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April 14, 2008

Table of Contents

INTERVIEW: Brian MacKenzie, Unicyclying Glidecam Videographer
NAB Attendees Get Sneak Peek at Revolutionary Timing Control and Music Search Features in SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 5
Focus Enhancements adds FS-100 250GB Recorder to Direct To Edit Model Lineup
Apple Final Cut Server Now Shipping
IVA's 2nd Annual Midwest Expo set for May 20 in Countryside, Illinois
Amazing Discounts on Buyout Music (April 15-16) from Stock20
Microboards Hits the High Notes, All-New Publishing Software and More
Four New Software Enhancements in Primera Booth at NAB 2008
Red Giant Software to Show Five New Products at NAB 2008
NewTek Streaming Three Days of NAB 2008 Live from Las Vegas Using TriCaster

INTERVIEW: Brian MacKenzie, Unicyclying Glidecam Videographer

Brian MacKenzie is a partner in Balance Productions, a unique video production company located in London, Ontario, Canada. Brian is an accomplished Glidecam operator, a skill that on its own is very hard to master. What makes Brian so unique is that he is able to operate his Glidecam while driving a unicycle. You may have seen his videos on YouTube. Certainly they have attracted a lot of attention, so much so that he has managed to become sponsored by Glidecam.

Recently, Brian sat down for an interview for with EventDV. Here's what we learned about how Brian rolls.

How did you get into unicycling? How long have you been doing it?
About 7 years ago, I was really into mountain biking: flying through the woods, riding on wooden stunts people built in the woods. I happened to see an episode of Ripley’s Believe it or Not featuring Kris Holm (The Wayne Gretzky of unicycling) riding some of the most impossible stunts imaginable in the North Shore trails of British Columbia, and he was on a unicycle!

I bought a unicycle that day, just to see if I could ride it. I instantly got hooked and coming from a mountain biking background, as soon as I could ride, I wanted to ride in the woods. About 6 months after learning to unicycle, I realized how much I hated being hurt all the time, all the time that went into maintaining my bike, how much money was spent on broken components. I haven’t touched my mountain bike since!

Why did you start making movies?
There had only been a few "big" unicycling DVDs out by fall of 2004. As great as they were, they still did not touch on the aspect of unicycling that I was into: riding 36" wheels through the woods at top speeds. The hardest line I ever ran past my wife (already getting more annoyed by the day at the growing pile of unicycles at the house) was, "You know, honey, if I buy a video camera, I can make the unicycle movie I really want to see!"

After leaving the military and going back to college for web design, I knew I had to make my resume stand out from my competition who were all several years younger. I knew that having an extreme unicycling DVD on there was the way to go. After spending about 2,000 hours learning to film, edit, and author the DVD all on my own, I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to be doing. It must have been fate, because during the preparation for filming the second movie, my giant package from Glidecam came the same week I was laid off from my job as a web designer. I have been doing freelance video work ever since, and am continually learning new ways to make my movies and filming techniques even cooler. The only downside to freelancing, as I can see, is that I seem to spend way more in equipment than I make in filming gigs!

What advantages does the unicycle provide on a shoot?
The first thing that is important to realize is this: To a unicyclist with as much experience as I have, if I am not out trying to do things like jumping off picnic tables or riding through the woods at 15MP/H, I find riding a unicycle to be even easier than walking. Picture what would be necessary to run down a slushy/icy sidewalk that is frozen solid with zig-zagging paths of hardened snow foot paths while trying to film someone at the same time. Riding my unicycle with a 36" wheel and wearing my Glidecam Smoothshooter, I am able to shoot a completely smooth shot over that terrain, even if it went on for blocks; all while paying very little attention to the ground I am speeding over (as the wheel easily rides over all that rough ground; the bigger the wheel, the nastier ground I can ride over smoothly), so I can pay more attention to Glidecam’s external L7 Monitor.

