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Copyright © 2004 -
Information Today, Inc.

May 11, 2010

Table of Contents

Von Wedding Films' Von Real, Episode 5: In the Field with the DP Slider
The Moving Picture: Here Comes HTML5—Should We Care?
Band Pro Offers FGV 7D-PL for Cinematographers
K-Tek Introduces Norbert Camera Accessory Mounting System
Blackmagic Design Announces Immediate Support for Adobe Creative Suite 5
Introducing the All New iStoragePro 8 Bay Tower

Von Wedding Films' Von Real, Episode 5: In the Field with the DP Slider

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The Moving Picture: Here Comes HTML5—Should We Care?

MIX10 is the annual Microsoft event for web developers and designers, and the big news from this year's conference was expanded HTML5 support in Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), including support for the audio and video tags. Basically, this means that when IE9 ships (Microsoft didn't announce a ship date), it will play video without a plug-in such as Flash or Silverlight. How? Like all of the HTML5-compatible browsers, IE9
will supply its own codecs to play video files. For most readers, this rates a big yawn, but HTML5 is something you need to know about-even if it's just to conclude that it probably won't be important in the near term.

HTML5 has been coming for a while, and it is currently supported in Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and the Opera browsers. Of course, since Microsoft IE still owns close to half the browser market, support in other browsers is interesting but not particularly relevant. The HTML5 versus Flash issue came to a head when Apple announced that the iPad wouldn't support Flash because, in the words of Steve Jobs, Flash is an unstable "CPU hog." Though I didn't tackle the stability issue, my tests at StreamingLearningCenter.com proved that Flash Player 10.1 is extremely efficient on platforms where it can access hardware acceleration for video playback. Moreover, Flash proponents counter that Apple's reticence to support Flash is more about protecting App Store revenue than any Flash deficiency, given that lots of games Apple charges for are available for free with Flash.

There's no doubt that if the iPad is a raging success, it will put pressure on many mainstream websites to support HTML5; otherwise, iPad users won't be able to view video or advertisements on their sites. That said, there's an equal chance that the iPad will ultimately support Flash, bowing to pressure from competitive products from Hewlett-Packard Co. and other vendors. Taking the iPad out of the picture for a moment, what's the short-term prognosis for HTML5?

First, some background. According to W3Counter (www.w3counter.com), the current combined market share for Internet Explorer 8, 7, and 6 is 24.45%, 14.4%, and 9.79%, respectively, for a total share of just less than 49%. According to Wikipedia, IE6 shipped in 2001, and IE7 shipped in 2006. So, while the technical cognoscenti feel it's imperative to drive the latest browser, clearly, much of the rest of the world doesn't agree. Even if Microsoft shipped IE9 tomorrow, HTML5 support won't be pervasive anytime soon.

Given that the most netizens won't be using an HTML5-compatible browser anytime soon, clearly, no commercial website is going to abandon Flash in the short term. Sure, you can easily support HTML5 and continue to support Flash, but what's the advantage of adding HTML5 support in the near term? That's when the picture starts to get really muddy.

For example, though all HTML5 browsers support the video tag, which enables playback without plug-ins, they never agreed on a single codec. Apple Safari and IE will support H.264, while Mozilla Firefox and the Opera browser will support Ogg Theora. Google Chrome will support both. So, today, to fully support HTML5, you're going to have to produce and deliver using two codecs (three if you're currently streaming with VP6).

In addition, many broadcast sites now use digital rights management (DRM) technology to protect their content. This works well with Flash or Silverlight because a single player exists on all platforms and browsers. But under HTML5, there won't be a single player; the browser supplies the basic player functionality supplemented by JavaScript code. Features that are integral to the Flash or Silverlight players, such as DRM, adaptive streaming, and (soon) multicast, will have to be programmed in.

Today, for DRM, content owners look to one party such as Adobe to protect their content. With HTML5, you have to write the code yourself and trust each browser developer to operate properly. Sure, it's possible to protect your content this way, but there's a huge gap between what's possible and what will convince a content owner to chuck Flash or Silverlight. Ditto with adaptive streaming, which relies upon logic within the player to determine when to switch streams. Sure, this logic could be built into the webpage via JavaScript, but until HTML5 penetration gets anywhere close to 90%, how is that superior to Flash or Silverlight today?

