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Information Today, Inc.

June 16, 2008

Table of Contents

Re:Frame Austin: The Facts and the Legend
Apple Previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard to Developers
Avid Ships Next-Generation Editing and Storage Systems
ActionBacks Releases HD Animated Clouds, Water, and Fire
Dolgin Debuts a 12VDC-14VDC Power Adapter for Users of DV/HDV Cameras and LCD Monitors
HP Introduces World’s First Affordable Color-critical Display
InFocus Introduces New Projector for Team and Travel
New Versions of Videologgers Make Organizing P2 Media Easier
Toon Boom Launches Pencil Check Pro

Re:Frame Austin: The Facts and the Legend

In John Ford’s 1962 Western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, newspaper editor Maxwell Scott famously quips, "This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

When writing about a phenomenon like Re:Frame, the lines between fact and legend quickly blur. After selling out the 50 available slots at their first boutique event, Re:Frame 08, in a 10-day sprint in March, the Re:Frame Collective wasted little time in plotting their next move. Rather than waiting for the chance to prove they could deliver the goods—a chance that will come in New Orleans this October—they put the power of positive buzz to the test again last week by announcing that Re:Frame is moving west for its first 2009 event: Re:Frame Austin, scheduled for April 27-29, 2009 in the Omni hotel in downtown Austin, Texas.

Just to re:view a bit, the Re:Frame Collective is a group of six wedding video studios, all 2007 EventDV 25 honorees—Julie and Alex Hill of Elysium Productions; Terry and Joe Taravella and Julian St. Pierre of Studio Vieux Carre; Don Pham of Take 1 Productions; Kristen* of Bliss* Productions; Chris P. Jones of Mason Jar Films; and Bruce Patterson of Cloud Nine Creative—who joined forces in 2007 to bring a fresh and different take on wedding video education. Three hallmarks of their approach, according to Pham, would be "more hands-on, more aggressive, more cool factor." They announced Re:Frame 08 on February 25, promising a boutique mentoring experience in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter (with the wonders of the French Quarter itself playing a central role in the Re:Frame experience) to the first 50 registrants. Ten days later—legend becoming fact—ReFrame 08 was sold out.

With demand so far exceeding supply, the wedding video industry waited with bated breath to see what would come next. The announcement arrived last week: Re:Frame Austin. Re:Frame Austin will resemble Re:Frame 08 in several respects: 50 attendees only; five-star hotel; VIP treatment for all; upscale, all-inclusive price (this time it’s $1,500, compared to New Orleans’ $1,299); exclusive focus on wedding video business, craft, and technique; seven presenters doing 2-3 hour workshop-style sessions with plenty of one-on-one interaction with the speakers in between; a focus on the overall attendee experience; and a strong sense of place.

Which brings us to the question: Why Austin? The self-described "Live Music Capital of the World," Austin also has an international reputation as an indie film hotbed, and the kind of vibe that supports the full experience Re:Frame aims to provide. "Beyond being centrally located between the coasts," says the Waco, Texas-based Jones, "filmmaking is always happening there. Being in a town that’s inspiring adds so much to the experience of learning what we do."

As the filmmaking base of Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise) and Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, From Dusk Till Dawn), who were as responsible as anyone for the independent film renaissance of the 1990s, Austin teems with indie chic. All of which is not to say that Re:Frame’s goal is to turn wedding videographers into indie feature filmmakers; on the contrary, Re:Frame is emphatically wedding-focused and intends to remain so, but is also attuned to the importance of bringing in inspiring outside influences. While the Re:Frame Collective will all be presenters at Re:Frame Austin, two featured presenters will add key ingredients to the Austin mix: StillMotion’s Patrick Moreau, the Canadian wedding filmmaker whose stunning Steadicam work and unique approach have caught Canon’s eye, earned him a spot in the 2007 EventDV 25, and made him one of the hottest things going in wedding video worldwide; and British DOP, editor, and cinematographer Philip Bloom, who was recently tapped by Sony to introduce its forthcoming PMW-EX3 to the video and filmmaking world.

