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November 10, 2008

Table of Contents

Strictly Business: Green Beans and the Second Law of Thermodynamics
PEGASYS Set to Release TMPGEnc Authoring Works 4 -- The All-In-One Media Authoring Solution
NewTek Provides Portable Live Production for the Classroom
Noise Industries’ FxFactory Offers Support For Adobe After Effects Cs4; Adds Five New Plug-Ins Including High Quality Pan And Zoom
Zacuto Announces 9 Panasonic HPX170 Kits
WedFACT Announces Top Ten Winners of September WedFACT Creative Talent Monthly Competition
NVIDIA Redefines Entry-Level Professional Graphics for Small and Integrated Form Factors

Strictly Business: Green Beans and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Two months ago, I posed this question to a group of videographers: "When it comes to marketing and promoting your business, what are the biggest problems and/or frustrations that you face?" I will say that I was pretty shocked at all the fear and loathing directed toward the necessary task of marketing.

Responses included the following:

  • It’s too hard.
  • It takes too much time.
  • It takes a plan and I’m no good at making a plan or sticking to it.
  • I don’t have any money to market my business.
  • I don’t know where my customers are.
  • Once I find prospects, I can’t get them to buy what I’m selling.
  • I’m afraid to talk to people; I can’t get around client objections.
  • I waste money on stupid stuff like yearbook ads and restaurant placemat ads.
  • I’m horrible at selling in person.
  • I hate cold calling.

The truth is, in order to make your business successful you need to get the word out. There are many ways to do this—some costly, some not—but it’s essential that you find a way that works for you. Do nothing and not only do you not move forward, you can lose all you’ve gained.

I liken the effect to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: "The total entropy of any isolated system tends to increase over time, eventually approaching a maximum value, or entropic state." Huh? Well, I’m no rocket surgeon, but here are a couple examples:

Leave a cup of hot coffee in a cool room, and a flow of heat is produced from the cup to the room until the temperature of the coffee and the room is the same. That’s entropy.

Leave your car parked in your driveway and do absolutely nothing to it for a few years. Eventually, the tires will go flat and rot, the body will begin to rust, and the engine will dry out and probably seize up the first time you try to start it. That too is entropy.

Better yet—think couch potato. Got the picture? Good.

Let’s say you have a website but you haven’t updated it since 2006. If your prospects are looking for your newest products and services, they aren’t going to find them on your site.

Any time you make major changes to your business, products, and services, I suggest you add those changes to your website. Keeping your blog updated is important as well.

If the last press release you sent out was when you opened your business in 2000, you need to get busy. Once you’ve updated your website, send out a release telling prospects exactly where to find it. Start up a blog, send out a release. Win an award, send out a release. Hire an employee, send out a release. Open the door, send out a release. Okay, maybe not. But have an open house, and send out a release.

Maybe you find it difficult to talk to people about your business. If that’s the case, let your business card do some of the talking for you.

I just reviewed a great card from Chris Davis, owner of Famous Davis Productions in Willmar, Minn. His business card not only has his photo on the front, but also boldly states, "Websites, Video Design, Done Right." It pretty much tells prospects what they need to know.

Of course, when you have a great card you should give it out generously. Give two or three away to each contact and ask them to pass one on—just in case.

No matter what your roadblock is to better marketing your business, you need only the desire to invest the time and the resources to work around it.

"So," you might be thinking, "where do beans come in?"

One thing I’ve noticed in my own little vegetable gardening efforts: When you harvest beans, blossoms grow back on the plant, and you get more beans. Pick those beans, more blossoms appear, and you’re blessed with a third crop of beans.

This continues through the season. Of course, you could pick the beans just once, but the more beans you pick, the better the yield.

When it comes to marketing, if you do a little at a time on a continual basis, your business will flourish just like the beans. But if you don’t think you have the time or resources to spend on marketing your business, soon enough you won’t have to!

Do nothing and your business will end up just like that unattended coffee or car—cold, and pretty much useless.

In short, pay attention to your results, tweak when necessary, and don’t let entropy set in, and your harvest will always multiply.

Steve Yankee (syankee at opinmarketing.com) has more than 35 years of video production and marketing experience and is the founder of The Video Business Advisor in East Lansing, Mich.

