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Information Today, Inc.

September 25, 2006

Table of Contents

Amen Corner: Do We Need Video? Questions for Small Houses of Worship
Alan Naumann's Memory Vision Introduces The Complete Course on Funeral Videography
TDK Now Shipping Pro Grade DVC Media for HDV and DV Camcorders
16x9 Inc. Introduces Bebob Box-FS Handy Holder for FireStore Recorders
Sony Debuts Four Multi-Format DVD/CD Rewritable Drives
iKan Introduces Prompter Pro 2.0
FutureVideo Introduces Professional Jog/Shuttle Controller for Apple’s Final Cut Studio
ProCon Digital Systems Announces New DVD/CD Duplicators with LightScribe Disc Printing
ViewSonic Projects High-Definition Experience Into Home Theaters

Amen Corner: Do We Need Video? Questions for Small Houses of Worship

Whether because of the trickle-down effect or the commoditization of technology—or just dreams of growth-many smaller houses of worship are choosing the media-centric path, forged by mega-churches and followed by medium-sized houses of worship, of adding video, graphics, and enhanced sound capabilities. But the two primary questions in these smaller churches, mosques, and synagogues, whose budgets often only cover the ministerial staff and mortgage costs, still remain: First, do we need video? And, if we do, can we afford it?
     There are numerous answers to both questions. In many cases, honestly, video for video's sake is actually part of a larger misguided aspiration to grow into something that may not be practical or desirable ("forgetting your place" and "getting above your raising" are two quotes often used in my adopted hometown for those who try to become bigger than they should). Yet a few key areas where video augments small houses of worship should be considered, and we'll try to cover these areas briefly in this column.

Remote speakers. Many small churches can't afford to fly a key spiritual leader into their communities, since travel costs alone might exceed the annual budget for an outreach program. Rather than settling for no speaker at all, however, some synagogues and mosques are setting the technological pace, moving beyond taped presentations to remote video feeds generated by a high-quality camera and supported by sufficient bandwidth. Another key group of remote speakers is missionaries, who often can't meet while home on furlough with every church that supports them, but who do have access to web cameras, instant messaging, and-if in places like India or Europe, as I found out this summer-much higher-speed connections than the average U.S. business or church.

Some churches are also tying these video feeds into a video and graphics mixer, then projecting the combined images onto a large screen. Don't forget to record these presentations (if the remote speaker allows recording), since the content is often of interest to other small churches.

Streaming to congregants. On the other end of the spectrum, streaming has become a cost-effective way to reach current congregants who are unable to attend a service in person and former congregants who have moved www.eventdv.net elsewhere but miss the camaraderie of the house of worship they'd once attended. With products such as NewTek's TriCaster Pro, which I reviewed last month, streaming is an added feature of a cost-effective video-production-studio-in-a-box that can be used for live broadcasting of a worship service and for making recordings to later post on the church's website. Many churches will continue to make video or audio tapes of a weekly worship service, since their older or poorer congregants may not have web access, but this should not prevent a house of worship from making some investment in streaming or video encoding technologies.

Streaming to potential visitors. Posting a streaming video of a typical worship service on a website can serve as a sampling of a church's congregational and ministerial style, which in turn helps potential visitors better understand the church before attending. Don't just put the sermon online-show the whole worship service; it will help your potential visitors, who otherwise come in "cold" and are uncertain about what they'll find. These visitors often know instinctively within the first 5-10 minutes, well before the sermon, whether a church is "their type," and streaming allows the church to showcase its true personality to potential visitors, lessening surprises for visitors while maintaining loyalty to the congregation's traditions and mores.

Special events. One way in which a house of worship can leverage its investment in video equipment, while at the same time capturing a record of events that have historic or sentimental value to the congregation at large, is to use the equipment to capture special events and then sell the videos for a small fee that helps offset initial equipment costs. This is especially true if a church, synagogue, or mosque has a school as part of its ministry; parents often don't mind paying $15-20 for a copy of a tape or DVD that shows their children in a play, choir concert, or other such activity. But be forewarned that parents are becoming production savvy as well-they know that they can capture their own nominal quality video of little Sally in the Christmas pageant. Since most houses of worship aren't going to enact a ban on recording children's performances, the production quality of the church's video and audio capturing and editing must be high enough that the parental purchase is justified.

