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Information Today, Inc.

August 29, 2006

Table of Contents

WEVA Expo 2006: Don't Call it a Comeback
Expertvillage.com Budgets $2M to Produce 75,000 Internet-Friendly How-To Videos in the Next 18 Months Via Freelance Filmmakers and Videographers
Anton/Bauer ElipZ Compatible with Canon’s New Camcorders
Litepanels Introduces 3-Hour Lithium Battery for Litepanels 1x1
Plextor Announces Blu-ray Disc Drive for North American Market
Media 100 Systems Support Apple Intel-based Macs
Magix Unveils Music Studio 11 Deluxe
Advanced Media Introduces True 100X Read and Write RIDATA Compact Flash Card For Professional Photographers

WEVA Expo 2006: Don't Call it a Comeback

Earlier this year, WEVA took a great deal of heat from some association members over the discontinuation of WEV magazine and the association's ongoing legal imbroglio with the 4EVER Group. Do the solid success and myriad innovations of its 16th annual Expo, held August 21-24 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, suggest that WEVA has answered its critics with vigor? Or does it simply mean these guys flat-out know how to put on an expo?

Refreshed and recharged after spending a week among some of the best and brightest in this industry, I'm leaning toward "The question is moot." Spend an hour listening to Brett Culp talk about "Connecting with an Affluent Generation" or watching the crack comedy team of John Goolsby and son Chip sell a wedding video package to a real, live bride and groom before a real, live audience, and you'll see what I mean. Culp made some great points about how to make client presentations, starting with his admission that when potential clients come to his studio, he makes no presentation at all: "We talk about their wedding for 45 minutes, then they ask to see some video. And 30 seconds in they say, ‘Who should we use as a florist?' I stopped being offended when they started writing checks." Another thing Culp emphasized was the importance of creating a demo that's not only great, but widely seen as well. "You need to show it to twice as many people as you think you should to achieve your goal."

Other highlights of the conference program included an informative recap of the World Record Wedding Event (with the WRW couple and many key participants on hand) and a series of Spanish-only sessions from rising stars such as Luis Ponce and After Effects expert Javier Villarreal that point to new horizons for this industry. Ponce's "Wedding and Events in the Hispanic Market" session revealed the writing on the wall as well as anything.

In a similar vein, Hal Slifer's "Ethnic Events" seminar provided valuable insight on the traditions, customs, and relevant terminology of several types of events, ranging from Orthodox Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs to Greek Orthodox and Hindi weddings. He had an unenviable slot in the schedule, facing off Thursday morning against the ever-popular "Battle of the Videographers," but Slifer held his ground and rewarded those who attended his session with valuable tips on details that might otherwise get lost in translation. Slifer is currently at work on an expanded discussion on the "Ethnic Events" theme for the December issue of EventDV. Don't touch that dial.

Working back through the week, timeshift-style, the two-day tradeshow (Tuesday and Wednesday) was a mixed bag. Sony and B & H maintained their typical sizeable presences, and if you wanted a hands-on look at a Sony or JVC HDV camera, you had your pick and could even make an appointment to have one all to yourself for a few minutes. The old maxim of "hear about it at NAB in April, see it/try it/buy it at WEVA in August" held true for a few products, such as the new HD-capable DDR from Shining Technology and the long-awaited EDIUS 4 from Grass Valley (née Canopus), although EDIUS 4 did ship earlier this summer. Avid, Adobe, and Apple had solid training and demo teams on hand, while WEVA Expo mainstay Digital Juice was notable in its absence. The exhibit hall was smaller than in years past, and one vendor who described the show-floor buzz as "screaming" at previous WEVA Expos found this year's model relatively sedate. Of course, small- and mid-size trade shows in the digital video industry are sagging across the board, so WEVA is hardly alone in declining exhibit-hall fortunes. With the ongoing consolidation in the vendor pool, and more commerce moving online, exhibit space becomes an ever-tougher sell.

Tuesday night brought the WEVA After Dark party, including a one-night-only appearance by the WEVA All-Star Band, ably led by time- and tempo-shifting drummer David Robin. Another Tuesday night highlight was the Local Association Production Shoot-Out, which pitted representatives of various local associations against each other in a commercial shoot- and edit-off, with the Philadelphia contingent walking away with the top prize. The association battle was a nice bit of innovation on WEVA's part, and welcome recognition of the importance of local associations in the sustenance and growth of this industry.

