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April 26, 2011

Table of Contents

Review: Singular Software Dual Eyes
proDAD Announces VitaScene V2 Pro Effects Plug-in for Leading NLEs
IVA Announces 2-Day IVA Expo Featuring Top Speakers and "Mock Wedding" Live Workshop
The Sachtler 75mm Range From Small to Large
New OConnor Follow Focus Marking Disks Feature Glow-in-the-Dark Design
New Litepanels H2 Hi-Output LED Fixtures Debut Worldwide
K-Tek Expands Norbert Camera Support Line with DSLR-Ready Norbert Sport

Review: Singular Software Dual Eyes

Macintosh-based video editing tools are some of the best on the market, from Apple's Final Cut Pro to Adobe's Premiere Pro. Yet, for those whose event production workflows follow the digital cinema model of two-system productions, where the audio is captured separately from the video, there’s always been the problem of synchronization. And virtually all of us who shoot with DSLRs find ourselves in this boat.

The issue is that synchronizing high-quality audio against the scratch track from the primary or secondary camera takes time. Lots of time, especially if there are a number of short video or audio clips—again, in the case of DSLR production, with the 12-minute continuous recording limit on Canon DSLR models, all but inevitable.

For live productions, there’s often a single master recording used for archival or post-event editing, which has both the video mix from multiple cameras and the house soundboard audio mix. We may also be working with wireless microphone systems and portable audio recorders. In either case, a standalone multitrack audio recorder’s output can be synchronized using a single sync point at the beginning of the video track, which will stay in sync all the way through to the end of the clip.

What happens, though, if the audio is significantly longer than the video? In the days before digital, a standalone audio recorder was always less expensive to run than a video recorder or film stock, so the audio recorder was started up a few minutes or seconds before the camera. In the editing room, the act of trimming the audio to the length of the shot was standard operating procedure, but was still labor intensive.

Enter Singular Software, makers of the Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro plug-in called PluralEyes (also available for Premiere Pro, Vegas Pro and, most recently, EDIUS 6.0 on the Windows side). Toss all your video and audio clips on a timeline—it doesn't matter if they're in any particular order—and PluralEyes will attack the task of sorting them out and laying them in the proper location on an existing or new timeline, creating a second timeline for “unknown” audio or video clips.

For those doing production in the field, however, it may not be practical to bring along a full nonlinear editing suite, when all that needs to be done is a basic synchronization of the master video recording, master audio recording, and a series of audio- or video-based B-roll clips. You may also find yourself in situations where your primary editing system is tied up with other tasks and you want to assign syncing chores to another system or application.

For this task, Singular offers a new standalone application called DualEyes, which we put to the test on a jumble of clips, including some DSLR footage and some audio clips recorded on a Zoom H2 audio recorder.

Testing DualEyes
We’d shot the footage a few months ago, but the daunting task of listening through 30 minutes of short audio clips, then manually matching these to a series of short DSLR video clips, was enough to put the task in the to-do list for a time when we’d have 4–6 uninterrupted hours. The primary reason for this length of time was the fact that we didn't know whether any or all of the clips overlapped each other, since we were just randomly grabbing B-roll footage and audio recording during a live event.

What we hoped to be able to do was fairly straightforward: Align the disparate clips, add the combined audio-and-video clips to a timeline that had our master recording from the live event, and then choose whether those clips would be used as cutaway shots from the master recording.

Here's how we did it.

First, we opened DualEyes, and chose the location of a new project. The location is important, because DualEyes will add a temp folder that may run into the 10–15GB range, depending on your source content’s original size and compression; for audio content recorded in AAC or MP3, for example, DualEyes will extract all the audio to the AIFF format (a native Macintosh audio format) for the Mac version of DualEyes.

Second, we then chose which clips we wanted to synchronize, via the program's a very minimal interface of three buttons: add, remove and trim (identified by plus, minus, and scissors icons, respectively).

