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June 19, 2006

Table of Contents

The Reel Deal: The Road to Financial Freedom
Focus Enhancements Announces New Direct To Edit FireStore Recorder for Canon XL H1 HD Camcorder
Blackmagic Design Announces New Version 5.6 Software for Multibridge and DeckLink Models with eyeon Fusion 5 Support
New Community-based Stock Footage Website Allows Users to Sell Their Own Footage Quickly and Easily at Affordable Prices
Music 2 Hues Releases New Products
DivX Licenses Video Technology to TMPG/Pegasys
GoStream Provides Portable, One-button Streaming Video Technology
Condre Technology to Distribute Imation Inkjet Printable CDs and DVDs with AquaGuard Surface
SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 4 Pre-Installed onto Wexler Video's Rental Workstations

The Reel Deal: The Road to Financial Freedom

Are you part-time and dreaming of going full-time into videography? Do you want to move into a storefront location? What is holding you back from fulfilling your entrepreneurial dreams? Is it the money? There are only a lucky few who never have to worry about money. The following are some tips to get you started on your road to financial freedom. The purpose of a business is not just to make money, but to make a profit. Money can be a taboo subject amongst friends, but you must talk about it openly with your spouse or business partner to pursue your goals cooperatively and effectively.

You can always hire a financial planner for advice, but there is no substitute for self-education. You can start with the basics of reading the Business section of the daily newspaper. It will also help you to read financial magazines such as Money, Business 2.0, Smart Money, Entrepreneur, Inc., and Consumer Reports. When it comes to securing your financial freedom, remember, "It's not what you make, it's what you keep that counts."

I consider myself very fortunate to have found my dream job at a young age. After the birth of our first son, I had the luxury of taking a six-month leave of absence from my administrative job before deciding I wasn't going back. It was during this time that I first picked up a GE VHS-C camcorder (bought especially to chronicle the impending birth of our son) and my "new dream" of owning my own videography business became a reality. I would have never discovered the "videographer within" if I had to rush back to a job I didn't like only because we had bills to pay. Our life hasn't been without financial ups and downs, but it‘s easier to handle the "downs" when you aren‘t trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Some of my favorite financial books have been out for years: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff About Money by Richard Carlson, The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach, The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley, Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth by Ric Edelman, The Laws of Money by Suze Orman, Debt-Poof Living by Mary Hunt, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. There are other books available by these same authors. Of course, you can check them out at your public library for free.

I especially like The Millionaire Next Door. It challenges the myth of the millionaire lifestyle. It may change the way you look at your clients. For example, with a very high-end wedding I shot recently, by all outward appearances the family seemed middle class. The father of the bride was retired and the family lived in a very modest home (I videotaped the bridal preparations there). I would have never guessed they would book one of my highest video packages, but they did. You can't judge a book (or a booking) by its cover.

Not surprisingly, one key to long-term success is long-term thinking. You must think not only of today, but of your financial future too. It's much harder to save for retirement when you are self-employed, so you should contribute to a SEP 401(k). The key factor is "paying yourself first." You can read more about this in The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. In his book, he talks about the "Latte factor": if you habitually spend $5 a day to buy coffee, take that money and invest it instead. He also recommends that you should have between three and six months of living expenses in an emergency fund.

The following websites will give you some money-saving ideas. All of these sites have links to other money saving sites, so the list is almost endless: Video Business Advisor (www.videobusinessadvisor.com), by EventDV's own Steve Yankee; Dollar Stretcher (www.dollarstretcher.com); The Simple Living Network (www.simpleliving.net); Suze Orman (www.suzeorman.com); Simple and Frugal Living (www.simpleandfrugal.com); Savings Mania (www.savingsmania.com); The Tightwad Gazette (www.tightwadgazette.com); The Clark Howard Show (www.Clarkhoward.com); On The Money Trail (www.onthemoneytrail.com). Also check out the website Freecycle (www.freecycle.org). This is where people post the items they want to give away for free, and you can post what you are looking for. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Another way to make money and de-clutter your home/office is to sell your stuff on eBay. Not sure how to get started? Check out the eBay for Dummies book. There are even companies that will sell your stuff for you online. They get a percentage of the selling price, but it will still pay better than leaving them to sit in your home/office collecting dust.