Some small churches have also been able to barter video production services for a visiting speaker in return for an offset in speaking engagement fees. In much the same way that secular motivational speakers go through a cycle of offering audio recordings, video recordings, and then books, evangelism teams are often in need of good promotional materials that will help them sustain their ministries. The intent is not to get something for free but to exchange needed production services for presentation services. Even if the house of worship can afford the speaker's fees, such offers are often met by the speaker with enthusiastic acceptance, gratitude, and long-standing goodwill.

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Alan Naumann's Memory Vision Introduces The Complete Course on Funeral Videography

Memory Vision has produced The Complete Course on Funeral Videography, which includes a three-ring notebook and two DVDs and two CDs. The course will include everything presented in Funeral Videos: Business Everlasting, along with a plethora of new material dealing with practical topics such as Keys to Marketing Funeral Videos; Photoshop for Non-Photoshop Users; Secrets of Scanning; Web Sites That Work; Grief, and the Benefits of Memorial Videos; Software that Works; Editing with Emotion; Business Insights to Increase your Income; Music You Can Use; Multiply Your Time Without Employees; Videotaping the Funeral Service, Respecting Different Traditions, and much, much more.
    The Course will begin shipping in December 2006, at a cost of $179.95 +$10.00 s/h. Memory Vision is offering a $50.00 Savings for all orders prior to December. 
    There is also a pre-publication upgrade path for those who have purchased Funeral Videos: Business Everlasting, of $59.95 + $10.00 s/h. The upgrade price will be $109.95 + $10.00 s/h after December 1.

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TDK Now Shipping Pro Grade DVC Media for HDV and DV Camcorders

TDK, a world leader in digital recording solutions,today has begun shipping Pro Grade DVC camcorder media, the highest performance media available for HDV and DV camcorders. Designed to digital master quality specifications, TDK Pro Grade DVC media features a two-layer tape structure with Dual Layer Metal Evaporation (DLME) and Hard Carbon Protective Layer (HCPL) technologies.TDK's extended HD recording media line gives professionals at all levels opportunities to experience pure recording perfection from footage acquisition all the way to post production.

Innovative Dual Layer Metal Evaporation (DLME) and Hard Carbon Protective Layer (HCPL) technologies help make TDK Pro Grade DVC media the failsafe solution for capturingfootage with an HDVor DVcamcorder.The tape's base layer provides an outstandingly uniform and stable foundation for themetal evaporated recording layer, thus realizing farfewer dropouts than other DVC media.Meanwhile, theHard Carbon Protective Layer (HCPL)defends against scratches, friction, de-oxidation and temperature/humidity. TDK's premium cartridge design offers superior durability and realizes an ultra-stable tape run, which further helps ensure bit-perfect recording and playback. What's more, TDK Pro Grade DVC offers universal compatibility with HDV and DV camcorders.

For professionals who must get it right the first time, TDK Pro Grade DVC is the wise choice. TDK Pro Grade DVC offers 63-minute length and is ideally suited for capturing footage in superb quality HD resolutions such as 1080i and 720p.Supplied in library cases that securely close, sealing out potential contaminants such as dust and liquids, TDK Pro Grade DVC comes fully equipped for shelf archival.Capture the world in new detail with TDK Pro Grade DVC media. TDK Pro Grade DVC media for HDV and DV camcorders is currently available.


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16x9 Inc. Introduces Bebob Box-FS Handy Holder for FireStore Recorders

16x9 Inc. has introduced the Bebob Box-FS, the practical mounting system for adding a FireStore FS-4 or FS-100 to the Panasonic HVX-200 and other popular HDV/DV camcorders. Previously, FireStore portable HD recorders had to be attached directly to the camera or clipped to an operator's belt. Bebob's new system provides a smart way to fit the FireStore under the camera, keeping it close for handheld or tripod use. The Box sits securely and unobtrusively underneath, with no obstruction to the camcorder.

Combining an outer shell of heavy gauge black anodized aluminum with components of shock-resistant polymer, the lightweight, rugged Bebob Box-FS functions as an ingenious cage-style carrier. Attaching between the camera baseplate and the tripod plate, the Box both holds and protects the HD recorder. Plus, it securely reinforces the underside of the camcorder itself.

Access is fast and easy via the drawer and quick safety lock. The Box's smooth-slide drawer is contoured to hold the recorder securely in place with the operating panel face up. When pushed back, the FireStore locks automatically in position. Reading the FireStore's display screen is simply a matter of unlocking and sliding out the drawer.

