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October 17, 2005

Table of Contents

Review: Sonic DVDit Pro 6
Red Giant Software Releases Magic Bullet Editors 2
Canon Broadcast Introduces Lighter Wide, Fast 2/3" Lenses
4EVER Group Opens Registration for Chicago Video Summit
Nero Launches Nero 7 Ultra Edition
Panasonic Announces Availability of Fully Equipped BT-LH1700W 17” Widescreen HD/SD Production LCD monitor
Epson Stylus Introduces Photo R220 and R340 with Photos and CD/DVD Surface Printing
Media Supply to Host Seminar Live Event Audio & Video Recording

Review: Sonic DVDit Pro 6

Sonic Solutions DVDit Pro 6 has something to offer nearly every class of user. Those moving up from consumer tools will find the program easy to learn and more flexible and powerful than their current tools. And those who've worked with other prosumer-level products will find DVDit much easier to use, and quickly realize that the capabilities enabled by the bundled eDVD are essential to producing compelling, competitive DVDs. All users will value the stability that DVDit brings to bear, and appreciate the newly redesigned interface, which is as intuitive as any we've seen for DVD authoring.

Sonic Solutions DVDit Pro 6 has something to offer nearly every class of user. Those stepping up from consumer programs like Adobe Premiere Elements, Pinnacle Studio, and Ulead MovieFactory will find the program easy to learn and more flexible and powerful than their current tools.

If you're also considering or currently using prosumer tools like Adobe Encore or Sony DVD Architect, you'll find DVDit much easier to use and will quickly realize that the capabilities enabled by the bundled eDVD are essential to producing compelling, competitive DVDs. Sure, you can buy eDVD standalone for $200, but that reduces DVDit's purchase price to under $200—almost a no-brainer.

All users, however, will value the stability that DVDit brings to bear. We tested the program on an absolutely toxic computer, with virtually every Windows editor and authoring program known to humankind installed, and authored one of the most complex for-profit DVDs I've attempted, a collection of the videos produced during the ongoing four-part "Battle of the Software NLEs" video editor review, which included 39 videos, 13 slide shows, and one playlist. This DVD included MPEG-2, AVI, and MOV videos encoded by all five editors, a complete recipe for disaster with most authoring programs.

If you've worked with content creation software long enough, there comes a time in every complicated project when you think to yourself, "Cripes, I hope this freakin' thing works." And work DVDit did, first time, every time, which is enough to earn it a permanent place on my hard drive.

To be fair and balanced, the story isn't all roses. DVDit has some feature gaps (no AutoSave?), and is generally less powerful and often less efficient than programs like Encore and Apple's DVD Studio Pro. However, you won't notice this if you're upgrading from a consumer program or even from a prosumer program, unless you're really pushing the creative envelope. If your goal is to quickly and easily produce professional-looking DVDs with extra capabilities when played on computers, DVDit is an excellent, if not ideal-for-everyone, choice.

OK, that's the compelling, hard-hitting intro; now on to the pithy, insightful reviews. First I'll look at DVDit, and then focus on eDVD.

Intelligent Design

In producing DVDit Pro 6, Sonic incorporated multiple audio and multiple text tracks. Unlike Ulead, however, who shoehorned these features into an existing interface with Workshop 2, Sonic took the opportunity to completely redesign DVDit, and much for the better.

The result is the most intuitive authoring program we've seen to date. Sonic has boiled production down to three components: menus, titles—either videos or slide shows—and playlists, which link multiple titles together. A project window graphically displays all product components, with a familiar-looking timeline, content bin, and attributes window. Menu design and preview are achieved in the same window, with tabs for switching between the two activities.

None of this is new, feature or design-wise; there are shades of Sony's DVD Architect and Apple's DVD Studio Pro in DVDit's construction. However, in DVDit, function follows form more logically, with the interface naturally leading you through the workflow. The result is comforting for most users, with none of the "what do I do now?" blank-page syndrome that hinders the early stages of most Adobe Encore projects.

Menu Creation

Like most DVD authoring programs, DVDit offers multiple menu-creation options. You can start with one of the ten templates, which are about average quality—more attractive than those supplied by DVD Workshop, about on par with Encore, and miles behind DVD Studio Pro, whose dazzling templates are head and shoulders above the crowd.

