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Copyright © 2004 -
Information Today, Inc.

June 13, 2005

Table of Contents

Class Act: Price Fixing
New Spot Version of LitePanels Mini Debuts
RIDATA 16X DVD-R Media Now Available From Advanced Media
Samsung Announces a New Lineup of Advanced LCD and Plasma Monitor Display Solutions Tailored to the Pro A/V and Corporate Communities
MAGIX Announces Audio Cleaning Lab 10
VASST and B&H Partner to Offer Year-Long Series of High-Quality, Affordable Video Production Seminars
Survey #17: RESULTS

Class Act: Price Fixing

As a state university TV producer, I don't have the extravagant, throw-caution-to-the-wind budget to buy anything I set my mind on, but I do get the thrill of researching equipment to find the best product available for a given price range. I probably love saving money even more than I love spending it! Have you ever listened to someone talk about getting a great deal on something? They brag about it as if they, alone, possess the power to get a good deal. It doesn't matter if it is a car or a lawnmower; people love talking about all the money they saved in comparison to what "most people pay."

For some reason that I have yet to understand, I have always been the guy assigned to purchase all of the video gear for the outfits I've worked for. The quality and price of this gear I buy would seem like a fortune to some and pittance to others, but the concept of savings holds true across the board. After years of phone calls, Web browsing, shows, demos, etc., I have developed a philosophy and approach that has saved my employers a lot of money and heartache.

Once I moved to an academic setting I learned rather quickly to speak up and inquire about "academic" pricing. This, alone, can make a huge difference in the purchase price of a lot of different types of gear. Most people know that educators get price incentives for buying computers and software, but very few people take the time to research other products with academic price incentives, which range from lights to bags. There are some exceptions, I'm sure, but what really shocks me are colleagues that have no idea that such incentives are available.

It's usually good to cut out as many middlemen as you can, which means starting at the top with the manufacturers, whenever possible. Usually they will not deal directly by selling to you at reduced prices but it never hurts to ask, and if they are not able to deal directly, they will usually put you in contact with a dealer that can. This is one of the big benefits of going to a trade expo such as NAB; it can put you in contact with the people who can get you the best deal.

Even though businesses outside academia can't take advantage of academic discounts, you don't need to pay MSRP for everything you buy. But you'll probably need to do a little more research to find a deal. Relationships are just as valuable as price incentives. We have several vendors who give us great deal because we have been buying from them since they opened their doors.

Fantastic prices can come with hidden costs, so beware. Look for a reputable vendor that you trust. Don't judge a vendor by how they treat you before your purchase, but rather after the check has been cashed. Not surprisingly, the vendors I favor are always willing to help out with problems or answer questions, even if it doesn't mean getting a sale.

One thing that has worked for me is that I usually try to work with as few vendors as I can. For example, let's say I want to outfit a field package with camera, lights, microphone, batteries, etc. So I bid it out to 3-5 vendors. My favorite vendor isn't the lowest, isn't the highest, but somewhere in the middle. His price on the camera (the biggest-ticket item) is as good as the others and the vendor can get me everything I need. In this case, I would go with them because they were competitive and I don't have to worry about the time it will take to search for different vendors for everything I need to purchase.

Time is money! Another plus in making a big purchase through a single vendor is when problems come up. They are uniquely motivated to keep me happy by helping to resolve problems and I am able to build on that relationship by rewarding them with my future business for their efforts. I also suggest being honest with current and potential vendors. If you're looking around at other products or places, tell them the truth. I find that the more honest I am, the more honest they are with me. Also, if you do a little research and know some information about the product beforehand, they are usually less guarded and more willing to talk about product features (the good points and the bad).

While I would love to give a shout out to all the great vendors and manufacturers that I've dealt with through the years, I won't in fear of forgetting someone or saying that something might be misinterpreted. If you're interested in finding out who's saved me a bundle while I was spending a bundle, drop me a line. Have fun shopping.

