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July 30, 2007

Table of Contents

The Main Event: I'm Surrounded!
Stage to Screen: Survival of the Video Species
NewTek Ships TriCaster STUDIO
Matrox Releases RT.X2 3.0
david robin | films Announces "The Full Monty," Two-Day Workshop Retreat
Red Giant Software Releases Trapcode Products for Editors
Peachpit Releases Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro 6: Beyond the Basics
K-Tek Avalon Traveler Available in New Colors
iKan Introduces V8000HD Deluxe Kit
Ridata Acquires Windows Vista ReadyBoost Premium Certification
Adobe Introduces Captivate 3
Boris Continuum Complete 5.0 for AE Ships

The Main Event: I'm Surrounded!

I’m not a musician, or an audio engineer, or even a dedicated audiophile. Like most wedding videographers, I always try to capture clean, clear audio, but I’ve never cared if it was in mono or stereo, let alone surround. So why did I recently spend time and money on a major studio upgrade to surround sound? Two letters: HD. Up until now, my typical customer watched her video on a 27" television with built-in speakers. But more and more people are buying big-screen 16:9 displays and home theater audio packages to go with them. So my typical client is soon going to be watching my productions in widescreen HDTV with Dolby 5.1 or better audio. She’s going to expect the improved video and audio experience that they get when they play Hollywood movies on her home theater.

I started by doing the usual thing: I went shopping. After browsing through the catalogs and eBay listings, I came to the realization that I didn’t even know what most of the product descriptions were talking about! So the first thing I got wasn’t gear, but information. I downloaded some guidelines from Dolby about setting up a surround studio. A friend suggested the TweakHeadz Lab, and it was very helpful. I also ordered a very basic book, Jeffrey P. Fisher’s Instant Surround Sound (CMP Books). Soon the mists began to clear and I felt more confident in looking for equipment.

Caveat: I’m going to tell you what I bought, but these components are not the only (or necessarily the best) choices. They’re just one solution to the problem. I purchased an M-Audio Delta 1010LT sound card and a set of M-Audio LX-4 self-powered speakers. These are a great value new, but I bought mine on eBay and saved even more. The speakers were especially neat . . . all five of the satellites (left, center, right, right rear, and left rear) are identical two-way bookshelf units. They’re connected to the subwoofer, which contains a 50 W integrated amplifier. Your alternative is to get a Dolby 5.1-capable amplifier, and connect all of your speakers to it.

The next step was to tear apart the old studio and re-create it with an eye toward audio mixing in 5.1 surround. I re-oriented my editing desk so the main speakers would fire down the room’s long axis. Next, I placed the speakers as recommended by my helpful sources, trying to keep them all at ear level and an equal distance from the listening/editing position. One book recommended that the front speakers be placed 4' or more from the wall, to prevent wall-speaker interaction, but I didn’t want to give up that much working space for the sake of audio purity. The front speakers are on cantilevered mounts about 4" from the wall, with acoustic foam behind them.

I used a trick recommended by Fisher to find the "first reflection" surfaces in the room using a hand mirror, and treated those areas with absorbent material. (A surround-sound room, unlike a stereo mixing room, should be acoustically "dead." The ambience is produced by the extra speakers, rather than reflections.) Next, I calibrated the speakers using an inexpensive sound pressure level (SPL) meter from Radio Shack. This calibration procedure is analogous to calibrating your video monitor with color bars, and assures that you’ll be hearing a correctly balanced audio mix. You can find the detailed procedure in Fisher’s book; the short version is just to put the meter at your listening position. Play a test tone through each speaker in turn, and adjust the volume to get an equal SPL reading from each speaker.


figure 1The Delta 1010LT sound card has lots of inputs and a software version of an audio mixer, so I decided to retire my Mackie 1202 mixer and my audio patch bay and let the computer take on that function. The software can also handle equalizing and compression, so I removed those hardware components as well. I’ll admit that actual knobs are more convenient than mouse-controlled software sliders, but I was willing to trade off a little convenience for a much-reduced equipment inventory.

My entire library of buyout music fits onto my computer’s hard drive, so I also got rid of the CD player. The new studio configuration is much simpler than the old version; even considering the three additional speakers, I removed a lot of hardware and cabling. The project was surprisingly inexpensive; by offsetting the new gear’s cost with the sale of equipment I no longer needed, I kept the total well under $1,000.