You can also build your menus from dual-layer Photoshop PSD files, with the bottom "image" layer containing the full color background and the top "overlay" layer containing the subpicture images that change color or form when a button is selected or activated. If you're a Photoshop amateur, you'll appreciate the extensive Photoshop instruction in the Help files.

Or you can design your menus like I did, creating background images in Ulead's PhotoImpact (or any other image editor) and then using text or the supplied buttons and button frames to link to other menus and content. Sonic enhanced the new version's text design capabilities, adding outline fonts and drop shadows. These improvements will make them sufficient for most users, but advanced authors will miss precision tools like kerning and leading, and niceties like textures, glows, or gradients.

Sonic has added the ability to insert videos into the menu (in addition to video backgrounds), coming close to matching the "drop zone" approach used in DVD Studio Pro. DVDit supports audio and video menus, and you can delay the appearance of sub-pictures to accommodate buttons that fly in with the video and other similar effects.

Dressing up your buttons is a snap. You can choose between three color sets for your normal, selected, and activated buttons states, as well as four alternatives for subpicture style, which you can set globally and customize for each button.

When designing our menus, we found the enhanced alignment tools very helpful, especially the ability to copy and paste attributes from one object to another. The program's grid functions need work, however. Most troublesome was a tendency for objects to shift to the grid when touched with the grid enabled. For example, if you left-aligned a set of text buttons (potentially taking them out of precise alignment with the grid) and then later clicked the button to change the font or other attribute, DVDit shifted it to the grid position if grid was enabled, and out of alignment with the other buttons. In the end, we found it more efficient to work without the grid, using the alignment tools to line up menu objects.

Content

After importing a video asset, you convert it to a title by dragging it onto an icon in the project window. Titles are presented in a timeline, which makes it easy to add multiple audio and/or multiple text tracks. Like DVD Workshop (and unlike Encore 1.5), DVDit has a useful, dedicated slide show function, pretty much borrowed en mass from MyDVD. The tool offers transitions and the ability to match slide duration to background music, but no pan and zoom capabilities.

Creating and naming chapter points in a title is simple and logical, and you link chapter points, titles, and menus to buttons via drag-and-drop or by choosing a target via right mouse-click. We missed the ability to drag chapter points directly from the timeline to the menu, a la Encore, but once we got hip to the DVDit workflow, all went smoothly.

Navigational Options

DVDit offers a solid array of navigational options, most of which work fairly logically. The main exception is button routing, which is kind of screwy but workable once you know the rules. I'll use this image as an illustration.

Button order specifies the routing the viewer works through when clicking the arrow keys on the remote. In the figure, you'd want the viewer to proceed fairly logically through the menu, like moving down all the buttons in the left column, then up to Pan and Zoom on the right, then on down that column.

From button 1, which is shown in the button attributes panel on the right, you might decide to let the viewer jump to button 5 with the right arrow key, or make the operation of the down and right arrows identical as I did. Either way, you want operation to be reasonably logical so the viewer understands how to move through the buttons.

Accordingly, most authoring programs assume some desired button order, either top to bottom then left to right, or vice versa, and often this is configurable and customizable. However, DVDit numbers the buttons based upon the order in which they're added to the menu.

For example, suppose when producing the secondary menus, I completed the HDV Downconvert and Stabilization menus first, and linked them to the main menu. These would become buttons 1 and 2 under the DVDit schema. Though DVDit's button routing function adjusts for this automatically, our button order always seemed out of whack. The solution is to add items to your menus in the desired order, and to check button order extensively before burning the DVD.

Thankfully, setting end actions is more straightforward. You can specify the end action for each title (that is, what happens next when the video in that title finishes playing), then override that control for buttons and playlists that play the title. For example, imagine a product marketing DVD with six videos linked to six buttons on a single menu.

At a trade show, you might want the menu to time out, then play all six videos in sequence and keep looping. To accomplish this, you would set the end action for each video to play the next video. However, if a sales rep was driving the DVD manually during a sales call, you might want each video to return to the menu after playing. To accomplish this, you would set the button override for each video to return to the menu. In this fashion, you can control the end action based upon how video playback was actually triggered.