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New Spot Version of LitePanels Mini Debuts

Now LitePanels Mini, the portable LED light system, is available in a Spot as well as the original flood version. The new Spot produces daylight balanced lighting, along with the benefits of a longer throw. LitePanels LED lights employ efficient technology for soft, projected output.

Flicker free and virtually heat free, according to LitePanels, the new Mini Spot is more than three times as efficient as a conventional tungsten camera light, the company claims. While the original Mini Flood provides a 50-degree spread, the Spot yields a 20-degree footprint.

With its compact, rectangular housing, the LitePanels Mini Spot fits easily on camera, a stand, or in many tight spots. LitePanels Mini Spot offers the same features as the Flood, including light weight (just 9.6 oz.), 0-100% dimming with virtually no shift in color, and integrated control knob. The system can be powered from a variety of sources, including a standard camera battery, car battery, AC adapter, or the new longer life NIMH 2 hr snap-on battery pack.


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RIDATA 16X DVD-R Media Now Available From Advanced Media

Advanced Media, Inc. has announced the addition of 16X DVD-R discs to its RIDATA brand lineup of high quality recordable media. The new RIDATAwrite-once formatted 16X DVD-R is a high-capacity multimedia data storage medium that can accommodate an entire full-length movie on a single disc. The RIDATA brand 16X DVD-R discs are available through selected retailers, distributors, and online outlets in North and South America.

The write-once formatted 16X DVD-R RIDATA disc has a 4.7GB capacity. The new write-once media features high compatibility with all popular DVD-R recording hardware. The disc is also backward compatible with DVD-R recorders that have proper firmware upgrades and can be used at all recording speeds from 1X through 16X.

It offers a high-quality, stable medium through the use of premium organic dyes for accurately recording all types of data. The new discs are ideal for recording up to 2 hours of DVD quality movies, crisp audio performance, archival storage, duplication, network backup, multimedia presentations, and stunning digital video/photography resolution. It too has long-term data archiving and 30 years safe storage life functionality through its excellent UV and heat resistance. A limited lifetime warranty is also included on all RIDATA media.

It features convenient single formatting for both video and data storage; constant linear data density; long archival and storage life; very low recording error rate; and low jitter.


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Samsung Announces a New Lineup of Advanced LCD and Plasma Monitor Display Solutions Tailored to the Pro A/V and Corporate Communities

New 40" and 46" LCD displays and 42" and 50" plasma displays Samsung has announced a new lineup of advanced LCD monitor display solutions tailored to the Pro A/V and corporate communities, and unveiled three new additions to its family of high-end plasma displays. Samsung's latest family of LCDs include the network enabled 46-inch SyncMaster 460pn ($8,949 estimated street price) and the 40-inch SyncMaster 400pn ($6,749), as well as the new large-screen 46-inch SyncMaster 460p ($8,159) and 40-inch SyncMaster 400p ($5,959). The new plasma lineup includes the 42" high-definition PPM42M5H, the 42" standard-definition PPM42M5S, and the 50" PPM50M5H. All new LCD and Plasma monitors will be on display at InfoComm 2005 at Samsung's booth #2318. The SyncMaster 460pn and 460p are currently shipping, and the SyncMaster 400pn and 400p will be shipping by the end of June. Pricing and availability dates for the Plasma monitors have not yet been determined.

Samsung's latest large-screen LCD monitors are specifically designed for use in commercial and corporate applications. Samsung's SyncMaster 460pn and SyncMaster 400pn offer an Ethernet connection and Samsung's MagicNet technology, which allows users to send content to any MagicNet display on a network from a server. MagicNet allows users to show different content on different displays at different times, and schedule content up to a month in advance. At InfoComm 2005, Samsung will also be unveiling its SyncMaster 460p and SyncMaster 400p, offering the same high-end display technologies without the MagicNet enhancements, for those without network-related applications.

Samsung's new high-end plasma monitors offer a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and 1,100cd/m2 brightness level. In order to achieve this super-high 10,000:1 contrast ratio, Samsung has developed an exclusive octal plasma pixel structure that increases the electrical separation between the pixels. This reduces the tendency for one pixel to influence the adjacent pixel, which increases the contrast. Samsung has also chosen a high-Xenon gas, which is up to 50% more efficient in generating brightness.

