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December 11, 2006

Table of Contents

Right Here, Right Now: Authoring and Burning HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc
Panasonic Introduces New 3CCD High Definition AVCHD Camcorders
MacroSystem Digital Video Releases the Casablanca Liberty HDV editing solution
Matrox Axio Release 2.5 Now Shipping
Miraizon Releases Cinematize 2 Pro for Macintosh Version 2.01
Schneider Introduces Century Xtreme Fisheye for Panasonic AG-HVX200 and DVX100
Advanced Media Introduces Blu Ray DVD Optical Discs

Right Here, Right Now: Authoring and Burning HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc

Most of us at EventDV, myself included, have been HDV cheerleaders, promoting the new format despite the glaring fact that you couldn't actually play high-def video in your living room on any standard optical media. We'd talk about the ability to losslessly pan and zoom within the video, a technical possibility but efficiency nightmare, or preserving quality for future delivery. But at the end of the day, you had to downsample your gorgeous 1920x1080 or 1280x720 video down to a relatively pedestrian 720x480 for delivery to your client, a frankly depressing process. With consumer high-definition standards hopelessly mired in the HD DVD/Blu-ray format war, I stopped shooting in HDV months ago since DV was easier to edit and all I really needed (or could deliver).

Well, brothers and sisters, I'm here to tell you today that this has all changed, and for the blessed first time, wedding videographers are in a perfect position to exploit HD—from acquisition to delivery. Why, you ask? Because the format war is over and all is hunky-dory in the world of HD optical disc? No, far from it. The reason we can take advantage of it where others can't is because as personal event videographers, we produce for an extremely limited audience. And after a bride or her parents pay thousands for a wedding, forking over an extra $500 for an HD DVD or Blu-ray player to watch the video in high-definition is peanuts. You can even do the legwork for them and build the player into the package (and your price). Sure, you'll have to deliver SD DVDs as well, but finally, you'll have a playback platform that does justice to the high-def video you've been shooting.

Feeling inspired? Well this article discusses three ways to produce high-definition video for viewing on either HD DVD or Blu-ray players—three solutions that will work for us right now. Briefly, these involve using Apple DVD Studio Pro or Pinnacle Studio to burn HD DVD-formatted discs on your current DVD±R/RW burner for playback on an HD DVD set top player, or using Roxio DVDit Pro HD to record projects to a Blu-ray recorder for playback on a Blu-ray set-top player. Yes, since Studio and DVD Studio Pro are using your current recorder, which is limited to 4.7GB single-layer and 8.5GB dual-layer (DL), you can't access the capacious storage available in either high-def format, but you can put about 60 minutes of video on a DL disc with near-perfect quality. Again, since your target for that disc is one or two very current DVD players in a bride or her parents' home, rather than hundreds of players of uncertain ancestry scattered about the city, you should be able to avoid, or at least manage, the still-shaky compatibility associated with dual-layer media.

It's worth noting right up front that all three alternatives extend current DVD authoring capabilities to the new media, and don't provide access to the new features in Blu-ray or HD DVD like pop-up menus, dynamic interactive content, or new codecs like MPEG-4 or VC1. Still, you get high-def video—navigable and on-disc—in the living room, and presumably that's the whole point.

Note that there are some products can burn high-definition discs without menus, providing the quality without the interactivity. There are others that promise BD and HD DVD support when in fact all they can do is burn HD disc images authored in other solutions (like Sonic's high-end Scenarist), which is no help to anyone in our space. All that glitters is not gold, and in new markets, be sure to scratch below the surface to fully understand the HD-related features a product offers.

The Workflow
Before describing the capabilities of each program, let's discuss the workflow for getting your video from video editor to the authoring program (even though Pinnacle Studio is an NLE, I'm assuming that none of you will actually edit in Studio, but merely use it to create your HD DVD-formatted DVDs). On the Windows front, you have several alternatives; probably the easiest is to export your video in HDV format using templates supplied in your editor. In testing, both DVDit and Sonic successfully imported such files exported from both Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro. If you can't produce a file that Studio can import, you can always print your edited HDV video to tape using your NLE of choice and recapture the video in Studio. This isn't an option for DVDit, which doesn't have video capture capabilities.

