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June 08, 2004

Table of Contents

Useful Things Finds Its CHOPs, After Effects 6.5 Compatibility
Concord Camera Corp. Announces Concord DV2020 Compact 5-in-1 Multi-Functional Digital Video Camera
Digimation Bring Premier 3-D Models to Avid Xpress Studio and Softimage|XSI Users
“DV Enlightenment" Presents Video Lighting Course On DVD
InterVideo Unveils Next Generation of WinDVD With Video and Audio Support
Sony Unveils 12X Dual Format DVD Burner
Microsoft and STMicroelectronics Team to Enable WM9 Content for Set-Top Box and DVD Hardware Platforms
QuVIS to Showcase 3D and HD Technology
Bring it On: Sonic Ships DVDit! 5

Useful Things Finds Its CHOPs, After Effects 6.5 Compatibility

Profound Effects Inc. announced the immediate availability of Version 1.6 of Useful Things. This unique effects plug-in now offers nearly limitless CHOPs (channel operations) potential and compatibility with After Effects version 6.5. Updates to more than 50 existing effects, enhanced stability, and new blend modes round out this new version.

With its new CHOPs capabilities, UT users can enter sophisticated expressions defining how the red, green, blue, and alpha channels can be manipulated. Whole new blend (transfer) modes and even new color "looks" can be created using these features.

Useful Things 1.6 has a suggested retail price of $295. Owners of previous versions of UT can download Version 1.6, at no cost, from the Profound eXchange. The Profound eXchange is an online community where new effects are made available from time to time.

www.profoundeffects.com

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Concord Camera Corp. Announces Concord DV2020 Compact 5-in-1 Multi-Functional Digital Video Camera

Concord Camera Corp. announced the Concord DV2020 2 Megapixel 5-in-1 multi-function Digital Video camera. The Concord DV2020 features a 2 Megapixel digital still camera, digital video camera with MPEG-4 compression, PC Cam with instant PC video playing/recording capability, digital voice recorder, and MP3 player - all in one. Encased in a sleek aluminum body, the camera's familiar 'video camera' shape and 270(degree) adjustable LCD.

The Concord DV2020 includes 16MB of internal storage as well as an SD memory card slot. Video recording time is limited only by the capacity of the SD card. With a 128MB SD card in Normal Mode, 84 minutes of high-quality 17 fps (frames per second) video recording can be captured at a resolution of 160x120. 8 1/2 hours of voice can also be recorded.

The Concord DV2020 is priced at $229.99 through Concord retailers. It is compatible with Windows 98 SE, 2000, ME, XP and Mac OS 9.0. The camera comes with a pouch, earphone, strap, USB and AV cables, 1 Lithium-Ion battery, AC adapter, ArcSoft PhotoImpression software, and User & Quick Start Guides.

www.concordcamera.com

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Digimation Bring Premier 3-D Models to Avid Xpress Studio and Softimage|XSI Users

Digimation announced a new technology agreement with Avid Technology, Inc. and its subsidiary, Softimage Co. Under this agreement, Digimation is including portions of its Premier 3D model library with the Avid 3D and Softimage|XSI V.4.0 products. In addition, Digimation has announced plans to port selected tools from its extensive line of award-winning 3-D plug-ins to the Softimage family of 3-D products.

Avid Xpress Studio is an integrated production package, Avid 3D is a powerful 3-D creation and effects tool designed for the needs of video editors. Under the terms of the agreement with Digimation, Avid 3D will offer a library of ready-to-render models and animation scenes from Digimation's extensive library of Premier 3D models. In addition, Digimation will be releasing pre-packaged collections of 3D content created expressly for Avid 3D users. Additionally, select Digimation models are now included with Softimage|XSI v.4.0, the latest edition of Softimage's industry-leading 3-D content creation software.

www.digimation.com
www.avid.com
www.softimage.com

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“DV Enlightenment" Presents Video Lighting Course On DVD

DVcreators.net is now shipping "DV Enlightenment," an instructional DVD containing a complete lighting course for anyone wanting to shoot world-class quality footage. The DV Enlightenment DVD covers essential lighting theory, DVcreators.net's Four Point Lighting Method taught around the world, how to get the best results shooting daylight exteriors or interiors with natural light, lighting a greenscreen, lighting for black limbo, white limbo, and a series of lighting tips and tricks for a range of situations.