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PEGASYS Set to Release TMPGEnc Authoring Works 4 -- The All-In-One Media Authoring Solution

Pegasys, Inc. (http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com), the company that makes digital video easy, announces the upcoming availability of its TMPGEnc Authoring Works 4 software. It's the perfect, all-in-one media authoring solution for any video enthusiast. It is easy enough for a beginner to understand, and sophisticated enough to meet the demands of an experienced videographer. The U.S. release date is scheduled for November 13th, 2008. As a special promotion, users that purchase TMPGEnc DVD Author 3 between now and November 13th can purchase TMPGEnc Authoring Works 4 for only $10.00.

All-New Features

  • Import Hi-Def Video (AVCHD/HDV)
    With the capability to author the high-capacity Blu-ray format, users can enjoy high definition videos with menus without worrying about disc capacity. This allows the saving of high-definition videos taken with an AVCHD or HDV camcorder and keeping it in high definition. Add in support for high quality 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound or linear PCM audio (up to 192kHz/20bit) and the result is a superb audio/video presentation.
  • Fast Proxy Editing
    Because of the added video information in HD video files, editing them can be labor intensive and time consuming. HD video files – such as those imported from HDV and AVCHD camcorders – can slow computers trying to process all of the information. TMPGEnc Authoring Works 4 creates a smaller, easier to manage proxy file, from which editing can be done as with any other video clip. When the video is output, the edits made in the proxy file are transferred to the original video file.
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 Channel Support
    For awesome surround sound experience, this TMPGEnc enhanced software supports the input and output of 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. Now every nuance, explosion, and bass-thumping sound can be saved, savored, and enjoyed for as long as desired.
  • Advanced Slideshow Creator
    For photo lovers, TMPGEnc Authoring Works 4 features an advanced slideshow creator that allows users to create slideshow DVDs or hi-def slideshows (1920 x 1080) on Blu-ray Disc. Users can animate each slide with transitions and animation effects to bring still images to life.

Other all-new features include:171 video transition effects that add a professional look and feel to video clips; batch authoring that automatically renders multiple DVD/BDMV projects one after the other, eliminating the need for the user to start each output manually; the ability to author Blu-ray discs with full HD pop-up menus; and the ability to create menu parts such as buttons, frames, and backgrounds from custom images.

Plus These Standard Features
These enhancements join the following list of rich features that have made TMPGEnc authoring software the best in its class.

Authoring Works 4 easily captures video directly from a DV or HDV camcorder. All it takes is a simple IEEE 1394 (i.Link) interface connection to a PC. It can also import many types of source files, including: DVD-VIDEO, DVD-VR, MPEG1/2, MPEG-4 ISO/H.264, AVI, Windows Media, DivX, and QuickTime (mov, mp4, 3gp, 3g2) file formats. It can utilize up to two subtitle streams simultaneously, making it possible to create a DVD or Blu-ray Disc with subtitles appearing in more than one language.

Users can utilize either built-in menu templates or, by using the robust menu creation process, can create quick and easy custom menus. Users can also freely position and resize titles, thumbnail images, and text, creating dynamic motion menus that give life to any production. Special Smart Rendering technology makes encoding faster, allowing the editing and outputting of DivX and DVD projects much quicker than other authoring software.

DivX authoring capability allows DivX projects to feature DVD-like menus and navigation. Finished projects may be played with DivX Player software on a PC, or on any DivX Ultra Certified DVD player and a television or compatible home theater system.

Availability
TMPGEnc Authoring Works 4 will be available for purchase and download here from November 13th at a price of $99.95.

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NewTek Provides Portable Live Production for the Classroom

NewTek Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading video and 3D animation products, today announced the release of TriCaster DUO™, a cost-effective, portable live production device that is specifically designed for elementary and middle school video production. NewTek is launching this latest addition to the TriCaster award-winning family of products at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) International Student Media Festival taking place at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., November 4 through 6, 2008.

TriCaster DUO, which will be available exclusively through Academic Superstore and www.NewTek.com, allows students to learn the process of live television production. Using TriCaster DUO, students have the opportunity to create multi-camera school newscasts and also webcast school assemblies, sporting events and other school activities.

"In this economic landscape, it’s difficult for elementary and middle schools to access dynamic and interactive solutions that teach students about live television production," said Michael Kornet, chief marketing officer, NewTek, Inc. "With TriCaster DUO, NewTek has provided the primary education market with portable live production at a truly barrier-breaking price combined with a best of breed brand – the award-winning TriCaster."

