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Information Today, Inc.

February 03, 2011

Table of Contents

The Art and Business of Corporate Film Production, Part I: The Business
Gates of Eden: IN[FOCUS] 2011
Digital Juice Releases New High Quality Tripod Bag
WEVA Goes "Virtual" With Expo 2011
Sorenson Media’s New Sorenson Squeeze 7 Accelerates Video Encoding Performance, Saves Time, Streamlines Workflows
JVC Introduces GY-HM750U ProHD Camcorder
Singular Software Releases DualEyes For The Mac
WaCru Announces the WaCru DSLR Cage

The Art and Business of Corporate Film Production, Part I: The Business

Dare Dreamer MediaIt was just a short, 50-word email. An invitation for Dare Dreamer Media to submit a proposal for the production of the film adaptation of The White Envelope Project’s “For the Man Who Hated Christmas.” It’s a true story about a wife’s Christmas tradition of giving to people or organizations in need as a “gift” to her husband who hated the commercialization of Christmas. She’d then write about it, seal the note in a plain white envelope, and place it on the tree as his gift. A request for proposal (RFP) was attached to the email, along with a 2-week deadline to submit a formal proposal. The resulting project, from booking to postproduction, is a quintessential case study of corporate video production, filmmaking, and following one’s true passion. It was also one of my most rewarding filmmaking experiences in 2010. In this two-part article, I will share with you how we won the contract for the aforementioned video (even though our original bid was four times higher than the next highest) and cover a gamut of topics from sales, marketing, bidding, preproduction planning, auditioning, adapting written material for the screen, working on a high-key set, directing kids, collaborating with clients, and, most importantly, how following your passion pays off.

Passion Pays Off
In the March 2010 issue I wrote an article called Recapturing My Roots as a Filmmaker: An Open Letter to the Industry about my decision to pursue the production of cause-driven and inspirational films as the core of my business. Since I decided to focus on this kind of work, I’m happy to report that except for one wedding and four photographer promos, every project I produced in 2010 fit into one of the three categories: inspirational, cause-driven, or nonprofit organization.

A few were done pro bono, but I wouldn’t still be in business if they all were. As I wrote in that last article, nonprofit doesn’t mean nonpaid. In fact, a few of the projects we produced were five-figure deals. For a small, home-based business such as ours that focuses on serving nonprofits and worthy causes, that’s not bad. One of those higher paying jobs was the project I’m writing about now.

Picking Your ‘Hill’
So now that you’re caught up on the background of my decision to pursue this kind of work, here’s how it connects to this project. The client is Giving101, a nonprofit organization in the Atlanta area that encourages giving and philanthropy. The organization was founded by a local family who came upon the story “For the Man Who Hated Christmas,” Nancy W. Gavin’s essay/memoir that provided the basis for the film. Originally named The White Envelope Project, the organization changed its name to Giving101 to expand its mission and scope.

Giving101 homepage

Giving101 found me by Googling “non-profit video Atlanta.” That’s it. I tested this Google search, and as of this writing, my company is the fifth link on the results page. But it’s the first link for a video production company on the page. That didn’t just happen by accident. I intentionally made changes in the wording on our website to facilitate being found by prospects who would be the kind of clients I want to serve. The title on our homepage is “Dare Dreamer Media | Atlanta and Silicon Valley Video Production | Specializing in non-profit, inspirational and cause-driven films.” The short description on the homepage reads, “Dare Dreamer Media is a boutique new media marketing and video production agency adept at social media marketing, narrative film production, and corporate communications. Our specialty lies in producing cause-driven and inspirational films.”

DareDreamer homepage

It’s important in search engine optimization (SEO) marketing to make sure the copy on your actual webpages, as well as the titles of those pages (what you see in the browser’s top bar when you’re on a page), all include words or phrases to help you get found. We can no longer rely just on keywords in the metatags. Key components of these descriptions are the company name, location, and the word “video” (of course) as well as the words that describe the type of video production we do. Then, when prospective clients actually arrive at our homepage, the first thing they’ll see is a featured video. I will usually include the most recent video we’ve produced, as long as it’s one that fits into one of those three main categories: nonprofit, inspirational, or cause-driven. (Incidentally, even if you’re adamant, as we are, that the work you do is more film than video, your corporate prospects are much more likely to Google production services with the word “video” than “film.”)

The importance of specializing in a particular area of work is what my friend, ex-advertising exec, master marketer, and co-founder of KISS Wedding Books, Kevin Swan, calls “picking your hill.” It’s a battlefield analogy that states that you will be most successful in business if you can pick a “hill” that you can readily defend. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, be known as the specialist in a particular area, then show your best work in that area. That doesn’t mean you don’t do other work. We still do the occasional wedding. And if Adobe Systems, Inc. called me up again to produce a video series for the next installment of CS, I’d be all over that like gravy on mashed potatoes.

But if you want to do more of the work that truly fulfills you, if you want to have an edge in this challenging economy, if you want to be able to charge a premium for your services over the Mickey D’s of the world, then you need to pick your hill and market accordingly. Wherever I write or talk about the work we do, my line is the same: “We specialize in the conception, production and distribution of inspirational and cause-driven films.”

