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Information Today, Inc.

November 27, 2007

Table of Contents

Stage to Screen: Assess Your Video Markets
Panasonic Announces AV-HS400 Multi-Format HD/SD Live Switcher With Built-In Multiviewer Image Preview
16x9 Inc introduces Wide Converter for Sony HVR-V1U
Class on Demand Ships TriCaster STUDIO Training
Music 2 Hues Adds New Products
Noise Industries Ships FxFactory 2.0
Christie HD405 Brings 1080p HD Capability to Single-Chip DLP
Panasonic and Various Broadcasting Equipment Manufacturers Collaborate on P2 HD Compatibility

Stage to Screen: Assess Your Video Markets

2007 is coming to a close, and with 2008 just around the corner now is a great time to take a look at your business marketing strategy. As a video business owner, chances are you wear the hat of camera operator, editor, video producer, salesperson, accountant, and pretty much everything else. In order to be effective, you need to be efficient and targeted in your marketing efforts since your annual advertising budget is likely smaller than the cost of a full-page ad in your local newspaper.

The goal of marketing is to increase your sales in specific market segments. The first step is to determine in which segments of business you wish to grow, and then develop product and positioning strategies to achieve your sales results. Selecting market segments to target doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should make good strategic business sense.

Analyzing market potential is the first step. Start by determining if the markets you are targeting are saturated by videographers, like the wedding video market, or either rapidly growing or underserviced. A saturated market is tough to compete in unless you have a unique selling position and product (such as same-day edits or other innovations like "trash the dress" sessions). If you don’t have a unique selling position, then find an emerging market that is growing. The demand will often exceed the available supply of video producers in your area. These are the easiest markets to break into, and the demand also helps you to retain your clientele.

The next step in selecting market segments is to follow the technology. Every time you read about a new feature available on a camera or piece of software, ask yourself what markets would benefit the most from the use of this technology and determine if there is a fit with your business to target that market. While new technology is not a sustainable advantage, keeping ahead of the curve is. Once you have the business, it’s much easier to retain it than to get it in the first place. If you have an advantage over the existing video company, you stand a better chance of replacing it.

The dance recital video market is one market that demonstrates great potential, as it is growing in demand and technological sophistication. Modern HDV cameras utilize 16:9 sensors, and even though the market isn’t demanding Blu-ray Discs yet, the dance parents are demanding widescreen output to fill their HDTV screens.

So companies that are still shooting with 4:3 sensor cameras are operating at a disadvantage technologically and aesthetically. This is especially true with stage productions, which benefit from a wider aspect ratio, as a group of performers onstage is wider than the height of the tallest person onstage. On the postproduction front, the multi-camera editing feature has removed the guesswork and redundancy from editing multiple camera angles. These two technological advancements have led to a changing of the guard in many dance recital video production markets; single-camera 4:3 DVD producers are being replaced with two-camera 16:9 DVD producers. Technology will take you only so far when it comes to the limitation of the dance recital video market, though, since it is very seasonal, with most work happening in May and June. Dance recitals can make a great market for 2 to 3 months, but you need to find other markets for the remainder of the year. However, the potential for repeat business does make this market a very lucrative one.

Finding markets that will yield repeat business is key. Marketing can be time-consuming and costly, so once you get a new client, you want to retain them and have them use your services again and again. All other things being equal, marketing your services to clients who have events on a regular basis is obviously more valuable than marketing to clients who do one-time events. Private and public sector conferences and conventions are consistently increasing their video requirements, from preproduced video to be shown during the event, to live webcasting at remote locations, to documenting the event for future use. Most of these events have staging costs between five and six figures, so this is not a price-sensitive market, and it’s growing every day.

Sometimes the best marketing strategy is to leave the marketing to someone else. There is a growing need for freelance camera operators, and if you own your own equipment and you are already producing video, then you are well-positioned to benefit from others’ marketing efforts. Companies most likely to hire shooters include webcasting companies, A/V companies, companies with a video department that need a second shooter, and even other video companies. What all these markets have in common is that as a freelancer, you don’t typically handle the administrative elements; you usually just have to show up, shoot, email your invoice, and wait for the next job. If you position yourself carefully, you can leverage yourself even further by having a few talented freelance shooters to call on for the times you are double-booked or if the job requires multiple shooters.

Whatever markets you decide to target, remember these keys: Differentiate yourself from your competition or target growing segments or ones with little competition; embrace new technology to gain new clients and retain your existing clients; target markets that have repeat potential so you can grow your business each year; and serve as a freelancer with the shooters you will soon need to freelance on your own projects.

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 at WEVA Expo 2005-7 and the 4EVER Group's Video 07.

