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Copyright © 2004 -
Information Today, Inc.



June 20, 2005

Table of Contents

Stage to Screen: Summer School
Leitch Ships Version 9.1 of VelocityQ NLE
Maxtor OneTouch Delivers FireWire 800 for Mac Market
Film Trailer Distribution Revolutionized With DVDxDV Pro
Magnet Media Now Shipping DVD-Based Training for Apple’s Final Cut Pro 5
Plextor's ConvertX PVR Mac to use Elgato's EyeTV Software Enhanced with DivX
New JVC Camcorders Feature Large Capacity, Built-In Hard Disk Drives
Survey #18: RESULTS

Stage to Screen: Summer School

Here it is the end of the school year, and I hope everyone got to do a play, recital, or graduation over the last nine or ten months. If not, now is the time to start planning for the fall. In the meantime, let's make sure we're all up to date by answering the variety of questions I've been asked in response to the last several months' columns.

One of the questions I'm asked most frequently concerns copyright issues for stage event videography. Many of the scripts and scores of plays are rented and the rental terms often prohibit recording the production. This could range from an all-encompassing "no recording of any type" with more limited restrictions. The best advice is to look at the contract and discuss the terms with the renters of the manuscripts. You should have language in your contract that protects you from liability in any disputes that may arise from unclear or undisclosed restrictions on script rental. Some contracts do allow for actors to record their performance for self-assessmen; others will mention terms for limited distribution of a video. Some will have provisions for limited distribution, especially with younger students. Read their contract and make your own decision. The loophole here is that there are no restrictions for parents' videotaping their children. Because of copyright restrictions, many schools are resorting to variety shows, original plays, and other performances that are in the public domain. This means no restrictions on recording.

Another question that I've been asked more times than I can count is how to set up for audio. Audio is not a simple subject. What works in one venue may not work in another. The use of a particular microphone for a specific event may not work if a single variable is different during the next event. You'll usually do well following the tried and true practices of audio, such as mic'ing as close as possible, using room acoustics effectively, and always having a backup plan if, say, the house system fails. There are dozens of combinations of equipment that can produce good results. How do you find this "magic" combination? Experiment. Work with your clients. Attend rehearsals and use different types of microphones and vary the placement. This way you will learn the capabilities and limitations of your equipment, something that few videographers actually know.

Yet another common question is, "Where do I shoot from and with how many cameras?" The best I can do is to tell you how to analyze your situation to provide the best visuals. Position yourself dead center when possible. But not all events allow you to claim that ideal location or; in some there is no center, as in a fashion show. If the center doesn't hold, think of where you'd want to be to watch a program. Study TV, movies, etc. Watch them technically, look at the angles, lighting, anything that will instruct you as to how to the visuals were produced. Things that you may want to take into account are the amount of panning, focusing, light-level changes you'll be doing If you use a too sharp of an angle, you run the risk of dropping the focus when panning from one end of the stage to the other. Pans and zooms are usually discouraged, but with a single-camera event, they are mandatory if you want to mix closeups with wide establishing shots. Moderation is key and slower is better; mix them up whenever possible. Shooting live television, I've been taught that if you could see the pan, it was too fast. How many cameras depends on your budget. Remember, each camera requires an operator and adds that much more footage to edit, all eating away at the bottom line. So if you are selling 20 videos at $25 each, you shouldn't be thinking multicamera, live-switched.

There is no rule or guide to determine how much you should charge; there are just too many variables. Things like length of event, venue restrictions (setup, etc.), how many total videos you expect to sell (or contracted to sell), number of cameras/crew, regional/competition pricing, all factor in. No matter what you charge, you should look at your expenses, both direct and indirect, and charge accordingly. Most importantly, make sure that you are making a profit (after paying yourself, of course). After all, that is why we are in business. We've all taken on jobs for the sake of having that job, even if we merely broke even. This is one of the main reasons that so many videographers are going out of business or taking on supplemental jobs. They put more into their business than they are getting paid for. But, you say, if you give up a job just because it doesn't pay a ton of money, isn't that like shooting yourself in the foot? No, but it's better than working yourself to death. If this is the story of your business, you should be looking at the reason why you can only get low-paying shoots and correct that problem. If you're not making a profit and growing your business, then you aren't really in business. It's called a hobby.

