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July 10, 2006

Table of Contents

Executive Decisions: The B-Roll List
Avid Xpress Pro 5.5 and New Avid Mojo SDI Now Shipping
Media 100 Ships Version 11
Stock20.com Releases Custom Wedding Highlights Score
Sony Unveils Transfer Software For Its XDCAM HD Professional Disc System And The Macintosh OS X Platform
InterVideo Ulead First to Announce Passing of Blu-ray Disc Certification Testing
Thomson’s New Film Grain Technology Specification Adopted by HD DVD Manufacturers and Top Software and Technology Companies
Avid Ships Avid DS Nitris 8.0
PROAVIO Releases New Studio-Quality SATA and SAS Disk Arrays for High-Resolution Audio and Video Production
Verity Systems Announces 21-Drive DVD Tower Duplicator

Executive Decisions: The B-Roll List

One of our regular corporate video gigs over the last couple of years has been a job editing b-roll segments for local and national morning talk shows. We work with a PR firm that books travel experts for appearances on these broadcasts and we edit video of travel destinations around the world to lend visual support to the on-air interviews. The footage for these segments is sent to us by advertising agencies and marketing reps for resort properties around the globe, and it has been a fascinating experience reviewing the camerawork of literally hundreds of different shooters. Quite frankly, the quality of the b-roll footage we've received has ranged from extraordinary to surprisingly poor.

Our job entails cutting a 60-90 second overview of each location, and we'll typically feature 4-6 destinations per show. Sometimes we receive raw footage to work with--often more than an hour of video including multiple takes of each set up--and sometimes we receive only a few minutes of footage that has already been edited as a brief marketing video. A few agencies have sent footage that was obviously shot by a large crew with professional on-camera talent, but the majority of the tapes we receive were evidently shot by a single cameraman, and we've had some fantastic footage come to us from these solo shooters.

As you might imagine, great footage cuts together easily and makes for strong b-roll segments. Conversely, poor footage is a challenge to cut no matter how large a quantity of video is supplied. Producing and editing these projects has made me much more conscientious about my own shooting. If you are hired as a freelancer to shoot b-roll, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind.

Once upon a time. Whether we receive 3 minutes of footage or 90 minutes of footage, every shot on the tape should tell part of a story. A freelance cameraperson hired to videotape a resort may not receive explicit instruction as to exactly how footage is going to be used, but it's safe to assume that the purpose of the story is to make the property look like an attractive destination. The best footage I receive helps tell a strong story because it provides thorough coverage that parallels the experience a guest would have when visiting the resort for the first time. Though the footage may have been shot out of sequence, care has been taken to acquire all the shots necessary to able to edit the story in a traditional linear format, i.e., beginning with exterior establishing shots, moving to interior establishing shots, and concluding with details and items of special interest.

Steady as she goes.  A good tripod is worth its weight in gold. Even the best handheld shooters know when to opt for camera support. The easiest shots to work with in these property segments are the smooth, steady pans and pulls like you find on HGTV or Travel Channel shows. Footage from higher-priced shoots often employ a jib or steadicam, but single-camera shooters who use a solid tripod also make cutting these segments a breeze. Unfortunately, I've received a couple of tapes with handheld footage that was so shaky it was unusable. I'm glad it wasn't my job to go back to the resort and tell them why their property wasn't going to appear on the show!

Let it be. Suffice it to say, the camera doesn't always have to move. Often the best, most usable footage involves setting up a locked-down camera shot and allowing action within the frame to provide motion and visual interest. Examples include waves crashing onto the beach, kayakers paddling across the water, diners at a restaurant, or shoppers walking through an outdoor marketplace.

The road to nowhere. A random pan or tilt is meaningless. Know where a shot starts and where a shot ends, and move from Point A to Point B with purpose. Lengthy moving shots that roam indiscriminately across a variety of subjects do nothing to help focus a viewer's attention, and they never make the cut.

It's all in the details. Attention to detail can make or break a shot. I've seen exterior establishing shots that were almost perfect-except for the ugly trashcan sitting by the sidewalk. Or restaurant shots that would have worked if a single dirty plate hadn't been left on an unoccupied table. Look up from the viewfinder and take notice of the details within the composition. Reframe the shot or remove distracting elements before recording.

