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January 05, 2009

Table of Contents

Vantage Point: Keeping the Faith in Videoland
Adobe and RED Collaborate to Create Next-Generation Raw Workflows
Video Business Advisor hosting “Cash Flow Secrets”
Red Giant Software Unveils Warp: Corner Pin, Shadow, and Reflection Tools

Vantage Point: Keeping the Faith in Videoland

2008 … What a long, strange trip it’s been. The ubiquitous end-of-year mantra “America is hurting” hovers throughout the atmosphere like a thick blanket of smog suffocating us. Those fortunate enough to have dodged a lethal hit in this economic meltdown are paralyzed, like deer in the headlights, afraid to spend their money due to the doom and gloom of this ubiquitous chant, compounding the problem.

A crisp, clear winter day can lead to a happy heart with warm thoughts of the upcoming holidays; thoughts that maybe it would be okay to go shopping—without guilt—for a few presents or maybe even out to dinner. But watching just 10 minutes of CNN is enough to send us cowering back into our bedrooms with thoughts of stuffing the remnants of our nest eggs under the mattress.

The wedding industry—once thought to be immune to economic slumps—is finally starting to feel the pinch, and it stings. Numbers are down for just about all wedding vendors; from event planners to photographers, everyone is concerned.

But take heart! This too shall pass, and even though it may not be easy, we can survive. To do so, we must be smart, sensible, and willing to sacrifice.

My wise Uncle Jack once told me, “Don’t worry about what others think. Just do your own thing.” Just do your own thing. This ’60s slogan certainly doesn’t sound like terribly profound counsel, yet, taken in the proper context, it’s a priceless nugget of advice.

For instance, it’s good to know what your colleagues are up to, but don’t worry about what they’re charging or what kind of equipment they use. Since just about everyone thinks his or her way is the right way, it’s important to note that what may be right for others is not necessarily right for you.

Case in point: HD. High-definition is a great thing. It looks better, it’s 16:9, the colors are richer, and … nobody’s asking for it. If you are still shooting in SD and your clients aren’t demanding HD, why convert? Because some of your colleagues shoot in HD? Never! That type of phantom-menace purchasing does not a sound investment make. My husband, Steve, has his own little mantra: “If it won’t make you money, don’t buy it.” This simple, no-nonsense philosophy has helped us create a very profitable company.

Surviving a downward-spiraling economy takes more than a business strategy; it takes a complete lifestyle strategy. It means cutting back on some of the frills and extras we’re used to and getting out of—and staying out of—debt. It means avoiding the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses syndrome. Because the Joneses, with their new cars, pool, and remodel, may be next in line to have their home foreclosed. Bling doesn’t mean bank; the only thing it means for sure is that somebody likes to spend. So don’t allow yourself to get sucked into financially lethal competitions with neighbors or colleagues who may not even be all that they appear.

This is an especially difficult time for young people trying to start their careers; however, there is reason to be encouraged. As tough as it may be, the younger you are, the more time you have to recover financially and do well in the long haul—if you play smart and manage your money wisely.

Pay yourself first. The habit of putting a specified amount of money into savings each month, before anything else, is the golden rule of personal finance. Not only will this build your nest egg, it’s the only way to ever get ahead. And it’s when you get ahead that you have money with which you can splurge.

The economy will improve eventually, but how we handle the current situation will carry over into the recovered market to our benefit or detriment. Instead of lowering the price of your established packages if bookings are down, consider creating additional packages that provide fewer frills which will attract the budget-strapped bride.

There are many ways to do this. A few examples would be to reduce hours of coverage, number of cameras, artistic editing, and/or eliminate preceremony coverage. This makes far more business sense than simply lowering prices and giving away the farm. Moreover, your premium package pricing will be in tack for the more affluent bride; and you won’t have to battle moving back up the price scale to reach your target market when the economy improves.