At Monday night's Awards gala, which ushered such luminaries as Mark and Trisha Von Lanken, Kathy and Al Ritondo, Mike Nelson, and Eric Cosh into the WEVA Hall of Fame, WEVA also announced several key association initiatives. First is the Zoom music licensing program, a work-in-progress worth watching closely as the catalog of songs grows, the licensing costs and constraints become clearer, and other parallel industry initiatives evolve. The night also brought the global launch of WEVA's partnership with content rights management solution provider ImageSpan to connect videographers with national advertisers who need local content to augment (or fill in) their "doughnut"-style ads. We'll be discussing this project more in-depth with WEVA and ImageSpan in a future article.

Finally, we saw the first-borne fruit of WEVA's collaboration with CMP (publishers of DV, Videography, and other video industry pubs), The Wedding & Event Video Resource Guide. It's great to see WEVA back in print. After all, there's room for all of us at this party—whatever our communication medium of choice—and if we keep that in mind, the party can only grow.

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Expertvillage.com Budgets $2M to Produce 75,000 Internet-Friendly How-To Videos in the Next 18 Months Via Freelance Filmmakers and Videographers

ExpertVillage.com, the largest producer of how-to videos for the Internet, today announced it has budgeted $2 million to produce 75,000 new Internet friendly how-to videos over the next eighteen months, using freelance filmmakers/videographers. With the dramatic increase in availability of Internet video, consumers have become accustomed to getting information on the Internet in video form. ExpertVillage.com currently has over 1300 high-quality expert-based Internet videos available online, and plans to significantly expand its catalog of content available either direct to consumers via the Internet, download onto portable video players, or via corporate partners seeking to package content into broader service offerings.

"The how-to category is uniquely suited to be delivered through video on the Internet, allowing consumers to actually see how to do everything from repairing the garbage disposal to folding an origami swan," said Byron Reese, CEO of PageWise, the publishers of ExpertVillage. "We have had a tremendous response to our current catalog, and feel these next 75,000 videos will give us the definitive library of how-to advice from experts."

To reach its goal of producing 75,000 how-to videos in 18 months, ExpertVillage.com today officially launched its Filmmaker Program located at http://www.expertvillage.com/submit, where new filmmakers or pros with downtime from their day jobs can go to find details on needs requirements, submission formats, and how they can earn $300 per video shoot. The Filmmaker Program taps the collective expertise of the community of independent freelance filmmakers around the world.

After setting up an account at ExpertVillage.com, they are able to claim assignments from thousands presently posted. The filmmaker then locates a qualified expert in the assignment topic and begins production of ten to fifteen short how-to videos. ExpertVillage plans to recruit up to 5000 independent filmmakers via postings on www.craigslist.org and other resources. Response from filmmakers has already been promising -- the first day the site went into beta, over 400 filmmakers signed up.


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Anton/Bauer ElipZ Compatible with Canon’s New Camcorders

Anton/Bauer has announced that its revolutionary new ElipZ System, unveiled at NAB 2006, is already compatible with Canon's new HD handheld cameras, the XH G1 and X A1 models. The ElipZ System, which started shipping at the end of June, consists of three key accessories for handheld work: First the ElipZ 10k high performance battery delivers virtually all day camera operation; Second the EgripZ, a unique flexible under-camera handheld support affords the camera operator unprecedented camera stability with less fatigue and without restriction of cables or body mounts.

The innovative ElightZ on-camera halogen light, which shares power directly from the ElipZ battery, is expected to ship when Canon's cameras are released this Fall.


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Litepanels Introduces 3-Hour Lithium Battery for Litepanels 1x1

Litepabels has introduced a new 3-Hour Lithium-Ion Battery is designed to power the Litepanels 1x1 light. Litepanels' slimline modular production light employs the company's LED technology. Now, with the Litepanels Li-Ion Battery, users of the 1x1 have an integrated power source that's as versatile and lightweight as is the light itself.

