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October 30, 2006

Table of Contents

Review: Sony HVR-V1U HDV Camcorder
Focus Enhancements Releases New Line of High Definition FS-4 Portable DTE Recorders Featuring Extended Recording and HD Support as Standard
Adobe Soundbooth Released As Public Beta For Intel-Based Macintosh and Windows Platforms
Noise Industries releases FxFactory for Final Cut Studio
Apple MacBook Pro Notebooks Now With Intel Core 2 Duo Processors
HP Introduces 18X DVD Writer with Supermulti Support and LightScribe
Primera Announces Significant Increase in Disc Capacity for its Bravo II and BravoPro Disc Publishers
TechSmith Licenses iZotope DSP Technology
Panasonic Announces Availability of 1080P HD Pro Plasma Displays

Review: Sony HVR-V1U HDV Camcorder

Pro video production has never been more affordable nor more independent than it is today, and it appears that production tools are only going to become less expensive and more powerful as time goes on. Ironically, just as affordable production in the standard-definition world has started to become commonplace, the industry has begun its shift to high-definition. HD in various flavors now strikes at every price point imaginable, and talent and tools become the true delineating factors in the industry. 

The behemoth of the video production world, of course, is Sony, and Sony is constantly bringing new tools to the independent producer. September 19, 2006 marked yet another milestone in the migration towards and availability of high-definition tools with the introduction of the Sony HVR-V1U, smaller sibling to Sony's popular HVR-Z1U.

The new Sony HVR-V1U is the newest low-cost HD tool available to indie producers, and while it's lightweight and compact for a pro camera, it packs a heavyweight tool set. It acquires images at a full 1920x1080 resolution using three 1/4" imagers. The CMOS imagers employ a new technology that allows the camcorder to interpolate pixels from the imager's block size of 960x1080 pixels (for more on CMOS, see UX1 review). Placing pixels at a 45-degree angle and using low-profile technology results in greater sensitivity and sweet, smooth color processing. Additionally, the camcorder processes the image at 1920x1080, with a 4:2:2 sampling scheme throughout. The image is maintained in this format until it reaches the output stage, where the image is downconverted to 1440x1080 for output to tape and/or component output. This means that users can employ the camera in a studio setting with a 1440x1080, 4:2:2 uncompressed image, or output to tape or hard drive as a 1440x1080, 4:2:0 signal.

The HVR-V1U is also a true progressive model, meaning it currently is the highest resolution progressive camcorder in the sub $15,000 range. Unlike other imagers of lesser resolution, the HVR-V1U does not double lines, split images at acquisition, and recombine them in post processing. Nor does it resample pixels to generate the 1080 lines of resolution in the progressive format, making it as much as 60% greater in overall resolution than its competitors.

CMOS offers not only a means of achieving great images in this camcorder, but the lower power consumption of the CMOS chips means that the camcorder can go longer on standard batteries. Up to eight hours of recording time is possible with a standard FP970 battery (see Lee Rickwood's November Gear & Now). This allows for significantly longer recording times not possible with CCD chips. CCD technology has been approaching the point where its maturity may well begin to work against it as processors become faster and resolutions climb higher. While previous CMOS cameras have yielded greater picture noise, technology has caught up to the lower-cost imaging device. Dubbing their new technology ClearVid, Sony offers videographers reasonably good low-light sensitivity with extreme resolution and clarity. The low-profile pixels, coupled with Sony's exclusive digital system processing (DSP) system known as Advanced Image Processing, works very well, and the pictures speak for themselves. And truly, that's where the money shot is—the images.


figure 1Quality and Control
Videographers often get into heated arguments about resolution, pixel shifting, upsampling, expansion, compression, codecs, and the like. Such debates are fun in the abstract, but futile in the decision-making process. Picture quality and creative control is what we're all after, and the picture quality and "painting palettes" of the HVR-V1U will excite the creative muse in any videographer who looks through the eyepiece.