Weighing less than ten pounds and small enough to fit in a backpack, TriCaster DUO allows students to mix three cameras, titles and video clips while simultaneously distributing their show to video and the Web. A curriculum covering the basics of live newscast production is included with TriCaster DUO so instructors can quickly teach their students about producing live television.

"Witnessing a live morning newscast being produced by elementary or middle school students with a TriCaster DUO is simply thrilling," added Kornet.

The AECT is a leader in promoting the use of technology to improve teaching and learning. The International Student Media Festival held in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., just outside of Walt Disney World®, celebrates outstanding classroom media projects. Started in 1974, it has now grown to be one of the oldest and largest events of its kind.

Pricing and Availability

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Noise Industries’ FxFactory Offers Support For Adobe After Effects Cs4; Adds Five New Plug-Ins Including High Quality Pan And Zoom

Noise Industries, developer of visual effects tools for the post-production and broadcast markets, announced that FxFactory has expanded host integration support to include the newly released Adobe® After Effects® CS4(AE CS4) application.

In addition to the expanded host support, there are 4 new plug-ins for FxFactory Pro users. The new plug-ins are packaged in the FxFactory Pro 2.0.5 update and include Random Close Up, Whoosh, Cube and Upscale.

The Noise Industries team is also offering a brand new Pan and Zoom plug-in FxPack. Released as part of the special Noise Industries Free FxPack Collection, free FxPacks such as Pan and Zoom can be used by any FxFactory supported Adobe or Apple® user. A look made popular by Ken Burns, the new Pan and Zoom plug-in enables users to create the stunning Pan and Zoom motion effects without using a single keyframe.

“Our recent release for Adobe After Effects has been a huge success all around. Many of the Apple Final Cut Pro and Motion users also have the AE package and are very appreciative of the ability to bring their existing FxFactory workflow seamlessly into AE; making their effects production pipe much more efficient,” comments Niclas Bahn, director of business development, Noise Industries. “Also exciting is the new Pan and Zoom freebie. This is available to anyone who has a supported Adobe or Apple host. Many clever features and controls are built-in … I am confident that users will be hooked on the effects after the first try.”

Users can download FxFactory 2.0.5 as well as the free Pan and Zoom FxPack directly from www.noiseindustries.com.

About FxFactory Products and New Updates
The FxFactory product line offers over 300 award-winning visual effects plug-ins optimized for real-time performance on the Mac platform. FxFactory products support native integration for Adobe After Effects CS3 and CS4, Apple Final Cut Studio® and Apple Final Cut® Express applications – all within a single package.

New FxFactory Pro plug-in highlights offered in version 2.0.5:

  • NEW Random Close-Up
    This new plug-in will pick random regions of source media and scale them up to cover the entire frame. Random Close-Up allows users to transition from one randomly selected region to the next via one of many built-in transitions.
  • NEW Whoosh
    The new Whoosh transition improves the look of a basic “push” effect with directional blurring and exposure shift.
  • NEW Cube
    The new Cube plug-in simulates a 3D transition effect made popular by many Mac programs.
  • NEW Upscale
    The Upscale filter, new in the “NI Video” category, lets users select a region of the source media and scale it up to cover the entire frame. The filter is extremely easy to set up and allows users to fine-tune the quality of the upscaled image.
  • NEW Pan and Zoom Free FxFactory FxPack
    The new Pan and Zoom generator plug-in automatically creates a smooth animation between any two regions of a still image or clip. Users can also animate a single region with keyframes to handle more complex scenarios. Pan and Zoom can be used by any Adobe AE CS 3 and CS 4 or Apple Final Cut Studio 2 user free of charge. The free FxFactory plug-in manager must be installed to operate plug-ins.

Availability and Pricing
FxFactory Pro 2.0.5 is available today for 399.00 USD. Additional partner plug-in packages are available for free, or commercially starting at a price point of 29.00 USD. FxFactory products can be purchased via the Noise Industries website (www.noiseindustries.com) or through select resellers.

Adobe® After Effects CS3, CS4, Apple Final Cut Studio 2 and Apple Final Cut Express 4 users can test drive hundreds of FxFactory plug-ins by downloading the free 15-day trial version from www.noiseindustries.com/fxfactory.