You could, of course, compress to HD DVD-ready MPEG-2 in your video editor, avoiding the recompression back to HDV, but then you run the risk of either Studio or DVDit recompressing your MPEG-2 files during the disc-formatting and burning process. Both Studio and DVDit imported HD-ready MPEG-2 files produced by Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, though DVDit produced an error message stating the file wasn't DVD-compliant, probably guaranteeing a recompress. My personal preference is to compress to final format in the authoring program, which is probably both safe and efficient for most producers. In short, export in HDV and let Studio and DVDit encode to MPEG-2.

For the Macintosh, output a QuickTime reference movie from DVD Studio Pro, and import that into DVD Studio Pro, which avoids the whole recompression issue altogether. Now that I've covered this workflow, let's look at each product individually. I'll discuss the products in the order that I tested them, not in order of their availability.

Pinnacle Studio
If you're working for the kind of high-end clients who can realistically expect HD delivery at this point, the big question in your mind is probably, "Do you really expect me to use a $100 piece of consumer software?" My answer: "Heck, yes." Your alternatives are a) do nothing, or b) spend another $1,000+ to buy DVDit and a Blu-ray drive and burn a Blu-Ray disc. Studio will get you in the HD delivery business for $149.

figure 1Just to be clear, I'm assuming that you'll deliver the complete wedding production on SD DVDs, as normal, and a short-form highlight video on HD DVD. In my testing, I burned about 20 single- and dual-layer discs in HD DVD format on three different computers with two varieties of media, Verbatim and Ridata. You can fit about 30 minutes on a single-layer disc while retaining great quality; 40 minutes is a stretch. You can get 60 minutes of HD on a DL disc; for some producers, that's enough for the whole wedding.

As mentioned above, Studio successfully input HDV and HD DVD-formatted MPEG-2 files from Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro, though the initial input time was quite slow, especially for the MPEG-2 file, as Studio scanned the file for scene changes. In addition, though both test computers successfully imported and burned HDV video to HD DVD, one test computer could import, but not deploy the MPEG-2 file to the timeline, stating that it did not have the necessary graphics memory.

Interestingly, the graphics card on this computer, an HP xw4100 with a 3.2GHz Pentium 4 processor with HT Technology (and 2GB RAM), had only 128MB of memory. Both of my other test computers, an HP xw4300 with a 3.4GHz Pentium D (with 2GB RAM), and an HP xw8400 with two dual-core Xeon processors (2GB RAM), had 256 MB of graphics memory. Make sure you have at least 128MB of graphics memory, if not 256, before buying Studio for use in burning HDV video. Within Studio, project complexity depends upon whether you want to insert a menu into your project. If not, the video will automatically play when the disc is inserted into the drive. If you do want a menu, you can probably create the same look and feel as your SD disc by importing the same background graphics and using the same font for your buttons (Figure 1, left).

Burning the disc itself is simple. You click the Make Movie tab to get started, then choose HD DVD as the disc type. I compressed to Dolby 2 Channel audio in all my tests, using Studio's Automatic quality setting for video, which automatically calculates the compression rate necessary to fit all video to disc (and got up to 60 minutes onto a 4.7GB disc, though with obvious quality loss). To burn a DL disc, insert a DL blank and configure dual-layer burning in the Target media drop-down list. You can't manually set the layer-break as you can with DVD Studio Pro, but operation could not have been simpler. You'll notice the "safe option to create disc content and then burn," but I burned directly to disc in all my tests with no problems.

As long as I stayed under the 30 minutes per side rule of thumb, video quality was simply stunning, especially noticeable when there was lots of fine detail in the scene. One viewer commented that he felt like was watching the ballet source video through a window than viewing it on TV. Even the menus, which started life as SD menus, looked fantastic. Interestingly, SD discs played on the Toshiba HD-A1 player used in my tests also looked significantly better than my normal DVD player, apparently the result of upsampling circuitry included in the player.

To produce an SD DVD from the same content, simply choose DVD in the Disc Type drop down, and check your recording settings. No adjustments to your data or menu are required.

