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September 07, 2010

Table of Contents

The Nonlinear Editor | Hindsight 20/20: Reflections on WEVA Expo 2010
Studio Time: The Adventures of Meg Simone
Canon Introduces Two New Compact XF-Series Pro Camcorders: XF105 and XF100
Anton/Bauer Features DIONIC HCX High-Current Battery, CINE VCLX Power System, ULHM-LED and EledZ Modules At SET 2010
Singular Software Pioneers New Path for Packaging and Distributing Presentation Videos
Canon Develops World's Largest CMOS Image Sensor with Ultra-High Sensitivity
Adobe Releases Update for Premiere Pro CS5
Panasonic Drives Momentum in 3D Production and Display

The Nonlinear Editor | Hindsight 20/20: Reflections on WEVA Expo 2010

At the beginning of the summer, as I rummaged through the pickings at a neighborhood garage sale, I came across a book called Cloning for Dummies. Certain this had to be some kind of joke, I examined the book closely, and found it bore all the earmarks of a legitimate installment of the for Dummies series. And if that wasn’t enough, it even included a foreword by Dr. Thomas J. Eckleburg, founder and president of the Society for the Irresponsible Use of Pseudo-Scientific Knowledge, endorsing the whole enterprise. Ever since I’ve been kicking myself for not forking over 50 cents and buying it, if only to convince myself that I really saw it. And at no time have I been more regretful than during the week of August 23–26 at WEVA Expo 2010 at the palatial Disney Dolphin resort in Orlando, when I realized that there would have been no way for me to attend all the seminars I wanted to see without fashioning a few clones of myself and bringing them along to the show.

If I had picked up that book and successfully followed the steps, I could have caught no less than 70 presentations focused on the business, art, techniques, and technology of wedding and event videography and filmmaking. But I had to settle for a sampling of the newest and the best presenters (which sometimes turned out to be one and the same) and draw what conclusions I might.

Based on what I saw at the opening night gala, which packed in attendees for the most streamlined Creative Excellence Awards program in recent memory, WEVA’s 20th anniversary Expo was destined to become a heady mix of the new and the old—the very old, at times. Self-styled Godfather of Video John Goolsby kicked off the evening with a journey through the darker and (unintentionally) funnier moments of our industry’s pre-WEVA past—when it was hardly an industry at all—with a look at what wedding video actually looked like in 1987. That shudder-inducing glimpse of the way we were couldn’t have struck a more striking contrast to the way we are, as evidenced by the most uniformly dazzling assemblage of CEA-winning clips I’ve seen in the 6 Expos I’ve attended. Just when it seemed that the night might lean too heavily on self-congratulatory celebrations of past glories—trapping a good number of current attendees in a past they neither remember nor probably care about—the awards clips transformed this night from an homage to old-school lifetime achievements to unabashed DSLR-worship, firmly grounded in the here and now. I didn’t keep track of how many award-winning videos were visibly DSLR-shot, but the overall effect was stunning. With nary a clunker in the lot, this year’s winners were a whirlwind of bokeh-bolstered visual pyrotechnics that not only showed how far this industry has come, but also rendered the point irrelevant. Past? What past?

And if this was in part a night for the old guard to celebrate what they and WEVA had built together, there was also a changing of the guard afoot, as upstarts Adam Forgione of Pennylane Productions and Ray and Jessica Roman of Ray Roman Films achieved a level of dominance in the CEAs unseen since the award-amassing heydays of VHVIDEO.com and Brett Culp Films, who appear to have willingly ceded the CEA spotlight to new champions. Most of all it was Forgione’s night, as he wore a path in the carpet in no fewer than 9 trips to the podium (and as he held court at the piano into the wee hours after the ceremony). The night also yielded yet another remarkable showing for the Philippines, with 8 Filipino studios collecting awards and demonstrating once again how deep the talent pool goes in that country. But the overall effect of the show was to establish the remarkable extent to which the DSLR movement has put its stamp on our industry, and how impressive the filmmakers who’ve deployed these cameras best have made us look.

2010 WEVA CEA Winners, left to right: Dominic Velasco, Adam Forgione, Jason Magbanua

If Monday’s dinner left you gorging on the eye candy that’s becoming our industry’s calling card in the DSLR age, much of the rest of the week was about getting back to business, and acknowledging that studios can’t survive on pretty pictures alone in an economy where, more than ever, most potential clients put price first. All the seminars I attended were awash in either good, solid instruction on shooting or editing (as opposed to quips between clips), or business, branding, and marketing insight that spoke directly to the times.

One of the more heavily hyped seminars of the week was four-time EventDV 25 honoree Steve Moses’s TV talk show-style “The WEVA Show: The Best from the Best,” featuring new-sheriffs-in-town Roman and Forgione, along with newly minted Bob LeBar Vision Award winner Dave Williams, fresh off DVideography’s full-scale rebrand as Cinema Cake. While acknowledging that his company has only had to lower prices once in 6 years, Williams said, “Everybody’s having the budget discussion. It’s a little frustrating. You have to be more patient. The biggest thing we’ve done is to put more films online. Our new site is like our own little YouTube, organized by venue, religion.” Williams said he welcomes the attention the site has brought him, even if it means not every bride he sees is likely to become a Cinema Cake bride. He said he has prices on the site, but visitors have to look at the work first before they see them. “If you have more people coming to your site and more people to talk to, you get more bookings.”

Best from the Best, left to right: Dave Williams, Adam Forgione, Steve Moses, Ray Roman

Williams said that this means he’s booking less than 10% of the brides he talks to, but says there’s an upside to that statistic: selectivity. Roman put it best: “If you’re ever booking beyond 70%, it’s time to raise your prices.”