Do you have children? It is never too soon to start a college fund! However, don't save the money in your child's name. To find out why and to get more tips on maximizing funds that you could get from a college, visit the the Fin Aid website at (http://fafsa.org/fafsa/maximize.phtml).

Even with careful financial planning, you could still end up in a financial mess if you are a victim of identify theft. For more information on how to prevent and what to do if you do become a victim, visit the Identity Theft and Fraud website at http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/idtheft.html.

Once your financial situation is in order, you will now have the resources and peace of mind to go after your dreams. Do you have any money-saving tips or advice that you would like to share? How do you save money on business and household expenses? Do you have a favorite financial website, book, podcast, radio, or television show that you would like to share? Please send them to me, and I will include them in a future column.

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Focus Enhancements Announces New Direct To Edit FireStore Recorder for Canon XL H1 HD Camcorder

Focus Enhancements Inc. today announced that it has worked with Canon to develop the FireStore FS-C series of portable Direct To Edit (DTE) disk recorders for Canon's popular XL H1 HD camcorder. The new line is expected to be available in July 2006.

Focus Enhancements is expanding its FireStore DTE recorder line with the FS-C HD60 and FS-C HD100, offering 60 and 100 GB of tapeless hard drive video storage respectively. The FS-C series enables videographers to record direct nonlinear HDV or DV streams with or without a tape inserted in the XL H1 camcorder via FireWire.

When in HD mode, footage is recorded in an .m2t file compatible with many popular HD editing solutions. When in DV mode, file support includes Avid OMF, QuickTime, Canopus AVI, Matrox AVI and more.

FS-C HD60 can provide 4 1/2 hours of HD 1080i or DV25 recording time when used with the Canon XL H1; the FS-C HD100, approximately 7 1/2 hours. These ultra portable units will also include direct mounting to the Canon XL H1 camcorder.

www.focusinfo.com 

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Blackmagic Design Announces New Version 5.6 Software for Multibridge and DeckLink Models with eyeon Fusion 5 Support

Blackmagic Design has announced the immediate availability of Version 5.6 software for all Multibridge and DeckLink products. This release includes new support for eyeon Fusion 5, support for 720p/50 on DeckLink high-definition cards, and new HDV playback support in Premiere Pro 2.0 on Windows XP and XP x64 systems.

Fusion 5 is a full-featured, node-based compositing system used for digital film pipelines. When integrated with Blackmagic's Multibridge Extreme, compositors can take full advantage of a true 10 bit uncompressed 4:4:4 RGB workflow. Both 10 bit uncompressed Blackmagic AVI or QuickTime files can be used with Fusion 5, or simply use Blackmagic's FrameLink to create instant DPX versions of any 10-bit uncompressed 4:4:4 RGB AVI file.

Multibridge Extreme also features "True 2K" real-time preview for Fusion 5 at 23.98 and 24fps. This enables broadcast paint and special effects professionals the ability to monitor 2K on Dual-Link DVI-D LCD displays, such as the Apple 30" Cinema Display. Each individual pixel is digitally mapped pixel-for-pixel with LUTS for more color-sensitive and accurate image quality. "

Also included in this release is 720p/50 support for older model DeckLink high-definition cards, allowing customers running discontinued models of DeckLink high definition cards to add compatibility for the European broadcast industry's chosen HD standard. For editors, another exciting new feature when using Multibridge or DeckLink high definition models with Premiere Pro 2.0 on Windows XP is full speed HDV playback. Clips can now be intermixed with uncompressed 10- and 8-bit clips, allowing for true multi format editing with media from various sources. This enables Blackmagic customers to use lower-cost HDV cameras for high-end productions.

