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August 30, 2011

Table of Contents

In the Field: Sony NEX-FS100 Super 35mm Camcorder
In the Field: Atomos Ninja HDMI ProRes HDD/SSD Recorder
Cradle to Grave: Are You QR-ing?
Blackmagic Design Ships New UltraStudio 3D Portable Capture and Playback Device with Thunderbolt Support
FBmn Unveils ColorMatch for Sony Vegas Pro 10
Sachtler Intros New Lightweight 2-Stage Carbon Fiber Tripod
NewTek Premieres New Control Surface for TriCaster 850
BorisFX and Nexidia Introduce Soundbite--New Dialogue Search Plug-in for Final Cut Pro X

In the Field: Sony NEX-FS100 Super 35mm Camcorder

Sony NEX-FS100If you've heard about the Sony NEX-FS100, you've probably heard it described as one of two things: a game changer or an expensive DSLR. Which is it? Neither. Sony calls this new model a "motion picture camcorder." I'll bet the company spent a lot of time trying to decide how to name this new piece of equipment, and I think it made a good call. The FS100 does not take stills, and it is not really designed for event filmmakers, but with a few minor modifications, it does a fabulous job. I first started working with the old EIAJ video format in 1973. I've owned a lot of equipment since then and have filmed more than 2,000 events in 10 countries. As a business owner, I know what I want my equipment to do: have a great return on investment while facilitating my run-and-gun style of event coverage. It was based on these criteria that I evaluated the FS100.

DSLR or FS100?
I've filmed all over North America with DSLRs and love the picture quality they provide. But there are tools missing on DSLRs that I depend on when producing video. I've been to several DSLR video seminars where the instructors stated that they just "eyeball" the exposure and focus. I do too, but only to a point. Ideally, I want to work with more control over the footage I'm capturing.

The FS100 combines the superior image quality of DSLR video with a standard set of professional video tools. For example, I totally rely on my zebra function set at 80 IRE to let me know when my subjects are approaching overexposure. Seeing little red dots across my subject when peaking is enabled assures me of good focus. And yes, I'll admit to using autofocus during wedding receptions and processionals. I've found it to be very reliable and smooth on this camera.

Having two XLR audio inputs with selectable level input and phantom power is something else DSLRs don't provide. I need to manually set levels and monitor audio with headphones, which is something you just can't do with a DSLR without an external recording device. We've all seen fabulous films produced using DSLR video, so there is no debate that it's possible. The difference is that we've found ways to make DSLRs work for what we do, while the Sony FS100 just works.

Sony NEX-FS100

Picture Quality
Quality is king, and the FS100 is the new big gun. If you consider a consumer 1/3" single-chip camcorder a sling shot, then an HDV 1/3" three-chip camera is a 30-caliber rifle, and the Sony FS100 and the Canon 5D are cannons.

The NEX-FS100's Super 35mm Sensor also features the optimum number of effective pixels for filming in high definition. At 60 fps, images are recorded with less color aliasing, jaggedness, and rolling shutter effects than DSLR cameras.

Low-Light Performance
The FS100's minimum illumination of 0.28 lux is nothing short of amazing. The absence of noise while introducing gain will really make you smile. It is capable of 30 db gain, which is equal to 16,000 ISO. I read a review prior to using the camera that reported that the 30 db setting was actually usable. I experimented with a bride and groom outside at night, and they looked absolutely stunning on the camera's LCD screen. I even showed the image to the photographer. That said, I won't be showing the recorded image to anybody else-it was horrible on a real monitor.

The rotating 3.5" XtraFine LCD is beautiful and can even be viewed in daylight, but it does not show video noise. Further testing revealed that the maximum level I feel comfortable with is 21 db or 6,400 ISO. Much of the same-day edit that you see below was shot at 21 db gain in a dark room, and it looks pretty good to us.

Same Day Edit at a Birthday Party with the Sony FS100 from Godfather Films on Vimeo.

What Were They Thinking?
Grass Valley consulted with me before releasing the last two versions of the EDIUS NLE and took my advice on everything except changing the name to something cool. I've been using Sony products longer than most of the company's employees have been eating solid food. If they had asked for my advice on the FS100, I would have told them not to place the LCD screen top center. Here's why: When covering a live event, a filmmaker will add interest by using a variety of angles, from ground level to way over their heads. You need to have a tilt/swivel LCD on the side of the camera to get those shots.

