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Information Today, Inc.

January 29, 2008

Table of Contents

The Nonlinear Editor: 08 Miles High
Amen Corner: Reporting from Video 08
New On EventDV's TechThoughts Blog: Sony HVR-Z7U/S270 Lens Issue?
New Sachtler SOOM, Multifunctional Support Offers Infinite Possibilities
Trilab Productions Announces Newest Addition to Digital Hotcakes Sports Series
Total Training Announces New Video Tutorials for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium
Xlnt Idea, Inc Announces Network-Attached Nexis 100PC Publisher with embedded PC
Vinpower Digital announces Industry's First Complete LightScribe Standalone DVD and CD Publishing System

The Nonlinear Editor: 08 Miles High

How thrillingly global has the event videography world become when the highlight of a videographers' conference in Orlando, Florida is a dazzling presentation by a Filipino videographer that begins with the speaker debunking a half-dozen myths about Filipino wedding videography, without losing his mostly American audience in the process? It's been six days since I attended Jason Magbanua's virtually unannounced, putative keynote at the 4EVER Group's Video 08 (January 21-24), and the mind still reels. A speaker of great extemporaneous charm and charisma, Magbanua took his rapt SRO audience on a whirlwind tour of "his own special brand of wedding video" (in the words of 4EVER Group director Steve Wernick) and the risk-taking, artistic vision, and business acumen that have made him the hottest thing going in the wedding video world. And just think--without a last-minute reprieve in his struggle to get a visa--he almost didn't make it.

It's hard to say exactly what got the hosannas coming fast and furious--was it the work he showed or the business advice he offered? As 4EVER Group director of education Tim Ryan remarked shortly after Magbanua’s seminar—which concluded around 10:30 pm—"It's not that any one thing he's doing is entirely unique in our industry, or beyond what everyone else is doing. It’s the amazing way he puts it all together."

One of Magbanua's key themes was branding: "It's not just about getting the video. It's about getting me. There's an air of pride when couples book us, and we want them to feel that way. That's the way the market is evolving and maturing there," he went on. "The value of video is very important. This didn't happen overnight."

Of course, the worm hasn't turned for everyone, which is one reason shows like Video 08 matter. Attendees looking to improve their work, their businesses, or simply their outlook on their field left with much to consider and much to implement in their own businesses. They might have found it in single-speaker sessions like Robert Allen’s "State of the Industry" seminar (which was podcasted live, with Q & A from virtual attendees following it online), Maureen Bacon’s "What’s the Secret" (featuring her definitive "Rules of Engagement" for working with other wedding vendors), or three-time EventDV 25 honoree Steve Fowler’s first-ever appearance before an international audience, an energizing romp through his innovative shooting techniques called "Shoot Ta Thrill." Or maybe they hit one of the many innovative roundtables that offered opportunities to address specific issues in more intimate settings, or one or more extended symposiums on topics such as Same-Day Edits and HD technology.

The show kicked off in familiar fashion Monday night with the third annual Artistic Achievement Awards banquet, and what could be more familiar than Florida’s own VHVIDEO.COM taking home eleven awards, including two diamonds and the diamond and emerald (1st and 2nd place) in the Social Event category. (And their work, like the other awards winners', looked great on the big screen; the production values of the awards banquet was probably the single biggest improvement from Video 07.) Other big winners from Monday night included Elysium Productions, who not only netted Best in Show for their riveting demo, but also managed to claim a tie for the Emerald award for Same-Day Edit--the only thing standing between Jason Magbanua Wedding Videography and a complete sweep of that category. And while the Philippines made its typically strong showing across all categories, with both Magbanua and Dominic Velasco’s Imacron collecting nine awards in all, Canadian videographers also grabbed their share, including a stunning four Diamond awards for Ontario-based first-time EventDV 25 honorees Still-Motion, and Best Audio for Vancouver-based Sayson Productions and Sayson’s Diamond winner from the Corporate category. EventDV also unveiled the 2007 EventDV 25 during the awards banquet; for details, click here.

