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July 19, 2011

Table of Contents

FCPX vs. Premiere Pro CS5.5 for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors
Female Filmmakers of the World Reunite: A Peek at POSH Retreat 2011
Team IN[FOCUS] Unveils Dates, Location, and Theme for IN[FOCUS] 2012
Recap: IVA Filmmakers Expo 2011
Singular Promises 3x-10x Speed Upgrades in DualEyes 2.0 and PluralEyes 2.0
CHV Rolls Out New FCPX and Motion 5 Plug-ins
PowerProduction Premieres StoryBoard Artist 5

FCPX vs. Premiere Pro CS5.5 for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors

If you're an event videographer who uses Final Cut Pro 7, you've probably been pretty comfortable that you chose the right tool for the job. Final Cut Pro 7 is highly functional, flexible, and it has great third-party hardware and software support. Beyond notable feature gaps such as full-featured Blu-ray authoring, it pretty much does what that you need it to do.

That said, it's been four years since the last significant upgrade, and Final Cut Pro 7 is a 32-bit tool in a 64-bit world. Log and transfer conversion to ProRes is a foreground operation and can take hours, complicating same-day edits and other quick-turn operations. As of a few weeks ago, Apple has taken Final Cut Pro 7 off the market, so if you're expanding operations and need to add seats to your operation, you're out of luck. Looking forward, while Apple has stated that Final Cut Pro 7 will run on Lion, they've made no similar assurances for DVD Studio Pro, Soundtrack Pro, Color, and legacy versions of Motion and Compressor. Simply stated, sooner or later you're going to have to move to a new editor. If you're a DSLR shooter, it's probably sooner than later.

Obviously, Apple's preference is that you switch to Final Cut Pro X (FCPX). For many Mac enthusiasts, that would be the knee-jerk reaction. After all, you've upgraded religiously since your first purchase of Final Cut Pro years ago.

However, even a quick analysis of FCPX reveals that it's not an upgrade in the true sense, at least not from Final Cut Pro 7. While there is no precise definition of an upgrade, you would assume that the new software would share a similar look and feel with the older version, use the same plug-ins, and load legacy projects. By two of these three markers, FCPX is more of an upgrade to iMovie than to Final Cut Pro 7.

In fact, calling FCPX "Final Cut Pro X" is putting sheep's clothing over a wolf. It's not an upgrade, it's a completely different editor, and Apple is asking you to switch editors. Switching editors is about as much fun as a root canal, since you have to relearn all the workflows and idiosyncrasies necessary to efficiently produce a polished project from hours of raw content. Six months ago, if someone recommended that you switch to a different editor-any editor-you could argue for days as to why Final Cut Pro 7 was the best choice.

But now, if you want to move forward, you have to switch editors. The only question, is what's the best choice? Assuming you want to stick with the Mac as your plarform, in this article I'll compare the two most obvious choices: Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5.

The Economics
The comparative cost of each option is obviously a critical factor. Before looking at dollars, let's look at requirements ancillary to video editing capabilities. At the very least, you'll need a full-featured DVD authoring tool like DVD Studio Pro used to be, but FCPX clearly isn't. Figure 1 (below) shows FCPX's DVD export screen, which lets you create a single, static menu with a Play button. You can't even insert chapter points to let viewers advance without a menu. This is a giant leap backwards into the Stone Age of DVD authoring.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 1. FCPX's DVD authoring feature

If your work involves multiple audio tracks, you'd probably like to have a full-featured multi-track audio editor like Soundtrack Pro used to be. Most event videographers use Photoshop for still image creation and editing, and many use After Effects for motion menus, text animations, and other effects work.

FCPX costs $299.99, and all you get is the editor, so you're still on the hook for DVD authoring. What's your cheapest full-featured Mac DVD authoring program? Adobe Encore, which isn't sold standalone. Instead, you'd have to buy Adobe Premiere Pro for $799. Of course, then you'd have Adobe Premiere Pro, so why buy FCPX? Until September 1, Adobe is offering a 50% discount for those switching from Apple Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer. So, spend $299 and get a new video editor, or spend $399 and get a new editor, authoring program, and Adobe OnLocation.

If you're a Photoshop and-especially-an After Effects user, you're probably already strongly considering Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium, which includes After Effects, Photoshop Extended, Premiere Pro, Encore, pro audio editor Adobe Audition, plus Illustrator, Flash Catalyst, and Flash Professional. While the price tag is normally $1,699, the switcher discount reduces this to $849.

When performing this pricing analysis, don't forget to factor in the time savings enabled via Adobe's Dynamic Link and other integration features. Edit your wedding in FCPX and author in Encore, and you'll have to render out of FCPX before importing into Encore. All subsequent video edits must be re-rendered and re-input into Encore.

