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Information Today, Inc.

June 25, 2007

Table of Contents

CourtDV: Uses and Requirements of Legal Videography
Adobe Announces Visual Communicator 3
Audio-Technica Introduces SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband Wireless Microphone System
Lectrosonics Introduces New Transmitters At Infocomm
Zacuto Announces New Zamerican Articulating Arm for Mounting Accessories to Cameras
Total Training Launches Total Training Online
Digital Anarchy Releases ToonIt! for Turning Film/Video Footage Into a Cartoon Look
Toon Boom Animation Releases Toon Boom Storyboard

CourtDV: Uses and Requirements of Legal Videography

Historically, video has been used mostly by trial attorneys; however, it can be used effectively by attorneys in almost every phase of law. One type of video that more and more corporate and government attorneys are using these days is the video recording of major construction projects, which inevitably end up in court for one reason or another. An astute corporate or government attorney will suggest that the developer on the project—be it private or federal, state, or local government-funded—commission a “pre-construction” video recording of the surrounding area to document the condition of the properties in question prior to the time that the first piece of equipment arrives on site. Producing such a video can save the developer from paying thousands of dollars in false claims of damages that the plaintiffs claim was due to construction. An ounce of prevention can save many pounds of grief later.

Video makes possible tremendous savings of time and expense. The attorney should never think of video as an added expense but rather as a cost-saving use of modern technology. The video recording of expert witnesses explaining to the jury the extent of a person’s personal injuries and what the victim had to go through to try to reclaim normal use of her faculties is far more effective than having the plaintiff trying to tell the story herself on the witness stand.

The same equipment that is used to project the attorney’s PowerPoint outline during the trial can also be used to project video evidence for all to see. We find many attorneys are now using their PowerPoint presentations during opening statements, during the body of the trial and during the closing statements reinforcing important facts in the minds of the jurors. The fully equipped professional legal videographer will be able to assist the attorneys from the beginning to the end of the trial with all the equipment needed to project documents, x-rays, photographs, charts, three-dimensional items, and more, saving the client much expense in producing the traditional “blow-ups” used in the nation’s courts today.

The move to digital (NLE and DVD) in legal videography has had an exciting effect on the legal field. Just as all law firms kept a VCR in their offices, now they are equipping themselves with much less expensive DVD players to be able to review video evidence. In addition to the time-savings that come with editing on NLE systems, going digital also allows the attorney instant access to specific parts of the testimony when presenting the evidence in court and doing so at a much higher resolution than in the past.

Properly trained professional legal videographersunderstand the “disinterested third party” role that they must play when taking testimony during depositions. At the same time, they realize that they can also become vital members of the litigating team when producing the remaining video documentaries and visual evidence that will be used prior to or during a trial. When contracting with a professional legal videographer, the attorney needs to seek out a person that is fully qualified in all aspects of legal videography. That is the exact reason that the American Guild of Court Videographers not only trains professional videographers in producing video evidence that cannot be impeached but also certifies” them as Certified Court Video Specialists (CCVS) after they have successfully completed the required training. This is the assurance that an attorney must have when hiring a certified legal videographer as it gives them confidence that they will receive the professional results that they require.

We see video products every day that very well could have been impeached and thrown out of court due to violations in the Federal, State and District Court’s “Rules of Civil Procedure” and “Rules of Evidence.” Even the very storage and delivery of video evidence, the required paperwork that accompanies the video evidence and the proper video shooting techniques are very important and are strictly regulated. Just because a person owns video equipment does not in any way imply that they are fully qualified in the legal arena. As a matter of fact, I will go on to say, if a videographer has not been properly trained in producing video evidence for trial, regardless of the number of years that he has been shooting legal video, he is producing a product that very well could be thrown out of court. The reason it doesn’t happen more often is that properly trained legal videographers know the minutia of legal video evidence and its proper presentation better than attorneys themselves, and attorneys depend on the professional videographer to be the expert on the subject.

When talking about equipment, we must not omit the fact that the legal videographer will also be taking the testimony under oath with an additional audio tape recorder. This is done as a courtesy for the stenographic court reporter, if one is used. If done in stereo, it allows the stenographic court reporter to listen to the deposing attorney on one track and the deponent on a different track, enabling a more accurate transcription.