Sony NEX-FS100

I'm more than 6' tall, and I carry a 6' monopod. If I raise my hands more than 2' over my head, I can incorporate shots from the floor to 14' in the air and use the flip-screen monitor to compose them. I hold the monopod upside down for floor-level shots and flip the image in post. I use this variety of angles during every wedding couple's first dance. The unfortunate placement of the LCD screen on the FS100 reduces the monopod vertical shooting range from 14' to 2' and my maximum tripod height to 5'. Hey, Sony, my number is listed ... call me next time.

Sony NEX-FS100

Modifications
When we became aware of the potential and the limitations of the FS100, we immediately set about modifying it to make it fit our needs. The first thing we did was to take the useless handgrip off and screw in a tripod plate, where I attached wireless receivers with unbreakable black rubber bands that I buy at a local beauty supply.

Then I needed to address the vertical restriction caused by Sony placing the LCD screen top center. I took one of my 2.5" LCD monitors and attached it to the bottom of the FS100. Now I can compose my shot when I hold the camera over my head or flip it upside down for low angles. Next, I am going to mount a LANC-controlled start/stop button on the grip of my monopod.

Sony NEX-FS100 and DP Slider

Workflow
After being tape-based since 1973 and having produced corporate pieces that included more than 200 tapes to log and warehouse, I find that filming simultaneously to SDHC cards and the optional 128GB hard drive is a huge timesaver and storage saver. I can record 150 minutes to a 32GB card and about 11 hours to the optional hard drive. Transfer time to a computer's hard drive is quick. With the FS100, an 8GB card with 39 minutes of video transfers to our hard drive using a built-in card reader in 5 minutes. We drop the AVCHD files onto our EDIUS 6 timeline and have instant real-time editing capabilities without converting. Using the FS100 in a same-day edit in our first week of ownership was a breeze.

After each shoot, we download the cards to an editor's hard drive and back up to our 11TB Drobo external hard drive.

Sony NEX-FS100

1920x1080 i or p—Should You Care?
The FS100 records in 1080p/60 and 1080i/60, and it's one of your few choices for 1080p/60. In 1080i, each frame of video is displayed in alternating fields. The fields in 1080i are composed of 540 lines of pixels running from the top to the bottom of the screen, with the odd fields displayed first and the even fields displayed second. Together, both fields create a full frame, made up of all 1,080 pixel rows or lines, every 30th of a second. Thirty frames per second are actually 60 fields with 540 lines each.

In 1080p, each frame of video is displayed progressively. All 1,080 pixel lines that make up the full frame are displayed together. This results in a smoother-looking image, with fewer motion artifacts and jagged edges. HDV 1080i is actually 1440x1080i.

A week after producing our first FS100 same-day edit, we got the Satechi Cyclone Media Player and had a client consultation the same day; we played the SDE for the prospective client. It was the first time we had filmed, edited, and displayed a film shot in 1920x1080p. The client said she was on the fence about a wedding film until she saw the quality. She added that she didn't know the image quality could be this amazing. I thought, "Neither did I," as I swiped her credit card.

So since you asked—yes, you should care about 1920x1080p.

Ergonomics, Schmergonomics
One of the complaints I've heard about the FS100 is that the design is too boxy and does not lend itself to handheld shooting. I shoot 90% on a monopod and the rest on a tripod or slider, so I don't care about the lack of handheld ergonomics.

I think the boxy design is what makes all the controls so easy to access. There are six easy-to-reach shortcut buttons that I have set to toggle on and off peaking, zebra display, lens stabilizer, slow-motion record, activate last-scene playback, and alternate indoor/outdoor white balance settings. You can customize these buttons with 14 different options, including histogram.

Cool Features
The FS100 has way too many cool features to list in one article, but here are my favorites (in no particular order):

• It offers built-in variable speed recording with settings from 1 fps to 120 fps.
• It features full-time autofocus with the two available Sony E lenses.
• It has the best auto white balance I have ever seen. Our first daytime test included carrying the camera from an outdoor shot to indoors. We were blown away at how well the full auto handled the transition. That is probably the only benefit of not having a built-in neutral density filter.
• Its LCD screen will constantly display remaining recording time in minutes for both the card and the hard drive. It also correctly displays the percentage of
battery charge remaining-at last, a number that means something. I no longer have cameras lying to me with useless information, such as telling me the battery has 868 minutes of recording time remaining, reporting that it has 302 minutes remaining 45 minutes later, and dying 45 minutes after that.
• The camera's touchscreen LCD and HDMI output, along with an icon and time/date display for each file, makes it easy to quickly access and play back any scene for review.
• It enables you to use Expanded Focus while recording. This magnifies the image, allowing you to better adjust focus.
• It can maintain accurate time by acquiring time information using the built-in GPS system.
• It lets you adjust white balance 100 Kelvins at a time by turning the wheel.

