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March 28, 2005

Table of Contents

Continuing Education: Ripple Training's Final Cut Pro: Advanced Techniques
My Kind of Town: WEVA Town Meeting, Chicago, March 23-24, 2005
Studio Time: Selling the Future
New In-Stat Report Predicts DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray Future
Free Nero Digital Version Available in April
Disc Makers Announces Price Drops on Reflex DVD Duplicators
MacroSystem Ships PhotoStudio 1.1 Add-On for Casablanca
EventDV Spotlight Survey #9: RESULTS

Continuing Education: Ripple Training's Final Cut Pro: Advanced Techniques

I met Steve Martin in Las Vegas during the WEVA Expo.

No… not the Wild and Crazy Guy Steve Martin-the Ripple Training Steve Martin. (Of course, he might be wild and crazy but he kept his cool during our chat.)

This is the Steve Martin who hosts Final Cut Pro: Advanced Techniques, an interactive DVD-ROM available from Ripple Training (www.rippletraining.com). Final Cut Pro: Advanced Techniques (written and produced by Martin along with Andrew Balis and Nathan Haggard), boasts more than 50 tutorials on effective use of Apple's popular NLE, and is so straightforward and easy to follow that even the newest of FCP editors should have no problem jump-starting their abilities with it.

FCP: AT opens with the main interface and a Start Here button. This simply opens up a help movie explaining how to navigate the interface, which in itself is pretty self-explanatory. Steve's voice guides you with onscreen actions that you can follow along with using the included media. This allows you the ability to learn by seeing, by hearing, and--most importantly--by doing. Having a dual-monitor setup is ideal for this: FCP: AT on one, your FCP interface on the other.

Along the left are chapter buttons, and in each chapter are more specific buttons, making this not only an excellent training device, but an equally useful reference tool. The Play All button in each chapter will play each sub-chapter in sequence.

Most of the tutorials include suggestions on how to accomplish a variety of tasks, offering not just one, but several approaches to streamlining your workflow, giving you the flexibility to pick the one that works the best for you. There are so many tools and so many ways to accomplish the same tasks in Final Cut Pro that many users tend to develop a method of doing something and not really investigating alternative approaches. This is the case with the Ripple and Slide tools for me.

After watching the tutorial on Segment Trimming under Timeline Timesavers, I've developed a new understanding of these tools. From logging to final output, there are 57 training sessions, eight of which are geared towards those working in 24p or 24fps film. In addition, the DVD-ROM also has sample chapters from other training discs, direct links to the Ripple Training Web site, and free tutorials.

In short, I tried to find something about this DVD-ROM to dislike, just so this review comes across as fair and balanced. Okay, I don't work with 24p so I'll concede that that chapter wasn't much use to me. There. Happy now?

Final Cut Pro: Advanced Techniques is available at www.rippletraining.com for $79.

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My Kind of Town: WEVA Town Meeting, Chicago, March 23-24, 2005

I attended my first WEVA Town Meeting in Arlington Heights, Illinois, on March 23, climbing aboard the WEVA train for the third stop of their annual five-city barnstorming tour. This was actually my second WEVA event—I attended WEVA Expo last August in Las Vegas—which means I was really going about things backwards. The not-so-subtle message of the WEVA Town Meeting is a resounding call to attend WEVA Expo, which is fair enough; after all, they just fed you a free dinner, and they've got a powerhouse program to promote.

If you've never attended a WEVA Town Meeting, you may not know that it's actually a two-part program, spread over two days. The heart of the event is the Town Meeting itself, a free-of-charge evening of good food, networking, and individual and panel presentations. This is where the real Expo pep rally happens, although there's plenty of valuable content in the meeting as well. Flanking the Town Meeting evening program is the two-day WEVA Institute, a collection of a la carte workshops (the vendor presentations are free, others cost $35-$50) that represent a sort of mini-Expo. Featured presenters include some of WEVA Expo's star attractions, including Creative Video Productions' Brett Culp and PixelPops' Lance Gray, who were both on hand for the Chicago event; the tour's remaining two stops, New York (March 31) and Las Vegas (during NAB) will feature EventDV columnist John Goolsby, Mark and Trisha Von Lanken, and others.

