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September 16, 2005

Table of Contents

Macromedia Ships Studio 8
SmartSound Announces New Indie Film Music Pack and SmartSound Indie Film Studio Contest
DAZ Productions Launches DAZ Studio, a Free 3D Figure Posing and Animation Software Package
Samsung Debuts New 20" LCD Monitor
On2 Announces Immediate Availability of Flix Line of Flash Video Authoring Tools for Flash Player 8
New 80GB Drive and NPL7 Battery for PortaDrive Location Sound Recorder
Digital-Tutors Releases Paint Effects Training Title
Canon Enters HDV Fray with XL H1

Macromedia Ships Studio 8

Macromedia has announced the immediate availability of Macromedia Studio 8 ($399-$999), a software suite assembled to help Web designers, developers, video professionals and graphic artists to design, develop, and maintain interactive online experiences. Combining the latest releases of Macromedia Dreamweaver, Macromedia Flash Professional, and Macromedia Fireworks, and key productivity tools Macromedia Contribute and Macromedia FlashPaper, Studio 8 is designed to provide a more streamlined workflow for creating Web sites, interactive media, and mobile content.

Studio 8 includes new video encoding tools, new CSS enhancements and visual authoring tools for XML, and new tools for authoring and testing mobile content and the addition of Contribute and FlashPaper. Components of the Studio 8 suite are part of the Macromedia Flash Platform for delivering rich content, applications and communications across browsers, operating systems, and devices.

Dreamweaver 8, available immediately, is Macromedia's latest release of for designing and developing Web sites and applications. New Dreamweaver 8 features include the following:

  • expanded Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) layout visualization for easier design
  • drag-and-drop integration of XML data feeds, improved code hinting support for XML and XSLT
  • enhanced usability features such as zoom and code collapse to streamline the development process
  • easier ways to incorporate Flash video content onto websites.

Flash Player 8, available immediately, includes a higher-quality video codec, an advanced text-rendering engine and an improved security model and privacy controls to offer unprecedented performance in a lightweight runtime player, according to Macromedia.

Macromedia Studio 8, Dreamweaver 8, Flash Professional 8, and Fireworks 8 are available for immediate purchase from the Macromedia Online Store. Studio 8 pricing is $999 for a full license and $399 for an upgrade. Education, government, and volume pricing is available.

www.macromedia.com/software/studio

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SmartSound Announces New Indie Film Music Pack and SmartSound Indie Film Studio Contest

SmartSound has announced the Indie Film Music Pack, which gives independent filmmakers the creative flexibility and control to get a powerful, professional-quality music score for a small cost. Priced at just $499, it includes the SmartSound Sonicfire Pro software and a choice of any 25 royalty-free tracks from SmartSound's library of more than 1,200 cuts. Sonicfire Pro helps filmmakers tailor the tracks to fit the exact length and mood needed to score a scene. And because the tracks are royalty-free, the rights are cleared from festival screenings to theatrical or DVD releases. The Indie Film Music Pack also includes a free copy of the Sonicfire Pro Training CD. This includes 90 minutes of step-by-step instruction on creating soundtracks with Sonicfire Pro, along with four bonus music tracks.

To promote the new Indie Film Music Pack, SmartSound is combining with Avid and Alienware to give one filmmaker the SmartSound Indie Film Studio. This package includes products ordinarily priced at more than $11,000, including the following:

