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Information Today, Inc.

August 20, 2007

Table of Contents

Continuing Education: Alan Naumann's The Complete Course on Funeral Videography
Digital Juice Launches New Print Design Elements Product Line
CalVideo Introduces Theft Deterrent Innovations with the Sentry Case
Sachtler Offers New Fluid Heads for MiniDV, DV, and HDV
Vinten Radamec Introduces Fusion FHR-100 Robotic Head
Music 2 Hues Releases New Title: Euro Trance
Peachpit Press Releases Adobe Flash CS3 Professional Video Studio Techniques
HD Guru Joe Kane Releases "Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics"--The Ultimate HDTV Set-Up Disc
Noise Industries Partners CoreMelt And SUGARfx Roll Out New FxPacks For Apple Final Cut Studio 2

Continuing Education: Alan Naumann's The Complete Course on Funeral Videography

In November 2005 I reviewed Alan Naumann’s Business Everlasting, the definitive DVD-based training course for the memorial tribute videography business. At the time, it seemed unlikely that Naumann (or anyone) could improve on Business Everlasting, and in one sense he hasn’t tried. While Naumann hasn’t updated the DVD itself since then (or the accompanying CD of sample business documents), he’s introduced The Complete Course on Funeral Videography, which rounds out the package in a handsome three-ring binder with additional material on marketing, working with Photoshop, working within different religious and cultural traditions, and designing an effective website among other business growing tips. The new Music and Graphics disc provides sample buyout music and footage from partner vendors, plus a 2004 TV special on Canadian videographer and WEVA Hall of Famer Dennis Marentette—a nice tip-of-the-hat to a fellow funeral video pioneer. It also includes a complete copy of Digital Juice's JB04 collection of JumpBacks animated backgrounds (while supplies last).

What The Complete Course adds to Business Everlasting (which already seemed pretty thorough to me) is a wealth of material that underscores the message of the DVD and complements it with more in-depth information on structuring and producing your memorial tributes and insight and background on the funeral industry itself that very few videographers (even those already doing funeral work) probably know. Naumann actually recommends studying the written material in the three-ring binder before diving into the DVD, which is good.

One concept Naumann reinforces in this material is his notion of “contained creativity.” In his statement on the purpose of The Complete Course, Naumann writes, “It is also important to understand the limitations we need to impose upon ourselves in order to produce quality videos in a short amount of time that are appropriate to the situation.” Exploring the creative possibilities of a video is simply not a luxury that funeral videographers have, Naumann explains. A primary goal of The Complete Course—and one it achieves—is to show videographers how to deliver a high-quality product with appropriate doses of creativity in the tiny time window afforded to funeral videography projects.

“Change and the Funeral Industry” provides great background on the business; just as any wedding videographer ought to have a firm grasp of the dynamics and current trends of the wedding business, so should funeral videographers understand that they are becoming participating vendors in a complex industry and make a similar commitment to learning how it operates. How has the role of the funeral director changed as cremation has become more common? How has cremation affected other services and vendors? How have funeral-home consolidation and corporate ownership affected the industry? What policies do funeral home-owning corporations have concerning the use of outside funeral-service services, such as memorial videos? All these factors have an impact on a videographer’s local funeral market, and Naumann offers clear and succinct information on these issues and how they affect videographers.

In the printed material of The Compete Course, Naumann goes on to discuss other key topics such as how to forge relationships with funeral directors and work with funeral homes, how to price your work, how to suggest that funeral homes price/bundle your services, and how to contend with the sensitivities of families mourning the deceased. He discusses precisely what a memorial tribute video is and what it contains (not just the photos and music but specific information); practical tips on selecting and incorporating music and scanning images; and how to introduce and conclude the video. Naumann also provides valuable information on videotaping funerals—how to price these services; how to shoot it, both in terms of style and procedure/protocol; how to edit it; and how fast you need to turn it around. This is a valuable extension of Naumann's memorial tribute approach and I'm glad to see it covered here.

