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Information Today, Inc.

January 08, 2007

Table of Contents

Commentary: Good News/Bad News
Review: Bella Professional Series 3.0 Keyboard
Adobe Production Studio To Be Available for Both Mac and Windows
NewBlue Releases Two NewBlueFX Sony Vegas Plugin Packages for Video Editing Enthusiasts
Varto Technologies Announces “Free” Avid Liquid Pro Training Seminars
All Pro Solutions Releases New Network-Based DVD Publishing Systems
Divergent Media Introduces ScopeBox
Toshiba Brings HD DVD Write Drive to Desktop PCs
Boris FX Qualifies Boris Red for Intel-based Macintosh Systems
LaCie Introduces Six Storage Solutions With Professional Performance & Design

Commentary: Good News/Bad News

The holidays are always a kind of dead zone for news in our industry, but with CES and Macworld kicking off the new year, things always pick up fast. This year has been no different. And as always, it's a mix of good and bad news that comes our way as the holiday season draws to a close. Two announcements in particular stand out: LG's "groundbreaking" HD DVD/Blu-ray Disc combo player and Adobe Production Studio for Mac.

First, the dreaded lump of coal in the stocking item that apparently will come our way first: the "resolution" of the HD DVD/Blu-ray Disc format war via LG's just-announced "combo" player supporting both formats, due to ship in the U.S. in "early 2007." For the last year, it's seemed like every few days I've come across another column, blog, or forum where someone was talking about how a player like this would solve everything. Nonsense. Combo burners worked with DVD-R and DVD+R for one reason: regardless of the media format, the discs the drives spat out were essentially the same— functionally and logically identical—to DVD players.

The key to DVD's initial success in the consumer market, which paved the way for desktop DVD recording and the ubiquity of DVD delivery in the videography world, was a different sort of compromise. There were, in fact, two mutually incompatible 120mm disc formats, MMCD and SD, vying to become the next-generation disc format that would expand on CD and succeed VHS in the home-movie market. Shortly before DVD came to market, the two camps agreed to a peacable patent-sharing solution, and wisely concluded that the only way any disc format would succeed would be if only one was trying to woo consumers away from VHS. Even with some sort of mythical, two-headed MMCD/SD "combo" player, two-for-one on the player side would have translated to two-of-one everywhere else: two versions of every title, twice the overhead for the replicator, and twice as much inventory for the same number of titles at retail, which would have effectively meant only half as many titles available to consumers, and DVD never taking hold.

Times are different now. HD DVD and Blu-ray are cutting their teeth in the Web 2.0 era, which means the inventory and spatial constraints of brick-and-mortar retail aren't the "only game in town" issue they were when DVD debuted. That said, I doubt any of the movie studios are looking at their new title releases as long-tail revenue generators, which is essentially what everything but the A+ List releases will become if Wal-Mart and Blockbuster have to stock with three versions of every title (BD, HD DVD, and DVD). Anyone who tells you a combo player will solve this problem is probably selling one. And anyone who says that factors that inhibit the growth of the market for Hollywood movies on HD disc won't stifle videographers' ability to deliver HD to their clients has no idea how interrelated these markets are.

On to the good news, which came three weeks ago in a briefing with Adobe and just became official news today. In 2003, Adobe announced that the next version of Premiere (the revolutionary rev that eventually became Premiere Pro) would be Windows-only. This left Premiere for Mac users in a quandary that I misunderstood at the time. I've always been indifferent to operating systems. I've been a Mac guy, then a Windows guy, and now I use both every day, and both seem utilitarian to me. If you're plying your trade as a video editor, your technical stock in trade is your NLE and your expertise in it, not the platform it runs on. So I assumed that when Premiere went Windows-only, its Mac-world fans would follow.

I was wrong. First of all, I overestimated Premiere's pull; pre-Pro, it really wasn't all that usable. Most Mac adherents stuck with their chosen platform and the "creative artist" image they associated with it, and happily switched to Final Cut Pro, which blossomed magnificently. And many termed Adobe a turncoat and hung the ugly labels they reserved for Microsoft on Adobe as well.