Up to 26 camera profiles including picture profiles, color range settings, progressive or interlaced formatting, and such may all be stored on a built-in Memory Stick (not included) found in a discreet panel which also houses USB 2.0 and HDMI outputs. This is a great feature for multiple camcorders, as users can exchange, store, and upload/download camcorder settings over memory sticks and the internet.

Speaking of multiple camcorders, the HVR-V1U offers an innovative method of matching timecode from camera to camera that uses the i.Link/FireWire connection. Choosing one camera as a master, other camcorders may be matched/slaved to the master, making it much easier to sync media in post.

Picture profiles in the camcorder are similar but more mature than the picture profiles found in the older, bigger brother HVR-Z1U. In the V1U, the picture profiles not only offer many settings for color, phase, sharpness, etc., but also include what Sony has dubbed the 3D LUT (Look Up Table). Sampling color from film stock, the 3D LUT provides color behavior that is remarkable and instantly appreciable.

Coupled with 24p or 30p images, this is the camera for those seeking a film look but a video workflow. Film is still film; however this camcorder very closely imitates the analog medium for those seeking that look. However, if you're looking for sharp, fast images with tremendous contrast and clarity, the camcorder also offers a Contrast Enhancement mode that divides the image into a contrast table, processes the image, and recombines the chroma and luma information in the DSP system. Depending on how the scene is lit, this tool can be exceptionally useful or simply interesting and a point of conversation. I found the contrast enhancement to be exceptionally useful in heavily shadowed images, allowing for incredibly clean lines in spite of the amount of definition of a black line against a white or lightly colored background.


figure 1Zooming from a reasonably wide 37 mm to approximately 750 mm focal length, the V1U also offers a Digital Extender mode. Everyone knows that digital zoom is for amateurs and soccer moms, but that has changed with this particular camcorder.

Using the addressable CMOS system matched to the proprietary DSP system, the digital zoom takes on a new meaning in the evolution of the HD camcorder world, as the image on the left illustrates. This hand-held frame has the soft-stabilizer mode enabled (the camcorder offers four stabilizer modes) and is at an exceptional distance from the subject.

Yet the stitching on the pilot's pants and lugs in his shoes are clearly detailed without the macroblocking and pixelation usually assigned to the concept of digital zoom.

Even the hairs on his legs are clearly discernible, which was surprising to me when I viewed this footage frame by frame on a 2k projector at a size of 40 feet, or approximately life size in scale.


Timelapse
Timelapse is a feature that not all videographers need, but it's fun to play with, and the HVR-V1U offers an intervalometer/timelapse feature. Here is one place the camcorder might be improved in the next generation, since there aren't enough options. With image capture limited to variables from 1 second to 3 seconds at intervals ranging from 1 minute to 30 minutes, there just aren't quite enough options. We tested this feature during a 24-hour world record attempt in Greensburg, Indiana, and while the images were sweet even in the dark hours of the morning, there just weren't enough options to give me exactly the cadences that I wanted.

However, it's noteworthy that the V1U kept functioning even when completely drenched in early morning condensate. The camcorder literally was dripping water from the eyepiece and body, as I hadn't considered the need for a warmer and raincoat. The footage derived from the timelapse ended up on ESPN, CNN, MSNBC, and other major broadcasters, with all of them praising the quality and clarity of the timelapse.

Operation
While manually operating any camcorder is most advisable, the HVR-V1U offers newcomers to manual operation a few tips and assists. Even when in full auto-mode, the camcorder is capable of displaying the aperture, focus, shutter speed, white balance, distance, and other related settings. This will help auto-users of the camcorder learn to become manual users, which is where the true power of the camcorder lies.

Knobs, switches, and wheels are very well thought out in this camcorder, since they are all within a thumb's reach of the left hand as you're operating the lens and zoom features of the camcorder. Auto focus, instant focus, manual-to-auto exposure, expanded zoom (for focusing), and ND 1/2 are only a thumbslide away, making this easy to adjust. The lesser-used Gain, Shutter speed, and White Balance buttons are found on the back of the camcorder.