Typically the L7 Monitor is mounted to the bottom of the Glidecam, directly under the camera, so you can look down at while you walk with the camera. While planning for my first-0ever trip to New York City, I knew I was never going to be able to ride my unicycle with the Glidecam Smoothshooter while following the world’s most skillful 36" wheel unicycle rider, Adam Cohen, through the busy traffic of downtown Manhattan. So I designed a bracket that would mount to the handle, and then my L7 Monitor would screw into that. With the L7 being mounted to the handle of the Smoothshooter, I could look down with my peripheral vision at the monitor (thus being able to pay the most attention to New York’s car, SUV, bus, and pedestrian traffic while I continued to film Adam, at times being able to transition from following him with the camera seamlessly into riding in front of him while filming behind me.
figure 1

What made you decide to combine unicycling with a Glidecam?

While I was making my first Extreme Unicycling DVD, Training Wheel Not Required, I found myself immediately seeking out new ways to film scenes. What I needed to do was create a whole new way to control camera movement. My first attempt, which luckily was successful, was suspending my camera in a box, hanging on a string that was pulled tight between two trees. I then reeled the camera towards me with a fishing reel, so I could match the speed of the action. While it made for a neat shot, it took two hours to set up, and I could only pull the camera in one direction. I only bothered to take one shot like that. As I was unicycling to the next filming location, I was carrying my camera attached to a tripod. As soon as I realized what I was holding, I flipped the tripod upside down, extended the legs, and rode my unicycle quickly down the road, with an inverted camera an inch or two off the ground. I then only had to flip the picture in production.

Picture how easily a hockey player would be able to "steer" a camera if the camera was secured to the blade of his stick. He would have complete control over the camera, be able to easily keep it smooth as he glides along the ice. Because cameras have flip-out LCD screens, the hockey player can now switch instantly to having the same cool filming abilities, but this time with the camera extended 3 or 4 feet above the player, filming down, while the player can simultaneously look at the LCD screen, and at the action all around him.

Now picture me being able to accomplish this over miles of city streets or off road locations, because I am riding my unicycle. What types of situations does this type or shooting work best with The unicycling technique is an incredible way to film; its biggest strengths are in the wide open areas filming action that is moving at a nice pace. Filming in amongst runners in a marathon, for example, and then instantly deciding to start going twice as fast as the runners (starting from in amongst them) to get a much cooler shot of a sprinter, filming him in a long, smooth, continual close up from his shoes up to his head, as you are pacing him at 10+ MPH would be a great example of what this is capable of.

A great use of the unicycle filming was at this year’s [London, Ontario] Santa Claus parade, where I was able to ride up and down the parade route with ease, matching/surpassing the speed of the floats, stretching my tripod out for a moving overhead shot of marching bands, you name it! Another great thing is that any time I want, I can step off the unicycle, let it land on the ground behind me, and kick it behind me at the same time I am setting the tripod up for a still shot. Strange how no one ever wants to ride away with your unicycle if you leave it on the ground and walk with your camera 50 feet away!

figure 1Tell us about some of the fame that this has brought you, through TV, YouTube, etc.
Someone leaked the last scene of my latest DVD (Inner Balance) to YouTube. (Search for "Unicycling in the streets of Manhattan.") Within a week or so after this was posted, I made it to the number one spot on YouTube’s featured video list on the front page. Four months later it has received 772,000 views! While that exposure resulted in surprisingly few additional DVD sales, the producer of The Tracey Ullman Show contacted me and arranged to use a clip from that in an upcoming show called Tracey Ullman: State of the Union.

The biggest honor came when I was contacted by the Banff Film Festival and was told my submission (A shortened version of Inner Balance) made it onto the Banff Film Festival world tour! My submission received such a great response in Peterborough, Ontario, that they played it again on the second night, the only movie to play both nights.

Ever have any trouble traveling with all of your gear? This is where being a unicyclist has its benefits. Because I am well-known in the global unicycling community, and riders are anxious to be filmed by me, all I have to do is email one of the riders I want to film, arrange for them to put me up for the weekend, and if I plan on flying there, I just ship my gear to them ahead of time, and am reunited with it when they pick me up from the airport.

Take the NYC scene, for example. That all started with a post in the forums saying "I want to film in NY, does anyone have any ideas?" A guy I'd never met replied, and a few emails later he was picking me up at LaGuardia airport and taking me all over New York! It took three different weekends to get all the shots I wanted.