Forgione, who said his company now has 60–70 films online, sees it a bit differently. He said he took prices off the site earlier this year, but then put them back up because he was losing “so much time answering unnecessary calls.” He insisted that while many videographers’ first instinct in tough times is to lower prices, it’s important to try more aggressive strategies first: “If my business is slowing down, the first thing on my mind is to call more wedding planners. If there’s a celebrity wedding near you, call the wedding planner who did it and network.”

Stepping out of the wayback machine and planting his feet firmly in the present, John Goolsby also offered tips for surviving the recession. “The economy is bad, the market is down, my friends are suffering,” he said. “What am I gonna do, roll over?” Hardly. After 25 years as Cannon Video, Goolsby underwent a full rebrand as Godfather Films, and began manufacturing new markets by strategically giving away services to open them up, and dove headlong into social media networking. “Our income is based on one important skill: networking,” he said. “People say, ‘I don’t have time for social networking.’ I say, ‘You will.’”

Perhaps the most fascinating take on dealing with a down economy came from Brett Culp, who spoke on “Thriving as an Artist in an ‘I-Can-Get-It-Cheaper World.’” Those of us who have been attending WEVA Expo and other conferences for the last several years have no doubt heard any number of speakers tell us to stop promoting ourselves based on the technology we use, to banish the cameras and the tech talk from our websites and business cards and so forth. But Culp brought it home as never before. Noting that he’d recently shot a $20,000 gig with the Canon T2i, an $800 DSLR, he said the playing field has become pancake-flat as far as equipment is concerned, and there’s absolutely no room for differentiation left there. “If you bring equipment into the selling process,” he said, “You just lost. That is over. We can’t talk equipment and editing systems any more, because whatever you’ve got, the guy down the block doing weddings for $600 has got it too. There are still great clients and opportunities out there, but we’re gonna have to think about it differently to get them.”

One key point of Culp’s seminar was the seemingly contradictory “diversification through specialization.” But there was a great insight in there: “When I started in this business, being a wedding videographer was enough of a specialization. Now there are sub-categories within sub-categories.” After his company developed a specialty in documentary-style storytelling in wedding films, and began to look at how to expand their business into corporate world—particularly, “not-for-profit videos that are intended to pull people’s heart strings”—the way to get that market, Culp found, was not to develop a new specialty or create a portfolio based on different kinds of work, but rather to find the commonalities between the films he was creating for weddings and what his would-be corporate and non-profit clients wanted to convey. “The skill we use to make a love story can transfer to what we do for not-for-profits, because they’re trying to elicit the same emotions,” he said. “To diversity your business effectively, find a specialty and understand it. Ask yourself, ‘What does my work mean? What does it mean to my clients and why does it mean that?’ When you get to the core of that, you’re ready to apply it to other types of films you’ve never done.”

Of course, one of the biggest motivations for wedding filmmakers trying to diversify their offerings is to pursue the ever-elusive “weekday work.” This was the ostensible topic of Whit Wales’ seminar on “Producing Biographies that Sell.” Like Culp, Wales delved quite a bit into how to adapt existing skills to different types of work—in this case, interview-based biographical films for families and businesses. As a wedding filmmaker, he said, his work is about creating films that reflect who his subjects are rather than his own style, his artistic aspirations, or—least of all—his equipment. It’s about “trying to find the people where they are, and suiting the film to what the client is about. If you can translate this into corporate and family biographies, your weekdays are covered—it’s low-hanging fruit.”

Wales delved further into how he approaches interviews. And “the first rule of interviewing,” he said—invoking novelist Chuck Palahniuk’s First Rule of Fight Club—is that “there is no interview here.” It’s all about making the client comfortable, he explained, and bringing out emotions and stories without reminding them that they’re being asked questions by a guy with a camera who needs a bunch of sound bites to make his film work—their film that they’re paying him for. “Never feel like you have to kill a client with questions,” he said. Let them talk, take the pressure off, “and catch them being articulate.” Easier said than done, perhaps, but the payoff is significant: “The thing that separates us from photographers is words. Going forward we need to play that up. What will stand the test of time, and what people connect with, is words.”

One of my goals at WEVA this year was to catch as many first-time speakers as possible. Two that I saw who were particularly impressive in their Expo debuts were Sylvia Broeckx of U.K.-based studio Ever After Productions, and Travis Cossel of formerly Boise-based Serendipity Studios, who is taking his talents to South Beach as we speak. Broeckx’ topic was “Anatomy of a Short Form,” which she approached from the intriguing angle of being a UK videographer, working in a country that still remains predominantly unconvinced of the idea that an astutely edited 20-30 minute wedding film is worth more than (or even a legitimate substitute for) two hours of tedium. It’s a welcome perspective from someone who’s standing behind the podium; too often, I believe, speakers who have long since moved on to selling the types of artistic wedding films they want to produce forget that short-forms and more stylized takes are a tough sell for most of the videographers in their audience, whether because of the market they’re in or their position in it. As Broeckx launched into a seminar that was at once a convincing defense of the short form and a thorough explanation of how to do it, she said that distilling a lengthy wedding to its most essential and dramatic elements in a way that keeps viewers’ attention and keeps them guessing as any absorbing film should “is not rocket science. It’s an organic process. It’s like Michelangelo with a big block of marble, and you have to find the sculpture within it. That’s how I see wedding video,” she said, and—ever self-effacing—added, “Not that I have delusions of grandeur.”

Kicking off Wednesday’s seminars with perhaps the most intimidating spot on the schedule—going head-to-head with Patrick Moreau and Matt Davis—was Travis Cossel and his “Editing Can Be Sexy Too” seminar. Presenting a well-organized and easy-to-follow walk-through of a shortform edit in Final Cut Pro, Cossel sprinkled his seminar with lots of memorable turns of phrase; my favorite: “Don’t be afraid to leave awesome clips on the cutting room floor. Include only what you need to tell the story.”