At the Chicago event, Brett Culp—who's become to the WEVA Creative Excellence Awards what Stevie Wonder was to the Grammys in the 1970s--gave an inspiring presentation on his favorite topic, inspiration. In his four-hour seminar, Culp discussed ways to bring new, invigorating ideas into all phases of videography, from image and marketing to artistry and production. "I get tired of people being embarrassed about what they do," said Culp at the Town Meeting. "We extend the memories of families. The video we do becomes more valuable to the people we make it for with every year that passes. So you'll have to excuse me if I sound a little passionate about wedding video."

Vendors on-hand for the Chicago meeting included Sony, who offered seminars on HDV for wedding videographers, and Adobe, whose presentations focused on integrating video editing and DVD, and making inventive and effective use of audio in wedding video post-production.

WEVA Chairman Roy Chapman kicked off the Town Meeting portion by drawing attention to a recent U.S. News & World Report article on the flourishing of wedding videography, hooked with the line, "Tell Uncle Bob to leave his camcorder at home." Quoted in the article was Illinois Videographer Association president Kris Malandruccolo, who was also a panelist at the town meeting.

"Wedding video has come of age," Chapman said. "The sophistication of videographers is so far above where it was five years ago. Changes are happening, and the major media is recognizing it."

The highlight of the evening program was a well-balanced "Special Bridal Industry Q & A Panel," which combined videographers Malandruccolo and Culp with three local wedding consultants and party planners, and the editor of Chicago Style Weddings, a leading Chicagoland bridal magazine. The panel examined the dynamic between videographers and the consultants/planners who provide invaluable referrals and event vendor support when the right networks are in place. Culp and Malandruccolo discussed how they work to build relationships with other area vendors (Culp by making lunch dates each week with local vendors, Malandruccolo by establishing herself in the Association of Bridal Consultants, for example), and the wedding consultants talked about the inventiveness they look for when videographers send them demo reels—essential stuff, if you're trying to build a client base in the wedding video business.

Other topics included the value of the Web as a marketing tool—"At this point, if you don't have video up on the Web, you're getting beat by people who do before a client even gets into your studio," said Culp—and the importance of aggressive marketing in a challenging economy.

For more information about the remaining Town Meetings on WEVA's schedule, visit www.wevatownmeeting.com.

Photo: David Chandler-Gick, a deveraux film (www.adeverauxfilm.com)

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Studio Time: Selling the Future

This month's Studio Time takes a look at an iconic member of the videography community. First as WEVA's Expo and Town Meeting director and currently as the director of education for the 4EVER Group, Tim Ryan has continuously worked to advance the event videography industry. Meanwhile--no small feat--he has maintained an increasingly successful studio. Here's the story behind how he stumbled onto the profession and how his aesthetic journey has contributed to the evolution of his studio, Treasured Memories Video.

Love at First Sight
Long before Ryan picked up a video camera, he spent a lot of time behind a still camera. "Throughout high school I was a photographer. I even went to college for photography," he says, "but when I graduated college and tried to figure out what to do with my photography career, I found that selling cameras was more profitable than using them. I left photography as a hobby except for the camera sales." Then, in 1986, Ryan was in the midst of planning his first wedding when he was introduced to the idea of event videography. "I hadn't really even thought about video—I didn't even know that it existed—but when I finally selected a photographer and he suggested video, I got instantly excited," he says.

What really hooked him was watching the videographer work, and seeing that his job didn't involve the drudgery Ryan had experienced as a photographer. "He didn't have to organize family portraits," he recalls, "and all those hideous things that I hated about photographing weddings." His enthusiasm for videography drove him to open his own studio as soon as he could. "Not even three months later, I had gone to the bank, secured a loan, and bought my equipment," he says. "I started Treasured Memories Video in 1987."

He says he came up with the name by using a popular brand name as a jumping off point. "Back in 1986, one of the most popular things were these Precious Moments figures. My future ex-wife enjoyed those, and my mother thought that it was very relevant," he says. "So, sitting down at the kitchen table with my mother and a thesaurus, we literally went through every possible alternative to ‘Precious Moments.' When we laid out ‘Treasured Memories' I just thought that this is what it should be."