The last part was silly, given that many of these Mac diehards still kept two other Adobe products—Photoshop and After Effects (AE)—front and center in their workflow, which has arguably put those Mac-based AE and Photoshop users at a disadvantage as application integration has become the name of the prosumer postproduction game, with Adobe and Apple leading the way. And if you do a lot with graphics and animation and your stock-in-trade is as much (or more) AE as it is your NLE, you're missing out on some nifty round-tripping if you're using AE on the Mac.

Until now. Taking advantage of Apple's 2006 migration to Intel chips, Adobe has done just what I hoped it would: ported Adobe Production Studio to the "Mactel" platform. We're not talking about using it with Bootcamp or any other Windows-on-a-Mac scheme. We're talking Premiere Pro for Mac, Encore for Mac, Photoshop CS3 for Mac, AE for Mac, Soundbooth (replacing Audition) for Mac, and (best of all) Dynamic Link for Mac. Adobe is making its announcement at Macworld, and it may be the news of the show for our market. (Click here for the full release.)

When it ships this summer, will Adobe Production Studio for Mac blow Final Cut Studio out of the water? Not a chance. Will it cause some Final Cut users—especially AE aficianados—to jump ship? Almost certainly. Will it lure some Windows-based Adobe editors to the Intel-based Mac, the hottest thing going in personal computing today? No question. And is it the best Christmas-in-July present Adobe could have given Steve Jobs? Without a doubt.

Stephen F. Nathans is editor-in-chief of EventDV and EMedialive.

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Review: Bella Professional Series 3.0 Keyboard

Most people don't think much about the keyboard that they use. It has 26 letters—check. It has "enter," "delete," and "escape"—check. It connects via USB or PS/2—check. But don't be fooled into thinking that all keyboards are created equal. They are as different as those of us who use them.
     I had the good fortune of finding this out first-hand in late November when I received a Professional Series keyboard from Bella Corporation. Bella has been providing keyboards that are expressly engineered for NLE systems for more than 10 years. The latest generation has just come to market with some true breakthrough features.

I evaluated the Professional Series keyboard designed to work with Final Cut Pro, but they make them for just about all the popular NLEs—including Adobe Premiere Pro; Sony Vegas; and Avid Media Composer, Xpress Pro, and Liquid. The new Professional Series 3.0 Keyboard has been designed from the ground up with editors in mind and includes many features that are exclusive to Bella keyboards.

Color-Coded Keys and International Symbols
One of the first things that I noticed when I took my keyboard out of the box was the colored keys and icon-coded keycaps for NLE-associated keyboard shortcuts. Almost all mid-to-high priced turnkey NLE systems come with their own color-coded and symbol-labeled keyboard. This goes all the way back to the linear editing days, when companies used standard keyboards and programmed the keys to perform specific commands.

Bella brings this feature to the masses with their new product line. The color-coded and icon-labeled keys can help an editor learn specific commands quickly and efficiently.

However, colored keys and coded keycaps can be a little overwhelming for some, especially those who never learned to type. For that reason, Bella also makes a DV Keyboard that includes all of the great features of the Professional model but without the colored keys. With this keyboard option, one can type by day and edit by night. This model also includes high-quality sticker sets for most popular applications from Adobe, Apple, Avid, Sony. They are designed to help you customize your keyboard to your specifications.

figure 1Another feature that I believe is a first for any keyboard is the inclusion of international symbols (left). These markings are tucked into the front side of the keys (notice the green symbols), so you can see them when you're looking forward at the keyboard. I was wondering what real-world function they would have and then realized how valuable they would be every time an editor runs across foreign names and/or words. Some of these words include an accent mark or symbol. While it's true that these symbols are available on all keyboards, they often require several specific keystrokes to make them appear. Bella has labeled the keyboard to give quick access for inputting the correct symbols.

Jog/Shuttle Wheel
One feature that is a Bella Pro Keyboard exclusive is their jog/shuttle wheel. Having tried several different jog/shuttle options for FCP, I can tell you that this is the best-designed, most responsive wheel that I have ever seen. The wheel has seven shuttle speeds (your mileage may vary depending on which NLE you use) and the ability to go frame-by-frame with the inner wheel.

