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Information Today, Inc.



October 31, 2005

Table of Contents

Continuing Education: Memory Vision's Business Everlasting
Panasonic Debuts AG-DVX100B 24p/30p/60i MINI-DV Cinema Camcorder
Harris Corporation Completes Acquisition of Leitch Technology
Registration Opens for Inaugural 4EVER Group Convention
The Hollywood Edge Music and Sound Effects Now Available at Sounddogs.com
CyberLink Releases Video Editing Software PowerDirector 5
Canon Introduces PowerShot SD340 Digital ELPH Wireless
Sony Introduces Mac-compatible DRX-810ULT Drive
Total Training for Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 Now Available

Continuing Education: Memory Vision's Business Everlasting

Alan Naumann is a Minneapolis-based videographer who does 200+ funerals per year, and as you might surmise he's learned a few tricks of the trade in his many years as the leading funeral videographer in the Twin Cities area. Business Everlasting, a two-disc set comprising one DVD-Video-based tutorial and an additional CD with various sample business documents in Word and PDF form, presents the world of funeral video according to Alan Naumann and as such it's an effective and compelling introduction to the field. Any videography outfit considering adding funeral video to their offerings would be well-advised to purchase Business Everlasting ($69.95), sit back, and let Alan Naumann teach them what he knows.

Like Lucy Galbraith, whose article "Producing Memorial Tribute Videos" will appear in the November issue of EventDV (due out next week), Naumann instructs videographers looking to break into the memorial video world to start by building relationships with funeral homes. One of the first things he emphasizes on the DVD (which he narrates himself from his studio in Minneapolis) is the importance of customer service: "You should always be available and willing to be of service to a funeral home," he says. He illustrates the point by showing his wife and partner in Memory Vision Productions responding to a call from a funeral home and immediately driving over to pick up photos and other source materials for a new video project. Soon quick response turns to quick turnaround; Naumann says their typical turnaround time for a finished product is 24 hours. Delivery, he adds, can take two forms, with DVD as the default; Memory Vision will also loan a VHS master to any funeral home that lacks DVD capability.

Quite a bit goes on in that 24-hour period, Naumann says, as he walks viewers through a (real) sample project. First he scans the 30-35 photos that he will use in the video (more photos, or video clips are premium features); then he goes to work on restoration, removing redeye, fixing cracks and removing dates and scratches as much as possible. He uses Photoshop to automatically adjust the image in each photo, and does both (simple, smooth) pan and zoom and integration into a slideshow in NewTek VT[4].

The real value in the DVD is the tips Naumann gives on creating a product that will set a videographer's product apart from what a funeral home itself can do. For Naumann the key differentiating factors are the effectiveness of a videographer's photo restoration work; the use of tasteful and appropriately simple transitions (almost always two seconds, he says), and, most of all, motion. "You are there to do a video presentation," he reminds his viewers, and without motion, of course, it's not video.

Naumann makes many key recommendations, among them the subtle use of nature backgrounds (either shot by the videographer or acquired in buyout material like Digital Juice Jumpbacks), how prominent to make your logo, how to use titles, how to select and work with music. And he illustrates each recomendations with some wonderful samples of his own work.

With sections of the video like "How to Approach a Funeral Home" and "How to Make a Profit," Naumann also gets down to the nitty-gritty of the funeral video business, with discussions of marketing strategies and pricing. He also provides useful information on how the funeral home business has changed, with the trend toward large corporate funeral franchises supplanting local outfits, and discusses how this affects videographers and their challenge to demonstrate the value of their services (corporate funeral homes are more likely to have their own video programs, even if what they produce is greatly inferior to what a real videographer offers).

Naumann provides even more hands-on business tools on other segments of the DVD and on the CD. The DVD menu offers links to video testimonials about the value of professional funeral video that Naumann says purchasers of Business Everlasting are welcome to use in their own marketing. On the CD he also includes sample contracts and the like.