Bloom’s involvement with the Austin event represents a departure of sorts from the template set in New Orleans, where the presenter roster includes the collective plus two trailblazing wedding filmmakers, the Philippines’ Jason Magbanua and Ireland’s Maurice O’Carroll. Bloom, who runs production company Some Like it Shot, has been shooting, directing, and editing documentaries and short films around the world for 20 years. Jones is quick to acknowledge that the Austin location was a key factor in Re:Frame’s ability to attract a speaker of his caliber, and says he’ll bring much more to the event than his name and reputation. "He’s got the mind and heart of an educator," says Jones. "He’s very recognizable, and very patient and skilled in what he does." Independent filmmakers like Bloom, Jones says, "have a lot to offer our industry from the technical side and with storytelling. They can help us develop a signature look, and save us time and money in getting the right tools in hand." Part of Re:Frame’s purpose, Jones adds, is to interest young, aspiring filmmakers—such as those currently in film schools—in wedding filmmaking as a viable and profitable career track with plenty of room for creativity, and Bloom’s presence at Re:Frame Austin will underscore the point. "Having someone like Philip Bloom gives us immense credibility with the film school crowd."

St. Pierre says Bloom’s session will focus on "framing, and what happens inside the lens." Bloom’s message to attendees will be to "separate yourselves from what’s out there, and see things differently. Philip is going to add a lot to our industry by coming on board with us, and open our eyes to a different approach to what we do." St. Pierre is also quick to point out the exclusivity of these speakers: "Re:Frame is the only place they’ll speak in the U.S. next year."

Moreau says his presentation will focus on "tips for destination weddings, Steadicam, 35mm adapters, and color grading—as well as how these things fit into our marketing plan."

But as with Re:Frame 08, it’s not just the presentations that will define the event; it’s what happens in between the seminars, with the up-close-and-personal exposure to the speakers that the small group of attendees will enjoy throughout the three-day event. "They get much more than the seven presentations," says Jones. "They get to pick the minds of the presenters. As a presenter, I’m jealous of the participants."

One issue with Re:Frame going forward is varying and expanding the circle of presenters who will speak at the events to keep the content fresh. "Right now, we’re all speaking," says Pham, referring to the six studios that comprise the Collective. "But the vision going forward is that three or four of us speak each time."

But just because six Collective members are presenting at both the New Orleans and Austin events doesn’t mean attendees will be getting the same presentations both times. Pham says he and Julie Hill will focus on the editing process when they present together in New Orleans, discussing how to do "short-form, coloring, the whole process." Pham says they might even provide video clips and other media assets to Re:Frame registrants ahead of time to keep session attendees involved at every step, working out the same color-grading issues as the presenters as the workshop unfolds. Meanwhile, Pham has something much different in mind for Re:Frame Austin: "I’ll go through the whole process of the event day—what I bring, what I do, where I position myself."

Even with two upcoming events spaced a scant six months apart—not to mention their own burgeoning individual businesses to run—the Re:Frame Collective is doing more than just promoting and planning events. Part of the Re:Frame mission is to maintain an active blog that champions innovative approaches to wedding video and educates videographers in how to develop their work and their businesses along similar lines. "One of my jobs," says Pham, "is to scour the planet for talent and feature them on the blog if they have something to share."

The overarching goal of the blog, Pham says, is to "expand the event filmmaker’s vision." Which sounds like a pretty good description of what Re:Frame Austin aims to do as well.

For more information on Re:Frame and Re:Frame Austin, click here.

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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Apple Previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard to Developers

Apple today previewed Mac OS(r) X Snow Leopard, which builds on the incredible success of OS X Leopard and is the next major version of the world's most advanced operating system. Rather than focusing primarily on new features, Snow Leopard will enhance the performance of OS X, set a new standard for quality and lay the foundation for future OS X innovation. Snow Leopard is optimized for multi-core processors, taps into the vast computing power of graphic processing units (GPUs), enables breakthrough amounts of RAM and features a new, modern media platform with QuickTime(r) X. Snow Leopard includes out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 and is scheduled to ship in about a year.