Playlists

Also new in version 6 are playlists, or the ability to link multiple titles together for sequential playback. Like Encore and DVD Workshop, however, DVDit can't exit at a chapter point, which makes the value of this feature to your productions dependent upon how you prepare your content. Bear with me for a moment—this is complicated but important.

I'll use a concert video as an example. I produce most of my concerts in a linear style, creating one long file and linking to each song via chapter points. In DVDit, this would translate to a single title with multiple chapter points. Now, if I wanted to create a playlist that played my three favorite songs (say, songs 1, 4, and 8), I couldn't do it in DVDit because once I enter the title in a playlist—either at the beginning of the title or at a chapter point—I can't exit the title until if finishes playing.

The same holds true for Encore and DVD Workshop, but not DVD Studio Pro, which can exit a title at a chapter point. This lets me enter at song 1, exit at the end of that song, jump to song 4, exit after that song, then jump to song 8.

In DVDit, Workshop, and Encore, I could render each song separately and import them as separate titles, then link them together into multiple playlists—say, one for the entire concert and one for my favorite hits. However, this would ruin the smooth linear flow of the entire concert because there would be a brief but noticeable black-screen delay between titles.

However, if your project isn't comprised of one long video, DVDit's playlist function can be fantastically valuable. For example, in the DVD I was preparing as I tested DVDit, I wanted the ability to link together different footage from the various editors in sequence, with narration. Since my test footage was already in separate titles, this was very easy to do.

Another application might be a narrated slideshow. With DVDit's slideshow feature, all slides have the same duration, so narration can be challenging. However, you can create a series of single-image slideshows, each with their own narration, and then link them together into a cohesive whole. True, you lose the inter-slide transitions offered by DVDit's dedicated slideshow feature, and still get the one-second delays between the slides, but these are much less objectionable in a slideshow presentation than a concert or wedding ceremony.

Preview, Error-Checking, and Rendering

Here's where things get disappointing. DVDit can't preview video menus without first rendering them, unlike most other prosumer programs, and previewing end actions is confusing. Unlike Encore, the poster child for specific and comprehensive error-checking, DVDit presents an error message, which for me triggers thoughts of a psychiatrist's diagnosis in a Woody Allen movie (you have a problem, but I'm not telling you what it is). Whether you find this helpful or not, either way the lack of specific direction translates to lots more manual error checking, especially for complex projects.

Rendering controls are generally straightforward, but that lack of a "fit to disc" function, which appeared in the last version of MyDVD, is frustrating. We did appreciate that DVDit didn't re-encode the MPEG assets imported into the program, saving time and an extra layer of compression degradation, though you can force such a recompression if desired.

Now on to eDVD.

eDVD

eDVD is a program that lets you create links to additional content that can be accessed when the DVD is played back on a computer. When a Windows user pops the DVD into a DVD drive, the InterActual DVD software player included on the DVD runs and plays the DVD. Macintosh users will have to install the InterActual software manually, but will still be able to access all the content on the disc.

Not to sound like a marketing stiff, but the possibilities suggested by eDVD are truly endless. For example, if you shot in HDV, you can deliver a standard SD DVD that plays at SD resolution on a DVD player and delivers HD content in Windows Media format on a computer. If you shot high-resolution still images, you could create a high-resolution slideshow to display on the computer, or open a folder on the DVD to copy images to the computer. You can also create auto-run pages with active Web links. To order more copies of your wedding DVD, folks can click here to access your Web page or click there to print a PDF order form.

The high-level workflow is as follows: You create your DVD title in any authoring program (DVDit included) and write the volume to disc. Then you use eDVD to insert the external links, and burn the files and volumes to DVD±R with any CD/DVD burning software.

Operation is simple, once you grasp a few key points. First, you can only create links to external programs at a chapter point. To do this, we created a one-screen slideshow; Sonic includes a sample screen on the installation DVD. When selected on a normal DVD player, this image plays, and tells viewers that they can't access the content. On a computer, the same screen shows in the InterActual player, but the extra content plays in a separate player (e.g., Windows Media Video would play in the Windows Media Player).