I did run into a couple of unexpected "gotchas." These were related to using the system for listening to audio, as opposed to editing audio. First, the 1010LT doesn’t have a headphone jack. If you like to use phones occasionally for privacy, you might want to pick a different solution. Second, an awful lot of music isn’t encoded with surround sound. Unlike a lot of home audio gear, the 1010LT doesn’t have a "pseudo- surround" mode that will let a stereo track play from all the speakers; stereo audio plays just from the left and right (and the subwoofer). If you like to listen to music while you work on the computer, you might want to use a different approach. The less expensive Sound Blaster Audigy sound cards allow you to do these things, but don’t have the excellent professional audio connectors or specs of the M-Audio card.

For capturing audio at an event, you can use several microphones set up at different locations, or a cluster of microphones at one location, catching the sound coming in from different directions. But if you don’t want to bother with placing five or six microphones at your shoot, Voxengo offers Stereo Touch, a free virtual studio technology plugin that can take a mono source and widen it into a stereo image. This is wonderful for creating a surround "feel" from a single mono mic placed to capture general crowd noise and room ambience. Thanks to Mark Foley of VideoUniversity for this tip! Your audio sources will be the primary vocals (e.g., the vows); ambient sound either captured with a single mic and expanded with Stereo Touch; or from several independent mics and background music tracks. I like the buyout music from Digital Juice’s StackTraxx library. The advantage of this material is that it’s presented as individual instrument tracks, which the editor can mix as desired. This gives a lot more flexibility than using a stereo mix as the music source. A tool like the newly surround-capable Soundtrack Pro may also let you direct different instruments to different speakers, but I’m a Windows editor and haven’t experimented with it yet.

Capture all the audio and put it on the timeline of your audio editor. Each track is then positioned between the left/right speakers, and also between the front/rear speakers. Mixing in surround is actually easier than mixing in stereo, because the sound field becomes a two-dimensional plane instead of a line between the left and right speakers. This gives you more spatial "room" to place sounds into. Once you get all the speakers going, the overall volume goes up fast, so decrease it as needed. Next, each track is adjusted for EQ (frequency response). For example, you might want to decrease the audio content of a guitar track in the mid-range to leave more room for a vocal part to be clearly heard. Tracks can also have various effects applied, such as reverb, chorus (making one instrument sound like several), or noise reduction. Audio mixing is analogous to creating a multi-layered visual image with a graphics program like Photoshop. You want to end up with a harmonious and pleasing composition in either case . . . it’s just that one program produces results for the eye, and the other for the ear.

The main audio (for example, the vows or the toasts) is still mono. It’s heavily weighted to play in the center, or "dialogue" speaker. It’s the ancillary audio and the music backgrounds that are manipulated to create the surround effect. Once you’ve created a mix that pleases you, it has to be encoded to an AC3 or DTS sound file. This process is to audio what rendering is to video. The audio data is encoded so that it will play back in mono or stereo, but when played on a surround-sound system, it will be decoded and the proper sounds will be sent to each of the speakers in the system. The software handles that, but be sure to check it by playing the finished mix in a surround system, a stereo system, and a mono system. You don’t want to make the mistake that I’ve seen several of the cable networks make—mixing audio that’s optimized for surround playback but has dialogue so low it’s hard to hear over the background music when you’re listening on a stereo system!

I’m happy with where these audio upgrades have taken me; here’s hoping you, too, will get surrounded soon!

Resources Mentioned

Voxengo Stereo Touch
http://www.voxengo.com/downloads/?highlight=stereotouch

Instant Surround Sound, Jeffrey P. Fisher. 2005, CMP Books, San Francisco
http://www.vasst.com or http://www.amazon.com

StackTraxx. Digital Juice
http://www.digitaljuice.com

M-Audio soundcards and speakers
http://www.m-audio.com

TweakHeadz
http://www.tweakheadz.com/surround_sound_studio.htm

Dolby Surround Sound Manual
http://www.dolby.com/assets/pdf/tech_library/44_SuroundMixing.pdf

Radio Shack Sound Pressure Level meter
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103667&cp=&sr=1&origkw=SPL+meter&kw=spl+meter&parentPage=search

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Stage to Screen: Survival of the Video Species

Charles Darwin did not live long enough to hear the term “video,” but his theories on survival of the fittest are relevant to video professionals who operate in an ever-changing environment where annual software updates are celebrated like birthdays, high-definition is the new standard, and Blu(-ray) is the new red. Darwin once wrote, “In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.” If you don’t adapt you will join dinosaurs, dodos, and projectionists on the list of extinct species.

