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Information Today, Inc.

April 05, 2011

Table of Contents

The Story Behind The NFL Season
Schneider Brings Large-Format Camera Perspective Performance to DSLRs
Digital Rapids Doubles Encoder Density with Powerful New Models
Noise Industries Ships Photo Montage - Slide-Show Plug-in for FCP, Motion and After Effects
Lensbaby Announces a New SLR Lens: The Composer Pro
GoPro Launches 3D HERO System, World's Smallest 1080p 3D Camera
NewTek to Give Away $100,000 in Prizes at NAB 2011

The Story Behind The NFL Season

The NFL Season: A Biography, presented by SAPOver the past year, Patrick Moreau and his stillmotion crew have been working on the Emmy-nominated NFL Network program The NFL Season: A Biography, Presented by SAP. The show, originally intended to run through 12 webisodes on NFL.com, was extended to 19 episodes after its initial success and was subsequently picked up by the NFL Network for monthly 30-minute shows and a Super Bowl XLV 1-hour special. At IN[FOCUS] 2011, Moreau spoke about how they got the gig based entirely on the impact of their wedding work (without ever showing a commercial sample), how they applied storytelling and shooting and editing skills they had developed as wedding cinematographers to the NFL Network show, and how they continue to use, essentially, the same approach in these seemingly very different types of productions, including key techniques such as camera placement, shot framing, the use of lenses to drive a story, and how to edit with a clear sense of story. This is an exciting moment for the wedding filmmaking industry as one of our own establishes wedding-filmmaker credibility in this arena; it was also exciting for me, personally, to pause my DVR and replay in slow-motion every time I saw a guy in a Steadicam vest run out onto the field during the Super Bowl when the triumphant Green Bay Packers scored. In this three-part article, Moreau, NFL Network coordinating producer Brian Lockhart, and producer and director Kevin Shaw offer their own takes on the story behind The NFL Season and the lessons to be learned from how it all came about and how it all played out on and off the field. —Ed.

Making the Season a Character
Brian Lockhart, NFL Network Coordinating Producer
The idea for The NFL Season: A Biography, Presented by SAP originated from the concept of making the season itself a character. The project was conceived, first and foremost, as a long-form documentary following the league’s stars, issues, and games over the course of 23 weeks. I felt so strongly about this idea that I immediately enlisted two of the best storytellers in sports television, Aaron Cohen (writer/producer) and Kevin Shaw (director/producer), to further develop my initial sketch for The NFL Season.

In addition to the basic conceit, I directed the guys to develop something that isn’t currently being seen on television. I wanted this project to carve out its own narrative point of view and style. All topics would be open for examination, and the cinematography and direction must be special. Enter stillmotion. Over the course of a month, we developed a concise pitch that sparked the imagination of all who read it. But it was all but impossible to find the funds or internal partners to pay for this ambitious endeavor.

As the idea was stalling from a development standpoint, The NFL Season was presented to our NFL Media sales team as something they could take to market. The project lay dormant until July 2010, when I received a call saying that SAP was a potential sponsor if we would consider re-imagining the idea as a series for NFL.com. My answer: “Done.”

With Kevin and Aaron on board and vested in the project, NFL.com had the cornerstones for a top-shelf series from a content standpoint. The great unknown was how these sports production veterans would get something unique from talented yet inexperienced videographers from Canada whose reel consisted primarily of weddings and the occasional corporate video. In theory, it was worth the risk because of stillmotion’s knowledge of DSLR technology and supplemental rigs and because their superior image creation was 6–12 months ahead of anyone else in sports television.

The NFL Season: A Biography, presented by SAP

Two Distinct Cultures Collide
  The challenge in the beginning of the project was developing the best process to maximize our directors’ and cinematographers’ creativity. Let’s just say there were a lot of phone calls from both sides expressing frustration about how the other side worked. Here’s how some of those calls went:

“We are not being allowed to do what you brought us on board to do.” My answer: “Be patient.”

“These guys need to know their place.” My answer: “They are not a standard crew.”

“You need to let us do one of these segments on our own so we could show you what we could really do.” My answer: “Not even close.”