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Zacuto Announces 9 Panasonic HPX170 Kits

With the release of the P2 HD Panasonic HPX170, ZACUTO announces 9 kits to transform your camera into a camera package for both use with the camera only or the camera in conjunction with a DOF (depth of field) adapter. The new HPX170 will work with all existing Zacuto kits including: Docu, Newsman, Cine, Indie and Filmmaker. These kits are universal and will not only work with the HPX170 but with all cameras, camcorders and accessories making your investment in Zacuto last forever. All kits are balanced which is critical for smooth movement and less user fatigue in both tripod and handheld use. Zacuto's trademarked Z-Release (quick release) allows for fast installation of components like articulating arms, monitors and more. Zacuto kits give you all the components you need for your camera package right out of the box and at a discounted price. With various price points, no confusion, and the ability to be used with a tripod, steadicam, jib, dolly, handheld and shoulder mount; you can purchase the kit that is perfect for you and your type of shooting.

The HPX170 Baseplate Kits:

  • 5 Baseplate Kits:
    • Docu Baseplate Kit #Z-DOCU
    • Newsman Baseplate Kit #Z-NEWS
    • Cine Baseplate Kit #Z-CINE
    • Indie Baseplate Kit #Z-INDIE
    • Filmmaker Baseplate Kit #Z-FILM

In these Zacuto Baseplate kits your eye is comfortable in the viewfinder using the revolutionary Zacuto Zoffset for center mounted viewfinders. The Zacuto Docu kit is a tripod mounting kit for adding a follow focus, matte box and an on-board monitor via Zamerican articulating arm. The other kits add additional features like handheld shoulder mount, power systems to power monitors, hard drives, camera lights and more.

The HPX170 DOF Baseplate Kits:

  • 4 DOF Baseplate Kits:
    • DOF Docu Baseplate Kit #Z-DOF-DOCU
    • DOF Cine Baseplate Kit #Z-DOF-CINE
    • DOF Indie Baseplate Kit #Z-DOF-INDIE
    • DOF Filmmaker Baseplate Kit #Z-DOF-FILM

The Zacuto DOF (depth of field) Docu, Cine, Indie and Filmmaker configurations allow you to mount any 35mm depth of field adapters such as the Letus35, Brevis, MovieTube, P+S Technik, SGpro, G35pro and RedRock Micro. Key features include: The Zacuto Z-Riser which supports the DOF adapter and takes the pressure off of the small HD camera lens while also allowing for rod heightening. The Locking Lens Support keeps the DOF adapter from rocking or unwinding as you use your follow focus. The Zacuto Zwing-away (included in the Filmmaker Kit) makes your existing lightweight matte box become a swing-away matte box.

With the optional Zacuto Studio Foam Insert you can keep the camera package assembled which saves time and breakage. You can go straight from case, to tripod, to a balanced handheld in minutes as one man can transport this single case configuration. This makes Zacuto’s kits a complete turnkey solution which is certain to stand out from the rest.

Zacuto’s kits are designed by 2 industry professionals with over 45 years combined experience shooting; with additional feedback from our rental department and indie film shooters who use Zacuto gear. All parts are designed and manufactured by Zacuto in the USA using the highest quality materials to extreme tolerances and come with a lifetime warranty. The kits are designed to be use with current and future models of cameras and camcorders.

http://store.zacuto.com/baseplate-kits/ 
http://store.zacuto.com/dof-baseplate-kits/

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WedFACT Announces Top Ten Winners of September WedFACT Creative Talent Monthly Competition

WedFACT(www.wedfact.net) has announced the top ten winners of the September Edition Of The Wedding Filmmakers Alliance Of Creative Talent Monthly Competition. Through an exclusive, collaborative online peer-rating system, entries were scored and discussed openly by leading wedding film and video artists from all over the world.

Patrick Moreau of Canada's StillMotion(www.still-motion.ca) took 1st Place with their entry "The Polaroid Funk - Aug 16 SDE". StillMotion wins a copy of VideoCopilot's Twitch for Adobe After Effects courtesy of VideoCopilot(www.videocopilot.net). Rounding out the top three winners were Lee Bakogiannakis of 2DG Style(www.2dgstyle.com) with his 2nd Place entry "a 2DG Greek Baptism" and Scott Shama of Ambient Sky Studios(www.ambientsky.com) with his 3rd Place Entry "Photographers Promo".

The complete winners list along with the winning entries can be found at www.wedfact.net.