One market I have noticed change in is the conference video market. Only a decade or two ago it was a very lucrative market for freelance videographers and the demand for videotaping conference keynotes and presentations was growing. I know of a few businesses in my area that made their living mainly from the conference video market—back in the days when they could develop relationships directly with the conference manager at convention centers and hotels.

It was only a matter of time before the larger A/V companies signed exclusivity agreements with conference centers and became their “in-house” solution. These agreements made it difficult for videographers to compete because the perceived convenience of dealing with the conference centers’ in-house audio and video solution appealed to the client who was hosting the convention. Many videographers adapted by leaving the conference video market for the corporate or wedding video markets. Some went to work for the A/V companies, albeit at a lower rate of pay, and others ceased to exist as businesses.

Most A/V companies provided basic videotaping services, and this worked well for them when their clients’ needs were limited to a VHS tape or DVD. Fortunately for us they never adapted into fully evolved event video production companies or offered creative editing or a variety of delivery options. This has created an opportunity for event video professionals to move back into the conference video market as modern conference planners are becoming increasingly aware that if they want professional video they need to hire an outside company. The internet has made it much easier for conference planners to find us, and this market is now reemerging as a lucrative one for responsive companies that can adapt and develop a strong reputation and web presence.

Conference video products and services range from the standard videotaping and DVD creation of speeches and presentations to corporate Same-Day Edits, webcasting, online videos, and documenting the social aspect of the conference. Add this to the proliferation of PowerPoint presentations that clients want edited with the video, and we’ve established a barrier to entry into this market that can make professional video skills and equipment indispensable. Video production companies have the advantage over A/V companies whose existing talent pool is audio technicians who in the past were asked to operate video cameras when needed. A/V companies are not adapting to the needs of their clients for the video portion of their business, and therein lies the opportunity for small video production companies to benefit. By adapting we are assuring our individual survival until the next evolution is required, which will probably have something to do with the letters “HD.” In transition times such as these, companies that cannot adapt will struggle to survive.

Learning to survive and evolve as a small business owner is not easily achieved in isolation, and many adaptations will come from observing others’ responses and adopting their best practices. I am still surprised by how many videographers don’t want to join their local professional videographers association (PVA) because they are afraid they will lose business. The reality is that in addition to benefiting from professional development opportunities and learning video business survival skills, active PVA members get more work, thanks to member referrals and working as subcontractors for other videographers in their market with whom they’ve forged relationships. I run a small video production company and I am my only full-time camera operator, with my wife acting as the occasional second camera. When I need additional shooters I turn to my PVA for talent, and having access to this pool of shooters has allowed me to act like a much larger company and to leverage my profits with multiple shooters working for me at any given time. Through my company I recently provided four shooters for a conference held concurrently in five cities and joined by webcast. Next year I’ll be providing five shooters, all from my local association, the British Columbia Professional Videographers Association (BCPVA).

I enjoy working in the conference video market because most of the conferences I film are business conferences and the topics are very timely and relevant to my own business. I like being paid while I learn and make valuable connections. If you want to increase your net worth, you have to start by growing your network. For me, the conference video market is both lucrative and a source of repeat business that allows me to grow my network. Most important of all, remember: Business changes. Survival is optional. Choose wisely.

Shawn Lam is an MPV-accredited videographer and business owner based in Vancouver, BC. He specializes in stage event and corporate video production and has presented seminars on business strategy and stage event video at WEVA Expo 2005-2007 and the 4EVER Group’s Video 07.

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NewTek Ships TriCaster STUDIO

NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading video and 3D animation products, today announced the shipment of TriCaster STUDIO™, a turnkey portable, live production and virtual set system which provides a whole new level of capability to video and live event producers. The combination of portability and ease of set-up with the extensive live production capabilities of TriCaster STUDIO allows video producers to broadcast and web stream events and content at levels previously considered prohibitive.

"TriCaster makes it easy to produce, without the expense of a full truck and crew. And it gives fans the chance to see games they wouldn't see otherwise," says Clark Pierce, Fox Sports VP of Emerging Technology. "TriCaster will let us produce remote broadcasts where it normally wouldn't be fiscally viable."