The cinematographers at stillmotion wanted more input and didn’t want to be seen simply as guys who push “record.” Our directors wanted a crew that respected and followed their creative decisions. I wanted these capable creatives to just figure it out on their own. I respected this creative tension because all parties constantly expressed the same goals.

The desire for constant collaboration we found with stillmotion is both inspiring and at times maddening. “Who are these cocksure video geeks who want to reinvent the wheel every time out?” On the other end, NFL Network producers needed to be challenged to do things differently. We all needed to learn how to trust the others’ expertise. Most of all, we needed to be honest (sometimes brutally) with each other.

At points, I feared the whole thing would collapse under its own weight. Then it clicked, resulting in a run of segments that became the new standard for The NFL Season: A Biography, Presented by SAP (“Favre’s Return to  Lambeau,” “LT’s New Chapter,” “[Ray Lewis] and His Son,” and “[Arthur] Blank’s Commitment”).

The NFL Season: A Biography, presented by SAP
Shooting from the sidelines in the Arthur Blank episode

The benefits of working with stillmotion are evident in the richness and variety of images that they capture. When given the latitude, they can transform a simple sit-down interview into an intimate exchange that we are fortunate to witness. The ability of the stillmotion crew to be seemingly everywhere without being seen is key to the ethos of The NFL Season. Their ability to capture nuanced on-the-field moments, a glance, a fist-bump, unbridled elation, and abject despair, is beyond compare. Their mastery of DSLR technology has allowed us to document stories in an exceptional way. The more stillmotion becomes engaged in the storylines of the NFL, the better their coverage will become.

Challenges and Benefits of Doing an NFL Show With a Wedding Crew
Kevin Shaw, NFL Network Producer and Director, www.23films.com

The biggest challenge of working on a project like this with a wedding crew was realizing your crew doesn’t have the same knowledge of the National Football League that you do as director. I had to make sure they had a full understanding of how the people in our stories related to one another and to the NFL.

The benefits were that you had a group of individuals with a different storytelling point of view bringing their eyes to a subject that was new and intriguing to them. If you give the crew the freedom to explore and discover, you can come up with creative ways of covering stories that, for a seasoned veteran like me, was totally refreshing.

A Distinctive Approach
When we began work on the NFL Network series The NFL Season: A Biography, Presented by SAP, we knew we needed to produce something distinctive. Because there’s so much NFL-related content on so many different platforms each season, we had to make sure there was a reason for our existence. We wanted to tell stories about the fan, the owner, the veteran player, and the head coach, but with a different perspective. The stories we told weren’t about who won or lost; they dealt with overarching themes: family, comebacks, redemption that carried greater weight and, in the end, gave the viewer stronger appreciation for the people who partake in professional football.

We wanted the viewer to walk in the subject’s shoes as they narrated their story. I think every creative decision, from camera placement to editing, was made with that in mind: capturing the subjective point of view.

We wanted to give the audience a cinematic experience with each story. They’re watching a short film on their favorite NFL team or player, something different from the normal treatment they’d find on local or cable news. By approaching the subject matter with a cinematic point of view, we were able to reach our goal of creating a unique television viewing experience for the audience.

The biggest thing a director can do is recognize people’s talents and provide them a stage where they can best do their work. The strength of stillmotion lies in how they view the world. Once we both had an understanding of the story we were covering, I would tell the crew what kind of shots I was looking for, wide shots, tight shots, emotional reaction, and so on. I would inform them when and where events that we needed to capture during the day were happening. And I helped them anticipate when events that had no preplanning, such as specific football plays occurring on the field, were about to happen, making sure we were in the right place at the right time. And then, I let them do what they do best: capture the event with their creative imagination. In the end, it was a perfect collaboration.

Where the Stories Came From
Mainly, the unfolding NFL season was our biggest resource. We attached ourselves to many of the big storylines immediately: the New Orleans Saints opening the season as Super Bowl Champs, Brett Favre’s last hurrah, Ben Roethlisberger’s return from suspension, Michael Vick’s resurgence.

After we had the general story subject agreed upon, we looked to tell that story through a unique perspective with a theme attached. Our story on New Orleans, focusing on the St Pierre/Taravella family, was pitched by Patrick of stillmotion. Instead of doing something conventional on the Saints, we decided it was more interesting to see the effect the team had on local residents by telling the story of one fan who had suffered a personal loss but carried on strong memories of the Saints; those memories helped her cope with her loss.