Other useful sections address working with different cultural and religious traditions, how to promote your work professionally (demos, brochures, websites, etc.), the value of video for grieving families, information gleaned from statistical studies on cremation and other facets of the funeral industry, hardware and software recommendations, and an insightful article from Tribute Direct founder Michael Rybarski on the impact of the baby-boom generation on the funeral business, “Boomers After All is Said and Done.” The printed material concludes with a number of recent articles on the funeral business that should prove helpful to videographers as well.

Perhaps the key point of the entire Complete Course is found in response to videographers who claim the funeral market is impossible to break into. Reminding readers that this an aspect of event videography to pursue seriously at all, and one that certainly does not reward dabbling, Naumann writes, “Remember, funeral videography is cross-country, not a hundred-yard dash.”

For more information, or to order The Complete Course on Funeral Videography ($179.95 + $10 s/h, or $109.95 as an upgrade for Business Everlasting owners), go to www.memoryvision.tv or click here. Business Everlasting is also available for $69.95.

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

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Digital Juice Launches New Print Design Elements Product Line

Digital Juice announced today that it is launching a new product line targeting graphic designers called Print Design Elements™. Print Design Elements™ are an extensive library of unique standalone high-resolution layered graphical elements that can be used as-is or added to any design composition. These standalone elements are sold royalty-free and provided in Photoshop® layers for maximum flexibility. There are a minimum of 60 layered PSD files per volume with each graphical file provided at a minimum of 5000 pixel by 5000 pixel resolution.

The initial three volumes of the new collection are graphic and themed "Frames" that artists can use to enhance photography, border a layout, or add an interesting accent to the printed page. Because these frames are layered, the individual parts of the frame can also be isolated and used in an unlimited number of creative ways. "The variety and high detail in these layered graphic elements means they work easily for any number of uses beyond the traditional photo frame." says Jacqui Dawson, Senior Creative Director at Digital Juice. "One of my favorite tricks is to highlight important text or sidebar information with just the corner or edge of a frame which bleeds off the side of the page. Because of the frame's large size and high resolution, I can do this and still maintain the detail and high quality I need for print projects."

The 3 New Volumes are as follows:

  • Print Design Elements Vol. 001: Square Frames focuses primarily on the more traditional metal or wood square-shaped frame. However, the more than 60 frames in this volume are anything but stodgy, ranging in style from slick polished futuristic to delicate floral to grungy metal and beyond.
  • Print Design Elements Vol. 002: Round Frames gives the user the option of framing their graphics with a smoother softer circular edge. Whether it's shiny metallic, puffy lace, liquid glass or abstract neon – each of these more than 60 frames has its own unique style and unlimited uses in any project requiring high resolution graphics that attract the eye.
  • Print Design Elements Vol. 003: Shape Frames goes beyond the usual round or square geometrics of the traditional frame collection. It branches out into abstract and themed shapes which can frame graphics with an unusual or specific look. With the more than 60 frames in this volume, the user could open a feature layout about a war hero with his photo framed in a combat medal and then they could accent a Valentine's Day billboard with a glowing gold wire heart-shaped frame around a model's photo. These are only a few possible applications but the potential uses for these frames are infinite.

Digital Juice® provides a free Windows® and Mac® utility, Juicer™ 3, that makes it easy to browse, search, and select from any of the Print Design Elements™ volumes. Juicer™ 3 layered preview technology allows users to preview the layers within the Juicer™ 3 browser without having to load the full resolution file into Photoshop to see the layers. In addition to using the layered Photoshop™ (PSD) files right off the disc, Juicer™ technology allows users to render an image from disc to hard drive into most major file formats including JPEG, PNG, TGA, TIF, PSD, and BMP.