One of the best seminars I attended was led by first-time presenter Chris P. Jones of Mason Jar Films. At times it almost felt like a bizarro-world companion piece to the brilliant Brett Culp seminar I attended at WEVA Expo 2006 on "Connecting with an Affluent Generation." Both Culp and Jones were talking about the same thing—understanding the client you want to reach, and developing a product that will reach them—but where Culp was talking about attracting a somewhat more conventional, young, rich bride, Jones was talking about connecting with self-styled hipsters by doing work that they’ll connect to in the same way they connect with indie films. Jones’s ostensible topic, "The Garden State Effect," concerned selecting the sort of music that carries zeitgeist-mongering indies like Garden State (which one critic has aptly called "an iTunes playlist in search of a movie"). "Take the sound of a generation, throw some images on top, and you’ve got them in the palm of your hand," Jones quipped. He did offer practical advice on developing a knack for finding the type of music you need without studying it too deeply (becoming a "dilettante" rather than an "aficianado"), using sophisticated browsing sites like Pandora, but his real message concerned developing an entire video style that matches the tastes of hip, young indie film fans who "live in lofts, shop at the co-op, wear Che Guevara t-shirts, and write in lowercase."

He even came up with a category that arguably trumps the "new documentary" moniker that’s been loosely hung on this emerging style thus far: "indie cinematic." Jones even went so far as to suggest that videographers who have been working in a more conventional "cinematic" style but want to cater to the hipster bride create two sections of their website—"epic cinematic" and "indie cinematic"—and offer the newer "indie cinematic" at a premium. "Don’t give up your cash cow," he advised. "If you’re already doing epic cinema, introduce it slowly." All of this is not to say that EventDV endorses the unauthorized use of copyright-protected music in pursuit of any event video style, incidentally—but it is to say, quite simply, that you shoulda been there.

I attended two other seminars that concerned similar themes of transformation. One was Ron Dawson’s "The Madonna Effect," which was all about reinventing yourself to keep your business growing and developing. Dawson’s own Cinematic Studios is a perfect case study for both the micro-reinvention and macro-reinvention processes he discussed; in the last year he’s completely overhauled his focus from weddings to high-profile, high-concept corporate, all the while emerging as a leading industry authority on the benefits of blogging and using social networking sites.

Along the same lines was Alex Hill’s "Extreme Makeover! A First-Hand Study of Three Actual Business Makeovers." The value of this seminar wasn’t so much what happened in the hour attendees spent with Hill and the owners of the three businesses he critiqued (although it was a mighty good hour), but rather in Hill’s efforts to pinpoint their weaknesses and redefine their business plans according to the "sustainable change process" that Hill and his award-winning (and winning, and winning) company, Elysium Productions, have developed. That’s the kind of videographer education that will sustain not just individual businesses, but the industry itself. Here's hoping we see more of it, courtesy of Hill, the 4EVER Group, or anyone else with the knowledge and commitment to provide it.

Stephen Nathans-Kelly (stephen.nathans at infotoday.com) is editor-in-chief of EventDV and EMedialive.com and runs FirstLookBooks, a book review blog.

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Amen Corner: Reporting from Video 08

For those of you who attended the 4EVER Group's Video 08 last week in Orlando, you probably attended at least one of several sessions that discuss the business side of wedding and event videography. One of the best sessions was led by Jeannie Savage, a wedding coordinator that owns Details, Details and works at the epicenter of the Southern California event industry—Orange County—but has clients as far north as Santa Barbara, as far south as San Diego, and as far east as Las Vegas.

"I got into wedding coordination when my husband and I got married in Santa Barbara, about three hours from where we lived," said Savage. "Several coordinators I interviewed in that area were coordinators because it was fun but didn’t have a professional approach to helping brides maximize the money to make their day special. My fiancé said he thought I could do this, and given my background in the hospitality and hotel industry, I realized I could."

Savage provided worthwhile information for event videographers in the session, mentioning in a later interview that her father—who came from Taiwan for the wedding and was a rather quiet Chinese man—gave a wonderful toast at her wedding that wasn’t captured on video. "One of my biggest regrets," Savage said, "was that I didn’t have a video of my wedding."