You create the buttons and links to the image in your authoring program, then write the finished title to a volume on disc and run eDVD. Once in eDVD, the problem becomes finding the right title to link your external content to. As you can see in Figure 4, this project had 52 titles, of which six had external links. To identity the target buttons, we used the eDVD player to preview the title, clicking on the target buttons and noting the title information displayed in the player's bottom right information window (the Title 50/Chapter 1).

Then you click the title in eDVD, and assign the links, which proved very simple. Most other operations are wizard-driven, and I had my first enhanced DVD up and running in about two hours.

Whether your goal is to distinguish your DVDs from the competition, enhance sales, or just show off the HDV video from your lovely HDR-FX1 camcorder, eDVD is essential. Though we hope Santa brings us enhanced error-checking features in subsequent revisions, along with exit-at-chapter point capabilities in the play list function, DVDit is definitely highly functional for most projects, with an interface that DVD novices will love.

Sidebar

System Requirements

  • 800MHz+ Pentium 3 (2GHz Pentium 4 recommended) running Windows XP with 128MB RAM (512MB recommended)
  • Direct X 9.0c
  • Windows Media Player 10
  • QuickTime 6.5.1
  • 16MB VRAM (64MB recommended)
  • 10GB available HDD space

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Red Giant Software Releases Magic Bullet Editors 2

Red Giant Software today announced the availability of Magic Bullet Editors 2, the world's first real-time film look plug-in for desktop video editors. Using the new DeepColor RT GPU render engine, Magic Bullet Editors 2 Look Suite plug-in now runs up to 12X faster than the CPU alone—allowing users to do real-time film look treatments on the desktop in standard definition, according to Red Giant.

Based on The Orphanage's award-winning Magic Bullet technology, Look Suite delivers film stock emulation, diffusion filters, and easy-to-use film-look presets inspired by popular productions, such as The Matrix, Saving Private Ryan, Traffic, Amélie, The Island, and the CSI TV series.

Magic Bullet Editors' 65 custom-designed Looks alter shading, contrast, and tints of scenes to mimic the elusive look of film. Users can choose preset Looks from a pop-up menu or customize and save their own film treatments. The Magic Bullet Editors 2 package offers 16 plug-ins including Look Suite, a tool for mimicking various film processes and shooting styles; MB Deartifacter, a new plug-in for cleaning up DV and HDV chroma problems; and Misfire plug-ins for generating a wide variety of damaged film characteristics. Magic Bullet Editors 2 also adds support for Apple Motion 2, in addition to the existing applications: Avid AVX 1.5 systems, Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Sony Vegas.

New Features in Magic Bullet Editors 2 include the following:
• Windows XP users can expect real time Look Suite acceleration with NVIDIA 6800 Ultra or 7800 series graphics cards with playback acceleration more than 12 times faster than the CPU
• Mac OS X users will see up to 8x times faster playback acceleration with high-end graphics cards • MB Deartifacter, a new Compression Correction plug-in to remove DV and HDV artifacts
• Apple Motion 2 support with included FxPlug
• 10 new Look presets to emulate movie looks and film treatments

MAC OS System requirements:
• NVIDIA 6800 or ATI equivalent graphics cards with 256 MB VRAM or more (required for GPU acceleration); see www.redgiantsoftware.com for complete compatibility list
• Apple Power Mac G5 (dual-processor recommended)
• Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and 512MB RAM or more
• Apple Final Cut Pro 4.5 or later
• Apple Motion 2.0 or later
• Avid Xpress Pro 4.6 or later

Windows System requirements:
• NVIDIA 6800 or 7800 series graphics cards (or professional Quadro cards) with 256MB VRAM or more (required for GPU acceleration); see www.redgiantsoftware.com for complete compatibility list
• Intel Pentium 4 single or dual-processor system or equivalent
• Windows XP and 512MB RAM or more
• Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 or later
• Sony Vegas 5.0 or later
• Avid Xpress Pro 4.5 or later