No discussion of Pinnacle Studio software is complete with addressing the "stability issue." Briefly, Pinnacle has a history of shipping software a touch early and fixing it in post, so to speak, and version 10 was probably the least stable software release I've ever encountered. Things picked up with version 10.6, however, and version 10.7, which includes the HD DVD capabilities, is by far the most stable version of Studio I've seen, and on par stability-wise with most other programs.

I would definitely download the trial version before buying, though you won't be able to produce HD DVDs with the trial, just SD DVDs. Still, if you burn those without difficulty, you should be able to produce HD DVDs as well.

Blu-ray Burning with DVDit Pro HD
The last time I reviewed DVDit was version 6, and you can find the review here. The Cliff Notes version is that I adored the product, finding it much more user-friendly than Encore and DVD Studio Pro, and nearly as capable. Still, suite pricing (and that whole operating system thing) doomed DVDit to second-tier status for Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro editors, though a customized version is bundled with various Avid editors.


figure 1With version 6.3, Roxio added Blu-ray disc burning capabilities, with HD DVD support to follow once burners are available. Considering that neither Encore nor DVD Studio Pro can produce Blu-ray discs, and that you might be able to run DVDit on an Intel-powered Mac via Boot Camp or Parallels Desktop for the Mac, DVDit now merits a much more serious look.

To burn a Blu-ray disc, you author normally, though as mentioned, DVDit warned me that each video file that I imported was "not DVD and Blu-ray compliant, and may require transcoding." To avoid the risk of double MPEG-2 compression, I recommending thay you output HDV video from your editor, rather than MPEG-2, or at least experiment with MPEG-2 output parameters until you have files you can import without seeing this error message.

After authoring, you set your HD Transcoding settings in the Project Settings tab (Figure 2, left). Unlike Studio, DVDit doesn't offer an "automatic" mode that calculates the compression necessary to fit all content to disc, an omission I hope Roxio addresses in the near term. Still, when you consider that a single-sided Blu-ray disc can store close to 2 hours of video at 25Mbps, it's not a huge concern. Note the SD Transcoding tab; if you plan to burn both SD and Blu-ray discs, you should configure this to the desired settings.


figure 1Once you've set your encoding parameters, you set Disc Type and Write Speed, and you're off (Figure 3, left). Note that Layers is grayed out because I'm burning to the Pioneer BD-101A burner, which can only burn a single-layer disc. To burn an SD disc, just change the Disc type, and you're good to go.


 

Burning HD DVDs in DVD Studio Pro
Giving credit where credit was due, Apple was the first to incorporate HD DVD authoring into their authoring program, though at the time, the only available player was a Macintosh computer, which meant that Apple had no consumer players to test with. For this reason, it's not surprising that discs burned with DVD Studio Pro play unreliably or not at all with the Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD player.

figure 1Apple is aware of this problem, and is working with Toshiba to resolve it. I tested with DVD Studio Pro 4.03 on the PowerPC platform, and 4.1 on the Intel Platform, so it will have to be a version later than these to function normally.

Setting up the HD DVD disc is simple, as shown in Figure 4, left. In the Project Preferences dialog, set the DVD standard to HD DVD.


 

figure 1Then, click open the Encoding tab, and set your MPEG-2 HD encoding parameters (Figure 5, left). Otherwise, you can edit and author normally.

As long as Apple is working on their encoding settings, I'll make three requests. First, include an "auto" setting that automatically calculates the data rate necessary to fit the video to disc. While some pros will prefer to calculate this themselves, many users merely want the video to fit, which is a much bigger issue when burning HD DVD discs to standard DVDs because of the space limitations.

Second, if the video won't fit on the disc, tell me before you start encoding (and I walk away). DVDit doesn't have an auto fit-to-disc function, but informs you that you have a space problem when you start to burn the disc, so you can adjust your data rate and restart. It also has a much more accurate disc-monitoring function that definitively tells you when your video won't fit. DVD Studio Pro's meter showed 4.5GB of data, but still said (after rendering) that there was too much video to fit on the disc.