In his first two years in the industry, Ryan became very involved with the Long Island Videographers' Association, eventually becoming its president. Ryan's experience in retail sales led him into the position of general manager at Armatos Pro Video, a videography equipment retailer. "I pitched to the owner that I could run this better for him, and in 1990 I started working for Armatos," he says. "Part of my job was to make sure that they're known across the country to videographers. My name became known because I was there."

Ryan's visibility in the industry continued to grow through his involvement with WEVA and the 4EVER Group. [See "4EVER Group Fires Up Videographer Education Program, Awards" (http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=9417) for a quick chronicle of Ryan's ascent through the association ranks and his many contributions to the industry as a conference and seminar planner].

Revelations  
Despite his current reputation for high-end, artistic work, Ryan says his early years in the business did not stand out based on the quality of work. "I was admittedly pretty much like every other videographer in 1987," he says. "No matter what I did I just wasn't clever enough to do anything different. Then, in 1990, an interesting thing happened that set my business in a different direction."

That year, Ryan held a family viewing of some old 16mm footage that his grandfather had saved. "I found that my parents' wedding party was in there. My mother's bridal shower was in there," he says. The clips continued on, progressing through time. "I saw my christening and my first birthday. The family was watching in absolute amazement and joy."

That viewing occurred on a Sunday. The following Wednesday, Ryan's mother passed away unexpectedly. "Shortly thereafter, I came to the realization that that film that the we so enjoyed only four days earlier was exactly what I do for a living," says Ryan. "I create these heirlooms that will someday become so appreciated that you can't attach a price to them." This revelation caused Ryan to reassess what the service he was providing as an event videographer. "Videographers don't even realize what they're doing for a living. No one's thinking about this heirloom that we're creating for the family," he says. "[The video] is something that becomes more and more valuable as time goes on. What we're really selling is the future.

"At that time, this was an epiphany," he continues, "but all it did was change the way I sold wedding video. I don't think that I had the wherewithal to change my productions at that time." Over the years, though, Ryan pushed himself to test his creative limits, becoming increasingly meticulous with his editing in an effort to reach this heirloom ideal. "At some point along the way, I stopped editing my work and gave it to a professional editor," he says. "In some ways, it is a great thing because it frees up your time, but it also created a problem because the editors I found didn't necessarily share my level of enthusiasm or standards. They're more worried about how they can get this out the door quickly. It took a number of years before I found an editor who shared my vision and enthusiasm."

He did finally find the perfect editing partner in Dave Steward, who—while an independent contractor—is Treasured Memories' exclusive editor. After Steward equaled and exceeded Ryan's expectations on his first assignments, he says, "I sat down and had a heart-to-heart with him. I told him that we could build a strong, long-term relationship," Ryan continues. "That was another changing point because now I could count on the editing."

This boost in confidence resulted in Treasured Memories' changing its quality-control mindset and doubling its fees. "If you want the good shooters, you've got to pay them. If you want this great editor, you've got to pay him," he says. "If you want a less expensive video, there's less expensive video everywhere; there are many in my neighborhood who will charge half as much as I do, but it's less than half the quality. I made the decision that I wanted to do high-end, artistic videos"--and charge what they're worth.

The final epiphany that Ryan experienced in his work happened a bit later, when he figured out that he couldn't sell video to every couple that approached him to do their wedding. "That was another big moment when I realized that I wasn't going to be the videographer for every single couple. I kept thinking that I should be," he says. Around this time, Ryan also came to accept the fact that "you're not going to turn a $2,000 bride into a $5,000 bride," he says. "You can't be the videographer for every bride, so pick the brides that you want to go for, recognize that there's a difference between them, and then deliver what they want."

Treasured Memories in 2005
Today, Treasured Memories Video employs a small group of people. "I produce the videos, and I make all of the sales and marketing decisions," says Ryan. "My wife does all of the administration, all of the followup calls with the brides and crew, and all the paperwork and scheduling." Ryan and his wife, LeeAnn are the only full-time employees of Treasured Memories. "We have three shooters, all of whom are freelance. They're the only three guys that we use, so when they get a call from Treasured Memories, they know exactly what's entailed and what we're looking for," says Ryan. Editor Dave Steward rounds out Ryan's regulars.

