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June 09, 2008

Table of Contents

Continuing Education: Jan Ozer's Critical Skills for Streaming Producers
4EVER Group Announced Dates, Location, and Other Details for Video 09 Convention
LG Electronics Introduces Versatile Optical Disc Drives With Ultra-Fast Recording Speeds
LaCie to Allow Networkable Multi-Disc Burning with its New Remote Burn Software for Mac OS
Opus 1 Music To Represent Legendary British Production Music Catalogue, Bosworth Production Music
New Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Enhances Creative Suite 3.3
New Microsite for Panasonic AV-HS400
Xequte Releases DVD PixPlay 4.0

Continuing Education: Jan Ozer's Critical Skills for Streaming Producers

Critical Skills for Streaming Producers, a new instructional title from Jan Ozer and StreamingMedia.com, is billed as a "mixed media tutorial." Before I get into what I think of the product, I first need to spend a little time discussing what "mixed media tutorial" means, in this instance. It’s not a book, it’s not online, and it’s not a DVD (well, it is, sort of), but it’s all of these elements combined into an interactive PDF document.

With streaming and video technology moving so fast, by the time you publish a book about it, the book would be obsolete. Online material is great, but it can be limiting for larger content. This is how Jan Ozer ended up creating a mixed media tutorial available on a DVD. This is the first time I’ve come across a tutorial delivered in this way (PDF on DVD), but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I’ve been a big fan of Ozer’s ever since reading his book DV 101: A Hands-On Guide for Business, Government and Educators (Peachpit Press, 2005), so I was very excited to get this DVD. In addition to being a contributing editor to and columnist for EventDV (and its predecessor, EMedia), Ozer has written more than 10 books related to the video world and is considered an expert in the field of video and compression techniques.

Within the Critical Skills for Streaming Producers DVD, there are more than 100 embedded videos that include examples of the output with various data rates and compression techniques. The document is packed with 340 pages (in PDF form) of essential material for any producer of content.

Critical Skills includes 27 tutorials on different software, both Apple’s Final Cut Pro Studio and Adobe’s Production Premium CS3. (According to StreamingMedia.com, software-specific versions of the DVD--i.e., Final Cut-only and Adobe CS3-only--are coming soon, and will cost less than one-half the MSRP of the full DVD.) On top of that there are nine "skill-set" tutorials, covering topics such as lighting and camera composition.

The DVD also includes more than a dozen charts, graphs, and illustrations that come in handy when you need to quickly refer to a particular topic. The DVD has 11 chapters that start with the streaming landscape of video and finish up with postproduction and encoding workflows.
figure 1
The content of the PDF is organized in such a way that you start with preproduction and end with the distribution of your video for web or internal use. Ozer takes you step by step through the creation of your video, starting with the designing of your set. Then, the DVD moves into lighting methods. I’ve always had a lot of appreciation for Ozer’s work with software and streaming technologies, but I believe that he truly shines with his tutorials on 3-point lighting and camera composition and techniques. These tutorials alone are worth the purchase of the DVD. There are very few resources that give great and helpful lighting and camera-framing information in such an easy-to-understand form.

From there the tutorial goes into video and audio correcting. Whether it’s adjusting the levels on a specific shot or complete color correction, it’s covered in this tutorial. And don’t forget, Ozer is taking the time to explain these skills for both Apple and Adobe’s suite. The chapter also includes tutorials on audio clean up and adjustments for both Adobe’s Soundbooth and Apple’s Soundtrack Pro.

The second half of the PDF concentrates on encoding and compression techniques. Ozer explains which codecs are currently being used and which ones are the best for any given situation. From there, the DVD covers a topic that gets a lot of producers in trouble: Choosing Output Parameters. Ozer’s ability to explain data rates, resolution, and aspect ratio will really help clarify for anyone having difficulty with these concepts.
figure 1
From there the tutorial goes into covering workflow issues. This is an area that I’m very passionate about, because your content and your output needs will help decide what workflow will best suit you. The challenge with this is that sometimes it’s hard to know what your best workflow will be until you are finished with the project. The PDF does a great job in laying out the best options for different situations.