TriCaster STUDIO provides all of the capabilities of a live remote production truck including: component video, balanced audio, 6 video inputs and advanced switching features, live virtual sets, multiple upstream effects, dual virtual VCR's and more in a 16lb, low impact footprint. TriCaster STUDIO makes it possible to cover live events and broadcast or stream from locations where the use of remote truck facilities are not feasible.

Virtual Sets
The proprietary virtual set system in TriCaster STUDIO, LiveSet™ allows separate virtual sets to be assigned independently to all 6 camera inputs and the dual integrated VCR's. In addition, each input has an independent LiveMatte™ module eliminating the need for expensive hardware for each source to be connected to the system. Each virtual set supports virtual cameras with multiple angles and zoom levels with support for secondary video sources such as reflections, refractions and bump maps.

"With TriCaster STUDIO we have introduced LiveSet™, a truly revolutionary technology that allows us to implement multi-channel virtual sets with unprecedented realism and video quality," said Andrew Cross, NewTek Sr. VP of Software Engineering. "This proprietary technology integrated into a live production environment fundamentally changes the tools available to anyone producing video."

Pricing and Availability
TriCaster STUDIO in NTSC is available in North America for $9,995US. TriCaster STUDIO is available in dual standard internationally for $11,995US. For more information, visit www.NewTek.com.

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Matrox Releases RT.X2 3.0

Matrox® Video Products Group today announced that software release 3.0 for the Matrox RT.X2™ realtime editing platform is now available. The Matrox RT.X2 3.0 release provides support for Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 Production Premium and Adobe Premiere® Pro CS3 software as well as support for additional HD and SD cameras and editing resolutions including the Panasonic P2 MXF 720p format.

"The RT.X2 3.0 release brings extensive new camera support, giving users many more workflow options including realtime native editing of the popular Panasonic P2 MXF 720p format," said Wayne Andrews, Matrox RT.X2 product manager. "Combined with all the exciting new features of Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium, Matrox RT.X2 users now have all the tools they need to produce top-quality SD and HD productions - creatively, efficiently, and faster than ever - then easily deliver to tape, DVD, Blu-ray disc, the web, and mobile devices."

New features in the Matrox RT.X2 3.0 release include:

• Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium support
• Native editing of Panasonic P2 MXF 720p and SD files
• Panasonic VariCam 720p support
• New progressive SD editing resolutions
• Sony HDV 1080p support (HVR-V1 cameras)
• Canon 24f and 30f mode support
• Realtime color correction using RGB curves
• Realtime Adobe garbage masks
• Realtime sphere effect
• Realtime timecode filter

Key features of Matrox RT.X2
Ideal for corporate communicators, event videographers, project studios, educational facilities and digital filmmakers, Matrox RT.X2 extends the capabilities of the Adobe CS3 software with many important benefits.

• Realtime Matrox Flex CPU effects - color correction, speed changes, chroma/luma keying and many more
• Realtime and accelerated Matrox Flex GPU effects - 2D/3D DVE, blur/glow/soft focus, shine and many more
• Extensive camera support including many new models from Canon, JVC, Panasonic, and Sony
• Native HDV 1080i, HDV 1080p, HDV 720p (JVC ProHD), Panasonic P2 MXF 720p, and MPEG-2 4:2:2 I-frame HD editing
• Native DV, DVCAM, DVCPRO, Panasonic P2 MXF SD, and MPEG-2 4:2:2 I-frame SD editing
• Realtime playback of 32-bit MPEG-2 I-frame AVI files with alpha in HD and SD
• Realtime mixed-format multi-cam
• Realtime high-quality hardware downscaling for SD output from an HD timeline
• 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 with dynamic Alt+Tab switching
• Composite, Y/C, HD/SD analog component input and output
• Full-resolution HD monitoring on an inexpensive flat panel display via independent DVI output

Price and availability
Priced at $1495 US in North America (€1250, ₤830) plus applicable local taxes, the Matrox RT.X2 hardware is available from authorized dealers worldwide. The Matrox RT.X2 3.0 software release is available for download from the Matrox website free of charge to all registered Matrox RT.X2 users. Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 Production Premium or Adobe Premiere® Pro CS3 software is required in order to use the RT.X2 3.0 release.

www.matrox.com/video

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david robin | films Announces "The Full Monty," Two-Day Workshop Retreat

david robin | films presents "The Full Monty," a two-day workshop retreat to be held October 23-24 at the company's Los Angeles and on location in the L.A. area. Discover all the techniques that have won them 21 WEVA Creative Excellence Awards and WEVA's Bob LeBar Vision Award, and made them members of the WEVA Hall of Fame and the 2005 and 2006 EventDV 25.

