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August 15, 2005

Table of Contents

Studio Time: He Shoots, He Scores
VASST Announces GearShift 1.5, HDV Utility Plug-In for Sony Vegas
Motionism Releases 'Wedding Collection 2: World Religions' DVD Templates
Panasonic Releases Rugged AJ-PCS060 DVCPRO P2 Store Drive
Canopus EDIUS Pro 3 Format Options Give Editors P2, VariCam, and XDCAM Support
Macromedia Announces Flash Professional 8
Condre Announces Network-Attached CD/DVD Creator
Telestream Flip4Mac Adds Windows Media Encoding Support for Apple Compressor 2

Studio Time: He Shoots, He Scores

What do event videography and NHL hockey have in common? Plenty, if you're Canadian videographer Danny Sayson—or a growing number of his clients. Sayson owns and operates Sayson Video Productions (www.saysonproductions.com) in Richmond, British Columbia with his wife Sophia. With training in broadcasting from the British Columbia Institute of Technology and a second job as part of the Vancouver Canucks broadcast crew, Sayson and his company bring television sensibilities to the Vancouver videography market.

Sayson found his way to videography through work on the other side of the camera. "After college I dabbled with a little acting, but I was absolutely fascinated with what happened behind the scenes," he says. Sayson went on to record his siblings' weddings and shot his first wedding as a professional in 1988. He notes the obvious advantage of "going pro": "It's great because you're getting paid to do what used to be a hobby."

At the same time, though, Sayson was working in television broadcasting and production. The ways he applies the lessons he learned there have put him on the map as a Vancouver videographer. Part of his secret is technique and technology; Sayson's Web site advertises his use of "a steadicam and Hollywood optical filters" in many of his productions. But what's really getting the attention of his customers comes more from the hockey rink than the soundstage.

Ready to Rumble
A key part of the in-house hockey broadcasts Sayson produced were the intro videos his crew showed on the Jumbotron just before face-off. Familiar to any live sports fan, these clips combine hard-hitting, fast-shooting highlight footage of the home team with an uptempo soundtrack exhorting the crowd to "pump up the volume" or "get ready to rumble." Sayson knew a good idea when he saw it. "They're always showing intro videos to get the crowd pumped up [at sporting events]. I thought, ‘Wouldn't it be great to do this for the bride?'"

Sayson developed the idea into what he calls bridal intro videos. "The best way to describe them is like an MTV music video shown on the big screen before the bride walks in," he says. Sayson shoots these videos two to three weeks ahead of time—often on the bride's makeup trial day—and projects them onto a large screen in the sanctuary just before the bride enters. Like the bridal footage packages offered by many videographers, these videos show scenes of the bride preparing for her big day. But instead of serving as a component of a wedding video delivered to the bride and groom some months after the event—or, at best, as part of a wedding-day edit shown at the reception—they kick off the big day for all the assembled guests. Sayson believes these scenes can be used to fuller effect in this different context. "Bridal intro videos do two things. They help set the mood for the wedding and they build anticipation," he explains.

In the 20-30 minutes before the video is shown, the audience sees another popular component of Sayson's multimedia presentations: a movie theater-style pre-show that uses photos and text to introduce the wedding party (without the frequent reminders to visit the concession stand). This is an entertaining and helpful pre-wedding diversion, Sayson says, because many attendees know relatively few members of the wedding party. "It goes back to my broadcast training. We want to bring the action as close them as possible. We want them to identify with the hockey players," he explains. And in Canada, everyone wants to be a hockey player.

Get Up and Go to Church
One thing that makes the mood of bridal intro videos so compelling is the relaxed atmosphere of the shoot. Compared to the wedding day, when "the bride is always in a crunch for time," Sayson says, the 45-60 minute intro video shoot shows her when "she's relaxed and happy … you can really see that in her face."

Not all of the wedding guests catch on to the temporal illusion. "Many times people ask ‘How'd you put that together so fast?' We tell them we did it in the car on the way here," he jokes.