Just don't spin the wheel recklessly; it can cause problems for your NLE as it tries to keep up with the wheel commands. That said, the jog/shuttle feature has saved me hours of tedious searching searching of footage.

Neo-Lite and USB Ports
One of the coolest new features of the Bella Video keyboards is the Neo-Lite. It's a Dual LED task light with a 12'' gooseneck that plugs straight into the keyboard. There are three light ports, one in the center and one on each side of the Pro version, so you can adjust your keyboard lighting (for those who prefer to edit in the dark).

To accommodate our digital lifestyle, the Bella DV and Professional Series keyboards also include two USB 2.0 ports for direct, high-speed connectivity to all your USB devices. The keyboard also has a top row of multimedia keys to run your media player of choice. The keyboard also has a top row of programmable multimedia keys that are macros-enabled so you can program them for a single keyboard shortcut or a series of program tasks or actions.

If this sounds like too much keyboard for you, Bella also makes an Advantage Series line that incorporates many of the features from its Professional line. The DV Keyboard 3.0 retails for $129 and the Professional Series, including the Neo-Lite, sells for $189. These keyboards are worth the investment and will pay off in time savings and editing efficiency. They provide a unique and comprehensive feature set unparalleled in the video marketplace.

Todd Gillespie (gillespie@id.ucsb.edu) has been shooting/capturing/animating for broadcast/cable for more than ten years. He now works in Television Production at UC-Santa Barbara. Todd lives on the California coast with his wife and three children.

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Adobe Production Studio To Be Available for Both Mac and Windows

Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced that the next version of Adobe Production Studio, the integrated video and audio post-production tool set that is part of the Creative Suite family, will be available for both the Macintosh and Windows® platforms. Film, video and web professionals currently using Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator on the Mac will soon be able to harness the power of completely new Macintosh releases of Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Encore DVD, and Adobe Soundbooth--all key components of an upcoming milestone revision to Adobe Production Studio. The software will have its .rst public demonstration during the Macworld 2007 Conference and Exhibition at The Moscone Center in San Francisco, January 9 - 12 (Booth 901). The next release of Adobe Production Studio is expected to ship in mid-2007.

"Our customers wanted all the components in Adobe Production Studio to be available on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms," said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Creative Solutions Business Unit at Adobe. "We listened and believe that an innovative new cross-platform video suite, anchored by powerhouse releases of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects, will really shake up the industry."

Adobe Production Studio creates an ef.cient post-production work.ow enabling creative professionals to move smoothly between the full range of post-production tasks while remaining focused on their creative vision. The product combines Adobe's award-winning applications, including Adobe After Effects for compositing, effects and animation, Adobe Premiere Pro for non-linear editing, Adobe Encore DVD for DVD authoring, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, as well as the time-saving work.ow enhancements offered by Adobe Dynamic Link. Dynamic Link eliminates the need for rendering when moving motion graphics and visual effects from Adobe After Effects to the real-time HD, SD, and DV editing environment in Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Encore DVD.

Adobe Soundbooth is designed to enable creative professionals to produce high-quality audio. Offering the ability to quickly record, edit, and customize audio and music for web and video production, Adobe Soundbooth makes the delivery of pristine sound tracks fast and ef.cient. Adobe Soundbooth will take the place of Adobe Audition in the next version of Adobe Production Studio. Adobe Audition will continue to be developed for audio professionals as a stand-alone product for Windows.

"At Turner Studios Post, we are constantly modifying our workflows to gain the greatest ef.ciency while maintaining the highest quality and most creative end results for our clients," said Ken Brady, director of technical operations at Turner Broadcasting Atlanta. "Supporting all of the Turner Entertainment Networks means we have to remain .exible and, most importantly, productive. Adobe Production Studio coming to the Apple platform moves us one step closer toward realizing an internal goal of having just one workstation per editing suite, with all of the creative tools available that our operators need. The tight integration of the components in Production Studio is a model that our editors really enjoy."