Treasured Memories' wedding packages start at $1,899, although Ryan says he rarely sells a job that cheap and more often works on projects that range from $3-4,000. "I say we start at $1,899, but we never sell it. It's just a marketing technique," he says. He believes many videographers are afraid of using this hook to lure customers in as they're afraid of underselling themselves, but Ryan sees this as a bit of a misnomer. "The only reason a bride who calls asks how much videos are is because it's the only single thing that every videographer has that's the same. So they always ask the same questions because they don't know what specific questions to ask," he says. Once potential clients make it in the door for a viewing of Ryan's past work, "they want what they saw. Of course, that's going to be $3-4,000," he says.

"I've got a whole strange philosophy on selling wedding videos. I believe that when it comes to a sales pitch, it's not like selling a car or another concrete product. The most important thing that you're selling is trust. A wedding's the most important day of your clients' lives. They have to trust you to be able to capture it, record it, and preserve their memories," he says. "For the bulk of the time that they sit down with me, I'm building rapport, asking questions. The more they get to talk about themselves and the more comfortable they become with me, the more they trust me. By the time I'm ready to show them video, I've already built a bond with these people. Then when I'm showing my video, all I'm doing is confirming their feelings about me and my ability to get the job done."

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New In-Stat Report Predicts DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray Future

New digital delivery services are not likely to supplant the DVD business, but rather bring digital entertainment to people by adding either convenience or accessibility that complements what the "Packaged Goods" can provide, reports In-Stat www.in-stat.com. More consumers want instant access to video on their TV sets, portable devices, and cell phone handsets, but DVDs will continue to be a popular medium and will continue to experience substantial growth.

The worldwide value of all published DVD products is expected to grow with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 18.2%, from about US$33 Billion during 2004, up to US$76.5 Billion by 2009, the high-tech market research firm says.

"In North America, HD-DVD will jump start a round of growth for High Definition versions of Hollywood movies, as consumers begin replacing their libraries of old VHS tapes and DVDs," says Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst. "HD-DVDs will appear later this year, to take advantage of the growing installed base of HDTV sets in the US. However, we expect Blu-Ray products to take off in Asia in 2006, and in Europe and the ROW during 2007. Music videos, DualDisc products, and locally produced DVDs will account for 20% of the market value by 2009."

The In-Stat report also reported the following findings:

  • Point-of-Sale systems, like those from Rimage, will be connected to secure networks that are already in place to support digital signage applications. These kiosks will be used to "burn" DVD discs on command, making it possible for book stores, airport shops, coffee sellers, convenience markets and other retailers to sell DVDs without maintaining large inventories, while providing huge convenience. Outside of North America, Blu-ray will become the dominant HD format, because it is backed by the "who's who" of international consumer electronics manufacturers, and ultimately provides more storage capacity and better features.
  • Professional-quality DVD authoring packages are becoming widely available, which will increase the market for locally produced DVDs with all kinds of "content" from local movies, musical groups, churches, museums, businesses and regional video producers.
  • By 2009, nearly 55% of all TV households will be connected to at least one of the non-traditional network delivery systems such as Cable TV, Satellite networks, Digital Terrestrial TV, or Broadband TV service.

The report, Worldwide Electronic Entertainment: Packaged Goods Value And Network-Connected Households (#IN0501914CM), examines the worldwide market for consumer-oriented digital video entertainment. The report provides in-depth discussion and analysis of five trends that are shaping the DVD industry, and three trends that are shaping network-connected TV services. It contains forecasts for the regional and worldwide value of DVD markets broken out by Standard DVDs, Blu-ray DVDs, HD-DVDs, and Music and Locally Produced DVDs. It also includes forecasts for the number of TV households in four regions that will be connected to traditional, over-the-air broadcast TV, Cable TV, pay-TV Satellite services, Digital Terrestrial TV and Broadband (IP-TV) video services.

www.in-stat.com

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Free Nero Digital Version Available in April

Free Nero Digital will be available as a free download beginning of April 2005 at www.nero.com. Users will be able to download and try out all the features of Nero Digital, an MPEG-4 solution that enables users to fit the entire audio and video contents of a DVD on a regular data CD with no perceivable loss of quality, accorting to Nero.