Chapter 9 covers Encoding Basics. You could shoot and edit the best video ever, but if you don’t understand encoding technology, you’ll be "shooting in the dark" trying to make it look good for the web. The chapter covers VBR and CBR choices and ends with Flash, Windows Media, and QuickTime streaming technologies.
figure 1
The last two chapters of the PDF are dedicated to working with Adobe’s Media Encoder and Apple’s Compressor. Ozer spends a lot of time covering just about all the different streaming and output options that you could want or choose. He even takes the time to explain cross-platform conversions, e.g., creating a Flash file on the Mac or an H.264 file in Adobe. This chapter also covers important topics on conversion and deinterlacing issues, which, by the way, can be two of the most critical issues when converting a video for the web!

As an added bonus, the last two chapters also have great tutorials on creating chroma keys with Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects as well as Apple’s Final Cut Pro. Anyone who has ever struggled with pulling a good key from green/blue screen footage will benefit from this tutorial.

Ozer has the rare ability to clearly explain how to accomplish a task, but he can also give you the information on why it should be done a certain way. Ozer brings to bear his years of video expertise and authoring skills into a content-rich and informative multimedia document. The flow of the PDF is very intuitive and moves at a great pace in covering a large amount of important information.

One of the greatest strengths of this mixed media tutorial is that it can accommodate different learning styles. Whether you are more visually orientated and find it helpful to watch the video tutorials, or if you learn better by reading along with the PDF, you will benefit from the information included on this DVD.

Critical Skills for Streaming Producers should be the ultimate resource for any producer who is working with video and/or streaming. Not only does this DVD teach critical skills for streaming producers, as the title promises, but it teaches skills that all content producers need to know, including videographers of every stripe who either promote or distribute their work online. This DVD will quickly find a home as one of the most referred-to reference materials you have.

Critical Skills for Streaming Producers is to available to EventDV readers, for a limited time, for $149, $100 off the $249 regular price. For more information, including how to order the Critical Skills DVD from StreamingMedia.com, visit StreamingMedia's online store. Enter the coupon code EventDV when you check out to receive this $100 discount!

Todd Gillespie (gillespie at mail.id.ucsb.edu), an EventDV contributing editor, works in television production at UC-Santa Barbara.

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4EVER Group Announced Dates, Location, and Other Details for Video 09 Convention

Make your plans now! The dates for The 4EVER Group's VIDEO 09 Conference and Trade Show, have been set.

VIDEO 09 will be held January 12-15, 2009, at the beautiful Doubletree Hotel At The Entrance To Universal Orlando. Located in the heart of Orlando, Florida, just steps from Universal Orlando's two theme parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. The Universal CityWalk and Wet 'n Wild water park are also within easy walking distance. Fly to Orlando, take the shuttle to the Doubletree Hotel, and you will not even need a car.

"VIDEO 09 will feature dozens of incredible programs by legends in the industry as well as the newest, cutting-edge artists around," says Ken Ehrhart, Director of Education. "We've always set incredibly high standards with our events, and VIDEO 09 will be the best yet."

"The challenging economy makes VIDEO 09 vitally important," said Steve Wernick, Director of Development. "VIDEO 09 will feature outstanding wedding video education, with a significant amount of non-wedding material, allowing every attendee an unsurpassed opportunity to diversify their production portfolio. That diversification will help drive business success."

A special Pre-Registration opportunity will be offered to members and alumni (attendees of previous conferences) during July.

Housed in two grand towers with sweeping views of Orlando�s world-famous theme parks, the Doubletree features 742 newly renovated, oversized, beautifully-appointed guestrooms, all sporting an array of lifestyle-enhancing amenities. With spectacular panoramic views of Universal Orlando and beyond, the beautifully appointed guestrooms feature Sweet Dreams plush-top king or queen beds, complimentary high-speed internet, floor-to-ceiling picture windows and 32-inch flat screen televisions.

Mild weather and low humidity make January the perfect time to visit Orlando. VIDEO 09 will be the absolute best conference for video producers of every experience level. Make your plans now to be with The 4EVER Group from January 12-15, 2009. Complete details on VIDEO 09 will be available soon.

The 4EVER Group is the leading resource for video producers, especially those in the social event industry. For more information about the events and activities of The 4EVER Group, www.4evergroup.org, or call 1-888-4EVER G1.