Adobe video technologies--including Adobe Production Studio, Flash Media Server for streaming interactive media applications and Flash Video for easy video playback across the Internet--are having a profound impact on how broadcast and video content is being distributed. Today, thanks to Adobe's Emmy-award winning Flash Video software, television shows such as Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy and Friday Night Lights are being delivered online, while the technology also powers the video capabilities of social networking sites like YouTube and MySpace.

The next version of Adobe Production Studio for Macintosh and Windows is expected to be available in mid-2007. Adobe Production Studio as well as Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Encore DVD, and Adobe Soundbooth will be available for Intel-based Macintosh computers; the next releases of Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator will be offered as Universal Binaries for the Macintosh. Adobe Production Studio and all its components will continue to be available for the Windows platform.

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NewBlue Releases Two NewBlueFX Sony Vegas Plugin Packages for Video Editing Enthusiasts

Interactive audio and video technology developer NewBlue, Inc. announced NewBlue Art Blends and NewBlue Motion Blends, the third and fourth offerings in the company's VideoFX plugins series. NewBlue Art Blends and Motion Blends provide a great way to punctuate a scene and add a unique stamp. Inspired by the fast-paced needs of music videos and realty television productions, NewBlue Motion Blends and Art Blends afford high-end consumers and professional video editors the opportunity to include compelling special effects without breaking the bank.

The NewBlue Art Blends collection features a rich set of 8 specialized video transitions that shift re. They're fun, unusual and a must images through visually-stunning alternate realities. For example, users can hammer a shape shifting transition out of metal, mutate scenes through shifting colors and light or create a painted transition. These captivating visual techniques include Color Melt, Contrast, Duochrome, Glow, Halo, Metallic, Sketch, and Vivid plugins.

The NewBlue Motion Blends collection features a powerful set of 7 unique video transitions that twist, turn, and transmogrify video from one scene to the next. These dynamic transitions introduce refreshing new ways to move imagery and keep viewers engaged. Using NewBlue Motion Blends, users can shear, spin, zoom, and smear to stretch and blur transitions, rattle the camera, or conjure up a cheesy dream/ripple transition. The NewBlue Motion Blends collection includes Roll, Shake, Shear, Smear, Spin, Wave, and Zoom plugins. Pricing and Availability NewBlueFX are available worldwide via direct download on the NewBlueFX website, http://www.newbluefx.com.

The collections are designed for the Windows PC platform with Macintosh versions planned in the near future. Retail prices are $69.95 USD for NewBlue Art Blends and $69.95 USD for NewBlue Motion Blends. For a limited time, registered users of NewBlue Equalizers, NewBlue Essentials, NewBlue Production Tools, NewBlue Scrubbers, NewBlue SoundBenders, NewBlue Art Effects and NewBlue Motion Effects will be able to purchase the new products at a preferred discount.

The NewBlueFX product line consists of two main categories, AudioFX and VideoFX. Features of the AudioFX collections run the gamut from audio filtering, such as equalization, noise reduction and compression to creative sound manipulation tools, such as "Insectoid," "Buzz" and "Robot Fog." In the VideoFX collections, users will find plugins that provide artistic techniques, such as air brushing, pastel sketching and line drawing, as well as motion effects, such as earthquake, spin blur, wiggle and zoom.

Included in the AudioFX category are 5 distinct VST-compatible collections:

  • NewBlue Equalizers, 9 audio filters that boost or cut ranges of tone in a specialized manner. Plugins include: Adjust Highs, Adjust Lows, Graphic EQ, Parametric EQ, Remove Highs, Remove Lows, Tone Eliminator, Filter Sweep, and Swirl.
  • NewBlue Essentials, 8 standard audio processing tools, NewBlue Essentials make any soundtrack complete. Plugins include: Chorus, Delay, Distortion, Echo, Flange, Phaser, Reverb, and Slap Back.
  • NewBlue Production Tools, 11 must-have effects to boost the clarity and performance of video soundtracks. Plugins include: Sharpener, Stereoizer, Monofier, Bass Boost, Crisper, Compactor, Sound Expander, Dual Compressor, Tone Compressor, Dual Expander, and Tone Expander
  • NewBlue Scrubbers, 6 powerful, easy-to-use audio repair techniques. Plugins include: Audio Polish, Cleaner, Auto Mute, Background Fader, Hum Remover, and Noise Reduction
  • NewBlue SoundBenders, 9 environmental, vocal and atmospheric effects. Plugins include: Buzzurgle, Insectoid, Phone, Radio, Resonator, Robot Fog, Under Water, Wah and Wind.