Here's what attendees will learn:

  • To think outside the box
  • Marketing upscale
  • Effective selling techniques
  • Creative shooting on location
  • Postproduction with an inventive punch

Topics include:

  • Wedding & event movies
  • Family histories
  • Love stories
  • Concept videos
  • 3D photo montages
  • The Timeshift edit

The Goal
Energize and supercharge your business and return home with the tools to create a plan that will enable you to take your income potential to new heights.

The Studio Setting
"Mi Casa Es Su Casa" Learn how david robin | films functions on a day to day basis, what systems we use, our division of skills and Philosophy of Success.

HD Workflow From Inception to Completion!
We will show you how we execute our hybrid HD workflow, starting with inventive shooting techniques, on location. Next we return to the studio to edit, and produce a finished DVD.

Investment
The cost is $995 per person. Each additional person from your company is $795. Lunch and dinner included.

Extra Special
Take home a DVD or two, with 3D Templates, samples, forms, and whatever else we can cram into it.

Limited to 10 people
('coz anymore we would run out of chairs!)

Travel info
Located in Encino, California, we are close to Burbank Airport, and 20 minutes from LAX. Our official Hotel is the Warner Center Marriott and discounted rates will be available.

To register, call 800.287.9985 or click here.

For samples of david robin | films' work, visit www.davidrobinfilms.com and http://blog.davidrobinfilms.com.

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Red Giant Software Releases Trapcode Products for Editors

Red Giant Software, publisher of a line of professional digital video tools, including Magic Bullet and Knoll Light Factory, today released new versions of the popular Trapcode motion graphics products called Shine, Starglow, and 3D Stroke.

In 2006, Red Giant Software and Trapcode formed a partnership, where Red Giant Software assumed exclusive publishing rights to all seven Trapcode products worldwide.

Trapcode Shine version 1.5 is a handy plug-in for simulating a bright spotlight behind text or logos. Shine is used frequently for movie titling effects. Users can also create sun rays from clouds or other objects, which are great for animating backgrounds for DVD projects.

Trapcode Starglow version 1.5 brings text and titles to life with glows and glints. The filters are based on a star shape that consists of eight directions, and each direction can be assigned an individual color map and streak length. Many users like to use Shine and Starglow together.

Trapcode 3D Stroke version 2.5 lets users dynamically write on a logo in 3D space; plus create organic and fluid lines. This effect is used commonly on TV, for example with the Food Network and ABC IDs.

What's New?

  • Shine, Starglow, and 3D Stroke now work for the first time in Final Cut Pro, Motion, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Avid AVX.
  • Support has been added for full 32-bit floating-point rendering for generating light rays, glows, and animated lines with the highest quality output.
  • 3D Stroke now features a series of 40 preset shapes for generating outlines or swirling strokes to captivate your audience.

Visit http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/trapcodeproducts.html for additional product information.

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Peachpit Releases Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro 6: Beyond the Basics

Peachpit announced today the release of Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro 6: Beyond the Basics (ISBN 0-321-50912-9)—essential reading for any editor who is ready to take Final Cut Pro to the next level.

In this Apple-authorized guide, director and filmmaker Michael Wohl teaches the advanced skills that editing professionals need to know most. Using professional broadcast, documentary, and dramatic footage, Wohl delivers a comprehensive course in video editing and finishing, with hands-on projects to complete along the way. Readers will learn to trim more effectively, make polished transitions, work with nested sequences, edit multi-camera projects, create fantastic effects, color-correct your video, and composite like a pro. The book includes time-saving techniques for audio editing in Soundtrack Pro, managing multi-format media, and improving your editing workflow.

About the Author
Michael Wohl is widely respected as one of the preeminent experts on Final Cut Pro. As part of the original engineering team, Michael helped design the workflow and interface that has earned Final Cut its award-winning reputation. He is also an award-winning filmmaker who has written, directed, and edited independent films for more than fifteen years.

The Apple Pro Training Series is both a self-paced learning tool and the official curriculum of the Apple Pro Training and Certification Program. Upon completing the course material in this book, you can become Apple Pro Certified by taking the certification exam at an Apple Authorized Training Center.

To find an authorized training center near you, go to www.apple.com/training.

