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Information Today, Inc.

March 29, 2011

Table of Contents

Getting the Most Out of Your Same-Day Edits
The Nonlinear Editor: 'Worldize' Your Work
Fast Forward Video's sideKick HD Digital Video Recorder to Debut at 2011 NAB Show
SmartSound to Launch Web-Based Music Customization at NAB Show on April 11th
Petrol Bags Intros new DSLR Carriers at NAB Booth C6034
Matrox MAX H.264 Capture Ships, Enabling Direct Capture to H.264 Files with the Matrox MXO2 I/O Devices and Matrox MAX Technology for PC

Getting the Most Out of Your Same-Day Edits

Edit 1 Media presenting SDEsMost wedding cinematographers have come to realize the value of producing same-day edits (SDEs) for their wedding clients. It’s a wonderful opportunity to show off our shooting, editing, and storytelling talents and a rare opportunity to actually get paid to put our work in front of a room full of new clients, simply by carving out some time in the day to do what we do best. But there’s one part of it that has little or nothing to do with our signature skills: presentation. But it’s every bit as important as the edit, because if we encounter problems in projection and playback, all our hard work on the edit was for naught. For those of us who produce SDEs, hiring an AV company to display our hot-off-the-press film often winds up eating into the profit of producing the SDE. You could opt to have the client locate and rent a projector and screen, but that can potentially lead to trouble. Unless it is a reputable AV company that you know and trust, you might find yourself with no sound system to hear the audio or, worse yet, an incompatible projector that won’t accept the HDMI cable out of your DVD player that you planned to use, or whatever playback device you choose to present it.

In this article, we will explore what is required to cut out the intermediary and implement your own AV gear for your SDEs. We will also talk about newer technology that allows you to speed up the time it takes to get your finished video from your editing system to the big screen.

Choosing a Screen and Projector
At Edit 1 Media, we tell our clients that we take care of the screen and projector for them for all of our SDE packages. It helps us sell the SDE because the couple knows they won’t have to pay an additional expense for an AV crew. We could charge for projection services separately, but our same-day edit packages are already priced high enough to cover the cost of having an additional person to help out. Usually, the assistant who operates the third camera during the ceremony is in charge of setting up everything for the SDE.

To deliver your own SDEs without outside crew or gear, you’ll need a screen, a projector, and a DVD player. A good-quality screen will run you between $250 and $500. We’ve found success with the Da-Lite Insta Theater pop-up screen. Insta Theater screens come in standard and widescreen formats in 60", 80", and 100" sizes. The great thing about the Da-Lite is the portability and quick setup. The screen pulls up from the carrying case that it comes in, and it can even be set up on a sturdy table. I can literally have the screen up in less than 2 minutes.

For projection, make sure your projector has a lumen rating of 2000 or better. The lumen number refers to the overall brightness output. Usually, 2500 is sufficient for most reception halls, but if you plan to show your video in a room with large windows, a projector with 3500 lumens is recommended. The good news is that, for less than $1,500, you can get a fairly decent projector that will work in most situations. Just make sure that it has all the necessary connections that you will need to display your video. It’s better to have several options in case you have to connect your projector to another source.

You also want to make sure that your projector can display full HD video. Many projectors list their screen resolutions based on laptop connections. Your projector should be able to display 1280x720, 1440x1080, or 1920x1080. Be aware that although home theater projectors will display HD, they often have a low lumen rating because it is assumed that you will be viewing the video in a dark room. Look for a business projector that also will display HD video. The Optoma TH1060 projector features a 1920x1080 resolution output at 3600 lumens and sells for less than $1,750 online.

Optoma TH1060 DLP Projector

Delivering in HD
Speaking of HD video, most videographers film wedding videos in high definition. Wouldn’t it be great to show your SDE with the same quality it was filmed in? Now you can! Displaying a SDE in HD has often been a challenge, particularly for those of us delivering from burned discs because of the time it takes to author a Blu-ray Disc. Even burning to DVD can take significant time. As SDE producers, we know that we need all the time we can get.