In addition to the new Art Blends and Motion Blends packages, the VideoFX category includes 2 additional collections, designed for Sony Vegas editing software:

  • NewBlue Art Effects, 7 video filters that create a visually stunning alternate reality. Plugins include: Air Brush, Colorize, Dream Glow, Duochrome, Line Drawing, Metallic, and Pastel Sketch.
  • NewBlue Motion Effects, 7 video filters that add movement to the video image. Plugins include: Active Camera, Earthquake, Motion Blur, Shear Energy, Spin Blur, Wiggle and Zoom Blur.


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Varto Technologies Announces “Free” Avid Liquid Pro Training Seminars

Varto Technologies has announced free Avid Liquid training seminars featuring instructor Glen Seaman to be held Thursday, January 11 at its N. Bergen, New Jersey facilities. Seminars run 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., and 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Varto invites attendees to relax, recharge, and spend 3 hours with Avid. Register today for the Avid Liquid Big Splash Tour.

Avid Liquid combines powerful video editing with a flexible user interface and functions that match any level of editing experience. Editors only have to learn a single interface to deliver professional high-quality video productions.

At Varto's Avid seminars, you'll see:

  • Multi-format editing: Mix DV, SD, MPEG, Windows Media, DIVX, HDV and more, all in the same timeline, without transcoding
  • Integrated audio: Smart sound editing allows you to add audio directly to the timeline and quickly create soundtracks from a library of music styles. Real-time surround mixing means you can create compelling 5.1 music mixes for your DVD
  • DVD authoring: Add titles and effects, create and customize menus and navigation, and then create a finished DVD with a complete DVD authoring toolset
  • Incredible effects: Sophisticated color correction, dynamic timewarp effects, and 1000s of combinations are all possible with the Avid Liquid effects palette
  • Optional I/O: The family of Avid Liquid products offers an extensive range of fully integrated hardware options for guaranteed, high-quality performance

Learn how you can get even more value with the Big Splash Bundle: Hollywood FX Pro, Title Deko Pro, and Magic Bullet Movie Looks, included free with Avid Liquid for a limited time.

To register, contact Varto Technologies, N. Bergen New Jersey 07047; 201-662-6200 or Toll Free 1888-656-6233.


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All Pro Solutions Releases New Network-Based DVD Publishing Systems

Established standards and low-cost CD/DVD recorders and media are responsible for the success of CD/DVD recording technology. Burning CD/DVDs with a single recorder is time-consuming, and changing media manually often is not acceptable. This situation requires recording systems to offer not only capabilities for on-demand publishing and CD/DVD duplication, but also for parallel recording. The Olympus Publisher offers a professional solution to all these demands.

The Olympus Publisher is a fully self-contained DVD/CD Publisher/Duplicator with a built-in PC running on the powerful PoINT Publisher software. The Olympus series publishers can be configured with 2 drives with up to 330 capacity, 4 drives with up to 630 capacity, 7 drives with up to 900 capacity including many of the industry's leading disc printers like the Prism Plus and the Teac P55, making it a great machine to complete any DVD or CD production job.

Olympus Publisher provides the following application areas:

  • CD/DVD duplication with integrated label printing for unattended operation
  • Mastering of data CD/DVDs and audio CDs
  • CD/DVD production from pre-defined images
  • On-demand publishing with customized label printing\

For all application fields the client/server concept of the Olympus Publisher provides network support. Furthermore, the Software Development Kit allows the integration of Olympus Publisher's powerful functionality into other applications (e.g. Music CD on demand).

The very strong, fast, and smooth autoloader is equipped with our smart picker (picks up only one disc) that makes for fast and jam-free duplication and printing. The system has up to 3 input/output bins. Media is loaded from the input bins into the drives for duplication, from the drives into the printer for printing, and when finished, unloaded into the output bins. Defective media is unloaded into a reject area. Once the output bin is full, the 1st input bin becomes the 2nd output bin and so on. All Olympus systems come with an industry-leading 3-year warranty on the robotics!