DV Enlightenment is priced at $99.95, but is available for an introductory price of $75 until 6/15/04.

www.dvcreators.net

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InterVideo Unveils Next Generation of WinDVD With Video and Audio Support

InterVideo Inc. announced WinDVD 6, the latest version of the software solution for watching DVDs on a PC. A universal player, WinDVD 6 Platinum combines support for an extensive range of video and audio formats, and integrates Trimension DNM (Digital Natural Motion) technology for smooth motion playback. New features such as Quick Clip, Smooth Reverse Playback and expanded MyPlayback capabilities have also been added to make watching videos on a PC or a laptop even more entertaining.

In addition, WinDVD 6 Platinum can be used to watch Real, QuickTime, and MPEG-4 video files. WinDVD 6 also supports all of the next-generation high-definition audio and video formats, including DVD-Audio, Intel High Definition Audio, and WMV-HD (Windows Media Video High Definition). WinDVD 6 also includes Trimension DNM, the same motion compensation technology used in high-end televisions. New features include Smooth Reverse Playback and Quick Clips.

With Smart Stretch, mobile and desktop users can customize their viewing image with intelligent compensation for the differences in displays and aspect ratios, i.e., when viewing 4:3 content on 16:9 or vice versa. InterVideo's non-linear technology minimizes the distortion by only stretching the edges of the video and maintaining the original content in the center portion of the image.

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Sony Unveils 12X Dual Format DVD Burner

Sony Electronics is taking the wraps off of a new Dual RW DVD burner that can write to DVD+R discs at speeds up to 12X on certified 8X DVD+R media, allowing for a full write-once disc to be recorded in approximately six minutes. The new internal DRU-540A dual format DVD burner is ideal for those who want faster DVD burning speeds coupled with a feature-rich software suite, at an affordable price.

The 12X drive offers a high level of media compatibility, since it also supports 8X DVD-R and 4X DVD+/-RW burning, as well as 40X CD-R and 24X CD-RW recording speeds. For integration into a desktop computer or server, the DRU-540A drive comes equipped with an ATAPI interface.

Sony's DRU-540A comes bundled with DVD video authoring software, as well as with DVD/CD burning software for creating data, music, and video DVDs and CDs. All tasks and applications are accessible via the unique Nero StartSmart launcher, which serves as the drive's ultimate command center, giving the user one-click access to all programs in the package. The software suite includes:

- Ahead Nero Burning ROM 6 SE/ Nero Express 6 CD/DVD mastering software for data, audio and CD/DVD writing and copying;
- Ahead Nero VisionExpress 2 VCD/SVCD and DVD authoring software for advanced video capturing, authoring, full video editing and photo slideshow creation; users can crop, clean up, add special effects to photos and then add transitions and a soundtrack, as well as cut, edit, dub, and turn videos into Hollywood-style masterpieces;
- Ahead InCD 4 packet writing software for formatting rewritable discs so they can be used like large floppy disks with drag-and-drop capability;
- Ahead Nero ShowTime DVD-Video playing software for viewing DVDmovies and personal video projects, along with MPEG-4 compatibility;
- Ahead Nero BackItUp backup software for complete PC backup, with an easy-to-use wizard interface for multiple backup modes, automatically scheduled backups, and backups spanning several CDs or DVDs;
- Ahead Nero MediaPlayer/Wave Editor management/jukebox software and audio editing software for audio file creation with various filters and effects;
- Ahead Nero Cover Designer disc label creation software for creating individual CD/DVD covers and labels; and - Ahead Nero Toolkit tool software for critical media and drive analysis used by drive manufacturers worldwide.