Finally, these same disc-space limitations make DL discs a much bigger deal for HD DVD production than for SD DVD. I tried DVD Studio Pro's automatic function for setting a layer-break, and manually inserting chapter points and selecting one of those, and was unable to burn a DL disc in multiple attempts. Again, I realize pros really want control over where the disc break occurs, but many users simply want an "Easy" button (like in those Staples commercials) that finds the best break point and burns the disc. Not sure if I was doing something wrong, or if this was a bug, but in future revs, please make DL burning simple and operational.

All that said, HD DVD burning to DVD±R discs is an amazingly forward-looking feature; I hope Apple will take these steps to make it more usable.

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Panasonic Introduces New 3CCD High Definition AVCHD Camcorders

Panasonic today announced two all- new High Definition video camcorders designed to keep pace with the continued evolution in video toward larger TV screens and higher definition video content. The new HDC-SD1 and HDC-DX1 record beautiful, detailed High Definition video images and clear, high-quality sound that make for exceptional viewing on today's most advanced home theater systems.

The HDC-SD1 records onto high capacity, solid-state SDHC Memory Cards. This tough, compact model debuts as the world's smallest and lightest 3CCD High Definition video camcorder. Because there are no moving parts in the recording section, the HDC-SD1 is also exceptionally resistant to impact. The user can count on reliable, virtually error-free recording.

The HDC-DX1 records onto convenient DVD discs. There is never a need to rewind or fast-forward, so users can play back a scene immediately after recording. The video image and sound data are recorded directly onto the disc for easy storage.

Both models use the high-resolution AVCHD format and feature the kind of 3CCD video recording system used in many professional broadcast cameras. The HDC-SD1 provides about 1 hour of High Definition recording on a 4GB SDHC Memory Card and the HDC-DX1 provides about 40 minutes of High Definition recording on a dual-layer DVD-R disc.

"We're excited to introduce Panasonic's first consumer High Definition video camcorders," said Rudy Vitti, national marketing manager, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "We've implemented our black box technologies, such as our 3CCD camera system and Optical Image Stabilization to deliver the best image quality to consumers. These two camcorders offer quality and accessibility, with the scalability of SD memory with the HDC-SD1 or the convenience of recording to DVD discs with the HDC-DX1."

Panasonic, which has devoted extensive research and development to improving the image and sound quality of home-use video cameras, believes that the 3CCD camera system is essential to creating High Definition video cameras with the level of image quality demanded by consumers today. In a 3CCD camera system, the light received through the lens is split into its three primary color components (red, green and blue), and the signal from each is processed by one of the three CCDs (charge-coupled devices or chips). Compared with conventional 1CCD camera systems, Panasonic's 3CCD system provides more vivid, true-to-life colors, greater detail and richer gradation.

These two new models also incorporate Panasonic revolutionary Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.) that minimizes the effect of the slightest shake of the hands, resulting in crisp, clear images that are beautiful on a large screen. Because this system is optical and not digital, there is no loss of quality and images are captured in all of their original beauty. O.I.S. is truly necessary in the age of large-screen, high-resolution TVs, when every image imperfection is easily visible.

The HDC-SD1 and HDC-DX1 feature the world's first 5.1-channel surround sound system with 5 microphones(2). When recordings made with these models are played on a 5.1-channel home theater system, viewers are surrounded by a clear, detailed sound that makes them feel as if they are right in the middle of the action. A Zoom Mic function links the microphone's action to the camera's action. When zooming in on a subject in the distance, for example, the microphones also zoom in and record the sounds specific to that subject. When recordings made with the HDC-SD1 and HDC-DX1 are viewed on a large- screen, high-resolution TV with 5.1-channel surround sound, the result is the kind of detailed, vibrant images and acoustic performance that make High Definition a truly revolutionary technology.

The Leica Dicomar lens featured in the HDC-SD1 and HDC-DX1 has 13 lens elements in 10 groups, with 21 multi-coated surfaces, and uses low-dispersion optical glass to reduce chromatic aberration(3). This advanced lens also minimizes harmful reflections, so images are crisp, clear and free of flare and ghosting.

With the HDC-SD1 and HDC-DX1, Panasonic has set new image and sound quality standards for today's video cameras, while giving home users a tool for making their own High Definition recordings.