The new Print Design Elements™ volumes 1 through 3 can be ordered through Digital Juice's online store (www.digitaljuice.com) or by calling the company's customer service center toll-free at 800-525-2203. Individual volumes retail for $99 each but can be purchased in bundles for up to 75% off. Check the website for details on bundle pricing and specials. The company's free Juicer™ 3 software can be found at www.digitaljuice.com/juicer/.

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CalVideo Introduces Theft Deterrent Innovations with the Sentry Case

"Wedding Crashers" and other uninvited guests can make special event productions particularly hazardous. Professional videographers and photographers frequently have expensive equipment stolen while on the job along with irreplaceable client media. CalVideo Ltd., a video production house specializing in special events and corporate videos, announced today the introduction of the patent-pending Sentry Case. The Sentry Case, with its innovative security features, is the first professional case designed specifically to deter theft of high-end gear used in the professional video, photo, and audio markets.

The custom-designed case incorporates a unique "3 Step Security System" which features the following:

  • Removable handles, making the case difficulyt to lift or move when handles are removed
  • Built-in 108db alarm that sounds if AC adapter is unplugged from an outlet
  • A 10-foot steel cable easily attachable to any stationary object.

When these safety features are used and the case is securely locked, the case is virtually impossible to steal.

The sturdy case is constructed of polypropylene and features a convenient telescopic handle and large 3" wide-track heavy duty wheels for maximum stability.


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Sachtler Offers New Fluid Heads for MiniDV, DV, and HDV

Sachtler, a Vitec Group brand, is delivering two new fluid heads for MiniDV and HDV camcorders. The Sachtler FSB 2 is designed to accept payloads of up to 4.4 pounds (2kg) while the FSB 6 supports 2.2 to 13.2 pounds (1 to 6kg). The new heads are engineered to offer low-mass cameras the same smooth pan and tilt movement that operators have enjoyed with larger camera packages on heavy-duty fluid heads.

Sachtler’s engineers employed the same fluid head dampening technology professionals have come to expect from the company’s larger heads. Both the FSB 2 and FSB 6 have three dampening steps in both pan and tilt directions, as well as a zero setting, that deactivates dampening. The FSB 2 sports a 2-step counterbalance system and the FSB 6 has a 10-step counterbalance system. Both have a tilt range of +90° / –70°.

The new heads utilize Sachtler’s patented Snap & Go sideload camera plate attachment system for quick transition from tripod mounted to handheld operation. The Snap & Go system offers an over 4.5" (120mm) sliding range, allowing the operator to center the camera system’s c.g. on the head. The FSB 6 can also be delivered with Sachtler’s classic Touch & Go® camera plate.

The Snap & Go system also provides quick integration between the camera and fluid head of Sachtler’s new F-Cell battery. This 10.5 AH lithium rechargeable power source provides eight hours of shooting time and adds ideally positioned mass to facilitate better pan/tilt performance.

The new fluid heads are available now through the Sachtler dealer network.


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Vinten Radamec Introduces Fusion FHR-100 Robotic Head

Vinten Radamec, a Vitec Group brand and leading provider of robotic broadcast systems, adds the FHR-100 Fusion Robotic Head to its growing range of Fusion products. This medium-payload robotic head is ideal for stand-alone use or integrated with Vinten Radamec robotic platforms, including the new FP-145 Robotic Pedestal, FPH-145 Integral Height Drive and FBH-175 Bolt on Height Drive.

The smartly designed FHR-100 incorporates the features of Vinten Radamec’s FH-100 Fusion Robotic head except for its ability to be operated manually. As a robotic-only head, it is the lightest weight, most economical robotic head in the 120-pound payload range.

The robust, straightforward mechanical design and leading-edge electronics provide the perfect combination for a high-performance head, both in terms of visibility and accuracy, yielding head-positioning repeatability of 60 Arc seconds. The head contains its own power supply unit, allowing for power to be taken into the head conveniently either from a pedestal or directly from the studio.