Basically, most HTML5 proponents are attempting to prove that HTML5 is "good" by proving that Flash is "bad" because of the aforementioned performance and stability issues and that it's not an open standard. But if Flash were that bad, why would Motorola and Google, presented with the exact same facts as Apple (but minus the App Store), choose to support Flash on the Droid phone? Why would virtually every other mobile vendor make the same decision? And while open standards sound great, 95% of internet users don't care-they just want their video to play.

As far as I can see, the "advantages" of adopting HTML5 in the short term include increasing your encoding and storage requirements, defeaturing your video player and rebuilding it from scratch, and dealing with uncertainty as to DRM, adaptive streaming, and multicast. It doesn't sound like anything a bunch of commercial websites will be in a rush to adopt. And if they're not in a rush, you and I certainly don't need to be.

Jan Ozer (jan at doceo.com) is a frequent contributor to industry magazines and websites on digital video-related topics. He is chief instructor at StreamingLearningCenter.com.

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Band Pro Offers FGV 7D-PL for Cinematographers

Band Pro is pleased to offer the new FGV 7D-PL camera, modified by FGV Schmidle. This versatile cinematography tool is a standard Canon 7D permanently retrofitted with a one-piece lens/sensor/base mounting element made of rock-solid steel. Unlike most DSLR modifications, the FVG 7D-PL comes with a one-year limited warranty from FGV Schmidle.

The camera's mirror and optical viewfinder are removed and the original sensor block is rigidly reinstated in connection with the one-piece 3/8" threaded steel mounting bracket and PL lens mount, which ensures that all critical elements of the camera move as one. A 3-pin Fischer connection is added to allow start/stop control when using a handgrip system or remote camera controls. This makes the modified 7D ideal for remote rigs, car rigs and cranes/jibs.

The 7D utilizes an APS-C sensor, closely matching the size and depth-of-field characteristics of other single-sensor digital cameras. The new FGV 7D-PL is a professional moviemaking tool that can accept most popular PL lenses.


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K-Tek Introduces Norbert Camera Accessory Mounting System

K-Tek introduces the Norbert Camera Accessory Mounting System - a versatile accessory management system designed to complement SLR, video-capable DSLR and compact HD video cameras.

Norbert allows the working professional to attach a large array of production tools to a DSLR camera without compromising the camera's integral shoe mount. The heart of the system is the Norbert base frame. Machined from rugged yet lightweight black anodized aluminum, the frame has numerous threaded holes in 1/4x20 and 3/8x16 sizes and 23 standard shoe mounts that allow the user to customize the Norbert system to meet the specific needs of any shooting situation. The frame attaches to the camera via a handy quick-release mechanism. Additional threaded holes on the base accept tripod mounting brackets. What's more, its angled design enables larger, heavier accessories to be centered over the camera's center of gravity, providing a natural balanced package when used for handheld applications as well as better access to the monitor. Norbert's rectangular design and open frame construction allow for easy access to the camera's controls and connectors. The wide flat base enables the entire assembly to easily mount on a tripod.

K-Tek's optional Dual Handle Kit has 2 elbow brackets that attach easily to Norbert to enable handheld use. Twin ergonomic foam-covered graphite handles allow it to be maneuvered from any position or angle desired. Also available separately, the handles can be attached to any side of Norbert, allowing the user to grip the system from above, or even hold the camera upside down or sideways. An optional adjustable camera mounting plate enables use of Norbert with cameras with long lenses and/or external battery packs.

K-Tek offers a full array of clamps, mounts, brackets and other camera accessories to complete the Norbert system as well as the industry favorite, K-Tek boom poles. Suggested list price is $425.00,.


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Blackmagic Design Announces Immediate Support for Adobe Creative Suite 5

Blackmagic Design today announced immediate support for Adobe® Creative Suite® 5 (CS5) for its entire range of capture and playback products. A new software installer supporting Windows systems is available now for download from the Blackmagic Design web site, while the Mac OS X public beta version will be available later this week. These updates are provided free of charge for all Blackmagic Design customers using DeckLink, Intensity and Multibridge products.

Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium software accelerates workflows from scriptwriting through to post-production. Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 was optimized from the ground up to deliver outstanding performance and exceptional stability. The all new Adobe Mercury Playback Engine is 64-bit native, GPU-accelerated and optimized for multiple-core systems.

Blackmagic Design products such as DeckLink, Intensity and Multibridge and the recently announced USB 3.0 products, UltraStudio Pro and Intensity Shuttle, will now take full advantage of the huge number of new features in Adobe CS5 Production Premium software, including the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine for massive processing power of realtime effects, enhanced paint, 3D workflows and improved NLE integration. This combination provides breakthrough performance, integration and collaborative flexibility to video editors, post professionals, motion graphics and interactive designers.

"Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium is a revolutionary release that will give our users incredible performance gains in their digital video and film production workflows," said Simon Hayhurst, senior director, product management for Digital Video and Audio Group at Adobe. "Blackmagic Design products are able to handle just about any resolution or desired workflow, from SD to HD to 2K, on any platform, which gives our Adobe Creative Suite 5 users the ability to work within their budgets and with the tools they choose."

"Blackmagic Design has long been a supporter of open system workflows, and as part of that tradition Blackmagic Design is extremely excited to fully support Adobe's Creative Suite 5 Production Premium on Windows and Mac OS X" said Grant Petty CEO of Blackmagic Design. "The combination of the impressive real-time Adobe Mercury Playback Engine combined with our capture card products, is a real game changer for our users, allowing them to build incredibly high performance workflows that we only dreamed about a few years ago! Whether they are creating feature films, episodic, documentary or corporate videos, this is an incredibly powerful solution that I am sure our customers will fall in love with!"

Availability and Price
DeckLink v7.6.2, Intensity v3.6.2 and Multibridge v7.6.2 software updates that include support for the new Adobe CS5 Production Premium on Windows are available for immediate download from the Blackmagic Design support page at http://www.blackmagic-design.com/support. Installers for Mac OS X customers supporting Adobe Creative Suite 5 will be released later this week as a public beta.

About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world's highest quality video editing products, color correctors, video converters, routers, waveform monitors and film restoration software for the feature film, post-production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design's DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in the television industry, while the company's DaVinci EmmyTM award winning color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984 and continue ground breaking innovations including stereoscopic 3D and 4K workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore, and Australia. For more information, please check http://www.blackmagic-design.com.

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Introducing the All New iStoragePro 8 Bay Tower

iStoragePro proudly introduces the newly designed 8 Bay Tower Series. The series is 30% more light weight and compact than its predecessor, with both SAS Expander, and MiniSAS options. With iStoragePro you have control over your disk capacity, whether you want a limited amount of space with the MiniSAS verion or whether you want to drastically increase your capacity with the SAS Expander version.

The all new iStoragePro Tower is designed for everyone. Anywhere from the small or mid sized business, and the in-home office, to the large scale corporation can take advantage of the new tower solution. You may find yourself questioning how much space you need, while at the same time you may not want to invest in a rack-mount solution. Or, even if you do want a lot of disk capacity, say over 160 TB of space, than the Tower solution may still be more practical for you because you do not need to suffer the consequences of stacking rack-mounts or buying a cabinet. The MiniSAS can be a great solution for any small sized storage solution whereas the SAS Expander edition can be a great solution for any enterprise level company or individual who requires mass storage.

With the MiniSAS Tower there are up to eight bays, which means that you can have up to 16 TB of storage capacity for a single unit. However, if you need more storage capacity than this, but you do not want to stack rack-mounts you can use the iStoragePro SAS Expander Tower, which can daisy chain 10 Towers together for one storage configuration, which ads up to a maximum of up to 160TB of capacity! If you need this kind of capacity, this is a much more efficient and cost effective solution than purchasing a mobile cart (cabinet) for the rack-mount.

From recent testing we have determined the exact speeds of the newly designed iStoragePro Tower 8 Bay. The MiniSAS Tower is equipped with two MiniSAS 8088 connectors, which write at 650 megabytes per second and read at 690 megabytes per second. The SAS Expander has three MiniSAS 8088 connectors, two for the host interface and an extra one for daisy chaining, and it reads and writes even faster than the MiniSAS with writing speeds of 728 megabytes per second and reading speeds of up to 748 megabytes per second.

This system is faster than any model of its kind from other manufacturers, and with an aluminum chassis, up to 160 Terabytes of disk space, and at a competitive price, the all new iStoragePro Tower 8 Bay series clearly stands out as a beast among mid level enterprise storage solutions. And, all iStoragePro products are backed up with a guaranteed three year warranty, and a reputable customer service team dedicated to your technical needs, so you do not need to worry about anything after purchase.

The iStoragePro Tower series is foremost an outstanding solution for independent, or even major motion picture video editors. With the MiniSAS JBOD system, you can easily configure the tower right next to your Mac Pro, as its design seamlessly integrates to Apple's style. And, the Tower easily configures with any video editing program such as Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier as well as any other graphic arts program.


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