The Proposal Process
Now back to the project at hand. As I wrote earlier, I had 2 weeks to prepare a proposal for this client. I got working on it right away.

When preparing a proposal for a prospect, there are two primary tasks I complete. The first is coming up with a vision for the project. Based on the objectives laid out in the RFP, I come up with one to three concepts for the production. Second, based on those concepts I create a budget. I have a Google Docs spreadsheet called “Video Estimates.” In it, I have all the budget projections for every prospect that comes in. I’ll usually find a previous project I’ve done that has a similar scope, then just duplicate the spreadsheet tab, rename it, then make the minor tweaks. If I need to start from scratch, I’ll just duplicate a blank template.

Google Docs spreadsheet

It is very important that you take this part of the process seriously and to not rush through it. It’s also important that you take into account all the costs involved (crew, cast, rental fees, travel, editing, music, etc.) Whenever I hear videographers give the “$1,000 per minute” estimate that seems to be so popular in the industry, I cringe. Under that method, Apple’s world-famous “1984” Super Bowl ad would have cost only $1,000 to make. By the same token, a 2-hour documentary-style wedding film would cost $120,000. I know it’s only supposed to be a ballpark figure, but it’s a terrible, ineffective, and misleading way to estimate a project’s cost. I would never use that method to give an estimate to a prospect, because once you do the numbers and find out that it will actually cost $2,000 or more per minute, you’ve lost credibility. If you’re using that method, stop now!

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl ad

Once I’ve finished the budget (depending on the project’s scope, budgeting alone could take half a work day), I write up a formal proposal describing my concepts, a description of the deliverables, and the budget amount. It’s our practice not to include a line-by-line estimate because what frequently happens is that prospects will start negotiating line items. In the proposal I provide only those aspects of the production the client will be able to see (the specific crew assigned, the number of shooting hours, a description of the final film, and so on). Things such as how long it takes me to write a script or to edit are not specifically laid out or shown. But I will include those numbers behind the scenes in my spreadsheets.

If the client agrees to my proposed budget, I stick to it, whether or not I go over in my editing time. For instance, if I give a quote based on 20 hours to edit a project and it takes me 30, I don’t charge the client for those 10 extra hours. Likewise, if it takes me only 15, I wouldn’t reduce the fee. The only time additional editing will result in additional money is in the revision process if the client requests changes that go beyond the complimentary re-editing time I build into every project (which is usually an hour).

It may be tempting to provide a low-ball budget to a prospect in hopes of winning the gig. In the world of commercial video production, I would strongly advise against that. You may actually hurt your chances of getting a gig if a budget is too low, especially if you’re dealing with a larger, more sophisticated corporate client that may even be working with an ad agency. “Too low” often translates into “not experienced enough” to handle the job. (Can you imagine if you quoted Apple $1,000 to shoot that “1984” commercial?)

In the case of The White Envelope Project, there was no third-party agency negotiating the deal between the client and Dare Dreamer. The RFP included no indication of what the client’s ballpark range was, so I delivered a no-holds-barred proposal. I put in everything I would want to make the concept I imagined. I figured they might consider it high, but the truth is, I really had no idea, so I saw no reason to possibly leave money on the table out of fear. Don’t ever assume you know what a client’s potential budget is. Some nonprofits have multimillion-dollar yearly operational budgets and could easily afford a five- to six-figure film project. If I do have an idea of what the client is willing to invest, I’ll normally give two to three budget proposals (a high and low, or a high, medium, and low). I want to show the prospects what we could do at the amount they say they’re willing to invest, but I also want to give them an idea of what is possible if they can invest a little (or a lot) more.

It turns out that the proposal I submitted was about four times that of the next highest bidder. Ouch!

Dare Dreamer Media proposal

The Importance of Educating the Client
Less than a week after the proposal deadline after all the proposals were in, I received an email from a member of the prospective client saying that they loved my concepts, but they weren’t sure it was worth investing that much more. I promptly replied, thanked them for their appreciation of my idea, then set up a time to discuss the project over the phone. On the call, the client explained that the story was a contest-winning essay in Woman’s Day magazine in 1982 that had grown in popularity over the years to viral levels. Every Christmas, radio stations across America read it; blogs and other online periodicals post it; and churches use it as sermon examples. But never had there been a film adaptation, even though other websites had asked for one for years.

One thing the client realized was that the concepts for the lower bids were not anywhere near what they were hoping for or envisioning. They didn’t just want a talking head retelling it, but they also didn’t want something too far off from the original story. In fact, one of the first mandates they gave in the RFP was that the script had to be identical to the original story (I’ll address that issue in Part 2 when I write about adapting the script). They really liked the concept I put forth: a white world of memories where the only things we see on set are specific elements that stand out in the narrator’s mind: a Christmas tree, the chair she sat in while writing the white- envelope letter, a picture frame, etc. Everything else would be a high-key white background (à la the Mac vs. PC commercials).