  • Complete SmartSound Music Library with Sonicfire Pro for Windows (MSRP $3,995) -- 80 SmartSound Music CDs containing more than 1,200 tracks - All music is Royalty-free for any use
  • Avid Xpress Studio Essentials ($3,495 value) -- Avid Xpress Pro for video editing, Avid 3D for 3D animation, Avid FX for titling and visual effects, Avid DVD by Sonic for advanced DVD authoring, Avid Pro Tools LE for sound editing and design, Digidesign Mbox dual-channel micro-studio
  • Alienware MJ-12m 7700 ($3,723 value) -- Intel Pentium 4 560J Desktop Processor w/ HT Technology, 3.6GHz with 800MHz FSB, Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2, 1-Year AlienCare Toll-Free 24/7 Phone Support with Onsite Service, 17" WideXGA+ 1440 x 900 LCD Clearview Display, Intel 915P PCI-Express Chipset, 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 533MHz, 4 x 512MB, Alienware MJ12m 7700 NVIDIA Quadro FX Go 1400 with 256MB of DDR memory, Dual Drive Configuration, Non-RAID (60GB x 2) 7200RPM ATA100, 8X Dual Layer DVD+/-RW/24X CD-RW Combo w/Software, Alienware 7700 series 12-cell Lithium-Ion Smart Battery Pack, Integrated 10/1000Mb Gigabit Ethernet & 56K V.92 Modem, Intel High-Definition Audio (24-bit, 192Khz) with 7.1 surround sound, USB Floppy Drive, Alienware Mousepad

www.smartsound.com

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DAZ Productions Launches DAZ Studio, a Free 3D Figure Posing and Animation Software Package

DAZ Productions Inc has announced the launch of DAZ Studio, a free, feature-rich 3D animation software package. With pre-configured 3D scenes, poseable characters, animals, environments, clothing and accessories, DAZ Studio enables users to quickly create high-quality digital images and animation for games, multimedia, illustration, and photography applications, according to DAZ.

DAZ Studio is designed for budding 3D artists as well as professional 3D designers, photographers, filmmakers, animators, and illustrators. With DAZ Studio, users can work with virtual objects to create images of any genre, ranging from fantasy to contemporary. Parents can use DAZ Studio to complete scrapbooks with 3D art and backgrounds; book designers can design vivid cover images; and filmmakers can develop compelling storyboards during pre-production.

DAZ Studio includes a full-color OpenGL Preview, the 3Delight Render Engine (compliant with Pixar's RenderMan), and Fast-Time Rendering via the users video card hardware. DAZ Studio comes with three complete 3D content scenes that are ready to be loaded and rendered at the push of a button. With its content management system, DAZ Studio makes it easier to create, organize, and access virtual scenes, objects, and images. DAZ Studio also features Poser animation and content import functionality which allows users to load and modify their favorite content created in Poser.

To see a complete detailed list of DAZ Studio's features, visit http://studio.daz3d.com/1_0features.php.

DAZ Studio is free of charge and is available on Windows 98 SE or higher and Mac OSX 10.3 or higher. DAZ Studio comes with three pre-configured 3D scenes, including the popular Victoria model created by DAZ, a user manual, and tutorials for getting started. To obtain a free copy of DAZ Studio, users must register for a free account on the DAZ Web site and agree to participate in the company's unique Tell-Ware program, which stipulates that each DAZ Studio user must share information about DAZ Studio and/or the DAZ website with at least two friends. DAZ Productions offers a large library of 3D content scenes and models that can be purchased for use with DAZ Studio. The company also distributes the DAZ Dispatch, an informative weekly newsletter announcing new products, discounts and special offers to receive free products. Forums, online art galleries and special membership based savings plans for customers are also available.

www.daz3d.com.

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Samsung Debuts New 20" LCD Monitor

Samsung has announced a new addition to its family of large-screen LCD monitors, the SyncMaster 204t. The SyncMaster 204t features Samsung's proprietary MagicTune¢â technology and MagicRotation software, provides a 20.1-inch viewing area, a height-adjustable stand, built-in power supply, analog and digital inputs, and a narrow bezel design. The SyncMaster 204t is currently available at retail and through Samsung¡¯s distribution channel across the U.S. with an estimated street price of $599.

The SyncMaster 204t employs Samsung's MagicTune and new MagicRotation technologies. MagicTune allows users the ability to adjust the monitor's settings with just a click of the mouse. Individuals have full control over all display features and the capability of saving various personalized display profiles for any environment or mode they are using. MagicRotation, an automatic pivot feature, allows users to change the orientation of the display and the video will automatically track the display's new orientation. MagicRotation provides users the automatic rotation capability to switch between landscape and portrait modes, for greater visibility of documents, Web pages and email communications.