Third, we waited, while DualEyes cranked through the video clips' audio tracks as well as the standalone audio recorder's tracks. When finished, the program presents the video clip’s name in a left-hand column and presents the new audio clip’s name in a right-hand column. The audio clip’s name will correspond to the name of the video clip, so that it's easy to go to your project folder and find which audio and video clips belong together.

Singular Software Dual Eyes

Note that DualEyes doesn't combine the audio and video clips into a single new file, meaning that the original video clip remains intact, complete with its scratch-track audio. Dragging both the audio and video clips into an NLE's timeline or bin, however, will often sync the two clips together.

We’d suggest listening to the audio from both the video clip and the new audio clip before dragging them both into your NLE of choice, as we were surprised that our on-board audio was almost as good as our standalone audio recorder, depending on placement and a few other factors. This kind of value-added decision-making is often jettisoned once an editor is underway with the synchronization task, so we think DualEyes does a good job of saving us from “synchronization fatigue” that often plagues a multi-hour matching session.

Finally, to work our way through the process of choosing which B-roll would work well against the master video recording, we chose to individually import the video clips into our NLE, place them on the timeline and then add the additional audio only if it added to the overall ambience of the scene. This is quite easy to do, since the audio clips are the same length and a corresponding name to the B-roll video clips.

An Issue and an Update
The only area we ran into trouble with DualEyes was when we tossed two audio recordings, from two separate surround-sound recorders, into the project window. In this scenario, DualEyes would trim one but not the other, designating the second recording as “unknown” after it had completed synchronization of the first audio recording.

When we took the first audio clip out of the project window, DualEyes successfully synchronized the second clip to the video B-roll clips. We’re uncertain whether this is an issue with the fact that we’d done these recordings in a surround-sound stereo mode on the Zoom H2, or whether DualEyes would have a similar problem with multiple mono- or stereo-based clips from multiple recordings that simultaneously occur.

So we contacted the company to ask about the issue. Singular CEO Bruce Sharpe immediately set the team to looking at our log files (two files that DualEyes places in a temp folder) and found they could replicate the issue, so an updated version was released (1.0.3) to address the issue. When we ran the tests again, with all the files in the same project, DualEyes successfully synchronized each video clip to not one but two stereo recordings from our separate Zoom H2 units.

School Play Tests
Looking for something even harder, we then tried a set of recordings from a school play that had been shot in 2009. Given the length of the play, and the fact that the audio was in three long segments from each two Zoom H2 recorders, we’d despaired over ever being able to sync this content.

Because the lengths of the audio segments varied for each recorder, and one recorder had only captured half of the play, we figured DualEyes would choke on the ten video clips that partially overlapped some of the audio segments. So we turned on the "Try Really Hard" setting—an option that takes a bit more time to synchronize content.

DualEyes was able to accomplish this complex task as well, turning hours of frustration into just a few minutes of setup and about 30 minutes of quality control (in other words, 30 minutes of me checking various parts of the newly synchronized video and audio segments to confirm for myself that DualEyes had done its job). The company has also released another update, with the current DualEyes version for Macintosh at v1.0.4.

The Eyes Have It
So what's our take on DualEyes? It’s a great program that expands on Singular’s previous award-winning PluralEyes plug-ins for Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple's Final Cut Pro.

Unlike PluralEyes, though, DualEyes is a standalone program ideal for field synchronization of two-system audio- and video-recording sessions before content is even loaded into an NLE. DualEyes provides a way to sync content on a non-NLE machine, leaving the NLE to do what it does best: edit.

DualEyes does its work with an ease that makes synchronization almost seem like magic, requiring very limited knowledge from the user.

Tim Siglin (writer at braintrustdigital.com) is a contributing editor to EventDV, EventDVLive, and Streaming Media.

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proDAD Announces VitaScene V2 Pro Effects Plug-in for Leading NLEs

proDAD, a world-class developer of digital video effects plug-ins and image optimization technologies for professional video editors and broadcast professionals as well as aspiring pros, has announced the much-anticipated availability of VitaScene V2 Pro and VitaScene LE. VitaScene is the flagship professional video effects product from proDAD, offering exceptionally high quality professional effects that can be used seamlessly as filters or transitions in most popular Windows® NLEs from Adobe, AVID®, Corel®, Magix™, Sony, Grass Valley/Canopus®, and ULead®.

