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EventDV.net
Streaming Media
June 14, 2005

Table of Contents

The Moving Picture: Bundle Up
New Disc Duplicator Earns 4 Star Distinction at G4 Tech TV
TDK Announces 100GB Blue Laser Disc Technology
ATI Drives New Levels of Performance and Ease of Use for Gaming, Video, and Mobility
Serious Magic ULTRA 2 Now Available
ViewSonic Projector Packs a Powerful Punch for Road Warriors
Two New Commercial Plasma Displays Designed For Business Applications
Manufacturers Showcase New DLP Products at InfoComm 2005
New Kodak Software Allows Users to Organize, Edit, Share, and Print Digital Pictures

The Moving Picture: Bundle Up

Over the next couple of months EventDV will be reviewing two "Studio" editing software bundles from Avid and Apple. Both are non-linear editing collections that include an NLE interface (Avid Xpress Pro and Final Cut Pro), as well as audio editing software, DVD authoring software, and other creation tools--Avid FX and Avid 3D in "Avid Xpress Studio" and Apple's Motion 2 motion graphics application in Final Cut Studio.

Adobe actually started this concept of bundling post-production software, at least in the non-linear editing world, a couple of years ago with its Video Collection (Adobe did the same thing for digital imaging with the Creative Suite). And, at a first cursory and cynical glance, their initial bundles smacked of marketing and profiteering. Here was Adobe taking industry-standard products like Photoshop and AfterEffects that everyone used and grouping them with products that either had greater competition, like Premiere Pro and the web-authoring GoLive, or were just being introduced in the market, like Encore DVD and Audition. Of course, the bundle prices were relative bargains compared to the products sold separately, but also added to Adobe's bottom line if the alternative was weak sales on the new products.

Yet Adobe's method wasn't the madness of greed, but rather about helping users to work smartly and efficiently. In fact, Adobe's bundles were a long time coming and followed years of re-engineering work by Adobe developers. Visibly, Adobe redesigned many application interfaces in order to deliver a consistent look and feel across the product line. But more importantly, Adobe engineered its applications to share not just files and file formats, but entire project files. That means, for example, you can work with Photoshop layers in Illustrator or Encore, or maintain Premiere Pro title effects and timeline video and audio tracks when you move to AfterEffects for motion graphics and back again. So, while the budget-pricing of Adobe's Video Collection and Creative Suite might be shrewd marketing, enticing more AfterEffects users to take another look at Premiere Pro instead of Avid, Canopus, Leitch, Ulead, or some other third-party editing interface, the real benefit is a more efficient workflow.

In his must-read article on building your next DV editing system, Configuring a DV Workstation, Jan Ozer analyzes each of the different hardware components in a typical editing system. How much actual time does a faster processor, or more RAM, a faster DVD burner, or direct-to-disc production, save you working on a typical editing project? I can't imagine buying a computer without agonizing over the price/performance ratios of each, as explored in Jan's article, and I found his test results illuminating.

Timesaving, or time-wasting, in software, on the other hand, is harder to assess. Everyone has a somewhat different way of working and most editors can tailor their workflow to whatever editing interface they've got. But that may not be the most efficient way to work. For example, early versions of Adobe Premiere were notoriously poor when it came to media management. Basically, you had a list of clips displayed in alphabetical order. That might have been fine for short multimedia projects that had a couple dozen clips and a few still images, but not for half-hour shows with a couple of hours of footage. And while Premiere Pro is much better now, offering the ability to group clips, build folders, and sort by any number of clip properties, those early media management shortcomings contribute, arguably, to Premiere's reputation as less-than-professional among some high-end users.