As a Vinten Radamec Fusion product, the FHR-100 integrates with Fusion controllers via Cat6 cabling, and can be interoperated with legacy Vinten and Radamec robotic products. Increasing the operational versatility further, the head’s integral lens drive allows automatic configuration to directly drive any full servo digital Canon or Fujinon broadcast lens.

The system has additional mounting points to support preview monitors for superior on-shot performance. The FHR-100 is available through the Vinten Radamec dealer network.


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Music 2 Hues Releases New Title: Euro Trance

Music 2 Hues released today Euro Trance, a new addition to its Flagship Series product line. Andy Wells, president of Music 2 Hues adds, "With the addition of this new release we are providing our content developers with new and exciting music selections. The new title: "Euro Trance" is now shipping worldwide. "This release satisfies the needs of our clients who have been asking for a CD of pulsating, hypnotic, and techno-trance grooves."

Also added this month - New Sound Effect categories to our Instant Download Center. The "X" Series have been added to our download center and offers 200 production element electronic FX. These categories can be downloaded entirely for one price.

Our Download center provides all the music from our Flagship Series CD's for immediate download. Over 1000 music tracks and 500 sound effects are offered in the download center.


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Peachpit Press Releases Adobe Flash CS3 Professional Video Studio Techniques

Today, Peachpit announced Adobe Flash CS3 Professional Video Studio Techniques by Robert Reinhardt, a comprehensive guide to producing Flash video on the web.

Designed for users who are ready go beyond the entry-level coverage found in most books, Flash CS3 Pro Video Studio Techniques is an in-depth guide to the techniques today’s Flash professionals use. Real-world examples and hands-on projects make this guide not only thorough, but easy to use as well. From pre-production to delivery and production essentials all the way to creative explorations, this is the complete guide to designing a comprehensive video experience in Flash CS3 Professional.

Author Robert Reinhardt, VP of the Multimedia Platforms Group for Schematic, is a highly respected authority on Flash and Flash Video. He has authored or co-authored numerous books on Flash, including the Flash Bible and the Flash ActionScript Bible, and his blog and other online writings garner a wide audience. He has developed multimedia courses for educational facilities in Canada and the United States, and is a frequent presenter at conferences such as Flashforward, FITC, Flashbelt, WebVisions, and SIGGRAPH.


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HD Guru Joe Kane Releases "Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics"--The Ultimate HDTV Set-Up Disc

The DVD Acquisition and Development Group, Inc., the parent company of DVD International (DVDI), announces the release of Joe Kane Productions’ Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics on HD DVD and Blu-ray disc. Designed to benefit HDTV novices and aficionados alike, HD Basics has been created by Joe Kane, one of this country’s leading HD experts, designers and consultants. The comprehensive disc provides easy-to-use calibration tests and setup instructions for getting the most out of your HDTV set and offers valuable background information on today’s high definition systems. HD Basics is the successor to the popular Video Essentials and Digital Video Essentials. The HD DVD and Blu-ray versions of HD Basics will be available starting October 30, 2007, and will each retail for $29.95.

David Goodman, President of The DVD Acquisition And Development Group said, ”Joe Kane is the foremost high definition calibration expert in the world, and his Digital Video Essentials (DVE) is the best home theater calibration tool available. While HDTV sales are exploding, the reality is that most users still do not completely understand HD and are not enjoying the optimum picture on their sets. HD Basics is designed to rectify that, and we have made set up easier than ever by taking advantage of the interactivity that next-generation high definition formats are capable of delivering. The first thing that a consumer will discover after inserting HD Basics is that it is different from any version of DVE offered to date. A simple and straightforward menu asks you whether you want to just calibrate your television or whether you want to delve into all of the advanced features that HD Basics has to offer.”