Manual labor. Turn off auto-focus and take manual control of the camera's lens. This should be a no brainer, but several times I have received footage where otherwise-beautiful shots are ruined because of "focus hunt" by an auto-focus lens, especially in low-light situations. Sometimes the hunting focus may be so slight as to not be seen in the camera's viewfinder while shooting, but the problem definitely shows up full-screen. Focus manually to alleviate this potential problem.

Ready for my close-up. Properties with intricate architectural detail or elaborate furnishings can be beautiful, but sometimes I receive footage of these types of locations where the shots are all close-ups with no wide or establishing shots to give context to what we're seeing. It's like filming at an art museum and shooting extreme close-ups of all the paintings in the room without including a wide shot of the room in which the paintings are hanging. To make the close-ups usable, a wide shot is needed to provide context for how the details fit within the environment.

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Avid Xpress Pro 5.5 and New Avid Mojo SDI Now Shipping

Avid Technology, Inc. has announced the worldwide availability of version 5.5 of its Avid Xpress Pro software as well as the newest member in Avid's line of Digital Nonlinear Accelerator products, Avid Mojo SDI. Avid Xpress Pro version 5.5 delivers HD capabilities for both Mac and Windows-based systems. Avid Mojo SDI, which works seamlessly with Avid Xpress Pro and Media Composer(R) software, provides high-quality, advanced analog and digital SDI (Serial Digital Interface) I/O connections for professional video and audio projects.

The Avid Xpress Pro 5.5 software offers professional video, audio, film, effects, and encoding tools--plus custom music creation software--for both Mac and PC platforms in a single box. The software supports native HDV and DVCPRO HD for acquisition, editing, and output; real-time effects and 2:3 pulldown insertion over FireWire; and Avid DNxHD encoding to create effects, transitions, and titles with uncompromised image quality. Avid's Open Timeline enables users to mix HDV, DVCPRO HD, and Avid DNxHD formats with SD and DV media in the same timeline in real-time, eliminating the time-consuming process of incorporating media from multiple sources into a single project.

Avid Mojo SDI is a portable, advanced analog and digital SDI I/O device with high-quality professional video and audio connections supporting most professional decks and cameras. Connecting to any Mac or PC via FireWire, the Avid Mojo SDI Digital Nonlinear Accelerator offers the same analog connectivity of Avid Mojo, but adds SDI I/O and AES/EBU digital audio I/O to expand Avid Xpress Pro solutions to work with mastering-quality SD cameras and decks. It is available for both Avid Xpress Pro and Media Composer software. "

Both the Avid Xpress Pro and Avid Mojo SDI systems, including upgrades for existing customers, are available now through Avid's worldwide reseller channel or online at www.avidstore.com. Avid Xpress Pro software 5.5 is priced at $1,695 USMSRP and Avid Mojo SDI is priced at $2,495 USMSRP. Existing Avid Xpress Pro v4 or v5 customers can upgrade to Avid Xpress Pro v5.5 for $49.95 by download at www.avidstore.com.

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Media 100 Ships Version 11

Media 100, a leading provider of advanced editing systems for the corporate, broadcast, postproduction, and multimedia industries, today announced that Media 100 HD Suite, Media HDe, and Media 100 SDe version 11.0 are now shipping.

Announced at NAB 2006, the version 11 release offers Media 100 editors 10-bit uncompressed HD and SD editing capabilities, support for broadcast-quality format conversions, and increased system performance by leveraging Mac OS X and AJA Video OEM solutions. The version 11 release is also a first step towards native integration with the Boris FX product line, bringing the world-class compositing and effects technology seamlessly within the Media 100 interface.

Media 100 version 11 extensive codec support and native HD editing capabilities offer editors a more robust and flexible editing environment. Media 100 editors can mix HD and SD media with real-time format and aspect ratio conversion on input and output, facilitating efficient workflow as well as simple, fast collaboration between other systems and platforms. Thanks to the outstanding performance of Mac OS X and AJA Video OEM solutions and support for compressed formats, version 11 users can finish their projects faster, using less bandwidth, and less storage.