Free Nero Digital consists of three separate applications: Nero Recode 2 CE as a 30-day trial, which allows users to create Nero Digital content; Nero ShowTime 2 CE, which allows users to play back Nero Digital content; and Nero MediaHome CE, which allows users to share Nero Digital or other content to UPnP devices or across their home networks. In addition, Nero Recode 2 CE supports chapter and subtitle encoding directly from DVD titles; up to two subtitles and two multi-channel audio tracks; and has profiles for CE device compatibility, including Mobile, Portable, Standard, Cinema, and HDTV.

Other features include support for recording to CD/DVD with file splitting and Fit-to-disc options. Another application included in Free Nero Digital is the Nero Showtime 2 CE media player, which allows the user to play back AVI, WMV, ASF, MOV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVC/H.264, MP3, WMA, and WAV. Also included are chapter, subtitle, and multi-channel audio support for Nero Digital video files; image adjustment, including brightness and contrast; interlaced and progressive sources; customizable on-screen display; changeable skins and chapter jump slider.

Users can share Nero Digital content with Nero MediaHome CE, which transforms an ordinary home network into a fully functional streaming media center. It allows most audio, video, and image files to be shared over a LAN (Local Area Network) and enables playback wired or wirelessly in Nero ShowTime 2 CE on networked systems, including laptops and on other UPnP-certified devices such as a TV, DVD players, DVRs, AV receivers, portable video devices, and speakers. Nero MediaHome CE also supports DVD playback from the PC, which means the program can send a DVD video playing on a PC's DVD player using ShowTime 2 CE to other UPnP-certified devices.

Users will additionally have the option to upgrade to Nero Digital Pro for unlimited use of Nero Recode, Nero Showtime, Nero MediaHome, and the integrated video editor Nero Vision Express, including the DVD-Video plug-in for MPEG-2 encoding/decoding; Dolby Digital 2 channel decoding; and AVC/H.264 encoding/decoding support, which will be available for purchase shortly.

www.nero.com
www.nerodigital.com
www.nerophotoshow.com

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Disc Makers Announces Price Drops on Reflex DVD Duplicators

Disc Makers, a manufacturer of CD and DVD duplication hardware, has announced that prices for the company's Reflex DVD tower duplicators have been reduced to make them more affordable for smaller recording, production, and post-production studios, as well as churches, offices, and schools.

The new prices include the following:

  • ReflexMax1 one-drive 16x DVD±R/48x CD-R, $390 (was $490)
  • ReflexMax4 four-drive 16x DVD±R/48x CD-R, $990 (was $1,290)
  • ReflexMax7 seven-drive 16x DVD±R/48x CD-R, $1,490 (was $1,790)
  • ReflexUltra seven-drive 16x DVD±R/48x CD-R, $1,090 (was $1,290)

ReflexMax duplicators write to all brands of media, according to DiscMakers. ReflexUltra duplicators are optimized to burn only Disc Makers Ultra discs. Both the ReflexMax and ReflexUltra will read masters recorded on any brand of media, DiscMakers says.

Reflex 52x CD-R duplicators are also available and start at $279.

www.discmakers.com/duplicators

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MacroSystem Ships PhotoStudio 1.1 Add-On for Casablanca

MacroSystem has now shipped Photo Studio 1.1 and announced that the new All Software CD containing Photo Studio is also available. Photo Studio is a program that builds slideshows and photo montages from digital images on Casablanca systems running Smart Edit 3.6d+ .

Photo Studio also adds effects, such as pans and zooms to existing images. Until now, it has only been possible to load digital photos into a Casablanca nonlinear editing system and edit them as a video sequence, according to MacroSystem, but Photo Studio provides a discrete tool that enables digital-image editing at the images' original resolution.

Photo Studio for Photo Transfer owners carries an MSRP of $149; for all others, the MSRP is $199.

www.casablanca.tv

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EventDV Spotlight Survey #9: RESULTS

results

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