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Copyright © 2004 -
Information Today, Inc.

March 14, 2005

Table of Contents

Review: Primera BravoPro--EDITOR'S CHOICE
FOCUS Enhancements to Unveil FS-4 HD and FS-4 Pro HD Direct Disk Recorders at NAB
Leitch Announces Version 9.1 of VelocityQ NLE
Blu-ray Disc Association Welcomes Apple to Its Board of Directors
Ulead Announces DVD MovieFactory 4 Disc Creator
MF Digital Announces Video Capture with Seamless Duplication
Roxio Unveils Easy Media Creator 7.5
Rimage Corporation 360i Desktop CD/DVD Publishing System
Pinnacle Deko 1000HD Now Available
EventDV Survey #7: RESULTS

Review: Primera BravoPro--EDITOR'S CHOICE

The Primera BravoPro (www.primera.com) is an affordable and painless in-house DVD production solution that yields professional results and provides some comfortable room to grow if your needs don't immediately justify a system of its speed or capacity. When a Bravo II won't quite do, it's BravoPro to the rescue!

By any measure, Primera's Bravo has been the most compact, clever, and successful small-scale automated disc duplicator—ever. So why mess with success? One size never fits all. Sometimes you need just a little more and that's where Primera's new BravoPro comes in: twice the capacity, dual recorders, a faster printer, and all for an attractive price.

From all appearances, the BravoPro is an enlarged version of the original Bravo design but still fits easily on your desktop. It's laid out in the same smart and efficient way with a horizontally moving robot servicing disc input and output bins, centrally mounted recorders and integrated inkjet label printer and comes in DVD/CD ($3,995), CD ($3,495), and autoprinter ($2,495) models.

What's New
The BravoPro's larger size allows it to accommodate more discs than its sibling. In stock configuration the unit works with 50 discs at a time and with expansion to 100 by employing Kiosk mode. This involves using both input and output bins for blanks and diverting finished discs down the reject shoot into a silo slung from the front of the unit over the edge of the desk. Handy for producing marketing material and unconventional work, an optional $229 adapter kit enables the BravoPro to produce business-card and mini-sized discs.

Along with the BravoPro's greater capacity comes increased throughput. The DVD/CD unit I evaluated integrated a couple of industry standard 16X Pioneer DVR-108 recorders but I'm told that the latest DVR-109 model is now in the works and should provide some incremental performance improvements over what I experienced in my testing. CD-R-only models currently come equipped with LG 52X recorders and with a switch to Plextor units also planned for the near future.

The BravoPro also offers direct disc labeling that incorporates the latest and greatest in color inkjet technology. Courtesy of its Lexmark engine, the BravoPro is not only one of the fastest inkjet around it offers impressive 4800x1200dpi resolution using infinitesimally small three picoliter ink droplets and four-color operation using two larger cartridges (24ml color and 19ml black as opposed to 15ml).

While it might be possible to get away with connecting a single-recorder duplicator to any old computer hanging around the office, multi-recorder units like the BravoPro are in a different league. You must budget accordingly. Note that minimum system requirements include a 2GHz PC or Mac G3 running 10.2.

When it comes to simple installation, the BravoPro is head and shoulders above the crowd. Since the printer is integrated into the main unit there is no need to align devices physically with the disc handling mechanism. A single USB 2.0 cable connection is used for both data transfer and printer control. I found hookup to be a snap.

Software Operation
Day-to-day duplication and recording is accomplished using Sonic's PrimoDVD 2.1 (what I tested) and Primera's PTBurn (five-user network software) for the PC or CharisMac Discribe for the Macintosh. And while it's possible to create label artwork using most graphic design packages, the BravoPro also includes MicroVision's SureThing CD Labeler (LE) software for the PC.

PrimoDVD has been around for years so its interface is a little long in the tooth. However, it's straightforward and easy to manage compared to the clutter of current recording software. It creates an array of common disc types from scratch by dragging and dropping files from the computer's hard drive or it can reproduce existing unprotected discs (multiple jobs can be run sequentially).