What’s new in V2? For starters, 100 new fully customizable broadcast-quality effects are included (Pro version) including an amazing new Tilt-shift effect, which gives a surreal mini-landscape effect – with a single mouse click and instant GPU rendering. Other new effects include new light filters allowing editors to get just the right amount of light for every scene and new paint effects that give a watercolor effect (even a 3D look) to video clips. Also included are filters for making video look like film, old film adding blur, starbursts, sparkles, de-focus effects, and many other effects. VitaScene V2 also includes new picture optimization tools that can help rescue imperfect or older recordings. The other much anticipated feature of VitaScene V2 is full 64-bit compatibility for Adobe CS5 and Sony Vegas Pro 64-bit NLEs. VitaScene V2 also features significantly improved GPU and Alpha Channel processing, delivering super-fast rendering of HD/SD video.

VitaScene V2 is offered in two principal versions:
• VitaScene V2 Pro – Contains 600 fully customizable effects and plug-ins for most popular Windows-based NLEs including unlocked plug-ins for AVID/Pinnacle Studio;
• VitaScene V2 LE – Contains 100 non-customizable effects and plug-ins for most popular Windows-base NLEs except AVID/Pinnacle Studio and Magix VDL.

“VitaScene has been giving video professionals access to very high quality yet affordable video effects to enhance their feature film, documentary, and event videos since it’s introduction in 2008” said Andreas Huber, Managing Director of proDAD. “We now continue this tradition of excellence with VitaScene V2, offering exciting new effects, super-fast GPU rendering, and compatibility with the newest and best NLEs in the market – all with a lower cost of ownership than competitive effects suites.”

Pricing and Availability
VitaScene V2 Pro is currently available for purchase from the proDAD online webshop for an introductory special price of $399.00 (MSRP $499.00). VitaScene V2 LE is offered for an introductory special price of $119.00 (MSRP $149.00). VitaScene V1 owners can upgrade to V2 for as little as $47.00. Learn more about VitaScene V2 and the rest of the proDAD lineup of digital video effects at www.prodad.com.

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IVA Announces 2-Day IVA Expo Featuring Top Speakers and "Mock Wedding" Live Workshop

The Illinois Videographers Association is holding its fifth annual IVA Filmmakers Expo on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 28-29, 2011 at the Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca, Illinois. This year's event features a blockbuster lineup of nationally known speakers and will offer something for everyone.

For the first time, this premier IVA Filmmakers Expo will be a two-day event. During Day 1, seminars will be conducted by top filmmakers/educators in our industry. An expanded trade show will also be an important element of day one with many of the leading software and equipment manufacturers participating. Details on speakers and sponsors will be released shortly.

On Day 2, the IVA Filmmakers Expo will be offering an industry first: a live camera/production workshop featuring a mock wedding in a church. Industry leaders will show you the techniques they use to create international award-winning films. They will also conduct bridal preps at the hotel and post-ceremony coverage at a local park. This will be a hands-on workshop where the attendees will be able to duplicate the shots that are being taught during the demonstration. This optional program will elevate your skills to new heights!

Bring the whole family and make it a vacation while visiting our world-class city! Network with your peers as plans are also being made for optional field trips on Thursday to visit Downtown Chicago and/or attend the Cubs game at Historic Wrigley Field.

The IVA is very excited to move our event to a new location this year. The Westin Northwest Chicago is a four-star, four-diamond hotel with a wonderful selection of amenities and activities. Enjoy complimentary racquetball, tennis and a full feature gym. The Westin also offers a wonderful pool, whirlpool, and sauna. You can also enjoy basketball or the golf driving range. Bring the little ones too. The Westin Kids Club features fun activities, essential amenities, and helpful services for children under 13. The hotel has reserved the discounted rate for our attendees of only $99 per night.