The new battery installs on to the back of the light in seconds to provide up to 3 hours of run time. With a thickness of 1" (2.54cm), measuring 3.5" by 11" (10.2cm x 27.9cm), and weighing less than 2 pounds (.90 kg), this ultra-thin power source enables the light to be positioned virtually anywhere. Litepanels' handy charger unit restores the battery to 80% capacity in just over an hour. The Lithium-Ion 3 Hour Battery also works with the new Litepanels Ringlite Mini. U.S.

List price is $795.


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Plextor Announces Blu-ray Disc Drive for North American Market

Plextor Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, today announced the October 2006 release of the PX-B900A Blu-ray Disc drive, the first Plextor burner to support the next generation of optical data storage technology. The new multi-function drive, which carries an MSRP of $999.99 USD, comes bundled with a rewritable 25GB BD-RE media disc and a complete software package, including Ulead VideoStudio 10 and InterVideo WinDVD BD. O

ffering up to 10 times more data storage capacity than DVD, Blu-ray Disc (BD) has the support of more than 170 companies, including the top film studios and consumer electronics manufacturers. The Plextor PX-B900A Blu-ray Disc drive is capable of burning more than 9 hours of high-definition (HD) video, or approximately 23 hours of standard-definition (SD) video, on a dual-layer 50GB disc. The drive is backwards compatible with existing DVD and CD media formats, including DVD-RAM, Dual Layer DVD, Double Layer DVD, DVD+/-R/RW, and CD-R/RW. Designed for easy compatibility with Microsoft(R) Windows(R)-based personal computers, the drive features an ATA (ATAPI) interface.

The PX-B900A drive delivers fast recording speeds of 2X BD-R/RE (9 MBytes/sec transfer rate) on single layer and double-layer media. For DVD, the driver delivers 8X DVDR on single-layer media, 4X DVD+/-R on Double-Layer and Dual-Layer (DL) media, and 5X DVD-RAM. The drive also supports 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, 6X max DVD-ROM, 24X CD-R, 16X CD-RW, and 32X CD-ROM. The PX-B900A drive features an 8MB data buffer. Complete Software Bundle for Windows Computers Plextor's bundled software package offers ease-of-use and extensive functionality for playing, recording, editing, and authoring BD/DVD/CD discs. The full package from InterVideo, Inc. and Ulead Systems includes the following titles:

  • WinDVD BD provides a total BD playback solution, 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.
  • WinDVD is the world's #1 DVD playback software, featuring superior audio and video technologies, future proofing with support for H.264, and media sharing for home networking.
  • Ulead VideoStudio 10 Plus enables video editing and DVD authoring with features that include full MPEG-4 support, Dolby(R) Digital 5.1 surround sound, and the category's only complete solution for high-definition video.
  • DVD MovieFactory 5 is easy-to-use BD and DVD authoring and burning software that turns standard or HD video and photos into DVDs with studio-quality personalized menus.
  • Burn.Now 1.5 is the latest in DVD audio software and disc burning technology, giving users the power to create high-capacity audio DVDs, CDs and data discs.
  • 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.
  • Data-Add 2.0 enables users to drag-and-drop files and writes to disc through Windows Explorer.

Plextor's PX-B900A Blu-ray drive will ship to distributors in North and South America in October 2006, with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $999.99 USD. All retail packages include one-year full warranty and unlimited toll-free technical support.


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Media 100 Systems Support Apple Intel-based Macs

Media 100, a leading provider of advanced editing systems for the corporate, broadcast, postproduction, and multimedia industries, today announced that it plans to support the new Apple® Intel-based Macs. Media 100 HD Suite, Media 100 HDe, Media 100 SDe, and Media 100 sw will be qualified for Intel-based Mac systems in early Q1 2007. The Intel-based Mac development effort will increase the overall performance of the Media 100 systems; enhancing the editing and graphics creation process for Media 100 users.

In addition to continuing development on Intel-based Mac systems, Media 100 plans to maintain backward compatibility with qualified PowerPC-based Mac systems. About Media 100 Products Media 100 HD Suite is the SD and HD non-linear editing workhorse. The flexible editing environment combined with superior 3D compositing, titling and effects creation capabilities enables editors to realize complex compositions with stunning image quality.