With CS 5.5 Production Premium, you can import unrendered Premiere Pro sequences into Encore, with any subsequent Premiere Pro edits flowing through automatically. Ditto for After Effects Compositions and Photoshop images. Saving one or two rendering cycles a project can add up to big savings.

Every editor requires different tools to get the job done. For most editors, however, FCPX's $299.99 price tag represents only a fraction of what they'll need to replace their legacy Final Cut Studio tools and round out their required toolset with fully supported (and 64-bit) applications. Editors should also consider the time-savings available when using integrated an integrated toolset from a single vendor.

Look and Feel
The next question you might ask relates to look and feel, as in, which editor looks most like your current solution? This impacts your comfort level with an application, and the associated learning curve.

Figure 2 shows Final Cut Pro 7, Figure 3 shows Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5, and Figure 4 shows FCPX. Obviously, Final Cut Pro 7 and Premiere Pro look and operate much more similarly. Both programs have an interface dominated by four large windows, including a Viewer/Source Window for viewing content, marking in and out points, and inserting content into projects. FCPX dropped the Viewer and uses the Preview window for both functions.

Apple Final Cut Pro 7
Figure 2. Final Cut Pro 7

In terms of project management, Final Cut Pro 7 and Premiere Pro store all content in the Browser/Project pane, where you can create bins to organize your content and multiple sequences to build your project. With FCPX, you import content into "Events" organized solely via metadata, and can create Projects with multiple "Auditions."

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
Figure 3. Premiere Pro CS 5.5

Both Final Cut Pro 7 and Premiere Pro support multiple audio and video tracks with complete flexibility regarding content placement. Want Camera 1 on Video 4? No problem in either editor. In contrast, Final Cut Pro's trackless projects use a Primary Storyline for your first camera, with B-roll on "connected clips" in a "Magnetic" timeline (Figure 4). Want to increase the size of your video or audio tracks, say to simplify audio/video synchronization? No problem in Final Cut Pro 7 or Premiere Pro; just drag them down. Not possible in FCPX, where you're limited to several viewing presets.

Final Cut Pro X
Figure 4. Final Cut Pro X's single-track magnetic timeline

In Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro, you apply and adjust keyframes in the Filters/Effect Controls panel; in FCPX, you do this in impossibly cramped quarters above the timeline. In Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro, you can export multiple audio tracks for editing in a separate application optimized for audio editing; in FCPX, there is no separate audio application. FCPX shares some keyboard shortcuts with Final Cut Pro 7; Premiere Pro lets you choose to use Final Cut Pro 7 shortcuts, with full customizability.

To be fair, FCPX will undoubtedly simplify many tasks for novice editors, or those upgrading from iMovie. However, for experienced editors, features like the magnetic timeline are confining, inflexible solutions to insignificant problems, an additional learning curve without a reward. Editors currently working with Final Cut Pro 7 will find Premiere Pro much closer to their current environment and much easier to learn and immediately become productive.

Legacy Project Support
One of the most significant objections to FCPX is the inability to load Final Cut Pro 7 projects, and justifiably so, as these projects represent a significant investment in creativity and effort. Apple's stated rationale for this is, "Final Cut Pro X includes an all-new project architecture structured around a trackless timeline and connected clips. In addition, Final Cut Pro X features new and redesigned audio effects, video effects, and color grading tools. Because of these changes, there is no way to "translate" or "bring in old projects without changing or losing data" (Apple Final Cut Pro FAQ). FCPX does load iMovie projects, however.

On the other hand, perhaps because the two programs are so architecturally similar, Premiere Pro can load legacy Final Cut Pro 7 projects exported via XML, and export XML projects that can load into Final Cut Pro 7. That's how I created the Final Cut Pro project shown in Figure 2. Obviously, this technology has its limits, as the two programs don't support all the same formats or features. Still, Adobe has attempted to define many of the limitations here (http://adobe.ly/m0Cviz). In most instances, you should be able to transfer compatible content, In and Out points, and supported effects, which could save days of work on some projects. With FCPX, you have to recreate all of these projects from scratch, as I had to do to create the product shown in Figure 4.

Getting back to our upgrade discussion, in terms of look and feel and support for legacy projects, it's clear that FCPX is more of an "upgrade" for iMovie than Final Cut Pro 7. Using these same considerations, Premiere Pro is arguably a better upgrade for Final Cut Pro 7 than FCPX.

Feature Comparison
Once you get by price, learning curve, and support for legacy projects, it's time to turn your attention to the types of features that you need to produce your typical projects. For most event types, the most glaring missing feature in FCPX is the lack of multicam support. That's because producing with multiple cameras is a given in most of our production workflows. It's the best way to add visual interest to any event without a lot of extra work in post, and in my view, the clearest differentiator between amateur and professional work.