"We have delivered more than a thousand new features to OS X in just seven years and Snow Leopard lays the foundation for thousands more," said Bertrand Serlet, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "In our continued effort to deliver the best user experience, we hit the pause button on new features to focus on perfecting the world's most advanced operating system."

Snow Leopard delivers unrivaled support for multi-core processors with a new technology code-named "Grand Central," making it easy for developers to create programs that take full advantage of the power of multi-core Macs. Snow Leopard further extends support for modern hardware with Open Computing Language (OpenCL), which lets any application tap into the vast gigaflops of GPU computing power previously available only to graphics applications. OpenCL is based on the C programming language and has been proposed as an open standard. Furthering OS X's lead in 64-bit technology, Snow Leopard raises the software limit on system memory up to a theoretical 16TB of RAM.

Using media technology pioneered in OS X iPhone(tm), Snow Leopard introduces QuickTime X, which optimizes support for modern audio and video formats resulting in extremely efficient media playback. Snow Leopard also includes Safari(r) with the fastest implementation of JavaScript ever, increasing performance by 53 percent, making Web 2.0 applications feel more responsive.

For the first time, OS X includes native support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 in OS X applications Mail, iCal(r) and Address Book, making it even easier to integrate Macs into organizations of any size.


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Avid Ships Next-Generation Editing and Storage Systems

Avid Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVID) today announced the worldwide availability of its new HD editing systems and VideoRAID(r) solutions. The new lineup, which delivers on a commitment to customers of improved quality, value and performance, includes next-generation versions of Avid(r) Media Composer(r) (v3.0), NewsCutter(r) (v7.0), and Symphony(tm) (v3.0) software, as well as new hardware configurations, Avid Mojo(r) DX and Nitris(r) DX. The products are designed to deliver the ultimate HD editing experience to media professionals by offering greater speed, responsiveness and reliability. On the heels of this availability, Avid is rolling out aggressive pricing on support packages for its new editing products and existing DS Nitris product line. Additionally, the company is announcing upgrades to its Avid Unity(tm) MediaNetwork, Unity ISIS(r) and Interplay(r) product lines.

Pricing and Configuration of Next-Generation Editing Systems
Avid's new lineup of HD editing systems offers customers flexible software and hardware configurations designed to meet a range of professional production needs. All Media Composer and NewsCutter systems offer the same software toolset across their respective configurations - with further capabilities coming from different hardware options.

In addition to the previously-announced features, Avid has added a timestamp export tool for Broadcast WAV (BWF) that is available on all Media Composer and NewsCutter configurations. The timestamp export feature enables customers to insert sequence timecode based on the project type when exporting the timeline audio tracks as BWF, providing fast and easy sync reference.

New editing and storage configurations available today include the following:

  • Media Composer software - priced at $2,495 USMSRP.
  • Media
  • Composer Mojo DX - priced at $9,995 USMSRP.
  • Media Composer Nitris DX - priced at $14,995 USMSRP (also available with an 8-core MacPro or HP xw8600 workstation starting at $21,995 USMSRP).
  • Nitris DX - priced at $35,995 USMSRP including an 8-core MacPro or HP XW8600 workstation.
  • News Cutter software - priced at $4,995 USMSRP.
  • News Cutter Mojo DX - priced at $19,995 USMSRP including an 8-core HP xw8600 workstation.
  • News Cutter Nitris DX - priced at $24,995 USMSRP including an 8-core HP xw8600 workstation.
  • VideoRAID STSR and VideoRAID SR - pricing begins at $4,795 USMSRP for 2.5TB configurations.
New Support Pricing
Avid is now offering aggressive new support pricing on all of its next-generation HD editing systems as well as its DS Nitris system. The new support packages are designed to deliver greater value to customers with the addition of new features such as technical alerts, monthly quicktips and advanced parts replacement on hardware. Further, customers who purchase a support contract when they purchase any new Media Composer, NewsCutter, Symphony or DS Nitris product will receive a 15% savings on the price of the contract. To be eligible, contracts must range from one to three years and be purchased between June 1 and December 31, 2008. Avid has also designed a number of specially-priced support packages for educational institutions, which begin as low as $99 USMSRP, per year. For more information on support packages and pricing, contact Avid sales or a local reseller.