Camera Sensor Size Comparison Chart

What's Missing
Some industry pundits have expressed shock that Sony did not include a built-in neutral density filter with the FS100. There's a simple workaround: You can make the stock 18-200mm ƒ3.5-6.3 work in bright sun by using a small iris and a faster shutter speed. That could be a problem with fast-action sports shooting, but it's not a big issue for the comparatively slow action of an outdoor wedding ceremony.

I filmed a wedding in bright sunlight and used a screw-on ND filter. That allowed me to obtain a shallow depth of field and film at 60 fps. It was a simple solution. I think a better solution-and one I hope Sony can incorporate into a firmware update-is a negative gain setting. It would be great to just dial in an outdoor white balance setting, 60 fps, and a negative 6 db gain using one of the six picture profiles.

There is a really cool interface that allows you to connect a portable hard drive to the camera's USB connector and transfer files on location without a laptop. That would have been fantastic a year ago, but now we're halfway through 2011, and Sony used a USB 2.0 connector when the company could have provided six times the download speed with USB 3.0. They can't fix this with a firmware update.

I use the Sony E-Mount SEL16F28 16mm ƒ2.8 wide-angle lens for my coverage during receptions, which is better in low light than the stock lens and still has all the full auto functions. I then add the Sony VCL-ECF1 Fisheye Conversion Lens to the front of the 16mm for my room and dress shots. The huge apparatus you have to mount to the camera for the stock microphone cannot be used when shooting with the fisheye because it extends into the shot. Every once in a while there will be audio you want to capture while using the fisheye, so where is the built-in microphone? It doesn't have to be great quality. It doesn't have to take up much space. The DSLRs have them built into the camera body. I think Sony just forgot. Again ... Sony, call me. I can help.

The Bottom Line
All in all, after several shoots with the FS100, I'm thrilled with my acquisition. I think the picture quality and low-light performance are amazing. I prefer it to my DSLRs because of the superior picture and audio quality along with the built-in video tools. I definitely will be buying more. I just wish I had a coupon.

John Goolsby (john at godfatherfilms.com) has been shooting event and corporate films around the world since 1973. A winner of multiple WEVA CEAs, a featured speaker at every WEVA Expo, and a presenter at IN[FOCUS] 2011, he was elected to the first three EventDV 25 All-Star teams before accepting the role of EventDV 25 commissioner to certify the voting. He regrets to inform readers that he has not been compensated nor received any equipment or incentives from Sony for this review.

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In the Field: Atomos Ninja HDMI ProRes HDD/SSD Recorder

Atomos NinjaWho would win in a fight between a samurai and a ninja? This question has long been discussed by scholars who debate the merits of the armored samurai, who were bound by a code known as the bushido, and the stealthy ninja, trained assassins who used poison and the element of surprise. Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military strategist and author of The Art of War, would probably have favored the ninja as he wrote, "Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions." Although I know a few wedding videographers who occasionally wish they could blow a poison dart or two toward an obtrusive photographer, modern-day video producers employ a balance of both the samurai's training and equipment and the ninja's ability to blend in with his environment. And as important as it is to get the shot, capturing it in the highest-quality intraframe codec (as opposed to interframe/LongGOP MPEG and AVCHD codecs) is becoming more important with the increasing demand and support for 1080p playback resolution across HDTVs and computer screens and 720P for smartphones and tablets. Previously, high bitrate, intraframe HD recording was only available on shouldermount cameras such as the Panasonic HPX300/370, although Panasonic recently announced the $6,500 camcorder-style intraframe recording HPX250, which is due for release in late 2011. For the rest of us, there is Atomos Global Pty Ltd.'s Ninja or Samurai-external HDMI or HD-SDI Apple ProRes recorders.

Now let me clear something up right away: ProRes was invented by Apple, but it works on most PC NLEs as long as you install the ProRes codec, which is as simple as installing QuickTime. I didn't realize this when the first ProRes recorders were announced, so as a PC user, I didn't consider using them; the company that launched them spoke only of their Mac support.

Following the success of AJA Video Systems' $3,995 Ki Pro, companies raced to come up with an affordable and more portable solution to capture uncompressed video directly from HD-SDI and HDMI outputs. AJA started shipping the smaller and more portable $1,995 Ki Pro Mini in February 2011, but only 2 months later at NAB 2011, there were several new entrants into the marketplace. Having reviewed them all, the one that stood out the most (after performing a cost benefit analysis for my own business and workflow) was the $995 HDMI Ninja. Atomos has plans to ship the HD-SDI Samurai later this year. I received my first unit in early June, and after using it for 4 weeks, I found that it lived up to my expectations. It's now part of my daily HD workflow.