For me, even more than the inability to load Final Cut Pro 7 projects, the lack of multicam support was the clearest signal that event producers weren't the primary target for FCPX by a wide margin. In the same FAQ that's referenced above, Apple promised to "provide great multicam support in the next major release." Given Final Cut Pro's traditional 24-month release cycle, this has to be very cold comfort for any event shooter hoping to use FCPX in the short term.

Beyond this, probably the most irksome feature in Final Cut Pro 7 is the inability to convert footage from digital SLR cameras to ProRes in the background. True, FCPX minimizes this bottleneck by converting to ProRes in the background, but Premiere Pro's ability to efficiently edit native H.264 DSLR footage eliminates it entirely, with a very significant saving in disk real estate. Copy your DSLR footage over to your hard drive, and drag the files into Premiere Pro's Project pane, and you're ready to start editing.

Color Correction
Given the conditions event shooters work under, most shots require some sort of color and/or brightness correction. Final Cut Pro 7's color correction tools set some pretty simple corrective paradigms: click a known white area to correct white balance, with color wheels for fine tuning. Premiere Pro's Fast Color Corrector (Figure 5) uses the same paradigms, with a splitscreen preview to assist your adjustments. Premiere Pro also offers a three-way color corrector that divides the adjustments into Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights, much like Final Cut Pro 7's Color Corrector 3-way effect, and both of Premiere Pro's effects are Mercury-accelerated, so you won't have to render to preview if you have a supported NVIDIA card installed in your system.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
Figure 5. Premiere Pro's Fast Color Corrector effect with eyedropper and color wheel and split screen view (original on right)

If you've spent much time in Photoshop, you've probably encountered the Shadow/Highlight filter, which is invaluable for correcting backlighting and similar scenarios. Premiere Pro offers this filter for videos, as well.

In contrast, FCPX debuts the "Color Board," which loses the eyedropper and turns the color wheel into a plank, which is confusing to say the least (Figure 6). For example, in a color wheel, if your video is too blue, you drag it away from blue. In the color board, you have two directions that are away from blue. While I like separate shadows, midtones, and highlights adjustments, does their location in the board make any difference? What's obvious with three separate color wheels is totally confusing within the context of a board.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 6. FCPX's Color Board

FCPX's variable speed control is similarly perplexing, and doesn't appear to provide the precision necessary for most professional edits. To explain, all editing programs enable global speed changes, but most pros want to ramp speed adjustments upwards and downwards. They want the speed to start to slow on this frame, reach the new speed on that frame, and then transition back to 100% speed starting here and ending there.

With Final Cut Pro 7 and Premiere Pro, you achieve this precision by inserting key frames on the critical frames and ramping up or down from there. Premiere Pro's variable speed adjustment is shown in Figure 7. The pair of markers atop the clip are the in and out points to the speed adjustments, so you can easily control how quickly the new speed is achieved. The first pair takes you from 100% to 25%, with the 25% set by the yellow speed line in the figure, while the second pair ramp you back up from 25% to 100%. It's a wonderfully simple and easy to use schema.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
Figure 7. Premiere Pro's variable speed control

In contrast, FCPX divides your clip into four arbitrary sections, and lets you control the speed in each section, with no apparent control over how quickly the speed changes are effected or even the precise starting and stopping points for each speed change (Figure 8).

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 8. FCPX's inflexible variable speed control

You almost get the feeling that the top design priority given to FCPX's developers was to make the tool different than Final Cut Pro 7. Sure, you can argue that for new users the new approach is better, but if the existing tools are working for experienced users, the new tools represent change for change's sake, different, but not better.

It all comes down to this. Like it or not, you're going to have to choose a new editor. If you're a Final Cut Pro 7 editor who shoots with DSLRs, you've known you needed an FCP upgrade for some time now; little did you know Apple wasn't developing one. So the time has come to switch, either to FCPX, which is a completely different animal from FCP 7, or to an NLE from another vendor. In making this decision, you should consider multiple variables, including cost, the ability to continue working with older projects, the learning curve of the new editor, and the effectiveness of the various tools. By all of these measures, Premiere Pro is a better choice than FCPX.

Equally important is the partnership you're entering with the software developer itself. You have to ask yourself if that company is going in the same direction that you are, if they are aware of your needs and requirements and responsive to them. In my view, Apple has looked at the event market and even the indie and Hollywood film markets and found them all too niche for their mass-market goals.

It's simply impossible to look at FCPX and conclude that it was tailored for the needs of any of these three markets; it's a consumer program focused on iMovie upgrades, plain and simple. Perhaps it will look great in 18 months, as Larry Jordan says, but that's a long time to wait for what your business needs now-especially if you've been waiting for 64-bit processing and native DSLR support for 2 years already. Perhaps, in the meantime, Apple will tack on some features to console professional users, but the ancillary and clearly essential tools such as DVD Studio Pro, Soundtrack Pro, and Color are all gone. Professional tools have shrunk from a core function essential to Apple's livelihood to an afterthought not even worth a line item on Apple's income statement.

