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Copyright © 2004 -
Information Today, Inc.

February 20, 2007

Table of Contents

REVIEW: Celeste Studios Hindu Weddings: The Videographer’s Guide (Vol. 1—Gujarati Style)
SmartSound Quicktracks for Adobe Premiere Now a Free Download
Illinois Videographers Association (IVA) to Present First IVA Midwest Expo on May 15
Varto Technologies Announces Free Newtek Training Seminars
Panasonic Debuts AG-HPG10, Portable P2 HD Memory Card Viewer/ Player For Field Use And Back-Up Recording
NewTek TriCaster PRO adds Mac Support
XChange International Announces Release of Strata Foto 3D for Macintosh
XChange International Announces Free update for Strata Live 3D Users

REVIEW: Celeste Studios Hindu Weddings: The Videographer’s Guide (Vol. 1—Gujarati Style)

Hindu weddings, however common in the U.S. these days, remain largely mysterious to most Americans of non-Hindu descent, videographers included. Which is too bad, since according to Mike Celeste of Celeste Studios in the first volume of the company's new Hindu Weddings DVD training series, it's a high-end and largely untapped market that prove quite remunerative for videographers who can work confidently in the Hindu milieu. And "once you know what to expect" from the sprawling 3-4 day event, "you can shoot it."

Hindu Weddings: The Videographers Guide, Vol. 1 - Gujarati Style ($69.99) consists of three sections. First is a Quick Overview, kind of a flash-card guide to Hindu wedding traditions. This is good for quick reference to acquaint you with the most important terms and wedding elements, such as the BaraatHindu Weddings: The Videographer's Guide (the parade of family and friends arriving at the ceremony), the Swagat (the escorting of the groom to the mandat—wedding canopy—by the MOB), Ganesh Puja (invocational prayer), and more.

But the real action happens in the Instructional Guide itself, which is a walk-through of all the important elements of the ceremony, with Mike Celeste narrating over a well-selected, edited, and annotated collection of clips and tips. This is great, practical stuff, including tips about cultural mores that will save videographers from embarrassment (like asking or expecting the couple to kiss in public, which is considered immodest in Hindu culture); the need for two cameras and a biddlestick or monopod and where to position the cameras at different points in the ceremony, such as the lowering of the shawl between the bride and groom and the exchange of flowers; and dramatic moments to anticipate, like the welcoming of the groom on horseback, the lighting of the holy fire, and the (literal) tying of the knot by the priest. Celeste also clues in viewers to subtleties like the stealing (and holding for ransom) of the groom's shoes. Mike also talks about the colors of the wedding and how to use them in titles and menus, and the importance of the video reflecting the royal vibe of the wedding.

Bonus Materials on the disc include a fully edited Hindu ceremony with an optional Directors' Commentary provided by both Mike and Janice Celeste. Janice's commentary in particular underscores the value of paying attention to visual details and knowing what to look for, such as the henna decorations on the bride's hands and feet (from a fertility ceremony that happens the night before the wedding day). The quality of the Celestes' work is evident in the video included on the disc (roughly 17 minutes for the Instructional Guide and 35 minutes for the edited wedding, although there's much overlap between the two). Their enthusiasm for their work comes through strongly as well, augmenting a very useful and practical guide that's well worth the price for any videographer who has access to a viable Hindu wedding market. And stay tuned for subsequent volumes, which will address other (non-Gujarati) Hindu traditions.

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SmartSound Quicktracks for Adobe Premiere Now a Free Download

SmartSound Software, Inc., the leading provider of music scoring technology for film and video professionals, today announced that its Quicktracks for Adobe Premiere software is now a free download for all users. The Windows-only software includes 10 royalty-free music scores that can be custom-fit for any video project, and can be downloaded by users of Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Premiere Elements at http://www.smartsound.com/premiere.

By making Quicktracks for Adobe Premiere freely available, SmartSound has given thousands of users the leading music creation technology in the industry. SmartSound's award-winning, patented technology delivers every music score to the exact length needed and can be resized from within Premiere as needed. SmartSound offers the most extensive library of automatically composing, resizable music scores, with more than 1,000 royalty-free music scores available in a wide range of styles and genres. This is all done as a plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Premiere Elements, giving users immediate professional quality music scores without requiring any music expertise.

SmartSound is also placing all Professional-Quality (44k) stereo music libraries on sale for $49.95, a 50 percent savings off the regular price. This temporary price reduction will give new users of Quicktracks for Adobe Premiere the ability to purchase more music from the largest customizable music library in the world. All SmartSound Professional-Quality music is licensed for unlimited use in commercial applications, film, television, theatre, Internet, competitions and more without additional license fees.

The Quicktracks technology has a long history with the Adobe Premiere product line and its users. It was developed for Adobe by SmartSound as the music scoring tool that was part of Adobe Premiere 6.0 and 6.5. With the launch of Adobe Premiere Pro, SmartSound made Quicktracks a product for Adobe customers who were used to the ease of use and powerful music scoring elements available in Quicktracks.