Because of its modular architecture, Olympus Series with PoINT Publisher software will adapt to your requirements and fit well into an existing networked environment. The software consists of the server component, which controls the actual recording process as well as a set of applications for the definition of the disc contents. The PoINT server controls the hardware and administers the job list. Each job represents one production series and contains important information like number of copies, label print file and additional parameters. The job attributes and the job list can also be modified by network clients under control of the integrated user management. A job is easily created and hundreds of copies produced by just dragging & dropping the Disc Image to the job list. The user interface provides all important hardware and job status information even over the network.

Features of the Olympus series include the following:

  • Asynchronous duplication and printing: each drive acts independently of each other, meaning that each drive starts recording individually when the drive's tray is closed. When finished, media is loaded to the printer immediately for individual printing.
  • Up to 7 unique jobs can be done simultaneously. A job contains 1 unique data master for duplication and 1 unique label file for printing.
  • The system can be controlled through a computer network, data master and label file can be loaded through the network.
  • Olympus Publisher's software SDK (Software Developer Kit) can be integrated into any environment for customized recording and printing. SDK enables you to collect individual data from any source and record and print it to individual DVD-Rs and CD-Rs.
  • DVD/CD duplication with integrated label printing for unattended operation.
  • Archive and backup your data.
  • Mastering of data DVD/CDs and audio CDs
  • DVD/CD production from pre-defined images including DDP (Disc Description Protocol)
  • On-Demand publishing with customized label printing

For more information visit www.all-pro-sol.com.

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Divergent Media Introduces ScopeBox

Divergent Media announced today the immediate availability of ScopeBox, the first ever high-end suite of Mac-based image monitoring, capture, and analysis software for video production and post production. This unique solution replaces thousands of dollars of traditional hardware waveforms, vectorscopes, preview monitors and direct-to-disk recording tools.

ScopeBox recreates every major video quality assurance tool in a low-cost, easy to use software package: Preview Monitor, Waveform, Vectorscope, Audio Meters, Direct Disk Recorder and goes even further, adding Luminance Histogram, RGB Histograms and RGB Parade. Each of these can be positioned, resized and customized, creating layouts that can be recalled later. ScopeBox doesn't sacrifice quality -- every palette shows all pixels and every scan line without sampling or scaling. Whether building a new color correction suite or shooting in the field, ScopeBox puts all the necessary tools on your Mac.

ScopeBox works with any QuickTime supported capture device or camera -- AJA Kona, BlackMagic Decklink, all DV, DVCam, and DVCPro25 cameras with firewire ports including the PD-150 and DVX-100, and DVCPro HD cameras such as the HVX-200. Additionally, ScopeBox will playback QuickTime files for monitoring, allowing users to check their final edit before layoff. Preview ScopeBox's video preview palette shows the user a pixel accurate, color calibrated image exactly as the camera is capturing it. Not only does ScopeBox replace a traditional preview monitor, it adds exposure and framing aids. Overlay zebras allow users to keep an eye on the highlights and make sure nothing is lost to overexposure. Chroma Zebras show where colors are over saturated. Center marks, rule of thirds, letterbox masks, title safe and graphics safe can be overlaid the preview to help frame the shot.

Recording ScopeBox's recorder palette digitizes video direct to disk. The recorder saves time and frustration by saving video to hard disk in a format compatible with non-linear editing software. No more logging and capturing; once the video is recorded it can be used with any QuickTime compatible application. No need to convert files from obscure formats, and no more worrying about tape dropouts. The recorder keeps a constant buffer of video so that a moment is never missed. With buffered record enabled, ScopeBox constantly records up to the last 30 seconds in memory. ScopeBox never misses the perfect shot.

ScopeBox is available immediately, and comes in Standard Definition and High Definition versions. The HD version works with SD or HD, NTSC or PAL QuickTime sources. The SD version has all the functionality of the HD version but supports only standard definition sources. The SD and HD versions of ScopeBox are offered at an introductory price of $299 and $599 respectively, through January 15, 2007.