The 42" PPM42M5H features a 1024x768 resolution and is true high-definition by matching the 720p HDTV format without the need for processing. The standard-definition 42" PPM42M5S is a more economical display solution incorporating a 852 x 480 resolution. The 50" PPM50M5H sports a 1366x768 resolution.

Samsung's new lineup of plasma displays offer advanced Anti-Burn Technologies including Auto Pixel Shift that keeps the images moving imperceptibly and Samsung's Always White technology combines with its Signal Pattern Process to eliminate electrically charged residual images. Each display device includes inputs for composite video, component video that offers 480i/p, 720p, and 1080i viewing, S-Video for gaming applications, DVI for digital video sources, and an RGB input for use with a PC.


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MAGIX Announces Audio Cleaning Lab 10

MAGIX has announced MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab 10, which restores music from old scratchy vinyl albums, cassettes, and old CDs turning them into four-channel surround sound CDs and DVDs. Featuring 24-bit sound, new surround transitions and fully-automated de-hissing capabilities, MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab 10 cleans and polishes up favorite music, burning it onto CD, DVD, and now DVD-Audio.

The latest version of this audio restoration program records up to 7 CDs onto a single DVD which is playable on any conventional DVD player for non-stop music enjoyment. Available June 16, MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab 10 is priced at $39.99.

MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab 10 uses "Spectral Cleaning" to remove background noise or comments from recordings of Internet radio or classic live concerts without affecting the music. Because of the Surround Editor and new Surround Transitions, MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab 10 users can take advantage of DVD players and Dolby Pro Logic-compatible systems, as well as create a smoother sound experience with automatic fading at the end of tracks.

MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab's features such as "Tape Simulation" avoid that malady with warmer, more powerful analog-like sound. The "Chorus Filter" makes thin MP3s sound like they came straight from a stereo. Hi-Fi experts as well as novices will enjoy enhanced restoration capabilities, such as manual click removal, DeHisser 2.0, and DeNoiser 2.0, with a wizard that immediately locates and fixes disturbing noises. These and other important features are now easily accessible through the new "Task Assistant," which also includes helpful mini-video tutorials. MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab 10 will be available June 16, 2005 through MAGIX dealers.


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VASST and B&H Partner to Offer Year-Long Series of High-Quality, Affordable Video Production Seminars

VASST (Video Audio Surround Streaming Training), a leading provider of training resources for multimedia professionals and hobbyists, today announced that it has partnered with B&H, a top reseller of professional photography, video and audio equipment, to co-sponsor the B&H/VASST Community Event Series, a succession of low-cost, high-value seminars targeted towards the "Promedia" community (Pro Audio, Video, Lighting & Non-Linear Editing).

Based on the overwhelming success of Now Hear This!, a VASST audio production seminar held in March by Grammy, Emmy & duPont award winner, Douglas Spotted Eagle, VASST and B&H will now co-sponsor ten to 12 seminars throughout the year. To launch the series, VASST and B&H will host Improve Your Video with Better Voice Over and Narration on June 20. Targeted at videographers and voice over artists, Improve Your Video with Better Voice Over and Narration is a crash-but-comprehensive seminar led by Don Elliot, former Program Director and Production Manager at Clear Channel's KIIS-FM in Los Angeles. Don's rich career in voice over techniques and technology spans across TV, FM, AM, Video and Voice Over. Don will teach attendees voice over tips and techniques and the technical aspects of how to create effective, professional-sounding voiceover tracks.

The second seminar in the series, Royalty-Free Music Creation, is scheduled for August 8. This workshop is for musicians, videographers, and DJs or anyone interested in creating loop-based music using a variety of software programs including Acid and Garage Band. Each seminar is an all-day (6-8 hours) educational event. The cost to attend will be under $100 per person.

To get more information on the B&H/VASST Community Event Series go to www.vasst.com.

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Survey #17: RESULTS


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