Second-generation LCD display offers a sweet view, even though it is lower in overall resolution than the highly acclaimed HVR-Z1U LCD panel. Aiding in the quest for sharp focus, the LCD panel coupled with the advanced Peaking features of the HVR-V1U make it easy to achieve a clean focus on the fly. Additionally, determining proper exposure is easy as well when the Histogram and Zebra modes are used in tandem. Histogram and Zebra may also operate independently of one another.

The features of the HVR-V1U are well thought out, well placed, and exceptionally well implemented. There are a few caveats. Most importantly, Sony has significantly increased the number of assignable button functions while not adding any new assignment buttons. This is a bit frustrating, but it's the price you pay for packing a lot of tools into a small toolbox. At least three more buttons would be highly appreciated. Additionally, I feel the power button is backwards; moving it up turns on the camcorder mode, moving it downwards puts it in VCR mode. It seems more likely that one would accidentally bump a button downwards than upwards. A minor point, but one worthy of consideration in a next generation.

The camcorder uses yet another lens size of 62 mm, requiring another size of wide-angle adapter, but a standard mattebox will fit on the camcorder. If you've got multiple camcorders, a mattebox is the preferred method of using filters, as there is no need for multiple filter sizes. Sony does offer a bayonet mount for their zoom-thru wide angle adapter, which is a nice consideration for wedding and event shooters needing to go from wide to standard focal lengths in a blink of an eye.

Currently, no NLE manages 3:2 pull-down flags for 24p. Sony Media Software has indicated that Sony Vegas will manage pull-down in an update around the same time as the HVR-V1U begins shipping. The camcorder does not use the Advanced Pulldown system that DVX100 shooters are familiar with; the GOP format doesn't require the frame decoding boost that the DV format requires for 24p.

The HVR-V1U also offers a great graphical interface for owners of their DSR D60 Hard Drive Recording system. Data from the HDD recorder displays in the System Check screen, keeping users apprised of battery condition, recording time, recording format, and other parameters of the device.

The Sony HVR-V1U isn't going to replace anyone's CineAlta, but regardless of the level of video production, this camcorder fits into the kit nicely. It can serve well as a small second cam to complement a larger production system or as the centerpiece of a smaller boutique production system. It will benefit any serious hobbyist, budget professional, or high-end shooter looking for a second camcorder for those tight shots or shots that are simply not practical for a higher-end camcorder.

Douglas Spotted Eagle is managing producer of VASST and managing director of the Sundance Media Group, and he provides training in digital video production and postproduction all over the world. Author of HDV: What You Need to Know, The Complete Guide (2nd ed.) and numerous other books and training DVDs and a frequent contributor to Studio/Monthly and other magazines, Spotted Eagle is also a Grammy-winning recording artist.

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Focus Enhancements Releases New Line of High Definition FS-4 Portable DTE Recorders Featuring Extended Recording and HD Support as Standard

Focus Enhancements Inc. today announced its new line-up of award winning FS-4 Portable Direct To Edit (DTE) Recorders. The new FS-4Pro HD models feature higher capacities, with 60GB, 80GB, and 100GB versions providing between 4.5 and 7.5 hours of DV/HDV recording. The FS-4HD ships with a 40GB disk drive allowing 3 hours of DV/HDV recording. In addition, all FS-4 models include HD recording capabilities and have a sleek, all-black enclosure.

In HD mode, the FS-4Pro HD models are capable of recording in either the M2T file format as well as the unique QuickTime HDV format for Direct To Edit use with Apple Final Cut Pro. In addition to eight available DV25 DTE file formats including AVI Type 2, QuickTime, Matrox AVI and Canopus AVI, the FS-4 HD and FS-4Pro HD are also capable of recording in the HDV M2T file format. Additional DV25 files formats are also available on the Pro models including Avid OMF, MXF and Pinnacle AVI.