How It Works
One of the things that I really like about the Ninja is that you don't need to buy many accessories. The Ninja ships with almost everything you will need, including a case, two batteries, a double-slot battery charger, two hard drive caddies, a hard drive dock, and cables to support FireWire 800 and USB 3.0. Atomos doesn't ship the Ninja with a hard drive, but you have the option of using inexpensive SATA laptop hard drives for normal use or SSDs for more rigorous environments. I consulted the Atomos-approved list of hard drives and decided on a 7200 RPM 500GB Western Digital Scorpio Black laptop hard drive, which I purchased from my local computer retailer for $65.

The remaining add-ons I required were a shoe mount and a short HDMI cable, both which I already owned. When you compare this to other solutions that require SSDs or CF cards; use expensive, heavy Anton/Bauer batteries; are too heavy to be shoe-mounted; don't have the ProRes codec (and so require more storage); and don't include a dock, you will quickly realize what a bargain the Ninja really is. The other thing to consider is that for the price of a Ninja, you can still buy an external FireWire-based recording device, although I can see that market quickly drying up with the introduction of a new breed of 10-bit intraframe external recording devices.

The Ninja connects to any clean eight- or 10-bit HDMI output (meaning some DSLRs are not fully supported, which is the fault of DSLR manufacturers, not Atomos), and it records to three ProRes codecs: the 100Mbps LT, 145Mbps 422, and 220Mbps HQ. Video is recorded using the FAT32 file system, which means it is both Mac and PC-compatible and has a 4.3GB file size limit. Although there is no recording time limit, a new file is automatically created every 4.3GB. Because ProRes is an intraframe codec, there are no missing frames between files, such as what I experience on my Sony HVR-MRC1K CF recorder when it is recording HDV.

I should note that on one of my shoots I could feel the hard drive vibrations in my tripod pan handle. This was the only time that I mounted the Ninja on my camera and subsequently switched back to my original mounting method, which is to the tripod, rather than the camera.

First Test Projects
The first project I used the Ninja on was a greenscreen shoot. I was still a bit stingy with bitrates and used the ProRes LT codec, but I was amazed with the improvement over the same-camera HDV recording. I used my Sony HVR-Z7U and recorded simultaneously to MiniDV tape, CF card, and the Ninja, so I was able to do an accurate frame-by-frame analysis. I reached the conclusion almost immediately that the 1920x1080 ProRes recording was much better for keying than the 1440x1080 HDV codec.

The area where I noticed the biggest difference was around the edges, which is the most critical area when keying. I should note that because the Ninja records the uncompressed HDMI signal before it is compressed by the video camera's codec, it provides a higher-quality recording than one that
is played back and captured or simply converted to ProRes after the recording. So Mac users who already convert files to ProRes as part of their workflows will notice an improvement when using natively recorded ProRes files over files that are only converted to ProRes after a previous lossy compression.

Atomos Ninja
On the left is an image from the greenscreen shoot captured with HDV; on the right is the same frame captured to ProRes LT with the Ninja.

I found the Ninja's TFT touchscreen easy to use. There aren't too many settings, and there really doesn't need to be; the Ninja automatically detects the resolution and frame rate. In addition to being used for menu settings, the screen doubles as a reference monitor. With a resolution of 480x270 on a 4.3" screen, the Ninja won't challenge the resolution of a small HD DP6 monitor, but it has a larger display than a camera's LCD. Having an integrated monitor and recording device really came in handy when I was filming a concert with my Kessler Crane. The Ninja was mounted right in front of me with a Manfrotto super clamp and a 1/4" threaded stud. I had access to my record and stop buttons as well as the added measure of confidence that I was still getting a signal, despite the camera being 10' up in the air. The Ninja even has a headphone-out jack to monitor either the HDMI inputs or the 1/8" stereo audio input.

Shawn Lam Video, a Vancouver Video production Company
Ninja footage from a dance recital shoot

Connections and Transfers
Transferring footage is as simple as removing the caddy, which holds and protects the hard drive, from the Ninja and inserting it into the dock. The dock connects to your MAC or PC with your choice of FireWire or USB. The FireWire connector on the dock is FireWire 800, and a FireWire 800 cable is included, but I understand bilingual FireWire 800-to-FireWire 400 cables are available, although I didn't test one.

The other option is the USB 3.0 connection; a blue USB 3.0 cable is included, which is also reverse-compatible with USB 2.0. When using the USB connector, a second, supplied USB power cable is needed to power the hard drive dock. Same-day edit producers will be interested to know that footage can also be quickly edited straight from the hard drive while it is still in the dock.