Duplicates are made by using either the computer's DVD/CD drive or a BravoPro recorder as the input source or alternatively by using a "stream" mode where one or multiple discs to be copied are placed in with the stack of blanks (disappointingly, labeling isn't possible in this mode). My main complaints are those I have with most current duplicators—inadequate error messages, a lack of low-level disc information and quality assessment tools, and poor safeguards to prevent users from doing stupid things by accident.

Printing Performance
I was especially impressed with the unit's labeling speed and quality during my testing. For example, used for just labeling, the BravoPro took only 12:30 to impart full surface images to ten discs at its default settings and 21:05 at its highest quality (slowest cases). In addition to regular printable discs from Verbatim, Glyphics/MBI, and Maxell, I had the opportunity to try DVDs from Verbatim, TDK, and Maxell that employ the latest "photo quality" printable coatings. Although more expensive than average printable media, these discs are to conventional inkjet-printable media what glossy photo stocks are to standard inkjet paper and truly take advantage of the BravoPro's high-resolution capability. Graphic, text, and photographic results were superb with brilliant and bold images, fine details, and a smooth, glass-like gloss appearance--all with fast drying times and good durability.

Writing and labeling (full surface at highest quality) ten full 700 MB data CDs from scratch took 29:30, and ten full 4.7 GB DVDs from a standard DVD-Video title set took 44:25 to produce. Simple copying in stream mode took a respectable 30:25 to read in and duplicate ten existing full CDs. Ten full DVDs without labels took 48:35 to duplicate. Keep in mind when estimating DVD throughput that high-speed inkjet-printable discs are often scarce and the recorder's brand support isn't universal so, as a practical matter, you may end up recording at slower speed.

Cost of ownership is important with any labeling system and, according to Primera, the unit will print roughly 250 full surface discs per $47.95 tri-color cartridge (even percentage of each color, default settings). Obviously, results will vary widely depending upon the nature of your work.

The Bottom Line
Having an all-in-one disc duplicator in-house makes great sense for anyone producing more than a handful of DVDs or CDs at a time. You can maintain total control over the finished product, deal quickly with last-minute changes, customize as necessary, and not tie up your valuable time in the process. All in all, the BravoPro is an affordable and painless in-house production solution that yields professional results and provides some comfortable room to grow if your needs don't immediately justify a system of its speed or capacity. When a Bravo won't quite do, it's BravoPro to the rescue!

System Requirements: 2GHz Pentium 4 PC running Windows XP/2000, 500MB RAM, 7200RPM HDD, an available USB 2.0 port; or Power Mac G3Macintosh running Mac OS X 10.2, 500MB RAM, available USB 2.0 port.

Companies Mentioned in this Article

Glyphics Media/MBI

Maxell Corporation of America

TDK Electronics Corporation

Verbatim Corporation

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FOCUS Enhancements to Unveil FS-4 HD and FS-4 Pro HD Direct Disk Recorders at NAB

FOCUS Enhancements Inc. has announced it will demonstrate its new FireStore FS-4 HD and FS-4Pro HD High Definition (HD) Portable Direct To Edit (DTE) recorders at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas from April 18th to 21st (Booth SL505, SL4255E). The DV FireStore FS-4 is available now, and the FireStore FS-4Pro is expected to ship later this month. As the current FireStore models are upgradeable to HD, customers who purchase FS-4 and FS-4Pro on or before April 30, 2005 will be offered a special $99 (normally $299) software upgrade coupon to capitalize upon full HD functionality.

In addition to the current feature set and DV25 capabilities of the existing portable DTE recorders, FireStore will now record HD streams via FireWire from leading video products including Sony's HDV and JVC's HD camcorders and decks. FireStore then connects directly to a Mac/PC notebook or desktop, allowing video professionals to edit content directly from the FS-4--maintaining an HD format throughout the entire production process from capture and editing to distribution. 

