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Information Today, Inc.

July 31, 2006

Table of Contents

What a Concept: The Three Cs of Concept Video Production
Canon Expands its 3CCD HD Camcorder Lineup with new Handheld XH A1 and XH G1 Models
Sony Introduces Two New Theme Packs for Cinescore Pro Soundtrack Creation Tool
Panasonic Announces Availability of AJ-HDX900 2/3” DVCPRO HD Camcorder
Canon Releases New HD 6x Zoom XL 3.4-20.4mm L Lens For XL H1 HD Camcorder
Sony Media Software Now Offering Professional Certification on Vegas Software
Intel Unveils "World's Best" Processor
InterVideo Announces Release of DVD Copy 5 Platinum
Flip4Mac WMV Support for Intel Macs Now Available
Toon Boom Storyboard Ready to Ship
MFSL Introducing the 24-Karat Gold ULTRADISC DVD-R

What a Concept: The Three Cs of Concept Video Production

Admit it. Deep down inside you wish you could be the next Spielberg, Coppola, or Altman. You dream of walking on set, framing the scene with your hands, bossing people around, and directing your cinematic opus. Well, if you work hard, that dream just may come true. Then you can look back at this part of your life and reminisce about the good old days of wedding and event videography. (Don't laugh! Bryan Singer, acclaimed director of The Usual Suspects, the first two X-Men movies, and Superman Returns, was once a wedding videographer.) But I'm here to tell you that while you wait for Hollywood to come calling, you can start living your dream now.

For the past few months, we've been looking at the development and process of concept video production in the wedding and event video business. In April, we explored the origins of great ideas. In June, we looked at the pre-production process of script writing and shot preparation. In this month's What a Concept, we address the three Cs of production: Crew, Cast, and Control. This is where the magic begins.

Our studio's concept videos are short "films," not unlike the kind produced in film school. We have a full crew that includes above-the-line talent (e.g., director, writer, and actors) and below-the-line staff (e.g., production assistant, boom operators, craft services). A key to your success will be this assembled crew. You need a team of dedicated people willing to help bring your vision to reality. You may be thinking, "Where am I supposed to find a crew?" It's easier than you might think. Our crews are typically comprised of paid professionals and friends of the client (or in the case of corporate videos, employees). You can find paid professionals through your PVA or local film school.

The key paid roles you want to fill are director of photography (DP), audio recorder/mixer for dialogue and on-set audio capture, and, of course, the director (most likely you). Technically, you could have one person in all three roles, but ideally, you want an experienced individual to fill each one. Other roles on the set that can be either filled by professionals or handled by the client include boom operator, production assistants (a.k.a. "gophers"), and craft services (the cook or caterer). I find that these are all the roles I'll need to fill to have a successful shoot.

Part of what you're selling is the experience of making a real movie: the lights, the camera, the action. Most people are fascinated with the movie industry and all the behind-the-scenes happenings. So you need to really "ham it up" for the sake of your clients. It may sound silly, but trust me, it works. On the set of Bridal Boot Camp we started the day off with a script reading, and the laughs just kept going from there. Sure, the script was funny, but we also created an overall fun environment. Additionally, the clients and their friends loved learning about what goes into making a movie. It gave them a whole new appreciation, not only for the movies and TV programs they watch, but also for the work that we do as professional videographers.

In addition to your crew, there's the cast. For wedding and event videography, this will be your clients, their friends, and their family members. For corporate concept-video production, it may include professional actors as well as employees. I've gained an increased level of appreciation for professional actors since dealing with amateurs. Things like "hitting your mark" and memorizing lines become huge issues when dealing with an untrained cast. So be prepared and be patient.

Don't be afraid to give direction. If you don't get the performance you want, be more specific. Act it out yourself if you have to. As the director, it's your job to make sure the vision comes to life. In Bridal Boot Camp, I used the script reading to coach the cast on timing and consistency in delivery. Since we only had one day to shoot, we rehearsed each shot once or twice before shooting each scene. However, don't yell or throw a tantrum if the scene doesn't work out. Make sure they have fun, and remember that even if you don't get the perfect take, at least you'll have great bloopers. Concept videos represent one of the few times when an event videographer can get multiple takes. And video is cheap; don't be afraid to use it up.

This brings us to our third C: Control. In addition to controlling the number of takes, you also have control over lighting and sound. Use it to your advantage. Your ability to command higher fees will rest on the quality of the product you deliver, which is in turn affected by your control over these key elements.