"The new pricing has certainly helped Avid put their products into the reach of more professionals and aspiring professionals," said Avid customer Kevin Tate, creative director of Mossy Oak Productions. "However, the customer support from Avid is always the deciding factor in my purchase decisions, and has been our lifeline far too many times to count. We turn out more than 100 original episodes of TV a year and have for many years now. We couldn't do what we do, where we do it, the way we do it, without Avid products and support."

Avid Unity and Interplay Upgrades
In addition to the new editing lineup and VideoRAID offerings, Avid has also announced as upgrades to the following systems:

  • Avid Unity MediaNetwork v5.1 which now delivers greater capacity to customers with 1TB drive support and additional add-on chassis support (from 5 to 8), increasing the overall capacity to 128TB. Now shipping on Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard;
  • Avid Unity ISIS v1.5 which now offers higher client bandwidths up to DNxHD 220 and is now shipping on Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard"; and
  • Avid Interplay 1.4 which now offers a full-screen media player window and increased metadata capabilities such as customized drop down menus as well as a new 64 bit Media Indexer for higher performance indexing.
For additional information, visit www.avid.com.

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ActionBacks Releases HD Animated Clouds, Water, and Fire

Suite Imagery, LLC has announced the completion and release of three new royalty free animation volumes in the Nature's Motion series. The new volumes, Nature's Motion 5, 6 and 7, each contain 20 new animations in full HD resolution. These animations serve as professional looping motion backgrounds useful in all levels of video and multimedia production.

Nature's Motion 5 is a collection of 20 animated cloud animations. The volume has a nice variety of color, clouds, and mood making it useful in many applications. Nature's Motion 6 contains all water and aquatic animations and backgrounds. From glimmering waves at sunset and underwater effects to waterfalls, these 20 HD animations offer many options to multimedia producers.

Nature's Motion 7 is comprised of 20 animated graphics with a fire and pyrotechnics theme. Animated explosions, fireworks, and fire all in high definition make up this latest release in the ActionBacks collection. Every animation contains a built in alpha channel for quick and clean keying.

The standard definition versions of all three of these new volumes are available for download, along with the rest of the SD volumes. HD volumes are available on DVD. ActionBacks has discounts on purchases of 2 volumes or more, and also has bundle pricing available.

For more information, visit www.actionbacks.com.

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Dolgin Debuts a 12VDC-14VDC Power Adapter for Users of DV/HDV Cameras and LCD Monitors

Dolgin Engineering is expanding its line-up of 12V/7.2V camera accessories by introducing the vDoubler VD-14, a power adapter outputting 12V-14V using a pair of common 7.2V DV batteries. Designed for video production studios and rental facilities, the unit is designed to provide an economical and convenient way of powering 12V/14V devices.

According to company president Alex Dolgin, who designed the vDoubler, the VD-14 incorporates a host of key features including the following:

  • Standalone, Anton Bauer Gold Mount or V-Mount configurations
  • Sony, Panasonic, Canon batteries configurations
  • Powers a BT-LH80W Panasonic monitor (shown on insert) for 4-6 hours using 5400 mah batteries
  • Individual Voltage monitor LEDs for each battery
  • Sleek, small and lightweight package 5.5"x 4"x 1.5" 14oz
  • Warranty 2 years parts and labor
  • Price from $179
For more information visit Dolgin Engineering at www.dolgin.net.