Over the phone I gave the client a quick primer on filmmaking. I explained the importance of the various roles I proposed (DP, audio engineer, director, etc.). I explained the pros and cons of having me personally handle all of those roles along with the trade-offs. I could be the director and the DP, which would save money, but it may require a longer shoot day since my time would be split. In the end, there was only so much they could pull off budgetwise. They invited me to resubmit a revised proposal at half my original amount. It was at that point that I knew the deal was done. With a better understanding of their needs, I knew I could make it work. Even at half the original estimate, the project was still a five-figure job and an opportunity to stretch my filmmaking muscles. Christmas was coming early … literally.

With the contract won, the real pressure was about to start. In order to have the film ready for distribution to their various partners by the Christmas season, they needed it completed by Nov. 30. By the time the contract was signed, it was Oct. 25. We didn’t receive the first retainer check until shortly after Nov. 1. (I’ve learned never to start work on a project until the check clears the bank. There have been enough times in the past where I wasted valuable time on projects that ended up falling through.) That left just less than a month to write the script, audition actors, gather a crew, find props, find a location, shoot, and then edit. Oh, and did I mention I would be gone for an entire week during that period shooting in New Orleans for Pictage, Inc.? This was going to be interesting.

Remember the Four P’s
Now that we’ve covered the business side of the equation, in Part 2, I’ll cover the art: everything from preproduction through post, including client collaboration. In the meantime, remember these four P’s of marketing for corporate film production: Pursue your passion: Find out what fulfills you in this business, then go after it. Pick your hill: Determine the aspect of the business you will become an expert in and make it known to the world.

Price correctly: Throw out the “$1,000 per minute” ballpark estimating theory, and really figure out how much it will cost a prospect to hire you. If you want to give a true ballpark, give real-world examples of projects you’ve already done and how much they cost.

Present your case: When making bids to prospects, write out a professional and coherent concept proposal and budget. Be prepared to educate your prospective clients on 1) what goes into your proposal, and most importantly 2) why you’re the woman/man for the job. Then, if your marketing and sales efforts succeed, you’ll be ready to move on to the three P’s we all, as filmmakers, enjoy most: preproduction, production, and post.

Ron Dawson (ron at daredreamer.net) is president of Dare Dreamer Media, a new media marketing and video production agency. He and his wife, Tasra, are co-authors of the Peachpit Press book ReFocus: Cutting Edge Strategies to Evolve Your Video Business. Ron is also a two-time EventDV 25 honoree.

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Gates of Eden: IN[FOCUS] 2011

IN[FOCUS] 2011When IN[FOCUS] co-founder Chris P. Jones first explained to me the concept behind "The Gateway," the theme attached to IN[FOCUS] 2011, I figured it could go one of three ways: The Gateway would be the banner under which attendees would enter the conference, check the theme at the door, and proceed onward to sample the protean talents of the various presenters with little more than lip service paid to the theme from there on out. Possibility #2 was that the conference's organizers would try too hard to shoehorn the presentations into the theme, and sap some of the vitality of the presentations by not playing to their presenters' strengths. The third result I envisioned was four days of gateway-rooted hit-and-miss, with some seminars playing well to the theme and the others seeming like holdovers from some other event. Little did I know there was a fourth possibility: the four most satisfying, captivating, inspiring, and rewarding days I've experienced anywhere, anytime in 6 years in this industry.

On the third night of IN[FOCUS], which took place January 23-26 of this year in New Orleans, just before we headed out to the streets of the French Quarter for a jubilant second line parade, complete with brass band, I asked Jones if the Gateway theme had started with Patrick Moreau's headline presentation topic, and he acknowledged that it had. The basic idea of "The Gateway" was to present 10 seminars with a common purpose: to suggest ways in which an approach to wedding filmmaking that's infused with ambition, storytelling, visual artistry, and sound business strategy could serve as a gateway to other satisfying and profitable endeavors. While each presentation served that theme in its own way, it was Moreau's that really exemplified it.

Moreau's studio, StillMotion has come a long way in the last 18 months, and when you look at what the company had already achieved at that point—oodles of awards, sold-out workshops, high-end booking around the globe, corporate sponsorships, and arguably the most widely copied style in the business—it's even more remarkable to see how far they've advanced since late-2009. The biggest news out of StillMotion in 2010 was that Moreau had been hired by the NFL Network to produce a series called The Season, which put him right on the field with his 5D rig and Steadicam. What's most inspiring, as Moreau described in his seminar, is how he got that gig (as well as high-profile work with Callaway Golf, Apple, and other big-time corporate clients): The producers saw his wedding work online and sought him out to produce their shows in exactly the same style, without ever asking to see a commercial sample.

But what I appreciated most about Moreau's presentation was not just his illustration of the gateway effect of powerful wedding filmmaking, but his explanation of how the gate swings both ways, making wedding work much more than a means to an end. "This is where we're headed [as a company]," he explained. "Shoot for the NFL one week, shoot for Apple the next week, and shoot a wedding for a couple we love the following week." And each week, regardless of the venue, the process is essentially the same: find the uniqueness in the subject, tell a compelling story, and make a meaningful film. "That's what allows us to tell these different stories and makes it exciting week after week. It's the same for Phil Mickelson as it is for Winnie and Gerry."

