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Copyright © 2004 -
Information Today, Inc.

September 12, 2005

Table of Contents

The Nonlinear Editor: Talking Books
Avid Announces October Availability of Native HDV Support
Quantum Previews MXF-Aware Data Tape Technology For Broadcasters And Video Professionals At IBC 2005
Acronova’s Introduces DupliQ, New Automated Portable CD/DVD Recording System
Focus Enhancements Brings Direct To Edit Video Disk Recording To The Studio With New FireStore FS-2E
Plextor Ships External 16X DVD Burner
SmartSound Lowers Price of Sonicfire Pro
Ulead Announces Free Beta Preview of Updated MediaStudio Pro Video Editing Package

The Nonlinear Editor: Talking Books

In Heart Earth, his strikingly evocative memoir of early childhood on Montana's Rocky Mountain front, Ivan Doig writes, "Time, like light, is both particle and wave." Brett Culp, award-winning wedding videographer, EventDV "Without Limits" columnist, and author of the new book Capturing Creativity, would likely say that inspiration and innovation are each particle and wave as well. While maintaining throughout Capturing Creativity (CVP Press, 2005) that inspiration and innovation are essential to videography, Culp doesn't treat the two as pie-in-the-sky concepts, notions to be pulled down from the ether or cut from whole cloth. Rather, the building blocks of inspiration are everywhere, he maintains, and ready to be synthesized in new ways. Citing examples such as Graham Fenton's legendary marriage of music video and wedding video, Culp insists, it's all about connecting dots that no one has connected before and revealing connections hitherto unseen.

"The creative process is not mystical or miraculous," Culp writes. "It is simply a matter of identifying all the possible elements and ideas (dots) and linking them together in ways you might not have previously imagined." Rather than sitting idly on the beach, waiting for waves of inspiration to magically wash over you, Culp would have you dive in. He contends that the amassed particles of innovation are within the reach of any videographer ready to use the tools before them in new ways, and regard their material with fresh eyes.

Consider Culp's "slot machine" concept as a way to take a fresh view of the familiar material of wedding videography. He begins by describing the basic workings of a slot machine: three independent wheels spinning to create the random combination of three symbols that appear when the wheels stop, aligning in a more or less favorable combination. Then he asks the reader to break down weddings into three categories, "people, segment, and content," and make lists of who or what belongs in each category (e.g., bride or father-of-bride for people, ceremony or reception for segment, and baby photos or interviews for content).

"Now start matching items randomly in the three columns like a slot machine would," he continues. "Start mixing it up and let your imagination fill in the blanks. What would you do with: maid of honor, pre-ceremony, interview?" Then he suggests replacing "content" with "music style" and "list as many [styles] as you can think of. Don't limit yourself by prejudging their practicality for a wedding video. Just make the list with reckless abandon." Obviously, not every combination is going to yield appealing results, but it should achieve Culp's goal, which is to get readers to start connecting different dots, even if they don't necessarily stay connected.

Another section all but cries out for mention here: "Be Cool." Many wedding videographers still fight the negative imagery that's dogged the industry in the past, and unfortunately, not being a sweaty oaf in a tux isn't always enough to prevent a potential client from perceiving you as less than hip. For Culp, being and conveying cool is partly look; partly exhibiting current styles of dress, technology, and production; and partly soaking up contemporary influences. Culp sums up the section with a quote from mountain climber Jim Whittaker that couldn't be more apropos, given the industry's old-and-in-the-way reputation: "If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."

One recurring theme of Culp's book and his many packed-house conference presentations is infusing videography with ideas and inspiration from other media. True to form, he peppers his book with concepts and quotes drawn from disparate sources and uses them to introduce the keynotes of his approach. For example, he takes his idea of seeing the world through both "window" and "frame" from Jean Mitry, author of The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema. "We strive to capture and present a window that showcases the most important truths about our client and their special day … As video producers, the television becomes our frame, and we choose what the audience will see and hear and the timing of the revelations."

