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February 13, 2006

Table of Contents

The Reel Deal: The Video iPod as a Marketing Tool
Blackmagic Design Announces Multibridge Extreme 5.4 Software
4EVER Group Resumes Local Association Outreach
Attention All Bloggers: Introducing Vlog It! Video Blogging Software from Serious Magic
Primera Announces Bravo XR-Blu Disc Publisher
Digital Foci Announces Picture Porter Elite

The Reel Deal: The Video iPod as a Marketing Tool

I didn't start paying attention to the iPod until Apple introduced video capability in the fifth-generation model. I didn't have much use for the audio features, being content to play my CDs in my car stereo. However, my kids no longer use their CD players as they each have their own MP3 player. That's pretty much the norm these days; just visit a school parking lot after classes let out and you will see lots of kids wearing the familiar white ear buds. The iPod has had a lot of success with my generation as well, but I still wasn't sold on the audio players. However, when video was added, I decided it was time for me to take a second look.

The video iPod comes in either 30GB ($299) or 60GB ($399) models. The 60GB version holds 15,000 songs, 25,000 photos, and 150 hours of video, plus audiobooks, podcasts, contacts, calendars, games, and clocks, and is still thinner than the original iPod. I figured it was worth the extra $100 to get twice as much storage. The video iPod will connect with either the Mac OS X or Windows 2000/XP and has 20 hours of battery life. The LCD screen on the Video iPod is 2.5 inches, and the video is amazingly clear and crisp.

Because I edit with a PC, and the Apple iPod is Mac-based, I had to download QuickTime Pro for $29 in order to convert my video footage so it could be uploaded into the iPod. The software compresses a large video file into a small video file that still looks great on the Video iPod.

That's all well and good from a consumer perspective, but how can it help my business? Today's couples grew up with computers in their schools and homes and are very tech-savvy. Because I market to high-end brides, I need to stay current with high-end trends, and the Video iPod is certainly one hot item! I now listen to podcasts (one of my favorites is WedVidTalk) as well so the video iPod is not only a marketing tool but an educational tool as well.

The Video iPod is slightly larger and thicker than a credit card, but small enough to fit into a pocket or purse. As I always have my purse with me, I am ready to do an instant wedding demo at a moment's notice! These Video iPods are still new, so if you have one playing, chances are people will gather around to take a look. You'll always hear comments about how good the video quality is. Just think, no more lugging around a DVD player or laptop.

During WEVA's recent Take a Bridal Consultant to Lunch Week, I paid a visit to a bridal consultant that I hope to work with. As we discussed trends in the video business, I pulled out my video iPod and showed her a Prequel, Bridal Preparations, and a Reception highlight from three different couples, and it only took a few clicks on the iPod control wheel. It turns out this bridal consultant had also received a video iPod for Christmas and she commented how clever I was for adding my weddings and said she would do the same, so she could show a potential bride a video of what her wedding could look like. Think about it--this bridal consultant wouldn't be pulling out a photo album and showing photographs to a client, she would be showing video! Can you see giving your favorite bridal consultant a Video iPod loaded with your video of the weddings you've done together? Can you see the marketing potential here?

Even if you do a studio appointment with a potential client and they watch demos on your 61" widescreen HDTV with surround sound and Bose speakers, still pull out your little Video iPod and let them hold it and watch part of a wedding. Tell them that you could put their wedding on their Video iPod. You could even include a Video iPod in your high-end packages. How exciting is that? Once again, a married woman isn't going to lug her photo album around with her at all times, but how easily and quickly could she whip out her Video iPod out of her purse and play her short wedding highlight for her friends and colleagues? What guy wouldn't like the "coolness" factor of pulling out his Video iPod for his buddies and playing a short clip of his wedding? A lot of guys are gadget-freaks and the Video iPod satisfies the craving. These couples are now selling your services every time they show someone their wedding video.

Once again, a married woman isn't going to lug her photo album around with her at all times, but how easily and quickly could she whip her video iPod out of her purse and play her short wedding highlight for her friends and colleagues? What guy wouldn't like the "coolness" factor of pulling out his video iPod for his buddies and playing a short clip of his wedding? A lot of guys gadget-freaks, and the video iPod satisfies the craving. These couples are now selling your services everyt time they show someone their wedding video.