FS-4 HD and FS-4Pro HD enable users to switch between standard definition DV25 mode and HD mode. DV25 mode allows recordings in any one of eight or ten DTE technology supported file formats while HD mode allows 480p/576p, 720p or 1080i MPEG-2 transport streams to be recorded and used immediately with supporting NLE applications. The portable FS-4 HD features a removable Li-Ion battery pack, 16 front-panel buttons, a back-lit status LCD display, multiple control modes, a six-second retro-cache, user-definable function keys, extensive playback features and support for DV25-based DTE. In addition to HD formats, FireStore supports RawDV, AVI Type 1, AVI Type 2, Matrox AVI, Canopus AVI, QuickTime, 24p QuickTime, and 24p AVI Type 2. The FS-4Pro HD has the same feature set as FS-4, but also includes up to ten seconds of retro-cache, retro disk, loop record, user-definable folders for scene marking, and support for additional DV25 DTE technology file formats including Avid DV-OMF and Pinnacle AVI.  

Prices for the FS-4 HD, FS-4 HD Pro will be announced in April 2005. FireStore HD upgrades, FS-4 HD, and FS-4Pro HD are expected to be available in summer 2005 through the worldwide FOCUS Enhancements dealer and distributor network.


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Leitch Announces Version 9.1 of VelocityQ NLE

Leitch Technology Corporation has announced a new software update for VelocityQ, the company's standard-definition post production non-linear editing system.V ersion 9.1 of VelocityQ features new tools for color correction, collaborative workflows, and audio processing, plus broadened media format support and a variety of user interface enhancements.

VelocityQ 9.1 features new CPU-based color correction tools, including three-way color-wheel control, curves, color matching, and automatic white and black re-balance. The new Interactive Editing paradigm enables edits--including adding, deleting, moving and trimming clips--and real-time effects to be applied without stopping full-quality playback, providing in-context feedback while editing and refining effects. The new "Detect 'n' Collect" feature facilitates interchange between networked editors in a collaborative environment, with automatic detection and collection of new media files in user-specified directories such as on shared storage.

VelocityQ's format support has been broadened with the ability to use native DV25 media directly in the timeline, in addition to the existing support for uncompressed and compressed formats. Complementing this format support is new compatibility with tapeless DV recording devices such as Focus Enhancements' FireStore series. Also directly supported is DV25 and DVCPRO content from Panasonic's P2 media-less memory-based products.

VelocityQ's new audio capabilities include advanced audio node and fade management, with new audio SuperNodes for applying user-defined audio curves and fades non-destructively. In addition to the existing support for clip-based DirectShow filters, real-time .VST audio plug-ins can now be applied to entire tracks with automation.

VelocityQ's user interface also boasts new features. The newly enhanced Advanced Keyframer features Bezier spline-based adjustments for each individual effect parameter. The Advanced Trim Window now offers a choice of trimming styles. In addition to the three-window (in/out/preview) trimmer of VelocityQ 8.2, VelocityQ now also offers a two-window (source/record) style trimmer, familiar to users migrating from other editing systems. The EyeCon View timeline interface tool now also includes Audio EyeCons, displaying a close-up view of the audio waveform at the playhead's current frame for more precise alignment of clips relative to audio events. Enhanced timeline flexibility allows transitions to be applied between clips on any video track.

VelocityQ combines the Velocity software with the Quattrus multi-stream, real-time non-linear editing hardware. VelocityQ features real-time, full-quality playback of four streams of compressed or uncompressed video, up to six graphics streams, and optionally two or four channels of 3D DVE. VelocityQ is available as fully integrated, "ready to run" turnkey solutions, or as boardset-and-software bundles for installation into a Windows XP workstation.

VelocityQ version 9.1 is scheduled for release in May. Registered users who purchased VelocityQ 8.2 systems after February 1, 2005, are eligible to receive version 9.1 upgrades at no charge. Specially priced upgrades to version 9.1 will be available for existing VelocityQ users through authorized Leitch post production resellers. U.S. customers can preorder VelocityQ 9.1 software upgrades immediately, directly from the Leitch e-Store.