Both high definition camcorders will be available in March, the HDC-SD1 for a suggested price of $1,499.95 and the HDC-DX1 for a suggested price of $1,399.95.

www.panasonic.com

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MacroSystem Digital Video Releases the Casablanca Liberty HDV editing solution

MacroSystem Digital Video, the inventor of stand-alone video editors, partners with Toshiba to announce a tablet PC HDV edit­ing solution: the Casablanca Liberty. The Casablanca Liberty harnesses the powerful simplicity of the Casablanca line, while providing video professionals with the con­venience of a portable editing suite. Al-though two models will be sold, the top model is outfitted with a 120 GB hard drive, a 2.33 GHz Intel Core Duo Proces­sor, 1024 MB of DDR2-RAM and an 8X dual-layer DVD burner, the Casablanca Liberty is built for the true HDV producer!

For professionals needing to edit HDV or SD footage on the job site or while travel­ing, schools requiring mobility in order to shuttle production equipment between classrooms and numerous other applications, the Casablanca Liberty is the answer!

As the first MacroSystem product of its kind, the Casablanca Liberty sports a sleek swivel, touch-screen monitor, making it truly a complete all-in-one HDV production solution. With this touch-sensitive screen you can swivel it around to display your work or you can flip it around and down so that you can use the accompanying stylus to edit right on your lap!

Business owners, schools and other institutions interested in augmenting productions or office efficiency with PC applications will be pleased to know that the Casablanca Liberty will run Windows XP Tablet Edition upon boot-up, which features fin-ger print recognition for security and handwriting recognition for identifying and digitizing handwritten lines of text.

As with all Casablanca editors, Macrosystem provides free training at Casablanca University in Boulder, CO. For those users who can't make it to the University, trained dealers, as well as our in-house technical support team, are available for support. Toshiba provides a full three year worldwide warranty on its hardware.

This product is slated for North American release in the first quarter of 2007 upon delivery of the Casablanca Smart Edit 6 operating system.

http://www.macrosystem.us

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Matrox Axio Release 2.5 Now Shipping

Matrox Video Products Group today announced that software release 2.5 for the Matrox Axio realtime HD and SD editing platforms is now shipping. Release 2.5 provides significant new features including realtime native editing of MXF files for Panasonic P2, Sony XDCAM, and Sony XDCAM HD, as well as realtime native editing of JVC's ProHD HDV 720p format. 

New features in Matrox Axio release 2.5 include the following:

  • Native MXF file support for Panasonic P2, Sony XDCAM, and Sony XDCAM HD in Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
  • Native HDV 720p (JVC ProHD) editing at all frame rates
  • Support for Matrox HDV files and Matrox Flex CPU effects in Adobe After Effects
  • 4:2:2:4 (YUVA) MPEG-2 I-frame and uncompressed codecs in HD and SD * DVCPRO HD support at all 720p frame rates
  • Panasonic VariCam support
  • Improved HDV editing performance
  • Realtime mixing of additional formats on the timeline - MXF, AVI, MPEG, HD 1080i in an SD timeline
  • Realtime playback of Adobe native HDV files - .MPEG and .M2T
  • Improved color correction tools
  • WYSIWYG video output for Adobe Bridge and Windows Media Player
  • Matrox EZ-MXF utility for native MXF file support in Video for Windows (AVI) applications
  • Eight new effects - crystallize, cube, impressionist, lens flare, move & scale, old movie, ripple, twirl

The Matrox Axio family of products makes Adobe Premiere Pro the foremost realtime HD and SD editor for demanding broadcast and post-production environments. It features no-render HD and SD finishing in compressed and uncompressed formats, superior realtime color correction tools, advanced realtime effects, and a full complement of analog and digital audio and video inputs and outputs. It also lets users work seamlessly with the other Adobe Production Studio applications, fully supporting Adobe Dynamic Link and providing WYSIWYG video output support for Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop, as well as other industry-leading animation and compositing packages. Matrox Axio incorporates Matrox Flex and Power of X technologies to leverage CPU and GPU power to provide the ultimate HD and SD post-production experience.