The MagicRotation software gives users a rotation feature (0 to 90 orientation) facilitating optimum utilization of the computer display screen, better viewing and improved user productivity, according to Samsung. The 204t incorporates a response time of just 16ms allowing for smooth, sharp, and fast transitions of motion video, Samsung reports. AThe 204t offers a pixel pitch of 0.255mm and a maximum resolution of 1600x1200.

The vertically aligned-LCD monitor delivers crisp, clean text and bright, vivid colors with a 700:1 contrast ratio, a brightness of 250 cd/m2 and horizontal/vertical viewing angle of 170¡/170¡. The SyncMaster 204t also gives users the option of using either a digital or analog interface for viewing images and text delivering a maximum of 16.7 million colors.

The Digital Video Interface (DVI) guarantees a cleaner, crisper image and a more accurate representation of the original video information. When used with an analog input, the 204t automatically adjusts the display parameters for optimum front screen performance. In addition, the 204t features an easily accessible one-button auto calibration system for control over the on-screen image allowing for accurate proportioning of screen geometry, and clock /clock-phase. The On Screen Display system features a comprehensive menu of controls for an accurate image reproduction.

Available in both silver and black cabinet colors, the picturesque Samsung SyncMaster 204t is endlessly accommodating. Featuring a narrow bezel design, a removable base, and height adjustability, it is designed for a crowded office or for the home user wanting to maximize space. It features a built-in power supply for added space savings and is compatible with a VESA wall mount.

Samsung backs the SyncMaster 204t with a three-year, parts and labor warranty, including the backlight as well as toll-free technical support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In addition, Samsung offers a three-year Advanced Replacement Program, three-year Repair and Return or Exchange and three-year Shuttle Exchange for hassle-free repairs.

www.samsung.com

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On2 Announces Immediate Availability of Flix Line of Flash Video Authoring Tools for Flash Player 8

On2 Technologies, Inc. has announced the immediate availability of its Flix line of Flash Video authoring tools for creating high-quality Flash video content for Macromedia, Inc.'s newly launched family of Flash Player 8 products. With this announcement, On2's entire line of Flix authoring tools for creating high-quality Flash Video are widely available immediately to the million-plus member community of Flash developers and digital media designers anticipating general availability of Macromedia Flash Player 8, also announced earlier today.

On2's VP6 compression technology--integrated in both Macromedia's Flash Player 8 and On2's Flix line of Flash Video authoring tools--delivers high-quality Flash video imagery, according to On2. Customers can experience "before and after" Flash video clips, demonstrating On2's dramatic enhancements to image quality, by visiting http://www.on2.com/video_samples/flix-video-samples.

On2 has also published a technology white paper highlighting the technological advancements and image quality innovations of the VP6 codec. The white paper is available immediately for download by visiting http://www.on2.com/technology/library/.

On2's new VP6-enhanced Flix family of video compression technologies include the following:

  • Flix Pro - a Flash Video encoder that enables users to edit, crop, convert, and post video to the web in minutes
  • Flix Engine - enables users to add Flix's Flash Video encoding capabilities to their software and enables website visitors to convert their video, audio, and image files to Flash. The Flix Engine also enables users to allow anyone within the intranet to have access to Flix solutions.

The On2 family of Flix video authoring tools for Flash Player 8 is available immediately, with prices starting at $249 for Flix Pro, and can be purchased online at http://flix.on2.com/.

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New 80GB Drive and NPL7 Battery for PortaDrive Location Sound Recorder

With features including multi-channel session-based recording to a removable hard drive and simultaneous recording of rushes to an external DVD-RAM drive, the HHB Portadrive Location Sound Recorder is positioned as a successor to timecode DAT. Now the Portadrive system has been upgraded with a new, higher-powered rechargeable battery, and the availability of a new, 80GB removable drive.