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Microsoft and STMicroelectronics Team to Enable WM9 Content for Set-Top Box and DVD Hardware Platforms

STMicroelectronics and Microsoft Corp. announced that the two companies are working together to develop a series of new integrated circuit components for manufacturers of consumer electronics products. These components will extend the reach of high-quality, secure Windows Media 9 Series content, in both standard and high definition, to a wide range of popular devices such as set-top boxes and DVD players. Support of Windows Media 9 Series in products such as these means consumers will be able to easily enjoy the high audio and video quality that Windows Media provides.

STMicroelectronics will supply these new components to consumer electronics manufacturers to enable fast market delivery of appliances such as set-top boxes, DVD players, digital video recorders (DVRs), Portable Media Centers, home-networking devices and more. The new STMicroelectronics integrated circuit components will support a range of Windows Media 9 Series technologies to help ensure the broadest possible range of applications. In addition to standard formats, this support includes the following audio and video technologies:

• Windows Media Audio 9, which provides playback of high-quality two-channel audio with remarkable compression efficiency
• Windows Media Audio 9 Professional, which delivers 5.1 or even 7.1 channels of discrete digital surround sound at bit rates as low as 128 kbps, and supports 24-bit resolution and 96 kHz sample rates to deliver better-than-CD quality sound
• Windows Media Video 9 (including VC-9), which delivers high video quality at all bit rates and even supports high-definition video, with up to six times the resolution of DVD-video, at approximately one-third the bit rate of MPEG-2

www.st.com
www.microsoft.com

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QuVIS to Showcase 3D and HD Technology

QuVIS Inc. will display its latest digital video technology offerings at 2004 InfoComm at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Ga., June 9 - 11. QuVIS will highlight large-screen display technology for venues including planetariums, theme parks, museums, location based entertainment and digital cinema.

Featured at this show will be the QuVIS Ovation, QuVIS Cinema Player and QuVIS Acuity, three servers new for 2004. The third entry in this trio of servers, the QuVIS Acuity, is the first practical solution for real-time 3D mastering. This diverse platform boasts the ability to maintain dual-stream 3D in one server in a variety of resolutions up to and including 2048 x 1080. The QuVIS Acuity provides optional real-time mastering and the ability to edit and jog shuttle through both streams simultaneously.

In conjunction with InfoComm, QuVIS will participate as a sponsor in "Beyond the Cineplex," a Digital Cinema Report forum on new markets and new technologies, being held Tuesday, June 8, 2004 from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. in Room A315 of the Georgia World Congress Center.

www.quvis.com

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Bring it On: Sonic Ships DVDit! 5

On Monday, Sonic Solutions announced DVDit! 5, the first upgrade to the company's prosumer DVD authoring tool since 2002. What's more, it's the first upgrade of any kind since version 2.5. According to James Manning, senior product manager for Sonic's desktop group, they skipped a couple of numbers to match DVDit! up with Sonic's ubiquitous popular entry-level product, MyDVD, which is also in version 5. The alignment makes sense, given Sonic's positioning of the product. "DVDit! 5 builds on the ease of use of MyDVD with more pro features," Manning says. "It's a great upgrade for MyDVD users."

Targeting event and corporate videographers and "aspiring filmmakers," DVDit! 5 features a brand new user interface; advanced menu creation capabilities such as motion menus, audio menus, and time-outs; button highlight customization and text tools; complex navigation controls such as First Play, End Action, button routing, and "Easter egg" creation; and drag-and-drop slideshow creation with advanced options for transitions, music, and archiving.

While DVDit! was arguably the first DVD authoring tool to pursue an entry-level audience ("the first sub-$5000 DVD authoring solution," says Manning), that audience was, demographically, far different from the broad consumer base DVD authoring enjoys today. DVD recorders and DVD authoring-capable PCs were more expensive, and the lowest rank of DVD authors consisted of those with some experience with digital video or optical media and authors with some business, corporate, commercial purpose in mind.