Key features of Matrox Axio include the following:

  • Full-resolution, mixed-format, multi-layer realtime editing of HD and SD video, graphics, and effects
  • Realtime Matrox Flex CPU effects such as color correction, speed changes, and chroma/luma keying
  • Realtime and accelerated Matrox Flex GPU effects such as 2D/3D DVE, blur/glow/soft focus, and shine
  • Native MXF file support for Panasonic P2, Sony XDCAM, and Sony XDCAM HD in Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects
  • Extensive native codec support in HD and SD - uncompressed, MPEG-2 4:2:2:4 I-frame, DVCPRO HD, MPEG HD, HDV 1080i, HDV 720p (JVC ProHD), IMX, DV50, DV, DVCPRO, DVCAM
  • Realtime playback of 32-bit compressed and uncompressed AVI with alpha
  • 24fps editing in HD and SD with pull down, reverse pull down, and Panasonic VariCam support
  • Realtime high-quality downscaling from HD to SD
  • Accelerated export to DVD, multimedia formats including Flash Video, and Adobe Clip Notes
  • WYSIWYG for Adobe After Effects, Bridge, and Photoshop, Autodesk Combustion and 3ds Max, eyeon Fusion, NewTek LightWave 3D, and Windows Media Player
  • Matrox EZ-MXF utility for native MXF file support in Video for Windows (AVI) applications
  • DV-1394, composite, Y/C, HD/SD analog component, and HD/SD SDI, and professional audio input and output
  • Includes Adobe Premiere Pro

2.5 Matrox Axio release 2.5 can be downloaded from the Matrox website free of charge by all register Matrox Axio users. It will support all three platforms in the Axio family - Axio LE, Axio HD, and Axio SD. For more information visit www.matrox.com/video.

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Miraizon Releases Cinematize 2 Pro for Macintosh Version 2.01

Miraizon, a San Jose-based digital media software company, announced today that a new version of Cinematize 2 Pro for Macintosh, the Ultimate DVD Re-Editing Tool, is now available. The new version, 2.01, includes several new features such as saving segment extraction lists to text files, support for customized output to QuickTime, and saving MPEG-4 files with a 640 x 480 frame size, as well as some fixes. Both the full version of Cinematize 2 Pro for Macintosh v2.01 and a free updater for existing Cinematize 2 Pro users are available from the company's web site at http://www.miraizon.com. A free demo of Cinematize 2 Pro for Macintosh v2.01 is also available at the site for those who would like to try before purchasing.

"We have been receiving very positive feedback on Cinematize 2 Pro from both new users and Cinematize 2 users. For example, for those who use DVDs extensively, just the batch extraction functionality of Cinematize 2 Pro alone makes the product pay for itself because of the enormous time savings. Since we maintained the same intuitive user interface in Cinematize 2 Pro, both new users and Cinematize 2 users seem to have no problems getting started immediately with Cinematize 2 Pro. The new features and fixes in version 2.01 just make Cinematize 2 Pro even more powerful and solid," said the CEO and founder of Miraizon, David Salamon.

Cinematize 2 Pro is the Ultimate DVD Re-Editing Tool that extracts virtually any piece of a DVD, be it audio, video, subtitles, or menus. Extracted files are in formats ready for use in popular applications including QuickTime, iMovie, Final Cut, Keynote, PowerPoint, iTunes, or even an iPod. Removing some of the limitations in Cinematize 2, Cinematize 2 Pro lets users extract video from DVD- VR discs produced by recorders, extract all channels from multi- channel audio tracks, and extract and decode subtitles to movies or images. In addition, Cinematize 2 Pro allows extraction from DVD menus including buttons, background images, motion menus, and audio tracks.

Cinematize 2 Pro users can also increase their productivity dramatically with numerous timesaving features such as batch processing of multiple segments, presets for frequently-used preferences, comprehensive display of timecodes, and improved extraction performance. Cinematize 2 Pro users include not only digital media professionals but also school teachers, DJs, lawyers, doctors, advertising professionals, and home users from all over the world. They use Cinematize 2 Pro to accomplish a wide range of projects including re- editing DVDs, incorporating DVD clips into presentations, creating movie highlights collections, editing recorded TV programs, creating still pictures, and creating audio clips for CDs, iPods, and iTunes. Cinematize 2 Pro is an essential tool for anybody who works extensively with DVDs.