Fortunately, there are several products on the market that will play media files from an external hard drive or USB thumb drive. These media players include an HDMI port and will play most video and audio file types, as well as display photos. Some even include an Ethernet connection so that the player can be networked with your computer.

Western Digital TV-2 HD-ready media player

This allows you to stream videos straight from your editing computer.

For showing your same-day edit, I recommend that you export your timeline into an HD file format (AVI, WMV, H.264, or QuickTime) and then load the file onto a hard drive or USB stick. Both Western Digital and Seagate have media players that would serve SDE producers well. These players have an on-screen display similar to a Blu-ray player, and some even offer the ability to stream Netflix movies.

Another option for displaying your video in HD, if you’re shooting HDV on tape, is to export back to tape from your timeline. From there, it is simply a matter of connecting your video camera to the projector and playing back the tape. You can even use a small consumer camcorder or an HDV deck that has an HDMI port.

If you plan to show your video in standard definition, a DVD player will work fine. In fact, because DVD players are so inexpensive now, it’s a good idea to bring an extra one as a backup just in case other options don’t work.

Custom-made monogram on display

Delivering Audio
Now that you have your screen, projector, and player squared away, it is time to think about your audio options. For the best sound quality, I recommend sending the audio directly to the DJ. The DJ’s sound system will be able to project the audio to the entire room. I also bring a backup portable sound system in case I am not able to connect audio to the DJ. When we play our SDEs from a DVD player, to make things easy, I place the DVD player on the DJs table and run a short audio cable to his mixer. Then, I use a long S-Video cable that runs out to the projector. This setup is nice because I don’t have to stand next to the projector to run the DVD. If you plan to use a media player, you’ll need 50'–100' of audio cable to run to the DJ.

Another solution to send audio to the DJ is using a set of wireless microphones. Connect the transmitter to your DVD player via 1/8" jack/RCA cable. Do the same with the receiver when connecting to the DJ’s sound-board. This method is not ideal because of the potential for interference and dropouts, but it’s one possible solution when the DJ is at the opposite side of the room from where the video will be shown.

RCA Cable splitter

Speaking of connections, it’s a good idea to buy plenty of various types of audio connectors. Make sure that you can connect your audio feed to the DJ no matter what type of input is required. The most common connections are RCA, XLR, or 1/4" audio jack. I have several Ziploc bags that are full of splitters, RCA cables, and adapters. It is imperative to also have backup cables in case one fails on you. And it’s a good idea to have a cable to connect your laptop to your projector in case you need to play your SDE directly from the timeline. You never know when a DVD burner or media player may go out on you, and having another option to play back the video is key.

Makin’ Copies
No matter how you choose to display your video, it’s a good idea to make several DVD copies of the SDE after it is shown. We print labels ahead of time and give the bride and groom three copies at the end of the night. We also create several additional copies to give to the wedding coordinator, the photographer, the catering manager, and the DJ for marketing purposes. It is a great way to build your referral base.

You can also offer DVD favors for the bride and groom to give to their guests. Built into your SDE package at $5 per guest, it’s a great way to create additional revenue.

Another great service you can offer is to create a DVD that displays the couple’s monogram on your screen. This is great for situations in which the screen needs to be set up in the room for the entire reception. Instead of having a blank white screen, you can display their names and their wedding date in a nice script font.

Keeping Your Presentation Gear Organized
Now that you have a good grasp on the equipment that is required to show your SDE, it is a good idea to think about how to keep everything organized. I have a large plastic bin that holds all of my cables, a projector, a DVD player, and several power cords and power strips. When I get to the reception location, the first thing I do is find out where the video will be shown. Then, I stage all of my gear and get the audio squared away with the DJ. If I’m using a DVD player for the presentation, I’ll set it up on the DJ’s table and play an audio CD to make sure all of the connections are good.