Part of the reason the approach crosses over so well, he said, is that StillMotion doesn't approach a wedding film as a film about a wedding so much as a film about a couple. When he has dinner with a couple in an effort to get to know them prior to producing their film, he says, "We don't ask them about the wedding. We don't care about the wedding. We care about who they are. Questions about the wedding don't tell us anything about who they are." Asking these questions allows the film to answer questions such as "What's happening today that means more than just today? What bigger story do those details tie into?"

One underlying message of Moreau's presentation was not just a shared process between different kinds of production work, but approaching different types of projects with a common purpose. And again and again, what resonated about IN[FOCUS], and what I believe will help it continue to grow, is a specificity of purpose that goes beyond simply providing opportunities for videographer education and interaction, and a real commitment to providing a customized, unique experience for attendees who want to gather with as many of their peers as possible without getting lost in the crowd.

The "gateway" theme of IN[FOCUS] manifested itself in various ways in other seminars, such as David Perry's look at how self-knowledge and identification of personal strengths and weaknesses, and discovering your own "genius" (as well as "what you suck at") can tell you how to structure your business and your own role within it. (David got a big assist from Jose Ortiz, who will be taking the stage again during the WEVA event at NAB 2011.) And Matt Davis of Life Stage Films, stepping outside his usual "business coach" comfort zone, used succeeding in business as a jumping off point for finding "your business compass": "You're a success. So what? What are you going to do with it?" His answer was pursuing socially meaningful (but also professionally profitable) work in mission and nonprofit video, even referring emphatically to his current level of involvement in wedding filmmaking as temporary: "My vision is that in 2017 I won't be shooting weddings. It's a means to an end. But what we learn on this job is critical to being able to tell stories the right way to impact the world."

Ray Roman, fresh off his own workshops in South Florida, gave a presentation called "The Gateway to the Other Side"—the "other side" being high-profile clients, and an escape from the low-to-mid-range rut—in which he was even more blunt about why he does what he does: "For me, this is all about the Benjamins. I left police work—a steady job with benefits and a pension"—to get into this business. "I love shooting wedding video, but I need to make money at this job." Roman also argued that the potential for moving into higher-end work is less limited by the prices others around you have commanded to date than the amount of competition: "If you can't name 10 great wedding filmmakers in your area, the market is wide open." Roman advised attendees about the importance of looking high-end if they want to be high-end, and warned against falling into the trap of putting every wedding film they produce on their blogs, and ever putting anything less than the work that represents them best up front. He also contributed what is sure to become one of our industry's most oft-quoted lines about the unique power of film to capture and represent a live event: "Do you wanna see the Super Bowl in a photo album, or watch it on TV?"

Perhaps the most entertaining 90 minutes of the week (that is, the most entertaining 90 minutes spent in-seminar) came courtesy of the Bui Brothers (although "Godfather of Video" John Goolsby gets an honorable mention for delivering comedic edutainment on some of the most you-may-not-enjoy-talking-about-this-but-you-absolutely-need-to-know-it, nuts-and-bolts, business-specific material imaginable, and headliner Adam Forgione also deserves special consideration for operatic bursts of bombast that no one else who shared that stage could ever pull off). The Bui Brothers are two photographer/cinematographer siblings born for standup comedy, who hit on a range of topics related to how to get your work seen on the web. They kicked off their SEO discussion by Googling the terms "new orleans wedding video royal sonesta" (the Royal Sonesta being the New Orleans hotel where IN[FOCUS] took place), and showing how they got their site to come up first, even though they a) don't shoot wedding video, b) don't work or live in New Orleans, c) had never set foot inside the Royal Sonesta prior to the event, and d) had accomplished that feat of SEO supremacy with a few minutes of careful keyword placement the day before their seminar. The idea was not so much to show off their mad SEO skills as to demonstrate how little videographers tend to leverage location-based SEO. Part of this has to do with the cart/horse dichotomy between photographers and videographers: "Photographers do it backwards. They don't know how to use their camera, but they go out and market and get to #1 on Google. You perfect your craft first, and then you go out and do your marketing and SEO." The Bui Brothers also delivered the week's most memorable line (which is probably repeated somewhere on their blog, www.thebuibrothers.com—as if they need more traffic) on the dangers of doing video work with zebras, their reputation for docility notwithstanding.

Also touching on entry into and interchange with the photo world was Imagique's Daniel Boswell, who talked about how DSLR shooters can add photography (and particularly photo-to-CD and SDE-only packages) to their services and grow their business while reducing their postproduction time. (Look for Boswell's forthcoming EventDV column on this topic, which will kick off in the April issue.)