Media 100 version 11 highlights include the following:

  • Optimized Performance - OS X and AJA Video OEM Solutions Support for Mac OS X and AJA Video OEM solutions increases overall software and system performance with; accelerated rendering, superb image quality, and cost effective, flexible configuration options.
  • Added Audio Support - Embedded SDI Audio Media 100 version 11 customers with the AJA Video OEM Solutions can bring audio into their system using a single cable, eliminating the need to purchase additional hardware.
  • Enhanced HD Workflow - Editing Native HD Support for compressed HD enables Media 100 editors to edit in native HD without having to scale/add expensive storage.
  • HD Cross-Conversion -- The new version 11 release supports hardware-based 1080-to-720 or 720-to-1080 cross conversions for Media HD Suite users.
  • Flexible Editing Environment - Extensive Codec Support Media 100 editors can mix various codecs in the timeline and play with superb image quality in real-time.
  • Support for Uncompressed 10-bit and 8-bit 4:2:2; DVCPro, DV, JPEG B, codecs.
  • Tighter Integration with Boris FX.

Moving towards native integration with Boris FX plug-ins streamlines compositing and effects workflows by enabling Media 100 users to access features seamlessly within the user-friendly Media 100 interface.

Media 100 version 11 supports Media 100 HD with HDX hardware. Media 100 HD customers who subscribe to Media 100's Platinum Software Updates service ($695 US SRP) will receive version 11 as well as Boris RED 3GL. Pricing and Availability Media 100 version 11 is available from Media 100's worldwide Authorized Reseller channel or direct from Media 100.

The new Media 100 NLE systems start at $2495 US SRP. Media 100 sw, a software-based companion to existing Media 100 systems, is available for $395 US SRP. Media 100 HD Platinum Software Updates subscribers will be among the first to receive version 11; the free upgrades will be mailed this week.

For more information, visit the Media 100 web site at http://www.media100.com.

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Stock20.com Releases Custom Wedding Highlights Score

Stock20 has borrowed an actual wedding highlight video to create a score that complements the visual elements and events of the video. It's ready to drop into your timeline with distinct movements and crescendos in all the right places. Then simply arrainge your clips for a very moving presentation. Stock20 hopes to launch several more custom scores featuring different styles and instrumentation. Next month's project is aiming for a more "cinematic" feel.

This month's Wedding Score will be priced at just $7 like the other releases. New customers receive a $7 store credit just for creating a free account. If you want more free music, submit your wedding highlight video (featuring wedding score 01) during the month of July and you could win a free copy of the "Library Collection 001." This 7-disc set features 37 song-sets, and 311 tracks. It is regularly priced at $189. If Stock20 uses your video to showcase the "Wedding Score" you'll receive the Library Collection at no cost. For more details go to: www.contests.stock20.com.

"Wedding Score 01" was developed through customer feedback. It begins with a soft piano melody (taken from "Daddy's Girl") during the "pre-wedding" footage and interviews. Then it builds with an undercurrent of strings as the video moves to the ceremony (1:30). There is a dramatic swell and a crescendo for the entrance of the bride (2:10). Then after the vows, another big crescendo for "the kiss" (3:00). One version moves into "Tomorrow's Hope" (upbeat) for the reception footage, and the other ends with a softer touch (3:30). The piece is about four and a half minutes long.

www.stock20.com

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Sony Unveils Transfer Software For Its XDCAM HD Professional Disc System And The Macintosh OS X Platform

Sony Electronics is introducing new transfer software for use with the Macintosh OS X version 10.4 "Tiger" that provides native interoperability between Sony's XDCAM HD Professional Disc system and Apple's Final Cut Pro nonlinear editing software. The software will be available free of charge online from http://www.sony.com/xdcamhd and will be demonstrated by both companies during a 12-city tour that begins June 28.

The tour, which is run by Apple, will feature product demonstrations and technology tutorials, and kicks off in Dallas and Miami. It continues through August, making stops in Boston; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C. area; New York; Atlanta; Chicago; Detroit; San Diego; and Minnetonka, Minn. At each stop, Sony and Apple executives and product specialists will be on hand to demonstrate system interoperability.

