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June 24, 2010

Table of Contents

The Moving Picture: Apple Final Cut Studio vs. Adobe CS5 Production Premium
Review: Hal Landen's How to Produce Day-in-the-Life and Settlement Videos
Videohub Smart Control Now Shipping
Media 100 Suite Version 1.6 Now Available
Blu-Print 6 And Z Depth Now Available From Sony Creative Software
Singular Software Announces Public Beta For DualEyes

The Moving Picture: Apple Final Cut Studio vs. Adobe CS5 Production Premium

Jan OzerThe launch of Adobe CS5 brings to bear the obvious comparison with Final Cut Studio (FCS). Since life has been far too quiet lately, I decided to tackle this subject, but from the perspective of the totally new user, not the experienced user who would rather fight than switch. In other words, what would you say if a total newbie asked, "Which should I use, FCS 3 or Adobe CS5?"

Let's start with price. At Videoguys.com, you can buy CS5 Production Premium for $1,599 and FCS 3 for $949. But your newbie will need an image editor. The most likely candidate is Photoshop CS5, which costs about $700. Add that to $949, and you're at $1,649, which is close enough to the cost of CS5 to call this one a draw.

Now let's look at the suite components. For the sake of this one-page column, let's call the NLEs a draw in terms of functionality and usability. If you're a beginner, you'll like Motion (FCS) a whole lot more than the cryptic After Effects (CS5), though After Effects is clearly the professional tool that you should aspire to master. I'll call Soundbooth (CS5) and Soundtrack Pro (FCS) even, although the noise removal tools in Soundbooth are extraordinary.

With FCS you get Color, a color-grading tool that's overkill for most beginners and for many intermediate users as well. With CS5 Production Premium you get Illustrator, which is highly functional but not essential for most video producers. Ditto for Flash, though Flash Catalyst, an easier-to-use version of Flash, is a very useful addition.

DVD Studio Pro (FCS) has much deeper DVD authoring functionality (scripting, quizzes, and the like) than Encore (CS5). But it's harder to learn and doesn't offer Blu-ray authoring or Encore's nifty Flash output. Overall, I have Adobe at a slight advantage from a pure product perspective. Now let's move on to architecture and integration.

Most critical components of CS5 are native 64-bit applications, including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and Adobe Media Encoder. None of the apps in Final Cut Studio are 64-bit. As you know, 64-bit operation means greater access to memory, which generally translates to more efficient and more stable operation. Throw in GPU acceleration via CS5's new Mercury Engine, and you have a clear advantage, Adobe.

In terms of intersuite integration, Adobe is also superior, starting with editor-to-encoder workflow. In CS5, once you send a project to Adobe Media Encoder, you can immediately return to editing in Premiere Pro. When you "Share" a file in Final Cut Pro, you can also immediately return to editing, but you can't encode using QMaster, which makes Compressor more efficient on multicore computers. You can still export
to a QuickTime Reference Movie and import that file into Compressor to access QMaster. But depending upon the types of effects that you've applied in Final Cut, rendering time can be lengthy, and the intermediate file size could be significant. Neither of these problems exists in CS5.

When producing DVDs, you can export sequences from Premiere Pro to Encore and compositions from After Effects without rendering, which means no rendering until you're ready to burn the DVD. You can export QuickTime Reference Movies from Final Cut Pro and import them into DVD Studio Pro, with the time and file size issues discussed previously. You also don't get roundtrip editing with QuickTime Reference Movies; if you need to update your video project

in Final Cut Pro, you have to rerender and reimport. With Encore and Premiere Pro/After Effects, you simply make the change in Premiere Pro/After Effects and save the project, and it flows through to Encore-advantage, Adobe.

What about ProRes? Before CS5, editing H.264-based footage in Premiere Pro, whether AVCHD or from a Canon EOS 7D, was exceptionally painful. I would often ingest the footage into Final Cut Pro and use the resultant ProRes files in Premiere Pro to speed operation. Though Apple's ProRes continues to be a strength Adobe can't match, it's no longer essential for H.264-based footage in CS5 because of 64-bit operation and GPU acceleration and because Adobe is using a vastly more efficient H.264 codec from MainConcept. The advantage goes to Apple because of ProRes, but only by a hair.

If our newbie has Hollywood aspirations, Final Cut Pro has a much larger market share than Adobe Premiere Pro in this community and its feeder schools. Though with portions of record-breaking blockbuster Avatar edited on Premiere Pro, that may be changing. On the other hand, Adobe's cross-platform support is very helpful for producers with both Mac and Windows workstations in their editing suites.

Looking forward, where CS5 comprises about 50% of revenue for Adobe, FCS is an unknown chunk of 7% of Apple's "Software, Service and Other" revenue. Logically, you would assume that Adobe will invest more in the success of its editing platform. From what we've seen both technologically and from a marketing perspective over the past couple of years, Adobe has. No one can argue that if both platforms stay on the same trajectory they've been riding recently, Adobe's CS platform will emerge as the clear leader, probably sooner rather than later.