A more current example of timesaving is authoring a DVD. Any DVD authoring application out there can import a finished video file, build and link menus and buttons, and burn the disc. And, if you never make mistakes, the client never requests changes, and you never want to tweak the end product creatively, that workflow is fine. However, if real life happens to you, too, it would be nice to not have to re-import assets into your DVD authoring application, or worse, re-author the entire project. Adobe's Encore, for example, shares project data with Photoshop, After Effects, and Pemiere Pro. That lets you to make changes to a finished video after it's finished, or adjust a motion menu after you've shown it to the client, or tweak a menu background in Photoshop to match the button still frames--all with round-trip efficiency and all without ever having to close your Encore authoring project.

Avid and Apple each have an impressive set of tools in their respective bundles. Avid's Xpress Studio HD features Avid Xpress Pro, Avid FX, Avid 3D, ProTools LE, and Avid DVD. Apple includes Final Cut Pro 5, Motion 2, Soundtrack Pro, and DVD Studio Pro 4 in its Final Cut Studio. As we review these bundles, we'll evaluate each of the tools and point out ways different features help the event videographer. But with each of the individual tools maturing and becoming familiar to many users, how each editing interface opens its effects editor or trims an audio clip may be less revealing than how the different applications work together to help you work more efficiently.

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New Disc Duplicator Earns 4 Star Distinction at G4 Tech TV

Alera Technologies's Aleratec 1:11 DVD/CD Super Copy Tower earned 4 Star recognition from G4 Tech TV. The 1:11 DVD/CD Super Copy Tower is a stand alone DVD/CD Duplicator that can make up to 11 simultaneous DVD copies at up to 16x or 11 simultaneous CD copies at up to 48x, according to Alera. The Aleratec 1:11 DVD/CD Super Copy Tower can produce more than 100 DVDs per hour. This Super Copy Tower supports Double Layer technology that can copy 8.5GB Double Layer DVDs. Also featured is the Aleratec two-button Cruise Control duplicator controller with new functions.

The complete review is available here.

The 1:11 DVD/CD Super Copy Tower incorporates an 80GB hard disk drive that can store up to 16 DVD images for making up to 11 quick copies of any one of these images simultaneously. This duplicating system can also sense if there is a readable source DVD in any of the DVD Recorders and can use this as a source disc to make up to 10 simultaneous copies without loading to the hard disk drive.

The 1:11 DVD/CD Super Copy Tower will copy at up to 16x on both DVD+R and DVD-R media, according to Alera. The rewrite speeds are up to 8x with DVD+RW and 6x with DVD-RW media. The DVD read speed is 16x. The CD recording speeds are CD-R 48x and CD-RW 24x. The 1:11 DVD/CD Super Copy Tower also has 8.5GB Double Layer technology supporting 4x copies 80% larger in capacity than conventional DVDs.

The 1:11 DVD/CD Super Copy Tower has an estimated street price of $2,299.

www.aleratec.com

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TDK Announces 100GB Blue Laser Disc Technology

TDK has developed a prototype recordable Blu-ray Disc with 100GB capacity. The prototype 100GB bare Blu-ray Disc doubles both the capacity and recording speed of the current Blu-ray Disc specification. A single, prototype 100GB Blu-ray Disc can store approximately nine hours of high definition video recorded at 24Mbps.

Recently unveiled in Tokyo, Japan, TDK's new prototype Blu-ray Disc records data at 72 Mbps--double the 36Mbps rate of the current Blu-ray Disc specification--according to TDK. The increased speed has been accomplished through recent advancements in disc recording layer formulations. The initial Blu-ray Disc standard allows for 25GB single layer Blu-ray Discs and 50GB dual layer Blu-ray Discs. To achieve 100GB capacity, the prototype Blu-ray Disc incorporates four 25GB layers. Like all Blu-ray Disc media, TDK's prototype 100GB Blu-ray Disc is single sided.

Because Blu-ray Disc media's data tracks are quite narrow even in comparison with DVD media, precise, stable interaction between the laser and the recording material is especially critical to ensuring error-free recording and playback. TDK developed DURABIS, a hard coating technology that makes bare Blu-ray Disc media a reality by protecting the disc surface against common contaminants such as scratches, fingerprints, and dust adherence.