Shawn Lam Video
A close-up image of Ninja footage from a concert shoot

Ingest, Editing, and Delivery
Editing with the ProRes codec is a joy. There is less compression and fewer artifacts than with familiar camera codecs, and the colors have a fuller range. My test system was Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 on the PC, and the footage played back in real time after I sorted out one small detail: By default, the Ninja is set to record both the HDMI stereo inputs and an additional 1/8" stereo input, which it does even if an audio device isn't connected.

Unfortunately, Adobe currently supports only two channels of audio when using the ProRes codec, so I had to turn off the recording on the two additional unused tracks in order to create a compatible recording. Other than that, my editing with ProRes has been real-time and native, although I should also share that I am not able to export an archive ProRes file from Adobe Premiere Pro. This isn't a big deal for delivery since ProRes isn't a delivery codec, and I use Adobe Media Encoder and Encore to create my delivery formats. But you might want to consider this limitation if you're accustomed to exporting your projects to an intermediate codec before rendering a delivery codec. FCP users can expect full Ninja ProRes support. But this shouldn't be a deal breaker because you can always export to AVCHD Intra if you require an intraframe codec.

When you think of the Ninja and delivery formats, don't forget about legacy delivery media such as SD DVDs. Online HD and, to a lesser extent, Blu-ray are where most of the HD video I shoot ends up. But my company still produces a lot of DVDs (the month this article was written, we produced a little more than 2,000 discs). It is pretty obvious that the Ninja produces better HD videos, but one of the most dramatic benefits of the Ninja and its full HD ProRes codec is that it helps produce better DVDs. My old acquisition codec was the very lossy, low-bitrate long group of pictures (GOP) and anamorphic (1440x1080) HDV codec, and I've never been happy with the limits on DVD quality that this codec imposes. Now, as DVDs are approaching their end of life, at least I can finally say that I am happy with the quality of the video on my DVDs, thanks to the Atomos Ninja.

Shawn Lam Video
A Kessler crane setup for the world's first three-Ninja shoot, a Shinobi Creative Productions concert

Overall
Overall, I feel that the Atomos Ninja has allowed me to improve my acquisition and delivery video quality using the same video camera I've been using. The best part is that the cost to upgrade my recording is relatively low compared to the cost of a new video camera, and it exceeds the recording quality of AVCHD, the codec that has replaced HDV. I'm also not a big fan of having to media-wrangle-that is, to change and dump cards while on-site-and having a 500GB hard drive means I can record 11 hours in LT, 7.5 hours in 422, or 5 hours in HQ before I need to switch to a second hard drive.

The same month I started using my new Ninja, I filmed a few greenscreen shoots and several dance recitals, but an event that occurred the week before I wrote this review was probably the highlight of my Ninja usage. What better way to test a Ninja than on a shoot for Shinobi Creative Productions? (Shinobi is another word for ninja.) Shinobi's owner, my friend and BCPVA colleague, Scott White, convinced me to buy another Ninja, and using my two Ninjas and his one, we filmed what just might have been the world's first three-Ninja concert using a trio of Sony Z7Us. I'm sure our very unofficial record won't last
long-I expect to see a lot more Ninja-equipped video cameras in the hands of camera operators at every level.

Shawn Lam (video at shawnlam.ca) runs Shawn Lam Video, a Vancouver video production studio. He specializes in stage event and corporate video production and has presented seminars at WEVA Expo 2005–2009 and the 4EVER Group’s Video 07. He won a Silver Creative Excellence Award at WEVA Expo 2008, a Bronze CEA at WEVA Expo 2010, and an Emerald Artistic Achievement Award at Video 08.

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Cradle to Grave: Are You QR-ing?

We live in a world dominated by abbreviations. Whether it's a "P.S." at the end of a note, or an "lol" in a text message, abbreviations have become a way of life. I, personally, belong to the BBB, WEVA, APH, and MPVA. I live in MN and use a PC. As a business owner, I want good SEO for my website and ROI in order to be profitable. My TV habits include CBS, PBS, HBO, and (if I'm watching TV with my wife) HGTV. As a videographer, I prefer HD to SD, and politically,
I consider myself more of an Independent than GOP or MN-DFL.

Recently, I came across an abbreviation I didn't quite understand-but one that, in my opinion, will change the way we, as videographers, share our work. I'm referring to the QR code that, literally, is popping up everywhere. The QR (Quick Response) code is basically a 2D barcode that originally was designed to track auto parts in Japan. Very quickly, the use of QR codes spread around the world because of their speed and accuracy. However, QR codes are most popular in the telecommunications field, due primarily to the rapid rise of smartphones.