Sony's XDCAM HD equipment and media offer the flexibility of recording 1080i video in three data recording rates: 25 Mbps, 35 Mbps, and 18 Mbps. The XDCAM HD system records high-definition content to Sony's existing Professional Disc single-layer media using an HD MPEG-2 Long GOP video compression codec. The same Professional Disc media used in the standard-definition version of the XDCAM system is also compatible with the new HD version. Industry professionals can now record up to two hours of high-definition content on the versatile optical media, maintaining their workflow continuity by combining HD resolution with the same IT-based benefits made possible by the blue laser-based XDCAM technology since its initial launch.

www.sony.com
www.apple.com

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InterVideo Ulead First to Announce Passing of Blu-ray Disc Certification Testing

InterVideo, Inc. and its partner Ulead Systems, Inc. have announced that InterVideo Ulead has met and passed all of the requirements from Blu-ray Disc License Entity. InterVideo Ulead is the first to announce certification of its Blu-ray Disc applications.

InterVideo Ulead BD technologies include support for BD-R, BD-RE, BD-ROM and BD-J playback, authoring and burning which will be available in WinDVD BD and BD DiscRecorder, and will later be incorporated into the DVD MovieFactory suite for video editing and DVD & Blu-ray Disc authoring.

WinDVD BD provides a total BD playback solution, according to InterVideo, including support for BDAV video format. WinDVD BD fully supports BDMV (movie) titles with parental and region controls and the highly-interactive features of the BD-J specification. This specification allows movie enthusiasts to take advantage of BD interactive playback features including subtitles, play modes, angles and Internet connectivity for content updates.

BD DiscRecorder allows users to record high-definition video content from HDV camcorders to Blu-ray Disc in full HDV resolution. Video may be recorded directly to disc in real-time or first captured to the user's hard drive for editing. The editing features allow users to combine multiple standard or high-definition clips as well as trim and extract clips using Multi-Trim editing. DVD DiskRecorder Move SDK allows users to "move" recorded TV programs from hard drives to single-layer (25GB) or double-layer (50GB) re-recordable BD-RE discs. During the "moving" process, the video is recorded to Blu-ray disc using BDAV MPEG-2 TS (Transport Stream).

The discs include AACS content protection to prevent potential hacking. DiscRecorder also supports "moving" TV-program video to DVD disc. While transcoding the video to DVD-VR format, DiscRecorder also incorporates CPRM content protection on the disc. DVD MovieFactory is easy-to-use disc authoring and burning software for today's digital lifestyle. Users can turn their standard or HD video & photos into DVDs or Blu-ray Discs with studio-quality personalized menus.

InterVideo Ulead markets WinDVD BD, BD DiscRecorder, DVD DiskRecorder to hardware OEMs. The latest versions of DVD MovieFactory with Blu-ray support will be available on the company websites for electronic downloads.

For more information, visit www.intervideo.com or www.ulead.com.

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Thomson’s New Film Grain Technology Specification Adopted by HD DVD Manufacturers and Top Software and Technology Companies

Thomson has announced that leading consumer electronics, software and technology companies are implementing its Film Grain Technology. Developed by Thomson's Technology division in collaboration with its Technicolor business, Film Grain Technology was recently adopted as a Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) registered disclosure document. Consumer electronics giants Toshiba and RCA; technology innovators Broadcom, Sigma Designs, Horizon Semiconductors and NVIDIA; and software leaders Microsoft and Sonic Solutions are set to deploy Film Grain Technology, with two Toshiba HD DVD players, an RCA HD DVD player and a Broadcom IC decoder now entering the marketplace.

Broadcom's BCM7411D and Horizon Semiconductor's Hz100 and Hz300 are integrated solutions that will incorporate Film Grain Technology and Sigma Designs will offer an IC solution, as well. Sonic Solutions is integrating Film Grain Technology in its HD DVD production tools. NVIDIA is building hardware-accelerated Film Grain Technology for its advanced line of Quadro Graphic Processing Units and InterVideo and CyberLink are integrating the technology into their personal computer HD DVD players. Finally, all HD DVD players will be manufactured with Film Grain Technology, notably RCA's HDV5000, Toshiba's HD-A1 and HD-XA1, and Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD DVD Player.