And some of the most cogent branding insight of the entire week came from two men who valorously stayed home to fight the battle of Bedford Falls last November while their wives set the industry on its ear with POSH 2010, Steve Zugelter of Studio Z Films and John Moon of Northernlight Filmworks. One of the most interesting topics they introduced, new to me, was the notion of using a promo, rather than (or in addition to) a demo reel to bring more attention to your studio. While the long-familiar demo is a collection of clips from past productions, the promo is all about the filmmakers, a short film designed to capture the vibe they bring to an event and suggest how who they are informs the films they produce, and what they'd be like to work with. This, in turn relates to Moon and Zugelter's advice on how to introduce yourself to prospects on your website or blog: "Don't go into great detail about your passion for filmmaking. Your visitors know you're passionate about filmmaking; that's why you started your business. A website is very cold by nature. It's up to you to warm it up by talking about you and who you are."

Repeating that quote, it strikes me that we've come a long way, as an industry, to the point where we take for granted that a "passion for filmmaking" is likely to be found at the heart of a wedding video operation, and serves as the primary inspiration for the person who started it. I'm not even entirely convinced that description applies to everyone in this business, even today, although it's becoming more and more the norm, and I'd guess that it applies to the vast majority of the self-selected group who found their way to IN[FOCUS] with their eyes on that gateway.

It was particularly fascinating to hear Kevin Shahinian, founder of Pacific Pictures and writer/director of event filmmaking's first magnum opus, City of Lakes—a guy whose passion for film is well understood—speaking quite passionately about wedding-day cinema. This is something new for Shahinian as a presenter in this industry, which I suspect brought home his message to people who may have been awed by his concept work in the past but seen it as something worlds apart from what they do or might ever get to do. Describing the event filmmaker as the "interpreter of an event," he said, the idea is to produce a film with more in mind than pleasing a specific client. "Why is it important to have mass appeal?" he asked. "Pleasing the client is not enough for me. The ultimate test is as a random person—do I care? Am I rooting for the couple to end up together?" At the heart of that question is the ability to make a wedding film that's compelling in the way that fictional, narrative films with 3-act structures (status quo > journey > resolution/restoration) keep an audience's attention: "How do we create mystery and suspense in a film with a totally inevitable outcome?"

Shahinian also stressed the importance of approaching an event as a filmmaker, rather than a documentarian, and establishing that role with the bride and groom from the outset: "Tell them ‘I'm a filmmaker, not a videographer. Let me give you my vision.' The biggest challenge to overcome is getting your client to trust you implicitly. The bride and groom are choosing every little thing—why would they want a paint-by-numbers wedding film?"

Producing a successful educational event, let alone one that eschews paint-by-numbers formula is much harder than it sounds. And turning a profit at it in this day and age is even harder, although it's exciting to see how smaller gatherings and workshops are finding innovative ways to do just that. And if event videography was, at one time, a predominantly paint-by-numbers endeavor, those days are long behind us. Producing inspired educational experiences, like producing inspired films, takes vision, purpose, and ambition—three things co-producers Jones, Don and Joanne Pham, and Terry and Joe Taravella, and their stellar speaker roster brought to IN[FOCUS] 2011 in abundance. And as that vision continues to unfold with next year's already-announced event, "A Filmmaker's Odyssey," we can all count ourselves lucky to be embarking on the odyssey with them.

IN[FOCUS] 2011
IMAGE BY DAVID ROBIN, david robin | films

Stephen Nathans-Kelly (stephen.nathans at infotoday.com) is editor-in-chief of EventDV.

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Digital Juice Releases New High Quality Tripod Bag

Digital Juice® announced today the release of the Digital Juice Gear Tripod Bag, a new addition to its rapidly expanding line of gear protection and transport equipment. The Tripod Bag offers purposeful, organized and contemporary-looking storage and protection for mid-size double riser tripods with 100-150mm bowl heads and also works well for light stand kits and accessories.

Constructed from heavyweight nylon fabric, the Digital Juice Tripod Bag has an excellent tear strength and is very abrasion resistant. Plus, the polyurethane coating provides a waterproof layer between your gear and the elements so you can breathe easy and be assured your tripod will be safe when you travel. Multiple accessory pockets on the inside and outside of the bag allow ample space for essentials like cables, duct tape. filters and grip gear.

The top of the Tripod Bag is reinforced with tubular aluminum, providing protection for the contents and a frame to hold the square mouth of the bag open for easy stowing and access to the contents. The bag features a quick-release double-stitched padded suede shoulder strap as well as permanent top carry handles with soft suede handle grips. Because the base of the bag is plastic-reinforced and padded with a thin layer of dense memory foam, some of the shocks of normal travel are absorbed, and the contents of the bag are protected from the dirt and moisture of many location shoots.

"The Tripod Bag is made with the highest quality lightweight materials and a high attention to detail," says Viv Beason, President of Digital Juice. "Its contemporary looks match the rest of the Digital Juice Gear Bag line, making you look like the professional you are when you carry the matching set on location."