The NFL Season: A Biography, presented by SAP
This was the setup in Terry Taravella's home when she watched the New Orleans Saints' home opener with her family and friends.

Two of my favorites were stories themed on family: one involving the Baltimore Ravens’ intimidating linebacker Ray Lewis, the other on Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. Ray Lewis graciously allowed us to follow him on a bye week to Florida where he watched one of his teenage sons, who has been hotly recruited by top 25 colleges, play high school football. It was a great look at a father and a son and gave the audience a different view of Ray Lewis who learned tough lessons on what it means to be a parent because he grew up without a father.

In Arthur Blank, we got a chance to learn what makes a multimillionaire successful. Blank started the home improvement store Home Depot before buying the Falcons franchise. Throughout all his efforts, he’s always kept family first and uses family as a motto in his business dealings. It was great to capture with such intimacy Blank’s beliefs, as well as a pivotal contest between Blank’s Falcons and the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers that the Falcons won on a last-second field goal. We intercut the two stories, truly giving the tale a rich, cinematic presentation that made the feature memorable.

Those stories in a nutshell did best what The NFL Season: A Biography set out to do: give the audience a unique look at NFL individuals through point-of-view, cinematic storytelling, making an impact on the audience and giving them a greater understanding of what makes our subjects who they are.

Approaching The NFL Season as a Wedding Cinematographer
Patrick Moreau, DP of The NFL Season with Justin DeMers and Joyce Tsang of stillmotion

Sometimes, as event filmmakers we don’t realize just how much we can leverage the skill set we have developing in our wedding and event work. To shoot an event in real time without altering or pausing it requires tremendous anticipation, patience, and an understanding of the different elements of cinema (light, lenses, camera movement, and so on). I believe, as does the whole stillmotion team, that to create the most honest and true moments in your film, you need to let them happen in front of you without any sort of assistance or suggestion. That approach to weddings translates perfectly into the sports world, where you no longer have the opportunity to tell an owner or a player what to do or how to act.

As the season was winding down, I had a phone call with our producer from the NFL who was walking us through what he was looking for in our next shoot. As he was explaining the narrative he wanted to get across, he referenced a wedding we had shot as inspiration for how to approach this game. That little comment became a big “light-bulb moment” for us, awakening our understanding of just how similar our process is when we shoot a wedding, produce a golf commercial, or cover a football game.

Using Lenses to Direct the Story
One of my favorite NFL Season episodes we put together as a team was the story of Arthur Blank, the owner of the Falcons. Within that episode, there were several elements we wanted to cover to put together our story; an interview in his office, a lunch meeting with all team employees, and a Falcons game.

When we arrived for the lunch meeting where Blank would be giving a toast, the first thing we did was assess the light. We looked at the different sources, the temperatures, and the relative strengths. When we walk into a bride’s home in the morning, we use the exact same process: looking at the light and using that to determine where we can best shoot and which areas we should avoid. Once we came up with some areas that would best utilize the available light (The NFL Season being a documentary series, we wanted to capture things naturally, so scenes like this were shot without external lighting), the next question was to decide camera positions and lenses.

When we’re shooting a wedding, there are three big things we often look at to help us decide which prime we want to shoot with. The most obvious factor is the practicalities of the situation, and we ask ourselves questions such as the following:

• How close might make the subject camera-aware?
• Do you need to avoid blocking others’ view?

The NFL Season: A Biography, presented by SAP

The Canon 400mm DO lens with a small HD monitor for critical focus: At $6,000 for the lens, it's tough to add to your kit. We rented tilt-shifts and long lenses from LensProToGo.com and had them shipped to our hotels.

With weddings, we can often go quite close to a bride and groom without making them camera-aware for most of the day, yet we need to leave a little more space at times such as at the ceremony and during the speeches. The second thing we look at is the story and what we are trying to say with this particular moment or scene. Keep in mind that wide lenses exaggerate, while tighter lenses compress, and then you also have to keep in mind other lens factors such as depth of field, bokeh, and color.