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Illinois Videographers Association (IVA) to Present First IVA Midwest Expo on May 15

The Illinois Videographers Association (based in the Chicagoland area) will be hosting the first IVA Midwest Expo on Tuesday, May 15, 2007. Says IVA President Keith Kelly, "We are a strong association with many talented and involved members, and we want to draw attention to the quality programs we offer through IVA. The goal is to offer continuing education seminars to those in the Midwest area and to gain more members for our association."

There will be five seminars during the day. Brian Gunn & Lance Gray of Pixelpops, will present different seminars both during the day and in the evening. Other presenters include Chris Chibubos of Furla Vision, who will speak on "WOW Shots That Sell"; Keith Kelly of Innovative Communications, who will speak on "Secrets of Great One Camera Receptions (with a Multi-Camera look)"; Josh Fozzard of Pickwhip Studios, who will speak on "Adobe Affer Effects: Easy, Creative Templates"; Kris Malandruccolo of Elegant Videos by Kris, who will present "The Power of Video & Getting More Business With Better Marketing." Brian Gunn & Lance Gray of Pixelpops will present on "Free Downloads to Maximize Creativity." In the evening, Brian will present "How to Benefit from Personality Assessment" and Lance will present "The Power of the Plug-In" and "Preserving Legacy Money Makers for Your Business."

The IVA Midwest Expo on May 15 will be held at the Doubletree Suites Hotel (special room rates available) in Woodale, IL. A catered lunch will be included as part of the registration fee. For more detailed information and to register, please visit the Illinois Videographers Association website at www.IVAvideo.com or call Keith Kelly, IVA President, at 630-416-8995.

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Varto Technologies Announces Free Newtek Training Seminars

Varto Technologies has announced FREE Training Seminars on NewTek products such as SpeedEDIT, TriCaster Pro, and 3D Arsenal as part of the NewTek 2007 tour. The seminars are scheduled for Tuesday, February 20th, 2007, and registration is open now. 

Session times are 10:00AM-12PM or 2:00PM-4:00PM or 6:00PM-8:00PM on February 20, and located at Varto Technologies headquarters at 7700 River Road, Suite 205, North Bergen, NJ 07047. For more information, call (toll-free) 888.656.6233 or 201.662.6200.

Varto is an authorized reseller and system builder for Newtek, Avid, Adobe, Canopus, Leitch, Matrox, ADS Technologies, Total Training, and Reflecmedia.


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Panasonic Debuts AG-HPG10, Portable P2 HD Memory Card Viewer/ Player For Field Use And Back-Up Recording

To further compliment P2 HD solid-state workflow in the field, Panasonic introduced today the AG-HPG10, a highly rugged, portable player/ viewer for P2 HD content. Dubbed the P2 Gear, the unit also offers back-up recording of high definition and standard definition content for applications ranging from broadcast production to independent filmmaking.

Designed to provide extremely reliable, in-the-field performance, the two-pound solid-state memory card unit has a heavy-duty, shock resistant body, and is equipped with easy-to-use controls, a flip-up, 3.5" 4:3 LCD monitor and speakers for video and thumbnail clip viewing, selecting or deleting footage, or shot marking.

The AG-HPG10 features a two-slot P2 card reader and offers instant access to recorded content with playback in multiple formats including 1080i (24p, 24pA, 25p, 30p, 50i, 60i), 720p (24p, 24pN, 25p, 25pN, 30p, 30pN, 50p, 60p), 576i (25p, 50i) and 480i (24p, 24pA, 30p, 60i). A USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 host connector allows copying of P2 content onto supported external storage drives.

Via its IEEE 1394 input, the battery-operated AG-HPG10 becomes a backup recorder when connected to a P2 HD/SD or tape-based camera, or the Firestore FS100 hard drive recorder. With its two-card slots, it can record up to 32 minutes of 100Mbps DVCPRO HD, 64 minutes of DVCPRO50 and 128 minutes of DVCPRO quality video on two 16GB P2 cards. P2 cards can be hot swapped to handle additional content.

Via its HD-SDI output, the AG-HPG10 can be teamed with a host of broadcast production equipment including a production monitor for playback or for connecting to a microwave transmitter. Through its IEEE 1394, USB 2.0 component, and composite (BNC) outputs, the P2 Gear can transfer HD and SD content to NLE systems, hard drive units and other external storage devices. And via its IEEE 1394 interface, the unit makes it easy to dub recording made by a tape-based camera onto a P2 card. Additional features include an SD memory card slot for presets and menu back up.

The AG-HPG10 P2 Gear will be available in August 2007 at a suggested list price of $3,995.


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NewTek TriCaster PRO adds Mac Support

NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading video and 3D animation products, today announced the release of iVGA for Mac, a small software client that allows a presenter's screen display to be integrated into a live TriCaster production or presentation. TriCaster combines the functionality of a live television truck into a 10 pound, 1 cubic foot appliance.

iVGA is a software application launched on a network-connected Mac. Any display on that Mac screen is sent across the network as a video input into TriCaster's live switcher, or, can pass through TriCaster, at full-resolution, to a projector.