One thing I appreciated about this year’s Expo was that, after John Goolsby’s hilarious tales of yesteryear at the beginning of the awards gala, the program was so squarely focused on the present, and what to do to succeed in this business right now. But it also kept one eye on one possible future for event filmmaking, with a low but steady buzz (thanks to a film running non-stop in the Panasonic booth) about shooting weddings in 3D. The clip featured in the Panasonic booth was shot by Philadelphia-based filmmaker Mike Brand of Lafayette Hill Studios, and was almost certainly the first wedding film captured entirely in 3D in the U.S. (Brand has done 2 at this writing.) Produced with Panasonic’s just-introduced AG-3DA1, Brand’s film certainly speaks to the potential and possibilities of 3D wedding productions, and demonstrates that it’s surprisingly easy to do for someone with well-developed skills in 2D wedding filmmaking.

Wednesday afternoon’s WEVA’s Wide World of Weddings & Events thrust Brand into the spotlight, talking mono a mono with WEVA Chairman Roy Chapman. Brand admitted to being skeptical, initially, of how practical it would be to produce a wedding film with the AG-3DA1, and how brides would react to it. He put the question of how the bride would react on the wedding day itself to the test by acting as if he were doing nothing out of the ordinary; “They didn’t even know we were shooting 3D on their wedding day,” he said. “That’s how unobtrusive you can be with this camera,” he added, likening the handling and feel of the 6.5 lb. AG-3DA1 to Panasonic’s evergreen DVX100, and the button and dial layout to the widely used HVX200. The big difference between the new 3D model and these older cameras is price, of course; at $21,000, the price of the AG-3DA1 seems almost impossible to amortize over infrequent 3D upsells at this point. Brand dismissed that issue by pointing potential adopters to the rental market, which seemed more than reasonable.

But the real “proof in the pudding” of Brand’s experiment was showing the finished project to a parade of potential clients who have come through his studio since he shot the 3D wedding, and capturing their responses on film—a fascinating twist, given the number of folks in our industry who have questioned whether there will ever be any demand for 3D films in the wedding world. After all, wedding films, as a genre, couldn’t be a whole lot farther afield from the types of Hollywood films that are getting the treatment today. Of the future brides and families who watched the clips in his studio, Brand said, “They were overwhelmed.” He showed some of the responses on the big screen at WEVA Expo. One of the viewers in Brand’s studio remarked, “It’s so real. It makes you feel like you’re there. Everything’s gonna be 3D. If you’re not, you’re gonna be passé, old-fashioned.”

Ah, the zeal of the convert. So often the stock in trade of technology industry trade shows, and the kind of thing that tends to wear off pretty soon after you get home and return to attending to more practical matters. But in a year when this industry’s largest and longest-running show was so solidly packed with reality checks and practical advice for weathering the gathering storms of an inclement economy, what’s the harm of a few blue-sky predictions? Especially if you’re seeing that sky in dazzling 3D, however blurry it might look without the glasses.

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

EventDV 25 All-Star Philip "Frogman" Hinkle from WEVA Expo 2010

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Studio Time: The Adventures of Meg Simone

If you plan on attending any future IN[FOCUS], Re:Frame, or POSH events and you have yet to come into contact with New England wedding filmmaker Meghan Simone, consider yourself warned: She is highly contagious. With an infectious smile and a joie de vivre you can catch purely by proximity, Simone is the one who looks as though she hiked right out of a Trek Travel catalog and into this industry’s inner circle. By expertly combining her love of the northeastern outdoors with her work, she has (perhaps inadvertently) cornered the market on destination weddings in the heart of Mount Washington Valley (N.H.), a resort community filled with restaurants, shops, ski resorts, quaint inns, and historic grand hotels. What’s more, in a “why didn’t I think of that” move, Simone has become the first videographer to build a brand around elopements, private ceremonies taking place in and around her hometown, picturesque North Conway, N.H., involving as few as zero guests and 1 hour of video or photo coverage. We wanted to know the story behind her success, particularly from her unique position as one of a small group of young women in the wedding film industry rising to prominence running businesses mostly on their own, as opposed to being part of a husband-and-wife team.

Taken for Granite?
While Meg Simone’s wanderlust has pulled her in all directions around the globe—most recently to film a series of travel videos to complement the Lonely Planet series of guidebooks written by a friend of hers—Simone has arranged it so that her primary business of wedding film production never takes her more than a few hundred miles from home.

“I have extremely low overhead,” she explains, referring to her choice to remove extensive travel expenses from the equation and not to have a physical studio in town. “So I can save more money to play, travel, and have fun at events like Re:Frame, IN[FOCUS], and POSH.”

A country girl at heart, her success in the wedding videography sphere goes relatively unnoticed by the townspeople of North Conway. “They have a hard time ‘getting’ that I film weddings for a living!” she says. Mostly known simply as the girl who waited their table, the realtor who sold them their house, or the TV show host from channel 16, in this close-knit town, she says, “It’s tough to go to the grocery store without it taking 2 hours to get out.”

But it’s a calculated move on her part. “Truth be told, I like to fly under the radar at home. I know you are supposed to network your sphere of influence, the people who know you best. But the people who I want as clients are not typically from here.”

With Your Host …
A self-described Katie Couric wannabe, Simone began hosting a local, 2-hour, live, unscripted TV show (then RSN, now OutdoorTV, owned by Outside magazine) in high school featuring tips on where to shop, dine, and play and featuring the local weather report, ski conditions, and three guest interviews. (She still hosts it to this day, when she can, early Sunday mornings.) Acknowledging the experience hosting has had on her career, she says, “I’ve been interviewing people for 15 years. I think that helped tremendously, along with my general and honest curiosity for everything in life.” (You’ve never seen anyone so psyched about soy candles!) “My current style of filming weddings is very interview-driven, and I have my TV background to thank for that.”