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Leitch Ships Version 9.1 of VelocityQ NLE

Leitch Technology Corporation, a provider of SD/HD solutions for the professional digital video industry, has announced that version 9.1 of VelocityQ, Leitch's standard-definition, post production non-linear editing system, is now shipping. Version 9.1 of VelocityQ features new tools for color correction, collaborative workflows, and audio processing, plus broadened media format support--including direct support for DV25 and DVCPRO content from Panasonic's P2 series of products--and a wide range of user interface enhancements. For more details about the new features in VelocityQ 9.1, visit www.leitch.com/VQ9.

VelocityQ combines the Velocity software with the Quattrus multi-stream, real-time non-linear editing hardware, forming an integrated, multi-layer, standard-definition NLE solution. 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, according to Leitch. VelocityQ 9.1 is available as fully integrated, "ready to run" turnkey solutions, or as boardset-and-software bundles for installation into qualified Microsoft Windows XP Professional workstations. Upgrades to version 9.1 are available for existing VelocityQ users through authorized Leitch post production resellers. U.S. customers can also order VelocityQ 9.1 software upgrades directly from the Leitch e-Store at www.leitch.com

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Maxtor OneTouch Delivers FireWire 800 for Mac Market

Maxtor Corporation has unveiled its new Maxtor OneTouch II drive with a FireWire 800 interface. Ideal for creative professionals, computer power users and digital content creators, the drive delivers up to 800Mbps data transfer rates to quickly transfer and store high-resolution graphics, digital audio/video, heavy multimedia files, photos, and more.

Mac or PC users simply plug the Maxtor OneTouch II drive into any FireWire 800-enabled computer and are able to store their valuable data in seconds. The new Maxtor OneTouch II, FireWire 800 Edition will be shipping this month to Apple Retail Stores and major EMEA distributors. Consumers can connect the drive to their system using its FireWire 800, FireWire 400, or USB 2.0 interface.

The new Maxtor OneTouch II drive features the highest performing FireWire external drive interface on the market today. FireWire 800 provides twice the bandwidth of FireWire 400 and is 66 times faster than USB 1.1. Coupling the interface with the Maxtor OneTouch II drive's 300GB capacity and 16MB buffer, users can transfer and store their digital content at blazing speeds. The drive also features stunning good looks and cool operation, so users can either stack multiple drives or position them upright to save desktop space. With every Maxtor OneTouch II drive, consumers receive Maxtor's award-winning backup package. This includes Maxtor DriveLock for added security and an exclusive version of EMC Dantz Retrospect Express HD software for simple backup and restores.

The drive also features a simple user-friendly interface for easy set up and navigation. Using the FireWire interface, the Maxtor OneTouch II drive is fully bootable on a Mac computer running OS X system software. No additional software or hardware is required. Manufacturer's suggested retail pricing is approximately £199.90 for the 200GB and approximately £249.90 for the 300GB. A 500GB version will be shipping later this year.

www.maxtor.com

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Film Trailer Distribution Revolutionized With DVDxDV Pro

A major film studio is saving tens of thousands dollars in film trailer distribution costs by using standard DVDs and a special software program called DVDxDV Pro. DVDxDV Pro is Macintosh-based program that converts standard DVDs to broadcast-ready video. The quality was good enough to convince an unnamed major movie studio to endorse the use of the software.

Distributing film trailers and film clips for a movie is usually a very expensive undertaking. Hundreds of copies of tapes need to be made and sent out to media outlets around the country. Because DVDs are so much cheaper and easier to replicate, it can save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year by sending out DVDs instead of tapes. With DVDxDV, the process of converting the video requires no extra equipment other than a Mac with a DVD drive.

"We evaluated many different solutions and DVDxDV Pro trumped them all," says Alex Arko of Media Men, a company that creates and distributes the film trailers for the studio. "We compared the video that was extracted from the DVD using DVDxDV Pro with the original 10-bit uncompressed capture from Digibeta and were hard-pressed to tell any difference whatsoever. It looked far superior to the industry-standard Beta SP tape and is exactly the same on every single disk." DVDxDV Pro converts the video from a standard DVD and creates a high quality QuickTime video file. Once in Apple's QuickTime format, the video is ready to use in high-end applications, such as, Apple's Final Cut Pro, or in Avid's Media Composer. DVDxDV comes in two different versions, a consumer version and a professional version. The consumer version, DVDxDV, sells for $25 while the professional version, DVDxDV Pro, is available for $80. Both versions are available for purchase at the DVDxDV Web site (www.dvdxdv.com).

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Magnet Media Now Shipping DVD-Based Training for Apple’s Final Cut Pro 5

Magnet Media, Inc.'s Digital Media Training Series (DMTS) has released Inside Final Cut Pro 5, an interactive self-paced training DVD for Apple's latest version of it award-winning video editing software. This new training DVD features project-based lessons, including multicamera editing; setting up your system for all the HD formats; working with multichannel audio; keyboard shortcuts for OS X: Tiger, and more.