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LG Electronics Introduces Versatile Optical Disc Drives With Ultra-Fast Recording Speeds

LG Electronics today launched its new line of optical disc drives, which feature one of the fastest Blu-ray reading and writing speed of 6x. The latest models – BE06, GBC-H20L and GBW-H20L – are available now through national retail stores as well as other leading online electronics retailers.

Unique to LG, the line offers SecurDisc™ capabilities, which provide data protection and content access control on all current optical formats, and LightScribe™ technology, which enables consumers to easily create direct-to-disc labels right from their drive. "LG drives offer everyday users and professionals some of the fastest recording speeds in the industry," said Marc Sorkin, senior marketing manager, for LG Electronics IT and Home Entertainment products. "With cutting-edge technologies such as SecurDisc and LightScribe, which make data transfer easier and safer, these drives meet consumers’ increasing demand for a compact storage option both in the office and at home."

Storage for the Home or Office
The next generation in optical storage products, models BE06, GBC-H20L and GBW-H20L provide back-up for a wide variety of files, photos, business documents, or video. Consumers will appreciate the 6x speed at which the drives write and read information, their compatibility with DVD and CDR CRDW, as well as their quick and easy data storage option.

Perfect for laptop users or those that have a multitude of PCs, LG’s BE06 can be easily connected through the USB 2.0 connection and a DC power adapter. The BE06 has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $379.95. Additional features include the following:

  • Compatibility with all BD, DVD and CD formats
  • 6x BD-R/2x BD-RE read compatible
  • DVD+RW/-RW recording speed to 16x recording
The GBC-H20L and the GBW-H20L are designed to satisfy consumer needs for safe and fast data backup. Boasting one of the industry’s fastest read and write speed at 16x, the GBW-H20L can also handle up to 50GB of data, equivalent to around 4-1/2 hours of high-definition video or 22 hours of standard definition video (on a dual layer 50GB BD-R/BD-RE recordable media). The GBC-H20L and the GBW-H20L carry manufacturer’s suggested retail prices of $199.95 and $279.95 respectively. Additional features include the following:
  • 6x BD-R/2x BD-RE read compatible
  • 6x BD-R/2x BD-RE read and write compatible (GBW-H20L)
  • 16x DVD+RW/-RW recording speed (GBW-H20L)
  • Up to 40X CDRW recording speeds

www.LGusa.com

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LaCie to Allow Networkable Multi-Disc Burning with its New Remote Burn Software for Mac OS

LaCie today announced LaCie Remote Burn software for both its Portable DVD±RW with LightScribe, Design by Sam Hecht and d2 DVD±RW with LightScribe drives for FireWire that also include Toast Titanium. With LaCie Remote Burn, users can take full advantage of the LaCie DVD±RW burners' fast write speeds from any Macintosh located on the local network. Exclusively available to LaCie, Remote Burn can easily burn files with simple drag and drop, while automatically calculating the type of DVD/CD needed. When ready to burn, the software sends data across the network to selected computers with attached LaCie burners.

"LaCie Remote Burn is a complete solution for easily sharing multiple burners plugged into a Macintosh at home or in the office," said Christelle Dexet, LaCie Product Manager. "With three clicks of a mouse, one can burn their data to a remote LaCie DVD±RW drive or duplicate a custom DVD/CD using multiple burners over the network. In addition to our drives' stylish design, LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling technology and the bundling of a complete version of Toast Titanium, LaCie continues to offer the most advanced burning solution for Macintosh users."

While compatible for Macintosh only, LaCie Remote Burn is very easy to set up and use. The software provides professional disc burning capabilities, including burning verification and data compression for faster transfer. Additional features enable users to select which LaCie DVD±RW drive to use, manage the burn queue and view completion history to track data copied.

Availability
LaCie Remote Burn is bundled with its Portable DVD±RW with LightScribe, Design by Sam Hecht and d2 DVD±RW with LightScribe drives for FireWire. Minimum system requirements call for Mac OS X 10.4 or later, an external LaCie DVD±RW drive and a local area network (LAN) connection. For more product information, visit www.lacie.com.

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Opus 1 Music To Represent Legendary British Production Music Catalogue, Bosworth Production Music

Opus 1 Music Library is proud to announce its representation of the legendary UK based catalog, Bosworth Production Music. The Bosworth Production Music catalogue features over one hundred unique CDs full of great music, including archival works that are unavailable anywhere else. Opus 1's Mitch Rabin said, "The representation of this prestigious catalogue continues our desire at Opus 1 to offer the finest and most comprehensive collection of music to our clients and associates."