 There are certainly challenges involved in producing bridal intro videos. Even in the weeks before the wedding, Sayson says, coordinating the day with the bride and her makeup people can be a hassle. But the biggest challenge to showing a bridal intro video is the facility; few wedding venues, it turns out, sport a sixty-foot Jumbotron. "Not all churches have the equipment, especially the more traditional, stained glass window-type churches," Sayson says.

However, a growing number of contemporary churches do have video projection capabilities. Sayson belongs to one of them, and some of his clients have their weddings in that church. "The church has been very accommodating," he says. "It pays to go to church." However, he also gives back to his congregation by volunteering his time to help with their video production needs.

Because coordinating with a church is so important to showing bridal intro videos, Sayson says it is "absolutely essential" that he be at the wedding rehearsal. For instance, he may find that a church's projector only supports VHS or that its DVD player will not play burned DVDs. For those clients whose church of choice does not support multimedia presentations, Sayson also offers same-day edit highlight packages to be shown at the reception, which he says have the same appeal to his customers and "are just as effective."

Big Fish from a Frozen Pond
Known as "Hollywood North" because of the large number of movies shot there, Vancouver is home to many small production companies, making it a competitive and discerning market for videography, according to Sayson. "We have a very sophisticated client base. Instead of asking ‘How many cameras do you use?' they ask, ‘What kind of camera do you use?'"

Sayson's innovative multimedia presentations have gotten him a lot of attention—both from clients and from periodicals like the Vancouver Sun, Richmond News, Richmond Review, and Real Weddings magazine. Sayson says he does "minimal advertising" because his bridal intro videos advertise themselves; impressed viewers often book weddings with him on the spot. Though the popularity of his product goes a long way, Sayson believes his background in broadcasting and the awards he has won (which include multiple WEVA Creative Excellence Awards, most recently a 2005 Gold for Wedding Post-Ceremony Production) bolster his reputation as well. He says they earn him "credibility and trust" in a market where almost all the potential customers who meet with him for consultations have visited two or three other videographers. An equally useful item on his résumé, Sayson says, is his experience broadcasting the Canucks: "People in our markets are very passionate about sports. Hockey in Canada is a religion." As an NHL "insider," Sayson finds he always has a way to relate with his clients, which is crucial in a field that he says is "all about establishing a connection."

Cool Jerky
Another way Sayson's costumers might connect with him is through a memorable character in his entertaining beef jerky ads. TV commercials, corporate videos, and streaming online video, constitute the other half of Sayson Video Productions' portfolio. Sayson stresses that doing big-name advertising isn't the only way to make money doing commercials. "We don't go for the Coca-Colas and the Nikes. We go for the small to midsize businesses," he says.

Similarly, commercials that make waves on the Web are just as important to Sayson as those on the airwaves. "Webcasting is the other avenue people are starting to see as a very powerful marketing tool."

His series of ads for Soo Beef Jerky is doing both. At a wedding he was shooting, Sayson was approached by a Soo official who asked him, "How do you make beef jerky interesting?" Sayson's answer—in ads that are being aired in Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco—was this: give the jerky to a chubby, bespectacled nerd and show how much the ladies love him for it.

Sayson enjoys working with smaller companies like Soo because he can retain creative control of the commercials. He does everything from writing the script to shooting and editing to hiring hair and makeup people.

Though his broadcasting background has shaped the work of his company, Sayson says his real inspiration is "other videographers." The relationship is probably reciprocal at Sayson's own instructional sessions, including one called "Visual Magic" at the 2005 WEVA Town Meetings in Chicago and New York in which he shared tips for using filters and "getting the ‘steadicam look.'"

Sayson says his goal for his presentations is "to help videographers elevate their production value." This is an unsurprising mantra for a man who brings his broadcast professionalism to the videography world. "I have the same standard for wedding video. I expect all my work to be broadcast-quality."

NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky once said, "A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." Danny Sayson would doubtless agree, and anyone who wants to know where videography's puck is headed next might look no further than the bridal intro videos that are revving up wedding guests in Vancouver and beyond.

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VASST Announces GearShift 1.5, HDV Utility Plug-In for Sony Vegas

VASST, a provider of training resources for multimedia professionals and hobbyists, has announced the release of GearShift 1.5. The new VASST offering is a full-featured HDV utility available for Sony Vegas software. GearShift 1.5 allows users to:

  • Convert .m2t files to 4:2:2 YUV Create a DV proxy for portable editing
  • Create a 24p stream as a 4:2:2 YUV, 4:2:2
  • Cineform and/or DV proxy Create a 25p stream as a 4:2:2 YUV and/or DV proxy
  • Convert a 1080i stream to a 720p stream Have batch-based access to all formats, including CineForm encoding
  • Correctly replace proxies with HD media as either an .m2t or a 4:2:2 YUV file
  • Extract media from various locations, and remember those locations when shifting gears
  • Render regions and discard unused portions of video, saving disk space and render time
  • Apply correct color processing for the HD color space to the DV proxies "

GearShift 1.5 is available via electronic download for 49.99. A one-week only special price of 39.99 is available by entering the discount code WEVA during the purchase process on www.vasst.com. Existing GearShift users may download the new version for free. Users who wish purchase GearShift or try it before buying may download the 14-day, full-functioning trial at http://www.vasst.com/search.aspx?text=gearshift

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Motionism Releases 'Wedding Collection 2: World Religions' DVD Templates

Motionism, a developer of film and video production software tools released a brand new collection of DVD templates designed for professional videographers at the WEVA 15th Annual Wedding & Event Video Expo, which ran August 8-11 at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Wedding Collection 2: World Religions offers theme-specific templates that work with most DVD authoring and graphic software. The pre-designed templates allow video professionals to quickly create high-quality matching menus and packaging for DVDs. Included in the complete bundle are 50 DVD Menus & Sub-menus, 50 matching Lower Thirds, 50 matching DVD Covers, and 50 matching Labels. All templates are layered Photoshop .psd files allowing for full customization.

Wedding Collection 2: World Religions features a wide selection of wedding template themes, including Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Muslim, Catholicism, Hinduism, Various Orthodox Religions and more. The new collection is available in four volumes: DVD Menus and Sub-menu templates, matching Lower Thirds, matching Covers, and matching Labels. Each volume is available separately or as a bundled set. The complete bundle is priced at $249.95 and is available immediately. The DVD Menu Templates are available individually for $149.95. Lower Thirds, DVD Covers, and DVD Labels are sold individually for $49.95. The new collection is compatible with Adobe Encore, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop, Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple DVD Studio Pro, Sonic ReelDVD, and Ulead DVD Workshop.

www.motionism.com

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Panasonic Releases Rugged AJ-PCS060 DVCPRO P2 Store Drive

Panasonic Broadcast has announced the availability of the AJ-PCS060 P2 Store Drive, a rugged, portable hard disk unit with a P2 card slot that quickly transfers the content of P2 cards to an internal hard disk drive. "

The 2.5" 60GB hard disk drive can hold the contents of up to 15 4GB P2 cards, and the entire contents of a 4GB P2 card can be transferred to the internal hard disk drive in about four minutes (in Verify Off mode). After the P2 content has been transferred, the P2 store can connect to a nonlinear or server ingest PC via a USB 2.0 interface and appears as an external disk drive.

The AJ-PCS060 has a shock-resistant magnesium alloy body and is equipped with special impact-absorbing materials to cushion the hard disk against shock and vibrations. In the field, the 1.4-pound AJ-PCS060 stores the contents of P2 cards, thus minimizing the number of reusable P2 cards needed. Back at the studio, it serves as a high-speed drive for transferring video into a station's Local Area Network (LAN) or nonlinear editing system to speed access to the recorded content.