Fascinated by all facets of TV and video production, not to mention still photography, from an early age, she credits her family for supporting her interests. Her uncle, a professional architectural photographer, bought Simone her first SLR camera. And in the early 1990s, her mother helped her buy her first video camera, a giant VHS camera, which she used to videotape her family skiing. “I feel like I always had some kind of camera in hand so that I could always relive the moment (thus the tagline of my business).”

In 2000, while working part time at the TV station and part time waiting tables, a friend asked Simone to film her wedding. “I filmed with a giant SVHS cam and edited it linearly, tape to tape,” she remembers.

With that she created her first demo and took on a few more small weddings using whichever camera she had at the time. For the next couple of years, while living out her dream as a ski bum, Simone produced a ski and snowboard documentary called Echoes From the Valley, which got national airtime via RSN. More importantly, she learned a lot from the experience—namely, nonlinear editing and marketing.

Meanwhile, drawing on her experience in still photography, Simone helped make ends meet as a wedding photography assistant. It wasn’t videography, but it gave her exposure to weddings, which translated beautifully when she did set out on her own. “I already knew where I needed to be to get shots and what the feel of the wedding day was like. It wasn’t completely foreign; it was a very natural transition.”

With an Emerson-esque outlook on life, she says, “I was always told that in life, if you want something, you best find a way to get it yourself. I never wanted to rely on a business partner to help run my business. I wanted it always to be on my own terms.”

Not that she was born with an entrepreneurial toolkit in hand. “I didn’t gain confidence and skills overnight or just from reading others’ blogs. It was a lot of implementation, trial and error, and going with what felt right—remaining true to who I am and how I wanted to be treated if I was in my clients’ shoes.”

Keeping It Real
By 2003 she had her own setup—a Canon XL1S MiniDV camera, tripod, and wireless microphone—and she launched her website, www.meg simone.com. “Back then I was, to my knowledge, one of the only [wedding video] companies in New Hampshire with a website, so that helped tremendously and got me on vendor lists at the resorts I still do most of my work at today.”

Despite her early success, in 2005, amid pressure to get a “real job,” Simone took up real estate. By now she was somehow juggling a dizzying five careers: architectural photography, TV show host, photographer, wedding videographer, and real estate agent. “Life was a bit nutty!” she says, to say the least. Her plan, ironically, was to phase out weddings once she got into real estate, but that, of course, backfired. Instead, “My business started to explode.” In 2007 she booked 16 weddings. She doubled that the next year. “Anyone who has remotely dabbled in real estate and is adamant about giving things in life 100% knows it’s not something you can easily do part time.”

In 2009, her real estate career behind her, Simone produced 32 full-scale destination wedding films and 10 elopement packages.

Meg Simone Films

A Notch, a Niche
Before long, it became clear that a line needed to be drawn between destination packages and elopements. Destination weddings in the mountain resorts and scenic notches of the Mount Washington region could be extravagant affairs, involving multiday, two-camera coverage of elaborate ceremonies, dinners, and receptions.

Meg Simone Films

On the other hand, elopements are private celebrations often involving no more than four players. She offers by-the-hour, one-camera coverage. Couples of the newest arm of her business, NH Elopements (www.nhelopements.com), typically are on a budget, on their second marriage, or blending their families. They are elated to be able to get a professional for just an hour on their day because, in the big picture, they are saving thousands by not having the “bells and whistles celebration.”

“But the most important way elopements differ from a traditional wedding film booking,” Simone explains, “is that I get to really know each couple. There is no pressure of the wedding day; I am essentially their wedding day. My goal is to make them feel as important as 200 guests would.”

You get the sense that this is what motivates her most. She gets to play tour guide for a day, a position she relishes. “I want to show them some hidden gems in our area and to make sure they have the best wedding experience up here possible.”

NH Elopements

You might wonder if it’s worth the hassle, booking a 1-hour event. But Simone is quick to point out that her busy elopement season is winter, so it’s a perfect off-season complement. Plus, she says, “When you break down the hours spent on an elopement for what I charge, I will sometimes make more per hour with an elopement then on an actual wedding film. I only do these within about 20 minutes from my home and not on a busy weekend wedding day. Most of them are booked just 1 day to 3 months out, so I usually know if I can accommodate a Friday or Sunday elopement.”

If you still think she’s nuts for committing to such small booking, consider that she has, in her own words, “been there.” “I’ve worked a lunch shift at the local restaurant for 8 hours and walked out with $40. With the amount of times in life I’ve busted my butt, I can easily look at an elopement and say, ‘Sure, I’ll do that,’ because I know what the alternative could be if I needed to make extra cash.”

Goin’ Mobile
Clearly, Meghan Simone is in the driver’s seat of her career. But there is one time you’ll find her in the backseat. And that’s in her Sportsmobile camper van, her mobile office, editing studio on wheels, and home away from home, which she purchased for her business and to use as a fun travel vehicle on her time off.

At the wheel is her trusty companion, Dave Eiermann, her chauffeur, “gear sherpa,” second cameraperson, and, last but not least, life partner. Dave drives Blanca, as the van is affectionately called, “which is a huge help because a lot of our weddings are 3–4 hours from home. I can rest up on the way there, prep gear, or edit other films on the way. An extra 8 hours of work time that week is saved by being able to edit from the road.”

Meg Simone Films

Their Sportsmobile offers them complete onboard power, water, a two-burner stove, toilet, and refrigerator. And she sleeps four. It’s the perfect vehicle, Simone says, for those who travel great distances for weddings, or do same-day edits. “I don’t do SDEs, but I can only imagine how great it would be to have a controlled environment where one wouldn’t have to depend on the venue’s resources, power, and a quiet room to edit. We love the ease and piece of mind it provides us.”