The HD Basics “Setting Up My HDTV” section includes six essential calibration test patterns that can dramatically improve a high definition image after only a few minutes of use. Simple audio instructions allow the user to follow along until the optimal settings are achieved. The “Advanced Video Test Patterns” section includes many of the test patterns found in the Professional version of DVE while other parts of the program contain a trove of background materials on how HDTV works. Also new to the DVE line of programs, you’ll find an audio commentary track recorded by Joe Kane, describing what to look for in the demonstration materials, and Allen Daviau, (cinematographer for E.T., Empire of the Sun, and more), on color grading film for high definition presentation.

Joe Kane, President of Joe Kane Productions and creator of HD Basics, notes, “My goal with DVE: HD Basics is to help make display device setup easier plus describe what I think consumers should expect from high definition. It’s really a great system and not everyone is seeing it for what it’s worth. This new disc allows users to choose the depth at which they want to learn about High Definition – or simply begin with calibrating their set. While this is not a watered-down version of DVE, I do feel that entry-level support is just as important as providing details for the more experienced users. The HD Basics program provides more tools and information than any prior consumer version DVE, but it is indexed in a way that lets you easily access what you need, when you need it.”

DVE: HD Basics includes a tri-color filter for use with the included test patterns, and will retail for $29.95. For a limited time, registered owners of the HD DVD of DVE will be offered a special upgrade price on DVE HD Basics. Due, in part, to the advanced menu features, HD Basics does not contain a standard definition side.

For more upgrade and pricing information, consumers may visit: www.jkpi.net.

DVD International (DVDI), a DVD Acquisition and Development Group, Inc. company, based in Fairfield, NJ, focuses on DVD distribution opportunities and distributes programming from Alpha DVD, Air Sea Land, HD Window/Camera Support, AIX Records, Joe Kane Productions, Mill Reef Entertainment, David Hannan Productions and The Richard Diercks Company, Inc.


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Noise Industries Partners CoreMelt And SUGARfx Roll Out New FxPacks For Apple Final Cut Studio 2

Noise Industries, developer of visual effects tools for the postproduction and broadcast markets, today announced Noise Industries partners CoreMelt and SUGARfx have launched brand new "FxFactory Expansion FxPacks" for Apple Final Cut Studio 2 (FCS).

The new FxPacks offer Apple FCS users unique audio visualizations and professionally built templates for quickly creating everyday broadcast effects such as lower thirds. Expansion FxPacks are developed by Noise Industries and its partners using the Noise Industries FxFactory Pro plug-in manager. The FxFactory Pro plug-in manager provides non-developers such as visual effects artists a user-friendly graphical user interface to create additional effects for the Apple Final Cut Studio package.

CoreMelt Expansion FxPack Release - "VeeYou"
CoreMelt is a Noise Industries partner and FxPack plug-in developer delivering real-time visual effects plug-in libraries for Apple Final Cut Studio. The new CoreMelt FxPack "VeeYou" is completely FREE. A collection of four plug-ins, VeeYou can be used to create Volume Unit level and EQ animations based on the audio within an FCS project. The new release is ideal for creating old school analog dials or modern LED EQs. With VeeYou, users can quickly create graphic elements for music videos and promos that automatically sync the audio.

SUGARfx Expansion FxPack Release - "Portfolio"
SUGARfx is an early adopter of the FxFactory Pro development tool and long-time Noise Industries partner. The new Portfolio theme FxPack provides Apple Final Cut Pro and Motion users the ability to easily and quickly construct professional broadcast effects such as opens, bumpers and lower thirds. The new release provides template type "elements" that can be customized using straight-forward user controls to give projects a signature look.

Pricing and Availability for FxFactory Expansion FxPacks
CoreMelt VeeYou and SUGARfx Portfolio FxPacks are available today. CoreMelt VeeYou is a free release. SUGARfx Portfolio is available for $59 MSRP. For more information including to purchase the new releases, please visit http://www.noiseindustries.com.

Apple Final Cut Studio users can test drive FxFactory Expansion FxPacks by downloading the 15-day trial version from http://www.noiseindustries.com/fxfactory.

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