I also have my projector on a small tray with a tripod plate mounted on the bottom. This allows me to use my existing tripod as a projector stand. It helps speed up the time it takes to set up and take down the screen and projector.

I hope this article will help you get a handle on what is required to display your own SDEs. Even if the bride and groom hire an outside AV company to handle all of the projection services, it’s good to have all of your equipment with you just in case something happens with the AV company. You’ll be there to save the day!

Chris Randall (info at edit1media.com) is co-founder, with his wife, Laura, of Seattle-based Edit 1 Media, an award-sinning studio specializing in corporate and event video production. Two-time EventDV 25 honorees, the Randalls have spoken at international conferences on same-day edit production.

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The Nonlinear Editor: 'Worldize' Your Work

American GraffitiA couple of years ago, I sat down with my then-5-year-old son to watch American Graffiti, the 1973 George Lucas film about a night in the life of teenagers in Modesto, Calif., in the early ’60s. It was my favorite movie when I was his age. American Graffiti ignited my interest in so many things—movies, music, old cars, the ability of movies to bring the past to life, and the rather devastating idea that there’s a specific moment when childhood ends or just gets old. Not that I could have articulated all of that then and, in fact, I could tell when I watched it with my son that the thunderbolt wasn’t exactly striking him as it had me 30-odd years earlier. Of course, I was reveling in the movie as much as ever. But I began to wonder: What, exactly, had made me love this fairly grown-up movie so much when I was 5?

I suppose it had to be the music, the 42 early rock ’n’ roll hits that propel the film from start to finish and serve as a substitute for a traditional film score, of which American Graffiti has none. American Graffiti awakened the obsessive love of music that’s gripped me ever since and framed the way I see and hear my own life. The soundtrack’s role in the film greatly influenced other films and TV shows that were designed to evoke certain eras, from Happy Days and the wondrous Cooley High in the mid-’70s to The Big Chill and The Wonder Years in the ’80s to Dazed and Confused in the ’90s and Adventureland in 2009. And with lesser period films, of course, leveraging some familiar old radio hits has become a sure-fire way to stir up nostalgia and compensate for a film’s inherent deficiencies.

But never has a nonscore soundtrack been used so purposefully or so originally as in American Graffiti; in fact, the soundtrack was foremost among several factors that almost caused Universal to pull the plug on the film. The first issue was that, according to conventional wisdom at that time, you couldn’t make a movie without an instrumental score, and there was no way in hell you could stay within a $777,000 production budget after licensing the 50-plus songs referenced in the original screenplay. I don’t know how Lucas managed to make the licensing work, although I do know that the buck stopped with Col. Tom Parker, which is why there are no Elvis Presley songs in the movie. Lucas was probably the first screenwriter ever to type the name of the song that was to play in the background at the top of the page of every scene he wrote and still manage to get all (or nearly all) of those songs into the film.

But one of the things I love about American Graffiti is that, as integral as the songs are to the film, the movie never plays like a music video, and the soundtrack never plays like a score—you’re always aware that you’re hearing a song in the background from the omnipresent Wolfman Jack radio show, playing from a car radio or from multiple car radios (every car in town is tuned in to Wolfman Jack). American Graffiti is a masterpiece of sound design, thanks to the efforts of the legendary Walter Murch, who developed a technique called “worldizing” for the film that makes the music sound like it’s playing from car windows, bouncing off of buildings as the kids in the film cruise the town streets, and it is heard differently when your point of view is in the car, in a field, or outside Mel’s Drive-In diner, where it’s double- and triple-tracked as we hear it from multiple cars. Murch recalls how the film crew played back and rerecorded the original 2-hour Wolfman Jack soundtrack with different ambient environments absorbed into the recording and, thus, created “dry and reflected” versions of the soundtrack to draw from at different times. What’s more, in balancing the music with the surroundings and prioritizing it sonically with dialogue happening simultaneously at various times in the film, Murch explains in an interview with FilmSound.org, “We came up with a way of taking music that might, at one point, be fully in the foreground—in focus and loud—and, then, during a scene transition, sent way into the background and thrown out of focus so that people could talk in the foreground in dialogue and not have you driven mad.” The idea was to create “the sonic equivalent of depth of field in photography.” (Ironically, for all its sound design breakthroughs, the main reason Lucas got American Graffiti greenlighted, initially, was because of the success of Easy Rider, another independently produced, low-budget film that uses popular songs instead of a conventional score but which is a sound design train wreck.) You can read about Murch’s technique and how he expanded on techniques developed by Orson Welles for Touch of Evil (another sound design marvel, though a film mostly remembered for a single epic tracking shot); to experience a very different sort of Murch sound design triumph from the same era, check out what he did with wiretapped and recorded sound fragments in Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (1974).