Another asset that professional certified videographers bring to the courtroom is that most of them are also Notary Publics, which means they can swear in the deponent and take the testimony without a stenographic court reporter being present in any of the 42 states that no longer reauire a court stenographer’s presence. If there is need for a printed transcript, it can be taken directly from the audio or video recording provided by the video court reporter.

Gayle Marquette, Ph.D., CSCV, CLVI is founder/administrator of the American Guild of Court Videographers, LLC, based in Casper, Wyoming.

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Adobe Announces Visual Communicator 3

Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced Adobe® Visual Communicator® 3 software, which enables educators and students to easily create scripted, television-quality broadcasts. Designed for those new to video, the software is ideal for project-based learning, distance learning courses and campus-wide newscasts. With this new version, simplified templates and wizards give even inexperienced users the ability to create professional video presentations that can be streamed live over the Internet in the FLV format using Adobe Flash® Media Server software, or output to a projector, television, or Channel One Closed-Circuit System.

“For tomorrow’s broadcast professionals, Visual Communicator delivers a fast-track to the quality of results seen every night on television news reports,” said Mark Randall, chief strategist, Dynamic Media at Adobe.

Adobe Visual Communicator 3 eliminates traditional timelines, making video production faster and easier. Enhancements include new set-up wizards, drag-and-drop animated templates and an interactive “Coach” that gets users up and running quickly. Similar to a professional television studio, users can preview up to three cameras at once while recording or presenting live with the mini-switcher feature to create interview-style videos in real time. In addition, a full-screen teleprompter allows the presenter to read scripts from a distance.

“Visual Communicator 3 allows me to teach students as young as 10-years-old how to independently create video presentations within minutes,” said Rob Zdrojewski, technology educator at Amherst Middle School in Buffalo, NY and director for Amherst Tech TV. “The new templates and wizards in Visual Communicator 3 will enable students to get up-to-speed even faster and with less initial instruction. With the increased use of technology in today’s schools, Visual Communicator 3 is also a great way to make static classroom presentations more visually appealing and engaging.”

Adobe Visual Communicator 3 provides everything a student or educator needs to create a television-quality news broadcast. Users can create a video presentation, set it to music, and enhance it with an entire library of newscast-style graphics, effects, and titles. This version offers an enhanced keyer that allows users to replace a solid green or blue background with an image, video or graphic background and now includes stronger FLV support and enables users to produce live video content streamed using Adobe Flash technology. Additionally, Adobe Visual Communicator 3 can be used to narrate digital photo collections or video created with Adobe Photoshop® or Adobe Premiere® Pro software. Finished projects can then be exported to Adobe Encore® or Adobe Premiere Elements software and burned to a DVD.

Adobe Visual Communicator 3 for Microsoft® Windows® is expected to be available in an English language version at www.adobe.com in fall 2007. The full version of Adobe Visual Communicator 3 will be available for an estimated street price of US$399, and registered users of qualifying earlier versions of Visual Communicator can upgrade to Visual Communicator 3 for the estimated street price of US$149. Qualifying education customers can purchase the software for the estimated street price of US$169. To download a preview version of Visual Communicator 3, visit Adobe Labs at http://labs.adobe.com/.

More information on Visual Communicator can be found at www.adobe.com/go/vc3.

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Audio-Technica Introduces SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband Wireless Microphone System

Audio-Technica U.S., Inc. is introducing its revolutionary SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband (UWB) wireless microphone system at InfoComm 07. A completely new application of proven, patented Ultra Wideband technology, SpectraPulse bypasses the increasingly congested RF environment to deliver clear, intelligible audio without the performance and set-up issues associated with conventional wireless systems. It offers levels of security that have never before been commercially available in wireless microphones, making it ideal for conference or boardrooms, corporate events/meetings, courtrooms and other contractor/system integrator applications in the business, government and commercial markets. SpectraPulse utilizes up to 14 simultaneous channels that operate flawlessly without RF competition, frequency hunting/coordination, white space** issues or infringement from other wireless systems or radio sources.