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K-Tek Avalon Traveler Available in New Colors

Now K-Tek offers the Avalon Traveler in muted red or blue anodized aluminum tubing – the only colored professional boom poles on the market. With their distinctive hues, these attractive poles are an excellent way to differentiate different work crews, or to distinguish a kit and keep it apart from others in the field. And the new colored Travelers are not just pleasing to the eye. Against a background such as a blue sky, or a brick building, they blend more fully into the scene than traditional black boom poles, becoming a subtler, less conspicuous presence in the background.

The first professional boom pole designed to fit in a standard equipment case, the K-Tek Avalon Traveler stores quickly for easy transportation and expands from a minimum length of just 20" (52cm) to a maximum reach of 6'7" (201cm). Telescoping sections lock together via K-Tek's proprietary "captive collett" coupling system, for maximum holding power with minimum torque. Also available in standard black anodized aluminum or in the same high-quality graphite tubing as the award-winning Klassic series, with an extended length of up to 7'8" (234cm), this lightweight, versatile six-section pole is ideal for ENG, EFP, and DV production.

The K-Tek Avalon Traveler is available unwired or factory wired with a high-quality internal coiled cord and a sturdy male XLR receptacle mounted in the base. Prices start at $210.

www.ktekboompoles.com

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iKan Introduces V8000HD Deluxe Kit

iKan has introduced the new V8000HD Deluxe Kit. It has everything you need for Hi-Def monitoring in the field. The Deluxe Kit includes a sturdy hard case containing the V8000HD monitor (1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i compatible), iKan's 970 L series compatible lithium ion battery that powers the V8000HD for over 3 hours, the iKan ICH-750 battery charger, an AC power adaptor, a DC car adapter, and a heavy duty camera mount.

The complete Deluxe Kit sells for $895. Normal price for V8000HD, $795, includes monitor, heavy duty shoe mount, and the AC adapter. Current V8000HD owners can buy the Deluxe Starter Kit (includes case, battery, and charger) for $99.95.

www.ikancorp.com

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Ridata Acquires Windows Vista ReadyBoost Premium Certification

Advanced Media, Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of the popular Ridata brand of recordable CD and DVD media, electronic storage products, and digital media accessories, announced today it has received Windows Vista® ReadyBoost Premium Certifications for several of its popular Ridata EZdrives™.

"Ridata EZdrives are a great consumer value. The competitively priced, award winning, and now premium certified drives are the ideal solution for on the go data storage," stated Harvey Liu, Advanced Media president. "We are pleased to expand our offering of Windows Vista ReadyBoost certified removable storage products."

ReadyBoost is simple to use. When a ReadyBoost enabled USB drive is inserted into a Vista enabled computer port, Vista checks to see if it's fast enough to work with ReadyBoost. Then the user decides if they want to use the device to speed up system performance. Users can also choose to use part of a USB drive's memory to speed up performance and the remainder for file storage.

All Ridata EZdrives offer true plug-and-play convenience. Each is compliant with USB 2.0 with a full-speed transfer rate of up to 480Mbps. All are backwards compatible with USB 1.1. No external power or battery is needed, since a USB port on any compatible desktop or laptop computer powers all. A power-saving mode reduces power consumption.

Descriptions of Windows Vista ReadyBoost Premium Certified Ridata EZ Drives

  • Yego Drive – The award-winning, partitionable, USB drive features a cleverly designed, two-port hub that expands a laptop or computer's USB ports. This feature permits virtually limitless multiple USB connections, allowing users to plug in more mobile devices. It also has an advanced partition and security function for users to create password-protected sectors for the storage of confidential material. The Yego drive is available in 1GB to 4GB capacities. The ReadyBoost version of the Yego drive is coming soon to the U.S. market.
  • Twister - Elegantly designed with a glossy cover, the Ridata Mini Spin USB Flash Drive rotates 360 degrees, solving the problem of lost caps. Advanced partition and security function are included to create password-protected sectors for the storage of highly confidential material. Available in lipstick red or jet-black colors. The drive is available in 1GB to 8GB capacities.
  • Slider - With a retractable USB plug – meaning there is no cap to misplace – it is the perfect device for individuals who have a knack for losing things. Its metallic housing is available in a variety of cool color combinations. Advanced partition and security functions are included for users to create password-protected sectors for private data. The drive is available in 1GB to 8GB capacities.
  • Junior – Winner of the Taiwan Good Design product award. The boy on one side and girl on the other design lights up when in use. The advanced partition and security function makes it possible for users to create password-protected sectors for private data storage. Available in 1GB to 4GB storage capacities with a two-year warranty.
  • Shark - Sleek and translucent, the Shark drive is very lightweight and is available in a variety of storage capacities up to 8GB. The drive is USB 2.0 compliant and has an LED to indicate usage status. An advanced partition and security function allows users to create password-protected sectors for private data storage. Shark supports current versions of Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

www.ritekusa.com

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Adobe Introduces Captivate 3