You also get an interesting aural take on Wolfman Jack’s radio show in the freshman hop scene, where it’s played over the PA between sets by Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids. There Lucas creates the greatest slow-dance scene ever filmed (one can almost imagine a first dance in a wedding film aspiring to summon such power), as Steve and Laurie argue their way to reconciliation in their spotlight dance to The Platters’ “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”

It was this sort of sonic precision and obsessiveness that led Lucas to develop THX standards for in-cinema audio after the success of Star Wars. Lucas always had very definite ideas about music and scoring when he was at his creative peak; in 1976 he bucked the trend toward contemporary-style background music and commissioned a majestic orchestral score for Star Wars to give the film more timelessness (his take on most contemporary films was that the soundtracks trended toward disco, which he thought would sound dated in a few years’ time). It all comes down to purpose rather than what will play with the initial and immediate audience for the film.

So American Graffiti triumphs because of its brilliant sound design and its fresh and influential use of popular music as an alternative to a traditional film score. Ironically enough, part of the reason American Graffiti may be less impactful on people who are seeing it for the first time today is that it has been so influential that elements of it have been widely copied over the past 40 years. It took almost no time for prime-time TV to reduce its evocation of the late 1950s/early 1960s to sitcom cliché in Happy Days; the same thing happened to Dazed and Confused with That 70’s Show in the 1990s. These days it’s hard to imagine how much Lucas had to fight the system to get the movie made that way, to convince a studio to let him cash in on the sentimental appeal of a bunch of old songs for a period film.

Obviously, not everyone (or, rather, almost no one) who sets out to do things their own way gets to enjoy the kind of success George Lucas has. But I think the way he approached sound design and music in his films is instructive, particularly viewed in the context of the times in which he made the films—that is to say, times in which the folks on whom he depended to subsidize those films were all but convinced that his approach wouldn’t work. And in the case of American Graffiti, it’s interesting to recognize that one consequence of Lucas having done what he set out to do so well with that soundtrack is that you really couldn’t do it the same way again and expect it to resonate with audiences quite as strongly.

In the event filmmaking world, we wrestle with issues about the music we use all the time. The long-standing issue, of course, is the potential legal risk associated with using copyright-protected popular songs in wedding films. For years, those so-called legal risks were, arguably, much ado about nothing; the idea that the Recording Industry Association of America’s efforts to prosecute teenagers and senior citizens for sharing tracks on Napster meant that they would go after anyone, even wedding videographers, was always a bit of a red herring. The ability to share music, peer to peer over the internet, terrified those in the music industry because it combined piracy with virtually limitless distribution, and it took a potentially giant bite out of their bottom line while almost instantly rendering their old retail model all but obsolete. By contrast, using a popular song in a wedding video distributed on a handful of DVDs was so small scale as to be practically unworthy of notice.

Now that wedding films reach hundreds and potentially thousands of viewers online, the distribution dynamics have changed, and so have the potential legal concerns. I recently followed an online forum thread regarding a Vimeo clip that caught the attention of the artist whose song was used in the clip after it garnered upward of 72,000 views. One could certainly make the argument that this type of exposure increases the potential market for the song in question rather than limiting it. But the fact that event filmmakers gaining this type of exposure could expose themselves, and possibly the rest of our industry, to censure becomes more real.