The complimentary hotel shuttle provides transportation within ten miles of the hotel. Numerous tourist activities and all types of recreation are available within that proximity including the Woodfield Shopping Mall, one of the largest in the world. The shuttle can also bring you to the local Metra Train station where you can take an easy and inexpensive train to downtown Chicago.

Registration will be available shortly via the IVA website: www.ivavideo.com.

Please e-mail Chris Chibucos to get on the event mailing list.

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The Sachtler 75mm Range From Small to Large

Sachtler, a Vitec Group brand, presents the FSB family, that consists of the FSB 4 (0 – 9 lbs / 0 to 4 kg), FSB 6 (2 – 13 lbs / 1 to 6 kg) and FSB 8 ( 2 – 20 lbs / 1 to 9 kg) 75mm heads. The finely-tiered product line provides a suitable head – robust, stable and reliable – for every HDV camera, as well as for DSLR cameras with video function.

All FSB heads work with the tried and tested Sachtler Speedbalance technology that enables a fast and target-oriented counterbalance. Based on the construction principles of other classic Sachtler heads, the FSB line offers no-compromise vibration damping which is extremely subtle and finely graded in comparison to other manufacturers in the same payload range.

FSB 0 – 9 lbs / 4: 0 to 4 kg payload range
The FSB 4 fluid head is the smallest of the FSB line with a payload range of 0 – 9 lbs / 0 to 4 kg and is ideal for HDV camera users. Three horizontal and three vertical grades of drag as well as a dependable 5-step counterbalance system guarantees the camera operator optimal handling. The FSB 4 has an integrated flat-based fitting and fits tripods with 75mm bowls.

FSB 6: 2 – 13 lbs / 1 to 6 kg payload range
The exceptionally long sliding range (4.7“ / 120 mm) of the Sachtler Snap & Go sideload mechanism and the 10-step counterbalance, give the FSB 6 fluid head a special edge. Thus, quick and smooth counterbalance is also possible with a payload range of (2 – 13 lbs. / 1 to 6 kg). The FSB 6 is ideal for using cameras that are equipped with accessories and is also alternatively offered with the Touch & Go camera plate. In addition, it has three horizontal and three vertical grades of drag plus 0.

FSB 8: 2 – 20 lbs / 1 to 9 kg
With a payload range of 2 – 20 lbs / 1 to 9 kg, the FSB 8 fluid head is versatile. It has a 10-step counterbalance as well as five horizontal and vertical grades of drag, plus 0. It works with the tried and tested Sachtler features, like Speedbalance and the self-illuminating Touch Bubble. The sideload technology, that extends the sliding range of the camera, is also practical. As with the FSB 6, the head is alternatively offered with the Touch & Go Plate. The FSB 6 T and FSB 8 T have parking positions for spare camera screws.

Team player: works with SOOM
Together with the SOOM multifunctional tripod system that can be used for lens height ranges of up to 98.4 / 250 cm, the FSB line is a strong team for every position. The fluid heads function as a modular system with the FSB CELL, a 7.2 V rechargeable camera battery that is directly placed between the camera and the fluid head. With a high capacity of 10.5 Ah, the FSB CELL not only provides carefree shooting, but also extends the sliding range of the camera-setup. The energy-saving, compact, and dimmable Reporter LED camera light can be powered directly by the FSB CELL.

Secure position: 75mm Tripod and Pedestal C I
In addition to SOOM, Sachtler offers three other tripods in the 75mm range that offer impressive stability and versatility: the lightweight Speed Lock 75 CF with quick release clamp as well as the ENG 75/2 D with two-fold extension and the DA 75 L, both with rotary clamp. Sachtler's Pedestal C I can be used in small studios and for outside broadcasting. It can be set up quickly without tools and guarantees vibration-free 'on air' movement with its smooth-running lifting column.

Accessories: adapter for FSB 6 and FSB 8
The FSB 6/8 adapter block is available for the FSB 6, FSB 6 T, FSB 8 and FSB 8 T. For mounting additional accessories, there is also the Sachtler accessory adapter with 1/4"-, M8- and 3/8 tap holes. It can be used with fluid heads that have a viewfinder extension and an adapter block. The accessory adapter with clamping can be used to expand viewfinder extension.