Forgoing expensive hotels for a crackling campfire and a starry night, “We love the adventure of camping out after a wedding.”

Stand Out and Keep Moving
And that’s just where you’ll find her these days as she video blogs for IN[FOCUS] from a log in her backyard, lit by firelight. That’s part of what sets Meg Simone apart the rest, and she knows it. “What is going to make you stand out and be loved by your clients is your personality, your work ethic, your dedication to excellent customer service, and vendor relationships.”

A firm believer that she hasn’t cornered anything, Simone insists that “there are more then enough weddings, markets, styles, and budgets to go around. Be aware of your competition, but don’t be afraid.”

Expecting to close out the year with 20 elopements and 25 wedding films, Simone is enjoying her success while allowing for future change. “You need to never become complacent in one area,” she says. “I believe that’s when you loose ground in your market.” So find an industry event to attend and get “pumped up again” or work on a different type of project. If she’s said it once, she’s said it a thousand times: Step away from your computer and get out there and enjoy the outdoors. If you don’t, life will pass you by.

Liz Merfeld (LizMerfeld.com) is a freelance writer and editor based in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Canon Introduces Two New Compact XF-Series Pro Camcorders: XF105 and XF100

Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, today announces the new Canon XF105 and XF100 Professional Camcorders for mobile HD video capture in a compact form factor. Canon's smallest professional camcorders, the new XF105 and XF100 utilize the same Canon XF Codec featured in the Canon XF305 and XF300, introduced earlier this year. The Canon XF Codec is an MPEG-2 4:2:2 50Mbps codec used for exceptional high-definition image quality, full non-linear editing (NLE) systems compatibility and efficient, robust workflow. These camcorders include in-camera features enabling the easy set-up and capture of high-definition 3-D video when two XF105 or XF100 camcorders are paired, as well as Canon's built-in infrared low-light feature enabling the capture of HD video in complete darkness. Both models record to Compact Flash (CF) cards and feature hot-swappable card slots for maximum performance. Differentiating the two models are industry-standard HD-SDI output and genlock in/SMPTE time code (in/out) terminals available on the Canon XF105. The XF105 and XF100 camcorders are ideal for Electronic News Gathering, documentary and independent filmmaking and event videography.

"Whether used as a companion to the XF305 or XF300, or as a stand-alone camcorder, the XF105 and XF100 are geared for a wide range of applications where high image quality, extreme portability and efficient workflow are of the utmost importance. And with true stereoscopic 3-D production and infrared recording capabilities, they allow users to expand into new markets," stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A., "This week we will be exhibiting both the Canon XF105 and XF100 at Canon EXPO 2010 in New York and demonstrate the versatile low-cost capabilities."

The Canon XF105 and XF100 Professional Camcorders feature a Genuine Canon 10x HD Zoom lens which provides the mobility and optical performance required by the most demanding professionals. Each model includes a Canon developed and designed native Full HD 1920 x 1080 CMOS image sensor and the new Canon XF Codec for extreme color detail required for accurate chroma-keying, color-grading and compositing for digital filmmaking. For finer transitions in tone and color, 4:2:2 color sampling offers twice the color resolution of HDV and other 4:2:0 formats. And to maximize compatability with existing industry infrastructure, video, audio and metadata are combined in an MXF (Material eXchange Format) File Wrapper, a widely supported open-source format. The Canon XF Codec is currently compatible with leading software programs widely used within the video production and broadcast industries including those available from Adobe, Apple, Avid, and Grass Valley.

To maximize the camcorders' adaptability across various production environments, Canon has equipped each model with the ability to record at multiple bit rates, resolutions and variable frame rates for slow and fast motion.

Additional professional features include variable-interval (for time-lapse) and frame-record for stop-motion animation, and a photo feature for frame-grabs.

Genuine Canon 10x HD Zoom Lens
The Canon XF105 and XF100 Professional Camcorders feature a Genuine Canon 10x HD Zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 30.4mm - 304mm. For professional looking results, both models offer an eight-blade iris which yields natural, smooth background blur with reduced lens diffraction. The lens also features a SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) system featuring Dynamic and Powered IS modes for optimal performance in the greatest variety of situations.

DIGIC DV III Image Processor

The proprietary Canon DIGIC DV III Image Processor and Canon Full HD CMOS Image Sensor render native 1920 x 1080 HD video, capturing natural, lifelike colors with remarkable tonal gradations and detail. The DIGIC DV III Image Processor also powers Canon's innovative Face Detection Technology, an autofocus option that can significantly reduce the effort required when camera operators work alone, such as in news gathering applications.

Compact, Comfortable Ergonomics and Operation

Weighing less than 3lbs, these models are designed to maximize comfort while shooting and enable fast on-the-go recording with both a top and side grip option. Eachcamcorder also features a convenient, freely rotating 3.5-inch, 920,000 dot LCD monitor and .24-inch 260,000 electronic viewfinder with approximately 100 percent field of coverage. The LCD monitor provides a display of the camcorders' built-in waveform monitor to aid in achieving accurate exposure while shooting. Additionally, the LCD can show peaking, edge-monitor-focus and magnify the image, enabling users to confirm critical focus, an essential objective in all HD production.

Affordable 3-D Shooting
Canon offers built-in features to assist with 3-D production, including OIS Lens Shift to aid in optically aligning two XF105 or XF100 camcorders and a Focal length Guide for displaying the zoom position of each camera in relation to each other and calibrating the zoom distance. This adjustment can be done through the menu system while the camcorder is mounted to a rig or tripod. Once aligned, the amount of the angle-of-view change is displayed after zoom adjustment, preventing camera misalignment and simplifying adjustment.