Wider visibility also raises other questions—not just legal risks, and not just the moral ones concerning misappropriation of intellectual property, which are essentially the same as when wedding film distribution was a tightly closed loop. Now that we’re playing to bigger crowds and playing to online audiences that see lots of other films from all over the world online, the stakes are higher. The challenges of standing out are greater, and the potential for one filmmaker to put his or her stamp on a song and lessen the impact of the use of the same song in another’s work becomes much more troubling as we play to an audience that is watching more and more wedding films all the time. You may or may not consider this a limiting factor for the market of your work—really, it depends on how broadly you define your market and whom you see as your competition. But even if it’s a noncompetitor who creates the definitive film underpinned by a particular song, that film can still make your work look imitative to your potential clients.

I wouldn’t call this an absolute reason not to use popular songs in your work, but it’s reason enough to get out of the habit of letting the bride and groom dictate the music you use. It’s just another factor that will circumscribe your artistry and the originality of your work based on the limits of others’ imaginations. I think we overrate the value of personal associations with songs in wedding films too. I’d be the last person to question the power of music to uproot you from the present moment and land you squarely in the midst of a particular memory (good or bad), with the sights, sounds, and emotions of that moment fully engulfing you as the song works its magic. But do you really want your films transporting people to other places and times, with the possible exception of the wedding itself? To me this is another confidence issue, another indication of our lack of belief in our work: If we think the only thing that will make our work resonate for our clients is to stuff it with songs that they already know and love and associate with other experiences, we have way too little confidence in the experience we’re creating.

What’s more, we all know that a lot of the choices brides and grooms make about their weddings are fairly programmatic; tradition dictates that weddings have to have certain elements, such as colors, flowers, readings, songs, and food. But not every bride or groom is a foodie, a fan of poetry, or an expert on biblical verses, floral arrangements, or dance songs. If any of these wedding elements are things they don’t think or care about much in everyday life, the choices they make for their wedding aren’t going to say that much about them. I remember once when I was asked to do a reading from Walt Whitman at a wedding several years ago. I looked up the reading the bride emailed me and found that it was an excerpt from a long and quite astonishing poem and that there was much cooler stuff in the poem just before the excerpt she’d sent me. I asked if she’d mind if I read a little of that instead, mindful that the part she sent me might be really meaningful to her. “No problem,” she wrote back. “I just found that on a wedding readings webpage. I didn’t even know where it came from.” So it is, I think, with the music many brides and grooms pick. They have to pick something, right? If you’re someone for whom music plays a profound and pivotal role in your life, you’ve probably encountered more than your share of brides and grooms whose music choices seem obvious and trite, and their connection to the music they choose seems kiddie-pool shallow. And probably the same as half a dozen other couples you worked with this year. This is all the more reason to trust your own instincts and create something that’s as original aurally as it is visually.

All that said, knowing and loving music and having your own ideas on how to use it doesn’t make you a composer, so your music has to come from somewhere, and I’m certainly not suggesting you have to compose your own music for it to bring something original to your work. Again, American Graffiti is kind of the exception that proves the rule. In 2011, it’s hard to imagine anything more trite than scoring scenes of kids cruising around in ’57 Chevys listening to “Johnny B. Goode” and “Rock Around the Clock.” But in 1973 it was so out there as to make the film seem unsellable to studio execs. So we all have the chance to make lightning strike once and seize a great idea that will seem overdone only after everyone else copies it. My whole point here, even though I’m referencing a film set 95% to a radio show, is to do it your own way and explore ways to keep your wedding films from falling into the trap of relying on radio-recognizable songs to ensure their appeal.