First, be aware of audio issues. Is there traffic or airplane noise? Is there a refrigerator or other loud appliance? Are people talking in the background? One mistake I made on the set of Bridal Boot Camp was during the first dance scene. I had the actors dance to music played on a boombox. They ended up delivering their lines over that music, which conflicted with the soundtrack I added in post. Little details make a big difference.

Another control issue is lighting. Be aware of the set's lighting environment and make appropriate plans. A dramatically lit set can significantly increase your movie's production value. If you can hire an experienced DP, do it. I wish I had one for Boot Camp. I can fill the role of DP, but I'm no Janusz Kaminski.

If you've never had any formal filmmaking training, I encourage enrolling in a junior college class. Besides getting an inexpensive education, you just may find some talented artists to join your crew.

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Canon Expands its 3CCD HD Camcorder Lineup with new Handheld XH A1 and XH G1 Models

Both of Canon's new 3CCD HD camcorders-the XH A1 and XH G1 models-provide broadcasters, cinematographers, and production facilities with a full line of professional HD solutions. Broadcasters, vvent videographers, and cinematographers with tight budgets will appreciate Canon's flexible, powerful and feature-rich XH A1 and XH G1 HD camcorders, according to Canon. Whether on set, in the field, or shooting a feature film, these two camcorders offer selectable frame rates and deliver stunning 1080i HD video.

Building on the image quality of the XL H1 model, the XH A1 and XH G1 HD camcorders offer a Genuine Canon 20x HD zoom lens, Super Range Optical Image Stabilization, 60i, 24F, 30F frame rates, and total image control. The XH A1 model will be available in late October for an estimated selling price of $3,999, while the XH G1 model adds HD-SDI output with embedded audio and timecode; Genlock synchronization and Timecode In/Out and will be available in mid-November for an estimated selling price of $6,999.

Both camcorders have three 1/3 inch native 16:9 1440 x 1080 CCDs that capture images at 1080i resolution. The camcorders feature 60i, 30F and 2F selectable frame rates to allow users to adapt to each assignment. At the 30 Frame rate, camera operators can capture high-speed subjects with spectacular clarity. Filmmakers can utilize the 24 Frame rate to create the look and motion of movie film. The 60i frame rate works well in applications such as ENG or Reality TV. For a fee, users can also send their cameras in to Canon's Factory Service Center for an optional 50i/60i upgrade to conform to PAL standards.

Calling on more than 70 years of optical excellence in manufacturing lenses for broadcast and still photography, the camcorders feature a Genuine Canon 20x HD Video Lens. This lens includes both fluorite and UD (Ultra-Low Dispersion) glass elements to achieve HD performance throughout the whole zoom range. These elements minimize color fringing even at high magnifications. Multi-Coating reduces flare and ghosting. The "L" series lens has a focal range of 32.5mm - 650mm (35mm equivalent), delivering exceptional versatility for a wide variety of shooting situations, especially documentary and newsgathering applications that demand a wide field of view. In addition to manual focus and zoom rings, the lens includes a manual iris ring for the smooth, fine adjustment that professionals prefer. For added control, a High Speed Zoom Mode allows the zoom to respond more quickly and intuitively. Furthermore, the lens contains two built-in Neutral Density Filters (1/6 and 1/32).

The Canon XH A1 and XH G1 HD camcorders feature Canon's Super-Range Optical Image Stabilization to help deliver smooth, steady video even at longer focal lengths. The system uses two detection methods (gyro and vector) to sense the widest range of vibrations from hand-held shake, to vibration from a moving vehicle. By using optical stabilization, it can compensate for a greater degree of camera shake and avoid any loss in image quality, unlike electronic image stabilizers.

Since it is critical to achieve very sharp focus when shooting in High Definition, the XH A1 and XH G1 models feature Canon's revolutionary new Instant AF focusing system. It offers a dramatic improvement in auto focus speed and accuracy (compared to traditional autofocus systems). The Instant AF feature uses an external sensor, in combination with Canon's autofocus system, to significantly decrease the time it takes to find focus, even in low light conditions. This new system achieves focus instantaneously, reducing focus "hunting." Users can especially see the benefits of Instant AF in high brightness, and night shooting situations.