Equipment is becoming more sophisticated and costly, and the amount of labor that goes into a good, solid, well-produced video is substantial. On the other hand, we’ve got brides with smaller budgets. Even when the economy was good, it was hard to adequately charge for a technically correct production, let alone a truly artistic endeavor. With the present economy and prevailing mind-set regarding video held by the majority of today’s brides, most good videographers cannot charge what they’re truly worth. This, however, does not mean a profit can’t be made. It’s a balancing act to find a happy medium between the extent of investment into one’s productions and the price the market will bear for such a product.

So keep the faith, my friends! Start 2009 with a plan. A plan to give up in order to gain, to stand tough instead of fearful, to stop worrying about what your competitors are doing and, quite simply, to do your own thing!

Laura Moses (info at vppvideo.com) is half of Vantage Point Productions of San Dimas, Calif. She and her husband, Steve, are winners of multiple international awards--including a 2008 Gold WEVA Creative Excellence Award in the Wedding Demo Category--and were selected to the 2006 and 2007 EventDV 25.

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Adobe and RED Collaborate to Create Next-Generation Raw Workflows

Adobe Systems Incorporated and RED Digital Cinema Camera Company are partnering together to bring a truly native, color-rich, 4K tapeless workflow to desktop tools, allowing filmmakers to harness the full potential of high-resolution raw digital cinematography.

RED and Adobe share the goal of developing a native raw workflow that keeps filmmakers close to the lens, so that you’re always working with the sensor data the camera captured. By always working close to the lens, without proxies or other restrictions, editors can adjust the look and feel of their work all the way through the production process, knowing that their changes are completely accurate.

The first step of this long-term partnership is the importer plug-in bringing native support for RED R3D files to Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, Adobe Encore CS4 and Adobe After Effects CS4, allowing 4K resolution native R3D files to be dropped straight onto the timeline without transcoding or rewrapping. It is now in beta and available for download at www.red.com/support.

RED is making the beta plug-in available as early as possible to provide customers a more flexible workflow immediately, and in order to obtain feedback from the community on how best to develop this workflow. Over the coming months, you can expect to see new developments that move both companies closer towards our shared vision for advanced raw workflows.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium software is an indispensable part of a film and video professional’s toolkit and leads the way in tapeless and raw workflows. The alliance with RED underscores Adobe’s commitment to integrate tapeless camera formats into its line of professional video products, and will enable advanced post-production workflows to be faster and more flexible.

  • Hollywood-caliber digital cinematography made more affordable: RED cameras have taken the digital filmmaking world by storm, making high-resolution digital cinematography accessible to many more productions. RED cameras capture extremely high resolution raw files, opening up the possibility of a digital production workflow that allows filmmakers to make image processing decisions throughout the post production process because raw files keep the image sensor data directly. Until now, a truly native, nondestructive workflow has not been possible in desktop video tools
  • A native, raw workflow today: Importing R3D files directly into Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Encore and Adobe After Effects without conversion delivers a faster, color-rich workflow that gives users control of the look when they edit. Filmmakers can dynamically change the resolution; applying color correction to the footage in full resolution for example, and then lowering the resolution on the fly to gain better performance from their hardware as they scrub through edits.
  • A more powerful, streamlined workflow tomorrow: Because Adobe Premiere Pro works directly with the sensor data, editors can work with footage as close to what the lens saw as possible, opening up much richer, more powerful ways of working non-destructively on the color and look of their work.

Customers who want to get started with the RED and Adobe workflow today can download the free Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 and After Effects CS4 trials for Mac OS X or Windows at www.adobe.com/downloads and the RED importer plug-in at www.red.com/support.

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Video Business Advisor hosting “Cash Flow Secrets”

Noted author Philip Campbell will answer questions and talk about the lessons of his popular book, Never Run Out of Cash in a special Webinar hosted by Steve Yankee and the Video Business Advisor on Thursday, November 20 at 8 pm EST. According to Campbell, despite the fact that cash is the fuel that keeps a business’ engine running, most business owners don’t have a handle on the flow of cash into nor out of their business. And, in this day and age – that’s a formula for failure.