For quick and easy operation, the AJ-PCS060 simply has a large start button. The drive also includes LED indicators for copy status, drive capacity, and battery life remaining. The drive supports Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems. It runs on DC power, so a user can use a 7.2V DC battery or a 7.9V AC adaptor to power it.

The AJ-PCS060 is available at the suggested list price of $1,800.

Panasonic's DVCPRO P2 series products are fully compatible with DVCPRO, the industry's standard for digital newsgathering, and provide a seamless migration path to DVCPRO HD. DVCPRO P2 offers nonlinear acquisition and instant access to material, high-speed file transfer, laptop field editing without requirement for proxy videos, and compatibility with off-the-shelf data storage drives for low-cost archiving, while eliminating traditional digitizing and ingesting operations. The core products-AJ-SPX800 camcorder, new AJ-SPC700 camcorder, AJ-SPD850 studio recorder--eliminate transports and mechanisms, resulting in a significant maintenance cost-savings because of the absence of any moving parts that can break down or wear out from repetitive use. Moreover, DVCPRO P2 products are resistant to environmental stresses such as shock and vibration.

http://www.panasonic.com/p2

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Canopus EDIUS Pro 3 Format Options Give Editors P2, VariCam, and XDCAM Support

Canopus has announced format support for nonlinear video editing with its new EDIUS format options for EDIUS Pro 3. The company's new EDIUS format options include MXF (Material eXchange Format) support to let video professionals in broadcast and studio environments customize EDIUS Pro 3 editing solutions (such as EDIUS NX, EDIUS SP, EDIUS SD and EDIUS HD) to their specific studio set-up. EDIUS format options are available now for the following formats: Panasonic P2, Panasonic VariCam, and Sony's XDCAM Professional Disc system.

The EDIUS P2 option, developed in collaboration with Panasonic, provides native, real-time nonlinear editing support for Panasonic's DVCPRO P2 series of products. Support for the new AG-HVX200 DVCPRO HD P2 hand-held camcorder will be available when the camcorder ships. Using MXF, EDIUS Pro 3 supports direct access of footage from the P2 card, eliminating the task of capturing footage. This immediate access to footage speeds up workflow and lets video professionals go directly from shooting to editing. The edited content can be exported back to the P2 card, together with metadata information.

Canopus makes it possible to edit film-style HD footage in EDIUS Pro 3 with the EDIUS VariCam option. Panasonic's VariCam format provides 720P 24 fps and variable frame rate capture for film-like feel and detailed fast/slow motion effects. With EDIUS VariCam option, the EDIUS Pro 3 timeline can import VariCam footage and use the footage as it was originally shot. Users can export editing projects back to a DVCPRO HD deck or output the timeline in another format for use in other processes.

The EDIUS XDCAM option provides support throughout Canopus's line of EDIUS Pro 3 editing solutions. Again, using MXF support, Canopus streamlines the workflow by supporting a direct connection via LAN or i.LINK interface to the disc player and allowing EDIUS Pro 3 users to add XDCAM footage to their projects without any conversions. Since EDIUS Pro 3 also supports mixing of different frame rates and sizes of AVI, MPEG, and QuickTime files and even HD/SD resolution, XDCAM footage can integrate into existing EDIUS Pro 3 projects alongside other asset types.

www.canopus.com

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Macromedia Announces Flash Professional 8

Macromedia has announced Macromedia Flash Professional 8, the latest version of the Flash authoring tool used by designers and developers to create interactive content for websites, presentations, and mobile devices. Driven by global customer input, Flash Professional 8 marks a release that encompasses major changes in expressive tools, video, user experiences, and mobile content authoring, according to Macromedia.

Flash Professional 8 is part of Macromedia Studio 8, a software suite that also includes Macromedia Dreamweaver 8, Macromedia Fireworks 8, Macromedia Contribute 3, and Macromedia FlashPaper 2.