Magic Bullet Editors is available now through Red Giant Software for $395 USD. Upgrades from any previous version of Magic Bullet Editors are $99 (download) or $149 (box).

www.redgiantsoftware.com

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Canon Broadcast Introduces Lighter Wide, Fast 2/3" Lenses

Canon Broadcast & Communications has introduced three new 2/3" Pro-Video lenses designed for business, industrial, and other non-broadcast production applications. In addition to being more lightweight and compact than previous models, the new YJ20x8.5B KRS long-zoom portable lens and the new YJ13x6B Series wide-angle portable lenses all feature Canon's innovative Internal Focus technology (IFpro), developed to enhance optical performance and provides multiple user benefits. The lenses also feature Canon's exclusive Shuttle Shot function, an advanced servo system built for handheld cameras.

Created by Canon and originally introduced into its broadcast ENG lenses, Internal Focus is a multi-group technology that uses a floating optical system to optimize control of chromatic aberrations and reduce focus breathing effects. Designated as "IFpro" in the new YJ20x8.5B KRS long-zoom portable 2/3-in. lens and new YJ13x6B Series wide-angle portable 2/3-in. lenses, Internal Focus enables the front end of the lens to remain stationary as the internal elements move during focusing. IFpro technology enhances optical performance and provides multiple user benefits, according to Canon, including improved performance in changes in object distances, decreased lens flare with the use of a square lens hood, a higher level of creative filter options, and the ability to use optical accessories attached to the front end of the lens.

The new YJ20x8.5B KRS IFpro lens and the new YJ13x6B Series lenses also incorporate Canon's newly developed optical materials in combination with new lens-element design innovations and multilayer coatings. The new YJ20x8.5B KRS long-zoom portable lens and the new YJ13x6B Series wide-angle portable lenses feature a horizontal field of view of 54.7 degrees and 72.5 degrees, respectively. The company says that the optical optimization strategies of all three lenses achieve an excellent MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) profile over their entire respective image planes, minimizing chromatic aberrations and maximizing image contrast.

Canon says that the new YJ20x8.5B KRS long-zoom portable IFpro lens offers the widest focal length (8.5mm) and highest zoom ratio (20x) of any lens in its class, in addition to the fastest servo zoom speed (1.2 seconds, end to end). Designed to achieve a compromise between the demands for high sensitivity (the lens' maximum relative aperture is f 1.8) and mobility in lightweight hand-held cameras, the new YJ20x8.5B KRS weighs 2.58 lbs., 11 percent lighter (and 5mm shorter) than its predecessor, the YJ19x9B KRS.

The new YJ13x6B KRS portable IFpro lens delivers the highest zoom ratio (13x) and widest focal length (6mm) of any Canon lens in its class. It also features a 1.2-second, end-to-end servo zoom speed. The alternate YJ13x6B IRS model, meanwhile, has a 2x Extender that facilitates a focal range of from 12mm to 156mm. The YJ13x6B Series balances sensitivity (this lens' maximum relative aperture is f 2.0), mobility, and a wide field of view for use with lightweight hand-held cameras. The YJ13x6B KRS weighs 3.39 lbs., which is 11 percent lighter than the YJ12x6.5B KRS that it replaces.

The YJ13x6B IRS weighs 3.83 lbs., which is 9 percent lighter than its predecessor YJ12x6.5B IRS. In addition to decreased size and weight, Canon reports that they have engineered additional ergonomic design innovations that further improve the price-performance advantages of its three new IFpro lenses. All three lenses feature a new, smaller drive unit that is designed to not only fit into the palm of the user's hand more comfortably, but also improve the feeling of unity between the drive unit and the lens. These drive units, featuring a grip support and ribbed surface, are tilted at a particular angle to order to achieve a better balance and to provide more comfort and reduce operator fatigue. The new drive units featured in the new lenses also help make possible greater levels of precision and control, including control of the exclusive Canon Shuttle Shot feature, which facilitates zooming back and forth between any two focal length positions. Control of Shuttle Shot can be allocated to three different buttons using a DIP switch, depending on the preference of the user.

www.canonbroadcast.com

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4EVER Group Opens Registration for Chicago Video Summit

The 4EVER Group has announced that registration for the Chicago Video Summit has opened at www.4EVERGroup.org. The Chicago Video Summit will be held Monday, November 7, 2005, at the Hilton Northbrook.