Recently, I was interviewed on a local radio station, and the question about QR codes and video came up. I replied, "Think of visiting a cemetery and seeing a QR code on a marker or monument. By taking out your smartphone that is equipped with a QR reader, all you have to do is point the phone's camera at the code and, almost immediately, a video that has been linked to this particular code will begin playing on your phone. The sky is the limit as to what is on the video. In that video you might see and hear a message or story left by the deceased, or perhaps you will see a video that has been produced about the deceased. (It's even possible that you will get a commercial from a local monument company!) Without the QR code, the only thing you know about a person in a cemetery is their name and [birth and death] dates. But, by using the QR code, you can learn a great deal about the person, and it becomes something that makes the visit to the cemetery personal and meaningful."

The point is that QR codes make it possible for us to deliver videos (or any other type of media) almost instantly without depending on traditional means of delivery. Just as a QR code in a cemetery can tell us something about the lives of the deceased, a QR code on printed material will make our videos instantly available. To get more technical information on how to create and use QR codes, go here:

Alan Naumann, Memory Vision

How can we benefit from this technology? First of all, we need to get our heads into the clouds (cloud technology, that is). Though you probably still deliver your videos to many of your clients on DVDs, realize that the internet is the best way to share your work and ensure its visibility. We have many options, from YouTube to Vimeo to our own websites and blogs. But the point is that we need to start distributing our videos online if we want to take advantage of QR technology.

Second, we need to put QR codes on all of our literature. A business card is just a card with words-until people see a QR code that can drive them to our website. It then becomes a vehicle to open up our services in a multidimensional way. A brochure is only words and pictures until a QR code (or several) will take people to videos that illustrate what our brochures are talking about.

Third, we need to start using smartphones in a smart way. That means we'll have a QR reader on our phone that will allow us to read QR codes. We can use it to educate our clients on how they can benefit from having us produce a video for them as well as to provide a QR code that will link to that video. Most people will have a hard time grasping the concept of the QR code until we actually show them how it works. But when the light goes on, our profits will go up!
Fourth, we need to act today. I have been guilty of procrastinating on many great ideas, only to find that the window of opportunity had just shut. With our fast-changing world of technology, QR codes might be replaced by something else in the near future. But right now, QR codes are the technology that can revolutionize our business. The question I have for you is this: "Are You QR-ing?"

A footnote to my interview on WCCO Radio: The interviewer, John Hines, asked me if I could get him a copy of a video I produced for him and WCCO a couple of years ago. This is what I gave him:

Alan Naumann, Memory Vision

Thx for reading this article. I hope you apply it ASAP. GTG!

Alan Naumann  (alan at memoryvision.tv) is co-author, with Melonie Jeska, of The Complete Guide to Video Biographies, a comprehensive set of training materials for professional video producers. A featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2004–2010 and a
two-time EventDV 25 honoree, he is based in Minneapolis.

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Blackmagic Design Ships New UltraStudio 3D Portable Capture and Playback Device with Thunderbolt Support

Blackmagic Design today announced the world’s first video product with Thunderbolt technology. UltraStudio 3D which allows portable capture and playback with full resolution dual stream 3D support, 10 bit hardware architecture, dual link 3 Gb/s SDI, support for up to 1080p60 in SDI and component analog and HDMI 1.4a connections, as well as full SD, HD and 2K support, is now shipping for only US$995.

UltraStudio 3D is a compact and portable solution that uses the new Thunderbolt™ interface for dual link 3 Gb/s SDI, HDMI 1.4a and analog component/s-video/composite, as well as balanced analog and AES/EBU digital audio capture and playback. UltraStudio 3D is perfect for 3D workflows as it features interleaved, side by side, frame packed and dual stream capture and playback. 

Dual stream 3D allows customers to use the UltraStudio 3D dual link SDI connections to capture and play back two streams, one for the left eye and one for the right eye. The two streams are recorded into two separate media files. Dual stream 3D is higher quality because each eye is full resolution video, but dual stream is less compatible with current editing software. To solve this problem, Blackmagic Design’s Media Express 3 has been upgraded to handle both interleaved and dual stream 3D for capture and playback of 3D media for a complete 3D solution.

With SDI, HDMI and analog video capture and playback, combined with balanced analog and AES/EBU digital audio, UltraStudio 3D lets customers connect to all decks, cameras and monitors! UltraStudio 3D instantly switches between SD, HD and 2K, so is the ideal solution for all post production and broadcast users when working on design, editing, paint and effects tasks.

UltraStudio 3D is also based on a new internal hardware design with support for 10 bit SDI video and full support for video rates up to 1080p60 via SDI, HDMI and analog component. Thunderbolt™ technology easily handles this quality, and allows high end post production quality and features in a portable design.