The XH A1 and XH G1 camcorders feature Canon's DIGIC DV II proprietary digital signal processor, which Canon designed specifically for HD acquisition. Found also in Canon's flagship XL H1 HD camcorder, the DIGIC DV II processor provides highly accurate color and tonal reproduction needed for high HD image quality. A new noise reduction system, combined with a new gamma system, helps to reduce noise in monotone and shadow areas. The fast processing speed of the DIGIC DV II chip allows video and photos to be shot simultaneously. Furthermore, the processor's low power consumption contributes to longer battery life.

The XH A1 and XH G1 HD camcorders are designed to handle a variety of different shooting situations. Canon housed the 2.7" Widescreen LCD securely beneath the handle, which allows it to swing out easily when needed. The handle provides an additional record start/stop and a zoom control, making it ideal for low-angle shooting. The new models include toggle switches, which are standard on high-end video equipment for gain, color bars, and white balance. To reduce camcorder size, an internal battery compartment holds one Canon BP-950G or the large capacity BP-970G battery. Both camcorders offer two built-in XLR terminals with mic/line level and phantom power, an external microphone holder for attaching shotgun microphones, a voice-recording mode, and two-channel manual audio level adjustment allows precise control.

The image, display items, and functions of the Canon XH A1 and XH G1camcorders can be uniquely customized for different applications and users. Camera Operators can finely adjust a total of 23 image settings, including color gain, RGB independent gain, and 6-axis matrix. These cameras provide a wide range and degree of image adjustment. Users can store a total of nine image presets in the internal memory, or to a Secure Digital (SD) Memory Card for exporting to other XH A1 or XH G1 camcorders. Users can fully customize the camcorder's display as well, matching the preference of the shooter, or set up for a specific application. The camera operator can hide or display up to 21 different items and they can also personalize (or design for different shooting conditions) up to 20 custom camera functions. Users can save and read up to three groups of settings from an SD Card. Additionally, camera operators can use the "sky detail" function for removing detail or noise in the sky without affecting other areas of the picture. Users can also increase video gain up to +36dB, for capturing images in extreme low-light situations.

Like the XL H1 model - the XH G1 HD camcorder includes Canon's Professional Jackpack Terminals, which are a trio of connections that provide professionals with outstanding quality and versatility: HD-SDI/SD-SDI Output, SMPTE Timecode Input/Output, and Genlock Input. The HD-SDI connection outputs an uncompressed 1.485 Gbps digital signal with embedded audio and LTC Timecode (SMPTE 299M), reducing the number of cables and improving the camera operator's mobility, or integrating seamlessly into broadcast studios. Professionals can also use the HD-SDI output for playback or easy capture and transfer. The signal can also be set to SD-SDI, during shooting or playback (SMPTE 272M). Users can easily facilitate multi-camera shoots with the XH G1 model due to the camcorder's Genlock synchronization input. This feature permits trouble free switching of XH G1 camcorders in a multi-camera situation. With its SMPTE time code input/output terminal, each camera on a shoot can lay down synchronous time code.

The XH A1 and XH G1 camcorders can both capture 2.0 megapixel photos at 1920 x 1080 resolution to an SD card, which comes in handy in pre and postproduction, storyboarding, and continuity applications. The user can capture photos in video color space while simultaneously recording video to tape. In addition, professionals can use the camcorder as a full-featured digital still camera, capturing photos in digital camera color space, complete with metering modes, shooting modes, and the option of using a Canon EX Series Speedlite Flash on its dedicated flash shoe. The camcorder includes a still image histogram and EXIF display for exposure verification.

Canon's optional Console Image Control and Storage software, Version 1.1 allows users to control camcorder functions and settings remotely from a Windows-based laptop or desktop computer. They can record footage directly to a computer's hard drive as well as monitor their shoot with on-screen Vectrascope and Waveform monitors. Camera operators can use the software in a variety of shooting conditions, like mounting the camcorders on a crane, in studio, or in an inaccessible location. Console software Version 1.1 will be available as a free upgrade to owners of the original software or a complete version can be purchased this October for an estimated selling price of $599.



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Sony Introduces Two New Theme Packs for Cinescore Pro Soundtrack Creation Tool

Sony Media Software today unveiled a new way to score projects with the offering of two new Cinescore Theme Packs: Pass the Ring: The Wedding Soundtrack Library and Incredible Vistas: Visual and Emotional Panoramas. Now, with just a few clicks, videographers and music producers can generate royalty-free, tailor-made music cues that sound like big-budget soundtracks.