Founded in 1889 in Leipzig and subsequently organized in London, Bosworth has long been associated with, and has established a worldwide reputation for pedagogical music publications, Viennese operetta, the immortal works of Albert KetElbey, Franz LEhar, Carl Zeller and Otakar Sevclk. More recently, Bosworth has continued publishing in Britain the best of educational material with books by Joan Last, Dorothy Bradley, Barbara Kirkby-Mason, KatU Havas and David Turnbull. Additionally Bosworth publishes a first class, contemporary series of Production Music CDs (BOBA).

The Bosworth catalogue becomes part of the Opus 1 Music family which includes the Opus 1 Music Library and Opus 1 Artist Series. The Opus 1 Artist Series represents music from a multitude of cutting edge artists from all over the World (US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Sweden) with equally international following. This extensive collection includes music covering many musical genres including Pop, Modern Rock/Alternative, Electronica, Adult Alternative, Urban/Hip Hop and Rock Metal. Opus 1 Music Library is the fastest growing production music library in the world representing over 2000 CDs. That's over 100,000 cues spanning music of all styles and genres, from orchestral scores to urban grooves, Country twang to Classical grandeur, Jazz and Blues roots to Alternative Edge and ultra Hard Rock.

www.o1music.com

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New Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro Enhances Creative Suite 3.3

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced that the new Adobe(r) Acrobat(r) 9 Pro software will be integrated into Adobe Creative Suite(r) 3.3 Design Premium and Standard editions, Creative Suite 3.3 Web Premium and Creative Suite 3.3 Master Collection editions.

Adobe Creative Suite 3.3 Design Premium also includes Adobe Fireworks(r) CS3 as a special offering for designers who need to rapidly prototype and generate Web sites. This powerful update to Adobe's industry-standard design and development software gives designers, Web professionals and print service providers new ways to create and deliver engaging content.

"Adobe continues to expand its leadership and innovation in PDF to serve designers, developers and content providers," said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Creative Solutions at Adobe. "With Acrobat 9 we've combined the power, reach and richness of two ubiquitous technologies, Adobe Flash and PDF, to empower customers to create engaging experiences, prepare high-quality PDF files and collaborate more efficiently."

Innovative Features for Every Creative Workflow With Acrobat 9 Pro, designers can combine PDF files, video, audio, and other documents into easy-to-distribute PDF Portfolios, which are simple to browse using customizable interactive navigation designed in Adobe Flash(r). Designers also can include Adobe Flash Player compatible video and application files in their PDF files and then play back this content in Acrobat 9 Pro and Adobe Reader(r) 9 software.

Acrobat 9 Pro enables designers to collaborate on documents more effectively and efficiently. Now, users can create and manage forms and collect forms data more easily using Acrobat 9 Pro and Acrobat.com. Available as public beta for free signup, Acrobat.com is a new suite of hosted services Adobe also introduced today. Designers using Acrobat 9 also have the flexibility to access Acrobat.com to literally get on the same page with their clients by co-navigating PDF documents in real-time. Clients only need Adobe Reader1 to participate.

With the intelligent Overprint Preview feature, print professionals now can accurately view interactions between overlapping objects because Overprint Preview automatically toggles on and off in Acrobat 9 Pro and Adobe Reader 9. Print professionals also can reliably convert colors from one color space to another, switch RGB and CMYK blacks to solid black, and map one color to another color, including mapping colors to Pantone spot colors using built-in, industry-standard Pantone libraries. The Compare Documents feature identifies differences including changes to text, text formatting, images, line weights and backgrounds between versions of documents.

Dynamic Web Prototyping
Adobe Fireworks CS3, now bundled with Creative Suite 3.3 Design Premium edition, provides designers with a flexible tool to prototype Web pages for interactive design projects. Fireworks CS3 includes a common library of pre-built assets, provides the ability to quickly edit vector artwork and bitmap images, and allows seamless integration with Adobe Photoshop(r), Adobe Illustrator(r), Adobe Dreamweaver(r) and Adobe Flash.

