles. Epic can also handle hundreds of files with hundreds of effects and transitions with excellent stability and well-controlled memory usage.

How does it work?

In Vegas when you drag H.264 clips into the timeline and assemble your rough cut, Epic I automatically prepares for real-time playback in the background by preparing a DV or HD format MXF file. Once it's ready, the playback switches over automatically to the real-time file, and playback instantly becomes real time for that clip.

When you are finished with your edit, you simply click the Epic Roman Column (a popup that overlays the Vegas user interface) to High Quality and you can then export to DVD, Blu-Ray, or to whatever is your final format.

You can also use the Vegas "Preview Half" and "Preview Full" modes to switch back and forth between Real Time (Red) and High Quality (Purple) modes of playback.

Epic takes advantage of the fact that editors use a lot of time head scratching over trimming the clips and adjusting the in and out points, before needing real-time playback of the assembled rough cut. This idle time of the computer's processors is thus used to prepare for playback. This efficient method allows for real-time playback without demanding top-end multiprocessors or hardware H.264 decoding.

However, unlike transcoding, you start to edit immediately without waiting for the transcoding to finish. Also, unlike conventional proxy editing methods, there is no file swapping to worry about, the switching between real-time and high-quality modes is handled transparently by the plug-in.

Editing with Epic I is also superior in quality to transcoding methods, because it avoids lossy recompression of the original video. You always render from the original H.264 master files, upsampled to 4:2:2 color and up to 10 bits per channel (with the 10-bit YUV mode turned on). Epic can also switch instantly from video system RGB to computer RGB color space.

Future versions of Epic I will also support Vegas 8 and Final Cut Pro.

Interested? Read more information by going to DVFilm.com, click on Software and then DVFilm Epic I. The direct link is http://dvfilm.com/epic/index.htm

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iStockphoto Relaunches Website with a Modern Look, Improved Navigation and Strong Focus on the Customer

iStockphoto today unveiled a redesigned version of the world’s most popular stock multimedia marketplace. The new site offers a clean, contemporary look and feel, and reflects more than a year of customer-focused usability research and design.

The new site was built using an innovative back-end architecture laying the framework for several future enhancements including a new search interface being unveiled before the end of the year.

The new site structure has been designed specifically around each type of audience that frequents the site, allowing faster, easier access to content. A revised navigation scheme, with a renewed focus on the customer, divides the site into three distinct segments: shop, participate and help. The work of exclusive contributors will be more prominently featured throughout the site via large “hero images.” iStockphoto has also noted this will be the last version of the site to support Internet Explorer® 6.

“iStockphoto has experienced exceptional growth since our inception,” said Kelly Thompson, COO of iStockphoto. “We’ve grown to over 6 million members, expanded globally and introduced many new products such as video, audio and our popular Vetta Collection. The new site not only meets the needs of our rapidly growing community, but will also grow with us in the future, supporting features and enhancements planned through the next several years.”

To celebrate the launch, iStock is offering its members 25% off all credit-pack purchases starting Monday, August 9th until Sunday, August 15th, 2010 (coupon code iLOVEF5).

Shopping
The shopping portion of the site has been organized by file type with separate landing pages for photography, illustrations, video, audio and Flash® files. Each landing page features topics specific to that file type. For example, the photography page contains items such as the photo of the week, photographer of the week, links to photography and design-related articles, FAQs and the free photo of the week. With a dynamic new search interface in the works, the redesigned site has launched with what many industry experts consider to be the most accurate search in the business.

Participate
The international community of more than six million contributors and customers has been the driving force behind iStockphoto’s decade of explosive growth and is the reason for the company’s continued success. The “Participate” section of the new site is where the various members of the iStock family can congregate and interact. The iStock Forums, Design Spotlight, Steel Cage and Article pages from the previous site are housed in this section. A newly created area specifically for contributing artists, called the Contributor Lounge, is where iStock artists can get up-to-date news, keep up with trends and stats and access resources, including training manuals and software downloads.

Help
The “Help” section contains a library of articles and FAQs for designers and customers, as well as information on how to get additional customer support.

By Members, For Members
Both the design and key features were created based on significant input from iStockphoto’s active international community members. One of the most requested enhancements was easier access to personal account information. To satisfy this request, iStock has included a static toolbar that provides quick access to critical account information including credit balance, shopping cart and lightboxes, and puts additional information a mouse click away.

“For designers like me who use iStock every day, time equals money and the new site design allows me to get in, get what I need and get out,” said Jan-Kristof Lipp, art director of de:bug magazine.

About iStockphoto
iStockphoto offers easy, affordable inspiration with millions of vetted, royalty-free photos, illustrations, video, audio and Flash® files. Using the most advanced search in the business, customers download a file every second from a collection of more than seven million files for business, marketing and personal projects. iStockphoto started in 2000, pioneering the micropayment photography business model, and has become one of the most successful and profitable user-generated content sites in the world. iStockphoto pays out more than $1.7 million weekly in artist royalties. iStockphoto is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Getty Images. http://www.istockphoto.com

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AV3 'get' For Apple Final Cut Pro Now Available for Download

AV3 Software, a media software developer and electronic download store, and Nexidia, the market-leading provider of audio search and speech analytics solutions, today announced the general availability of ‘get.’

Announced at NAB 2010, where it won a prestigious DV magazine Black Diamond Award, ‘get’ for Final Cut Pro (FCP) streamlines the process of identifying and selecting the right content for any editing project, and revolutionizes workflows by saving hours of manual searching, tagging and logging.

Getting started and using ‘get’ is as easy as 1-2-3. First, a user needs to index the media files to be reviewed, then perform the search for clips and finally, export the results:

   1. Index QuickTime wrapped media files residing on internal drives, FireWire, USB drives or any direct-attached RAID storage devices.

   2. Search for spoken words or passages within pre-indexed media files and Final Cut Pro projects.  Preview the results using the media player and jump to each marked, time code accurate, ’hit’ within an individual clip or piece of media.

   3. Export desired results (media and/or clips) directly into a selected Final Cut Pro project Browser or Bin. Edit-Ready clips are available immediately with incorporated Markers at each instance of the spoken word search term.

The response to ‘get’ has been extremely positive. “I’m still picking jaws up off the floor after giving fellow film makers a peek,” said Doug Blush of Madpix, Inc. Emmy award winner Lisa Blackstone of  Blackstone Productions noted, “From now on there’s no way I’ll work on an edit without get-izing it first.”

Price and Availability
Priced at $499 US, ‘get’ is now available for download. To try ‘get,’ download a trial version of the software at http://www.av3software.com.

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Grass Valley ADVCmini Video Converter for the Mac Now Shipping

Grass Valley announced today that its "ADVCmini" hardware and software conversion product for the Mac platform is now shipping. The ADVCmini video converter allows consumers and prosumers to easily and reliably transfer high-quality video images from VHS tapes, digital camcorders, and similar sources to their Mac computer for editing in Final Cut Pro or iMovie.

High-quality video can be captured via composite, S-Video, or SCART cable (available for European users only), along with stereo audio. PerfectPicture technology guarantees excellent quality conversion from composite video sources. The intuitive unit is small, portable, and powered by the Mac's USB port. The included software provides a video capture tool and compresses the video as it converts. All required cables are provided: USB, composite video/audio, S-Video, and (in Europe) SCART. An installation guide is also included.

Pricing and Availability
The ADVCmini for Mac has an MSRP of $149 and is available at leading computer accessory retailers, at Apple Stores, and on apple.com.

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