Ultra Wideband (UWB) Technology — the next generation of wireless
Audio-Technica has partnered with Multispectral Solutions, Inc.® (MSSI®), the industry leader in the development of Ultra Wideband systems for communications, radar and geo-positioning, to introduce this new application of UWB technology. A-T’s SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband wireless microphone system represents the first commercial sound implementation of UWB technology, which has recently been licensed for commercial use by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Ultra Wideband technology allows the wireless transmission of data in extremely short-duration pulses over a wide spectrum of frequencies. Instead of utilizing conventional channels and carrier frequencies, UWB technology uses a series of short nano-second pulses which occupy an instantaneous bandwidth of 500 MHz within the 6 GHz frequency spectrum. The signals, in precisely timed sequences, result in the reliable transmission of information near noise-floor levels. The “decoding” of these pulses requires the specialized technology incorporated into the SpectraPulse system – making SpectraPulse inherently secure and preventing signal interception by other wireless systems. For a higher level of security, Audio-Technica offers an optional encryption package that meets the NIST-approved (National Institute of Standards and Technology) AES 128-bit encryption standard developed by the U.S. government for securing sensitive material.

The SpectraPulse System — simple, secure and revolutionary
The SpectraPulse Ultra Wideband wireless microphone system components include: the mtu101 Microphone Transmitter Unit; drm141 Digital Receiver Module; aci707 Audio Control Interface; and cei007 Charger Encryption Interface.

The mtu101 Microphone Transmitter Unit (in a boundary mic design) features a programmable touch-sensitive switch (that can be programmed for push-to-talk, push-to-mute, or toggle operation) and 9-hour rechargeable battery life. The drm141 Digital Receiver Module consists of a completely integrated UWB antenna and 14 channels of digital wireless transceiving (that mounts in a 3-gang electrical box) with power and data carried over a Cat-5 connection. The aci707 Audio Control Interface is a 1U rack mounting unit allowing the demultiplexing and audio output of up to seven channels, which are simply selected on the mtu101 Microphone Transmitter Unit. Seven distinct line/mic level audio outputs are provided on standard Phoenix-type connectors. A separate charger/encryption unit, the cei007 Charger Encryption Interface charges up to seven mtu101s and allows for encrypting the mtu101 units using optional encryption software.

For the contractor or system integrator, setting up a SpectraPulse system is simple and quick. Install the Digital Receiver Module (drm141) and connect it to the equipment rack via a standard shielded Cat-5 cable. In the rack, install up to two Audio Control Interface (aci707) units for a total of 14 separate microphone channels. Place up to 14 Microphone Transmitter Units (mtu101) out in the environment as required and set their individual addresses. Turn the system on, and SpectraPulse is ready to go. There is no frequency scanning or channel planning required.


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Lectrosonics Introduces New Transmitters At Infocomm

Lectrosonics, recognized the world over as a leading manufacturer of wireless microphone systems and audio processing products, is introducing a new transmitter and new versions of its most popular transmitters at Infocomm 2007 (booth #8213) in Anaheim, CA. The UM450 is a new Digital Hybrid Wireless™ belt-pack transmitter with a current-servo input and 250mW RF output for exceptional range and resistance to interference. The UM400a, a new version of Lectrosonics’ most popular transmitter, is also gaining the current-servo input circuit originally developed for the SM Series. The new input enables a wider range of microphone sensitivities and provides a straightforward microphone wiring method.

In the revised SM Series, including the SMa 100mW transmitter, SMDa dual-battery unit, and SMQa 250mW transmitter, a variable high-pass filter has been added with control via the front panel menus. A 3 dB down point is selectable between 35 Hz and 150 Hz, allowing the transmitters to be optimized for full range audio or voice transmission, depending on the intended application. In addition, all the transmitters in the SM Series will now include a Gore-Tex™ pressure-equalizing membrane to prevent moisture from entering the housing resulting from expansion and contraction of the air inside the unit due to rapid temperature changes.

On the MM400c, the formerly removable antenna connector (SMA) has been replaced by a newly developed, fixed antenna to increase the water resistance for the most severe weather and environmental conditions.