Truth be told, I've seen only a few of the renowned pieces that have brought Culp and the Creative Video Productions team scads of awards over the last few years. But his speaking and writing alone would have a profound influence on my work and my relationship to it if event videography were my primary business.

The protean nature of influence is a hot topic in my circle these days, as I work with our appointed executive committee to shape our EventDV 25 list of today's hottest and most influential videographers. Influencing the industry isn't just about the awards you win; it's about the many things you do that raise the bar and keep others aiming higher to reach it.

With Capturing Creativity, as with his speaking and presenting, Culp can influence videographers in ways that go beyond inspiring imitation; he can help others to do what writers call "finding your voice." For writer Ivan Doig, voice and inspiration come from the linked elements of tangible surroundings: the writer's intense identification with the landscape of Montana's Sixteen Mile country. In Heart Earth, as he explores how the pull of that country has fueled his work, he writes about the thin membrane that separates the anagrams "heart" and "earth" for those who are so sited. When you see those connections in the world around you, as Brett Culp would attest, it can be just as short a leap to from "heart" and "earth" to "work."

For more information on Capturing Creativity and other CVP educational products, visit www.cvpinspiration.com.


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Avid Announces October Availability of Native HDV Support

Avid Technology, Inc. has announced that it expects to deliver native HDV editing and workflow support in its PC-based Avid Xpress Pro and Media Composer Adrenaline products by October 17, 2005. Customers who purchase either a Media Composer Adrenaline HD 2.x system with an assurance contract or an Avid Xpress Pro HD 5.x system before October 17 may receive free HDV software upgrades when the release ships next month.

The planned October release of HDV support will be for PC-based systems, and Avid will offer HDV as a free upgrade to customers who purchase either a Media Composer Adrenaline HD 2.x system with an assurance contract or an Avid Xpress Pro HD 5.x system before October 17, 2005. Avid Xpress Pro 4.x customers can purchase the HDV upgrade for $50 US MSRP.


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Quantum Previews MXF-Aware Data Tape Technology For Broadcasters And Video Professionals At IBC 2005

Quantum Corp. will preview its award-winning SDLT 600A data tape drive technology at the International Broadcasters Convention, RAI Centre, Amsterdam, at the Fuji Magnetics' Stand 11.111. The first Quantum IT data tape drive specifically enhanced for professional video, the SLDT 600A with DLTxchange merges the familiar benefits of traditional video tape with the cost-effective performance, reliability, and flexibility of Quantum data tape drive technology, according to Quantum.

The DLTxchange enhancement makes SDLT 600A the first MXF-aware data tape drive technology, Quantum reports. By integrating MXF, an industry standard developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), the SDLT 600A with DLTxchange supports true IT file-based workflows. Users have direct access to valuable metadata, including timecode, and can retrieve any portion of an archived video clip without having to restore or view the entire file. SDLT 600A is highly interoperable, providing the ready exchange of video assets created and stored with the MXF-enabled acquisition, production, and playout equipment now being widely deployed by broadcasters and video professionals.


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Acronova’s Introduces DupliQ, New Automated Portable CD/DVD Recording System

Acronova Technology Inc. has announced the DupliQ, a new automated CD/DVD recording system. Weighing less than 10 lbs and smaller than a toaster, the DupliQ is a portable, multi-functional, PC USB-connected automated CD/DVD recording device. Bundled with Nero Express and QFOX, it is capable of offering automatic CD/DVD recording up to 25 discs at a time. Its SDK is also available for access to autoloader controlling. "

The DupliQ is available in many e-tail stores, with an MSRP price between $699 and $799 depending on model.


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Focus Enhancements Brings Direct To Edit Video Disk Recording To The Studio With New FireStore FS-2E

FOCUS Enhancements Inc. has announced its new FireStore FS-2E Studio Direct To Edit (DTE) recorder. Available today through FOCUS Enhancements' network of distributors nationwide, FireStore FS-2E utilizes the company's DTE technology to record video to FireWire disk drives in edit-ready, native DV-NLE file formats--elliminating the need to capture, transfer or convert clips prior to the edit stage of production.