Incredible Vistas contains 10 Themes appropriate for a vast assortment of applications, from grand cinematic gestures to corporate presentations. Pass the Ring is a one-stop solution for wedding videographers that contains all the expected classics plus an assortment of music suited to a wide variety of applications. Theme Packs are used exclusively within the new Cinescore software application. Every Cinescore Theme contains a universe of music resources that come to life inside Cinescore software to offer a wide array of possibilities for generating perfectly-integrated film music.

Cinescore Theme Packs will be available worldwide through software stores and online retailers for US $99.99 (each). More information on the Cinescore Theme Packs and Cinescore product as well as the entire line of Sony Media Software applications can be found at www.sony.com/mediasoftware.

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Panasonic Announces Availability of AJ-HDX900 2/3” DVCPRO HD Camcorder

Panasonic has announced the availability of the AJ-HDX900 2/3" DVCPRO HD camcorder, which produces pristine high-definition images and the ability to easily transfer those images thanks to its IEEE 1394 digital output. The AJ-HDX900 has a suggested list price of $26,500 (plus viewfinder).

The well-balanced, high-performance AJ-HDX900 provides 4:2:2 sampling and intra-frame recording at 100Mbps in 11 high definition formats. Suited for globetrotting video professionals, the camera supports 1080 59.94i/50i/29.97p/25p/23.98p/23.98pA and 720 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/ 23.98p (60Hz and 50Hz production) for high-end productions including television programs, music videos, stock footage, corporate video, documentaries and much more.

With a 14-bit A/D conversion and a 12-axis color correction matrix, the AJ-HDX900 provides exceptional picture quality, luminance gradation and the ability to make super-fine color adjustments. Outstanding features include three Cine-like gamma curve modes to replicate the film look and a newly-developed Dynamic Range Stretching (DRS) function that automatically provides a wider dynamic range and automatically tweaks the camera for each specific shooting condition.

The AJ-HDX900 offers an IEEE 1394 digital output that lowers the cost of HD production by allowing video professionals to connect directly with non-linear editing systems and VTRs, such as the AJ-HD1400, and record while simultaneously making a backup copy on the external device. Weighing only 9.9 pounds (body only), the AJ-HDX900 uses 9-micron DVCPRO HD-EX recording to record 33 minutes on a ¼" DVCPRO medium-size cassette and records 48 kHz/16-bit digital audio on all four channels. Standard is a seven-second pre-recording function that permits the camera to capture spontaneous scenes a shooter might otherwise miss. A standard HD SDI output is included for monitoring and line recording, and a downconverter is built-in to produce an SD output via high quality SDI or composite, eliminating the need for an expensive SDI monitor.

Other standard features include the following:

  • two 4-position optical filters (ND: clear, ¼, 1/16, 1/64; CC: Cross, 3200K, 4300k and 6300K)
  • four user scene files, three user-customized buttons
  • interval and one-shot recording; electronic shutter (1/100 to 1/2000 sec.) with synchro scan shutter (1/60.3 to 1/249.8 sec.)
  • an easy-slide shoulder pad that adjusts 1.18" in 10-steps
  • a 3-point locking viewfinder mount for precise adjustment of the AJ-HVF20B high definition viewfinder.

A new AJ-RC10G Remote Control Unit (RCU) connects to the camera with a 10-pin multi-cable that also carries the AJ-HDX900's downconversion video output back to the controller for monitoring. The AJ-RC10G has a SD slot to store scene settings on an SD Memory card for easy transfer to other cameras.


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Canon Releases New HD 6x Zoom XL 3.4-20.4mm L Lens For XL H1 HD Camcorder

Providing cinematographers, broadcasters, and video industry professionals with a growing range of acquisition solutions, Canon has expanded its array of HD optics for the XL H1 HD camcorder with a new 6X wide angle HD zoom lens. Building upon an already growing system of accessories, the Canon HD Video Lens 6X Zoom XL 3.4-20.4mm L lens gives XL H1 HD camcorder users greater creative control in a variety of shooting conditions. Available in November, the lens will carry an estimated selling price of $2,999.