Highlights of the Media 100 HD Suite include dual stream HD playback at uncompressed rates, high-quality keyers, color correctors, real-time effects creation and extensive codec support. Best-of-breed conversion technology - HD to HD, HD to SD, and SD to HD - simplifies and accelerates complex workflows. Media 100 HDe delivers SD and HD editing and effects creation capabilities with the same supercharged performance of the HD Suite. Media 100 HDe editors can mix formats in the timeline, downcovert HD to SD during capture, or output and monitor HD downconverts to 4:3 while editing. The integrated effects suite provides a robust toolset for compositing and effects creation seamlessly within the Media 100 editing environment. The Media 100 SDe solution lets editors, event videographers, and corporate video producers edit productively now, without closing the door on future expansion into HD. The flexible user interface is appropriate for any level of user experience.

This system offers an affordable upgrade path and features a modular design so users can add features as needs develop. Media 100 i users can easily bring their existing projects and media to the Media 100 SDe system.

For more information about Media 100 products, please visit the web site at www.media100.com.

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Magix Unveils Music Studio 11 Deluxe

Magix, a leader in music and video editing software, announced today a new version of its award-winning music creation software, MAGIX Music Studio 11 deluxe, featuring new compositional aids, including "JamSession Mode," "Mastering Suite," and "Sample Player," designed to make creating music a snap.

MAGIX Music Studio 11 deluxe is available immediately in stores and online at www.magix.com for $79.99. MAGIX Music Studio 11 deluxe, the best-selling music creation software for the PC worldwide1, has surpassed its already extensive feature list with new features including the following:

  • JamSession Mode: with advances in recording automation, people recording at home can now simply start jamming and rely on the software to choose the instruments and effects. In addition, for the first time, the famous sample player, "Sample Tank MX" from the renowned software house IK Multimedia, is included.
  • Mastering Suite: delivers music studio sound at the touch of a button. Give your recordings a professional, impressive sound at home. The software incorporates experience and feedback provided by international music studio professionals, who have used the product throughout the last 10 years. It also offers powerful studio sound with four mastering effects.

New effects include the parametric 4-band equalizer for perfect tuning and VariVerb for excellent stereo reverb, which provide a well-tempered sound. The BitMachine, free when registering your product, lets you mix in old-style lo-fi sounds from the early days of music into your songs.

Even with all the advanced features, MAGIX Music Studio 11 deluxe is still extremely easy to use. The Task Assistant quickly walks you through the basics of the program, explaining the most important functions through short videos. Although easy enough for home users and amateur musicians, Music Studio 11 deLuxe is advanced enough for semi-professional and professional movie and video producers, who take advantage of the power of the software to create perfect soundtracks employing MAGIX's new advanced features, such as professional sound overdubbing. Available immediately, Magix Music Studio 11 deluxe is priced at $79.99 available through the retail channel and online at www.magix.com.

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Advanced Media Introduces True 100X Read and Write RIDATA Compact Flash Card For Professional Photographers

Advanced Media, Inc., manufacturer and marketer of the popular RIDATA brand of recordable CD and DVD media, flash memory cards and USB flash drives, has introduced its latest offering to its growing RIDATA brand lineup for photographers. Its new 100X Compact Flash card for SLR digital cameras and other electronic applications features exceptionally fast read and write, solid-state dependability, and up to 8GB capacity.

Using an advanced interface system, the new RIDATA 100X Compact Flash card is capable of a fast read speed up to 22MB per second and write speed of up to 15MB per second, among the fastest Compact Flash cards on the market. It is a perfect choice for demanding professional photographers who expect quality, high performance products. Its high environment tolerance allows electronics to operate in challenging conditions. The RIDATA 100X Compact Flash memory card offers solid-state reliability as well as weather ruggedness, performance, and convenience expected in flash technology media. Users can expect up to 500,000 power-on hours MTBF. It may be safely used with both 5V and 3.3V devices. The device used may affect the speed of the card.

A very low power-consumption design with automatic power management helps prolong battery life. Its zero-power data retention functionality requires no batteries for usage. The series is ATA command-set compatible, supports 8- or 16-bit host transfer speed using IORDY, and works with host ATA disk I/O BIOS, DOS/Windows file system, utilities, and application software. The Type I RIDATA 100X Compact Flash memory card is available in the following capacity sizes: 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB. The Compact Flash Card is available now through selected retailers, RIDATA distributors, and at various online outlets. It features popular pricing for all four capacities.


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