So what do I tell my newbie? Overall, Adobe has a slight functional advantage and a clear technology advantage. Adobe has also clearly shown much more commitment to its editing platform over the last couple of versions than Apple. It's certainly worth noting that CS5 is virtually brand new at this writing and that Apple's current suite is a year old; also the FCS engineering team is well into the development cycle of an as-yet-unseen new version. Apple's Steve Jobs has claimed that the next release of Final Cut Pro will be "awesome." It better 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 StreamingLearning Center.com.

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Review: Hal Landen's How to Produce Day-in-the-Life and Settlement Videos

If you know me, you know that I'm always on the lookout for new ways for you to make more money. Well, just the other day, I was talking to my sailing buddy, Hal Landen of VideoUniversity.com. He's just released a how-to guide called How to Produce Day-in-the-Life and Settlement Videos. Sounds a bit legalistic, doesn't it-unless you're a Beatles fan. Which means you're probably wondering what this guide might have to do with events and weddings and such.

I wondered that too, but thought I'd check it out. I've got to say, it's certainly worth looking into. After all, some of you already shoot day-in-the-life pieces for weddings and even for your own websites. This requires pretty much the same skill set. Besides, no matter what your feelings about lawyers, wouldn't it be nice if you got them to pay you?

By shooting creative and interesting "Day-in-the-Life" and "Settlement" videos, you can expand your business in the legal field beyond shooting depositions. These videos can have a huge impact on legal cases, even though most are never seen in court. It's a way for experienced video producers, such as yourself, to add powerful attorneys as clients. Hal's how-to guide explains a bit about each type of video, how it's used, and what you need to know to add both to your repertoire.

Day-in-the-Life and Settlement videos both tell the story of a person who's been hurt in some way and is suing another party. Your client is generally the plaintiff's attorney, and the plaintiff is the one who's suing. These lawsuits, usually for wrongful death, personal injury, or class action suits, can result in millions of dollars in damage awards. So the lawyers are interested in portraying the damages in a very convincing way.

The Settlement video is used before trial to induce the defendant to settle out of court. It can be a very moving, highly emotional portrayal of a clients' pain and suffering. If the case goes to trial, that's where the Day-in-the-Life video is shown. This video must follow rules of evidence and depict "just the facts," as they say on TV. The attorney you work with will have very specific reasons for including or excluding certain scenes. He or she is the video's executive director.

One area of difficulty in producing certain legal videos is the question of admissibility. The attorney and the video producer have to make sure the video makes its point without violating any of the rules. In order to be shown in court, a Day-in-the-Life video can't show any excesses of pain, grimacing, suffering, or other emotional extremes. Much of the effort of the plaintiff's attorney and video producer is to balance the facts with just enough of the emotional or physical consequences of the accident or incident to sway the jury and not cause the judge to throw it out. But, as Hal's guide points out, the goal is to get the defendant to settle out of court before trial (perhaps after viewing the Settlement video)-for big money-and when that happens, the Day-in-the-Life video never makes it to the courtroom.

How to Produce Day-in-the-Life and Settlement Videos includes a chapter on marketing. And it's here that you'll find tricks of the trade to help you launch this type of business. It includes information about how to develop contact lists of attorneys for direct mail, how to take advantage of networking opportunities, and what types of advertising work in this niche. This chapter even covers recommendations for establishing a website that will attract the attention of trial attorneys.

As Hal cautions, this isn't an arena for beginners. "This kind of work requires that you already be a skilled documentary producer," he says, "one who can produce the kind of video segments seen in news magazines or scripted documentaries." Although the book contains some advice for videographers, such as interviewing tips, much of the material is legal background. You'll find a nice summary of how lawsuits work and a "crib sheet" of the inner workings of this business so you'll have the tools you need to succeed.

Priced at $77, How to Produce Day-in-the-Life and Settlement Videos and the accompanying Federal Rules of Evidence equal about a hundred pages. Included with these are a glossary of legal terms, a directory of all the state associations of trial lawyers, and a sample billing log. There's also a password-protected website where you can see samples of Settlement videos. Considering all that's included, I think this is a good value. It's what you need to know, without any padding. It's instantly downloadable, and available from videouniversity.com.

So far, I've refrained from telling any lawyer jokes. So, how many lawyers does it take to revitalize your video production business?

It only takes one, really.

Once you've produced your first Settlement video, your professional services will be in demand. The background information, resources, marketing tips, and practical suggestions in Hal Landen's guide will set you up for success in an often overlooked area of legal video production. No joke.