"NewTek is excited to add Mac support to TriCaster. TriCaster is already the category leader for Portable Live Production and the addition of iVGA for Mac opens this power to even more people," said Philip Nelson, NewTek Vice President of Sales and Video Marketing. "The Internet television revolution is here and TriCaster empowers anyone to become live internet broadcaster from anywhere - a living room, sports stadium or office."

TriCaster PRO is a portable LIVE production suite that simultaneously distributes content to video, Internet and projector. The comprehensive toolset is designed to appeal to any organization - including broadcasters, corporate presenters, educators and churches. TriCaster is eagerly adopted by those wanting to reach local and worldwide audiences with professional-quality, multi-camera video via the Internet.

"iVGA Mac is a real asset to our live IMAG toolset," Says Michael Beck, Internally Sound's Video Engineer. "Now, we are able to handle any situation that comes our way, whether it's a Windows or Mac system at the event."

TriCaster PRO Features Include the following:
• Portable live presentation from a one cubic foot, 10 pound box
• iVGA™ brings the functionality of high-end scan converters by integrating displays from networked computers.
• Simultaneous output to video, live web stream and projector
• XGA projector output ensures graphics are presented at the highest possible resolution and that video is up-scaled to match.
• Simultaneous component, S-Video and composite video output
• Simultaneously archive the event in both video and streaming formats
• Dozens of CG templates for easy titles
• Keying, to mix graphics over live video
• Virtual VCR cues numerous digital video clips and plays them back instantly
• Integrated real-time video editing for on-site changes and client approvals
• Archive presentations to hard drive for later playback, editing or on-demand streaming

iVGA for the Mac is available as a free download to registered TriCaster, TriCaster PRO and VT[4] customers. TriCaster PRO is available for a suggested retail price of $6995US.


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XChange International Announces Release of Strata Foto 3D for Macintosh

XChange International, the source for extended technology worldwide, is pleased to announce the upcoming release of the Strata Foto 3D for Macintosh. Strata Foto 3D is a powerful tool for creating professional quality 3D content from still images. A wide range of objects can be modelled including those with holes and Œdifficult¹ organic shapes. Using a conventional camera, photos of your object on a printed mat are taken from a number of viewpoints in front of a plain backdrop. The shape of the object and its surface colour are automatically extracted from each photo and this information is used to build a high quality 3D object.

Strata Foto 3D is an efficient photo-based system for modeling real world objects. Powered by patented model generation and sophisticated texturing technology, Foto 3D allows a 3D model to be created quickly and inexpensively while requiring no technical skill or expensive hardware. Foto 3D creates models that can be displayed and used in a variety of applications. The model can be imported into a 3D editing and rendering software such as Strata 3D CX for further enhancement and for it to be used in scenes and rendered. Finally, the model can be imported into Strata Live 3D for interactive 3D display within a website, Flash file, or an Adobe Acrobat PDF document without any plug-ins.

Features include the following:

  • Automated Masking—With the proper backdrop, Foto 3D does an excellent job of identifying your background and masking out your object automatically.
  • Surface Optimization—Using the profile of your shape in each photo, Foto 3D automatically generates an accurate surface mesh. The more photos you have, the more accurate the mesh.
  • Auto Texture Creation—Using the same images, Foto 3D generates a photo-realistic UV map for your object.
  • Interactive Decimation—When it comes to the web, size matters. Foto 3D allows you to interactively control the number of polygons used to represent your object
  • Lens Calibration—Foto 3D can correct for distorted, skewed, and images suffering from Fish-Eye distortion for the best possible interpretation of your images.

System Requirements:
Macintosh: Power Macintosh with Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later (10.4.x Recommended), Intel Mac with Mac OS X 10.4 or later, 512 MB RAM, 75 MB free disk space, Monitor resolution of 1024x768
Windows: Windows XP, Windows 2000 with SP 4 or later, Pentium Compatible or better,, 256 MB RAM, 330 MB free disk space, VGA colour display with 800x600 resolution


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XChange International Announces Free update for Strata Live 3D Users

XChange International has announced the release of Strata Live 3D version 1.2, including several stability fixes and modifications to support Acrobat Reader 8.

Features of Strata Live 3D include the following:

- Plug-in free Web 3D—since Strata Live 3D models export to simple Java applets, they'll play problem-free in virtually every browser released since 1997 and no plug-ins are required.
- Plug-in free 3D PDFs—Live 3D objects embedded in PDF documents. Spice up product manuals, annual reports, new product announcements, and more.
- 3D Anywhere—Export animated models to the web, PDFs, PowerPoint, animated GIFs and more.
- Live Sketches—Live 3D also offers a sketch mode in addition to realistic rendering. You can even render sketches over the realistically shaded or flat shaded model.
- Full Decimation Controls—Interactively reduce polygon counts in any model to ensure fast interaction, no matter what size the model was originally.

System Requirements:
Macintosh: Power Macintosh with Mac OS X 10.3 or higher, 256 MB RAM, 45 MB free disk space, Monitor resolution of 800x600 or better, Java 1.4.2 required (available through Apple software update)
Windows: Windows XP, Windows 2000 with SP 4 or later, Pentium Compatible or better, 256 MB RAM, 45 MB free disk space, VGA colour display with, 800x600 resolution

This update is free to current Strata Live 3D users.


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