Canon reserves the "L-series" designation (denoted by a red-stripe around the lens) for its highest quality photographic lenses. The 6X XL Wide 3.4 - 20.4mm L-series zoom lens features UA (Ultra High Refractive Index Aspherical) glass elements to produce high-quality HD images with low distortion. All lens elements are treated with a multi-coating to reduce flare and ghosting The new wide-angle lens provides users with an extensive range of focal lengths from 24.5 to 147mm (in 35mm photographic terms) that would otherwise not be possible with a fixed lens, giving shooters the versatility of a zoom and the creativity of a wide-angle lens.

To take that a step further, the lens features a manual iris ring (maximum aperture of f/1.6 - 2.6) and a distance display function to aid focus, so users can more accurately control the exposure and feel of their shot. The lens allows users to switch between two Neutral Density filters (1/6, 1/32) for best performance in bright lighting conditions. The lens includes a Minimum Object Distance (MOD) feature, which creates a AF range suitable for normal shooting situations from one meter to infinity. This feature prevents the lens from focusing on dust particles that can occasionally appear on the surface of the lens. For macro applications, the AF range can be extended to a minimum focusing distance of 20mm.

Canon also built focus and zoom presets into the lens for ease-of-use when shooting.


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Sony Media Software Now Offering Professional Certification on Vegas Software

Sony Media Software, a provider of professional video and audio editing software applications, announced the first Vegas Software Certification Tour, a series of classes that provide users with official recognition of their nonlinear editing expertise. The two-day sessions offer a hands-on training course followed by an online exam that measures proficiency in the use of Sony's award-winning nonlinear editing application.

VASST, a leading developer of professional-quality training and software products, will work with Sony Media Software to oversee the training and manage the registration process. Through classes that provide a solid foundation in Vegas best practices, students learn valuable productivity as well as workflow techniques and tips. The User Level course provides beginners and self-taught users with basic skills and provides them with best editing practices.

The Editor Level classes offer more advanced techniques to those already familiar with the software. Participants who pass the certification test will receive an official "Sony Certified Vegas User" or "Sony Certified Vegas Editor" logo to use as a promotional tool to help differentiate themselves in the video editing field.

The Vegas Certification Tour will take place August 7-8 in Chicago, IL; August 10-11 in Burbank, CA; August 17-18 in Orlando, FL; and August 21-22 in New York City. Online registration and details on class locations in each of the cities is available at http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/training/certification.asp.

The Sony Certified Vegas User course includes lessons in the following areas:

  • Understanding DV and HDV basics
  • Modifying Vegas preferences for optimal performance
  • Navigating the Vegas interface
  • Mastering editing workflow
  • Working with media (video, stills, generated)
  • Learning essential editing techniques
  • Enhancing your project with titles and essential compositing
  • Building professional audio soundtracks
  • Rendering and delivering final projects
  • Authoring a DVD

The Sony Certified Vegas Editor course includes lessons in the following areas:

  • Advanced capture techniques
  • HDV workflow
  • Media Management
  • Advanced editing techniques
  • Mastering track motion
  • Creative masking
  • Color correction, enhancement, and image restoration
  • Chroma key for virtual sets
  • 2D and 3D compositing
  • Titling
  • Multicam strategies
  • Using scripts
  • Automation
  • Audio and video effects
  • Audio post techniques
  • Surround sound
  • Advanced rendering
  • Advanced DVD authoring

The cost of the certification course is $799, which includes two days of training and access to the online certification test. Attendees will also receive the book Digital Video and Audio Production and a "VASST Crew" T-shirt. For additional information on the Vegas Certification Tour, please visit http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/training/certification.asp.

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Intel Unveils "World's Best" Processor

Intel Corporation has unveiled 10 Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel Core 2 Extreme processors for consumer and business desktop and laptop PCs and workstations, reshaping how computers perform, look, and consume power—and most importantly—transform how people use them. "

The highly anticipated processor family already has very broad support with more than 550 customer system designs underway—the most in Intel's history. Ultimately, tens of thousands of businesses will sell computers or components based on these processors. The Intel Core 2 Duo processors are built in several of the world's most advanced, high-volume output manufacturing facilities using Intel's leading 65-nanometer silicon process technology.

The desktop PC version of the processors also provide up to a 40 percent increase in performance and are more than 40 percent more energy efficient versus Intel's previous best processor. According to multiple independent review organizations, the processors win more than nine out of 10 major server, desktop PC and gaming PC performance benchmarks. The Intel Core 2 Duo processor family consists of five desktop PC processors tailored for business, home, and enthusiast users, such as high-end gamers, and five mobile PC processors designed to fit the needs of a mobile lifestyle.