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HP Introduces World’s First Affordable Color-critical Display

HP today introduced its new color-critical computer professional display, available for less than a quarter of the cost of competing offerings. The HP DreamColor Display features a new liquid crystal display (LCD) that provides a range of more than 1 billion colors in a 30-bit, LED-backlit display. The display is now shipping worldwide for a U.S. list price of $3,499.

The display is the result of an unprecedented technology collaboration with DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (NYSE: DWA) and addresses an increasingly critical need for affordable and consistent color accuracy in the animation, game development, film/video post, broadcast, product design and graphic arts categories.

The HP DreamColor display is expected to disrupt the economics of color management, making it possible, for the first time, to have a color-critical LCD display on every desk to make color checks, redesigns and multiple proofs a thing of the past. "With the new DreamColor display, HP has broken through barriers that have existed in display technology for the past decade," said Ed Leonard, chief technology officer, DreamWorks Animation. "The new DreamColor display packs a list of significant advances into one amazingly powerful display, enabling an unprecedented level of color management and fidelity in our production process. It’s a digital filmmaker’s dream."

Designed for professionals for whom accurate color management is essential and consumers who seek to use only the best in technology innovations, the HP DreamColor display achieves more than 64 times the colors available on mainstream LCDs. Reds, blues and greens are visibly deeper, blacks are four times darker and whites are adjustable.

The DreamColor display is designed to match the requirements of professional industry standards and includes one-button access to seven pre-sets covering all the important color space standards. The display also includes a night vision interface for darkroom working conditions. "Until now, accurate and standout color has been out of reach for the majority of digital content creators," said Jun Kim, vice president and general manager, Displays, Personal Systems Group, HP. "Our DreamColor display advances color accuracy for the world’s storytellers – our most demanding of customers of performance technologies."

The new HP DreamColor display includes the HP DreamColor engine software, which manages the display to deliver reliable, accurate, easy color, every time, and the DreamColor calibration kit for precision calibration.

The HP DreamColor LP2480xz is the first display to be introduced under the HP DreamColor Technology initiative, a two-year technology collaboration between HP and DreamWorks Animation that aims to deliver accurate color that remains consistent from application to application, device to device, and medium to medium. HP introduced the first printers built on the DreamColor engine in March 2007.


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InFocus Introduces New Projector for Team and Travel

InFocus Corporation (NASDAQ:INFS), the industry pioneer in digital projection technology, unveiled its IN1100 series, a mobile projector family designed for team settings as well as for travel. Small enough to hold in your hand, the IN1100 series is both easy to set up and to share among team members and meeting rooms.

"The IN1100 series provides professionals with a travel-friendly solution for meetings and presentations," said David Woolf, InFocus’ Vice President of Global Marketing. "Lightweight, compact, simple setup and low maintenance make the 1100 series ideal for teams looking for a versatile projector."

The IN1100 series boasts crisp, true-to-life colors with DLP® BrilliantColor™ technology and up to 2200 max ANSI lumens, yet weighs just 2.75 lbs. The series also comes equipped with DisplayLink™ technology, an industry first. DisplayLink™ makes connecting the projector to the laptop as easy as connecting a USB keyboard or mouse. Instead of a bulky VGA cable, DisplayLink uses a standard mini-USB cable, included with the projector.

Additionally, the IN1100 series is available in both XGA and WXGA native resolution to perfectly match both 4:3 and 16:10 widescreen computer displays.

Availability and Pricing
The InFocus IN1100 series will be available in August, 2008 from $1299 through exclusive InFocus partners. For more information about the InFocus IN1100 series, please visit www.infocus.com.

At InfoComm 2008, to be held June 14-20 in Las Vegas, InFocus will debut its IN1100 Series, along with its full suite of its newest projectors for portable, mobile and installation applications.