In contrast, Adobe has a proven commitment to both professional users and the Macintosh market, most recently evidenced by their porting Audition to the Macintosh platform with the most recent CS5.5 release. The tools available in Production Premium are the best integrated on the market, and revenue from this segment is absolutely core to Adobe's profitability.

I have the utmost respect for Apple as a hardware and software designer, and product marketer-you'd have to pry my iPod from my cold dead fingers, and every computer that they manufacture is museum-worthy. But somewhere in the halls off the Infinite Loop that winds through Apple's Cupertino campus, someone made a decision that event producers no longer matter, or certainly matter less than the potential for mass-market sales to iMovie upgraders. Apple didn't state this in a press release or detail it in a FAQ, but they didn't have to—FCPX sends that message loud and clear.

Jan Ozer (jan at doceo.com) is a frequent contributor to industry magazines and websites on digital video-related topics. He is chief instructor at StreamingLearningCenter.com and the author of Video Compression for Flash, Apple Devices and HTML5.

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Female Filmmakers of the World Reunite: A Peek at POSH Retreat 2011

POSH Retreat 2011Our industry has never had an official retreat for the male filmmaker, but if you'd been a female attendee at an industry event in years' past, it may have seemed that way. So it's no wonder POSH 2010: A Retreat for the Female Filmmaker, was such a big hit, filling all the spots on its November cruise, creating an enormous amount of buzz, and creating the sort of tight-knit sense of community among attendee "POSHettes" that had male filmmakers (and women who didn't sign up in time) wondering what in the world they missed out on.

Well, the men will have to continue to wonder, but women who didn't make the 2010 event—as well as 2010 attendees who've been wondering what Team POSH will do for an encore—will get a chance to find out what all the excitement is about on November 6 when POSH 2011 kicks off in Cancun, Mexico. Last week I spoke with POSH co-founders Reagan Zugelter and Jennifer Moon—who won EventDV's first-ever Julian St Pierre Pay It Forward Award for their event- and community-building efforts with POSH 2010—to get the scoop on POSH 2011. Here's what I found out.

First and foremost, POSH is leaving behind the cruise-ship high seas for the seaside Beach Palace resort in Cancun, where 50 "POSHettes" will enjoy 4 nights and 3 days of educational seminars, group dinners, shooting excursions, and socializing with their fellow female filmmakers. POSH is, at first glance, a bit pricier than other industry events-attendees who elect to share a room with a fellow POSHette will pay $1,225, while those who opt for a single room will pay $1,700-but for that all-inclusive price they'll get not only their hotel accommodations and access to all POSH events, but all group meals while they're in Cancun, both food and drink (alcohol included) for the duration of the retreat, November 6-9. "It covers everything but the flight-4 nights at the hotel, meals, drinks, tips, everything. You pay for it and you're done," Reagan says. "You don't have to worry about budgeting to pay extra for all the little things."

But what else is new with POSH besides trading boat for beach? "Last year." Reagan says, "our focus was more on getting women inspired, and a lot of the presentations were geared towards that. Kristen* talked about using your feminine side in your storytelling and the way you do business, and Tasra Dawson talked about just finding that inspiration and finding projects that really you're passionate about, putting yourself into it, and giving back. But after last year's POSH, we sent out a survey, and we found out that people really wanted to focus more on the business side of things and also the technical side."

This year's speaker mix reflects the shift. First up is Karen Abad, an independent filmmaker with an MFA in Film from San Francisco's Academy of Art University who's worked on several award-winning short films, produced music videos, DP'd a feature-length documentary, and is currently a camera operator and editor for Zacuto Films, working on such series as FilmFellas, Critics, BTS, and The Great Camera Shootout. Karen will be offering both a hands-on DSLR workshop and presenting a seminar on "The Cinematography of Feel." Topics in her seminar will include technical and theoretical approaches to storytelling through cinematography, with emphasis on lighting, camera movement, choosing a camera, and networking. "This year, when we were looking for presenters," Reagan says, "we really wanted to reach outside of the event film world and look for somebody that just does filmmaking, and is really skilled in the storytelling. She's done a lot of documentaries and music videos and she actually uses Super 8 and 16 millimeter film along with DSLR, so she's really skilled on the technical side. So we wanted to bring her in to talk about that."