Intel Core 2 Duo processor-based workstations will also deliver industry leading performance for such areas as design, content creation, and technical computing. The processor family is based on the revolutionary Intel Core™ microarchitecture, designed to provide powerful yet energy-efficient performance. With the power of dual cores, or computing engines, the processors can manage numerous tasks faster. They also can operate more smoothly when multiple applications are running, such as writing e-mails while downloading music or videos and conducting a virus scan. These dual-core chips also improve tasks, such as viewing and playing high-definition video, protecting the PC and its assets during e-commerce transactions, and enabling improved battery life for sleeker, lighter notebooks.

Consumers and businesses will have the option to purchase Intel Core 2 Duo processors as part of Intel's premier market-focused platforms, which are made up of Intel hardware and software technologies tailored to specific computing needs, including Intel vPro technology for businesses, Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology for laptops, and Intel Viiv technology for the home. Many of the products will also offer a selection of Intel-designed and integrated technologies such as Intel Virtualization Technology and Intel Active Management Technology that make the PC more secure and manageable. Also, support for 64-bit computing now expands to notebook PCs.

The new processors can be paired with the Intel 975X, 965, and Mobile Intel 945 Express chipset family. The Intel 965 Express chipset includes the latest integrated graphics and Intel® Clear Video Technology. All these chipsets are Microsoft Windows Vista Premium-ready.

Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel Core 2 Extreme processors include many advanced innovations, including the following:

  • Intel Wide Dynamic Execution - Improves performance and efficiency as each core can complete up to four full instructions simultaneously using an efficient 14-stage pipeline.
  • Intel Smart Memory Access - Improves system performance by hiding memory latency, thus optimizing the use of available computer data bandwidth to provide data to the processor when and where it is needed.
  • Intel Advanced Smart Cache - Includes a shared L2 cache or memory reservoir to reduce power by minimizing memory "traffic" yet increases performance by allowing one core to utilize the entire cache when the other core is idle.
  • Intel Advanced Digital Media Boost - Effectively doubles the execution speed for instructions used widely in multimedia and graphics applications.
  • Intel 64 Technology - This enhancement to Intel's 32-bit architecture supports 64-bit computing, including enabling the processor to access larger amounts of memory.

Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processors include many innovations, including the following:

  • Intel Dynamic Power Coordination - Coordinates Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology and idle power-management state (C-states) transitions independently per core to help save power.
  • Intel Dynamic Bus Parking - Enables platform power savings and improved battery life by allowing the chipset to power down with the processor in low-frequency mode.
  • Enhanced Intel Deeper Sleep with Dynamic Cache Sizing - Saves power by flushing cache data to system memory during periods of inactivity to lower CPU voltage.

Intel has been shipping production-ready Intel Core 2 Duo processors for all segments in advance of today's unveiling. Initial Intel Core 2 Extreme processor-based systems are now available from system manufacturers, resellers and integrators, including Intel Channel Partner Program members. Intel Core 2 Duo desktop processor-based systems will be available beginning in early August. Intel Core 2 Duo processor-based notebooks will be available at the end of August.


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InterVideo Announces Release of DVD Copy 5 Platinum

InterVideo, Inc. has announced the release of InterVideo DVD Copy 5 Platinum. This follow-up to the DVD Copy series includes a number of new features and innovations for disc copying and backup needs. More than just a copy program, InterVideo DVD Copy 5 Platinum is the fastest disc backup software on the market that can be used to copy unencrypted movies, file and backup data, or merge multiple video files and burn to a single DVD in three easy steps, according to InterVideo.

Featuring CopyLater technology, DVD Copy 5 Platinum offers the convenience of high-quality output performed when the computer is idle, allowing uninterrupted batch conversion of videos while the user is somewhere else or asleep. The new TV Show to Go feature can regularly check your PC for new TV recorded shows and video downloads then automatically convert them. DVD Copy 5 can even automatically calculate the best audio and video bit-rate settings to save space, and can schedule transfers to their portable devices at specified times.

DVD Copy 5 also allows the importing of high-definition WMV, AVI, DVR-MS, and MPEG-2 video files with resolutions up to 1920 x 1080. Users can even import video from the Sony HDR-HC1, HDR-HC3, and HDR-FX1 camcorders. The software also permits conversion of video files into H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, a format that combines excellent quality with great compression. DVD Copy 5 is also designed for converting videos for portable devices such as Sony PSP handhelds, or iPod video players, using the same technology featured in Intervideo's iVideoToGo for PSP and iVideoToGo for iPod. Additionally, DVD Copy 5 also can also convert videos for 3G-enabled mobile phones.