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Blu-ray Disc Association Welcomes Apple to Its Board of Directors

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) announced that Apple will become a member of the consortium's Board of Directors. The next release of Apple's QuickTime software, QuickTime 7, will feature the MPEG developed H.264 Advanced Video Codec (AVC) which has been adopted for high definition DVDs. Apple will release QuickTime 7 in conjunction with the release of Mac OS X version 10.4 "Tiger," the fifth version of Mac OS X that will ship in the first half of 2005.

The BDA was created to broaden support for Blu-ray Disc—the next-generation optical disc for storing high definition movies, photos and other digital content. Blu-ray Discs will have five times larger capacity than today's DVDs, with a single-layer Blu-ray Disc holding up to 25 gigabytes of data and a double-layer Blu-ray Disc holding up to 50 gigabytes of data.


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Ulead Announces DVD MovieFactory 4 Disc Creator

Ulead Systems, Inc. has announced Ulead DVD MovieFactory 4 Disc Creator, the latest version of its all-in-one, consumer-level DVD creation software for the PC. DVD MovieFactory 4 Disc Creator offers useful digital media tools such as the ability to burn audio DVDs, fit dual-layer DVDs to a single-layer disc, and quickly sync music to an MP3 player. At the same time, it enables consumers to turn videos and photos into DVD movies and slideshows to watch on TV with a professional-looking DVD menu.

DVD MovieFactory 4 Disc Creator offers new quick-drop desktop icons to let consumers burn and sync digital media by simply dragging and dropping media to task icons located on the desktop without having to fully launch the software. A fine-tuned interface, which incorporates Flash animation, makes it easy to navigate and locate DVD burning and creation tools. Enhanced DVD menu-design technology enables consumers to fully customize DVD menus by simply resizing chapter points, objects and text, and dragging and dropping them anywhere on the menu. Ulead also offers a standard version of DVD MovieFactory 4, which provides the core DVD authoring and creation tools that are included in the Disc Creator version. 

New Features in DVD MovieFactory 4 Disc Creator: 
• Full 16:9 Video Authoring & Menus - Preview, edit, add menus, and author 16:9 movies and slideshows to DVD.
• Make audio-only DVD discs - Use Dolby Digital to pack 45 hours of music onto a single disc to play on a DVD player.
• Burn DVD Audio discs - Burn 6 hours of high-quality uncompressed music on a DVD Audio disc.
• Auto video enhancements -Lighten dark video clips to improve final production.
• Pan & zoom effects -Highlight details in photos with pan & zoom motion.
• Multiple background music - Add multiple audio files to video with audio fade-in/fade-out.
• Format DVDs/CDs to act like a hard drive - Conveniently drag and drop files on and off of discs.
• Fit to Disc - Import a DVD, select the content, language and subtitles, and convert to DVD-video or fit double-layer to single-layer DVDs.
• Burned disc verification - Compares burned data to sourced data to ensure proper burn.

Both DVD MovieFactory 4 Disc Creator and DVD MovieFactory 4 are currently available for $99.99 and $49.99. Previous users of DVD MovieFactory Disc Creator and DVD MovieFactory can upgrade at www.ulead.com for $64.99 and $34.99 respectively.


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MF Digital Announces Video Capture with Seamless Duplication

MF Digital has announced a new technology partnership with Pioneer that enables MF Digital duplicators, when used in conjunction with Pioneer's PRV-LX1 or LX10 pro DVD recorders, to complete a live DVD authoring/duplication solution.

The Pioneer PRV-LX1,or LX10 is designed to record video from all professional video sources onto DVD-R or DVD-RW media without the need for a PC or authoring system. MF Digital is an official Pioneer third-party add-on product. The MF Digital Copiers 5906EC copier module (www.mfdigital.com/5000series.html), and the Scribe EC 3000 Automated Stand-alone (www,mfdigital.com/scribesaseries.html) can be connected directly to the Pioneer PRV-LX1, LX10 via Ethernet. Once connected, a DVD authored on the PRV-LX1, LX10 may be downloaded to 5906 EC high-speed Copier Modules to produce multiple copies, freeing up the PRV-LX1, LX10 to author the next project. Multiple MF Digital Copier Modules or Standalone copiers may exist on a network and duplication jobs can be launched on multiple units concurrently. Network scalability allows you burn your PRV-LX1, LX10 authored image on 1 to 60 drives at the same time. The 5906 EC Copier Module can be automated later with a simple autoloader upgrade option. Also available with Gigabit Ethernet.