Since wide lenses exaggerate, we can use them when we want to make things larger than life, such as emphasizing energy, or stretching things out for a comedic look and feel. At a wedding, this might be appropriate for groom preps where the guys are really laid back and silly, or a reception with a lot of crazy, fast dancing.

On the other end of the spectrum, long lenses compress and also have a shallower depth of field, so that tends to make things more dramatic, which, at a wedding, would be appropriate for times such as during the vows, speeches, or makeup-applying portions where you were trying to slim down somebody’s figure.

The last factor we look at is the predictability of the event, with tighter lenses excelling in situations that are predictable, and wider lenses being more suitable when there is less certainty in what is going to happen. For this particular scene with Arthur Blank, we wanted a more dramatic feel and also wanted to avoid blocking the view of too many employees there, both of which would suggest a longer lens. Because we were shooting a toast in a pretty stationary spot, we also felt things would be fairly predictable, which again suggests a longer lens. In the end, we decided to shoot with a Canon 135 ƒ2 (at ƒ2.8 to give us a little more latitude for him to move but remain in focus), as well as a Canon 50 ƒ1.2 (at ƒ1.8 to keep it fairly isolated on Arthur). The idea was to use the 135 as our main angle and the 50 as a secondary, more creative angle, which also was wider just in case things became less predictable. This is exactly how we would have approached speeches at a wedding if they had happened in the very same room.

The NFL Season: A Biography, presented by SAP
The interview setup outside Terry Taravella's home for her episode of The NFL Season: A Biography, presented by SAP, focusing on her and her late husband, Julian St Pierre

Shooting the Game
When it came to shooting the game, we leveraged every wedding instinct we had to try and stay in front of the story and be ready as it developed. This is also where having our director, Kevin Shaw, on hand was tremendously beneficial. While we were focusing on what was happening in front of us, Kevin was able to step back and take things in on a broader scale and try to see where the story might be headed, and then have us adjust when needed.

The NFL Season: A Biography, presented by SAP
The Kansas City Chiefs stadium, where the crew shot an early episode

Shooting the game is probably most similar to shooting preps at a wedding in which there is a huge bridal party, a large house, and a lot of things happening all at once. At a wedding, there are so many paradigms we have from what we have seen others do and what we have shot ourselves that we often spend most of our time trying to find a fresh perspective. At a football game, the event is much more of a novelty. However, unlike a wedding, you have another 200 people also shooting the same event so, again, you need to work to try and find a fresh perspective. At this particular game, that meant finding a way up to the top of the stadium where they adjust the lights and getting some direct overhead shots that were unlike anything else being shot at that game.

Another big part of shooting a wedding is patience, and being able to develop the ability to let things happen in front of your lens without moving too quickly. It can often be so tempting to settle for a shot and then try to move on to something else instead of waiting for something much more telling that could push your story further.

At this particular game, patience was a big factor in getting some of the key moments that really elevated the story. We wanted to get B-roll of fans watching the game as a family, so while we would search out perfect groups, we often had to tuck ourselves away and play the waiting game until the right play that really brought them to life. Near the end of the game, we really wanted to capture Arthur Blank walking out onto the field to watch the last couple minutes of the fourth quarter (something he mentioned that he does in his interview—another wedding-derived lesson on being present).

We didn’t know exactly when or where he might come on the field, but we narrowed it down to a couple locations and assumed it would be sometime near the end of the fourth quarter. At a wedding, this would be very similar to a lot of the preparation shots we like to capture of venues being constructed and prepared. We often have an idea of roughly where and when they might take place, but the rest is a guessing game. For this particular shot, I ended up waiting in the corridor with my Steadicam for a good 10 minutes until Blank came down and walked onto the field right in front of me. Being on the field, hearing the energy of the crowd, and seeing the clock tick down certainly doesn’t make it easy to sit there and wait and just let things happen, but in the end we got the shot as he came out and it definitely added to the story.

Trust Your Skills
When the NFL Network first contacted us about The NFL Season, it sounded like an intriguing series with a diverse set of storylines, so naturally we were very excited to be a part of the show. As the season progressed and we really started to hit our stride in how we shot these episodes, it became very apparent that the more we embraced our background in weddings and applied the same things we had learned there, the stronger our stories would be on the field. So the next time you’re at a wedding, remember that the skill set you’re developing is useful in so many other scenarios and continue to push yourself to develop those skills to their fullest.