“We are so excited to release the world's first feature film quality Thunderbolt™ technology based capture and playback device. Working closely with Intel and Apple on this project, I cannot believe how many advanced industry leading features are packed into this single product,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. "UltraStudio 3D has finally provided a real, portable high quality solution at a price anyone can afford!"

"Thunderbolt technology is a game-changer for media creators”, says Jason Ziller, Intel’s director of Thunderbolt Marketing, “Enthusiasts can now work with multiple streams of full resolution video with extreme portability.”

UltraStudio 3D Key Features

  • Thunderbolt™ technology at 10 Gb/s data rate.
  • 3G SDI (3 Gb/s SDI) in and out, supports SD, HD up to 1080p60 and 2K.
  • SDI inputs include full SDI re-clocking for capture from poor quality SDI sources.
  • HDMI 1.4a in and out, supports SD and HD formats up to 1080p60 and frame packing 3D.
  • Hardware based 10 bit Up, Down and Cross-Conversion.
  • Component analog in and out.
  • Component analog switches to s-video and composite.
  • 2 channel balanced analog audio in and out.
  • 2 channel AES/EBU unbalanced audio in and out.
  • Genlock/tri-sync input.
  • Sony™ compatible RS-422 deck control.
  • Supports uncompressed 8 and 10 bit and compressed video capture and playback.
  • Capture/playback of side by side, line by line, top and bottom and frame packing 3D via HDMI.
  • Capture/playback of side by side, line by line, top and bottom and dual stream 3D via SDI.
  • Includes hardware SD and HD keying.
  • Compatible with Mac OS X computers with a Thunderbolt™ port.
  • Supports Final Cut Studio, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve and more.
  • Includes free developer SDK.
  • Includes free Media Express 3 capture and playback software.

Availability and Price
UltraStudio 3D is available now for US$995 from Blackmagic Design resellers.

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

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FBmn Unveils ColorMatch for Sony Vegas Pro 10

FBmn Software, the creator of the White Balance and Exposure plug-ins for Vegas Pro 10 and Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11, has announced the availability of its new plug-in called ColorMatch, which aims at matching the colors of different clips.

The FBmn Software's ColorMatch plug-in lets the user finely adjust the colors of video events so that they match the colors of others. This helps produce movies showing the same colors set between all shots of a same scene, even though they were caught by cameras having different color spaces. Among other benefits, transitions between events from different cameras may be smoother.

You can find a demonstration video, before-after comparison pictures, and more information on the product web page:
http://www.fbmn-software.com/en/color-match.html

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Sachtler Intros New Lightweight 2-Stage Carbon Fiber Tripod

Sachtler, a Vitec Group brand, introduces a new lightweight 2-stage carbon fiber tripod ideally suited for HDV and video enabled DSLR cameras. The TT 75/2 CF features a 75mm bowl and 3-section single carbon fiber tubes.

This fully-professional support offers Sachtler’s hallmark stability and easy setup. Varying leg angles can be quickly deployed and adjusted. The tripod comes with Sachtler’s distinctive red footpads with retractable spikes.

The Sachtler TT 75/2 CF offers a wide height range, from as low as 10.6" (27 cm) up to a maximum height of 67.3" (171 cm). With a weight of just 5.1 pounds (2.3 kg), the compact TT 75/2 CF is the ideal lightweight companion for today's on-the-move shooters. The new telescopic tripod is available in a system along with a Sachtler FSB 4, Cine DSLR, FSB 6, or FSB 8 fluid head, plus the convenient DV 75 L padded carrier.

The TT 75/2 CF Lightweight Tripod is available in the United States only. For more information visit: http://www.sachtler.com

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NewTek Premieres New Control Surface for TriCaster 850

NewTek, worldwide leader in portable live production and 3D animation systems, premiered the NewTek TriCaster™ 850 TW control surface for the high definition (HD) line TriCaster of portable live production systems. TriCaster 850 TW may be used as a companion to the TriCaster 850 CS control surface and provides complete control over the system media players, as well as instant replay functions.

“Our goal is to make TriCaster versatile and easy-to-use in any production environment,” said Andrew Cross, NewTek CTO. “In high pressure live production situations, you want to have control over every aspect of your show—TriCaster 850 TW lets you manage all media playback capabilities, including the ability to deliver a single channel of replay.”

TriCaster 850 TW works with TriCaster 850 EXTREME, TriCaster 850 and TriCaster 300. The new control surface provides the same desktop profile, attention to detail, durability and ergonomics of the TriCaster 850 CS. The two control surface modules align perfectly and provide capabilities that complement each other. Each control surface unit may be operated independently by one or two operators.