If a fully automatic copier, capable of direct-to-disc inkjet or thermal CD printing, is desired, the MF Digital 3000 Series Standalone copiers too can be be used in tandem to produce copies from the PRV-LX1, LX10 internal hard drive without the need of a physical master DVD.


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Roxio Unveils Easy Media Creator 7.5

Roxio, a division of Sonic Solutions, has unveiled Easy Media Creator 7.5. The latest version of Roxio's digital media software combines technologies from both Roxio and Sonic into one of the most comprehensive suites of CD and DVD authoring and burning, photo, video, and music applications on the market. Available in retail channels in April, Easy Media Creator 7.5 targets consumers who want to create, manage, share, and preserve their personal digital content.

In addition to Roxio's PhotoSuite 7 Platinum, VideoWave 7 Professional, DVD Builder, Disc Copier, and Creator Classic, Easy Media Creator 7.5 also includes three of Sonic's applications: Backup MyPC Deluxe 6 for comprehensive data protection and disaster recovery; MyDVD Slideshow for fast and efficient creation of DVD slideshows from still photos; and CinePlayer 2 for high-quality playback of DVD-video content. In response to strong consumer appetite for music downloads, Internet radio, and portable music players, Easy Media Creator introduces new audio features such as an LP and Tape Assistant that streamlines the conversion of analog recordings to digital; an Easy Audio Capture utility that provides a quick and effective way to record audio such as Internet radio broadcasts; and an enhanced Sound Editor that now provides features for the precise manipulation of audio files and the creation of mixes.

Other new features in Easy Media Creator 7.5 include a Disc Image Loader that enables users to mount disc image files in a virtual drive as if they were discs in a physical drive; a DivX-to-DVD Creator that makes it easy to convert DivX content to DVD for playback in the living room; DVDInfo Pro for testing the performance of drives and media; support for LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling Technology in Label Creator, the suite's disc and label artwork creation component; and support for Media Center PC PVR files.

Easy Media Creator 7.5 will be widely available in early April 2005 throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. The suggested retail price in the US is $99.95. Owners of previous versions of Roxio products and competitive applications are eligible for a $30 mail-in rebate.


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Rimage Corporation 360i Desktop CD/DVD Publishing System

Rimage Corporation has announced that it will launch a new addition to its Desktop product line, the Rimage 360i CD/DVD publishing system, at the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany beginning on March 10, 2005.

Priced in the mid-$2,000 range, the Rimage 360i is positioned as a low-volume, high-quality publishing solution. Key features include the following:

  • low cost of ownership based on a printed cost per disc
  • wizard-based software for intuitive operation--creating a disc with customized content and labeling on an on-demand basis requires only four clicks on the customer's keyboard
  • 16X DVD recording and 48X CD recording
  • HP's most advanced thermal inkjet printer engine, promising vivid color, sharply-defined text and photo-realistic images
  • plug-and-play installation
  • small physical footprint (H: 19", W: 15 1/4", D: 20"), designed for desktop use or any location where space is limited

Initial shipments are expected to start in May 2005.


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Pinnacle Deko 1000HD Now Available

Pinnacle Systems, Inc., a leader in digital video solutions, has announced the availability of Pinnacle Deko 1000HD a new solution for high definition (HD) real-time graphics creation and playback. Deko 1000HD is designed for a wide range of broadcast applications ranging from sports events to MOS-enabled newscasts.

Deko 1000HD targets video professionals who need to add HD production capabilities but do not require the advanced features of Pinnacle's flagship Deko 3000HD system. Deko 1000HD delivers in native 720p and 1080i HD resolutions the same set of capabilities, internal clip playback, real-time motions and effects found in the standard definition Deko 1000 model.


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EventDV Survey #7: RESULTS


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