An even cooler example of the bond we unicyclists share is not even having to travel. I had seen some videos done by a rider named Andrew Carter in Australia. There was no way my budget could fly me there, so I bought another HDR-HC1 (when they had just come out) and mailed it to this guy I had never met knowing he would send it back with incredible footage.

Don’t worry, every non-unicyclist I told about my plans made the same jaw-dropping face you're making right now! Inner Balance features some top Australia and New Zealand riders and makes for a great couple of scenes I could not have managed otherwise.

You are sponsored by Glidecam. How did they find about you?
During the filming of my first movie, I was blown away by the new capabilities I was able to achieve in filming, like the long smooth shots necessary to capture the particular type of riding I wanted to feature. Having never even thought about filming before making the movie, I was ignorant to all the technology that was out there. I don’t remember the first time I heard about camera stabilization devices, but as soon as I discovered it, I knew I could push it to new levels. I contacted Glidecam with an email indicating that I filmed from a unicycle, outlining my methods, and explaining that while their gear helps people walking to film smoothly, I have already accomplished that on my unicycle, and could not even begin to imagine what might be possible wearing their gear on a unicycle. I outlined a few possible scenarios. They were immediately receptive to the idea, and when I sent them a copy of Training Wheel Not Required with a list of timecodes saying, "Here is what I did, here is where the limitations are" (mainly the camera shake from my knees once I would start to pedal too fast, and the need to hold a shot in one position as I rode), Tom Howie from Glidecam Industries made sure I had everything I needed. There is no way Inner Balance would have been anywhere near what it became without his help.

What was the harder skill to learn, unicycle or glidecam?
While there is no doubt learning to unicycle was harder, they are similar in their learning curves. While it seems hard at first, anyone who keeps at it is sure to learn, and sees noticeable progress each time they try it. Learning to unicycle only takes about ten hours or so, and you notice yourself getting a little better each time. Just like learning to shoot with the Glidecam. You see your shots getting better each time you use it, and as your shots get better and better, you keep discovering new ways to use it. In my case, the new ways to use it included riding a unicycle with it, and making modifications to it to make it better and better suited to my needs. I already mentioned the L7 monitor modification I did; another was taking the Low-Mode adapter and converting it to a "high mode" adapter, having the camera about 2 to 3 feet above its usual place on the 4000 pro, allowing me an overhead view of pedestrians as I followed unicyclists across the Brooklyn Bridge.

What types of shoots do you operate the Glidecam by itself, without the unicycle?
I use the Glidecam any chance I get. As soon as I land a new filming gig, my first thought is always "How can I use my Glidecam for this?" My second is "Can I ride a unicycle at all for it?" We film a lot of weddings, and I could not imagine filming without a Glidecam. Dancing around the couples’ first dance makes even the most boring dance exciting.

Wedding filmers know the pain of looking at your first dance footage and seeing the couple holding arms and spinning slowly, clockwise the entire time, and thinking to yourself, "How do I make this watchable?" Glidecam to the rescue! Other great areas for the Glidecam are Bride/Groom prep, the bridal waiting room, the processional/recessional, introductions, the list keeps going.

Ever have any unfortunate accidents where you lost control of the unicycle while shooting?
The only time I had a major fall was the time I learned that I should not ride with my Glidecam down a steep grassy hill as fast as I could. I took a big header off the unicycle, flying through the air. (you can see the camera’s point of view of this in the YouTube video Balance Productions – Glidecam Demo) Luckily, due to the modular construction of the Glidecam, everything separated before (or when) I hit the ground, so all the pieces were intact, and I just had to put it back together. Had the arm of the Smoothshooter not separated in the air, I bet it would have hurt, as it would have been what my stomach landed on! It was then when I learned I wasn’t technically invincible, and to take it a lot easier on the unicycle when filming.

As crazy as it sounds, riding a unicycle zig zagging in and around Manhattan traffic with several thousand dollars in gear is indeed taking it easier! The scariest part of my NYC filming was going up between the rows of cabs at a red light. You can notice a side to side swaying of the camera as I ride through them, this is because I could not see where my Smoothshooter arm was, and I knew that if I hit one of the mirrors with it, I would have spun into the car, and been in big trouble!

figure 1Tell me about the Ride the lobster film project.
Ride the Lobster is the first race of its kind involving an 800KM unicycle race up the coast of Nova Scotia. I can’t imagine a cooler opening shot to that race than a group of uncyclists all bursting out of the starting gates--with me, my unicycle, and my Glidecam right in with the action! You would not believe how excited I am about this. The icing on the cake is that Glidecam is ready to help out with this movie as much as possible. At the moment, I am still undecided whether I will shoot the movie with Panasonic HVX200s or Sony EX1s, but it will be either of those.