Feature Highlights
• Lightweight padded plastic-reinforced base & tubular aluminum upper frame provides flexible, sturdy and stable protection in an easy to carry bag.
• The square mouth of the bag is supported by tubular aluminum and unzips and stays upright and open so you can stow and retrieve your tripod or light stand with ease.
• The exterior is constructed and sewn with sturdy nylon thread, rugged waterproof nylon fabric, thick nylon web straps, heavyweight YKK zippers, strong woven nylon cord pulls, and soft suede handle grips. Sturdy construction materials mean superior and long-lasting protection for your tripod or light kit on the road and in the studio.
• Two carry options -- permanent carry handles and a detachable padded shoulder strap -- allow you to comfortably carry the tripod bag from point A to point B.
• Casual good-looking style with pro-level function and performance make the Digital Juice Tripod stand out, but rugged functionality and ease of use make it an essential part of your production kit.
• Multiple accessory pockets on exterior and interior, zippered and non-zippered, offer plenty of secure space to carry additional equipment like cables, grip gear or tripod spreader units as well as any small accessories that might be needed on the go.


Tripod Bag
Exterior Dimensions: 40" x 11" x 11" (101.6cm x 27.9cm x 27.9cm)
Interior Dimensions: 37" x 9" x 9" (94.0cm x 22.9cm x 22.9cm)
Weight: 9 lbs (4.1 kg)
Weight Capacity: up to 35-40 lbs (16-18kg) recommended

Pricing & Availability
The new Tripod Bag can be ordered through Digital Juice's online store (www.digitaljuice.com) or by calling the company's customer service center toll-free at 800-525-2203. The Tripod Bag retails for $349.95. Check the website for details on special offers.

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WEVA Goes "Virtual" With Expo 2011

On Friday, January 28, the Wedding and Event Videographers Association (WEVA) International issued the following release, revealing plans for Expo 2010, which will take place August 24-25, online, as a "virtual" expo following the model of WEVA's iVideo Show, which debuted in February 2010:

This year all wedding & event filmmakers and digital imagers worldwide will be able to attend our industry’s largest convention and trade show -- without leaving home.

The WEVA 21st Annual Wedding & Event Video Expo is going 21st Century virtual. No matter where you are located, on August 24-25 WEVA EXPO 2011 is coming to YOU... LIVE! And, with VIDEO CHAT so you can see and network with fellow colleagues across the US and around the globe.

All EXPO programming, Roundtables, Q&A sessions, the FREE 2-Day Trade Show, and live networking will be officially scheduled on Pacific Coast hours.

** Making Education Available Internationally **

Industry professionals from the US and worldwide have asked the same familiar question for years -- "When are you bringing WEVA EXPO close to our home? Our entire crew wants to attend sessions and go to the Trade Show, but travel is difficult, airfares are high, and hotels are expensive. We need EXPO here in our own backyard. Can WEVA make that happen?"

Today, WEVA is announcing it’s happening! Due to the huge success of last year's WEVA iVideoShow (our industry's first online conference & Trade Show) and the never-ending speed of IT developments, WEVA EXPO 2011 will be the first global SUPERSHOW for wedding & event filmmakers worldwide, all online.

WEVA EXPO 2011 will be LIVE at your fingertips -- on your laptop, or large-screen TV -- and totally interactive. You can’t get any closer to home than that!

* Multi-Track Sessions, Live Q&A, 2-Day Trade Show, & Networking *

There will be dozens of multi-track (and multi-lingual) state-of-the-art sessions presented by leading wedding & event filmmakers not only from the US, but worldwide.... plus top social media marketing specialists, and industry experts on editing, workflow, lighting, audio, Web video, DSLR techniques, and much more -- with live Q&A by presenters, text & video chat.

Conference-style video chat will enable you to meet-up with fellow attendees live online – even during meal breaks. Getting technical information, downloading dealer prices sheets & literature, and watching the newest product demos will be a breeze.

And, just like WEVA iVideoShow, many sessions, camera demonstrations, system-specific training, etc., will be available on-demand at your convenience. All WEVA EXPO 2011 conference registrants will be able to access ALL programs, even watch the 2011 WEVA Creative Excellence Award Winning entries, and more.

Since last February's WEVA iVideoShow, more people in more industries have been attending conferences online instead of costly events that require travel expenses and time away from responsibilities at home and work.

John Zale, WEVA's Dir. of Educational Development notes: "Our industry is undergoing enormous changes that are being affected by social media and new IT developments, making it harder for wedding and event filmmakers to keep up with everything, especially with the challenges of today’s economy. It’s a major reason why we are excited to be presenting WEVA EXPO 2011 online making it possible for everyone to attend."

Registration for WEVA EXPO 2011 will open soon. Watch WEVA.com for details. Below, you can read what attendees said about last year's online WEVA iVideoShow -- and be sure to block your calendar now for August 24-25 for the WEVA 21st Annual Wedding & Event Video Expo. This year it’s coming to YOU.

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Sorenson Media’s New Sorenson Squeeze 7 Accelerates Video Encoding Performance, Saves Time, Streamlines Workflows

Sorenson Media today launched Sorenson Squeeze 7, a major upgrade of the company’s award-winning video encoding application, designed to save users valuable time while significantly boosting performance. Among its key new features are graphics processing unit (GPU) acceleration, adaptive bitrate encoding and myriad new input and output formats.