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Panasonic Announces AV-HS400 Multi-Format HD/SD Live Switcher With Built-In Multiviewer Image Preview

Panasonic has announced the newest addition to its line of multi-format video switchers – the AV-HS400. Available in December, the high-performance HS400 easily integrates into existing HD/SD workflows, flawlessly mixing HD and SD video sources.

The new switcher also includes a built-in MultiViewer preview, an expandable HD/SD architecture, 3D Digital Effects,chroma key, and a multitude of other advanced features.

Designed for use in studio or mobile production systems worldwide, the all-in-one HS400 supports these HD and SD formats -- 1080/59.94i, 1080/50i, 720/59.94p, 720/50p, 480/59.94i, and 576/50i; and accepts optional boards for up-conversion of standard definition signals to high definition.

With the switcher’s built-in MultiViewer, users can output four, six, or 10 images from different sources to a single high-resolution display, eliminating the need for multiple HD source and Preview monitors. The MultiViewer output can also be used to provide multi-image, large screen display for entertainment, education, and worship.

For enhanced creativity, the HS400 features a high-quality chroma key that provides clean, production-quality composite images for professional applications such as green screen, news, and weather. Other advanced functions include picture-in-picture (PIP), downstream key (DSK), and a versatile Aux Bus. Users can select from 43 video transitions including standard wipe, squeeze and slide patterns and 3D digital effects such as page turn and rotation.

The HS400 has a built-in, switchable 10-bit frame synchronizer for each input – ensuring reliable, glitch-free switching, even with non-synchronous sources such as Blu-ray DVD players or remote camera feeds. Reference (black burst) signal outputs are also provided to enable synchronization with external systems.

Ideal for a wide range of applications ranging from broadcast studios to live entertainment, the compact HS400 offers an expandable, modular architecture. The basic unit includes four HD/SD-SDI inputs and four HD/SD-SDI outputs. The switcher may be expanded to support up to 8 inputs and 8 outputs through the use of optional I/O boards. Options include dual HD/SD-SDI inputs (with SD up-conversion), dual HD/SD component inputs (with up-conversion), and dual DVI inputs (up to WXGA 1280 × 768). Other board options include dual component outputs and a component/scaleable DVI output with a maximum resolution of 1920x1200 pixels.

Additional features include tally outputs for up to eight cameras, an LCD display for viewing settings, GPI input, RS-422A remote control, an Ethernet interface for connection to a PC, an SD card slot for integrating still graphics, on-screen display of menus and programmable user buttons.

The AV-HS400 will be available in December at a suggested list price of $10,990. The optional boards available are: AV-HS04M1 board with dual HD/SD-SDI inputs and SD up-conversion, suggested list price $1,950; AV-HS04M2 board with dual HD/SD Analog Component inputs with SD up-conversion, SLP $1,790; AV-HS04M3 board with dual DVI inputs with up-conversion, SLP $1,990; AV-HS04M4 board with dual HD Analog Component outputs, SLP $1,150; AV-HS04M5 DVI/Component output board with DVI resolution scalable to 1920x1200 pixels, SLP $2,390.

For more information about the AV-HS400 system, please visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast.

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16x9 Inc introduces Wide Converter for Sony HVR-V1U

Introducing I6x9 Inc.'s EX 0.7X Wide Converter for the Sony HVR-V1U and other compact HD camcorders. This professional optic easily attaches to the 62mm threads on the front of the camcorder's 3.9-78mm lens for 30% more wide-angle coverage than the lens alone affords.

Weighing only 13.75 oz. (390 grams) the EX 0.7X Wide Converter has been elegantly engineered and crafted with no sacrifice in quality. The sleek 3-element design utilizes state-of-the-art coated glass for clean high definition pictures.

When installed, the EX 0.7X modifies the camera's original 3.9-78mm lens to a wider 2.73-54.6mm focal length. Or using the 35mm SLR equivalent, the original 37.4-748mm lens broadens to 26-523mm with the 0.7X attached. The lens retains its full zoom capability and there is no light loss or vignetting.

The Wide Converter features an 82mm front thread that permits users to directly mount glass filters and other accessories in front of the optic. Plus the EX 0.7X is fully compatible with popular mattebox systems such as those from Alfred Chrosziel. For a neat shading solution, 16x9 offers an optional lightweight Rubber Lens Shade.

Like the rest of the 16x9 Inc. EX Collection of specialty lenses, the EX 0.7X Wide Converter is manufactured in Japan. Suggested U.S. price for the EX 0.7X Wide Converter is $495 with an introductory special of $440. The Rubber Lens Shade lists at $125 with a promo of $110 while supplies last.