DURABIS increases the scratch resistance of Blu-ray Disc media by a factor of 100, according to TDK. Because the DURABIS coating technology rapidly discharges static electricity, the discs also resist the accumulation of dust.

www.tdk.com

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ATI Drives New Levels of Performance and Ease of Use for Gaming, Video, and Mobility

ATI Technologies has announced the release of an upgrade to Catalyst, ATI's comprehensive software suite. The publicly available Catalyst 5.6 includes real-time video preview with on-the-fly adjustments, monthly software upgrades for notebook PCs, and plug-and-play HDTV connectivity.

Power notebook users have often lacked the ability to update drivers at the same pace as their desktop counterparts. With the release of Catalyst Mobility, notebook users will now have access to monthly driver updates. Catalyst Mobility delivers the same set of features as its desktop counterpart, along with all of ATI's mobile-specific power management options. The initial launch of Catalyst Mobility will support Mobility Radeon X700 and Mobility Radeon X800 with more products to follow in the coming months. Catalyst Mobility will be supported by ODMs and system builders, including Alienware, Arima, Clevo, Eurocom, Falcon Northwest, Mitac, rockdirect, Uniwill, and Voodoo PC, according to ATI.

Catalyst 5.6 users can make simplified on-the-fly adjustments to their video quality and see the results instantly through a real-time video preview. A setup wizard automatically detects and optimizes for the best video quality, and more advanced setup options control features like de-interlacing, hue, and gamma.

www.ati.com

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Serious Magic ULTRA 2 Now Available

Serious Magic, Inc. is now shipping ULTRA 2, the new version of its professional keying software. ULTRA 2 is offers flexible keying features that enable users to be more productive, work faster, and achieve better quality results.

Features include support for higher-resolution cameras while delivering GPU-based rendering, components that help users achieve even more realistic keys, and input and output options to further its compatibility with other software. ULTRA 2 is available at www.SeriousMagic.com and through video resellers nationwide at a new price of $495. For upgrade pricing, a list of video resellers, and other information, go to www.SeriousMagic.com.

ULTRA 2 supports HD and HDV cameras including 1080i, 1080p, and 720p with support for a variety of standard frame rates including 24 fps. With ULTRA 2's Plus 90 mode, standard-definition cameras can be used for high-resolution output. Complex compositing can be conducted in real time at HD-resolution and faster than real-time at standard definition by shifting rendering demands to the GPU. Realistic shadows, reflections, and masking options are provided to deliver superb keying results from difficult-to-key shots. Finally, ULTRA 2 expands its input and output options to make it more versatile when working with 2D compositing and 3D animation applications.

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ViewSonic Projector Packs a Powerful Punch for Road Warriors

ViewSonic has announced the addition of the PJ256D, a 2.2-pound DLP projector, to its professional and consumer display line. The PJ256D is the company's first micro-portable projector that offers 1,500 lumens of brightness.

With an estimated street price of $1,499, the PJ256D offers compatibility and image quality in a lightweight, mobile form factor. The projector's multiple connectivity options include PCs and DVD players to extend the usage scenarios for the PJ256D. The display's set up automatically syncs the input source.

The PJ256D provides 1024x768 XGA resolution and 2000:1 contrast ratio while a remote control with built-in mouse capabilities and a laser pointer allows presenters to highlight points without interruption. Video features include integrated motion adaptive, progressive scan and 3:2 pull down to deliver video with fewer artifacts. An optical zoom lens allows users to change the screen size with the lens ring, and the whisper mode reduces noise output and extends the lamp life up to 4,000 hours, according to ViewSonic.