Joining Karen Abad will be a name familiar to event filmmakers the world over from the legendary Re:Frame events of 2008-9, Julie Hill of Elysium Productions, who runs that rare event filmmaking outfit that manages to combine volume production and extremely high-end (and usually destination) work. According to the POSH website, Julie's POSH 2011 seminar, "How to Market Yourself as a Can't Live Without Option," will focus on "unconventional ways of marketing, selling, and making your studio stand out. She will discuss creative ways to connect and book the brides you want." Reagan says Julie will address the sales aspect of the wedding film business for those whose strength lies on the creative side while the sales side goes wanting; specifically, "how you sell yourself and educate people on wanting to have your services, they have to have you and no one else." Jen describes Julie's seminar as follows: "She's going to be speaking about moving from doing more budget to higher end, but then also talking about having a successful business that encompasses all ends of the wedding spectrum."

The third POSH 2011 speaker, Michelle Loretta, runs a blog called Sage Wedding Pros, which Jen describes as designed "to help wedding professionals to build their business and marketing, writing a business plan-all the un-fun stuff. It's just a wealth of information on being a business owner. And she also does her own workshop about writing business plans. So we contacted her and she was so excited to jump on board and help people with the business end of things." Jen says the resources available at Sage Wedding Pros has benefitted herself and her husband, John Moon, and their 2-time EventDV 25 all-star studio, Northernlight Filmworks. "I downloaded her information on writing a business plan because that was something that John and I never even did, we just jumped right into starting our business and didn't even think about writing a plan. It was very eye-opening. I thought, ‘We need to share this with more people,' because we made some huge mistakes that we could have avoided had we sat down and done that from the beginning." Michelle's seminar is titled "Behind the Mystery of Pricing."

Finally, back by popular demand is Kristen* of Bliss Productions, fellow Re:Frame Collectivista with Julie Hill and a celebrated speaker at POSH 2010. "She's one of those people that's just such a natural," Reagan says. "She relates to women so well, and she's just a huge advocate for women in the industry." Kristen*'s seminar, like Karan Abad's, will focus on storytelling, "but not on the technical side," says Reagan. "It will be more of the art of how you can enhance your stories by way of natural sound bites, interviewing, that sort of thing."

Naturally, seminar topics only tell part of the story at an event like POSH, where socializing and building a community of women filmmakers are just as important as the educational aspects. The festivities kick in immediately on Sunday when POSH's 50 attendees arrive at the Beach Palace. "Sunday night, we're having a welcome party, and it's going to be on the rooftop of the building overlooking the ocean, with cocktails and appetizers. That was one of the things people put in the survey: ‘We'd like to meet everybody before the event actually starts.'" POSH will also include a series of group dinners, Reagan says, "because that was a big thing with the cruise last year. We all got to eat together at the same time, and every night we'd switch it up and sit in different seats so everybody got a chance to really talk to one another, and we didn't have any Internet service or cell phone service so people couldn't use their phones. It was cool that people actually connected and were listening to their conversations because you couldn't be checking your phone and half-listen. [POSH 2010 attendee] Meg Simone said, ‘You need to make a POSH pledge where everyone puts their phone away during the actual event.' They can have it out at night or wherever because there's wireless, we actually have wireless service at the hotel this year. But people have to put their phones and laptops away during the actual POSH part because that's where we connect on a deeper level."

Like last year's event, POSH 2011 will also include a free day, which attendees can spend shooting, socializing, or on group excursions organized through the hotel, similar to the snorkeling trip a large number of POSHettes took together last year which, along with the group dinners and other smartphone-free events, probably went a long way toward developing one of the signature elements of POSH that has evolved in the months since POSH 2010: an ongoing sense of community arguably unmatched anywhere in the industry.
Jen says it started with a private "POSHette" Facebook page that one attendee started after last year's event; "it's like we're a family there."

Reagan adds, "Several of the POSHettes have worked together now. They might put on the POSH page, ‘Hey, I need somebody to shoot with me,' and they'll ask a POSH girl before they'll ask anyone else because they'd rather work with one of their POSH friends. So we've seen a lot of collaboration and working together and just being supportive of one another. You can go on there and talk about anything and not feel intimidated that people might think you don't know what you're talking about."

Another area in which they're maintaining POSH as an active, going concern between events is through the POSH blog-a multiauthor blog featuring guest bloggers with tips and advice (similar to the blog created by Team IN[FOCUS], a consistent POSH supporter) as well as profiles showcasing the work and accomplishments of female filmmakers throughout the industry. "Starting this month," Reagan says, "we're going to be having a lot of guest bloggers writing and doing video posts for us, just trying to recognize people that aren't as maybe well known in the filmmaking community, and give them a little bit more of their voice and promote their studio. But we're going to be doing that with just women."

POSH 2011 will also feature a number of valuable giveaways, from participating sponsors including Loktah, Kessler Crane, Cinevate, Song Freedom, DP Slider, and Lens Pro to Go.