Designed as a broadcast tape deck replacement, the FireStore FS-2E features a number of standard audio and video I/O options including SDI with embedded audio, DV25, Component, Composite, S-Video, AES/EBU digital audio and balanced analog audio. FS-2E is designed to interface with standard control protocols such as RS422, RS-232C, AV/C and GPI. FS-2E is ideal for SD or HD (down-converted) video dailies recording, broadcast play-out and as a studio companion to the FireStore line of portable desktop and camera-mount DTE recorders. It is designed to streamline production workflow in high end broadcast, HD video assist, production and duplication houses, film-to-disk transfer, sports/outside broadcast, and government/military applications.

The FireStore FS-2E features an incredibly easy to use, VTR-like interface for a familiar control interface. The built-in disk drive and file system integrates seamlessly with PC and Mac based editing systems. It also can connect to networks via FTP using an Ethernet interface to copy files and control the unit. FS-2E now features an easy to use web interface for control and management of the unit remotely. The FS-2E is expandable providing the ability to daisy chain up to five external FireWire drives for extended recordings and playback.

FS-2E is available now through the Focus worldwide dealer and distributor network for a US MSRP of $6,995.


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Plextor Ships External 16X DVD Burner

Plextor Corp. has announced the immediate availability of the PX-740UF DVD±R/RW drive. The stylish black external drive is aimed at mainstream PC users who want reliable, lightning fast performance but don't require professional recording features.

The concept behind the PX-740 Series drives is simple: give customers very fast recording speed and a high level of reliability, without professional features they don't need. Now customers can choose between the internal PX-740A and external PX-740UF versions. A dual interface supports both Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and full-speed-compliant IEEE-1394 FireWire. Burst data transfer rates of 480 Mbps (USB) or 400 Mbps (FireWire) allow a user to burn a 4.7GB DVD+R disc in approximately six minutes.

The PX-740UF delivers state-of-the-art recording speeds of 16X DVD±R on recommended single-layer DVD media. Users also can burn up to four hours of high-quality MPEG-2/DVD video on a single 8.5 GB disk using 8X DVD+R on Double-Layer (DL) DVD media and 4X DVD-R on Dual Layer (DL) DVD media. Plextor PX-740UF Series DVD±R/RW Drive The Plextor PX-740UF Series drive also supports 8x DVD+R DL, 4x DVD-R DL, and 16X DVD±R Writing; 8X DVD+RW and 6X DVD-RW Rewriting; and 16X max DVD-Reading; as well as high-speed 48X CD-R Writing, 32X CD-RW Rewriting, and 48X max CD-Reading.

The PX-740UF drive has a 2MB buffer and features Buffer Underrun Proof Technology to prevent buffer underrun errors and allow multi-tasking. Lossless Linking/Zero Link technology enables users to perform basic editing tasks directly on the DVD disc. The PX-740UF also supports DVD+RW background format, which eliminates the need to format a DVD+RW disc manually, thus reducing the total time it takes to write data to a disc. Nero Software Bundle Plextor's bundled software package offers ease-of-use and extensive functionality for Windows platforms.

The PX-740UF drive ships with the Nero 6 software suite for burning video, music, photos, and data to DVD or CD. The Plextor bundle includes Nero Express 6 for CD & DVD recording; NeroVision Express 2 SE for DVD video editing and authoring; Nero PhotoShow Express for photo management and editing; InCD 4.2 for drag & drop packet writing; Nero Showtime for video playback; and Nero Toolkit for drive test and speed control.

The Plextor PX-740UF drive will ship to distributors in North and South America in September 2005 with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $179.00 USD. All retail packages include one-year full warranty.