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced Adobe® Captivate® 3 software, a powerful eLearning authoring tool for the delivery of robust and engaging computer-based simulations, scenario-based training, and interactive quizzes.

Adobe Captivate 3 offers enhanced features including multi-mode recording, rerecording, new Microsoft Powerpoint import capabilities and support for rich media formats, such as Adobe Flash® Player compatible .SWF, MP3, and AVI files. Easily mastered, without the need for programming or multimedia development skills, Adobe Captivate 3 helps save business professionals, trainers and educators time and resources when developing high-impact eLearning materials.

“Giving content experts the tools they need to bring their own passion and expertise to the forefront can radically improve the quality and authority of training materials,” said Don Walker, senior director, Product Marketing and Business Development, Print and Classic Publishing Solutions at Adobe. “Adobe Captivate 3 continues to set the pace in eLearning and now anyone can deliver interactive simulations, screen recordings, tutorials and online training modules that grab audience attention.”

Equipped with an intuitive user-interface, Adobe Captivate 3 allows learning professionals to rapidly create effective software training in a simple screen capture session. The screen capture generates multiple learner modes, including demonstrations with mouse movements and automated text descriptions of each recorded task, practice simulations with instructional automated or customized feedback, and assessments with scored user interactions.

Adobe Captivate 3 enables authors to create effective quizzes and helps reduce cheating by randomly drawing questions from a pool and shuffling answers in multiple-choice formats. Adobe Captivate 3 also offers a large library of quiz question types, including sequencing, short answer, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, matching with drag and drop, and image hotspots. The new rerecording feature captures actions taken in Internet Explorer Web applications, enabling learning professionals to easily build interactive software demonstrations with step-by-step instructions.

The enhanced Microsoft PowerPoint import functionality supports the conversion of slide animations into Flash Player compatible SWF format and allows authors to create interactive presentations incorporating audio and video. Support for MP3, AVI, FLA and FLV files, as well as new visual effects -- such as rollover objects and animated slide transitions -- add impact to demonstrations and materials.

“The same simplicity that Captivate 1 brought to software simulations and version 2 brought to scenario simulations has now been extended to practice and assessment,” said Frank Nguyen, emerging technologies manager, American Express®. “To measure what students learn, authors can now build tests that include robust features like randomization, pooling, and even question reuse.”

Based on the industry-leading Adobe Flash technology, Adobe Captivate 3 software automatically generates interactive Adobe Flash Player-compatible content, allowing files to be e-mailed, posted to Web sites, intranet sites, online help systems and more. The new XML export and import feature simplifies the localization process of projects by exporting captions to the XML Localization Interchange File Format (XLIFF).

Widening the reach and impact of training materials, Adobe Captivate 3 integrates with other Adobe software, including Adobe Acrobat®, Adobe Connect™, Adobe FrameMaker® and Adobe RoboHelp®, as well as with other eLearning tools such as SCORM 2004, SCORM 1.2, AICC and PENS compliant Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Adobe Captivate 3 will be available for Microsoft® Windows® XP, Windows® 2000 and Windows Vista™ and is expected to ship in August 2007 or later this summer at an estimated price of US$699. Localized versions in French, German, Japanese, Italian and Spanish are expected to be available in September 2007. Users of Macromedia® Captivate 1 and Adobe Captivate 2 can upgrade to Adobe Captivate 3 for an estimated price of US$299. Volume discounts, government and education licensing are also available to eligible customers.

To learn more about Adobe Captivate 3, please visit http://www.adobe.com/go/captivate.

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Boris Continuum Complete 5.0 for AE Ships

Boris FX, the leading developer of integrated effects technology for video and film, announced that Boris Continuum Complete 5.0 for AE (BCC 5.0 for AE) is now shipping.