Registration is now open on http://posheventonline.com and will be available until October 1. Also on the site-along with the ongoing new posts to the blog-is more information about the event, and how Reagan and Jen are continuing to build on the success of their event and cultivate the community it helped create. And ad for those who may have been a little disappointed to discover that POSH 2011 wouldn't be a repeat of last year's cruise, Reagan says, choosing a "unique location" was still paramount to creating the POSH 2.0 experience. "We knew coming into this year that we didn't want to have it at a hotel with a conference room. There's nothing wrong with that, but what we're trying to do to differentiate our event is have it in a unique, relaxing place where we can hang out and have a great time even after the presentations are done. And that's really where we get our networking in, hanging out on the beach while sipping a piña colada."

Stephen Nathans-Kelly (stephen.nathans at infotoday.com) is editor-in-chief of EventDV.

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Team IN[FOCUS] Unveils Dates, Location, and Theme for IN[FOCUS] 2012

IN[FOCUS] 2012The cat is out of the bag at last: IN[FOCUS] 2012 will happen January 16-19, 2012 at the Francis Marion hotel in historic Charleston, South Carolina. The theme: The Legacy. We'll get into more detail with Team IN[FOCUS] Educational Maestro Chris P. Jones next week but here's the info we have so far, directly from infocusvideoevent.com:

In continuing our pursuit of bringing intentional, relational, educational gatherings to the event filmmaking community, we are excited to announce In[Focus] 2012 for January 16-19 in Charleston, South Carolina.

In 2012, we will reflect upon the legacies of those that have brought us to where we are today and focus on building legacies of our own.

Through 12 platform presentations from innovative industry leaders, In[Focus] 2012 will share with you how to develop a strong business with deep roots that will serve as a legacy to your name.

Monday, January 16th: 8 optional workshops for accelerated, hands on learning.
Tuesday, January 17th: Platform Presentations Day 1
Wednesday, January 18th: Platform Presentations Day 2
Thursday, January 19th: Platform Presentations Day 3
Friday, January 20th: Travel Day.  Seriously.  Don’t leave on Thursday.  You will miss out.

Other items of note

September 13th, 2011 – Announcing Speakers and Workshops
September 20th, 2011 – Last day for full refund

$575 – early bird admission
$650 – regular admission
$700 – walkup admission

Visit http://www.infocusvideoevent.com/ to learn more.

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Recap: IVA Filmmakers Expo 2011

IVA Filmmakers Expo 2011What more could you want than some beautiful summer weather in an amazing city while being educated by some of the top event filmmakers in the industry? The 5th Annual IVA Expo held in Itasca, Chicago on June 28-29 was a packed two full days of business strategies, branding, storytelling, and inspiration.

Day 1 started off with a powerful presentation on "Rebranding & Evolution" by EventDV 25 all-star filmmaker Dave Williams of Cinema Cake. Dave said that, as a business owner, you're going to run into bumpy roads and roadblocks, but it's how you handle these obstacles that will make you successful. He talked about things he has learned over his years in business, such as how finding the right staff and delegating responsibilities is important to growing as a company. He also told attendees that utilizing tools such as ShootQ, Basecamp, and Quickbooks will help them keep organized, and encouraged them to always put a personal touch into everything they do, from branding to all their dealings with clients. Be authentic, be true to yourself, and "inject some estrogen into your brand," Dave advised IVA Expo attendees, as your target audience (in the wedding world) is female.

Next up was Matt Bishop of MI Studios, who gave us the 101 on growing your business with social media. Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising, Matt noted, and explained how he doesn't spend money on advertising but utilizes his time in growing his viral presence with the use of his blog and Facebook—an approach that has helped him book destination weddings. Becoming a social media expert and really putting the time and effort into this niche of marketing is so crucial to enhancing not only your brand, but your SEO too.

I was excited to attend the trade show during presentation breaks. It was a true gearfest with product demonstrations from Canon, Panasonic, Adobe, Safe Hatbor Computers, and LCD4Video. There is nothing better than being able to touch and feel equipment and get one-on-one time with the vendors. We were lucky to have Adobe give an in-depth demonstration on all the tools in CS5,5 Production Premium, which was fascinating.

Next up was EventDV 25 Filmmaker Steve Zugelter (also my husband and partner in Studio Z Films). He gave us the nuts and bolts on a "Studio Makeover." After rebranding with a name change back in June 2009, he talked about how the rebirth and transformation was vital for the growth of his (our) business. The key to a total makeover of your studio is by thinking different technically, business-wise, and in terms of your brand. He inspired as all by asking us to keep an open mind, have a clear direction, and stay true to ourselves, all of which is important for a successful makeover.

Another Event25 all-star, Steve Fowler of Steven Fowler Films, gave us tips on "WILD Sales in a Tough Economy." Fowler made very strong points on pricing and having enough confidence in yourself to charge what you're worth. Fowler's key points: Don't give it away; if you don't ask for it, you're not going to get it; and every time you go out on a job, you put everything at risk—so why do it for less? One of his most powerful statements during his presentation was, "Don't sacrifice your own life so other people will remember theirs."