ScopeBox is available now for purchase from http://www.ScopeBox.com.

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Toshiba Brings HD DVD Write Drive to Desktop PCs

Toshiba today brought the wide ranging capabilities of HD DVD to the desktop PC with the announcement of a standard height HD DVD drive able to read and write to HD DVD and to standard DVD and CD discs. Sample shipments of the new drive, SD-H903A, are scheduled to start this month.

The new SD-H903A integrates a blue-violet laser diode that can read and write to HD DVD-R discs and that offers support for high-density HD DVD-ROM discs, including high definition movie and video images. The drive also offers all the functionality of a super multi-drive, with high performance, high-speed read and write to all flavors of standard DVD and CD discs. The new drive takes full advantage of the shared physical structure of HD DVD discs and standard DVD discs, which allows it to read and write to HD DVD-R discs, to read the diverse line-up of discs in the HD DVD-ROM disc family, including twin format disc and combination discs, and to read and write to standard DVD and CD discs, using an optical pick-up head with only a single objective lens.

The new drive is also fully compliant with the EU's RoHS directive, which came into force in July 2006. Toshiba will feature the new drive at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2007, in Las Vegas, Nevada from January 8 to 11, at the Toshiba booth (booth 12832) and the HD DVD Promotion Group booth (booth 7914).

The growth of digital terrestrial broadcasting, increasing consumer demand for large screen, high definition TVs and for HD camcorders are all spurring demand for the ability to record high-definition visual content using the optical drive of a PC. On top of this, the HD DVD-R disc is expected to play a major role in large capacity data storage. Against this background, Toshiba has developed a standard height HD DVD write drive for desktop PCs that will allow users to use the advanced capabilities of HD DVD to the full. Toshiba will continue to develop HD DVD drives and contribute to market penetration of the HD DVD format.

Main specifications are as follows:

  • Model name SD-H903A
  • Read/Write Speed: Write HD DVD-R SL1: 1x; HD DVD-R DL1: 1x DVD-RAM: Max. 3x; DVD-R SL1: Max. 8x DVD-R DL1: Max. 2.4x; DVD-RW: Max. 4x DVD+R SL1: Max. 8x; DVD+R DL1: Max. 2.4x DVD+RW: Max. 4x; CD-R: Max. 16x CD-RW: 4x; High Speed CD-RW: Max. 10x Ultra Speed CD-RW: 10x Read HD DVD-R SL1, DL1: 1x; HD DVD-ROM: 2.4x DVD: Max. 8x; CD: Max. 24x
  • Interface S-ATA
  • Buffer capacity 8MB
  • Power source +5V, +12V
  • Operating temperature 5-50 degrees C (excluding media)
  • External dimensions (W x H x D) 146mm x 41.5mm x 184 mm
  • Weight 830g


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Boris FX Qualifies Boris Red for Intel-based Macintosh Systems

Boris FX, the leading developer of integrated effects technology for video and film production, announced Boris Red version 4.1 is now available for the Intel-based Macintosh systems. In addition to running natively on the Intel-based Macs, Boris Red 4.1 includes a Universal Binary plug-in for Apple Final Cut Pro as well as a Universal Binary standalone Render Engine.

Boris Red 4.1 takes full advantage of the improved OpenGL graphics hardware found in the new Apple Mac Pro and MacBook Pro models. Combined with the power of the Intel processor, Boris Red 4.1 excels in performance and features; outrivaling 2D and 3D graphics and effects applications in its class. Boris Red 4.1 is offered as a free update for existing Boris Red 4.0 customers moving to the Intel-based Macintosh platform. The new Boris Red 4.1 update can be downloaded from the Boris FX web site at http://www.borisfx.com.

The Boris FX company began shipping Boris Red 4.0 in September 2006. A 2-year R&D effort, the new release delivers superior image processing technology, a slew of must-have image treatment tools and a newly designed user interface optimized for effects creation workflows. "Boris Red 4.0 is a significant release for the company. It includes a wide range of new features and functionality that provide our customers with enormous effects creation capabilities," said Boris Yamnitsky, founder and president, Boris FX. "Ensuring that our customers can take full advantage of the new Boris Red 4.0 release on the Intel-based Macintosh platform was a high-priority for us. Thus we are very pleased to have delivered Universal Binary - Intel Mac support."