Speakers include videography luminaries Mark & Trisha Von Lanken, Robert Allen, and Hal Slifer. Adobe, NewTek, and Safe Harbor Computers will also host free daytime workshops.

In addition to the workshops, Video Summit programming includes the Traveling Trade Show and Networking Party, which runs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Exhibiting vendors will include B&H Photo-Video and JVC Professional, as well as Adobe, NewTek, and Safe Harbor Computers. A light buffet dinner is also included here, and registration is free.

Free registration is also included for the actual Video Summit, which begins at 7:00 pm. This special evening program is filled with educational programming, including a panel discussion, and concludes with a door prize drawing. There will be modest fees for workshops presented by Allen, Slifer, and the Von Lankens.

Exact costs and registration information is now available at www.4EVERGroup.org.

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Nero Launches Nero 7 Ultra Edition

Nero has unveiled the much-anticipated Nero 7, a full-step upgrade to its all-in-one integrated digital media and home entertainment software solution. Nero 7 now delivers 18 applications in one suite, including the addition of Nero Home, a new TV and PC multimedia management and distribution system that provides users with quick and easy access to all digital media files from the comfort of their living rooms using a remote control.

In addition, Nero 7 includes a number of enhancements and interface redesigns to familiar and popular Nero applications. Users now have the option of customized installation, meaning they can decide to install or not to install each application courtesy of Windows Installer Technology. To learn more about each of the applications included with Nero 7, visit www.nero.com.

Nero Home is a new media manager that provides fast access to the user's entire digital media library via remote control in the designated home entertainment room. Content can be viewed on a plasma, LCD or CRT TV. Nero Home integrates TV time-shifting, DVD playback, music playback, and video playback, and has a simplified interface and a TV wizard to walk users through a simple setup.

Scout, a new, unique optimized media database provides instant access to the user's library of media files of all types from any Nero application and Windows Explorer. Simple and Secure Data Backup The new and enhanced Nero BackItUp 2 allows users to run scheduled full or incremental backups, back up files directly from Windows Explorer, back up upon login or without logging in, create shadow copies, back up to disc images and perform FTP backup.

The Nero Burning ROM 7 and Nero Express 7 optical burning tools have been radically redesigned to maximize ease-of-use, efficiency, and speed, according to Nero. In addition, Nero 7 has a project launcher with a new user interface that can access all 18 applications, and has been enhanced to seamlessly guide users of any skill level through simple or advanced digital media projects. Users will have the ability to view, edit and improve their favorite digital photos.

Nero 7 offers playback software offers vibrant picture quality for all DVD formats and is compatible with Nero Digital (MPEG-4), an MPEG-4 encoder, which enables the user to recode non-copy protected movies (DVD-9 to DVD-5) to a CD-R/RW, DVD+/-R, or a single DVD+R DL disc in DVD-Video format (DVD-9 to DVD-9). In addition, a standard drag-and-drop packet writing application, that supports BD-RE/R (Blu-ray) is included and full 5.1 capturing, editing, mixing, recording and menu creation options and DVD+VR and DVD-VR advanced recording abilities.

New audio features and applications now support 5.1 and 7.1 audio recording, editing and mixing, along with 32-bit audio and a professional program with the ability to mix and edit for the production of audio CDs and CD compilations. Audio enthusiasts will now be able to incorporate beats, sound sequences and melodies into audio projects, with surround sound mixing.

The Nero 7 retail box will be available at participating retailers on October 10, in the USA, Canada and worldwide. Customers can order online at www.nero.com starting on October 26 for $99.99 and downloadable version for $79.99. Current Nero 6 users can Upgrade to Nero 7 online at a special discounted price on October 26.

www.nero.com

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Panasonic Announces Availability of Fully Equipped BT-LH1700W 17” Widescreen HD/SD Production LCD monitor

Panasonic Broadcast has announced the availability of the BT-LH1700W production-quality high definition/standard definition LCD monitor for studio and field applications. The lightweight 17" monitor produces exceptional color reproduction and gradation, according to Panasonic, and can be AC or DC-powered to work in virtually any environment, from the edit room to the production truck, from newsgathering to field production.