The last presentation of Day 1 was from another EventDV 25 filmmaker and master storyteller, Chicago's own JJ Kim of Orange Wedding Films, who gave away his storytelling secrets, and then acknowledged that there really are no big secrets. It is more about how you must focus more on finding your own style and adding certain elements to build a unique story for each couple, Kim said. When doing this you can't just be the fly on the wall anymore because you're doing more then just documenting the day. You can feel Kim's passion as he talks about that we must continue to elevate this industry, and it really is all about educating couples by showing them higher-quality films.

Day 2 was a full day of hands-on DSLR training. The day started off with tips and tricks during preparations from Keith Anderson and JJ Kim. The group moved to the church location where Williams, Fowler, and Zugelter talked pre-production at the ceremony location. They then showed how they approach a wedding day during an actual mock wedding, providing ways that filmmakers can shoot differently for a creative edit. We moved back to the hotel and Kim led the creative session post ceremony while Steve Zugelter put together a Same-Day Edit. Day 2 continued with Zugelter dissecting Same-Day Edits through the editing process and showed the SDE from the day's hands-on training.

IVA Expo concluded with Javier Villarreal from Watermark Studios taking attendees through his SDE workflow using Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium and showing the clip he was able to edit at the end of his hour. Javier brought in clips from multiple cameras including 3 Canon 5Ds, a Canon 7D, and the Canon XF305, and edited them in real-time.

It was two days packed with knowledge, inspiration, old friends, and new ones. Each presenter selflessly shared their recipes for success while igniting a motivational fire within the attendees. It was a great end to an unforgettable time in Chicago.

Reagan Zugelter (reagan at StudioZFilms.com) is co-owner of Cincinatti-based 2010 EventDV 25 honoree Studio Z Films with her husband, Steve, and co-founder of the POSH Retreat with fellow EventDV 25 all-star Jennifer Moon of Northernlight Filmworks.

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Singular Promises 3x-10x Speed Upgrades in DualEyes 2.0 and PluralEyes 2.0

Singular Software, developer of workflow automation applications for digital media, is pleased to announce DualEyes and PluralEyes 2.0. Thanks to a combination of algorithm improvements and multiprocessing techniques, DualEyes and PluralEyes 2.0 automatically synchronize video and audio clips at speeds three to 10 times greater than their predecessors – allowing users to finish projects even faster.

"In terms of speed, both DualEyes and PluralEyes version 1 releases were already miles ahead of any manual synchronization methods, but faster is always better and we are pleased to introduce new versions of the software with enhanced sync capabilities that perform at record-breaking speeds," says Bruce Sharpe, CEO, Singular Software. "Daily rushes, same-day edits and quick-turnaround event videos all benefit from faster post-production techniques."

PluralEyes 2.0 for Final Cut Pro is available for purchase today. Users can download and test drive the new PluralEyes for Final Cut Pro 2.0 as well as preview versions of DualEyes 2.0 (Mac OS X and Windows) and PluralEyes 2.0 for Premiere Pro and Vegas Pro from http://www.singularsoftware.com/downloads.html. "Development is moving along smoothly and we expect to have all remaining 2.0 host releases out within the next few weeks," comments Sharpe. "Simultaneously, we are also looking at the new Final Cut X release and walking through the qualification process. As with all of our hosts, the intent is to support new releases and provide free updates for users who want to move forward, as well as offer the product for users who want to stay with their existing versions."

Singular Software users can sign up for automatic software update alerts at http://www.singularsoftware.com/newsletters.html.

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CHV Rolls Out New FCPX and Motion 5 Plug-ins

CHV-Electronics Inc., software developer of plugins for Final Cut Pro, Motion and Final Cut Express since 2002, is pleased to announce today that all available FxPlug plugin packages and QC Integration FX from CHV are now fully compatible with Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5.

CHV is proud to be the first FxPlug plugin developer to release any new native plugins for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5 after Apple made the FxPlug 2.0 Software Developer Kit for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5 available for all developers Version 2.0.0 is based on the new FxPlug SDK V2.0 and takes full advantage of Snow Leopards's new 64-bit architecture.

The new plugin packages are:
  • Particles Heaven FX is the first native particle emitter for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5. This package also includes a series of ready-to-use templates for Final Cut Pro X. The templates can be modified without any restriction by the user to create even more effects or to adapt the effects to fit the personal meeds.

  • Morphing FX is the first ever native morph effect plugin package ever for Motion 5. You can create a morph effect with Motion 5 and use it directly with Final Cut Pro X.

  • Shining FX is a set of 11 hardware accelerated real-time FxPlug plugins dedicated to creating high-quality glow, shine and volumetric light effects. A large set of parameters make these plugins highly versatile and you can make them look different each time you use them.