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Class on Demand Ships TriCaster STUDIO Training

Class on Demand, a provider of professional educational products for creative markets, announced today the availability of the self-paced training title Complete Training for TriCaster STUDIO. Released in July 2007, TriCaster STUDIO provides broadcasters with all of the capabilities of a live remote production truck in one super portable chassis. Complete Training for TriCaster STUDIO dives deep into the popular TriCaster release providing a perfect guide for broadcasters and live event producers learning the ins and outs of TriCaster’s extensive live production capabilities.

"We have been working closely with NewTek for years and have packaged best practice methods into every one of our NewTek training titles," comments Paul Holtz, CEO and founder, Class on Demand. "Without a doubt, this new title is a must have for every broadcaster using TriCaster in a live broadcast situation. When there is no room for error – you need the full knowledge and confidence to properly use high-end technology such as TriCaster.‘Complete Training for TriCaster STUDIO’ gives you just that."

The new Class on Demand title is led by Faraz Ahmed, a veteran on NewTek production products and an outstanding presenter. Ahmed’s engaging delivery quickly acclimates users to the TriCaster advanced switching features, live virtual sets, multiple upstream effects, and more. Sample chapters can be viewed on the Class on Demand website.

Complete Training for TriCaster STUDIO is available today through the Class on Demand website and reseller channel for $129.95 USD.

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Music 2 Hues Adds New Products

Music 2 Hues releases a new addition to its Flagship Series production music 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, Transitions, is now shipping worldwide. "This release satisfies the needs of our clients who have been asking for a CD of wipes, dissolves, and musical stingers for scene transitions."

Music 2 Hues' Instant Download Center now allows the user to download complete categories and CDs at a discount from the single track price.

The "X" Series have been added to the download center and offers 200 production element electronic FX. These categories can be downloaded entirely for one price.

The Download center provides all the music from the Flagship Series CDs for immediate download. Over 1000 music tracks and 500 sound effects are offered in the download center.


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Noise Industries Ships FxFactory 2.0

Noise Industries, developer of visual effects tools for the postproduction and broadcast markets, today announced the availability of FxFactory version 2.0. FxFactory is an extensive 2D / 3D compositing and effects plug-in environment offering over 200 GPU accelerated filters that have been developed for the Apple FxPlug architecture. FxFactory filters extend and enhance the production capabilities of Apple Final Cut Studio 2 (Final Cut Pro 6 and Motion 3) and Final Cut Express 4.0 solutions.

FxFactory 2.0 adds a slew of clever organic and temporal based filters that enable users to push the limits of effects production; delivering that unique or realistic look with stunning image quality and outstanding results. FxFactory 2.0 also optimizes core processes and workflows; support for latest OS (Leopard), field-based rendering, and improved contextual controls significantly accelerate overall effects production and delivery.

"Aside from our first roll out, FxFactory 2.0 is the most significant release to date," comments Niclas Bahn, director of business development Noise Industries. "We have studied the Apple products closely and been mindful about the development so that every addition to FxFactory extends and compliments effects capabilities in the Apple Pro Apps – not mimic them. Our users will find that 2.0 is a quantum leap ahead of its peers in uniqueness and performance."

Highlights of FxFactory 2.0

  • 52 new FxFactory plug-ins; a new total of 122 filters, generators, and transitions (which support high-precision rendering). All plug-ins are fully customizable. Some new filter notables;
  • Random Crop - repeatedly crops the image according to a given range and speed, to generate a smooth animation.
  • Light Streaks - animates light streaks originating from a given luminance range in the original image.
  • Heat - simulates both the distortion and color adjustments caused when light passes through a hot gas. Ideal for text treatments
  • Artist Sketch - generates a stylized version of the original image which simulates a black & white artist sketch
  • Redesigned plug-in management interface: provides plug-in previews and the ability to search for specific plug-ins within an FxPack.
  • Improved contextual parameter interface: parameters are disabled and/or hidden when they are not relevant to the current parameter configuration, making the plug-ins even more intuitive to use.
  • Improved Perspective Reflection and Video Conference: easier to use versions of the popular Perspective Reflection and Videoconference plug-ins
  • Field-based rendering: many plugins now incorporate a technique that may double the rendering speed and reduce filtering artifacts.
  • Support for OS X Leopard: FxFactory is now validated for operation on Apple OS 10.5 (Leopard).
  • Support for Apple Final Cut Express 4: FxFactory is now compatible with Final Cut Express version 4.0 or later.

Apple Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Express users can test drive FxFactory and partner expansion FxPacks by downloading the 15-day trial version from www.noiseindustries.com/fxfactory.

Pricing and Availability
Noise Industries FxFactory 2.0 is available today from Noise Industries resellers and direct from the web site www.noiseindustries.com. FxFactory Pro 2.0 is available for a MSRP of $399.00 USD. FxFactory Pro 1.0 customers can upgrade for a reduced price of $129.00 USD.