All current Lectrosonics 400 Series transmitters feature Digital Hybrid Wireless ™ technology, thus avoiding distortion due to compandor artifacts when used with compatible receivers in 400 Mode. In addition, these transmitters offer compatibility with analog receivers from Lectrosonics and two other manufacturers.

Lectrosonics’ list pricing for the products mentioned in this news release are as follows: UM450: $1,835; UM400a: $1,360; SMa: $1,795; SMDa: $1,875; and SMQa: $2,045. Availability of these products is scheduled for Q3 2007.


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Zacuto Announces New Zamerican Articulating Arm for Mounting Accessories to Cameras

The Zacuto Zamerican is an articulating arm that works on all video cameras providing and easy way to mount accessories like monitors and hard drives. The Zamerican Large (ZARM-L) with Z-Release, Zacuto's large articulating arm is 22% lighter then the Israeli large arm. It is built with Zacuto Z-Release ZUDS on both ends of the arm giving you built-in quick-release action using Zacuto's new Z-lock technology. No more screwing and unscrewing arms and monitors, just Z-release it, flip a lever and it quick-releases off.

If you want your Zamerican arm to reach longer, screw a Zacuto rod extension on either end of the arm and your arm just became longer. The Zamerican small arm (ZARM-S), with Z-Release, Zacuto's small articulating arm is 30% lighter then the Zamerican Large arm and is ironically stronger and made for heavy 8 pound (3.6kg) monitor loads.

"Z-Release is like having an erector set, or Zerector set if you are Zacutoized", says Steve Weiss, head of marketing at Zacuto. "It's completely new and completely different and you'll wonder why it hasn't been done years ago. It's already becoming the new standard and you'll see why. Instead of the usual 1/4 20 and 3/8 16" screws on either end of the arm, Zacuto uses standard 15mm rods on both ends of the arm. These rods slip into a whole line of Z-Release products that allow you to attach your arm to a Panavision rod, 19mm rod, 15mm rod, C-Stand, gatergrips, mafers, cameras and more with quick-release.

"We have created the first small arm that is stronger than a large arm," says Jens Bogehegn, head of operations at Zacuto. "This little dynamo also nicknamed the zubby is a must have, can hold anything and takes up very little space. As with all Z-Release equipment all you need do is flip a red Zacuto lever to release anything."

Zamerican arms are so strong they can be used to raise cameras above crowds, like in a press conference, as shown here Turn in your Israeli arms and go Zamerican!

"We are so excited about there new Zamerican product line that we are willing to buy your old Israeli articulating arms for $50 (no matter what condition they are in) if you replace it with our new Zamerican articulating arm," stated Zacuto Marketing Director Steve Weiss."

Price is $195-215.


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Total Training Launches Total Training Online

Total Training, Inc. has been a pioneer in engaging and innovative video-based training for a decade and is proud to announce today the milestone launch of Total Training Online, which is now available for purchase. Subscribers can access a library of video tutorials for learning Photoshop, Flash, Flex, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Microsoft Office, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Expression Studio, and more.

"Total Training is without a doubt one of the leading providers of video training," said Wayne Smith, group product manager for Expression Studio at Microsoft Corp. "With its new online video offering, Total Training demonstrates that it's in tune with the educational needs of Expression Studio customers."

"When Total Training got into the business of premium video training, the delivery medium was VHS. Over the years, Total Training continually adapted to, in the case of HD, even pioneered – changes in the industry. With online we remain committed to bringing the highest-quality experience to the market. We're offering huge, clear screens, a comfortable frame rate, and superb navigation so people can easily find what they need, all at an extremely competitive price," said Brian Maffitt, Chief Creative Officer at Total Training, Inc.

To celebrate its ten-year anniversary and the launch of Total Training Online, Total Training is running anniversary campaigns to celebrate the company's success. Beginning today, consumers can lock into reduced introductory pricing for annual subscriptions.


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Digital Anarchy Releases ToonIt! for Turning Film/Video Footage Into a Cartoon Look

Digital Anarchy, a leading provider of cost-effective special effects software for Adobe and Apple products, today announced the release of ToonIt! for Film/Video. ToonIt! 1.0 will reliably and easily create cartoon-like images from film and video footage, freeing artists from time consuming techniques such as hand painting and rotoscoping. The filters use advanced algorithms from Toonamation to create cartoon shading and lines in After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Motion and Premiere Pro.