Software release Version 5.6 for Multibridge Extreme and DeckLink includes the following:

  • Video Preview support for Fusion 5
  • 720/50p native support for Adobe Production Studio
  • Real-time HDV monitoring for Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0
  • The ability to mix HDV files with 8-bit and 10-bit uncompressed files.

Blackmagic's latest software driver Version 5.6 is available free and can be downloaded immediately from the Blackmagic Design website located at www.blackmagic-design.com/support/software.

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New Community-based Stock Footage Website Allows Users to Sell Their Own Footage Quickly and Easily at Affordable Prices

A new site on the World Wide Web enables video professionals to upload and sell their footage, motion backgrounds, and 3D animations in a community-based environment. Revolution Stock Media (www.revostock.com) gives video professionals an outlet for the footage they shoot and motion graphics they create, while also making stock footage affordable and accessible to all budget levels.

The site features an intuitive application, approval, and upload system. The site's "Producers" are able to create a free account, apply to become a producer, and usually have their footage on the site for sale the same day.

Revolution Stock features a flat-rate pricing structure, and all footage on the site is royalty-free. NTSC and PAL footage is only $15, HD 720 is $25, and HD 1080 is $35. Since the site is inherently community based, end-users and site producers are allowed contact with one another through the forum. If a videographer in Phoenix, needs a specific shot of a New York City subway, they can post a "Footage Request" on the website's forum allowing RevoStock producers in the NYC area to respond to this request by shooting the footage or uploading footage they already have. The site also has a semi-automated article system allowing users to post articles for approval and publishing.

The article system indirectly gives authors the opportunity to highlight their profile and portfolio. Right now the website is in what they are calling their "Footage Accquisition Phase." Producers who join and upload their footage now, will receive higher introductory royalty rates as an incentive.

Also, the site offers a "Producer Challenge" each month, rewarding their members with prizes for the most approved footage uploaded and the most creative submissions. Since the site's official opening on May 26th, the site's new "Producers" have already added close to 250 clips and the number of additions is growing exponentially on a daily basis.

www.revostock.com

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Music 2 Hues Releases New Products

Music 2 Hues released today new additions to its royalty-free production music line. Just released is the new MultiMedia Series, designed for web, nonlinear, and multimedia content creators, with over 1000 MP3 files. Also released this week are new volumes in the Theme Pack series and WaveTrack series.

Designed to simplify music selection for music content developers looking for specific styles of pre-packaged music tracks, each Theme Pack contains 5 audio CDs plus one DVD-ROM (WAV & MP3 files) of music beds based on the same style. The WaveTrack series supplies all WAV file music tracks on DVD-ROM. 

The new Theme Pack titles, Multimedia Series, and WaveTrack volumes are now shipping worldwide.

www.music2hues.com

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DivX Licenses Video Technology to TMPG/Pegasys

DivX, Inc., the digital entertainment company that created the DivX media format, today announced that it has licensed DivX video technology to TMPG Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Pegasys, Inc. for use in the new high-quality video encoder TMPGEnc 4.0 Xpress. The new version of TMPGEnc is twice as powerful as previous versions and includes a plethora of new functions and advancements, such as frame level cut editing, over 19 Audio/Video filters, slideshow creation, subtitle support, and support for many popular formats, including DivX.

 TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress is scheduled for release on June 13 at a cost of US $99.95. With over 180 million software product downloads worldwide, DivX is a digital media format that enables video to be compressed so that it uses only a fraction of the amount of data required by a standard- length DVD for playback on PCs and millions of consumer electronics devices. The DivX Pro Codec includes six optimized encoding modes that are designed to allow you to balance visual quality and performance for virtually any application from live capture to video mastering. Improved high-performance modes also allow the codec to create significantly higher quality video from live feeds, including for PC-based digital video recorders, real-time video capture applications, and rapid-encoding environments.

www.tmpg-inc.com

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GoStream Provides Portable, One-button Streaming Video Technology

Plano, Texas-based ViewCast Corporation has introduced Niagara GoStream, a single-channel, portable streaming media encoder appliance designed for ease of use by streaming experts or novices. This compact unit can quickly go from its DualDock rack shelf in an indoor environment to outdoor, on-location events for live Web casting.