Featuring a comprehensive backlit display, easy-to-use menu system, hard drive, and removable, rechargeable battery, the Focus FS-4 HD line is the perfect DTE companion for any DV or HDV handheld shoots. The new FS-4 HD and FS-4Pro HD Portable DTE Recorders weigh in at only one pound with a profile of 1.5 inches thin and add the company's industry-standard DTE functionality to DV and HDV handheld camcorders. Whether mounted directly to the camcorder or clipped to a belt, the new FS-4 is designed to excel in the field.

The all-new FS-4 model line-up is available now through Focus Enhancements' worldwide dealer and distributor network. The FS-4 HD 40GB model is available for a US MSRP of $799, while the FS-4Pro HD 60GB, 80GB and 100GB are available for MSRPs of $1,295, $1,595 and $1,895, respectively. The FS-4Pro HD 80GB and 100GB versions also include the 3 hour, high capacity battery as standard.

www.focusinfo.com
www.focusinfo.com/solutions/catalog.asp?id=3
www.focusinfo.com/solutions/video_production.asp
www.focusinfo.com/resources/#expand
www.focusinfo.com/webstore/

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Adobe Soundbooth Released As Public Beta For Intel-Based Macintosh and Windows Platforms

Adobe Systems Incorporated today introduced the public beta of Adobe Soundbooth software, a new innovative and intuitive audio software product for creating and editing audio and fixing common audio flaws using visually-oriented tools. Unveiled to customers for the first time this week at the MAX 2006 Adobe user conference in Las Vegas, creative professionals now have the opportunity to test this new beta download and submit feedback to the Adobe Labs at http://labs.adobe.com/soundbooth.

Adobe Soundbooth is available for both Intel-based Macintosh and Windows systems. Designed from the ground up to deliver high-quality sound to web and video workflows, Adobe Soundbooth enables creative professionals to quickly record, edit and create pristine audio without requiring training in sound production. Tight integration with Macromedia Flash from Adobe and Adobe Premiere® Pro enables Soundbooth users to easily remove noise from recordings, polish voiceovers, and customize music to fit a production.

Moving forward, Adobe plans to continue to develop Adobe Audition as a standalone product for audio professionals working in markets such as broadcast radio. Adobe plans to offer Soundbooth in place of Adobe Audition as the audio component in its integrated video solution, Adobe Production Studio.

Easy to use tools for Flash and Video workflows, Adobe Soundbooth includes the tools creative professionals need to handle customary audio production tasks with ease and efficiency. Video and interactive Web designers can record new dialog tracks, sound effects or other audio assets or transform existing audio files with sample-accurate tools that cut, copy, paste, fade, stretch, and add effects.

Soundbooth also provides creative professionals with tools that fix common flaws in audio recordings and streamlined mastering tools to clarify vocals and polish files after editing. Users can also speed the process of creating customized music to accompany their projects with the AutoComposer feature.

"Soundbooth is the perfect audio tool for our designers," said Matt Rodriguez, president/executive director at Plexipixel. "Its features are focused on the tasks and problems we face regularly. The cue integration with Flash and FLV is huge and having designers that can do their own audio work will save us time everyday."

Creative professionals can use Soundbooth to easily import audio assets from Adobe Premiere Pro for precision editing and to add music. Creating animation cues for use in Flash is also fast and efficient with the ability to lay down markers that can be exported as XML and then used with Actionscript in Flash.

The public beta of Adobe Soundbooth for Intel-based Macintosh and Windows is now available as a free download at http://labs.adobe.com/soundbooth/.

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Noise Industries releases FxFactory for Final Cut Studio

Noise Industries, developer of visual effects technology for the broadcast and film industry, today announced the release of FxFactory, a new visual effects package for Apple's Final Cut Studio. FxFactory offers an extensive collection of over 100 GPU-accelerated plug-ins based on Apple's FxPlug architecture for the highest performance inside Final Cut Pro and Motion.