Features including two auto switching SDI/HD-SDI inputs, Waveform Monitoring, and Freeze Frame/Split Screen are all-inclusive in the affordable BT-LH1700W. The BT-LH1700W boasts Panasonic exclusives, including a high-speed response with no blurring; the industry's lowest delay realized by an image-processing circuit that converts interlaced into progressive signals with no visible delays; a Waveform Monitor that graphically displays luminance levels from zero to 110 IRE in any of the monitor's four corners; a Split Screen/Freeze Frame function for scene comparison and critical color matching (live input vs. freeze frame).

The multi-format, self-contained unit is outfitted with a 1280x768 pixel WXGA-resolution panel and faithfully reproduces up to 16.7 million colors. With selectable Color Temperature (D9300K/D6500K/D5600K; User Settable and three variable setting for high and low RGB), the monitor makes it easy to match your standard. Likewise gamma is adjustable and Cine Gamma (Film-Rec) compensation is included, specifically for monitoring with Panasonic's VariCam HD Cinema Camera. With a 3.2" depth and both rack and 75mm/100mm VESA-mountable, the BT-LH1700W is perfect for any broadcast, studio, or edit environment. It is equipped with intuitive, easy-to-use controls, including a menu that can be positioned in five different screen locations; two user-defined buttons that can be set to Waveform Monitor, Blue Only, H, V, H/V Delay, Monochrome, Aspect, Gamma and more; and preset/manual picture adjustments with indicator lights. Frame marker lines (including 4:3, 16:9, 2.35:1), or background shading at 0%, 50% or 100% can be displayed. The BT-LH1700W offers as standard dual SDI inputs with automatic switching between HD and SD.

The monitor is also equipped with one SDI output as well as a component (Y/Pb/Pr), PC RGB, Y/C and composite. It has a wide vertical and horizontal viewing angle of 176 degrees. Diagonal Line compensation reduces the occurrence of jagged noise in the diagonal direction for improved SD response. The monitor is compatible with multiple HD/SD formats including 1080/24PsF, 1080i, 720P and 480P/i.

Other features include 12-Volt 4-pin XLR input; GPI and RS-232C ports for external control of many functions; built-in, amplified stereo speakers; and a red/green tally lamp. It measures 17" W by 12.9" H x 7.9" D (measurements include stand) and weighs 17.8 lbs.

The BT-LH1700W is available now at a suggested list price of $3,400.

http://www.panasonic.com/broadcast

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Epson Stylus Introduces Photo R220 and R340 with Photos and CD/DVD Surface Printing

Epson America Inc. has debuted two new six-color photo printers, the Epson Stylus Photo R220 and R340. Each features a rich set of photo-centric and user-friendly features.

The Epson Stylus Photo R220 is the most affordable six-color photo printer in Epson's line with a price tag under $100. The Epson Stylus Photo R340 is a full-featured, PC-free printer that provides a convenient 2.4" premium photo viewing monitor and memory card slots. These new printers share some improvements over the previous products, such as better color saturation for brighter reds and yellows and automatic image enhancement for adjusting a photo that is too dark when a subject is backlit.

In addition, both printers offer the capability of printing directly onto the surface of inkjet-printable CDs and DVDs and can now print from the center to the edge of the CD or DVD with no visible blank space for a cleaner, more professional look. Epson was the first and still is the only consumer ink jet printer manufacturer in the U.S. to include CD/DVD printing on its printers.

The Epson Stylus Photo R220 is a six-color printer that offers 5760x1440 optimized dpi using ultra fine ink droplets (as small as three picoliters) and Micro Piezo inkjet technology for precision color and detail, according to Epson. Customers can create customized CDs and DVDs with personalized text, graphics, and photos; and with the printer's front-loading tray, it's easy and fast, Epson reports. 