The first tool of its kind formally documented in cooperation with SMPTE, Film Grain Technology was selected by DVD Forum for mandatory inclusion in HD DVD products. The technology allows compressed motion pictures to be delivered more efficiently and improves their visual quality. It enables film grain that is extracted before content is compressed to be faithfully re-created during playback. Film Grain Technology is a streamlined, low-cost solution that is easily embedded in broadcast and home theater play-out devices. Broadcasters maximize bandwidth; packaged media content creators gain disk space; and viewers see movies that match the filmmaker's intent.

Film Grain Technology is easily deployed with H.264 compression (also known as MPEG-4 Part 10/Advanced Video Coding), and can be adapted to support other compression solutions, as well. Film Grain Technology also has significant artistic applications beyond the delivery process. Creatives can use it in postproduction to add the look and feel of conventional film to digitally captured or rendered imagery. The Film Grain Technology specification is for sale on the SMPTE website: http://www.smpte.org/smpte_store/standards/index.cfm In addition, Thomson is offering reference design software to help companies understand and implement the technology.

www.thomson.net

Thomson has announced that leading consumer electronics, software, and technology companies are implementing its Film Grain Technology. Developed by Thomson's Technology division in collaboration with its Technicolor business, Film Grain Technology was recently adopted as a Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) registered disclosure document. Consumer electronics giants Toshiba and RCA; technology innovators Broadcom, Sigma Designs, Horizon Semiconductors and NVIDIA; and software leaders Microsoft and Sonic Solutions are set to deploy Film Grain Technology, with two Toshiba HD DVD players, an RCA HD DVD player and a Broadcom IC decoder now entering the marketplace.

Broadcom's BCM7411D and Horizon Semiconductor's Hz100 and Hz300 are integrated solutions that will incorporate Film Grain Technology and Sigma Designs will offer an IC solution, as well. Sonic Solutions is integrating Film Grain Technology in its HD DVD production tools. NVIDIA is building hardware-accelerated Film Grain Technology for its advanced line of Quadro Graphic Processing Units and InterVideo and CyberLink are integrating the technology into their personal computer HD DVD players. Finally, all HD DVD players will be manufactured with Film Grain Technology, notably RCA's HDV5000, Toshiba's HD-A1 and HD-XA1, and Microsoft's Xbox 360 HD DVD Player.

The first tool of its kind formally documented in cooperation with SMPTE, Film Grain Technology was selected by DVD Forum for mandatory inclusion in HD DVD products. The technology allows compressed motion pictures to be delivered more efficiently and improves their visual quality. It enables film grain that is extracted before content is compressed to be faithfully re-created during playback. Film Grain Technology is a streamlined, low-cost solution that is easily embedded in broadcast and home theater play-out devices. Broadcasters maximize bandwidth; packaged media content creators gain disk space; and viewers see movies that match the filmmaker's intent.

Film Grain Technology is easily deployed with H.264 compression (also known as MPEG-4 Part 10/Advanced Video Coding), and can be adapted to support other compression solutions, as well. Film Grain Technology also has significant artistic applications beyond the delivery process. Creatives can use it in postproduction to add the look and feel of conventional film to digitally captured or rendered imagery. The Film Grain Technology specification is for sale on the SMPTE website: http://www.smpte.org/smpte_store/standards/index.cfm. In addition, Thomson is offering reference design software to help companies understand and implement the technology.

www.thomson.net

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Avid Ships Avid DS Nitris 8.0

Avid Technology, Inc. has announced the worldwide availability of the Avid DS Nitris 8.0 system, which offers a native 64-bit software architecture and dual-link I/O hardware to support high-resolution and digital intermediate (DI) workflows. The new version also ships with dual-boot capability, allowing editors to use either the DS or Symphony toolset with the Avid Nitris hardware.

Avid also announced the availability of the Avid DS Assist Station, a software-only version of the Avid DS 8.0 toolset that customers can deploy on lower-cost workstations to tackle specialized tasks such as rotoscoping, compositing, and conform checks.