Patrick Moreau (patrick at stillmotion.ca) is co-founder of stillmotion, which he describes as "a band of filmmakers and photographers who believe that the process of discovery is as important as what goes on the screen. We tell stories--big, small, and anywhere in between. Check out stillmotionblog.com and check our EDU blog (stillmotionedu.com) for tutorials, BTS features, and info on our upcoming workshops, including a tour across the U.S. with Canon in May/June."

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Schneider Brings Large-Format Camera Perspective Performance to DSLRs

Schneider Optics announces a new family of PC-TS (Perspective Control through Tilt / Shift) lenses, designed to provide creative DSLR and medium format photographers a tool that allows them to control perspective in the manner previously possible only with a monorail-style camera.

The development of digital single-lens re?ex cameras has revolutionized professional photography. However, until recently, studio and architectural photographers wishing to control perspective, have had to employ a monorail-style view camera. Schneider’s PC-TS lenses provide the bridge between the convenience of DSLR and other medium format digital cameras, and the performance of a view camera.

The PC-TS lenses can shift laterally up to 12mm, or tilt at an angle up to 8 degrees. These movements can be applied in 30 degree increments at any position within the 360 degree lens rotation and with a huge 90mm image circle (DSLR) and 120mm image circle (Mamiya), the lens retains its full range of movements without vignetting. This superior quality system features Schneider’s high-resolution optics and a precise, zero-play mechanism. The use of the highest grade materials and careful craftsmanship ensures long-term stability users can rely on.

Schneider currently offers three PC-TS lenses: the Super Angulon f2.8 50mm and the Makro-Symmar f4.0 90mm PC-TS lens for DSLR cameras and the Apo-Digitar 5.6/120 HM Aspheric lens, designed for the medium format Mamiya/Phase One System digital cameras.



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Digital Rapids Doubles Encoder Density with Powerful New Models

Digital Rapids, the leading provider of tools and solutions for bringing television, movie and Web content to wider audiences, today announced new dual-channel models in the StreamZ and StreamZHD families of studio encoding systems; StreamZHD Live ABR adaptive streaming encoder; and Flux family of video capture and pre-processing hardware.

The new models combine Digital Rapids' long-standing ability to output multiple formats, resolutions and bit rates simultaneously in real time with the capability to capture and encode from two distinct sources concurrently.

Dual-channel, standard-definition StreamZ models feature SDI video input support with embedded audio. High-definition, dual-channel models of StreamZHD and StreamZHD Live ABR support HD-SDI, dual-link HD-SDI, 3G-SDI and standard-definition SDI video inputs. Real-time down-conversion of dual-link and 3G-SDI inputs leverages new facility infrastructures and allows easy repurposing of such sources without the workflow inconvenience and expense of external format converters.

The new SD Flux-2200 and HD Flux-4200 boards offer similar hardware functionality in half-height, half-length PCI Express(r) cards. Flux cards are bundled with the tightly integrated Stream LE software, allowing customers to add Digital Rapids' renowned multi-format capture, encoding, transcoding and streaming capabilities to existing PC workstations.

Further supporting these increased input channel densities, the latest StreamZHD and StreamZHD Live ABR system configurations also feature increased processing power, enabling the encoding of a greater number of simultaneous multi-format outputs.

"Media organizations are processing a higher volume of content than ever before, from increased numbers of live channels for multiple target devices to an exponentially growing number of file-based deliverables," said Darren Gallipeau, Product Manager at Digital Rapids. "The new dual-channel models of our encoding solutions will help customers address these increased demands while lowering the capital costs, space and power requirements associated with separate single-channel encoders."

Digital Rapids' comprehensive range of encoding solutions combine unmatched visual quality and performance with flexible, feature-rich software, seamlessly supporting the transformation of content for live and on-demand multi-screen distribution opportunities and file-based applications.