When I asked Savage what things a church could do, from a technology standpoint, to help a wedding coordinator, she gave three surefire suggestions. These are pertinent for your day-to-day wedding work, but also keep these in mind as you volunteer at your local house of worship. You never know if your helping your house of worship make a bride’s day the best it can be will help you do a wedding in that same venue.

Fix your sound system. The immediate reaction to my question was "fix your sound system!" Savage expanded on the suggestion by saying that a majority of the event videographers she works with will take their audio feed from the church sound board—if they are allowed to by the church’s own wedding coordinator—and often find the number of microphones is inadequate or the soundboard isn’t being monitored properly. The first issue—being unable to use board feeds—means that the video crew has to double-mic the groom and priest ("never mic the bride!" Savage says). The second issue—lack of microphones—means that key elements may be lost (such as the all-important vows). The third issue—working the board properly—means turning down the microphones of the musicians after they’re done singing won’t capture all the chatter or rustling on the tapes.

Be available. Savage says she understands videographers need to have their own backup microphones, but they often find out they can (or can’t) use the soundboard outputs less than 30 minutes prior to the wedding. "Many church wedding coordinators," Savage said, "won’t allow the couples’ wedding coordinator to contact the house of worship’s sound or video technician. This might be due to the feeling of not bothering the volunteers who run the board or handle video during their normal work week. They will let the bride contact the sound or video technician, but that, according to Savage, isn’t very helpful since the bride’s focused on something other than the technical aspects of the wedding.

"I make sure that the bride’s day is special," Savage said. "In many instances, though, I can’t get the wedding videography team in touch with the church’s sound or video technician prior to the event, which makes a wedding video setup a nailbiter when it doesn’t need to be."

So what does this mean to you? If you’re the one that manages the audio or video in-house for your house of worship, let your venue’s wedding coordinator know you’re available to talk to other professionals, including the wedding coordinator and the videographer. Chances are it will help bring in more donations to your house of worship, since wedding coordinators have an amazing amount of sway in terms of helping ensure that the venue, the musicians, and the volunteers are covered by the donations.

Consider the technology and packages the house of worship might offer. Savage suggests that houses of worship could work actively with wedding coordinators, marketing the venue in much the same way as a hotel or resort markets to brides and coordinators.

"We’re not talking about selling out the purpose for the house of worship," Savage said, "but many people who might have attended a church or synagogue early in life or have moved to a different area of the country still want a wedding in a church, and many times don’t know how to approach the church. Churches don’t make it easy either since they’re focused on their own world."

Savage also suggests that churches could offer packages—almost like a rate card for videographers—that shows each of the options available at the church. A further step for houses of worship to help the bride or the wedding coordinator is to work with a local hotel or resort, splitting the ceremony and the reception between the two venues.

"It’s a symbiotic relationship," Savage said, "between the house of worship, the bride, the reception venue and—in some cases—a wedding coordinator. Your readers who do this for a living, and also volunteer on the weekend at their house of worship, are on the front lines of helping move wedding videos forward."

Tim Siglin is a contributing editor to EventDV and Streaming Media.

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New On EventDV's TechThoughts Blog: Sony HVR-Z7U/S270 Lens Issue?

Marshall Levy, who wrote our compact flash media test results, is finding issues with the lenses that adorn the latest HDV camcorders from Sony- the HVR-Z7U and the HVR-S270. He’s found focusing issues, lens wobble and says the issue was confirmed by Sony. Click here to read more.

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New Sachtler SOOM, Multifunctional Support Offers Infinite Possibilities

Sachtler unveils the SOOM, the world’s first multifunctional camera support system for the range of Mini DV to HDV camcorders. Developed to solve the shooter’s dilemma of which type of camera support to transport to studio or location, Sachtler’s innovative new SOOM elegantly configures into 4 distinct support tools - all in one compact, easy-to-carry system.