For output, DVD Copy 5 supports DVD±R/RW (4.7 GB), DVD-RAM, Dual layer DVD±R (8.5GB), and conventional CD-R and CD-RWs. In addition, DVD Copy 5 features Virtual Drive and Disctool Support so users can mount DVD images on their HDD, eliminating the need for popping CDs for often-used programs, games, and videos. Users can even rip audio tracks from DVDs and convert them into audio CDs.

The Gold and Platinum editions of InterVideo DVD Copy 5 are available for Windows 2000/XP systems with suggested retail prices of US$49.95 for Gold and $79.95 for Platinum. Both versions are available for retail download at www.intervideo.com. The retail box version is currently available for purchase in Japan and will be available in the US on August 1.


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Flip4Mac WMV Support for Intel Macs Now Available

Telestream today announced availability of Flip4Mac WMV version 2.1 software. Release highlights include universal support for Apple's Intel-based Macintosh systems and significantly faster Windows Media encoding for PowerPC Mac users. The Flip4Mac WMV update is free and available for download on Microsoft and Flip4Mac websites.

Flip4Mac WMV is comprised of a collection of QuickTime components that enables Mac OS X users to play, import and export Windows Media files using QuickTime-based applications. In addition to universal support for Intel-powered Macintosh systems, version 2.1 includes significantly faster export optimizations for PowerPC Mac users. PowerPC users will see encode speeds four to six times faster with version 2.1.

Additional new features in Flip4Mac WMV v2.1 include the following:

  • multi-language audio support in the WMV player
  • overlay when importing Windows Media content in trial mode
  • support for Web authors to disable save as feature in embedded streams
  • improved support for MMS servers and live streams.

The Flip4Mac WMV family includes free playback of Windows Media files and a range of import and export capabilities priced from $29 to $179. In January, Microsoft began free distribution of Windows Media Components for QuickTime, powered by Flip4Mac. Since that time, millions of Flip4Mac downloads have occurred.

The free version 2.1 update is available for download on www.microsoft.com and www.flip4mac.com.

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Toon Boom Storyboard Ready to Ship

Emmy award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. today announced that Toon Boom Storyboard is ready to ship. Meeting the needs of all production types-whether 2D animation, 3D animation, or live action, Storyboard offers advanced features that make it the tool of choice to create an entirely digital storyboard.

Toon Boom Storyboard provides the following:

  • a flexible layer-based panel display with motion camera capabilities
  • a complete set of drawing tools, including pressure-sensitive brush tool when using a digital graphic tablet and pen
  • a customizable caption fields to insert fully searchable textual content, such as scene descriptions and comments
  • an advanced timeline to control timing and automatically generate an animatic with sound tracks and transitions between shots
  • real-time animatic creation with dynamic camera moves
  • extensive export capabilities, including printing, image sequences, and Harmony/Opus/Solo, EDL, SWF, and QuickTime file formatting.

Storyboard comes also with a complete set of templates, including characters, backgrounds, props, effects, and symbols to get users started quickly. Toon Boom Storyboard is available for purchase at www.toonboom.com, at $ 899.99 US SRP.


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MFSL Introducing the 24-Karat Gold ULTRADISC DVD-R

Following upon the success of the 24 karat Gold Ultradisc CD-R, Mobile Fidelity is expanding its presence in the recordable media market with the introduction of the forthcoming 24 karat Gold Ultradisc DVD-R.

Designed for professional, data critical, music, video, and graphic archival applications, and all other data storage needs where there is zero margin for loss or error, ULTRADISC DVD-Rs feature instantaneous pit burning (burst burning) for superior pit formation and extremely low to no error rate and the exclusive DATA GUARD SCRATCH RESISTANT COATING, which increases surface protection by up to seven times more than regular non coated DVD-Recordable media.

Further, whereas the average DVD-R has a projected life-span of 20 years when stored under optimal conditions, accelerated aging tests demonstrate that the ULTRADISC™ DVD-R will retain their technical, data storage and retrieval specifications for over 100 years, according to MFSL.

For additional information visit: http://mofi.com.

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