Supplied as a standard accessory with all Portadrives, the new 71-watt/hour NPL7 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery replaces the original 52-watt/hour NPL50, boosting the time for which the Portadrive can be continuously operated from two hours to around three. As before, the Portadrive's power safety features provide seamless changeover between external and internal battery power, according to HHB, with the AC adaptor supplied doubling as a charger for the battery when the Portadrive is not in use.

Available as an optional accessory, the new PDRDC80 80GB removable HDD caddy can record 9.5 hours of eight-channel, uncompressed, 24-bit/96kHz audio. File transfer to Mac and PC-based workstations is facilitated by the PDRDSUF FireWire/USB docking station, which, for a limited period, is being bundled free of charge with the Portadrive, along with the multi-format PDRDVDBU back-up drive. A 40GB HHD caddy is supplied with the Portadrive as standard.

www.sennheiserusa.com

www.hhb.co.uk

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Digital-Tutors Releases Paint Effects Training Title

Digital-Tutors has announced the availability of its Introduction to Paint Effects training kit, the newest release in a growing library of training resources for emerging digital artists. Introduction to Paint Effects provides over 4 hours of project-driven training and guides users step-by-step through Maya's powerful brushed-based technology, Paint Effects. 

Designed for students, enthusiasts, and professionals, integrating Maya Paint Effects into their creative workflow, Introduction to Paint Effects provides an interactive approach to learning Maya Paint Effects and unleashes the user's creativity.

Topics covered in Introduction to Paint Effects include a thorough understanding and overview of the Paint Effects system, toon rendering with Paint Effects brushes, modifying existing textures using Paint Effects, connecting brush strokes to surfaces, efficiently using Paint Effects animation utilities, optimizing scenes and using the Mesh Brush to create 3D objects, creating a potted plants entirely from Paint Effects, building a trees from scratch, developing light based and control curve based effects with secondary animations, and several additional topics designed to boost your creativity and understanding of Maya Paint Effects.

For a full outline and pricing information for Introduction to Paint Effects visit http://www.digitaltutors.com/store/product.php?productid=358.

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Canon Enters HDV Fray with XL H1

As Canon's first HD video camera, the XL H1 High Definition (HD) camcorder and 20x HD video zoom lens with Superior Canon Optics is designed to provide broadcasters with a low-cost 1080i resolution option for ENG, documentary, or reality TV production. The XL H1 also includes extensive Cine controls and a 24 Frame rate option geared torward filmmakes. Canon's "professional jackpack" features include uncompressed digital HD-SDI output for seamless integration into broadcast studios or high-quality image transfer to non-linear editing systems. The Genlock feature allows movie sets to synchronize camera settings across multiple camcorders and SMPTE time-codes in-and-out allow for streamlined tape and edit management.

The XL H1 camcorder has three 1/3 inch 16:9 interlaced CCDs that capture images at 1080i resolution. The camcorder features selectable frame rates of 60i, 30 Frame and 24 Frame to allow the user to adjust to the assignment at hand and can switch back to SD resolution if needed.

At the 30 Frame rate, broadcasters can capture high motion, like sports with confidence that each frame is captured individually and completely. Filmmakers can utilize the 24 Frame rate when creating the look and feel of movie film. The 60i frame rate, meanwhile, delivers exceptional resolution for shooting environments like ENG or Reality TV.

The XL H1 HD camcorder is the first model to include Canon's proprietary DIGIC DV II image processor. DIGIC DV II is an image processor that can process both HD and SD video signals as well as still photos, while maintaining the correct color space for each mode.

The XL H1 camcorder's professional jackpack terminals consist of three key features designed to streamline production: HD-SDI output (High Definition Serial Digital Interface), Genlock, and SMPTE (Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers) Time Code input and output.