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New Versions of Videologgers Make Organizing P2 Media Easier

(Carmel, Indiana--June 10, 2008) Imagine Products, Inc. announced today the release and general availability of two new versions of its most popular P2-enabled videologgers: HD Log, for the Apple Macintosh platform, and TEP HD for the Microsoft Windows platform. Both are flexible loggers and asset management tools that have been further improved for use with the native MXF video format stored on P2 memory cards.

"HD Log set the 'Gold Standard' for P2 viewing at NAB 2006 with it's instant import and preview utilizing QuickTime reference files, a methodology now followed by nearly all P2 enabled Macintosh applications" said Dan Montgomery, President of Imagine Products, Inc. "We've added even more convenience features to preview, catalog and archive P2 media on both Macintosh and Windows platforms."

The software has a totally retooled 'Offloading' feature for making FAST copies of P2 cards to up to three (3) locations. Offloading now works with cards of any name, or 'Untitled' and 'NO NAME' cards. It makes sequential copies from Panasonic 5-card readers, or P2 Store, plus any number of additional mounted volumes.

The offload process unlocks all the files and folders, making them easy to work with including eventual deletion from scratch disks. Several possible auto-naming conventions promote consistency and accuracy of copies. You can even clear the card contents and rename it, all in one easy setup. There's also an auto-offload mode to make quick work of stacks of cards.

Another new feature is the Verification Report of the offloading activities. The report lists the cards/volumes copied, where saved and named, date, billable time, and verification results. The report may be saved or printed.

P2 functions are grouped for easier access in both applications, including a new direct 'P2 Import' menu item to speed clip viewing, and the popular P2 Repair Wizard (for regenerating damaged or missing metadata files and the P2 folder structure). Both loggers also feature Copy and Paste clips from various cards' contents then Save As>New P2 Volume to output just selects to your NLE.

Archiving to Quantum "A" series LTO3 or SDLT tape drives has been streamlined and sped up too. When you 'Send to Quantum' the software now prompts for the 'Quantum Tape Name' to automatically insert in each Clip's metadata. Save the log file locally, or merge into one of Imagine's library systems, to build an 'offline' searchable index to all your P2 clips.

New in HD Log is the choice to export small, QuickTime reference pointers to save disk space, or the full resolution .MOV files, with accompanying XML data for use in Final Cut Pro. The movie files may be renamed from any field data (e.g. USER CLIP NAME) during export.

HD Log and TEP HD start at $299.00 for the Bronze versions. Both are download products. HD Log version 5.0 is a free upgrade for version 4.x users. TEP HD version 12.0 is a free upgrade for version 11.x users. Download your copy today!


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Toon Boom Launches Pencil Check Pro

Emmy award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. today announced the launch of Toon Boom Pencil Check Pro, the most flexible line testing software available in the industry. Pencil Check Pro completes the animation pipeline by offering a wide array of capture options, an efficient line testing process and an advanced feature set.

Plug and capture
Pencil Check Pro supports a full range of devices from scanners to DV / HDV cameras, webcams and digital cameras. Pencil Check Pro performs all capture operations from a unique interface and has a real-time preview for devices equipped with live video stream.

Easily learn animation principles
Sketch key poses directly in the software, playback instantly and use the audio track capabilities while filling the exposure sheet. Draw the in-betweens, clean the animation and prepare your work for inking and painting. Finally, add camera motion to deliver a complete line test of your animation.

Beyond line testing
Easily control the colour and opacity of Xsheet columns for accurate preview. Enjoy the digital exposure sheet and use its annotation columns to add comments and sketches. Maximize a highly integrated pipeline with Toon Boom Storyboard Pro, Digital Pro and Harmony. "Toon Boom has always been committed to animators, developing leading-edge technology to support their creative process. As a testament to that, Pencil Check Pro offers an extensive feature set designed around a user friendly interface, and is fully compatible with Storyboard Pro, Digital Pro and Harmony," shared Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer at Toon Boom.

Pencil Check Pro is available online and retails at $399.99 US. Educational pricing is also offered: $299.99 US for a single license, and $2499.99 US for a 10-unit lab-pack. For more information, click here.

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