For more information on Balance Productions, visit their website at www.balanceproductions.ca.

Joe McManus (joe at fvpro.com) is a 2005 EventDV 25 honoree, co-columnist for Cut Lines, and co-owner of Future Vision Productions in London, Ontario.

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NAB Attendees Get Sneak Peek at Revolutionary Timing Control and Music Search Features in SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 5

Attendees of NAB 2008 who visit SmartSound Software Inc.'s booth (South Hall, #SL7712) will be the first to get a live, up-close look at SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 5, the groundbreaking new development in library music. Shipping in June, this new release accesses the largest selection of fully-customizable library music available. With new music timing controls and searching features, Sonicfire Pro 5 gives professional editors the most complete customizable music library solution.

Recent versions of Sonicfire Pro have brought incredible customization options to the length, arrangement and mix of SmartSound-enabled music. Sonicfire Pro builds on this history of innovation with a focus on timing controls, specifically the timing of events in a music score to key points in a production. This level of control is not available from any other music library or software product, and is part of what makes Sonicfire Pro 5 the most complete solution ever for creating a customized music score.

Sonicfire Pro 5 features incredible new enhancements to its award-winning Mood Mapping® feature that make it easy and fast to precisely match the timing of a score with events in a production. Users will be able to simply grab a beat in a piece of music and drag it to a nearby edit point or other key event in a video timeline without changing the rhythm and length of the rest of the score. The company believes this will be the first time such a capability has been available for prerecorded music. New control over the timing of the music section changes helps editors create dynamic music that matches the pace of their scenes. Also added to this release is the ability to adjust the tempo of any SmartSound music track while maintaining customization control. These new innovations enable Sonicfire Pro 5 to create music scores with tremendous impact without requiring time-consuming and complex manual editing.

The new "Spotting and Timing" feature in Sonicfire Pro 5 also increases the precision with which musical events can match events in a video. Editors can mark key points in the production where additional musical emphasis is required and Sonicfire Pro 5 will recommend the best-fitting music and provide different options and methods for achieving the best overall fit with the key points in the visual.

This ability to include key events in a video timeline as a factor in the music search is one critical element of the new Sensory Searching feature in SmartSound's reconfigured Express Track search tool. Sensory Searching uses an individual's personal musical preferences to drill down to exactly the right piece of music, dynamically changing search results in real-time as the user modifies their parameters. By using their own ears and creative musical preferences, the user always has the option to make a comparative judgment on the current search result and get a new result without ever having to start the search over.

"Sonicfire Pro 5 may be the most significant technology achievement in the music library industry in years," said Kevin Klingler, President and CEO of SmartSound Software, Inc. "The innovations of precise timing control over prerecorded music and dynamic, sensory-based music searching, when combined with our existing features of Mood Mapping and real-time instrument access, make this the only real choice for anyone interested in customizing music for their projects."

Sonicfire Pro 5 will be sold in two editions: the Express Track Edition gives access to the improved music search function, and basic customization options such as length, arrangement, and overall instrument mix; while the Scoring Edition includes access to the Timeline editing tools, such as the new advanced timing controls and precise control over the instrument mix throughout the score. The Express Track Edition will be free with any purchase from SmartSound's Multi-Layer Music library, or customers can upgrade to the Scoring Edition for just $99.95. Any customer who is a registered Sonicfire Pro 4.5 owner will receive a free upgrade to the Sonicfire Pro 5 Scoring Edition.

"Sonicfire Pro 5 is the result of over a decade of research and development, and arrives decisively at the summit of creative technology for the music library industry," said Klingler. "We are proud to make this achievement free for any current customers as our way of saying thanks for their support throughout the years."

Anyone new to SmartSound can qualify for the free upgrade by purchasing the currently available Sonicfire Pro 4.5 before the June release of Sonicfire Pro 5. Complete details can be found here.