Triple Scoop Music

One way to do this is to choose your soundtracks from royalty-free music library sites such as TripleScoopMusic.com or to build them in Sonicfire Pro or Soundtrack Pro. I’m also a big fan of the approach StillMotion has taken with With Etiquette, where Patrick Moreau & Co. works directly with little-known indie artists to license original songs for use in event films. Though it might not work for everyone, this approach has the threefold effect of boosting the visibility of the artists, giving event filmmakers the opportunity to license copyright-protected work with a finite and transparent fee structure, and all but guaranteeing that their films will feature songs not associated with anything else. And I’m also encouraged by what’s happening with SongFreedom.com, a service designed specifically to obtain song licenses for videographers to use in their work, which provides valuable assistance on the legitimacy/legality side. Although as long as you’re working with popular and familiar songs, where an existing impression of or association with a song will partially determine an audience’s reaction to your work, you still have to decide whether you see yourself as a filmmaker or as someone making a music video (which is a thing apart from filmmaking but, nonetheless, a valid way to extend your artistic chops).

The approach you choose should not only reflect the sound you hear in your head when you visualize your films but also the places you hope and expect your films to play and the reach and impact you expect them to have. As absurd as this may have sounded a few years back when wedding films could reasonably expect to be distributed on a number of DVDs you could count on one hand, today we do have the chance to produce films that will be seen and heard and talked about far and wide. I’m reminded of the scene toward the end of American Graffiti when Curt Henderson drives out to the radio tation on the outskirts of town in the wee hours of the morning, Sonny Til & the Orioles’ “Crying in the Chapel” playing on his car radio, to ask Wolfman Jack to dedicate a song to the girl in the white T-Bird. When the DJ in the studio pretends he’s not the Wolfman, Curt asks him, “Where is he?” the man replies, “The Wolfman is everywhere.” Like it or not, in 2011, so are we, and the films we produce need to look and sound like we know that and we embrace it.

John Milner's hot rod at Mel's Drive-in

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

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Fast Forward Video's sideKick HD Digital Video Recorder to Debut at 2011 NAB Show

Fast Forward Video (FFV) is launching the sideKick HD, a multiformat, straight-to-edit, camera-mountable digital video recorder (DVR), at the 2011 NAB Show in Las Vegas. The sideKick HD is designed to ease the production workflow by providing a versatile recording solution that meets the needs of both producers and post-production editors. 

"Today's HD camcorders provide sophisticated features such as large sensors and interchangeable lenses, but their internal recording quality is lacking. With the sideKick, producers can get the most out of their camcorders without having to compromise on image quality. Instead of using the camera's on-board recording device, they can capture video directly from any HD/SDI or HDMI output," said Nicole Hollinger, director of marketing for FFV. "The sideKick is the end result of an 18-month development process in which we worked closely with key customers to develop a DVR that provides the flexibility producers expect, while satisfying the demands of post-production editors."

The sideKick HD captures video directly from any HD/SDI or HDMI output at bit rates up to 220 Mbit/s, with 4:2:2 sampling and 10-bit resolution in industry-standard codecs such as ProRes. By recording directly to these high-quality NLE formats, the DVR eliminates the time-consuming transcoding step, which degrades image quality. 

In addition, the sideKick HD records video onto standard 2.5-inch hot-swappable solid-state SATA drives for greater flexibility and increased record times, and provides a 4.3-inch on-board confidence monitor, which offers playback options including scrub and jog capabilities. The sideKick HD mounts directly to any HD camcorder or HDSLR utilizing the 1/4 -20 insert and battery power optional accessories. 

"The sideKick HD fills a definite need in our operation for a camera-mountable DVR. It lets me choose the final editing codec without additional transcoding," said Paul Tetreault, Possibilities AV. "FFV has really got it right — from easy-to-use menus and automatic recording to auto-sensing the frame rate and resolution. This is a must-have recording device for today's media producers."

More information about FFV's award-winning DVR solutions can be found at www.ffv.com.

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SmartSound to Launch Web-Based Music Customization at NAB Show on April 11th

SmartSound Software, Inc., the leader in fully-customizable royalty-free music and soundtrack creation technology, today announced Quicktracks—an innovative new Cloud-based music customization service.