Supporting Adobe products since 1995, the new Boris release brings its 180 plus filter set to Adobe’s new Creative Suite 3.0 applications including the Intel-Mac versions of Adobe Premiere and After Effects; extending the effects creation workflow and capabilities with custom on-screen controls, Heads Up Display (HUD) and a slew of new innovative filters. "BCC 5.0 for AE is so packed with new features that I haven't even had time to go through even a quarter of the new tools," comments Jean Hauptman, motion graphics designer and BCC beta tester. " The new native BCC package both compliments and extends the Creative Suite 3.0 effects creation functionality with features such as Optical Flow, Open GL rendering, Film Process, Motion Key and Optical Stabilization.

"We have been developing our Boris effects plug-ins for Adobe video solutions for over a decade -- starting with Adobe After Effects version 3.0. With the release of Adobe Creative Suite 3.0 and the next-generation After Effects and Adobe Premiere products -- we took advantage of the new plug-in architecture to provide even deeper integration allowing us to deliver custom features ideal for the Adobe post process," said Boris Yamnitsky, president and founder, Boris FX.

New BCC 5.0 filter highlights include the following:

  • BCC UpRez is used for high-quality SD to HD conversions; BCC UpRez is designed to facilitate the resizing of image clips while minimizing the data loss that is usually associated with resizing media in a host. The BCC UpRez filter includes several high-end image processing algorithms to enhance the apparent sharpness and / or smoothness of the final result.
  • BCC Pan and Zoom known as the "Ken Burns" effect; BCC Pan and Zoom provides users extensive controls for precise image scaling and re-sampling. Overall better workflow and image quality is achieved with special filter features such as the "watch folder."
  • BCC MatchMove based on the award-winning motion tracking technology in Boris Red, the new BCC MatchMove filter allows users to combine motion tracking with transformation/compositing of a layer. With the BCC MatchMove filter, users can lock the movement of one image clip to another image clip using the built-in motion tracking function. BCC MatchMove provides controls for DVE functions such as tumble, spin and rotate, as well as realistic lighting controls.
  • BCC LED makes an image, clip or text element with alpha appear as though it was constructed out of an array of blinking or solid LED lights - similar to the display boards in sports stadiums. This filter is part of the new OGL category of filters in BCC that benefit from hardware acceleration to reduce render time.
  • BCC Prism can be used to simulate the photographic effect of chromatic aberration in which a bad lens can generate prismatic color fringing along edges of high contrast within the image. This filter is also part of the new OGL category of filters in BCC, which benefit from hardware acceleration to reduce render time.
  • BCC Scan Lines is another filter from the new BCC OGL category. This filter generates rolling RGB scanlines over the source image clip, emulating the effect of a computer monitor which was shot on video tape or film. The filter also includes a user controlled noise generator function for added realism.
  • BCC Damaged TV is a filter in the Open GL category; BCC Damaged TV is designed emulate the appearance of a CRT style television set that is receiving a bad antenna signal or is in need of repair, complete with gun offset, distorted edges, image roll, noise, scan lines, and interference lines, this powerful filter features both automatic and manual modes.
  • BCC Turbulence generates auto-animated gel-like distortion fields in an image clip based on input from the built-in noise map and turbulence controls. This filter includes dozens of preset effect settings for accelerated effect production.
  • BCC Noise Map 2 generates procedurally based, resolution independent, auto-animated image clips that are used for backdrops or as a mask track input for other image clips. Dozens of presets are included with this filter for producing complex animations quickly and easily.
  • BCC Color Choker posterizes and blurs colors in an image clip. Colors in the clip to which the filter was applied can be attenuated or remapped individually or as an RGB group. Controls allow users to convert images to monochrome before applying a blur or choke for additional creative results.

Pricing and Availability
BCC 5.0 for AE is designed to support Adobe Creative Suite 3.0, Autodesk Combustion, and Eyeon Digital Fusion. BCC 5.0 for AE is available today through Boris FX worldwide reseller channel and direct through Boris FX web site at www.borisfx.com for an MSRP of $895.00 (new) , $299.00 (upgrade to BCC 5.0 for AE) and $495.00 (upgrade to BCC 5.0 for AE and BCC 5.0 for FxPlug). Special cost effective cross grade options are available for BCC AVX and BCC FxPlug products.

BCC 5.0 for AE no longer supports the Apple Professional Video applications that ship with the FxPlug architecture. These applications are supported by the new BCC 5.0 for FxPlug (shipped July 9th 2007).

For more information, visit the Boris FX web site at http://www.borisfx.com.

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