All in all, if you're looking for a way into the funeral video business, Alan Naumann's Business Everlasting provides you with a welcome introduction.

To read more information on or purchase Business Everlasting at Alan Naumann's Memory Vision site, click here.

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Panasonic Debuts AG-DVX100B 24p/30p/60i MINI-DV Cinema Camcorder

Panasonic Broadcast has introduced the AG-DVX100B 24p/30p/60i Mini-DV Camcorder with more than two dozen enhancements. The successor to the AG-DVX100A and AG-DVX100, the AG-DVX100B is RoHS-compliant, i.e. a product that is virtually free of lead, arsenic and other hazardous substances, according to Panasonic. Compliance with the RoHS directive becomes mandatory in July 2006 in Europe.

The 4-pound, hand-held AG-DVX100B boasts new specifications that are tailor-made for full-fledged video production. For instance, it is the industry's first DV camcorder to allow camera-to-camera time-code syncho and user-settable file transfer over IEEE 1394, facilitating the AG-DVX100B's use in simultaneous, multi-camera shoots.

Other innovations include 16:9 Letter-box Display Mode on the large electronic viewfinder (EVF) and 3.5" color LCD monitor for distortion-free Squeeze Mode or Anamorphic Display; Remote Control of Focus and Iris (wired) for easier operation when mounted on a jib or tripod; Single Button Character Off for LCD and EVF displays; improved Video S/N for better low light recording; and higher resolution LCD (210,000 pixels) and EVF (235,000 pixels) monitors.

Other key improvements include: a more sensitive on-camera mic; the re-location of the speaker to nearer the LCD screen to make audio easier to hear during playback; slower middle zoom speed; a heavier duty, easily replacement tripod connection; audio off tape or live E-E mode for delay free (echo free) monitoring; an End Search Camera Function to speed up search; a "what you see is what you get" image in the LCD and EVF; a new design for the scene file dial's rib protector to prevent unintentional file changes; a color drop-down display mode for menu choices; and a new color (Black Sapphire).

The camcorder's standard accessories include a CGR-D54 battery, AC adapter/charger, microphone holder, remote control, shoulder strap, lens cap, cleaning tape and instruction manual. Incorporating exclusive CineSwitch technology that supports 480i/60 (NTSC), cinema-style 480p/24fps and 480p/30fps image capture, Panasonic's DVX100 series of mini-DV camcorders has set the standard for affordable 24p acquisition and been proven performers with hundreds of independent movies, TV programs, commercials, and documentaries to their credit. Like its predecessor, the 1/3" 3-CCD AG-DVX100B offers outstanding audio performance, extensive auto and manual controls, and a CineGamma curve designed to emulate the rich look of film.

The AG-DVX100B is available at a suggested list price of $3,995. For more information, visit http://www.panasonic.com/dvcinema.

Also available is the AG-DVX100BSerious production package consisting of the AG-DVX100B, Serious Magic DV Rack software, and a Kata EFP bag.

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Harris Corporation Completes Acquisition of Leitch Technology

Harris Corporation and Leitch Technology Corporation have announced that Harris has completed its previously announced acquisition of Leitch following approval by Leitch shareholders and Court approval of the transaction. Leitch shareholders approved the acquisition by Harris of all of the outstanding common shares of the Toronto-based company for a cash price of $14.00 per share. Total cash consideration paid by Harris, net of Leitch's cash on hand, was approximately $450 million.

All of Leitch's products—including routers and distribution equipment, signal processing, signal management and monitoring, servers and storage area networks, branding software and post-production editing systems—will be added to the Harris broadcast product portfolio. This combined portfolio serves every segment of the increasingly complex supply chain that brings digital audio, video, and data content to consumers. Leitch currently serves approximately 3,000 television service providers in 100 countries.

www.harris.com
www.leitch.com 

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Registration Opens for Inaugural 4EVER Group Convention

Online registration for the inaugural 4EVER Group Event Video Convention & Trade Show has opened at www.4EVERGroup.org. The event will be held January 9-12, 2006, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, FL.