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SmartSound Lowers Price of Sonicfire Pro

SmartSound Software, Inc. has announced a price cut on the Standard and Bundle Editions of its SmartSound Sonicfire Pro software. Although many video editing suites contain powerful audio editing tools, busy professionals have found the looping tool included in these suites to be insufficient in helping them create a score for their movies. Sonicfire Pro automatically presents the user with multiple cuts of a music track at any length needed score their movies, and the new price points let users integrate this functionality into their workflow as a critical addition to their existing audio editing tools.

Price reductions to Sonicfire Pro are as follows:
- Sonicfire Pro Standard Edition (Sonicfire Pro 3 software plus two royalty-free SmartSound Music CDs): Reduced to $249 (from $299)
- Sonicfire Pro Bundle Edition (Sonicfire Pro 3 software plus five royalty-free SmartSound Music CDs: Reduced to $399 (from $499)


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Ulead Announces Free Beta Preview of Updated MediaStudio Pro Video Editing Package

Ulead Systems, Inc. has announced the availability of the beta pre-release version of Ulead MediaStudio Pro 8, the latest version Ulead's professional video editing software, with final release set for Q3 2005. The new release incorporates a wide range of enhancements including a new single track editing interface, Smart Proxy mode for efficient HDV editing, advanced color correction, 5.1 audio editing, and Smart Compositor, an all new tool, for quickly creating professional composited sequences for openings or segues.

MediaStudio Pro 8 incorporates major advances in workflow and usability. The new single-track interface allows for multiple timelines and virtual clips, plus transitions on every track. For controlling effects, the Keyframe Manager now offers large buttons and expandable view for precise positioning. To further streamline workflow, users can drag, resize and distort overlays directly in the full-size preview window.

A significant new feature in MediaStudio Pro 8 is the Smart Compositor, a unique tool that allows users to dramatically speed the creation of complex, eye-catching opening sequences and segues employing masks, frames and moving paths. Users simply select a theme, add their own video or images, modify the text and set the background music. Composited sequences then appear in the MediaStudio Pro 8 timeline as virtual clips that can be opened and further edited to conform to the style of the production. Smart Compositor delivers speedy turnaround without the 'cookie cutter' effect of templates.

MediaStudio Pro 8 is indeed future-ready with extensive HDV support. Users can capture from the latest HDV camcorders and decks, then edit either in full-resolution lossless native format, or Smart Proxy mode. Building on MediaStudio Pro's renowned flexibly and robustness in working with different video formats, the software lets producers mix and match formats such as DV, MPEG, and HDV on the timeline with confidence. MediaStudio Pro 8 furthermore supports formats such as WMV-HD and 24P, and offers output options to SD, HD, or back to DV, analog or HDV device. Smart Proxy offers users real-time HDV editing on mid-range or mobile machines. With Smart Proxy enabled, MediaStudio Pro automatically creates lower-resolution, resource-friendly copies of project clips in the background. Final output always links back to the original full-resolution files, making the process completely transparent and lossless. Smart Proxy offers an attractive solution for producers shooting HDV who want to edit on the go, as well as for collaborative editing. Users can package and share proxies among multiple editors and then combine their work as multiple timelines referring back to original footage.

Other enhancements in the release include a new Audio Editor offering channel steering to create Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround audio tracks, even allowing upsampling from standard stereo tracks. The product also boasts an all-new Title Tool with dramatic text effects and animation. SmartSound Auto Music Maker enables users to create custom royalty-free soundtracks which precisely match the duration of the video, and built-in DVD authoring with templates lets users author single- or double-layer discs. MediaStudio offers a professional, yet easy-to-use, approach to video editing suitable for video enthusiasts, newly-professional video editors, documentary filmmakers, wedding/event videographers and media producers in corporate and education.

The free preview beta version is available for download immediately from the Ulead Website at http://www.ulead.com/msp/runme.htm. The box and electronic download versions of MediaStudio Pro 8 will be available in October for $399.99 through retail channels and Ulead Websites.


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