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Focus Enhancements adds FS-100 250GB Recorder to Direct To Edit Model Lineup

Focus Enhancements Inc (NASDAQ: FCSE), a worldwide leader in media management and ultra wideband (UWB) wireless technology, today announced that it has added a 250GB model to its FS-100 line of Portable Direct To Edit® (DTE) recorders for Panasonic P2 users. The new FS-100 250GB model offers over 11 hours of recording in 720p24PN mode, 9 hours in 720p25/30PN mode, or 4.5 hours in full frame rate 720p/1080i DVCPRO HD mode, setting a new standard for long record times for P2 users.

"Ultra-long continuous record times are now even more economically viable, as our FS-100 250GB offers a stellar 4.5 hours of continuous record time at the full DVCPRO HD 100Mbps/ 60frame data rate," said Mark D’Addio, VP of business development for Focus Enhancements. "At a recording cost of a mere $11 per Gigabyte, FS-100 250GB offers incomparable capacity-to-cost advantage to Panasonic DVCPRO HD P2 camera owners on long-format shoots."

The new FS-100 250GB model joins the lower capacity 100GB and 160GB models. All models offer the following:

  • Support for both P2 and QuickTime file formats
  • Support for 720p PN record modes, which more than doubles the DVCPRO HD record times
  • PN variable frame rate (VFR) recording, which delivers stunning slow motion and fast motion effects
  • QuickTime Reference Movie support, which enables long record sequences to appear as a single file

    Pricing and Availability
    The FS-100 250GB model is available now through authorized Panasonic resellers for an MSRP of $2,795 (US). For more information, please visit www.focusinfo.com.

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    Apple Final Cut Server Now Shipping

    Apple® today announced that Final Cut® Server, a powerful software solution for media asset management and workflow automation, is now shipping. A scaleable server application, Final Cut Server automatically catalogs large collections of assets, allows searching across multiple disks and SAN volumes and enables viewing, annotation and approval of content from anywhere using a PC or Mac®.

    "Whether producing a 30-second spot, the nightly news or a major motion picture, Final Cut Studio is the choice of editors around the world," said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of Applications Product Marketing. "With the introduction of Final Cut Server, collaboration just got a whole lot easier for millions of editors, producers and clients who work with Final Cut Studio."

    "For the past few months we've been using a beta of Final Cut Server to manage our entire workflow pipeline, 24/7, and it held up beautifully," said Evan Schechtman, CTO of Radical Media. "Best of all, Final Cut Server integrates seamlessly with our home-grown solutions so it's actually adding new value to systems we've relied on for years."

    Final Cut Server automatically catalogs media and generates thumbnails, poster frames and low-resolution clip proxies for quick browsing in user specified formats. A cross- platform client enables a PC or Mac to use Final Cut Server's broad search capabilities, which extend from simple keywords to complex combinations of IPTC, XMP and XML metadata. Final Cut Server also configures a range of highly specific access controls that define user permissions on an asset or project basis.

    Final Cut Server scales to support workgroups of different sizes, ranging from a two- person post house to a multi-national news organization and can automate as much, or as little, of the production pipeline as needed. A configurable event-based response model tracks job status, monitors media changes, and automates review and approval notifications and complex sequences of tasks---all through a series of simple menu selections.

    Tightly integrated with Final Cut Studio® for a seamless extension of the workflow, Final Cut Server includes Compressor 3, Apple's industrial strength digital encoding and compression tool, which delivers pristine format conversions for publishing to DVD, broadcast television, the Internet, Apple TV®, iPod®, iPhone^(TM) and other mobile phones.

    Pricing & Availability
    Final Cut Server is available immediately through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $999 (US) for one server and 10 concurrent client licenses, and $1,999 (US) for one server and unlimited client licenses. Full system requirements and more information on Final Cut Server can be found here. Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.