Stan Schwartz, co-founder and President of Toonamation, said about their render engine, "Cartoons, whether full color images or line drawings, are a natural way for people to express themselves. Until now there hasn't been a high-quality way to create these effects that isn't very labor intensive. We're delighted to bring that capability to you, here, first, through the ToonIt! plugin and our partnership with Digital Anarchy."

With ToonIt!, users can easily customize the 'toon' effect for almost any footage in a variety of ways. There are four filters in the set. The Roto Toon filter creates flat shades of color and gives you full control over details like outlines, shading styles and halftone effects. The Outlines Only filter uses edge detection to produce cartoon-style edges, removing color altogether from the footage for a black-and-white comic-book style. Goth Toon makes use of internal color rotoscoping to create a high contrast effect, while Blacklight Edges' edge detection creates a fun, customizable set of neon-colored edges.

One of the key features of ToonIt! is its ability to minimize temporal artifacts. Other cartooning software frequently produces an undesirable 'vibrating' image that is the result of color regions and lines jittering from frame to frame. In comparison, ToonIt! filters reduce these graphic issues and produce very consistent, pleasing results from one frame to the next. This temporal noise reduction and visual consistency drastically reduce the need to make adjustments via rotoscoping or other manual editing methods.

Great features in ToonIt! for Film/Video include the following:

  • Beautiful Variety of Styles. Create a number of sophisticated looks including Flat Cartoon, Graphic Novel, Line Art, Stipple and Pen & Ink.
  • No Resolution Limits: ToonIt! will work on footage of any resolution or size, from web to film.
  • No Hand Masking or Rotoscoping: Each toon effect is generated automatically. While there are customizable controls in the plugin, no manual or frame-by-frame work is needed.
  • Customizable Looks: With 40 different parameters available to adjust the plugin results, there are many possible approaches to get the best result for different types of footage.
  • Temporal Noise Reduction: ToonIt! keeps the results consistent over time, frame-by-frame. There is no jittering when played back at full speed, which is a common problem for software trying to achieve the cartoon effect.

Digital Anarchy CEO Jim Tierney commented about ToonIt!, "We saw a need in the market for this product and have been trying to develop it for quite some time. Thanks to the Toonamation guys, we've finally created a plugin that creates a beautiful cartoon look automatically."

Regularly priced at USD $299, ToonIt! 1.0 will be available for USD $249 through July 4, 2007. The filters work in After Effects 5.5 and higher, Final Cut Pro 4.5 and higher, Motion 2.1 and higher, and Premiere Pro 2.0 (Windows only) and higher. ToonIt! for Film/Video supports all variants of Macintosh OS X and runs natively on Intel Macs. The product supports Windows 2000, XP Home, XP Pro and Vista 32-bit systems. Demo filters and samples are available at www.digitalanarchy.com.

A second package of ToonIt! will be released for use in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements later in the year. The same sophisticated algorithms will create a cartoon look for still images and photographs.


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Toon Boom Animation Releases Toon Boom Storyboard

award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. today announced the release of Toon Boom Storyboard, the true digital storyboarding software for all audio visual projects. As a digital application, Storyboard enables storyboard artists, video makers, advertisers, and game developers to validate their storyline efficiently, visualize it quickly and share it instantly.

Storyboard comes with an intuitive and user-friendly interface that will make your paperless experience a breeze. Use it to deliver rich-looking storyboards effortlessly to everyone involved in your project. Key features include the following:

* Support industry standard bitmap and vector files
* Add an unlimited number of shots and panels to your storyboard
* Use customizable and searchable captions field
* Access true multi-layers vector drawing tools with pressure sensitivity
* Reuse assets from built-in image template library
* Export your storyboard to PDF using predefined pages or create your own layout

Storyboard is offered at a launch special of $199.99 US, instead of $249.99 US (Promo code: SBD290607, valid until June 29, 2007), and is now available online at www.toonboom.com/products/storyboardstd/.

"To complete the product line, we are pleased to offer Storyboard and provide an affordable, powerful and unique storyboarding application to all creative minds" stated Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer at Toon Boom.


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