The Boris FX company plans to maintain backward compatibility with qualified PowerPC-based Macintosh systems.

For more information about the new Boris Red update and other Boris FX releases, please visit the Boris FX web site at http://www.borisfx.com.

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LaCie Introduces Six Storage Solutions With Professional Performance & Design

LaCie begins the new year by introducing six new storage solutions to help people easily manage their digital lives, from professionals to everyday users. New products pair innovative design with powerful technology, and LaCie has partnered with trusted tech companies EMC Insignia, Panasonic and Roxio to deliver the most comprehensive storage solutions available. LaCie US CEO Scott Phillips said,

Four products feature LaCie's trusted d2 case design made of sturdy aluminum alloy. Each has a different functionality from biometrics to networking and more. The d2 design was originally created in 2003 by Neil Poulton and stands upright, lays horizontal or can be rack-mounted.

New products include the following:

  • LaCie d2 Blu-ray Drive is the first external Blu-ray solution for Windows/Mac available worldwide. Fully equipped with Roxio burning software and dual FireWire/USB interfaces. The drive records, rewrites and reads 25GB or 50GB BD-R (recordable) and BD-RE (rewritable), as well as DVD±RW DL and CD±RW. Comes with one 50GB Blu-ray Disc from Panasonic. Pre-order today for $1149.
  • LaCie Quadra Hard Drive is a versatile storage solution with quadruple interfaces (USB/FW400/FW800/eSATA) for use in professional environments. Equipped with new LaCie Shortcut Button — the blue button on front of the drive — to quickly launch favorite applications, documents or back up files at the touch of a button. Bundled with EMC Retrospect Express Backup Software for Windows/Mac. The 500GB is available today for $299.
  • LaCie d2 SAFE Hard Drive is a biometric access hard drive designed to protect private data from unauthorized use. Comes in LaCie's sturdy d2 case with triple interface (FW800/400/USB2) and triple security levels including a biometric sensor, 128-bit AES data encryption and chain lock port. Register up to 10 fingerprints — five users with minimum two prints each — and lock/unlock the drive with the swipe of a finger. Comes with LaCie 1-Click Backup Software for Windows/Mac. The 500GB is available today for $299.
  • LaCie Ethernet Disk mini & Ethernet Big Disk are network storage solutions designed for small office/home office use with five different capacities and price points to fit any budget. Disks allow even novice users to set up a home network via simple installation wizards, and instantly create a central repository for files accessible over FTP, HTTP or a home wired or wireless connection. Equipped with two USB ports for using as a personal hard drive off-network, expanding capacity over the network, or sharing photos directly from a digital camera. Comes with LaCie 1-Click Backup Software for Windows/Mac. Available today for $199 (250GB), $249 (320GB), $299 (500GB), $349 (640GB) and $499 (1TB).
  • LaCie Ethernet Disk RAID is a flexible RAID 5 network storage for small business or workgroups, powered by an Intel 80219 processor. Comes with a complete system backup and recovery client for Windows that allows for automatic incremental backups from localized client machines and network/remote booting. Offers file sharing for Windows/Mac/Linux, RAID security (0, 1, 10, 5+spare), four hot-swappable SATA drives, and more. Equipped with two Gigabit LAN ports to act as a DHCP server or a local Gigabit network, and two USB 2.0 ports for easily adding storage to the network. LaCie FireWire Speakers are the first-ever set of FireWire bus-powered speakers in a sleek and compact black-and-white design by Neil Poulton. Built-in FireWire cable provides power, no AC adapter needed. 8-watt minimum output for left-right speakers offers excellent sound fidelity. Available today for $79.

New products will make their debut at Macworld Expo in San Francisco's Moscone Center from January 9-12. Visit LaCie Booth #S2226 for a hands-on look. LaCie will also offer special Macworld pricing on its most popular hard drives for a limited time via the LaCie Store Online or direct at 503-844-4502.


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