"The video encoding and publishing workflow is too often weighed down with tedious and repetitive steps that turn what should be an intuitive and painless experience into a time-consuming, even mind-numbing slog,” said Peter Csathy, CEO of Sorenson Media. “Sorenson Squeeze 7 takes the pain and drudgery out of the encoding process with advanced GPU acceleration and automation of all aspects of adaptive bit rate encoding. With this new version of Sorenson Squeeze, video professionals and broadcast organizations can encode and deploy top-quality online video in the formats they use most – and will save valuable time in the process, freeing them up to focus on their core revenue-generating business.”

Sorenson Squeeze 7's new improvements represent a major leap forward in enabling video professionals and companies to maximize their most valuable commodity – time:

  • New GPU Acceleration. By utilizing GPUs such as NVIDIA Quadro® professional graphics solutions, the specialized microprocessors that power graphics in professional workstations, Sorenson Squeeze 7 delivers significantly faster encoding times. Sorenson Squeeze 7 automatically recognizes when the user’s primary CPU or GPU may be faster and will use the better resource for the encoding job. The software is optimized for NVIDIA CUDA, the parallel computing architecture created by NVIDIA that powers a variety of their popular GPUs. Internal benchmark tests have shown Sorenson Squeeze 7 is up to three times faster than Sorenson Squeeze 6 when encoding in the H.264 format using GPU acceleration.*

  • New Adaptive Bitrate Encoding. Sorenson Squeeze 7 handles all aspects of adaptive bitrate encoding, from encoding multiple renditions of videos at varying data rates to segmenting files and uploading them to the user’s chosen content delivery network. This streamlined workflow frees users from the previously labor-intensive, detailed and time-consuming process involving many steps and tools.

  • New Input and Output Formats. Sorenson Squeeze 7 adds Flash, Apple ProRes, and MPEG Transport Streams to its wide range of existing input formats. New output formats available in Squeeze 7 include WebM, MPEG Transport Streams with H.264 and Dolby AC3 for broadcasters, MPEG-2 elementary streams for Blu-ray authoring with H.264 and VC-1, DVB for cable/satellite/terrestrial television, and digital signage-specific formats.

  • New Audio Only Output Formats. Sorenson Squeeze 7 now supports audio-only output formats such as Dolby’s AC3, AAC, AIFF, M4A, MP3, Ogg, WAV and WMA.

  • New Adobe Premiere Plug-in. With the addition of a unique plug-in for Adobe Premiere (compatible with Creative Suite 4 and Creative Suite 5), Sorenson Squeeze 7 now provides seamless encoding from within every major professional non-linear editing application, including Avid’s Media Composer, Newscutter and Symphony and Apple’s iMovie, Final Cut and Final Cut Pro.

Squeeze 7 builds on what has become the gold-standard, total workflow solution for video professionals. Its productivity-boosting tools – including email and text notification, a secure review and approval process, optimized video codecs and myriad filters vetted by Sorensen Media engineers – all work seamlessly with the Sorenson 360 online video platform.

Pricing and Availability
Sorenson Squeeze 7 is available immediately for electronic download or for shipping in CD form. The suggested retail price for Sorenson Squeeze 7 is $799. Upgrades from previous versions of Sorenson Squeeze begin at $299 (with special limited $199 introductory pricing for Squeeze 6 users). For additional information about purchasing Sorenson Squeeze 7, visit http://www.sorensonmedia.com/squeeze-pricing.

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JVC Introduces GY-HM750U ProHD Camcorder

JVC Professional Products Company, a division of JVC Americas Corp., today introduced the GY-HM750U ProHD compact shoulder-mount camcorder. Ideal for ENG news, sports, documentaries, events, and other location shoots, it offers the industry's fastest shoot-to-edit workflow by recording native HD or SD footage in ready-to-edit file formats on low-cost SDHC memory cards.

Equipped with the same 3-CCD imaging system found in the GY-HM790U, JVC's ProHD flagship camcorder, the GY-HM750U delivers outstanding 1920x1080 images in a small, lightweight form factor. It records at selectable data rates up to 35 Mbps and can record HD footage in 720p, 1080p, and 1080i, as well as SD footage (480i).

Using JVC's established native file-based workflow, the GY-HM750U includes a dual card slot design that records to non-proprietary SDHC cards and/or optional SxS recorder. A new feature, borne from numerous customer requests, allows simultaneous recording to both SDHC cards for instant backup or client copy.

JVC's native file recording technology allows recording in ready-to-edit file formats for Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere (.MOV), as well as other major NLE systems that are compatible with Sony XDCAM EX files (.MP4). For legacy SD applications, the camcorder can also record standard DV files (.AVI or .MOV).

"High definition has not yet been standardized in many markets, and a vital segment of broadcasters don't have the infrastructure to deliver HD from the field," said Craig Yanagi, national marketing and brand manager. "That's why the new GY-HM750U offers the flexibility to record in 480i as well as a variety of HD formats. It can fulfill current SD needs while providing an seamless transition to HD in the future, all with the fastest and most efficient workflow available in the industry today."