Compact and ultralight, Bebob Box-FS measures 8"L x 4.625" W x 2.625" H and weighs about a pound. It mounts to the camera baseplate via a convenient 1/4-20 top screw. Below, a second 1/4-20 screw anchors the Box to a standard tripod plate.

For a limited time, 16x9 Inc. is offering the Box-FS at an introductory price of $378 (Suggested U.S. list price is $425).


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Sony Debuts Four Multi-Format DVD/CD Rewritable Drives

Sony Electronics has unveiled its fall line-up of DVD/CD burners, featuring three designs and four configurations packed with high performance and multiple format compatibility. Based on Sony's 12th generation of optical storage technology innovation, the new 830 series of multi-format DVD burners support all of the industry's leading recording formats in just one drive.

Enabling the industry's fastest 18X DVD±R recording speed, the 830 burners deliver a full 4.7 GB of video, data, music or images on standard 16X DVD+R media in about five minutes. The internal DRU-830A drive and external DRX-830U burner come bundled with the new Nero 7 software suite, a feature-rich package for burning, authoring and editing home movies, creating digital scrapbooks and backing up critical data.

The external DRX-830UL-T drive is designed for dual Macintosh and Windows platform support. It also includes Roxio Toast 6 Lite software in the box. For those looking for a space-saving burner to complement their notebook or desktop PCs, Sony's DRX-S50U drive offers all the advantages of a high-speed DVD/CD burner in a slim external design. This drive also comes with the Nero 7 software suite, including DVD authoring, video editing, photo retouch and disc label creation. All four new burners support both dual and double layer formats. They also support CD-R/RW recording, eliminating the need for a separate CD burner.

"Our customers have continuously shared with us that when it comes to DVD burning, they value choice and using the DVD media that best suits their specific needs," said Robert DeMoulin, marketing manager for branded storage products in Sony Electronics' IT Products Division. "Our multi-format drives are designed to bring ease and flexibility to users so they can reap the benefits of a host of DVD and CD burning options."

The 830 series features 18X DVD±R, 8X DVD±R DL, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, 12X DVD-RAM for data backup, 48X CD-R, 32X CD-RW recording. DeMoulin said they are designed at the optimum price/performance level for consumers who want to store and share home movies, digital photos and music; businesses deploying DVD video-based training and sharing large files; and filmmakers creating prototypes on recordable/rewritable DVD discs before proceeding with mass replication.

The internal DRU-830A drive comes with an ATAPI interface for easy installation inside a PC, and it includes a black replacement bezel for matching to black-colored PC cases. The external DRX-830U drive features a space-efficient vertical design and offers connectivity with hi-speed USB (USB 2.0) digital interface for simple setup. The external DRX-830UL-T drive sports dual i.LINK (FireWire/IEEE-1394 compatible) and hi-speed USB (USB 2.0) digital interfaces for fast and easy installation on a Macintosh or a PC. The slim external DRX-S50U burner supports 8X DVD±R, 4X DVD±R DL, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, and 24X CD-R/RW. It also comes with the hi-speed USB interface for maximum flexibility.

The internal DRU-830A drive is shipping now for about $70 after a $20 mail-in rebate; the external DRX-830U burner is expected to ship in October for around $100 after a $30 mail-in rebate; and the external DRX-830UL-T burner will be available in December for about $120 after a $30 mail-in rebate. The DRX-S50U drive will be available in October for about $130.

Sony DVD/CD rewritable drives are sold direct online through sonystyle.com and at Sony Style retail stores (www.sonystyle.com/retail) in fashion malls around the country. They are also available from authorized resellers and retailers nationwide, mail order catalogs, and select online shopping sites. Sony supports what it calls "worry-free" installation, along with easy operation in addition to toll-free customer and technical service, Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. central time. The company also provides a one-year limited warranty from the original date of purchase.


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iKan Introduces Prompter Pro 2.0

iKan has itroduced Prompter Pro v2.0, an easy-to-use, full-featured teleprompting software, now featuring MacOS compatibility. It works with standard text files and rich text files. It lets you edit them on the fly or create them within the program. It also allows you to use the scroll wheel on your mouse to adjust speed and direction. You can change font size, font color, or font and save the changes for next time.

Key benefits include the following:

  • Edit your scripts on the fly
  • Allows you to save your changes
  • Use your mouse's scroll wheel to adjust the speed and direction of the script
  • Change text size on the fly
  • Change text color on the fly
  • Change background color on the fly
  • Adjustable cue marker

Retail price for Prompter Pro is $99.95. Purchasers of iKan's PT1000 Teleprompter Kit receive Prompter Pro v2.0 free. Users of the old PrompterPro 1.0 can call iKan at 713.272.8822) to receive a free downloadable update.