"We have an educational agenda that covers all of the topics that are of interest to videographers," said Tim Ryan, Director of Education. "Our proven presenters are among the very best anywhere, and they will have the time to teach their subject matter in real detail." Seminars and workshops will not have a sixty-minute time limit.

"Convention registration prices, and sleeping room rates, are an incredible value," said Steve Wernick, Director of Development. "Members of Local Videographers Associations can register for as little as $225.00 and guest room rates are only $115.00 (plus tax) per night. It's an unbeatable combination."

Among the scheduled presenters are Douglas Spotted Eagle, Mark & Trisha Von Lanken, Steve Fowler, Robert Allen, Randy Stubbs, Chris Watson, Ron Dawson, and many others. There will be more than three dozen open seminars, workshops, and panel discussions, along with about a dozen optional workshops.

The entire schedule is available as a PDF file in the convention registration area of The 4EVER Group Web site. The Trade Show side will run on Tuesday and Wednesday, and there will not be opposing programming scheduled. B&H Photo-Video, JVC, DVS Direct, Armato's Pro Video, and Neeman Video are among the vendors who have already committed to participating in The 4EVER Group Event Video Convention & Trade Show.

Additional vendors will be announced on a regular basis. The Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation will also have an information booth at the trade show. There will also be two other important highlights of The 4EVER Group Event Video Convention & Trade Show. On Monday night, the Artistic Achievement Award-winners will be recognized at a special formal banquet. Tickets are priced at $75.00 per person, and the evening will also include outside entertainment. In the second additional highlight, EventDV magazine will present the EventDV 25, recognizing the 25 hottest and most influential videographers in the industry today. Nominations and voting were recently concluded at their web site, www.eventdv.net.

The 4EVER Group Event Video Convention & Trade Show promises to be something unlike what's been seen in this business. This convention will be part of The 4EVER Group's efforts to improve the professional standing of videographers and "raise the bar" of this industry. Registration information, the complete schedule, and room reservation details can be found on The 4EVER Group Web site by clicking here.

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The Hollywood Edge Music and Sound Effects Now Available at Sounddogs.com

Sounddogs.com, Inc. has announced that The Hollywood Edge (an Ascent Media Company) production music and sound effects catalog of 43,000 tracks is now available for immediate download at Sounddogs.com.

Sounddogs' recent clients include editors behind the films Fly Boys, The Dukes of Hazzard, Sin City, Lava Boy and Shark Girl, The Shaggy D.A., Glory Road, An Unfinished Life, The Nomad, Dead or Alive, Voice of Flicka, Cheon Yeong, First Born, North Country and Dreamer.

www.sounddogs.com

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CyberLink Releases Video Editing Software PowerDirector 5

CyberLink Corp. has released CyberLink PowerDirector 5, featuring new time-saving magic editing tools, support for widescreen aspect ratios, and high-definition video.

The latest version of CyberLink PowerDirector offers the following features:

  • New Magic Tools: Magic Style and Magic Fix
  • Improvements to existing Magic Tools: Magic Cut, Magic Clean, Magic Motion, and Magic Music
  • Enhanced CyberLink RichVideo technology, featuring Smart Captions
  • Support for high-definition video
  • Support for 16:9 aspect ratio video content
  • Optional support for MPEG-4 AVC and MPEG-4 SP
  • Faster previewing of clips with a new "draft-quality", and the ability to disable specific timeline tracks while previewing others
  • Upgraded Title Designer featuring multiple text layers
  • CyberLink Virtual Speaker settings for DVD audio

Magic Tools in PowerDirector 5:

  • Magic Style creates a finished movie from clips instantly and automatically. Users select a look and feel by applying one of 12 preset Magic Style templates. Each template contains a combination of effects, screen frames, and clip length. Effects are applied randomly, frames are applied sequentially, and clip length is determined using a smart video analysis algorithm. Users can choose to add and remove effects and frames on the timeline as desired.
  • Magic Fix provides a quick-and-easy means of improving video and photo quality. Video Stabilizer compensates for jitters created by unsteady camera work. Red-eye Removal automatically detects faces and corrects red-eyes. Photo Re-focus improves the clarity of poorly focused photos by sharpening the edges of image objects.
  • Magic Clean includes options for improving audio and video tracks and photos. New White Balance lets users correct the color temperature of their clips by adjusting the color balance to compensate for different lighting environments. Magic Clean utilizes second-generation CyberLink Eagle Vision (CLEV) 2 technology to enhance the colors and brightness of photos and video, and now lets users adjust the levels of CLEV. Audio is improved with CyberLink Noise Reduction (CLNR) technology.
  • Magic Cut automates the editing of a video into one short clip by analyzing for elements it values highly. Users can quickly turn lengthy clips into interesting and paced videos by simply setting the desired duration. Now Magic Cut allows users to insert background music and automatically fit the video to the length of the music.
  • Magic Music offers a quick way to create soundtracks that perfectly fit the length of a video clip or photo slideshow. A built-in royalty-free library provides a wide selection of music genres and scores, with even more tracks available for purchase online. After dragging their music to the timeline, users have the choice of setting a specific duration or simply dragging to line up with their video clips and photos. Magic Music reworks the music to sound like it's been composed for the new length. Users can now access their Magic Music library for adding background audio to DVD menus.
  • Magic Motion makes still images more enjoyable to watch by adding subtle panning and zooming. Now users have greater creative control by being able to specify which slideshow effect they want to apply. PowerDirector analyzes each image for its main subject and then applies motion based on this key focus. Magic Motion lets users quickly turn a collection of digital photos into an impressive slideshow. With a completely updated user interface and improved workflow, PowerDirector integrates the processes linking editing, authoring and burning, ensuring DVD authoring is quicker and easier.

Other new and improved features in PowerDirector 5 include:

  • CyberLink RichVideo technology saves an enormous amount of production time by reusing video file information created by Magic Cut or Scene Detection functions. PowerDirector stores the information within the files, ensuring that the next time these features are used on the same files, the speed of production is dramatically improved. CyberLink RichVideo™ now stores onscreen video information such as date and time codes as Smart Captions, which are acquired during capturing, and allows the insertion of short text comments.
  • Support for high definition video capturing, editing and output, and support for native 16:9 aspect ratios, allows the creation of files in MPEG-4 AVC and MPEG-4 SP formats. CyberLink has licensed Sony's Memory Stick Video Format, allowing users to create video files for playing on today's latest mobile devices like the Sony PSP. Videos can be saved in a broad variety of file types, including HD MPEG-2, WMV-HD, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, WMV, DivX, DV-AVI, QuickTime, or RealVideo, or burnt to a complete range of DVD and CD media via a CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, or DVD+R/RW burner. Support for MPEG-4 AVC and MPEG-4 SP is available to users as plug-in enhancements.
  • Improved Title Designer provides an easy way to add sophisticated text effects to create movie titles, credits and subtitles. Options such as font, color, size, shadow effects and gradients allow users to personalize their creations. PowerDirector now supports alpha-blending frames and banners, ensuring added style with image and text overlays. Multiple titles can be layered, with each title having its own customizable settings. 41 title designs are available. - Previewing Tools include new options for reviewing videos on the timeline. Hide Track lets users isolate tracks on the timeline and watch the results of specific elements, allowing them to select which tracks they want to preview. Meanwhile, three preview resolutions offer faster playback by allowing users to select a lower draft quality video for reviewing.
  • Seamless DVD authoring ensures a fluid process from editing to producing files and creating discs. Improved integration and updated features give users total control over creating professional DVDs for playback on home DVD players. Chapters inserted during editing are maintained for authoring. Users can add stylish motion and still menus, chapter thumbnails, and burn to a broad range of disc media. New Virtual Surround Sound (CLVS) lets users convert their DVDs' audio into virtual surround sound, with three options to simulate different sound environments.