Building on the modular approach of the GY-HM790U, the GY-HM750U includes a 68-pin chassis connector that creates a clean, direct interface with various modules - no external cables needed. The new KA-AS790 ASI output module, for example, provides a direct feed from the camera to a satellite uplink or microwave transmitter via BNC, which is ideal for broadcasters that want live HD video from the field. Not only can the camera be connected to the transmitter or uplink with a single BNC cable, thereby eliminating the need for additional "black box" interfaces, but the GY-HM750U automatically switches to low-latency mode (less than 300ms delay) when the module is in use.

JVC has also improved its Pre Rec (retro cache) feature, which continuously records and stores footage in cache memory and helps prevent missed shots of breaking events. The GY-HM750U stores 20 seconds of footage in its cache. Other features include variable frame rate recording, extensive image customization, a high resolution (1.22 million pixel) LCOS viewfinder and 4.3-inch flip-out LCD monitor, and JVC's patented Focus Assist functionality. The GY-HM750U also features two XLR audio inputs with phantom power, plus manual audio level controls with audio meter.

The GY-HM750U is priced at $7,450, including a Canon 14:1 zoom lens, though it accommodates a variety of lenses with its 1/3-inch bayonet lens mount. JVC offers 10 lenses from Canon and Fujinon, as well as a broad line of studio and field accessories, that are compatible with the GY-HM750U. The camcorder will ship in February and be demonstrated at the 2011 NAB Show, which runs April 11-14 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev. (Booth C4314).

A LoLux version of the camera specially designed for ENG use, the GY-HM750LL, will also be available to direct broadcast customers next month. Developed to assist television journalists when external lighting cannot be used, JVC's exclusive LoLux feature goes beyond the normal gain boost to produce broadcast acceptable imagery in extremely low-light environments.


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Singular Software Releases DualEyes For The Mac

Singular Software, a developer of workflow automation applications for digital media, announced that DualEyes™ is now available for Mac® OS® X.

Recently awarded Zoom Street magazine's January 2011 Editor's Choice Award and 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 streamlined for the task of replacing in-camera scratch audio with separately recorded high-quality audio. "DSLR popularity is still the big news in the industry, and it is reflected in the growing requests we've received for DualEyes support on the Mac platform," says Bruce Sharpe, CEO, Singular Software. "DualEyes eliminates the painful process of manual audio replacement during post-production, which saves hours. Combine this with the low price point and the product pays for itself on the first project."

About DualEyes
Recommended for both novice users and seasoned professionals, DualEyes synchronizes and cuts the audio to automatically match each video clip in both start time and duration. Users simply record audio on a separate recorder and use DualEyes to replace the camera audio with that high-quality separate audio. With DualEyes' technology, all original media files are kept intact, while new media files are created for advanced flexibility.

"DualEyes allows you to sync and interleave the high-quality audio with the original video, without re-rendering the video. The result is a new clip, ready for editing, that has the original-quality video synced with your high-quality audio," says Al Caudullo, 2D and 3D filmmaker, teacher and journalist.

To read the rest of Al's review on HD Guru 3D, please visit: http://3dguy.tv/dualeyes-review-solution-for-synching-in-the-3d-pipeline/.

DualEyes for Mac OS X Availability and Pricing
DualEyes for Mac OS X 10.5 and later is available to purchase via the Singular Software website for an introductory price of $119 USD until February 22. The regular price is $149 USD.

To download DualEyes for Mac OS X, please visit: http://www.singularsoftware.com/downloads.html.

Other DualEyes Versions
DualEyes for Windows® XP®, Vista® or Windows 7® (32-bit and 64-bit) is also available via the Singular Software website: http://www.singularsoftware.com/buy.html.

You can test drive DualEyes by downloading a fully functional 30-day free trial version from: http://www.singularsoftware.com/downloads.html


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WaCru Announces the WaCru DSLR Cage

Digital media firm WaCru announces the WaCru DSLR Cage, a camera accessory gear support and stabilization platform for the new breed of still camera-HD video hybrids.

The WaCru DSLR Cage™ is a simple and elegant design, strong yet lightweight, that allows cinematographers to easily attach DSLR accessories such as Audio Recorders, Wireless Microphone Receivers, Shock Mounts and on-camera lights, with 1/4” or 3/8” screws and bolts readily available in hardware stores. The WaCru DSLR Cage™ can be mounted on a Tripod or Monopod or used hand-held as a run’n’gun camera stabilization device.

Located in New York City, WaCru is the freelance “brand” of filmmaker/musician/instructional technologist David A. Ludwig. “In searching for a device that would allow me to mount accessories to use with my DSLR, I found the marketplace filled with rigs that were too complicated, too expensive, or both. And the DIY rigs looked, well, DIY. So I designed my own. I have the top and bottom bars fabricated by a company in Michigan, and I get the foam grips from a supplier in Washington state. The handles are made from hardware store parts, 100% Made in USA, by a filmmaker for filmmakers!”

The product sells for $239 and is available now at Amazon.com.

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