The complete range of Digital Rapids solutions will be showcased in booth number SL6010 at the 2011 NAB Show, April 11-14 in Las Vegas. For more information about Digital Rapids, please visit http://www.digital-rapids.com


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Noise Industries Ships Photo Montage - Slide-Show Plug-in for FCP, Motion and After Effects

Noise Industries, developer of visual effects tools for the post-production and broadcast markets, is pleased to announce the release of its brand new still animation plug-in?Photo Montage?powered by FxFactory®.

Photo Montage presents users with more than one-hundred animated presets, twenty transition styles, easy re-ordering and re-timing options, and built-in motion blurring features for animating any type of still image within Apple® Final Cut Pro®, Motion®, Final Cut Express®, and Adobe® After Effects®.

Noise Industries' new plug-in helps users to easily string together images, titles, transitions, and more for a picturesque presentation that creates an animated medley of still photos – no keyframing required. When combined with its user-friendly interface, Photo Montage's full array of effect parameters allows both novice and expert users to create eye-catching animations that exceed even the most demanding clients' creative needs.

"We are ecstatic to introduce its unique features to the FxFactory community," says Niclas Bahn, director of business development, Noise Industries. "The principle behind Photo Montage is simple: select an animation style and your photos, and let the plug-in do the rest. With easy re-ordering and re-timing, built-in motion blurring, and many animated presets, the plug-in's extreme ease of use certainly does not imply limited functionality. Anyone animating stills will want this plug-in; it will make the entire slideshow animation workflow a breeze."

Photo Montage Highlights
A Noise Industries' plug-in, Photo Montage, combines an extensive array of effect parameters with extreme ease-of-use for an unparalleled still animation workflow. Key Photo Montage features include:

  • Keyframing Optional: No keyframes are required for animation. Set durations for pause and transition, and leave the hard work to the plug-in.
  • Support for All Popular Image Formats: This includes JPEG, PNG, and PSD.
  • Easy Re-Ordering and Re-Timing: Customize the order and duration of each photo without wasting precious time renaming files or resizing tracks on the timeline.
  • Titling Support: Assign titles to each image and customize how and where these titles appear in the final output.
  • More Than One Hundred Presets: There is no easier way to explore Photo Montage and find the desired look for any project.
  • Built-in Motion Blurring: Create high-quality animations at any frame rate with built-in motion blur, available for all effects.

For more information on Photo Montage, please visit: http://www.noiseindustries.com/fxfactory/photomontage/.

Availability and Pricing of Photo Montage
Photo Montage is available now through April 17, 2011 at an introductory price of $159 USD. A trial version of Photo Montage is included with the FxFactory installer. The trial version can be unlocked by purchasing a registration code from the online store at http://www.noiseindustries.com/store/.

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Lensbaby Announces a New SLR Lens: The Composer Pro

Lensbaby announces its newest SLR creative effects camera lens, the Composer Pro. The Composer Pro refines and enhances the popular and award winning Lensbaby Composer by upgrading the swivel ball and focus mechanism to provide professional performance. The Composer Pro's metal swivel ball design and refined focus mechanism deliver ultra-smooth focus and tilt control. The updated focus mechanism features a fluid and accurate dampened focus ring comparable to the focus mechanisms of the highest quality professional manual focus lenses. This smooth, fluid operation makes the Composer Pro the perfect choice for discerning professional photographers and videographers who want to create ground-breaking creative imagery.

The Composer Pro is compatible with the Lensbaby Optic Swap System and ships with either the Double Glass Optic or the new Sweet 35 Optic installed. Each optic creates a Sweet Spot of sharp focus that photographers can move around the photo by tilting the Composer Pro's swiveling lens body. The Composer Pro is compatible with the complete range of creative optics in the Lensbaby Optic Swap System including the Fisheye, Soft Focus, Pinhole/Zone plate, Single Glass, and Plastic. Each optic can be swapped into the Composer Pro to deliver a different creative effect.

The Composer Pro joins Lensbaby's growing family of lenses, which now includes the Lensbaby Composer, Scout, Muse, and Control Freak. The Composer Pro will retail for $300 with the Double Glass Optic installed or for $400 with the Sweet 35 Optic installed. The entry-level Lensbaby Composer will remain in Lensbaby's product line but at a lower MSRP of $250.