To streamline in-studio television production, the XL H1 model offers HD-SDI and SD-SDI output. HD-SDI output allows professionals to directly connect to a TV control room or a non-linear editing system. With this feature, users can plug their XL H1 camcorder into any professional's system with an HD-SDI input and can deliver live, unfiltered HD content in all its detail. With other HDV models on the market, the user must feed the HD signal into an analog to digital signal converter box which adds an extra step and extra cost.

The XL H1 camcorder can also record to HDV Master recording media or Mini-DV tapes. For multi-camera shoots, the XL H1 features Genlock synchronization input. This feature allows many XL H1 camcorders to synchronize through a switcher. With its SMPTE time code input and output, multiple cameras on a shoot can all lay down the same time code. The XL H1 camcorder uses a customizable open-architecture approach, selectable frame rates, and multiple output options.

Canon's XL H1 HD camcorder can capture still images plus metadata at full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 dpi or 2.1 megapixels) onto a standard Secure Digital (SD) Memory Card and MMC media. The "Photo" button located on the outside of the camcorder allows users to capture still images at up to five frames per second. Camcorder settings can be stored on the memory card and transferred to another camcorder so setup can be replicated.

The XL H1 camcorder's still image capture plus metadata feature provides an in-camcorder solution for cinematographers and directors to check for scene continuity and provides added back-up to any still photographers on set.

Canon is launching a new multi functional color electronic viewfinder (EVF) and 2.4" 16:9 LCD monitor with Safe Area Marking built-in; black and white mode; Zebra Pattern (70-100 IRE); Horizontal and Vertical flip and a Distance Readout (using 20X HD Video lens). As a menu option, users can chose to view Aspect Ratio Guides in the viewfinder. Canon provides a choice of 4x3, 13x9, 14x9, 1.66:1, 1.75:1 1.85:1, 235:1 guides.

The XL H1 HD camcorder viewfinder also includes a feature called Focus Help. The first setting — Peaking — creates an exaggerated line in the viewfinder that disappears when the image is focused. The second setting — Magnifying — enlarges the viewfinder image, helping the camera operator better see if the image is properly focused.

The new XL H1 HD camcorder features Canon's XL-interchangeable lens mount. For the XL H1 camcorder, Canon drew upon its exceptional heritage and expertise in designing and manufacturing lenses for photography and broadcast TV to create its new 20x HD video zoom lens with Superior Canon Optics. This lightweight, high performance lens achieves fast, precise focusing and a unique balance of focal length, angle of view and depth of field; key quality attributes that distinguish Canon from some other brands.

In addition it incorporates multiple Fluorite elements for superior contrast, resolution and color fidelity through the reduction of chromatic aberration. The 20x HD Video lens offers a fast f/1.6 to f/3.5 aperture for users that shoot under the most demanding lighting conditions and a close focusing distance from only 20mm away (when at wide angle). At an aspect ratio of 16:9, the 20x zoom range is an impressive 38.9mm to 778mm (35mm equivalent). At the 4:3 aspect ratio, it is an equally impressive 47.4mm to 954mm (35mm equivalent).

The lens features a 72mm filter thread, two independent ND filters (1/6, 1/32), focus and zoom presets, and optical image stabilization. Canon's Super-Range Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) system corrects camera shake instantly so even hand held shots, at full telephoto, and shots taken from a moving car, are smooth and steady. Because it is optical, it can compensate for a greater degree of camera shake and avoids any loss in image quality, unlike some electronic image stabilizers. Other optical image stabilizers use a gyro sensor to detect camcorder vibration (the data from which controls a vari-angle prism that continuously corrects the path of the incoming light).

Canon's SuperRange OIS system examines the image after the CCD receives it and detecting any low-frequency vibrations missed by the gyro. This data is fed back to accelerate and refine the movement of the vari-angle prism. This greatly improves performance for low frequency vibration, according to Canon.

The XL H1 camcorder and the 20x HD Video Lens with Superior Canon Optics will be available as a kit in November for an estimated selling price of $8,999.

www.usa.canon.com

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