Infrared Shooting
The Canon XF105 and XF100 include an infrared feature enabling the capture of HD video shooting in conditions with little tozero ambient light, which is ideal for Military and Law Enforcement markets, as well as Nature and Wildlife videographers. The XF105 and XF100 also feature an infrared emitter with a diffuser as well as a Green or White color option to shoot pleasing infrared imagery even in complete darkness.

Audio Flexibility

The Canon XF105 and XF100 Professional Camcorders feature dual XLR inputs for external audio sources as well as a built-in stereo microphone. The new camcorders support 16-bit PCM audio at 48 kHz with automatic and manual audio level adjustment

Both the Canon XF105 and XF100 are scheduled to be available in the first quarter of 2011.


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Anton/Bauer Features DIONIC HCX High-Current Battery, CINE VCLX Power System, ULHM-LED and EledZ Modules At SET 2010

Anton/Bauer®, a brand of The Vitec Group, and the world’s premier provider of batteries, chargers, lighting and other mobile power systems for the professional broadcast, video and film industries, will showcase its DIONIC® HCX, CINE VCLX Power System, and ULHM-LED and EledZ LED light solutions at the SET Congress and 19th edition of Broadcast & Cable Show - International Technology Fair on Equipment and Services for Television Engineering, Broadcasting and Telecommunica-tions.

Anton/Bauer will demonstrate the versatility of its powerful solutions for broadcast and film environments at its booth (Booth D11), including:

  • The DIONIC® HCX has a 120 watt-hour capacity, a built-in motion detection sensor and a “deep sleep” capability, which increases battery life by mitigating lithium-ion battery self-discharge when the battery is not in use. Lightweight and powerful, the DIONIC HCX can withstand high instantaneous current draws and weighs just 2.4 pounds (1.09 kg). In addition, the DIONIC HCX offers an enhanced LCD RealTime® fuel gauge showing up to nine hours of run-time when used under low-power load conditions.

  • The CINE power system provides ultimate power performance, extended run-times and flexibility, ideal for remote locations, the CINE VCLX batteries are powerful enough to run a camera and stand-up light simultaneously for more than five hours. The safe and high power draw performance of the Nickel Metal Hydride cell technology can also power microwaves, recorders, and lighting; including HMI’s and the Litepanels 1x1 LED panels. The CINE VCLX includes (2) 4-pin XLR for 14.4V and (1) 3-pin XLR for 28V and provides dual simultaneous outputs (20 amps at 14.4V; 12 amps at 28V).

  • The EledZ integral LED light, designed for use with the popular Anton/Bauer ElipZ 10K battery, are the perfect LED light for today’s smaller handheld cameras. When used with the ElipZ battery system, the EledZ (5.74 H x 3.94 L x 2.27 W in/14.58 x 10.01 x 6.02 cm) produces heat- and flicker-free soft bright light of 5600K and weighs a mere .45 lbs (.20 kg). Consuming only 4.5 watts, the EledZ includes a dimmer which allows for light output adjustments from zero to 100 percent. The light output is 52fc (560 lux) at two feet.

  • Developed by Anton/Bauer with sister Vitec group brand, Litepanels, ULHM-LED light module complement Anton/Bauer’s existing Ultralight® Series and ElipZ® battery systems. The versatility of the Ultralight head module has been its most beneficial feature over the past 20 years, allowing a videographer to quickly change to an HMI (UltraDAYlight) or carry a spare head module. The ULHM-LED (4.50 H x 5.64 L x 1.62 W in (11.4 x 14.3 x 4.1 cm), weighs only .40 lbs (18 kg) and provides heat- and flicker-free soft bright light of 5600K. With a very low power consumption of nine watts, the added ability to dim the light from zero to 100 percent with minimal color/temperature change makes this the most efficient LED light available. The ULHM-LED head module puts out 100fc (1100 lux) at two feet while consuming a third of the power of a tungsten light.

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

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Singular Software Pioneers New Path for Packaging and Distributing Presentation Videos

Singular Software™, the award-winning developer of workflow automation applications for digital media markets, is pleased to announce the availability of Singular Software Presto™, a revolutionary new tool for creating presentation videos. Ideal for conference presentations, training sessions, and workshops, Singular Software Presto leverages sophisticated computer vision and audio synchronization techniques to automate the assembly of presenter footage, slideshow, and audio elements, creating a professional-looking video package in minutes instead of hours.

The Singular Software Presto step-by-step wizard lets users of all skill levels zip through the creative process, with simple output options to publish presentation videos to YouTube®, iPad®, DVD, and more. Users need only record video of the presenter and the projection screen, obtain the original slides, and optionally capture higher quality audio from the presenter's microphone. In just minutes, Singular Software Presto automatically creates an attention-grabbing presentation that combines sharp and bright original slide images with a closely tracked inset of the presenter for a polished and engaging video. 

"There is immense value in preparing and distributing presentation videos, but for most people, the traditional means of doing so poses a significant barrier. It is time consuming, difficult, and often requires a skilled editor," says Bruce Sharpe, CEO, Singular Software. "We wanted to create an easy way to package this valuable information, all the while maintaining high quality. Singular Software Presto brings the presenter and his or her original slides together, quickly creating a captivating video that can be exported to a wide variety of formats, expanding audience reach and leveraging all the effort put into preparing the presentation."

Singular Software Presto Key Capabilities

    •    Face-tracking technology keeps the presenter within an inset without requiring laborious manual tracking during the presentation; the camera recording the presenter can often be locked down.

    •    Slideshow image-matching technology ensures that the slide transitions are timed exactly as they were during the presentation when Singular Software Presto replaces the imported projection screen video footage with high-quality slideshow images.

    •    Singular Software Presto works with presentations in Microsoft® PowerPoint®, Apple® Keynote®, and other programs.

    •    A wide range of customizable slide transition effects and layout options are available to spice up the video.

    •    Users can easily navigate through the finished video using markers that are automatically placed at each slide transition.