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    IVA's 2nd Annual Midwest Expo set for May 20 in Countryside, Illinois

    The Illinois Videographers Association is holding their second annual Midwest IVA Expo on Tuesday, May 20th at the William Tell Holiday Inn in Countryside, Illinois. This year’s event features a blockbuster lineup of nationally known speakers. Scheduled to conduct the information packed seminars are David Robin of David Robin Films (Encino, CA), Dave Williams of DVideography (Philadelphia, PA), Steve Fowler of VideoExperts (East Windsor, CT) and Chicago's own Chris Chibucos of Furla Vision and Keith Anderson of All Occasions Video -- all multi-year award winners! Matrox Video Solutions is the primary sponsor of this event. Additional sponsors include The Tape Company, Midwest Digital Services, Virtual Scribe, and others.

    The cost of admission is $79 and includes a full lunch buffet featuring hot entrees. However, through April 28th early bird admission will be offered for only $65. An early bird room rate is also available for only $101 per night and includes a full hot breakfast buffet. The special early bird rates are only available through April 28th --- with limited seating and big savings you should act quickly!

    This year’s event features a new location with a multitude of amenities. The Countryside Holiday Inn offers an indoor swimming pool, hot tub, game room, restaurant, lounge and free internet access. The close proximity to downtown Chicago is sure to attract attendees from throughout the Midwest. This is the must-attend video event of the spring!

    Come join the IVA for a fun and educational day in Chicago!

    To register for IVA Midwest Expo, click here.

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    Amazing Discounts on Buyout Music (April 15-16) from Stock20

    Stock20, the two-year old online production library is pleased to announce its upcoming "IRS Appreciation Sale."

    "There seem to be such positive feelings toward the IRS this time of year, we wanted to give our customers a way to celebrate, and maybe stretch whatever dollars they have left..." states founder and creative director Daniel Rudd.

    "Actually, we found that our spring sales event last year made a lot of people happy and brought us some great exposure. We're basically trading very generous discounts for the chance to impress some new customers with the quality of our product."

    Headlining the sale will be Stock20's "Complete Library Collection" which features 141 song themes and over 1200 individual tracks. Over 32 hours of original, broadcast quality instrumental music shipped on 5 DVD's or 34 CD's, which would cost just under $3000 if purchased individually at regular prices. A limited number of these massive collections will be available at a 90% discount ($279) every day for three days (10am Pacific Time April 16-18).And several other music bundles will be available at an 80% discount.

    Stock20's library offers a wide variety of selections, featuring real instruments and fresh compositions. They offer a 100% unconditional satisfaction guarantee on all purchases, the ability to preview every track in its entirety before purchasing, along with a virtually unlimited and unending license.

    For more details, please visit www.Stock20.com

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    Microboards Hits the High Notes, All-New Publishing Software and More

    Get a sneak peak at next-generation publishing software. Microboards is a leader and innovator in the industry, and NAB attendees will not be disappointed with their first viewing of Microboards' new publisher software. Featuring the industry's easiest job setup with powerful recording, reporting and recovery features, it incorporates all the features users have been asking for. "This software is the culmination of years of marketplace experience and thousands of hours of research and design" says John Westrum, Microboards CTO. "The software will be included on all of Microboards product lines and is specifically designed to span the entire Microboards product portfolio and wide range of users- from those who are recently beginning to use the technology in our entry-level GX systems, all the way up to our power-users in the flagship MX series."

    Some of the unique features include the job setup interface, which combines a tabbed-style wizard for step-by-step disc creation with a final dashboard-style preview screen. Advanced users can choose to jump right to the preview and access job editing tools for label design, recording files, disc quantities, and other copy job settings. "The wizard is there for a novice user - but the power user can bypass the wizard and make all their selections right on the preview screen" says Aaron Pratt, Microboards' Director of Marketing. "The software provides easy access to more advanced features as the user's demand for more advanced control of the disc publishing process increases."

    Every detail of the software was carefully planned, utilizing best practices in software design to ensure that controls were intuitive in their placement and labeling, and ensuring that job parameters were clear through strong feedback, such as in label previews and settings. User shortcuts range from the ability to drag and drop files for recording and printing to automatically starting jobs by dropping entire job files onto the job queue.

    In addition to the intuitive interface, the software has been designed with rich advanced features. Whether a user needs to copy and print batches of discs with varying content, erase rewritable discs, store and burn disc images, or just change the priority of a job they are submitting, each feature is easy to find and use. In addition, the software's ability to communicate with hardware and recover from irregular statuses, coupled with clear feedback and logging to aid users in diagnosing and correcting issues is a leap ahead of competitive desktop systems.