At first glance, the SOOM appears to be a trusty Sachtler tripod with a 75mm bowl, ready to be mated to a Sachtler FSB or other fluid head. In this configuration, the SOOM TriPod features single-stage legs providing a vertical height range from 27" to 56". Sachtler offers a choice of removable rubber feet or hardened steel spikes. The integrated TriSpread mid-level spreader delivers stability, even over uneven ground.

When you need more height, the SOOM TriPod deftly transforms into the HiPod via its integrated center column, the SOOM Tube, capable of telescoping vertically to a variable lens height of over 8 feet. Thus it is ideal for shooting over obstacles or crowds. Sachtler’s brilliant engineering team has incorporated a protective dampening feature that automatically deploys as the center column is collapsed, preventing the camera payload from crashing down.

For going low, the TriSpread mid-level spreader sports its own 75mm bowl. When it is removed from the standard tripod, it becomes a single-stage baby tripod with a height range of 8" to nearly 19". Rubberized spikes assure firm footing. As if that wasn’t enough, there is also a monopod configuration. The telescoping center column, the SOOM Tube, quickly removes from the tripod to function as a monopod, sporting a height range from 34" to 62". A fold-away foot bracket allows the operator to firmly secure its base to the floor.

This versatile Sachtler system may be reconfigured from one function to the next quickly and easily and without tools. SOOM’s modularity not only gives the shooter freedom of spontaneous creativity, but also allows for a wide range of yet-to-be-developed accessories to expand the unit’s functionality in the future.

The SOOM system collapses to 37" for easy transportation in a single bag or case. The rugged SOOM system, featuring all 4 functions, weighs a total of 11.4 lbs (15.8 lbs with a Sachtler FSB 6 fluid head). When used in combination with the FSB 6 head, the system supports up to 13.2 lbs. A custom-designed SOOM Bag features carrying straps, wheels and backpack straps for easy transport over long distances and through rough terrain.

The SOOM system is available as individual components or as a complete integrated system. The integrated SOOM HiPod System lists at $2490. List price for the SOOM system complete with the Sachtler FSB 6 Fluid Head is $3570.


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Trilab Productions Announces Newest Addition to Digital Hotcakes Sports Series

TriLab Productions announces the third installment to their exciting new Sports Series. Volume 3 Basketball is a fresh collection of imaginative animations. This volume contains 30 exciting animations including intros, backgrounds, transitions, lower-thirds, and one of a kind sports action silhouettes. File types are AVI and Quicktime movie files. All animations are included in both standard (4:3) and widescreen (16:9) format and feature synchronized sound effects.

The Sports Series is offered at a price of $79 per volume. Bundle pricing includes any 2 Sports Series volumes for $119 or all 3 for $179. They can be purchased directly from Digital Hotcakes.


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Total Training Announces New Video Tutorials for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium

Total Training™, Inc., a pioneer in engaging and innovative video-based training, today released Total Training for Adobe ® Creative Suite® 3 Production Premium. This new suite offers a one-stop-shop for learning the essentials of Adobe After Effects® CS3, Adobe Premiere® Pro CS3, Adobe Photoshop® CS3 Extended, Adobe Flash® CS3 Professional, Adobe Illustrator® CS3, Adobe® Soundbooth CS3™, and Adobe Encore® CS3. All lessons are geared toward the motion graphics professional looking to fine tune his or her skills in broadcast-quality video, design motion graphics, and visual effects.

Total Training for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium is available on DVD or part of the Adobe or All Access subscriptions on Total Training Online. Launched in 2007, Training Online has a brand new custom interface, built specifically for Total Training Online. Users can bookmark lessons, fast forward, skip and rewind, along with track their progress on the lessons. The new online library also grants customers access to needed resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Adobe's award-winning post-production software provides a complete solution for creative professionals who create and distribute content for film, video, DVD, the web, and mobile devices," said Scott Morris, director of product marketing for Dynamic Media at Adobe. "We are pleased to collaborate with Total Training because they offer a comprehensive, in-depth library of video tutorials, which helps our customers quickly get up-to-speed with the latest features in Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium."