The October Edition of the competition has recently ended and the winners of that contest will be announced in the coming weeks. The November Edition of the competition, the final contest of 2008, is currently underway and entries are now currently being accepted until December 10th, 2008.

These competitions are a run-up to early 2009 when The Wedding Filmmakers Alliance Of Creative Talent will launch WedFACTION.1(www.wedfaction.com), the largest international online wedding film festival & competition. Rules, requirements and exclusive new competitive categories will be announced on wedfaction.com shortly.

About WedFACT
The Wedding Filmmakers Alliance Of Creative Talent serves to encourage, educate and empower film and video artists from around the world to achieve the highest levels of success in the artistic, creative and business aspects of the wedding and event videography industry. Through online collaboration and discussion, WedFACT aspires to be the leading source of shared learning and inspiration for all visual wedding artists.

http://www.wedfact.net
http://www.wedfact.com
http://www.wedfact.tv

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NVIDIA Redefines Entry-Level Professional Graphics for Small and Integrated Form Factors

With today's traditional workstation model pricing, many organizations can only afford to deploy professional graphics solutions to select designers and engineers, leaving a significant portion of the workforce with sub-optimal products. This is about to change as NVIDIA Corp. announced today NVIDIA®® Quadro®® FX 470, the first integrated professional motherboard GPU, and NVIDIA Quadro FX 370 Low Profile (Quadro FX 370 LP), an entry-level Quadro graphics boards for small form factor systems.

Honoring NVIDIA's commitment to tailor its Quadro professional line to the specific needs of the end user, the Quadro FX 470 and Quadro FX 370 LP GPU deliver high performance and flexibility at entry-level pricing for computer-aided design (CAD) and digital content creation (DCC) applications.

"In today's competitive global marketplace, engineers, traders, designers and power office users demand more functionality and reliability from their desktop computing solutions," said Jeff Brown, general manager, Professional Services, NVIDIA. "The Quadro FX 470 and the Quadro FX 370 LP are precisely tested, certified and designed to maximize productivity and deliver the cost-effective, professional-quality solution these users require on a daily basis."

Increasing performance and reliability at a ground-breaking price, both systems are certified for key DCC and CAD applications from independent software vendors such as Autodesk and Adobe. Designed to fit seamlessly in a space-saving configuration, the Quadro FX 370 LP GPU has a MSRP at $149 USD and offers professional graphics performance with fanless cooling for a quieter work environment. The Quadro FX 470 GPU expands end customer access to professional graphics by enabling systems to achieve a price point under $700 USD.

"The Quadro FX 470 integrated chipset is a landmark achievement for professional graphics," said Tom Lin, general manager, Server Business Unit, AsusTek COMPUTER Inc. "By offering Quadro FX 470 graphics in our new ASUS TW100-E5 iQuadro workstation, we are giving our customers an entirely new way to get the performance advantages of a Quadro GPU at entry-level pricing. It's a powerful graphics option that we believe the CAD and design communities will eagerly embrace."

Delivering the quality and reliability that the market expects from NVIDIA Quadro solutions, the Quadro FX 470 motherboard GPU and Quadro FX 370 LP feature 128-bit precision graphics pipeline, 32-bit floating point precision, filtering and blending, advanced color compression and early z-culling for improved bandwidth and rendering efficiency, and full-scene antialiasing. Additional features include the following:

  • Industry-First Unified GPU Architecture - Dynamically allocates geometry, shading and pixel processing power for high performance in OpenGL, Microsoft DirectX 10 applications
  • NVIDIA CUDA™ Technology - Revolutionary parallel computing processor architecture exposed through an extended C language environment, and a tool suite for high-performance visualization
  • Shader Model 4.0 Support - Enables ultra-realistic, real-time visualization applications
  • NVIDIA nView®® Advanced Display Software: The nView hardware and software technology combination delivers maximum flexibility for single-large display or multi-display options and provides unprecedented end-user control of the desktop experience
  • I/O Scalability and Performance - Extensive I/O slot support enables peripherals like SAS and dual GbE, which lengthen platform life cycle and performance

The Quadro FX 470 motherboard GPU is available from NVIDIA System Integrator partners. The Quadro FX 370 LP GPU is available today, with a MSRP of $149 USD. For more information on NVIDIA Quadro technologies and products, please visit www.nvidia.com/quadro.

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