The PJ256D is sold with ViewSonic's customer support program that includes a one-year limited projector lamp warranty, a three-year limited product warranty, and one-year Express Exchange service, along with 24/7 technical support, excluding major U.S. holidays. Available in July, the projector can be purchased through authorized ViewSonic distributors and solution providers, as well as through the professional audio-visual channel and mail order.

www.viewsonic.com/projectors

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Two New Commercial Plasma Displays Designed For Business Applications

Pioneer Electronics has introduced two new PureVision plasma displays designed for business applications. The Pioneer PDP-505MX 50" and PDP-425MX 42" displays offer high-definition capability for digital signage, meeting rooms, boardrooms, and other business applications.

Features of the PDP-505MX and PDP-425MX include:

  • 16:9 aspect ratio (widescreen)
  • Encased cell structure utilizes a structured phosphor surface area to prevent light leakage between cells, creating a brighter image.
  • High-precision capsulated color filter decreases light reflection and filters out unnecessary elements in red, green, and blue light for purer color reproduction.
  • Intelligent auto setup enables the plasma to automatically adjust the image being sent to the display.
  • Auto input switching allows the plasma display to locate the signal automatically and switch to the appropriate input.
  • Auto power enables the display to automatically cycle between standby and operation power mode based on input signal status.

Sixty thousand hours is an approximate time for the display panel to reach half of its original luminescence, according to Pioneer Electronics. This approximation may vary depending on source and type of content, settings, environment, and use.

The PDP-505MX and PDP-425MX ship in October at retail prices of $4,999 and $3,499, respectively.

www.pioneerelectronics.com

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Manufacturers Showcase New DLP Products at InfoComm 2005

Texas Instruments customers at InfoComm in Las Vegas, NV have announced and demonstrated a wide range of products based on DLP technology. From a new category of vertical-mount projectors to portable, integrated Instant Theaters to palm-sized projectors, InfoComm attendees saw a range of DLP products.

With a single-chip architecture and flexible and compact optical system, manufacturers are able to offer DLP image quality in many form factors:

  • Vertical-Mount Projector: LG introduced a stylized, flat wall-mounted projector.
  • Pocket Projector: Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, who showed a prototype version at CES, introduced two of its 14-ounce, palm-sized projectors that allow on-the-fly projection. The standard and SD-card versions will be available in July for MSRP of $699 and $799, respectively.
  • Instant Theater: HP, Optoma, and RadioShack have introduced mainstream- appeal products that incorporate DLP front projection, DVD player, and sound systems into one unit. The Cinego is now in RadioShack stores for $1299 MSRP, and Optoma will officially launch its MovieTime in July, with an MSRP of $1499.

With more than 75 customers manufacturing products based on DLP technology, there are now nearly 275 DLP front projection products on the market. According to Pacific Media Associates, the DLP share of the front projection market has reached 47% as of 1Q05.

www.dlp.com

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New Kodak Software Allows Users to Organize, Edit, Share, and Print Digital Pictures

Eastman Kodak has introduced Kodak EasyShare 50--free software that helps users organize, edit, share, and print their digital pictures. The English-language Windows version is immediately available for free download at www.kodak.com/go/easysharesw. Other languages and the Macintosh version will be available this summer.

The software is compatible with all popular brands of digital cameras, as well as the most widely used digital picture/video file formats, according to Eastman Kodak.

With new video editing tools, Kodak EasyShare 5 gives users the ability to trim, splice, rotate, and add music to digital videos made with their cameras.

A new Scene Effects tool can change the mood of pictures, providing greater control over each image's appearance. The Express Upload feature sends an album to the Kodak EasyShare Gallery (formerly Ofoto) for designing photo books, custom prints, calendars, and greeting cards. The Smart Transfer feature with duplicate picture detection prevents inadvertently storing multiple copies of the same image.

Sharing options have also been increased in EasyShare 5. Owners of recent Kodak EasyShare digital cameras can synchronize pictures between the camera's memory and EasyShare software, turning cameras into portable picture galleries. All users can now share pictures with the people they email most often by creating custom e-mail groups in the integrated address book. Improved CD and DVD burning capabilities help users share and store more pictures.

www.kodak.com/go/EasyShare

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