    "In short, we are significantly enhancing the software experience for all users of Microboards disc publishers", says Pratt. "And we do it without taking away the powerful features that advanced users expect from a Microboards product."

    Blu-ray Support
    Microboards is also demonstrating disc publishers with the ability to record and print Blu-ray discs. Microboards, an early supporter of the Blu-ray format, announced their first copier product at NAB two years ago. "At NAB last year, our Blu-ray tower copiers were a huge hit, and we've continued to see steady adoption of the format. We anticipate even stronger increases in demand with the recent emergence of BD as the winner in the format contest" says Westrum. At that time, Westrum predicted the need for an automated printer/publisher for Blu-ray, when he indicated that Microboards already had plans in place to "create future versions of our automated products that support Blu-Ray as well". The 4X recording technology enables recording of a full Blu-ray disc in under 23 minutes, half the time of the 2X publishers on the market today.

    MX Publishers and PF-Pro Autoprinter
    Microboards is also showing their latest line of disc printers and publishers at NAB. The one- and two- drive MX publisher series and the PF-Pro Autoprinter boast incredibly high speed, high resolution printing, and separate C, M, Y, and Black high capacity ink cartridges - and the lowest possible cost-per-disc, coming in at just pennies for a typical print. All three systems feature 100-disc input and output capacity and Microboards' enhanced automation for reliable loading and unloading of discs.

    "Microboards' users purchase our products for their reputation for performance," said Westrum. "The MX publishers set a new standard for throughput, in both speed and operating cost." One set of ink cartridges can produce over 1,500 discs. Disc designs utilizing light text-only coverage could have a cost-per-disc as low as 2 cents.

    Stop and see all of this and more at NAB Booth SL 7706.


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    Four New Software Enhancements in Primera Booth at NAB 2008

    Primera Technology, Inc., the world's leading developer and manufacturer of CD, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc duplication and printing equipment, today announced it will be showing four significant new software enhancements at NAB 2008 in booth SL6823 along with their full line of CD, DVD, and Blu-ray disc duplicators and printers.

    The new software enhancements are as follows:

    1. PTPublisher 1.2. This new version of Primera's award-winning PTPublisher software is not only the easiest to use burn and print software for automated disc production, but it is now also one of the most advanced, adding a multitude of new features. PTPublisher 1.2 upgrades are available now at no charge to registered users here.

    New features in version 1.2 include the following:

  • Multiple Robot Support – attach up to three robots, in any combination, to a single PC and run them independently of each other
  • 2-Byte Languages – including Japanese, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified) and Korean
  • Bin selection – allows different media types in right and left input bins
  • Burn using one drive or both drives (BravoPro/DP-PRO and XRP)
  • Improved logging
  • Copy disc feature using host computer's drive

    2. PTPublisher NE (Network Edition). PTPublisher NE (Network Edition) software allows many users in an office to share a single Primera disc publisher. It comes with an unlimited number of client licenses for just US$599 (MSRP) – about half the price of competing network software. Visit www.primera.com for more information.

    3. Discribe v6.0 for Mac. Primera sells more Mac-compatible disc publishers and disc printers than any other company in the world. The importance of this market to Primera is reflected in an all-new version of the company's Mac burn-and-print software called Discribe v6.0. The program has been completely rewritten from the ground up in universal binary code for optimal performance on all current Mac platforms and with a new interface that is more intuitive and easier to use. Discribe v.6.0 now also supports Blu-ray drives and is Leopard compatible. For Primera units purchased before September 1, 2007, a special, limited-time upgrade price of just $149 for Bravo SE, Bravo II and Bravo XR and $225 for BravoPro and XRP is available. Primera units purchased after September 1, 2007 qualify for a free upgrade. For more information or to order, click here.

    4. PTRip. Primera will demonstrate for the first time at NAB its new PTRip software. PTRip gives users of Primera's Bravo-Series Disc Publishers the ability to automatically upload their personal music CDs into iTunes(TM) or Windows® Media Player using their disc publishers' built-in CD/DVD drives and robotics.