    •    Singular Software Presto integrates with Singular Software PluralEyes™ to automatically synchronize the presenter video, projection screen video, and audio tracks.

    •    Simple output options make it easy to prepare the video for distribution in all popular formats, including YouTube, iPad, iPod®, and DVD.

For more information about Singular Software Presto, please visit: http://www.singularsoftware.com/presto.html.

Singular Software Presto    - Pricing and System Requirements     
Singular Software Presto is available to purchase for $249 USD via the Singular Software website (http://www.singularsoftware.com). An introductory discount of 20% will be applied to the original price ($249 USD) if purchased before September 24, 2010. When purchased together with PluralEyes, the price for both products is $299 USD.

Singular Software Presto requires Windows® XP®, Vista® or Windows 7® and Sony® Vegas Pro® 9.0 or later (32-bit and 64-bit versions are supported).

A free 30-day trial version of Singular Software Presto is also available for download from: http://www.singularsoftware.com/downloads.html.

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Canon Develops World's Largest CMOS Image Sensor with Ultra-High Sensitivity

Canon Inc. announced today that it has successfully developed the world's largest CMOS image sensor, with a chip size measuring 202 x 205 mm. Because its expanded size enables greater light-gathering capability, the sensor is capable of capturing images in one one-hundredth the amount of light required by a professional-model digital SLR camera.

At 202 x 205 mm, the newly developed CMOS sensor is among the largest chips that can be produced from a 12-inch (300 mm) wafer, and is approximately 40 times the size of Canon's largest commercial CMOS sensor.

In the past, enlarging the size of the sensor resulted in an increase in the amount of time required between the receiving and transmission of data signals, which posed a challenge to achieving high-speed readout. Canon, however, solved this problem through an innovative circuit design, making possible the realization of a massive video-compatible CMOS sensor. Additionally, by ensuring the cleanest of cleanroom environments during the production process, the sensor minimizes image imperfections and dust.

Because the increased size of the new CMOS sensor allows more light to be gathered, it enables shooting in low-light environments. The sensor makes possible the image capture in one one-hundredth the amount of light required by a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor, facilitating the shooting of 60 frame-per-second video with a mere 0.3 lux of illumination.

Potential applications for the new high-sensitivity CMOS sensor include the video recording of stars in the night sky and nocturnal animal behavior.

Through the further development of distinctive CMOS image sensors, Canon will break new ground in the world of new image expression, in the area of still images as well as video.


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Adobe Releases Update for Premiere Pro CS5

Today Adobe announced it has released an update to Premiere Pro CS5, version 5.0.2, which includes performance and tapeless workflow enhancements.  The product update, which is immediately available at http://www.adobe.com/downloads/updates/, includes the following:

Improved Mercury Playback Engine support             

o   The revolutionary Mercury Playback Engine enables GPU-acceleration, allowing users to work in real time on rich, high resolution projects with more speed than ever before. Version 5.0.2 introduces support for additional NVIDIA cards: GTX470, Quadro 4000 and Quadro 5000 (all Windows only).

Tapeless workflow improvements, including new native support

o   RED Workflow improvements:

§  Red Rocket support in Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects: The RED Rocket handles the decoding of RED media on playback, which allows editors to free up the CPU and results in faster decoding. RED media playback also is faster and more responsive, and the CPU is free to handle other processes such as effects.

§  Support for Mysterium X and the latest Color Science: Fixes firmware updates from RED.

§  Easily edit color-graded footage from REDCine-X tools: With its support of RMD files, Adobe Premiere Pro allows you to save video footage color graded in REDCine-X as a RMD file and import directly into Premiere Pro thereby creating a tighter color workflow from camera to edit and making collaboration with others even smoother.

o   Native Sony XDCam support:

§  Inclusion of XDCAM 4:2:2 timecode: Allows Adobe Premiere Pro users to see and work with source timecode from XDCAM 422 media.

§  XDCAM-HD Export support: Adds support that makes possible exports to the XDCAM-HD format, increasing users’ abilities to export for various uses and target devices.

o   Native JVC QuickTime support:

§  Native support for JVC QuickTime movies: Increases support of the QuickTime format by adding the popular JVC tapeless cameras to the list of supported devices.

o   Enhanced native DPX format support:

§  Import and export DPX files with timecode: Adobe Premiere Pro users can see and work with timecode data embedded within a DPX frame sequence that allows for even more control when working with the DPX format.

Improved color grading

o   10-bit Display Port support for Mercury GPU Quadro Cards: Support for 10-bit color output via Mercury GPU Quadro Cards offers users the ability to output and view (with 10-bit capable monitor) full 10-bit color without the requirement for separate video playback hardware (Windows only).

Improved audio support

o   Broadcast WAV support: Support for the industry-standard Broadcast WAV audio file format improves Adobe Premiere Pro audio workflows where audio source timecode is of importance. This is of particular use in OMF export where source timecode is often used by the host DAW to sync multiple takes.

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Panasonic Drives Momentum in 3D Production and Display

Panasonic Solutions Company today highlighted several significant announcements that will foster the next wave of professional 3D production. With the availability of the highly-anticipated AG-3DA1 fully-integrated Full HD professional 3D camcorder and 25” 3D production monitor, and a new multi-year partnership with Bexel, Panasonic is making affordable 3D production tools more accessible to a broad range of professional content producers.

The company also pointed to the imminent availability of 85”, 103” and 152”—the world’s biggest—large format Full HD 3D plasma displays.

“Panasonic’s new suite of professional 3D products is a linchpin of the company’s end-to-end 3D strategy, and will provide wide-ranging, cost-effective opportunities for 3D content creators,” said Rance Poehler, president, Panasonic Solutions Company. “In addition to Panasonic-developed technology, the Bexel relationship is further evidence of Panasonic’s commitment to providing platforms for our customers to develop and improve 3D production techniques as consumer and business demand for an immersive viewing experience increases.”