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Christie HD405 Brings 1080p HD Capability to Single-Chip DLP

Christie Digital, a global leader in visual solutions for business, entertainment and industry, introduces the Christie HD405 – the first native HD model in the company’s single-chip DLP(r) portfolio. The new projector combines flawless DLP image quality with full 1080p resolution, making it an irresistible solution for small to medium sized conference rooms, boardrooms, training rooms, home theater and 24/7 applications where single chip DLP reliability is paramount.

"The Christie HD405 is the first 1080p single-chip DLP projector in the Christie line, and the first to market with on-board 10-bit image processing and the capability to deliver 4,100 lumens," notes Neil Wittering, director of product management, Business Products, Christie. "The combination of brightness, high resolution and advanced image processing single this out as something special; these features look certain to capture the imagination of the fixed installation sector which is focusing on wide-aspect projection."

The Christie HD405 is configured with a standard RGBCYM color wheel to deliver the best possible color saturation for flawless reproduction of video and data sources. Its native 1080p resolution provides the highest image detail for single or multiple images. Powered by a dual-lamp, long-life sealed light engine, the projector guarantees consistent image performance with low cost of ownership.

To complete the package, the Christie HD405 is backed by Christie’s renowned service and support warranties, and supports value-added enhancements, such as ChristieNET(r) and the Vista Spyder — all of which can be integrated to boost the overall display.

Key Features at a Glance

  • 4100 ANSI lumens
  • 1000-7500:1 (maximum) contrast ratio
  • 10-bit image processing
  • Full HD native resolution with scaling for video to 1080p and UXGA data sources
  • BrilliantColor processing with standard RGBCYM color wheel
  • Robust design with sealed light engine
  • 2000 hours lamp life
  • High reliability single-chip DLP light engine
  • Range of six high performance motorized lenses with vertical and horizontal lens shift


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Panasonic and Various Broadcasting Equipment Manufacturers Collaborate on P2 HD Compatibility

Panasonic, the leading brand for which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., is known, today announced that leading broadcast equipment manufacturers including FUJIFILM Corporation, FOR-A Company, Ltd., Thomson Grass Valley and Omneon, Inc. have agreed to collaborate with Panasonic in the development of peripherals and systems compatible with Panasonic P2 HD Series professional broadcast video products. The specific areas of collaboration are described as follows:

P2-compatible Memory Cards

FUJIFILM Corporation
FUJIFILM, a major media supplier for broadcasting industry, is expected to introduce a series of P2-compatible solid-state memory cards for broadcasting purposes to USA, and European market, from spring, 2008. For more information about FUJIFILM, visit their website.

P2HD-compatible Media Management System

FOR-A Company, Ltd.
FOR-A's proprietary media management system conforms to AVC-Intra codec, enabling the system to ingest and manage contents of P2 card as meta data. Expected for release in 2008, it can also be linked with an AVC-Intra-compatible non-linear editing system via network, to provide a shared storage for media materials, or function as an archive system. For more information about FOR-A's media management system, visit their website.

P2HD-compatible video server

Thomson Corp.
Thomson's Grass Valley video servers will be supporting DVCPRO HD and AVC-Intra. Combined with Thomson's already completed AVC-Intra support in their EDUIS line of non-linear editors, Grass Valley will offer in the future a complete end-to-end workflow based on P2 from direct editing on P2 cards, to playout.

Omneon, Inc.
Omneon, Inc. announced that the new 5600-series MediaPort modules for the Omneon Spectrum(TM) media server and the Omneon MediaDeck(TM) integrated server will provide realtime encoding and decoding of HD material using the AVC-Intra codec. Omneon is demonstrating direct recording and playback of AVC-Intra video through the MIP-5601 of a Spectrum(TM) server at InterBEE 2007. The complete MIP-5600 line will be available in mid-2008.

Now that these new partners have joined Panasonic, the P2 alliance partnership will shift into a new stage. Having FUJIFILM as a partner enables more users to experience the P2HD. In addition to providing services with existing software, we hope to share the plenty of merits of the P2 derived from solid-state memory recording system with varieties of customers.

Broadcasting stations throughout the world are rapidly shifting into HD and tapeless production environment, and the demand for replacing the conventional tape-based system is increasing. In the meantime, the P2 series were introduced while leading the industry as fully-featured solid-state memory video recording system. Until today, over 60,000 P2/P2HD units have been shipped worldwide. The number of broadcasting stations employing the P2/P2HD Series is also increasing, as it has grown to 610 worldwide. (As of the end of August 2007.)

In the U.S., P2 HD products are marketed by Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co., Secaucus, NJ. Visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast to learn more.

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