"The Composer Pro builds on the strengths of its siblings in the Lensbaby family. In addition to being a core element in the Lensbaby Optic Swap system, it is smooth, fluid and precise to meet the needs of our community of photographer who want to see their unique visions through a precision piece of photographic equipment. Professional photographers continue to be at the core of our customer base." said Craig Strong, Lensbaby Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer. "The Composer pro is for them."

Composer Pro Specs:

* Refined metal ball design delivers ultra-smooth focus and tilt control
* Ships with either the Sweet 35 Optic or Double Glass Optic installed
* Compatible with the Lensbaby Optic Swap System
* Focus Type: Manual
* Size/Weight: 2.25" (5.71cm) high x 2.5" (6.35cm) wide / 4 oz (113.4g)
* Tilts from zero to 17.5 degrees

Sweet 35 Optic Product Specs:

* Focal Length: 35mm
* 12 blade internal aperture, controlled by a dial on the front of the optic
* Aperture range from f/2.5 through f/22 (sweet spot size ranges from 15%, at f/2.5, to 40%, at f/22, of total image area on APS-C sensor cameras)
* Selective focus optic (creates a sweet spot of focus surrounded by gradual blur)
* Compatible with Lensbaby Composer, Scout, Muse, and Control Freak lens bodies*
* Focus distance when used with Composer Pro: 7.5" to infinity
* 4 multi-coated glass elements, in three groups
* 46mm front threads**

*The Sweet 35 Optic is not compatible with the Composer with Tilt Transformer for Micro 4/3rds and Sony NEX Cameras.
**The Sweet 35 Optic is not compatible with current 37mm Lensbaby accessories.

Double Glass Optic Product Specs:

* Focal Length: 50mm
* Low dispersion, high refractive index, multi-coated optical glass doublet
* Aperture Type: Interchangeable, magnetic aperture disks
* Apertures: f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22
* Selective focus optic (creates a sweet spot of focus surrounded by gradual blur)
* Focus distance when used with Composer Pro: 18" to infinity
* 37mm front threads accept all Lensbaby accessory lenses

Composer Pro with Double Glass Optic is available now from Lensbaby-authorized photo specialty stores worldwide, and from adorama.com, amazon.com, bhphotovideo.com and lensbaby.com. Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic will be available soon. Composer Pro with Double Glass Optic retails for $300 MSRP and Composer Pro with Sweet 35 Optic retails for $400 MSRP.

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GoPro Launches 3D HERO System, World's Smallest 1080p 3D Camera

GoPro, the world's leading activity camera company, today announced the availability of the much anticipated 3D HERO® System, a waterproof 3D expansion kit for GoPro's best selling 1080p HD HERO camera. The 3D HERO System is available immediately at GoPro.com and is shipping to GoPro retailers worldwide with an MSRP of $99.99.

The 3D HERO System has an industry-first modular design that enables consumers to combine two 1080p HD HERO cameras to form a single 1080p 3D camera, the world's smallest and least expensive one at that. Waterproof to 180 feet, the 3D HERO System can be worn on the body, mounted on gear and vehicles, and used as a handheld camera. A dual-camera, polycarbonate, waterproof housing holds the two cameras together and a synchronization cable plugs into the back of each camera, enabling them to function as a single camera. A single shutter button controls both cameras.

"The 3D HERO System is exciting for a lot of reasons, one of them being that it's not just a 3D camera. It's really several cameras in one, depending on how the consumer wants to use it," says Nicholas Woodman, GoPro's founder and CEO. "That you can take two GoPro cameras that you would normally use independently and combined them to form a new type of camera, a 3D camera...that's extremely cool. GoPro is excited to be the first company to build a camera this versatile."

"In addition to being a top selling consumer camera, the HD HERO camera is used by more professional production crews in the broadcast and film industry than any other camera in its class," adds Woodman. "We expect the 3D HERO System to further establish the HD HERO as one of the most versatile cameras in the world."

The 3D HERO System housing is only 5 inches (130mm) in length and 2.5 inches high (62mm) and is compatible with existing GoPro mounting accessories.

The 3D HERO System includes:

* 3D HERO Waterproof Housing
* 3D HERO Synchronization Cable
* Skeleton Door (allows for optimal sound capture in dry environments)
* 3 Pairs of 3D Anaglyph (Red/Blue) Glasses
* Helmet Front Mount
* 2 Flat and 2 Curved Adhesive Mounts
* Free Download: GoPro CineForm Studio 3D editing software

GoPro's 1080p HD HERO cameras are not included with the 3D HERO System and are sold separately, starting at $259.99 per camera.