TriCaster 850 TW benefits:

  • Seamless hands-on control of TriCaster Media Players makes it easier to manage clips and live playback
  • Dedicated replay operation adds instant replay directly into TriCaster live production workflow
  • Familiar mark-in and mark-out controls let operators create clips easily
  • Normal and fast jog modes enable quick access to individual frames
  • Preset buttons provide efficient one-touch playlist access
  • Premium T-bar and jog wheel construction improves response, clip transport and smooth playback, at any speed

With TriCaster, anyone can simultaneously produce, live stream, broadcast, project and record high definition (HD) and standard definition (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 webcasters, broadcasters, 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
TriCaster 850 TW will be available in September 2011 and retail in North America for US$2,495. The TriCaster family of NTSC portable live production systems is available for education in North America starting at US$4,995 and in multi-standard for US$5,995.International pricing may vary. Educational pricing is also available. For more information, please visit http://www.newtek.com

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BorisFX and Nexidia Introduce Soundbite--New Dialogue Search Plug-in for Final Cut Pro X

Boris FX, the leading developer of integrated VFX and workflow technology for video and film, today announced that it will partner with Nexidia, the leading provider of audio analysis and dialogue search technology for the media and entertainment industries, to launch Boris Soundbite, a fast and accurate tool to locate footage by finding any word or phrase spoken in multimedia files.

“Dialogue search has generated more excitement amongst editors this year than any other new technology,” said Boris Yamnitsky, President and Founder of Boris FX. “We are excited to expand our family of postproduction workflow solutions with Soundbite and we are dedicated to making it a standard part of every editor’s arsenal.”

Nexidia’s patented dialogue search technology, which has already received accolades from Creative COW, DV Magazine, Post Magazine, and others, quickly and accurately finds any word or phrase spoken in recorded media. With the new Boris Soundbite, video editors, producers, and journalists will be able to instantly play all occurrences of a spoken phrase in their media, then insert the perfect take into their Final Cut Pro project, organize clips around keywords, and even find replacement words for problematic audio.

“Leading editors already know that dialogue search saves time, reduces transcription costs, and lets them be more creative,“ said Drew Lanham, SVP/GM of Media for Nexidia. “By leveraging the development power and global reach of Boris FX, we’ll be able to bring a whole new generation of dialogue search to the Final Cut Pro community.”

Key Dialogue Search Features for Final Cut Pro

Key features of Boris Soundbite include: 

  • Combine multiple phrases and standard Final Cut Pro metadata terms to search hundreds of hours of media in just seconds.
  • Preview results in the Soundbite player. Soundbite will search and play virtually any media file supported in QuickTime.
  • One click places selected clips into a Final Cut Pro project, including markers for each dialogue match and in/out points set in the Soundbite player.
  • Multiple languages and dialects are supported, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Dutch.

Boris Soundbite incorporates several features previously unavailable to Final Cut Pro users, such as:
  • Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) Support: Soundbite supports Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later.
  • Streamlined User Interface: Soundbite presents users with a modernized user interface that facilitates fast, efficient operation from a single window.
  • Network Volume Support: Soundbite can access content stored on network drives that are mounted to the machine – including any drive or volume mounted on a desktop and connected via Ethernet in a LAN environment.
  • New Languages: In addition to English and Latin American Spanish, Soundbite is available for European French, German, Castilian Spanish, Italian, and Dutch.
  • Track Selection: To further increase accuracy, users can select which audio channels to search.

Pricing and Availability
Boris Soundbite will be available in September 2011 through the Boris FX worldwide reseller channel and direct from the Boris FX website for an introductory price of $295 USD. The introductory price will be offered for 30 days. Thereafter, the MSRP will be $495 USD.

A full-functioning 14-day trial version will be available for free download from the Boris FX website. Boris Soundbite supports Final Cut Pro v7 and v6.0.2. All Soundbite users will be eligible for a free update to a forthcoming version that supports Final Cut Pro X.

Owners of “AV3 Get for Final Cut Pro” will be eligible for a free upgrade to Soundbite. For more information, please contact Boris FX at info@borisfx.com or +1.617.451.9900. 

About Boris FX
Founded in 1995, Boris FX is a leading developer of VFX, compositing, titling, video editing, and workflow tools for broadcast, post-production, and film professionals. Boris FX products have grown to serve over a million artists worldwide. The company's success lies in its ability to tightly integrate and leverage technologies through strong partnerships with Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Grass Valley, Sony, and other leading developers of video editing software.

For more information, visit http://www.borisfx.com

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