The GoStream product aims to breakdown the technology barriers of most streaming media products by simplifying the user experience. The GoStream encoder is a special offering in the market, focusing on the creation and presentation of video and audio on the Internet with a single-button operation. It features EZStream event buttons that allow users to load pre-defined encoding profiles for a specific event and simply press the record button to begin a streaming session.

In addition, GoStream also simplifies the user experience by introducing the EASE control menu. The EASE menu is a workflow menu that streamlines the user experience allowing a user to Encode audio and video content, Access the system's health status, Setup the unit's network connections, and even Export video content to video storage devices including the Apple Video iPod and Creative Zen Vision media portable media players.

GoStream will include the latest version of ViewCast's remote control and monitoring software application for Osprey-based encoders. SCX 5.0 software incorporates digital rights management (DRM) for Windows Media, MPEG-4 /H.264, and MPEG-2 encoding standards.

GoStream also allows wireless operation with an optional battery-powered backpack and wireless IP connectivity for anytime, anywhere IP video streaming. Using the battery option, GoStream can provide up to 6.5 hours of operation. ViewCast expects the GoStream product to grow the adoption of streaming media encoders by customers of content delivery networks and other emerging networks, especially in the broadcast, education, worship, and enterprise markets.

GoStream's introduction highlights a marked departure from industry media encoders, according to Viewcast. The product design is a dedicated function appliance and offers a simple user interface that will drive greater adoption of streaming media products. Evaluating the shift in the streaming industry, Stoner commented, 

For more information on the product, click here.

www.viewcast.com

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Condre Technology to Distribute Imation Inkjet Printable CDs and DVDs with AquaGuard Surface

Condre Technology, Inc. announced today it will offer Imation's inkjet printable CDs and DVDs with AquaGuard water-fast surface as an Imation Authorized OEM/distributor.
     Designed with proprietary AquaGuard nanoparticle technology, the new discs feature a water-resistant and smudge-resistant printable surface providing a better solution for lasting images using direct to disc and other disc printing technologies.
     Imation discs with AquaGuard surface will be available immediately to Condre authorized VARs, Dealers, and OEMs.
www.imation.com
www.condre.com

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SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 4 Pre-Installed onto Wexler Video's Rental Workstations

SmartSound Software, Inc. has announced an agreement to pre-install its music scoring solution onto video editing workstations rented by Wexler Video, a leading equipment and services provider to the Hollywood production and post-production community. Around 400 Avid Unity, Avid Media Composer, Avid Xpress Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro systems now include the SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 4 software and SmartSound's music library.

Sonicfire Pro 4 features Mood Mapping, which gives video editors dynamic control over the mix and feel of their music scores. Through a single Mood Map track, editors can adjust the individual instrument layers in their score to match the changing mood of the production.

In addition, Sonicfire Pro presents the editor with multiple arrangements of music from SmartSound's library at any length needed to score their production. SmartSound accommodated the unique needs of Wexler rental customers by developing the Production Buyout Music License. This gives producers perpetual rights to any exported SmartSound music that is synchronized to a production for a one-time rate of $250 per 30 minutes of finished program time. This means that distribution of a program scored with the SmartSound solution can be expanded to new markets or mediums without the producer having to pay additional licensing costs.

Along with the agreement with Wexler, SmartSound recently signed a deal to provide software and music to Weller/Grossman Productions, one of the leading producers of reality entertainment television programming.

www.smartsound.com

www.wexler.tv

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