Priced at $129.95 and $149.95 respectively, both the download and box versions of Cinematize 2 Pro for Macintosh v2.01 are immediately available for purchase at http://www.miraizon.com/store/store.html. Existing Cinematize 2 users can upgrade to Cinematize 2 Pro for Macintosh starting from $89.95. A free updater for existing Cinematize 2 Pro users and a free demo version are also available for download at: http://www.miraizon.com/support/download.html.

For Windows users, Cinematize 2 Pro for Windows (download and box) is also available from the company web site.

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Schneider Introduces Century Xtreme Fisheye for Panasonic AG-HVX200 and DVX100

Now users of the Panasonic AG-HVX200, as well as the DVX100 and 100A/B camcorders can enjoy the ultrawide field of view and pronounced barrel distortion of the broadest fisheye on the market. Schneider Optics introduces two new versions of the Century Xtreme Fisheye custom tailored to work with these cameras.

Employing the highest grade optics, this HD quality optic locks neatly onto the bayonet mount at the front of the camcorder lens to provide an approximately 1608 horizontal angle of view (1808 when measured diagonally). For reinforced support, it interfaces with existing 15mm standard rod systems. With its eyepopping angle of view and exaggerated barrel distortion, the Xtreme Fisheye is the ideal tool for action sports, music videos, underwater photography -- or dramatic impact shots in tight environments where capturing the field of view is otherwise impossible.

In addition to the new Xtreme Fisheyes for Panasonic's AG-HVX200 (stock code 0HD-FEWA-HVX) and DVX100/100A/B (stock code 0HD-FEWA-DVX), Schneider Optics also offers a Century version designed especially for Sony MiniDV camcorders such as the HVR-Z1U and HDR-FX1 (stock code 0HD-FEWA-HDS), and will soon offer a model configured for the Canon XL-H1 ( stock number 0HD-FEWA-XL). Suggested U.S. List price for each model is $3350.

www.schneideroptics.com

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Advanced Media Introduces Blu Ray DVD Optical Discs

Advanced Media, Inc., manufacturer and marketer of the popular RIDATA brand of recordable CD and DVD media, electronic storage products, and digital media accessories, is among the first optical disc manufacturers to introduce the new Blu-Ray media in the United States. The company is now shipping the blue laser format RIDATA HD DVD-R media and Blu Ray disc availability is scheduled for the first quarter of 2007.

A Blu-Ray disc holds up to five times the storage of a normal DVD with 25GB of capacity on a single-layer. It also has three times the transfer rate of a normal DVD for fast recording of large amounts of data. To truly imagine the capacity of a Blu-Ray disc consider that it can store 25 million pages of text that is approximately 83,000 300-page books. It has more than five times the capacity of a current red laser DVD. A Blu-Ray disc will store over 4.5 hours of high-definition (HD) video or about 11.5 hours of standard-definition (SD) video on a 25GB disc. Blu-Ray technology will begin offering multi-layer discs, which should allow the storage capacity to be increased to 50GB (25GB per layer) in the fourth quarter of 2007 simply by adding more layers to the discs.

Taking advantage of its highly developed manufacturing processes, Ritek was able to develop an inorganic dye type for Blu-Ray. Using a special Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) process, Ritek can quickly respond to customers' demands in the shortest time possible. The company leverages this competitive advantage to provide the newest products at affordable pricing and to continue its leadership position in the optical media industry. Compared to current DVD technology, Blu-Ray offers state-of-the-art picture quality as well as superior features and functionality. Multiple audio and video streams, up to 7.1 channel surround sound, and user-friendly graphical interfaces are just a few of these advancements. In addition to the 25GB, single-layer Blu-Ray product, Advanced Media will introduce RIDATA-brand 50GB dual-layer Blu-Ray and 15GB single-layer Blu-Ray-RE by 4th quarter 2007.

A Rewritable BD RE version of Blu Ray discs is also expected in 2007. The RIDATA Blu-Ray-R disc is packaged in a single jewel case, and will be available through selected retailers, RIDATA distributors, and at various online outlets. As with all RIDATA products, it is competitively priced.

www.ritekusa.com

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