DMTS training DVDs are available in the Apple retail stores, as well as from local Apple specialists and Authorized Apple Pro Video Resellers. Users may also purchase the training directly from Magnet Media's website at www.digitalmediatraining.com. Free lessons from the training are available online.

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Plextor's ConvertX PVR Mac to use Elgato's EyeTV Software Enhanced with DivX

Plextor Corp. has announced the availability of real-time hardware-based DivX video encoding on the ConvertX Personal Video Recorder for the Macintosh with Elgato's EyeTV 1.8.1 software. Previously available to ConvertX PVR PC users only, hardware-based DivX video encoding is now available to Macintosh users using EyeTV 1.7.2 software.

EyeTV 1.8.1 is a free comprehensive update for current ConvertX PVR for the Mac owners, and is available for download from www.elgato.com. ConvertX PVR for the Macintosh hardware has always supported DivX capture, and now the EyeTV software upgrade makes this feature accessible to Macintosh users.

Patent-pending DivX video technology offers DVD-quality at three times greater compression than MPEG-2 files, enabling full length films to easily fit on a CD or be delivered over broadband connections. With the Plextor ConvertX PVR and Elgato EyeTV software, users can also edit DivX files and timeshift in the DivX format. In 2004, DivXNetworks certified ConvertX PVRs. Products that bear the DivX Certified logo have undergone a rigorous quality and compatibility testing program to ensure interoperability, security, and visual quality. In addition to DivX technology, the ConvertX PVR for the Macintosh also supports hardware-based MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 video capture and compression.

Recommended System: MAC OS X Compatible Mac CPU; MAC OS X 10.1.5 or above operating system; 20 MB free space for software installation; QuickTime 6; USB connection. Roxio Toast 6 Titanium is recommended for CD or DVD creation. Pricing and Availability Plextor's ConvertX Personal Video Recorder for Mac is shipping immediately with Elgato EyeTV 1.8.1 software. ConvertX PVR for Mac has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $229.00 USD. EyeTV 1.8.1 is a free update for current ConvertX PVR for the Mac owners, and is available for download from www.elgato.com. Windows Compatibility Software CD is $49 and can be ordered from Plextor by calling 510-440-2000.

www.plextor.com

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New JVC Camcorders Feature Large Capacity, Built-In Hard Disk Drives

JVC has announced a new series of camcorders that eliminates the need to carry tapes, discs, or any media at all, yet can record up to seven hours of DVD movie-quality video. They also record more than 10.5 hours at a quality level comparable to a DVD camcorder's 30-minute mode.

The new JVC Everio G Series camcorders record to a built-in hard disk drive and will be available in 20 and 30 gigabyte (GB) versions, offering unprecedented camcorder storage capacity. JVC's initial Everio G offering consists of four models. The GZ-MG20 with 20GB hard disk and the GZ-MG30 with 30GB hard disk provide seven and 10.5 hours respectively of DVD camcorder-quality (30-minute mode) video.

Step-up versions with a 1.33 Megapixel CCD are the seven-hour 20GB hard disk GZ-MG40 and 10.5-hour 30GB hard disk GZ-MG50. To put the storage capacity in context, it would take 22 DVD camcorder discs (8 cm/1.4GB discs) to hold seven hours of video. Despite the high capacity storage, Everio G camcorders are  palm-sized and weigh less than 14 oz. with the battery attached.

Their design is similar to a MiniDV camcorders, and include a 2.5-inch flip-out LCD monitor. Both cameras feature multiple connections allowing TV playback, dubbing to a VCR or DVD recorder, transfer to a PC or Apple Macintosh for DVD creation, editing, or posting to the Internet, or even burned directly without a PC to a full length movie DVD disc using an optional DVD burner.

The Everio G series GZ-MG50 and GZ-MG30 offer more than seven hours of storage at 9Mbps, which is close to the maximum bitrate for DVD movie quality recording, or 10.5 hours at 6Mbps, comparable to DVD Cam recordings. Two more modes are available for even more recording time. The entry level GZ-MG40 and GZ-MG20 offer an impressive 4.5 hours of storage at 9Mbps, and more than seven hours at 6Mbps.

Everio G Series models will be available in August at the following approximate prices: GZ-MG20, $800; GZ-MG30, $900; GZ-MG40, $900; GZ-MG50, $1,000.

www.jvc.com

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Survey #18: RESULTS

results

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