This printer also offers BorderFree printing in popular, frame-ready sizes such as 4" x 6", 5" x 7", 8" x 10", and 8.5" x 11", and can print a 4" x 6" lab quality borderless photo in as fast as 57 seconds, according to Epson. For added convenience, the Epson Stylus Photo R220 uses individual ink cartridges and is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh systems. Additionally, the printer connects to a computer quickly and easily with its front and back positioned USB ports. The Epson Stylus Photo R220 is currently available for an estimated street price of $99.

The Epson Stylus Photo R340 is a full-featured, versatile, PC-free printer that offers the same outstanding photo quality and convenient CD/DVD printing as the Epson Stylus Photo R220. What sets this printer apart is its high-quality 2.4" LCD preview monitor, which enables customers to select, crop and print favorite photos in full color without ever having to turn on a computer. This printer also has an even more intuitive, user-friendly control panel with simple on-screen menus, which provide customers with the flexibility to make selections such as paper type, paper size and number of copies, without having to use a computer. One of the most convenient features of the new control panel is Epson's exclusive "print by date" option. This provides customers with a simple way to find the photos they want to print by selecting the date they were taken. The panel also gives customers the ability to view photos with or without on-screen text, view and select photos using thumbnails and easily select a range of photos for printing.

The Epson Stylus Photo R340 can speed through photos with its fast photo print speeds, printing a 4" x 6" lab-quality borderless photo in as fast as 57 seconds. The printer also handles text with ease and can produce a black text document at up to 15 ppm.* With Epson's patented BorderFree photo printing technology, this printer can deliver frame-ready, borderless images with no borders to trim or perforations to tear in all of the popular sizes, including 4" x 6", 5" x 7", 8" x 10", and 8.5" x 11".

Other flexible features of the Epson Stylus Photo R340 are the ability to save images easily to an external CD-R, Zip, or Flash memory drive and the option of direct printing from Bluetooth-enabled phones. The Bluetooth adapter is currently available for an estimated street price of $69. This printer is both Macintosh and Windows compatible and offers Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity. It is available now for an estimated street price of $199.

Both the Epson Stylus Photo R220 and R340 utilize Epson's latest color and image enhancements, which result in improved quality of prints. One of these enhancements is better color saturation, resulting in prints that look richer and brighter and is most noticeable in photos with a large amount of yellow and red in them. Another improvement on the printers, Epson says, is the ability to automatically detect when a photo is too dark such as a photo that contains a subject with a bright background behind it. Normally, in this case, the subject would be dark with the background showing up bright. With the Epson Stylus Photo R220 and R340, the subject will be adjusted and brightened. This automatic image enhancement feature will correct a photo that most customers would otherwise delete or choose not to print. Ink and Media for the Epson Stylus Photo R220 and R340 The Epson Stylus Photo R220 and R340 utilize individual ink cartridges, a practical solution which offers customers more control to replace only the color of ink that runs out.

The Epson Stylus Photo R220 and R340 will be available in major computer, office and electronic superstores, a variety of retail stores nationwide and can also be purchased through mail order, the Internet and on the Epson retail Web site (http://www.epsonstore.com). The models are backed by a one-year Epson Limited Warranty and are supported by the EPSON Connection, a customer support and technical assistance line. For more information on Epson and its products, call 1-800-GO-EPSON or visit http://www.epson.com. Epson's Environmental Commitment The Epson Stylus Photo R220 and R340 have earned the ENERGY STAR by meeting strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Epson offers a range of ENERGY STAR products. Epson encourages consumers to save energy by selecting ENERGY STAR products.

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Media Supply to Host Seminar Live Event Audio & Video Recording

Media Supply, Inc., a CD and DVD supplier and duplication expert, will host a seminar on Live Event Audio & Video Recording and Copying November 9th, 2005 at the Penn State Great Valley campus in Malvern, PA. The event is free and will feature sessions led by industry professionals from Primera, Microboards, Rimage, Verbatim, and MAM- A/Mitsui as well as Media Supply.

The seminar was developed to provide solutions for streamlining duplicating tasks while minimizing expensive mistakes, topics regularly queried by Media Supply clients. Individuals wishing to attend the seminar can register online at http://www.mediasupply.com/fallseminar05.html or call 1.800.944.4237, extension 114.

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