With the new Video iPod now out, what does this mean for my workflow? It means that I have to clear my backlog up faster or else edit together a quick highlight that can be put on the Video iPod until a bride's entire wedding video is edited. You want couples to be able to watch their video and share it with others while they still feel the newness of being married. Your clients are now showing their videos (your demo) to their friends and colleagues, many of whom are planning their own weddings.

I've always felt that in order to sell high-end video, people have to see it. The challenge for all of us has always been finding opportunities to see and be seen. The Video iPod--along with streaming video on the Web--is now making it that much easier.

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Blackmagic Design Announces Multibridge Extreme 5.4 Software

Blackmagic Design has announced software Version 5.4 for its Multibridge Extreme editing and converting solution. Multibridge Extreme is the world's first all-in-one bi-directional A/D and D/A converter featuring a high speed PCI-Express connection. PCI-Express allows Multibridge Extreme to operate as a capture and playback solution with uncompressed HD and SD editing, right through to full feature film 4:4:4 quality by simply plugging the PCI-Express connection into a PCIe Mac OS X or Windows XP based system.

The latest software release for Multibridge Extreme includes:

1. Hardware HD to SD down conversion features

  • Anamorphic 16:9, Letterbox 16:9, and Center Cut 4:3 down conversion modes
  • Full broadcast quality polyphase interpolation filtering for enhanced video quality
  • Simultaneous HD and SD outputs, also selectable on analog outputs
  • Down conversion will work in PCI-Express Capture mode, or Converter mode

2. Monitoring support for 30" dual-link DVI-D displays

  • Multibridge Extreme's DVI-D output will now connect to large 30" computer monitors for full-screen real time HD playback.
  • For film editors and compositors needing "large-screen" high resolution HD monitoring, Multibridge Extreme can scale an HD 1920x1080 image up to 2500x1600 to fill the screen.

Multibridge Extreme is the world's first all-in-one bi-directional converter featuring a new high-speed 10GBps PCI-Express connection. Being 25 times faster than FireWire, PCI-Express allows capture and playback of uncompressed video up to 2K feature film resolutions when plugged into a computer. Multibridge Extreme can be used as the highest quality audio and video converter, or as a high-end editing and compositing system for broadcast, post-production and film projects. It instantly switches between HD and SD and features 4:2:2 and Dual Link 4:4:4 video quality.

Featuring SDI digital video and Analog Component video, 8 channels of AES/EBU digital audio and two channels of balanced professional XLR analog audio, and two unbalanced audio outputs for low cost in-suite monitoring. Multibridge Extreme is available now for US$2,595 from authorized Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

Blackmagic's latest software driver is available to registered Multibridge Extreme users, and can be downloaded immediately from the Blackmagic Design support web site located at www.blackmagic-design.com/support/software.

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4EVER Group Resumes Local Association Outreach

After a brief hiatus for the inaugural convention and trade show, the 4EVER Group will continue their Local Videographers Association outreach efforts. There are currently four presentations scheduled, and more are in the planning stages.

"The outreach effort in 2005 was a tremendous asset to local associations," said Tim Ryan, Director of Education. "We broke new ground with the four dozen or so programs we presented last year."

Steve Wernick has presentations coming up for the North Jersey Videographers Association, on February 21 ("The Video Critique") and the Michigan Independent Videographers Association on April 5 ("Do the Math").

Tim Ryan will present "Secrets to a Successful Sales Presentation" to the Jacksonville Videographers Association on April 4. The final presentation will be for the Long Island Videographers Association, on March 14. This will be the local association debut of "The Critic's Corner," which was received so well at the 4EVER Group's Video 06 convention.

Although several Video Summits are also in the planning stages, space remains in The 4EVER Group calendar for additional local association programs. To schedule a presentation for your association, please contact Tim Ryan (TimR@4EVERGroup.org) or Steve Wernick (SteveW@4EVERGroup.org).

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Attention All Bloggers: Introducing Vlog It! Video Blogging Software from Serious Magic

Targeting the millions of people who blog around the world today, Serious Magic, Inc. has announced the immediate availability of Vlog It to help users quickly and easily add video to their blog, or create a "vlog," in minutes.