Accessible, Affordable Professional 3D Camera and Production Equipment
The AG-3DA1, which began shipping last week, is the world's first professional, fully-integrated Full HD 3D camcorder recording to SD card media. The AG-3DA1 has the potential to democratize 3D production by giving professional videographers a more affordable, flexible, reliable and easy-to-use tool for capturing immersive content.

At less than 6.6 pounds, the AG-3DA1 is equipped with dual lenses and two full 1920 x 1080 2.07 megapixel 3-MOS imagers to record 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p and 50p in AVCHD. It can record for up to 180 minutes on dual 32GB SD cards in Panasonic's professional AVCHD PH mode, and offers professional interfaces including dual HD-SDI out, HDMI (version 1.4), two XLR connectors, built-in stereo microphone and twin-lens camera remotes. The AG-3DA1 has a suggested list price of $21,000.00.

Also shipping now, the new BT-3DL2550 3D LCD Monitor, with professional features such as dual HD-SDI and DVI interfaces and multiple display options, is a powerful 3D production tool, whether working with the 3DA1 camcorder or with 3D rigs. The BT-3DL2550 displays high-quality, flicker-free 3D content, and offers a full 1920 x 1200 display, exceptional color performance and a ruggedized frame. Additionally, this display supports high-quality 2D performance.

The BT-3DL2550 delivers three stereo (3D) display options, including Simultaneous (dual SDI), Line-by-Line, and Side-by-Side, and the same exceptional-quality color reproduction as Panasonic’s popular BT-LH2550 LCD production monitor. The monitor displays 3D content using an Xpol® polarizing filter, so content can be viewed with Panasonic’s BT-PGL10G 3D Polarized (passive) Glasses.

Its size and weight make it portable for any 2D or 3D production, with versatile tools to simplify 3D rig production and save costs, since no separate stereo processor is required. These tools include side-by-side viewing for color matching, Flip and HIT (Horizontal Image Translation). The BT-3DL2550 has a suggested list price of $9,900, which includes two BT-PGL10G 3D Polarized Glasses.

Filling out Panasonic’s suite of 3D production gear, the AG-HMX100, the industry’s first affordable live switcher for 3D event production, will ship later this month. The multi-format HMX100 is an all-in-one unit with video switching, audio mixing, and frame synchronization, designed to support multiple camera workflows, from production, to corporate A/V projects, to wedding and live events. The HMX100 has a suggested list price of $5,800.

Field-tested 3D Technology from Panasonic
Panasonic technology has already been successfully field tested by industry professionals. There have been several high-profile productions utilizing pre-production models of the AG-3DA1 and BT-3DL2550 in the months leading up to the products’ availability:

  • Veteran cinematographer Randall Dark shot a travel documentary series, 3 Cities in 3D, which will air on Wealth TV in 3D this fall.
  • AIX Media Group shot the first 3D music albums comprising six discrete 3D DVDs that feature such top musical talent as Grammy-winning pop artist Rita Coolidge and multi-platinum country artist Mark Chesnutt.
  • Prominent event videographers Bruno White Entertainment and Lafayette Hill Studios shot wedding videos at the Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World Resort and in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Wedding trailers were screened at last week’s Wedding and Event Video Expo.
  • Chicago-based director Fred Blurton shot a music video with bluegrass musician Brian Hilligoss as well as demo stand-ups with investigative journalist Bill Kurtis.

Panasonic Partners with Bexel to Promote Cost-Effective 3D Content Creation
Announced earlier today, Panasonic’s partnership with Bexel, a unit of the Vitec Group’s Services Division and a leading worldwide provider of broadcast services and solutions, is designed to provide a highly flexible mobile facility for the production of full HD 3D programming in support of Direct TV and other leading 3D content providers.

Through their joint partnership, Bexel will have six 3D camera rigs, four from 3Ality Digital and two from Parallax3, all equipped with the Panasonic AK-HC1500 1080i/720p HD multi-purpose cameras. These rigs will be able to be paired with many of Bexel’s flypack systems, enabling customers to shoot multi-camera productions in 3D. Bexel is also outfitting its 53-foot edit trailer, BBS1, as a mid-sized 3D production environment for those producers who need a workspace or a viewing area for their 3D production. The trailer will incorporate additional Panasonic professional 3D products, including AG-3DA1 Full HD 3D camcorders and advanced 25” BT-3DLH2500 production monitors. Beginning this month, Bexel will offer the truck and its services on a rental basis.

“Our partnership with Panasonic will provide our customers with an array of cost-effective 3D tools,” says Jerry Gepner, chief executive officer, Vitec Services Division and president of Bexel. “For 3D to truly reach its potential, production companies have to start employing it across a wide range of content, not just major events. Until now, operating costs and scalability were two of the factors preventing that from becoming a reality.”

Full Suite of Large Format Full HD 3D Plasma Displays, Including World’s Largest
Panasonic recently introduced the highly anticipated Panasonic TH-152UX1 152-inch, 4K x 2K (4096 x 2160) resolution Full HD 3D plasma display, the world’s largest1. Equivalent to nine 50-inch screens, this stunning 17:9 display will immerse spectators in life-like, three-dimensional images and can illustrate even oversized products with life-size views. The company has also announced the TH-103VX200U and TH-85VX200U, 3D versions of its premium 103-inch and 85-inch plasma displays. These products will ship in December 2010, at suggested list prices of $65,000 and $45,000, respectively. The TH-152UX1 is targeted to be available in January 2011.

Ideal for a broad spectrum of cutting-edge applications, the three new Full HD 3D large-format plasmas are designed for utilization in corporate environments, in commercial applications, healthcare, in home theatres and screening rooms, for digital signage in public facilities, in education and in entertainment staging.


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