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Videohub Smart Control Now Shipping

Blackmagic Design today announced Videohub Smart Control is now available from all Blackmagic Design distributors worldwide. Videohub Smart Control is a new style of router control panel that's designed to be lower cost and to distribute router control throughout television facilities for dramatically faster and workflow. Videohub Smart Control retails for only $495.

Videohub Smart Control is different to traditional hardware router control panels that cost thousands of dollars and are limited to being installed in small numbers and then shared by all router users. Videohub Smart Control is low cost, and features 40 YRGB illuminated crystal look buttons that can be set to any router output. Videohub Smart Control can be installed under each deck and monitor in a facility, so the router output to that monitor can be set with a single button press. This is a much faster way of working, because all routing only requires a single button press.

For example, if a Videohub Smart Control is installed under a monitor, then the router output connected to that monitor can be set to a different router source with each button press. Videohub Smart Control includes a USB connection and easy to use Mac and Windows software to set each button. Buttons are illuminated brilliant white.

Videohub Smart Control can also be used with multiple destinations, and customers can select to have a single destination for the whole control panel, or multiple destinations. When working with multiple destinations, buttons on the front panel become gold colored and customers can select as many destinations as they need. Videohub Smart Control also allows the use of a "take" button, and when enabled, the take button is the lower right button, and illuminated red. Multiple destinations and the take button feature allow a single panel to be used for multiple devices connected to the router, and dramatically lowers the cost in large facilities.

Videohub Smart Control has been designed to be easy for customers to self install. Videohub Smart Control uses standard ethernet networking and simply plugs into the existing computer network. If used in mission critical environments, Videohub Smart Control could be connected to a dedicated switch. Videohub Smart Control can be powered via power over ethernet (PoE) without the need for a power supply.

Because Videohub Smart Control has been designed to fit into creative post production facilities, it includes attractive crystal look buttons that are designed for high reliability. The front panel can be removed to allow labeling of buttons. For world's best illumination quality, all buttons are illuminated by both RGB and white LEDs so that a wider range of rich and clean colors can be displayed. When used in dark rooms, all buttons can be backlit, so button labels can be clearly seen.

"We have been asked for a router control panel for our popular Videohub routers, and we think we have a fantastic solution that will make all our customers extremely happy!", said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design, "It looks wonderful and I am so excited by its clean, simple and attractive design, plus the best part is Videohub Smart Control is low cost so we can place them everywhere. Now every device in our facility has buttons underneath so we can just select its input with a single button press. You have to see this working to really understand how fast that makes router control. It's incredible!"

Videohub Smart Control Key Features

* Ethernet connection with Power over Ethernet and non powered loop through.
* 12 volt universal power supply included for use with non powered ethernet.
* Single or multiple destinations supported.
* Supports optional "take" button set via software configuration.
* Includes Mac and Windows software for control panel programming.
* Button caps can be removed for easy labeling.
* Buttons are illuminated by both RGB and white LEDs for highest illumination quality.
* Compact 1 rack unit size, less than an inch thick. Works with all Videohub models.


Availability and Price
Videohub Smart Control is available now for US$495 from all Blackmagic Design resellers.

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 Emmy 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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Media 100 Suite Version 1.6 Now Available

Media 100, a leading provider of advanced editing systems for the corporate, broadcast, postproduction, and new media industries, today announced that Media 100 Suite Version 1.6 is now available.

Version 1.6 supports Calibrated Software's Calibrated{Q} MXF Import, AVC-Intra Decode, and DVCProHD Decode products, allowing Media 100 Suite editors to directly open MXF files, import and playback AVC-Intra media, and playback media created in the DVCProHD codec. In addition, Version 1.6 includes Boris XML Transfer Version 2 for Media 100 Suite, giving users the ability to export Media 100 Suite timelines to Adobe After Effects CS5.

"We are thrilled to partner with Media 100 to deliver expanded codec support to Media 100's loyal customer base," commented Greg Booth, President, Calibrated Software. "By using Calibrated Software's Calibrated{Q} MXF Import, AVC-Intra Decode, and DVCProHD Decode products, Media 100 Suite editors can now quickly view and use material acquired for today's tapeless digital formats."

Media 100 Suite Version 1.6 New Feature Highlights

* AVC-Intra Support. Version 1.6 provides a new file menu option for Calibrated Software's Calibrated{Q} MXF Import for OS X. This product allows Media 100 Suite editors to open MXF files directly. When Calibrated{Q} MXF Import is used in conjunction with Calibrated{Q} AVC-Intra Decode, editors can quickly import and edit files from cameras that record in the AVC-Intra codec. In addition, Calibrated{Q} AVC-Intra Decode allows Media Suite 100 editors to play media created in the AVC-Intra codec.

* DVCProHD Playback. Version 1.6 integrates with Calibrated Software's Calibrated{Q} DVCProHD Decode product, giving Media 100 Suite editors the ability to play DVCProHD media on systems that do not have Apple Final Cut Pro installed.