"The 4:4:4 HD-RGB log format is valuable for our work because it provides better color accuracy than 4:2:2 HD linear when moving from film negative to digital post production and back," said Matt Schneider, director of technology at PostWorks New York. "We do a significant amount of 2K digital intermediates, but with 4:4:4 HD-RGB support and expanded memory in version 8.0 of Avid DS Nitris, we have an attractive alternative to 2K that is a good fit for many projects. We can now input HD-RGB directly to Avid DS Nitris from our film scanner. PostWorks has always been a big fan of Avid DS Nitris and this release takes the system to the next level. By the end of the year, we plan to add three additional DI pipelines built around the expanded capabilities of Avid DS Nitris."

With real-time, multi-stream, 10-bit HD performance, a deep creative toolset, and expanded hardware, Avid DS Nitris 8.0 is the ultimate editing and finishing system for SD, HD and 2K/4K DI work. Highlights of the new system include the foloowing:

  • Dual-link HD-SDI connectivity--offering new integrated I/O hardware that provides the necessary bandwidth for capturing and editing 4:4:4 HD-RGB formats, such as HDCAM SR.
  • Dual-boot capability--expanding the flexibility of HD finishing options by allowing editors to run either Symphony or Avid DS software on the same system.
  • Native 64-bit system and software support--leveraging the advantages of workstations that feature 64-bit processors for faster performance through access to greater physical memory, a critical component when working with high-bandwidth, high resolution files.
  • Support for 720p50 sequences--providing European customers transitioning to HD with capture, conform, finishing, and mastering tools in the 720p50 standard.
  • Support for Avid Unity ISIS--allowing the system to work with Avid's newest shared-storage system to exchange and share media assets with other connected systems.

The Avid DS Nitris 8.0 system is available now through Avid's worldwide reseller channel. Pricing for the Avid DS Nitris 8.0 system is $147,995 USMSRP as a turnkey system, which includes a CPU workstation, monitors, 2.5 TBs of RAID storage, and one license for Avid DS RP (remote processing software for offloading computationally intensive tasks). Existing Avid DS Nitris 7.6 customers with assurance contracts can upgrade to version 8.0 with dual-boot capability for $9,995 USMSRP, and can purchase the Avid dual-link HD-SDI card for $9,995 USMSRP. The Avid DS Assist Station is available for $9,995 USMSRP.

For more information, visit www.avid.com/dsnitris/.

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PROAVIO Releases New Studio-Quality SATA and SAS Disk Arrays for High-Resolution Audio and Video Production

PROAVIO, a leading developer of storage systems and tools for digital media production, has announced the official release of their next generation editBOX line of professional external SATA & SAS disk arrays, now including the industry's latest port-multiplier technology.

Available in 4, 5 or 8-disk models, editBOX is the ideal storage solution for production studios, editors, and engineers looking for a cost-effective system with support for 10-bit video and 24/96K audio formats. By utilizing the emergence of SATA II drive technology, PROAVIO has been able to fine tune the system performance to deliver sustained data rates in excess of 210MB/s on the 4-disk models and in excess of 450MB/s on the 8-disk models.

EditBOX is available in several capacity configurations from 640GB, for Pro Tools users, to 4.0TB for feature length video projects. The editBOX series is the first desktop disk array line with Multi-Lane, Port Multiplier and eSATA interface options. All Multi-Lane models support either SATA or SAS drives, offering a solid upgrade path from SATA to SAS, allowing users to take advantage of both technologies as needs change.

www.proavio.com

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Verity Systems Announces 21-Drive DVD Tower Duplicator

Verity Systems today announced the launch of the 1 to 21 PowerTower duplicator. The 1 to 21 PowerTower is a 21-drive tower style copier which can produce multiple copies of CDs or DVDs in just minutes.

Fitted with 16X DVD±R drives, twenty-one 4.7Gb DVDs can be copied in just 7 minutes, smaller-sized masters even quicker. CDs can also be copied at 48x.

For maximum versatility, the 1 to 21 PowerTower is available with a choice of internal hard drives which allows users to store popular files. A USB connector option enables users to upload and download images from the tower's hard drive to a PC using the supplied software.

Manufacturer's Suggested List Price for the 1 to 21 PowerTower is $2,999 / £1,999 / €2,958. The 1 to 21 PowerTower is available now through Verity Systems' authorized partners and resellers throughout the world.

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