PowerDirector 5 is available for USD 89.95/Euros 74.99 at the CyberStore: http://www.gocyberlink.com/multi/cyberstore/order_4_ENU.html

Retail box versions will be available via CyberLink's network of software publishers worldwide. Release dates differ in each country. Customers interested in purchasing PowerDirector 5 can go to the following link: http://www.gocyberlink.com/english/companybg/retail_distributors.jsp

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Canon Introduces PowerShot SD340 Digital ELPH Wireless

With the sleek new PowerShot SD430 Digital ELPH Wireless digital camera, users can get rid of that tangle of computer and printer wires around their desk and take pictures more freely. All the user needs to do is connect the supplied Wireless Print Adapter to a Canon PictBridge printer, such as the new Canon SELPHY CP510 or CP710 models, and press the blue-lighted Print/Share button on the back of the camera. Seconds later, the image is sent wirelessly to the printer and a photo-lab quality print begins to emerge.

Users can also wirelessly download images from this 5.0 megapixel, 3X optical zoom digital camera to a compatible personal computer, or even operate the camera remotely from as far away as 100 feet.

The Canon PowerShot SD430 Digital ELPH Wireless digital camera is scheduled to be available in the U.S. by the end of January 2006 at an estimated selling price of $499.99.

www.usacanon.com

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Sony Introduces Mac-compatible DRX-810ULT Drive

Macintosh owners will soon be able to reap the benefits of Sony's latest generation of DVD burners with the new Mac-compatible DRX-810UL/T model. The external double and dual-layer DVD drive will begin shipping next month with Roxio's Toast 6 Lite for Mac compatibility.

With the new DRX-810UL/T DVD burner and Toast 6 Lite software, Mac users will be able to store and share home movies, digital photos, and music at 8X maximum for DVD+R Double Layer (DL) recording speed, enabling them to burn up to 8.5GB of video, data, music or images on compatible media in about fifteen minutes.

The drive also supports 4X DVD-R DL, 16X DVD±R, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, 48X CD-R and 32X CD-RW recording speeds. It also features a unique vertical design for easy placement and portability, and offers connectivity with both i.LINK (FireWire/IEEE 1394) and hi-speed USB (USB 2.0) digital interfaces for simple set-up and maximum flexibility. In addition to the Toast application, the drive comes bundled with a feature-rich software suite from Nero for Microsoft Windows. The DRX-810UL/T model will be available in November for less than $150.

www.sonystyle.com/retail

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Total Training for Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 Now Available

Total Training, Inc. has announced the availability of Total Training for Macromedia Dreamweaver 8. This new series is hosted by Janine Warner, author of Dreamweaver For Dummies. During the 10-hour video series, Janine shares her extensive knowledge of an industry-leading Web design tool. The series helps viewers learn how to efficiently layout, develop, and maintain standards-based web sites. Also, tutorials are peppered with tips and tricks that can only be learned from an avid user of the software.

Highlights:
• Get up to speed quickly with an in-depth overview.
• Understand the numerous capabilities of working in this flexible software that is both a design tool and code editor.
• Learn how to quickly incorporate video and other multimedia into Web sites and make more efficient updates.

Total Training for Dreamweaver 8 was produced in high definition (HD). Viewers will benefit from a 165% larger screen size for viewing on a computer monitor, crystal-clear image capture to easily read text and fine details, and higher frame rate support for smoother playback when viewing the DVD-ROM Tutorials.

Total Training for Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 ($199.99) is available now. To place an order, visit http://www.totaltraining.com/dreamweaver8
 or call 1-888-368-6825.

www.totaltraining.com

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