The industry’s first Web service to provide music track customization online, Quicktracks will give SmartSound users complete creative control over the company’s extensive Royalty Free Music Library directly from the web site. SmartSound will launch Quicktracks at NAB 2011, April 11th-14th, Booth SL7410.

“For years people who have been downloading music from music websites have still been burdened with the process of getting it to fit their media project” said Kevin Klingler, CEO of SmartSound Software, Inc. “Quicktracks represents a watershed moment in production music by allowing the user to quickly and easily adjust the length, arrangement and mix of the music to fit their needs in just seconds, right at the website, and then simply download the finished track for their project. Downloadable music just got creative.”

“I shoot a wide variety of projects so I’m often traveling and deadlines are always tight,” said Benjamin Bertsch, videographer and vendor for Source Interlink, one of the largest publishers of magazines and online content for enthusiast audiences in the world. “We first switched to SmartSound because their customizable music literally saves us hours of music editing without compromising the integrity of the music. The new Quicktracks service is great because now I can access music that I can quickly customize to my project even on a shoot; I no longer have to carry around a stack of CDs in my bag.”

Quicktracks, an entirely Cloud-based technology, gives videographers and broadcast producers an industry first: full Web-based creative control of music track scoring. Selecting music from SmartSound’s extensive Royalty Free Music Library, users can set the length of the track precisely, choose a musical arrangement and instrument mix right over the Internet—and download a fully customized music track perfectly sized and arranged to meet project requirements.

“I first got acquainted with SmartSound’s Sonicfire Pro product working on a television show for Disruptive Studios,” said freelance editor Ron Crigler. “It’s great for making bumpers and teasers, so I don't have to waste all day getting the music to hit a certain time. SmartSound’s new Quicktracks is a breakthrough that will allow me to be more interactive and creative with my producers because I will be able to go online wherever we are and show them how the music will mix with the visuals. I see this as ideal for interstitials, promos, commercials and any project that requires a collaborative creative process.”


  • Quicktracks provides immediate Web-based music track selection, customization and download from SmartSound’s extensive royalty free music library
  • Steps to using the Quicktracks music customization service,
    • (1) Login to your SmartSound account or create a new account for free
    • (2) Access you past purchases or purchase new music albums or singles from SmartSound’s extensive Royalty Free Music Library
    • (3) Customize your music—setting track length, musical arrangement and mood (instrument mix) to fit your production requirements.
    • (4) Download your licensed track in MP3, WAV, AIFF and OGG formats

  • With the royalty-free music license, you can use the customized music in virtually any production; television, film, indie projects, documentaries, web, corporate, etc.
  • See SmartSound's Quicktracks Cloud-based music customization service for yourself at the NAB 2011 Show, April 11th-14th, Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth #SL7410; or contact SmartSound online for Quicktracks pricing and availability.

About SmartSound Software, Inc.

SmartSound Software, Inc., the world's leading provider of customizable royalty free music and music soundtrack solutions for visual content creators, is headquartered in Northridge, CA. The company has been at the forefront of technological innovations in the industry, such as the award-winning Custom Length, Timing Control™ and Mood Mapping® features in SmartSound Sonicfire® Pro. SmartSound technology is available for Windows XP SP1, Vista, or Windows 7 and Mac OS X 10.4 or higher. SmartSound products include: the Sonicfire Pro, Final Cut Pro Music Plug-in, Avid/Pinnacle Studio Music Plug-in and Quicktracks® software and web-technology and the Strata®, Voxation, Film Score, Producer, Edge, Audio Palette, Sound Palette, and Home Movie Music collections of royalty free music and sound effects. For more information, see http://www.SmartSound.com.

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Petrol Bags Intros new DSLR Carriers at NAB Booth C6034

Petrol Bags™, a Vitec Group brand, will introduce a full line of Carriers and smart Raincovers for video-enabled DSLR at NAB in their C6030 booth. Now Petrol Bags gives you a real choice of carrying options so there’s the perfect system for any production professional.