For more information visit http://www.sachtler.com

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New OConnor Follow Focus Marking Disks Feature Glow-in-the-Dark Design

OConnor, a Vitec Group brand and providers of innovative professional digital cine and film lens and camera accessories announces the introduction of its Glow-in-the-Dark Follow Focus Marking Disks.

The rings are standard size flat marking disks that are designed for use with the OConnor CFF-1, and are compatible with many other standard handwheels. The glow in the dark design provides maximum visibility to an assistant working in a dark camera location.

The phosphorescent marking rings join OConnor’s growing family of lens and camera accessories, including the CFF-1 Cine Follow Focus professional lens controller, O-Box WM mattebox for 16:9 format full-size sensor cameras, and O-Grips professional camera handgrip system.

The Glow-in-the-Dark Follow Focus Marking Disks are sold individually (order code C1241-2117 List Price $30) or in sets of 10 (order code C1241-1531 list price $290).

For more information about the Glow-in-the-Dark Follow Focus Disks go to http://www.ocon.com.

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New Litepanels H2 Hi-Output LED Fixtures Debut Worldwide

Litepanels, pioneering developer of proprietary LED lighting and a Vitec Group brand, announces the worldwide debut of Litepanels’ H2 Hi-Output LED lights. The new fixtures answer the need for an LED fixture capable of throwing illumination over a 20 to 25 foot (6.1 - 7.6 M) distance, providing HD-friendly light with all the advantages of Litepanels proprietary LED fixtures.

The new H2 Hi-Output is 5600°K color balanced, utilizing an array of 72 one-Watt daylight LEDs that are focused to a 10° angle. H2 fixtures integrate perfectly into sets or locations utilizing other Litepanels fixtures, providing wide-spectrum daylight (5600°K) color balance illumination.

Like all Litepanels LED fixtures, the H2 fixtures provide their incredible light output while remaining energy efficient. The 100W H2 fixtures provide light equivalent to a 1000W legacy lighting fixture, utilizing just 10% of the energy. And because H2 lights generate no noticeable heat, the need for power-hungry air conditioning is reduced.

The new H2 fixtures provide the same dimming capabilities as other Litepanels fixtures as well as dimming from 100% to zero with no noticeable color change. Dimming is provided via a knob located on the fixture itself, or from a DMX dimmer board.

H2 fixtures have an integrated yoke and gimbal system for easy hanging in the grid or positioning on a light stand.

For more information on the H2 Hi-Output LED light and other Litepanels HD-friendly LED lighting systems, contact Litepanels, Inc., 16152 Saticoy Street, Van Nuys, CA 91406, Phone: 818/752-7009, Fax: 818/752-2437 Email: info@litepanels.com, http://www.litepanels.com

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K-Tek Expands Norbert Camera Support Line with DSLR-Ready Norbert Sport

K-Tek expands its Norbert line of camera support products with the introduction of the Norbert Sport. Perfect for filmmakers wanting a solid, versatile camera mount for handheld shooting, Norbert Sport provides DSLR and small-format high-definition video cameras with comfortable hand-holding and accessory mounting options.

The Norbert Sport uses two, lightweight, foam-covered carbon-fiber hand grips and aluminum top and bottom mounting plates to securely mount select production accessories such as digital recorders, microphone mounts, or small LED lights. Weighing roughly 1.5 pounds, the carbon fiber side handles have comfortable and grippy foam covers. Handles have adjustable height and use a secure collar/collet system. The top bar offers nine shoe mounts, six 3/8 x 16 threaded mounts, and five 1/4 x 20 mounts. The bottom bar comes with a quick release/tripod mount and can use standard 15mm rods with K-Tek's iris rod adapter.

Norbert Sport adds to the successful Norbert line of camera supports. The original Norbert frame, which is also available is perfect for more comprehensive setups because of its near-limitless combination of shoe mounts and threaded adapters.

Suggested list price is $285.00. For further information, go to http://www.ktekbooms.com.

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