* Support for Adobe After Effects CS5. Version 1.6 includes Boris XML Transfer Version 2 for Media 100 Suite, providing full support for Adobe After Effects CS5 in 64-bit mode.

* Intelligent Folder Import. A new intelligent folder import option recognizes certain file and folder patterns - for example, the Panasonic P2 folder pattern that commonly holds AVC-Intra media - and selectively imports files from those folders.

* Faster Rendering. Version 1.6 features faster rendering of multi-layer Boris RED filters.


Pricing and Availability
Media 100 Suite Version 1.6 is immediately available through the Media 100 worldwide reseller channel and direct from the Media 100 web site for an MSRP of $1,295 USD. Customers can upgrade to Media 100 Suite Version 1.6 from Media 100 Version 10 and higher, including Media 100 Producer and Media 100 Suite v1, for an MSRP of $595 USD. Media 100 Platinum Software Updates is available for an MSRP of $895 USD and provides one year of software upgrades. A free 14-day trial version is available from the Media 100 web site at http://www.media100.com.

Calibrated{Q} MXF Import for OS X, Calibrated{Q} AVC-Intra Decode, and Calibrated{Q} DVCProHD Decode are available for immediate purchase from the Calibrated Software website. For more information, visit http://www.calibratedsoftware.com/.

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Blu-Print 6 And Z Depth Now Available From Sony Creative Software

Sony Creative Software, Inc., a leading provider of professional video and audio editing applications, today announced the availability of Blu-print 6, a Blu-ray Disc authoring application and Z Depth 3D subtitle offset editing application.

The upgraded Blu-print 6 application offers a host of new features for production studios that significantly enhances workflow processes, including 3D title authoring in accordance with the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) Profile 5 Blu-ray 3D disc specification, 3D menu and subtitle graphics, and easy MVC encoded content importing. Z Depth application generates the required offset metadata file needed for a Blu-ray 3D project, thus enabling editors to accurately position subtitles and menu graphic elements in the 3D space.

With the new additions to Blu-print 6, studios can author 3D content for the new Blu-ray 3DTM format standard for high volume professional production. The updated software also includes support for offset metadata integration required for 3D Subtitles and 3D menu graphics. To provide increased power and flexibility for complex authoring projects, 3D BD-J (Blu-ray Disc Java) integration and Blu-ray 3D Disc cutting master generation is also supported.

The all-new Z Depth subtitle offset editing application acts as an extension of VegasTM Pro 9 software to enable 3D authoring companies to easily create required disparity metadata files for positioning of subtitles and menus in a Blu-ray 3D production. New to Blu-ray 3D production, the Z Depth application will enable Blu-ray 3D authoring facilities and subtitle creation companies to produce accurate subtitling in the 3D space that will allow for the most comfortable viewing experience.

Sony Pictures Digital Authoring Center used Blu-print 6 and the new Z Depth application for the Blu-ray 3D production of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the first Sony Pictures title to be released on Blu-ray 3DTM.

Blu-print 6 and Z Depth applications are available for purchase through Sony Creative Software Professional Services at http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com.

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Singular Software Announces Public Beta For DualEyes

Singular Software, red-hot developer of automation applications for post-production, has released the first beta download for the recently announced DualEyes. Winner of TV Technology's 2010 Mario Award for its breakthrough technology, DualEyes is designed as a standalone application for the automatic synchronization of video and audio clips for dual-system audio production.

Designed to work alongside any video editing application, DualEyes is powered by the same advanced technology as the popular PluralEyes product, but is streamlined for the task of replacing in-camera scratch audio with separately recorded high-quality audio.

Recommended for both novice users and seasoned professionals, the new DualEyes beta is available for immediate download via the Singular Software website. Customer feedback will be utilized to provide insight into future application enhancements. Interested participants can download the free beta by visiting: http://www.singularsoftware.com/downloads.html.

About DualEyes
The DualEyes application for dual-system audio utilizes the same high-level technology as its sister product, PluralEyes, to automatically sync video clips to an audio recording. Users simply record audio on a separate recorder while recording video. DualEyes synchronizes and cuts up the audio to automatically match each video clip in both start time and duration. With DualEyes' technology, all original media files are kept intact and new media files are created for maximum flexibility. Import the video and new audio clips into any video editor and link them up to start the video editing process. Since DualEyes is a standalone application it can be used with any video editing software for easy retrieval of the highest quality audio for any video production.

About Singular Software
Established in 2008, Singular Software pioneers the development of workflow automation applications for audio and video professionals. Its breakthrough solution, PluralEyes, offers innovative technology to automate and simplify multi-camera, multi-take and dual-system audio workflows. Singular Software products support industry leading non-linear editing products. For more information about Singular Software, please visit: http://www.singularsoftware.com.

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