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FutureVideo Introduces Professional Jog/Shuttle Controller for Apple’s Final Cut Studio

Device control pioneer FutureVideo Products, Inc. has unveiled its latest addition to its Media Commander MC-20PRO jog/shuttle controller product line by adding support for Apple's Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Express. The MC-20PRO/M combines the control and functions commonly used during video and audio post-production—keyboard short-cut commands, transport playback, and Jog/Shuttle operations—into a single ergonomically appealing control surface.

The MC-20PRO/M will come pre-configured with selected key maps for Apple's Final Cut Studio/Final Cut Express and easily connects to the USB port on the Mac without the need for software drivers or complicated installation procedures. For those who want to re-program the keys and jog/shuttle assignments, FutureVideo includes its innovative KeyAssigner software. This software integrates MC-20PRO/M key mapping with easy labeling for the 22 assignable keys and Jog/shuttle. The KeyAssigner program runs under Windows 2000/XP on either a PC or a Mac with a compatible virtual machine environment.

The MC-20PRO/M capabilities extend beyond computer-based media systems. Thanks to its EditLink port, Media Commander MC-20PRO/M connects with FutureVideo's MC-100 modules to directly control a network of up to 16 VCRs, including professional decks with RS-422/RS-232 9 pin connectors as well as camcorders and industrial VCRs equipped with LANC or 5-pin edit control ports. In this configuration, both Digital Audio Tape Recorders and selected DVD recorders can also be controlled.


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ProCon Digital Systems Announces New DVD/CD Duplicators with LightScribe Disc Printing

ProCon USA has announced two new DVD/CD duplicators with support for LightScribe disc printing. The ProCon PC-DVD-1LS is a 1:1 model and PC-DVD-4LS is a 1:4 model.

The PC-DVD-1LS features one read DVD/CD drive and one DVD/CD burner with LightScribe capability. LightScribe allows you to burn artwork on compatible media with the drive's laser, allowing you to create professional quality CDs and DVDs without the need for a standalone disc printer. Warranty is 2 Years; Weight is 5 lb., Color is black. Price is $499.

The PC-DVD-4LS features one read DVD/CD and four DVD/CD burners with LightScribe capability. It supports multiple DVD and CD formats, carries a 2-year warranty, weight in at 12lb., and lists for $999.


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ViewSonic Projects High-Definition Experience Into Home Theaters

As a next step in its strategic plan to deliver innovative products and diversify its projector portfolio, ViewSonic Corp. introduced the Cine5000. The DLP front-projector addresses the ever growing home theater market by providing true high-definition capabilities along with a 255-inch diagonal wide-format picture to bring the movie theater experience to the comfort of the couch. "As one of the fastest growing display markets, home projector sales are estimated to grow to more than 2.8 million units by 2010.

At an estimated street price of $1,999, the Cine5000 projects breathtaking images through Texas Instruments DarkChip2 DLP technologies and an advanced color wheel—a combination that offers life-like colors, high contrast and sharp images. The 10-pound projector's multiple OptiSync connectivity options—including HDMI (HDCP-compliant), component (YPbPr), composite and S-video—enables simple connections to PCs, game consoles, DVD players and camcorders, while its native 1280x768 widescreen resolution, 1000 lumens of brightness and a 2000:1 contrast ratio offer clear, crisp images.

The projector's viewing field, which is six times larger than 40-inch televisions, makes audiences feel a part of the game with near life-size players during Sunday night football or while playing fast-moving video games. To prevent image distortion such as pixilation and jagged video, the Cine5000 is equipped with digital keystone correction and Faroudja DCDi® video processing technology. Additional features include signal noise reduction, edge enhancement for optimum video sharpness, and a 12-volt screen relay trigger for dropping a projection screen down using the power of the projector.

Available in October 2006, the Cine5000 comes with ViewSonic's superior customer support program that includes a 90-day limited lamp warranty, a three-year limited parts and labor warranty, one year of Express Exchange service, and 24/7 technical support, excluding major U.S. holidays. The projector will be sold through authorized ViewSonic retail outlets, professional audio-visual solution providers, distributors and resellers.

For more information on ViewSonic projectors or to locate an authorized ViewSonic dealer, visit www.ViewSonic.com/projectors.

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