With Vlog It, users combine media video clips, digital photos and music with narration to achieve a video. To create a vlog, users

  • Drag & drop photos, video clips and music into Vlog It!
  • Add cool TV-style transitions and sound effects. Bloggers can even go for the complete newscaster look, using Vlog It's live webcam recording and teleprompter to add narration.
  • Click Publish and then drag and drop the video thumbnail into their blog. When visitors to the blog click on the thumbnail, their video will automatically play.

Vlog It introduces a new, simple process for video creation that is unlike any video editing software. With Vlog It, events are tied to words and ideas instead of seconds and frames. Vlog It drastically cuts the time required to capture, edit, render, compress and upload video, making it a radically easier and faster way to share video on the Web.

Vlog It introduces consumers to the vlog-creation process with a three-step Wizard so novices can access a variety of newscast-style themes. Each theme includes coordinated graphics, titles, lower-third graphics, backgrounds and music so videos look as if they were created inside a television newsroom. Experienced users can go directly into the advanced interface for greater control and more sophisticated options.

For those that wish to appear on camera, Vlog It takes live input from standard webcams and camcorders. To put themselves on camera, users simply place their camera on their computer monitor and plug it into their PC. When reading their text blog from Vlog It's on-screen teleprompter, it appears the user is looking directly at the camera while they are reading. Vlog It also offers the ability to replace a background with an image or video. This is perfect for the blogger wishing to appear "on location", such as in front of the White House discussing political views or in an actual newsroom commenting on the day's events. To utilize this feature, users place any green or blue fabric behind them or purchase an inexpensive green screen backdrop from Serious Magic's Web store.

Vlog It is now available via electronic download or CD at www.seriousmagic.com and through resellers nationwide for $49.95.

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Primera Announces Bravo XR-Blu Disc Publisher

Primera Technology, Inc. has announced its Bravo XR-Blu Disc Publisher. Bravo XR-Blu is the world's first automated burn and print device to support new high-capacity Blu-ray Disc recorders and media.

Along with its built-in robotics and full-color direct-to-disc inkjet printing, the Bravo XR-Blu incorporates Pioneer Electronics (USA), Inc.'s new BDR-101A Blu-ray Disc/DVD Recorder. Blu-ray enabled recording software based on technology from Sonic Solutions, is included to provide a complete and professional Blu-ray Disc publishing solution.

The initial release of the Bravo XR-Blu utilizes single-layer discs to store up to 25 gigabytes of data. An upgrade will be available shortly after launch that will allow dual-layer media, which stores up to 50GB of data per disc. Since up to 50 discs can be loaded into the Bravo XR-Blu at a time, this gives a total native capacity of up to 2.5 terabytes of data that can be published in a single session. Blu-ray discs utilize shorter wavelength blue lasers in order to store far more data than any other optical disc technology commercially available.

As the first automated system to use Blu-ray technology, the Bravo XR-Blu is expected to be used in a wide variety of cutting-edge applications in business, government, military, medical, banking, insurance, back-up and archival, high-definition video, digital movie post production and more.

The Bravo XR-Blu is fast and easy to set up and use. It connects via USB 2.0 to any PC running Windows XP/2000. The Bravo XR-Blu recording and mastering software was written using AuthorScript Data Backup with BD Support from Sonic Solutions. It supports both Blu-ray and DVD+/-R media. SureThing CD Labeler, Primera Edition, is included to make direct-to-disc labeling fast and easy.

A unique feature of the Bravo XR-Blu is the built-in blue LED array that illuminates the interior, making it simple to view operation. All supplies replenishment is accomplished from the front panel, allowing the unit to be placed almost anywhere on a desk, a shelf or on a countertop. Two units can be stacked vertically to effectively double capacity and throughput. An optional rack mount kit is available for a standard 4U, 19" wide rack.

The Bravo XR-Blu sells for US $5995 (MSRP). It is expected to begin shipping in April 2006 and will be exhibited in Hannover, Germany, at CeBIT from March 9-16, 2006. Primera is located in Hall 1, Booth D77. Primera's products are available in more than 85 countries through its Authorized Resellers and Distributors.

www.primera.com

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Digital Foci Announces Picture Porter Elite

Digital Foci has announced that it will be introducing at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Conference its Picture Porter Elite portable digital photo album with 40GB and 80GB hard drives and a memory card reader. Featuring a 3.6" LCD for easy viewing, Picture Porter Elite lets you instantly and securely save and view digital photos and video on its hard drive wherever you go, so you can keep snapping away and stop worrying about limited memory card space on your digital camera.