An array of new video-enabled DSLR backpacks will be shown, including the DSLR/Personal Computer Backpack, ultra-lightweight while offering maximum protection; the hiker’s DSLR Campack Plus, designed to carry up to two video-enabled DSLR cameras and a laptop with up to a 17” screen; and the small-sized Digiback Jr. DSLR Backpack, a smart and ergonomic solution for DSLR transporting and carrying.

When it comes to rolling bags, Petrol will showcase the DSLR Camera Rollpak, a 2-in-1 professional camera trolley and backpack; and the Deca Rolling U-Bag that provides a versatile, semi-hard camera bag carries designed to be easily carried over the shoulder or to roll on a hide-away wheel and tote assembly.

For those days when the rain never stops, Petrol provides a new Transparent DSLR Plus Rain Cover, and the Deca Sound Man Rain Poncho, which is sized to comfortably cover the soundperson with a mixer and fully-loaded audio bag.

Petrol will also debut a DSLR version of its classic doctor bag, the Dr. DSLR Camera Bag, and a shippable DigiSuite DSLR Camera Case with semi-hard suitcase-style carrier design.

In the Live Event Area of the Vitec Group exhibition, hot topics and tips will be featured in eight daily 30-minute sessions. On Monday at 11am, Tuesday 3pm, and Wednesday at 1:30pm, visit the session on “Accessorizing the Latest Hot Cameras.”

For further information, please go to http://www.petrolbags.com or contact: Petrol Bags, 709 Executive Blvd., Valley College, NY 10989, Phone: 845-268-0100, Fax: 845-268-0113, Email: info-cd-usa@vitecgroup.com

Petrol is a leading producer of professional carrying bags and accessories for portable cameras, lighting, audio, support and other production equipment. The Petrol product family encompasses a full line of layered, multi-compartment bags, backpacks, cases, pouches, protective gear and more. Petrol works closely with industry professionals to create carrying systems designed for safe transport as well as quick and easy access on the job. Along with five other leading brands in the broadcast industry, Petrol is part of Camera Dynamics Inc., which in turn is part of the Vitec Group of companies.

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Matrox MAX H.264 Capture Ships, Enabling Direct Capture to H.264 Files with the Matrox MXO2 I/O Devices and Matrox MAX Technology for PC

Matrox® Video Products today announced that Matrox MAX H.264 Capture is now available. Matrox MAX H.264 Capture is a stand-alone Windows application that lets users capture directly to H.264 files for use on smart phones, iPad, the web, and Blu-ray discs using any Matrox MXO2 product equipped with Matrox MAX technology. Material can be captured from video and audio input on an MXO2 device and simultaneously monitored.

Matrox MAX H.264 Capture is quick and easy-to-use with default presets for many popular delivery formats. It also provides the ability for the user to create custom presets. Video can be captured to the .mp4 file wrapper for the web, iPad, and other popular H.264 deliverables or to 264 elementary stream files for immediate Blu-ray authoring without transcoding.

Matrox MAX H.264 Capture and the entire MXO2 product line will be demonstrated at NAB 2011 in the Matrox booth SL2515.

“This new app enables smooth workflows for faster delivery of video content and dailies. It’s also ideal for archiving legacy material from tape,” said Wayne Andrews, Matrox product manager. “Now it’s easy to capture material from any source for use on the web, iPad, iPod, iPhone, YouTube and Blu-ray discs. In addition, dailies can be immediately available as low bit rate, manageable-sized files for delivery to a 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 MAX H.264 Capture we have started to implement our vision of expanding the capabilities of Matrox MAX technology beyond H.264 export acceleration.”

Matrox products are available through a worldwide network of authorized dealers. Matrox MAX H.264 Capture is now available to registered users of Matrox MXO2 devices with the MAX option as a free download from the Matrox website in release 5.1.1 for Windows.

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.

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