Campbell states, “The single biggest reason the small business failure rates are so incredibly high today is this one simple fact: Most business owners don’t really know what’s going on with their most precious asset – their CASH.” A CPA, Campbell has served as a controller and as a chief financial officer in a number of companies with revenues ranging from $5 million up to $600 million. He’s also been involved in the acquisition or sale of 33 companies. He continues to work as an author and consultant on cash flow problem-solving and management.

As a guest on the Video Business Advisor Webinar, Campbell will tell listeners what their financial statement doesn’t. Additionally, he’ll offer time-tested, common sense techniques for cash flow management in non-CPA terminology. “Don’t let his credentials scare you away,” says Yankee, “Philip is one of those guys who makes sense, and who tells you what you need to know in terms you can easily understand.”

The Webinar, which will be available both via telephone and as a web broadcast, is priced at an unusually low cost--$12.95--due to Yankee’s belief that the topic is essential to his audience. “Nowadays, it’s important that business owners tighten their belts and preserve cash in order to get through these difficult times.” Yankee continues, “Philip tells them how to take control of their cash flow, without scaring them, and offers peace of mind at the end.”

For more information, or to register, go to www.VideoBusinessAdvisor.com/seminars.html.

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Red Giant Software Unveils Warp: Corner Pin, Shadow, and Reflection Tools

Red Giant Software, publisher of the popular Magic Bullet, Knoll Light Factory and Trapcode products, today introduced Red Giant Warp. Adding a perfect shadow, a realistic reflection or working with distorted video can be tough. Red Giant Warp makes it easy to generate these effects quickly.

The three powerful plug-ins in the Warp toolset give users ultimate control over shadows, reflections and corner point warps. The Shadow tool renders realistic shadows for text or subjects shot on greenscreen, while the Reflection tool creates perfect mirror-like reflections. The advanced Corner Pin tool includes features for working with warped images, importing tracking data from Mocha for After Effects, and adding secondary transforms and motion blur-everything you need to heighten realism in any scene. Priced at $199, Warp is available for purchase from www.redgiantsoftware.com.

The capabilities of Red Giant Warp go far beyond those of its application hosts. Designed with input from real-world testers, Warp includes features such as dual-warp corner pinning with full motion blur support, 3D shadows with user-definable bending effects, and powerful reflection compositing that would be complex and time-consuming to generate by hand. With Warp, users can generate these realistic effects quickly and without complex compositing tricks.

Highlights

  • Pin with Precision
    It's tough to take video from a warped source, such as a billboard shot in perspective, and add it to another video. But the dual warping tools in Warp's Corner Pin plug-in make it easy to take any video source, warped or not, and put it into a new place with proper perspective. With advanced offset controls and direct Mocha for After Effects integration, manipulating corner pins with tracking data couldn't be easier.
  • Play on the Dark
    Side Adding depth is easy with the Shadow tool. Three point controls let users set the shadow perspective, and fade controls to create realistic falloff. A unique bend control can warp the shadow to create the illusion of shadows falling on two planes in 3D space.
  • Reflect your World
    Adding a simple reflection is easy in most tools, but making it look real can be a challenge. Reflection provides an easy-to-use setup control for defining a mirror reflection for any source video or image. Extensive controls let you add fade-out or blur to make your reflection look sharp or diffuse.

For more information, click here.

Why to Buy

  • Easy-to-use Shadow tool offers quality and features found nowhere else
  • Advanced Corner Pin features delivers the best tracking integration in any host . Reflection makes it a snap to add a simple mirror reflection to type or logos

Pricing and Availability
Warp is available now for $199 USD and supports After Effects CS3/CS4, Premiere Pro CS3/CS4, Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Avid AVX 2 systems.

www.redgiantsoftware.com

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