Prtable Digital Photo Album With its high-capacity hard drive, you can now carry your collection of digital photos and video with you all the time right in your pocket and view them anywhere. While viewing photos on Picture Porter Elite's bright LCD, you can rotate, zoom, pan, view EXIF information, and play picture slideshows.

You can also connect Picture Porter Elite to a TV and share your photos and music with family and friends on a big screen in the comfort of your living room. Especially valuable for vacations, trade shows, special events, parties, and for pro photographers who take and show a large number of photos, Picture Porter Elite saves photos on its hard drive, so you don't have to lug around a heavy laptop on the road. Picture Porter Elite takes the worry out of losing precious photos stored on easily damaged memory cards. Its built-in memory card slots let you copy and archive photos directly from any digital camera memory card, without the need for cumbersome peripheral attachments or cabling.

Picture Porter Elite supports the PictBridge® standard so you can print directly to any PictBridge-compliant printer without a computer. All you have to do is connect Picture Porter Elite by USB to a PictBridge compliant printer and print photos as you view them on the Picture Porter Elite screen. Imagine the convenience of printing photos directly to your printer without the hassle of using a PC or complicated image-editing software! Works with All Popular Media Formats Picture Porter Elite works with all popular media card formats, including CF I/II, MD, MMC, SD Card, Memory Stick, MS PRO, and MS Duo, and MS PRO Duo, so you can copy and save your precious pictures directly from just about any digital camera memory card format.

You can also take advantage of its multi-format memory card support and use Picture Porter Elite to archive all your special picture moments. While traveling with a group, you will be able to copy everybody's digital photos onto Picture Porter Elite, regardless of the digital camera brand or model. Portable Media Player -- MP3/Video Player and Voice/Video Recorder Picture Porter Elite is also perfect as a portable MP3 and video player -- keep your entire collection of content in one place for easy access. With built-in microphone and recording capability, you can use Picture Porter Elite as a voice recorder to record lectures, interviews, or conferences. Picture Porter Elite also records videos straight from TV or any other video source using high-compression MPEG-4 encoding. The MPEG-4 format will keep the file sizes small for easy sharing while maintaining a high level of picture and sound quality.

Compatible with Windows and Mac, Picture Porter Elite lets you easily transfer files to and from your computer and between computers with different operating systems through its high-speed USB 2 connection. Moreover, bi-directional data transfer lets you copy files directly from any memory card to the Picture Porter Elite hard drive and vice versa.

Picture Porter Elite features include the following:

  • Photo, video and MP3 player
  • Large 3.6" Color LCD screen for viewing pictures and videos
  • Directly reads & writes to memory cards
  • Memory card format support of CF I/II, MD, MMC, SD Card, Memory Stick, and MS PRO (xD-Picture card, miniSD, RS-MMC, MS Duo, and MS PRO Duo with adapter)
  • Bi-directional data transfer that allows direct transfer to and from memory cards
  • Output to TV
  • Directly print to PictBridge compliant printers
  • Archives and backs up files
  • Digital voice and video recorder
  • Image format support for JPEG, Tiff, BMP, GIF, RAW Music format support for MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV
  • Video format support for MPEG-1, MPEG-4, DivX 5.x, WMV, MJPEG
  • Includes Ulead Video Toolbox 2 to edit video clips, create slideshows and convert video files
  • Includes Ulead Photo Explorer 8.5 SE for easy digital photo management
  • Transfers files between multiple computers running different operating systems

Picture Porter Elite is compact and light-weight weighing only 11 oz. (with hard drive and battery included) with dimensions of 5.3" (W) x 3.1" (L) x 1.1" (H). It comes in stylish black metallic and has 2 storage capacities: 40GB and 80GB. Picture Porter Elite comes complete with Ulead management software (a $70 value), USB cable, video/audio cables, earphones, AC adapter, Lithium-Ion battery for 4 hours of video and 10 hours of music, remote control, carrying case, and user's guide.

Picture Porter Elite will be available in May 2006 with pricing starting at $499. For more information, see the Web site: http://www.digitalfoci.com.

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