Flash Professional 8 enables creative professionals to design and develop interactive content that provides customers with engaging online experiences. Flash Professional 8 now includes tools for designing graphic effects, animation, text, video, and content for mobile devices. New effects, including drop shadow, blur, glow, bevel, and color adjust, permit more compelling designs with better control and precision, according to Macromedia.

The new video tools and workflows in Flash Professional 8 offer capabilities for integrating video within digital experiences. Video professionals can now design, encode, and deploy customized, interactive video using the new Flash Video Encoder. The encoder operates as part of the integrated authoring tools in Flash or as a stand-alone product with batch-encoding options. New support for 8-bit alpha channels at runtime means customers can now combine semi-transparent video with other video, graphics, or digital assets. Also included is a new Flash Video plug-in for professional nonlinear video editing systems so editors can export video directly for the web in Flash Video format.

Macromedia Flash Professional 8 is expected to ship in September. Pricing is $699 for a full license (NA commercial) and $299 for an upgrade (NA commercial). Macromedia Flash Basic 8, a subset of Flash Professional 8 used for simple motion graphics and animation, is expected to ship in September, with full license pricing at $399.

www.macromedia.com/software/flash

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Condre Announces Network-Attached CD/DVD Creator

Condre Technology has announced the upcoming release of its RoboDisc CD/DVD media creation system. RoboDisc is a network-attached CD-R and DVD-R media burn and print appliance designed to function in an office or production environment in the same manner as a typical network printer. RoboDisc allows users to distribute a variety of data types to customers, clients, office associates, and vendors, and facilitates internal use such as data backup.

The RoboDisc system consists of hardware and software components. The hardware component is a network-attached automated robotic media pick and place system with an embedded 2.8 GHz processor, 128 MB of RAM, 100 Base T Ethernet connection, and a 4800 dpi ink jet media printer. The capacity of the robotic system is 120 discs. The system has a desktop footprint that allows it to be integrated in a front office environment or a back room production facility, according to Condre. The software component is a Java desktop application with a GUI interface. The software supports the creation of CDs and DVDs and supports data, music, and ISO formats.

RoboDisc is scheduled for release on or about September 1, 2005.

www.condre.com

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Telestream Flip4Mac Adds Windows Media Encoding Support for Apple Compressor 2

Telestream, the provider of Flip4Mac digital media tools for the Macintosh, has announced release of Flip4Mac WMV Studio Version 1.0.6 which adds Windows Media encoding support for Apple Compressor 2.

Flip4Mac WMV products are comprised of QuickTime components which enable Macintosh OS X users to make, edit and play Windows Media from within their favorite QuickTime-based applications. For Apple Compressor users, the Flip4Mac WMV Studio update provides, for the first time, batch encoding of Windows Media files on the Mac.

In addition, the newly released Flip4Mac WMV Player Version 1.0.2 adds compatibility with more Windows Media on the Web. The ability to export Windows Media 9 standard-definition and high-definition content directly from within Compressor 2 simplifies multiformat content creation for Final Cut Pro users. Compressor 2 is a video and audio compression application that gives Final Cut Pro users control over encoding. This includes the ability to encode several clips in one batch operation to a wide variety of formats and perform advanced format conversions at the same time. Flip4Mac eliminates the platform challenge and the many steps previously required to create Windows Media, including exporting the file, moving it to a PC, and then encoding it using another software application.

Support for Compressor 2 is now available in Flip4Mac WMV Studio and WMV Studio Pro Version 1.0.6. Compatibility with more Windows Media Web content is now available in Flip4Mac WMV Player and WMV Player Pro Version 1.0.2, as well as in WMV Studio and WMV Studio Pro v1.0.6. Flip4Mac products are available for immediate online purchase at www.flip4mac.com. Existing Flip4Mac WMV Studio/Studio Pro and Player/Player Pro customers may download free upgrades from the Web at www.flip4mac.com/support.htm.

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