  • Magic 3D FX is a set of four FxPlug plugins to create stunning 3D effects. Effects like the creation of an animated filmstrip, a plane with hundreds of video clips an a 3 dimensional cube can be setup in a matter of seconds.

  • QC Integration FX allows the user to do even more than any other plugin package. Using Apple's Quartz Composer technology this package provides the user with almost 100 plugins and also the most advanced plugin platform to quickly create and modify plugins for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5. QC Integration FX is specifically designed to enable the user to build FxPlug plugins for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5 and also to build plugins for sale with copyright-protection. Third party developers can create Quartz Composer based visual effects and sell them securely on their own with CHV's unmatched copy-protection system preventing the uncontrolled distribution of serial numbers.

  • Key Pro is an AddOn plugin package for QC Integration FX. Key Pro includes 5 video filters to handle all tasks related to greenscreen and bluescreen keying, like keying, spill suppression, create a clean plate and adding ambient light spill to a keyed object.

  • Svengali Rays Pro is an AddOn plugin package for QC Integration FX that creates volumetric light effects that starts right at the source (unlike most other light spill plugins). This makes your light spill effect shine and glow like no other.

    3D Video is an AddOn plugin package for QC Integration FX. This video filter that expands an image or video clip in up to 256 three dimensional layers. The layering is controlled by the brightness of the RGB/YUV channels of the image or video itself or another video or image. You can rotate the camera around the 3D object and distort and bend the layers in many different ways.

  • Towers of Film 3D FX is a free plugin that creates a 3 dimensional city. You can take the camera als fly around the city and over the streets.

All new plugins are a separate download and can be used in a mixed Final Cut Pro X / Final Cut Pro 7 environment.

It is not necessary to purchase Motion 5 from Apple to use CHV's plugins with Final Cut Pro X.

All plugin packages are also available for Final Cut Pro 5, 6 and 7 and Motion 2, 3 and 4.

The new plugin package are compatible with all Intel Mac computers on OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) that are qualified to run Final Cut Pro X or Motion 5.

All FxPlug plugin packages from CHV-electronics are GPU-accelerated, using the full power of the installed graphics adapter for direct feedback and fast rendering.

QC Integration FX: $ 95
Key Pro: $ 95
Svengali Rays Pro: $ 55
3D Video: $ 55

FxPlug-Bundle (bundles Morphing FX, Magic 3D FX, Particles Heaven FX and Shining FX): $ 254
Morphing FX: $ 65
Particles Heaven FX: $95
Shining FX: $ 75
Magic 3D FX: $ 65

The update is free for existing customers.

CHV-Electronics, Inc.

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PowerProduction Premieres StoryBoard Artist 5

(Los Gatos, California--July 14, 2011) PowerProduction Software, a leading developer of visualization software for film and video production, announced that StoryBoard Artist Version 5 is now available. StoryBoard Artist is an essential tool for filmmakers, allowing fast creation of great-looking digital storyboards. Extended file import options, new built-in artwork, automatic storyboard generation, and sketch-style presentations headline an array of new features in the new Version 5 release.

“StoryBoard Artist has served as a high-end storyboarding solution for over a decade,” commented Paul Clatworthy, CTO, PowerProduction Software. “Since the initial StoryBoard Artist release, we have added indispensable features such as the Timeline, which sets storyboard frames in time with tracks of audio for impressive presentations, and Non-Linear Links, which accounts for user interactivity in game and mobile app development. Version 5 builds upon this rich history of innovation by introducing automatic storyboard generation and sketch-style presentations.”

StoryBoard Artist Version 5 New Features
  • Extended File Import Options including 3D Google SketchUp files.
  • New Built-In Artwork including more Character, Prop, and Location options.
  • Object Effects allow artists to easily customize built-in artwork.
  • Sketch Mode for printing, working, and presenting.
  • QuickShots Technology for fast automated storyboard creation. QuickShots uses a catalog of shot types that the artist can pair with Characters and Locations.

The new StoryBoard Artist Version 5 features can be seen in action at any time via a movie demonstration that is available on the PowerProduction Software website.

Pricing and Availability
StoryBoard Artist Version 5 is immediately available through the PowerProduction Software worldwide reseller channel and direct from the PowerProduction Software web site at http://www.powerproduction.com for an MSRP of $799.99 USD. Upgrade pricing is available for users of StoryBoard Quick or previous versions of StoryBoard Artist.

About PowerProduction Software
PowerProduction Software has been a trendsetter in storyboard software for over a decade. The Hollywood production community has made them a staple in a very competitive niche. Their staff of well-rounded media professionals is dedicated to making sure that the software programming serves the needs of the customers, not the designers. It is this approach that has set them apart from other software developers in the storyboard software community. For more information, visit http://www.powerproduction.com.

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