    The program is simple to use and requires just three steps:
    1. Place CDs into a Bravo-Series Disc Publisher's input bin,
    2. Launch PTRip,
    3. Click "Load to iTunes" or "Load to Windows Media Player."

    PTRip is available to registered users at no charge for a limited time. Go to www.primera.com/PTRip to register and download the program.

    "It's been a year of software development at Primera," said Mark D. Strobel, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Primera. "We are thrilled to be sharing our software enhancements and our new line of Blu-ray products with everyone at NAB 2008. Many, if not most, of our valued customers can benefit from all of these upgrades and new software products."


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    Red Giant Software to Show Five New Products at NAB 2008

    Red Giant Software, publisher of a line of professional desktop tools including the award-winning Magic Bullet™ technology will show five new products at the upcoming NAB Convention in Las Vegas, NV (April 14-17, 2008). Visit the Red Giant Software booth — SL2128A to see demos of Trapcode Horizon, Instant HD Pro, Radium Glow, Magic Bullet Steady, and Primatte Keyer Pro 4.

    Trapcode Horizon is a plug-in designed specifically for After Effects users doing 3D work. Are you tired of figuring out how to get your camera to match your virtual background? Well, we have a simple solution for you. With the help of Trapcode Horizon, you can generate motion in 3D in a true 3D space. Now that's beautiful! Priced at $99 this product will ship in Q2 2008.

    Instant HD Pro is designed to deliver the highest possible quality conversion for SD to HD. Its advanced tool set offers sharp, motion-compensated de-interlacing and de-noising; advanced pan and scan; and a super-resolution algorithm for providing actual resolution enhancement in an editing application. All these features are combined into one plug-in with an easy-to-use preset menu for choosing the right HD and 2K output formats. Priced at $399 this product will ship in Q2 2008.

    Radium Glow will be a new package of plug-ins to create glowing areas in an image, based on the brightest parts of the frame. The four plug-ins are Glow EZ, a simple plug-in with limited controls, Glow with advanced controls and masking, Glow Edge for creating glows only on the edges of an image or around text, and Glow Depth which will create the Glow based on a secondary z-depth or depth buffer layer. Priced at $99 this product will ship in Q2 2008.

    Magic Bullet Steady will include two new plug-ins for Final Cut Pro 6 and After Effects CS3 (Mac and Windows). The stabilizer function removes unwanted camera movement and drift with a software-based 2D translation that is near real-time. Also, included in this set is a tool to reduce visible noise and grain in DV sequences produced by digital video cameras, camcorders, TV-tuners, digitizers of film or analog video. Priced at $199 this product will ship in Summer 2008.

    Primatte Keyer Pro 4 is a professional greenscreen tool that extracts keys from any color background quickly and easily. Version 4 brings new levels of power and speed to After Effects and Avid, and for the first time, Final Cut Pro. New features include easy-to-use Auto setup, which creates an almost-perfect key with one click. Powerful features allow Primatte Keyer Pro to overcome keying challenges such as uneven lighting, compression artifacts, subtle shadows, and edge light contamination. Best of all, Primatte Keyer Pro works right on the timeline. Available now for $499 new or $199 as an upgrade.


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    NewTek Streaming Three Days of NAB 2008 Live from Las Vegas Using TriCaster

    NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading video and 3D animation products, announced today that it will live stream from its NAB 2008 booth (SL8614) in Las Vegas, Monday, April 14 through Wednesday, April 16, from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm PST. The live webcasts will feature previews and demonstrations of the company’s new video and 3D animation products, VIP guests, interviews with high-profile users of TriCaster™, LightWave 3D®, VT[5]™, 3D Arsenal™ and SpeedEDIT™, daily show coverage and conversations with NAB attendees. The live stream can be seen via NewTek’s website.

    "There is a big interest in seeing what we are doing at NAB from people all over the world who cannot attend NAB. It is only natural that we use TriCaster to produce a daily live web stream of all the excitement from our booth," said Michael Kornet, NewTek’s Chief Marketing Officer. "We’ve gotten enthusiastic response from everyone involved, guest speakers, partners and industry analysts. This is an environment where TriCaster shines, giving people the opportunity to participate in a live event that they cannot attend in person."

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