GoPro CineForm Studio: 3D Content Creation Made Easy

Included as a free software download from gopro.com, GoPro's CineForm Studio software makes it easy to create, watch and share your 3D photos and videos. Mac and PC compatible, CineForm Studio combines the 2D photos and videos captured with the 3D HERO System and converts them into 3D H.264 files that you can watch on your computer, online at YouTube, and on your 2D or 3D television at home.

Announced on March 30, GoPro acquired CineForm, a leading video compression software company famous in the film and broadcast industry for their high quality compression and editing applications. GoPro's CineForm Studio software is a direct extension of CineForm's award winning professional applications and puts the power of Hollywood-caliber 2D and 3D editing in the hands of consumers.

Professional Options for Professional Content Creators: GoPro CineForm Codec

GoPro's professional customers will appreciate that in addition to being able to export YouTube friendly H.264 video files, CineForm Studio can also export video files using the GoPro CineForm codec. The GoPro CineForm codec is a professional quality video codec that allows for lossless 2D and 3D video editing in a variety of leading editing programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Sony Vegas, as well as Apple iMovie and Windows Movie Maker. Used by Hollywood pros to create films such as Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, the GoPro CineForm codec is included as a part of the free CineForm Studio download from gopro.com.

GoPro 3D Center: The How, What, and Rad of 3D Content Creation

To help consumers understand how much fun it is to capture and create 3D content, GoPro has developed an online information resource - GoPro 3D Center. This online resource features written and video tutorials about 3D in general, how to capture incredible content with the 3D HERO System as well as how to view your 3D content on your laptop, online at YouTube, and on 2D or 3D TVs. Complete product specifications, instructions and system requirements can also be found in the GoPro 3D Center at http://www.gopro.com/3d-overview.

"The 3D HERO System democratizes professional quality 3D content capture, making it affordable and easy for anyone to create engaging 3D movies. We're excited to watch our customers GoPro in 3D and we believe the 3D HERO System will help spur the proliferation of 3D content, helping the 3D movement as a whole," concluded Woodman.

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NewTek to Give Away $100,000 in Prizes at NAB 2011

NewTek, a worldwide leader in video and 3D animation products, will give away four TriCaster™ TCXD850 HD portable live production systems as part of its TriCaster-A-Day Giveaway at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show.

NAB attendees can find registration postcards on the front of the Show Daily distributed on Monday, April 11, and at the NewTek smart car HD portable live production vehicle parked in front of South Hall. Registration cards will also be available at NewTek Booth SL4514.

Drawings will be held once a day beginning Monday, April 11 through Thursday, April 14. Winners will be notified by email.

In addition to the TriCaster-A-Day Giveaway, NewTek will host their annual “Broadcast Minds” event, bringing together some of the most successful digital media strategists in the industry. Panelists will discuss how companies can capitalize on the digital market, effectively. This event will be held Tuesday, April 12 from 6-8 p.m. PT at the Renaissance Hotel Ballroom.

For more information regarding NewTek at the NAB Show, visit: http://www.newtek.com/nab. For up-to-the-minute NAB details, follow NewTek on Facebook and Twitter.

With TriCaster, anyone can simultaneously produce, live stream, broadcast, project and record HD and SD network-style productions. A single operator or small team can switch between multiple cameras, virtual inputs and live virtual sets, while inserting clips, titles and motion graphics with multi-channel effects. TriCaster is used by broadcasters, webcasters, sports organizations, schools, houses of worship, government agencies and others to provide a new level of extended programming and content to their audiences.

Pricing and Availability
The TriCaster family of products in NTSC is available for education in North America starting at US$4,995, and multi-standard internationally starting at US$5,995. For more information, please visit http://www.newtek.com, or call NewTek Sales at 800-368-5441. International callers dial +1-210-370-8000.

Limited Time - NAB Special Bundle Pricing: TriCaster TCXD850 and TriCaster TCXD850 CS at US$29,995 (international pricing may vary).

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