FxFactory is the first expandable effects package for Final Cut Studio, thanks to a plug-in management system that lets users download new visual effects, try them out in projects, and only pay for the plug-ins as needed. For professional users, FxFactory offers new ways to improve their toolset. FxFactory Pro is the only software that lets you create and modify your own visual effects plug-ins for Final Cut Pro and Motion, without writing a single line of code.

More FxPacks can be found on the Noise Industries FxMarket, an online repository of visual effects for Final Cut Studio, open to all FxFactory users. As Noise Industries and other third-parties develop new plug-ins using FxFactory, users will enjoy a growing number of visual effects which can be used on a trial basis, and bought as needed.

FxFactory Features include the following: 

  • Tight integration with Mac OS X graphics technologies such as Core Image, and Quartz Composer.
  • Modern rendering engine based on OpenGL.
  • Infinitely expandable architecture allows user to share, download, and buy new visual effects plug-ins at the FxMarket.
  • Create new effects based on Quartz Compositions.

FxFactory is available immediately, directly through Noise Industries starting at $99.

www.noiseindustries.com

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Apple MacBook Pro Notebooks Now With Intel Core 2 Duo Processors

Apple today announced that its entire MacBook Pro line of notebooks now includes the new Intel Core 2 Duo processor and delivers performance that is up to 39 percent faster than the previous generation. All MacBook Pro models now offer double the memory and greater storage capacity than the previous generation, as well as a FireWire(R) 800 port for connecting to high-speed peripherals. The new MacBook Pro's stunning, lightweight, aluminum enclosure is just one-inch thin, available in 15- and 17-inch models, and features a built-in iSight(R) video camera for video conferencing on-the-go.

Every MacBook Pro features the new Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB of shared L2 cache, which is up to 39 percent faster than the previous 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro and more than seven times faster than the 1.67 GHz PowerBook G4 running industry standard benchmarks. Apple has enhanced Mac OS X to take advantage of the technology advances from Intel's Core 2 Duo processors, resulting in increased performance in professional applications like Aperture 1.5, Final Cut Pro 5 and Logic Pro 7.

Ideal for business and creative professionals, MacBook Pro delivers advanced performance including 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory expandable up to 3GB, ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics with up to 256MB of dedicated GDDR3 graphics memory, and a double-layer SuperDrive for burning professional-quality DVDs.

With the latest high-performance connectivity options, every new MacBook Pro includes built-in 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed networking, built-in AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), a FireWire 800 and a FireWire 400 port, combination analog and optical digital audio input and output ports, an ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot, and a DVI video output to connect up to a 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display.

MacBook Pro comes with Apple's MagSafe Power Adapter that magnetically couples the power cord to the MacBook Pro and safely disconnects when there is strain on the power cord, preventing the notebook from falling off its work surface. Apple now offers a new MagSafe Airline Adapter that makes using the MacBook Pro on an airplane even more convenient by connecting to in-seat power ports for continued productivity throughout the duration of a flight.

MacBook Pro also includes an illuminated keyboard, Apple's Sudden Motion Sensor that is designed to protect the hard drive in case of a fall, and a Scrolling TrackPad to easily scroll through long web pages or pan across large photographs. MacBook Pro comes with iLife '06, the next generation of Apple's award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications featuring iPhoto(R), iMovie(R) HD, iDVD(R), GarageBand(TM) and iWeb(TM), the latest iLife application that makes it super-easy to create amazing websites with photos, blogs and podcasts and publish them on .Mac for viewing by anyone on the Internet with just a single click.

Every MacBook Pro also comes with the latest release of the world's most advanced operating system, Mac OS X version 10.4.8 Tiger including Safari, Mail, iCal, iChat AV, Front Row, and Photo Booth, running natively on the Intel-based notebook.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is shipping today, the new 17-inch MacBook Pro will ship next week, and every model will be available through the Apple Store (www.apple.com ), Apple's retail stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers. The Apple MagSafe Airline Adaptor is shipping today for a suggested retail price of $59 (US).