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Xlnt Idea, Inc Announces Network-Attached Nexis 100PC Publisher with embedded PC

XLNT Idea Inc., a leading US Based Manufacturer of DVD and CD Printing and Publishing Systems, announced the release of its Nexis 100PC system, a direct network attach DVD / CD automated publishing solution with an Embedded Processor, Hard Disk Drive and One Gig of RAM. Featuring a low profile PICO integrated PC with a GIG E Network Interface, the new Nexis 100PC provides the most economically priced " turn key " automated robotic DVD / CD creation system available today. XLNT Idea’s Disc Direct™ and Disc Studio™ software applications are preloaded on the embedded 60 GB HDD, allowing users to simply integrate a monitor, keyboard and mouse to begin disc publishing in standalone mode. Priced at an MSRP of $ 2695.00, the Nexis 100PC will be available from an XLNT Idea authorized VAR or Dealer Partner.

Dale K., VP of Engineering noted " Nexis 100PC is designed with a unique internal configuration that allows us to maintain the original footprint of the Nexis 100DVD PC attach system, while dramatically increasing functionality. Users can either integrate it directly onto a network using third party or soon to be released XLNT network software, or install a monitor, keyboard and mouse and use as a standalone solution, or both. The 1 GHZ PICO processor combined with a Gig of RAM and 60 GB HDD provides more than enough support for a wide variety of applications."

Chuck Alcon Jr, Director of Sales and Marketing added," Our Design and Engineering Team continues to create new DVD / CD solutions for emerging markets that include Medical Imaging, On Demand Content Creation / Kiosk, Office Appliance, and even Storage, Back up and Archival, and more. We remain well positioned to provide our channel partners with the right system for virtually any customer requirement or environment. "


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Vinpower Digital announces Industry's First Complete LightScribe Standalone DVD and CD Publishing System

Vinpower Digital announced today the release of SharkCopier LS standalone manual tower DVD/CD publishing systems. In a collaborative effort between Vinpower Digital and LightScribe, the new SharkCopier LS models offer an array of improved features, most notably the ability to inscribe text or full graphic labels directly onto CDs and DVDs without being connected to a computer.

The SharkCopier LS can be used as a publishing system by first creating the disc image art on a computer, then loading the image onto the standalone duplicator for disc label duplication. LightScribe offers a free LightScribe Template Labeler at www.lightscribe.com that supports a fast creative process and a robust suite of label template options. The duplicator can be used anywhere there is a suitable electrical outlet without being tied to a computer with these simple steps:

1) Load the LightScribe capable CDs or DVDs into the drives and put the label side face down to print
2) The duplicator will laser-inscribe the programmed image onto the discs
3) Flip the disc over in the same drive onto the data duplicating side
4) The duplicator will copy the selected data
5) The duplicated discs will now have a label design and the specified data content

The LightScribe labeling process offers the ability to print and burn in one standalone system, no longer tying the user to a PC or limiting them to a mere 2 or 4 drive maximum capacity. The SharkCopier LS is available in various sizes and prints all discs simultaneously from 1-to-1 up to 1-to-15 to fit the needs of even the most demanding duplication job.

"The SharkCopier LS eliminates the concerns of running out of ink or thermal ribbon commonly found in printer based publishing systems, which can be time consuming and costly," proclaims Ryan Swerdloff, VP of Marketing at Vinpower Digital.

"VinPower has capitalized on LightScribe’s unique embedded in-drive characteristic to launch an entirely new category of publishing systems", said Kent Henscheid, LightScribe Marketing Manager. "Without a connected PC, tower duplicator users were previously limited to only copying data from a master disc. Now SharkCopier LS tower users can copy data and complement them with a professional quality label".

In addition to the data and label duplication features, all SharkCopier models offer dynamic hard drive partitions and the new Simultaneous Load & Copy feature. They still offer exceptional duplication capability at lightning fast speed along with market leading features for which the SharkCopier has been known, like Account Management, Auto Counter, Multi-language support, Drive firmware upgrade ability, and so much more that helped make the SharkCopier the preferred duplicator.



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