Pricing and Availability
Adobe Creative Suite 3.3 will begin shipping worldwide by July 2008. All editions will run on Mac OS X 10.4.11 or 10.5 on Intel-based systems and Microsoft(r) Windows(r) XP and Windows Vista(r) platforms and will be available through Adobe Authorized Resellers and the Adobe Store. Estimated street price is US$1799 for Adobe Creative Suite 3.3 Design Premium, US$1199 for Adobe Creative Suite 3.3 Design Standard, US$1599 for Adobe Creative Suite 3.3 Web Premium, US$2499 for Adobe Creative Suite 3.3 Master Collection and US$159 for an upgrade from CS3. There are numerous upgrade paths available for Adobe customers.

For more detailed information about Acrobat 9 Pro in CS3.3, click here. For upgrade policies, pricing, and language versions, click here.

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New Microsite for Panasonic AV-HS400

Panasonic Broadcast has launched a new microsite for the AV-HS400 multiformat live switcher. Full product information and specifications are now available at www.panasonic-broadcast.com/hs400.

The microsite has a clear, easy-to-navigate new design and is available in five languages (English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian). Full production information and specifications are included, together with a section on accessories for the AV-HS400, a product comparison chart, and downloadable documentation.

With its multiview display function, the AV-HS400 offers a wide range of versatile video effects with multiformat HD/SD inputs/outputs and a maximum eight-channel capacity in a compact, user-friendly unit. Ready for operation with most HD cameras used worldwide, the AV-HS400 is equipped as standard with four HD/SD SDI inputs, upgradeable to eight. Analogue component and DVI inputs are supported as an option, with each input featuring a 10-bit frame synchroniser enabling asynchronous video signal inputs.

Featuring a multiview display of PGM, PVW, and input video on a single monitor to reduce total system cost, a user-friendly design for simple and speedy operation with a variety of quick preset functions, and SD memory card storage for easily transferable images and user settings, the AV-HS400 provides a highly convenient and versatile switching solution ideal for live production.

The AV-HS400 is shipping now.

www.panasonic-broadcast.com/hs400

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Xequte Releases DVD PixPlay 4.0

Xequte today announced the release of DVD PixPlay version 4.0, their popular Slideshow Disk Creation Software for Windows. DVD PixPlay is an inexpensive and easy-to-use solution for digital camera users to share their photos and videos with friends and family through the use of slideshow disks that can be played back on a TV using a DVD player.

Slideshow disks created with the software function like a standard DVD making them particularly suitable for those who do not own a computer or have only rudimentary skills in their use. Version 4.0 is a significant upgrade, delivering over two hundred improvements with particular focus on multiple slideshow disk creation, as well as Power Point and YouTube support.

The major new feature for power users is the ability to create DVD format disks containing multiple slideshows that can be navigated using a menu. The creation process is relatively simple with a wizard that walks users through the main steps: selecting source slideshows and videos and adding a menu. DVD PixPlay includes 30 DVD menu templates to simplify the process, but power users can also customize the menu to their own requirements.

DVD PixPlay has become increasingly popular with businesses to create presentation media for customers. In order to meet the needs of this segment a special "Professional" Edition has also been released.

The Professional version includes the ability to directly open a PowerPoint slideshow and output it to disk for playback on DVD players. It also allows a company logo to be displayed throughout the slideshow and embed frame captions generated automatically from digital camera fields.

The addition of a new "YouTube" video file format will allow users to rapidly create slideshows for uploading to the popular video sharing web site.

The Title Page Editor has been significantly overhauled in this release. It now includes a standard toolbar for quick access to common functions, including new options to quickly align and resize all selected objects. More settings have been added for layout of background images and automatic positioning of text and clip art.

Editing features have also been enhanced with an improved Photo Editing dialog. PixPlay will now automatically rotate portrait camera photos retrieved from digital cameras (using the embedded digital camera fields). Many other improvements have been made to styling and layout, including a more functional Add Images dialog and enhanced Program Options and Slideshow Burning windows.

Other new features include Vista style file sorting, Blu-ray disk burning, improved support for Widescreen TVs and more audio formats: MP2, MPA and AC3. Further information, including free evaluations, can be obtained from the Xequte website or from sales@xequte.com. DVD PixPlay is priced at $29.50 (US) and can be purchased here.

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