Sonic's MyDVD broke the market wide open for non-initiate consumer authoring, and nudged DVDit! up a notch into the more nebulous prosumer space. With this release, Sonic is targeting users who may have received MyDVD or a comparable consumer tool with their DVD recording bundle (or the DVD recorder pre-installed on their PC), and are looking for a tool that delivers more sophistication and advanced features. (MyDVD users can even open their MyDVD projects in DVDit!, although that doesn't work so well in reverse.) This target demographic may range from hobbyists who want to take their home video projects to the next level, or event videographers who may be relatively inexperienced with DVD but need to differentiate the DVDs they deliver to their clients from the vast run of consumer creations.

Key elements of the new DVDit! 5 user interface include task-based workflow that guides users through the steps of DVD creation; a tabbed palette window that contains dozens of professionally designed menu graphics and allows users to import their own assets and templates; a project tree view that shows a detailed overview of the entire project; advanced control of DVD playback and appearance; and fully customizable menu creation via DVDit!'s menu design and attribute controls. According to Manning, that attributes menu "is the heart of all the navigation and behavior of the DVD."

Play-first and end-action control are key features for users upgrading from MyDVD or other entry-level tools. In some consumer tools, you can set first play videos, but by and large, you're limited as to customizing what happens first on the DVD and what happens when a movie is finished playing. With DVDit!, says Manning, "For every item in my project, I have an end-action control I can set." DVDit! also includes a "forced selection" feature which enables users to choose what button in a given menu will be selected by default when a menu opens.

The software also includes a new chapter editing timeline, boasting frame-accurate scrubber controls for chapter placement, clip-trimming, and A/V synchronization. "It's more like a standard video editing timeline," Manning says. "We use a playhead, scrubber, and standard keyboard shortcuts that a video editor would be familiar with."

DVDit! also offers a new VBR MPEG-2 encoder and Dolby Digital stereo AC-3 encoding. In previous versions of DVDit!, you had to buy the PE (professional edition) version to get Dolby Digital support. (Except for some targeted OEM configurations, there's only one version of DVDit! 5.) The new MPEG-2 encoder also offers some welcome flexibility. Users can choose to encode prioritize speed or quality in the transcoding process using a scrubber control. Additionally, while DVDit!'s default position is not to re-encode DVD-compliant MPEG-2 files, users can override that preset if they want to ensure that all their files will be encoded at the same bit rate and thus budget their bits more predictably.

Another interesting aspect of DVDit! is slideshow support. Using a slideshow-generation GUI pulled straight out of MyDVD, users have all the familiar drag-and-drop, transition, and soundtrack options for making viewer-friendly slideshows. In DVDit!, they can also view and manipulate all elements of the slideshow (including individual images) in the project tree view. Manning also notes that Sonic does DVD slideshows "in the proper DVD way." According to Manning, there are two ways to do DVD slideshows: to treat the slides as individual images, according to the "special way of showing images" built into the specifications for DVD playback; or turn the entire show into a video file. DVDit! (like MyDVD) uses the still-image approach, which Manning says has two advantages: the images retain their original quality and the entire segment occupies less disc space, since it's essentially a series of still images plus music and navigational and durational data rather than a full DVD-compliant MPEG-2 video stream.

DVDit! also supports output to DVD+R DL, which will be of interest to the DVDit! target user, who is more likely than, say, a Scenarist-level user to employ DVD+R DL not just for disc-checking, but for distribution as well. Creating broadly compatible DL discs will be paramount for those users.

DVDit! 5 supports Windows XP Home, XP Pro, and Media Center Edition. MCE support was included, Manning says, in response to a specific request from Sony to incorporate Media Center PC support for the Japanese market where "PCs in the living room" and direct-to-DVD recording of TV programs via MCPC is a common application. But the software was designed emphatically as an "XP native" application.

With an MSRP of $299 ($149 upgrade from DVDit! 2.5), DVDit! 5 is available at the Sonic eStore (http://estore.sonic.com) and "select specialty distributors."

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