The 2.16 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US), includes the following:

  • 15.4-inch widescreen 1440 x 900 LCD display with 300 cd/m2 brightness
  • 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 1GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 3GB
  • 120GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor
  • a slot-load 6x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive
  • PCI Express-based ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 128MB GDDR3 memory
  • DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately)
  • built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display
  • built-in iSight video camera
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot
  • two USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one FireWire 400 port
  • one audio line in and one headphone out port, each supporting optical digital audio
  • Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard
  • the infrared Apple Remote
  • 85 W Apple MagSafe Power Adapter.

The 2.33 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $2,499 (US), includes the following:

  • 15.4-inch widescreen 1440 x 900 LCD display with 300 cd/m2 brightness
  • 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2Duo processor
  • 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 3GB
  • 120GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor
  • a slot-load 6x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD+/-RW/ CD-RW) optical drive
  • PCI Express-based ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB GDDR3 memory
  • DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately)
  • built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display
  • built-in iSight video camera
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • built-in Airport Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot
  • two USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one FireWire 400 port
  • one audio line in and one headphone out port, each supporting optical digital audio
  • Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard
  • the infrared Apple Remote
  • 85 W Apple MagSafe Power Adapter.

The 2.33 GHz, 17-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of $2,799 (US), includes the following:

  • 17-inch widescreen 1680 x 1050 LCD display with 300 cd/m2 brightness
  • 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 3GB
  • 160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor
  • a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD+/-RW/ CD-RW) optical drive
  • PCI Express-based ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB GDDR3 memory
  • DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately)
  • built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display
  • built-in iSight video camera
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot
  • three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one FireWire 400 port
  • one audio line in and one headphone out port, each supporting optical digital audio
  • Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard with ambient light sensor
  • the infrared Apple Remote
  • 85 W Apple MagSafe Power Adapter.

Additional build-to-order options for the MacBook Pro include the ability to upgrade to a 200GB (4200 rpm) or a 160GB (5400 rpm) hard drive, up to 3GB DDR2 SDRAM, Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter, Apple USB Modem, glossy widescreen display, and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

www.apple.com

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HP Introduces 18X DVD Writer with Supermulti Support and LightScribe

18X will be the new writing speed standard on HP drives. HP will launch the dvd940i, a new, high¬speed internal drive with DVD±R/±RW and DVD-RAM read/write, ±R double-layer capability, and LightScribe direct disc labeling. HP will also introduce an external version of this drive, the HPdvd940e.

HP's supermulti drive offers high speeds and double-layer recording, and LightScribe Version 1.2, ready for high-contrast labeling. It lets users easily preserve, edit, and share up to 8.5 GB of video, photos, and multimedia presentations on one double-layer disc, and quickly store back up and transport files on DVDs and CDs. The dvd940i/e records double-layer DVDs at up to 8X, recordable DVDs at up to 18X, rewritable DVDs at up to 8X and DVD¬RAM at up to 12X.

LightScribe is the innovative, HP patented, disc labeling system that gives CDs and DVDs a neat, professional look without ink, pens, or paper labels. With LightScribe, you simply burn your data, flip the disc over, and burn a precise, silkscreen-like label directly onto your LightScribe CD or DVD. For more info, check www.lightscribe.com.

With the combination of LightScribe, supermulti and fast writing speeds, HP offers a very complete drive for all optical storage solutions. The HPdvd940i will be available in stores from November 2006.

www.hp.com

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Primera Announces Significant Increase in Disc Capacity for its Bravo II and BravoPro Disc Publishers

Primera Technology, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of CD/DVD duplication and printing equipment, today announced its ADL-MAX Disc Autoloader. The ADL-MAX Disc Autoloader easily attaches to any of Primera's best-selling Bravo II or BravoPro Disc Publishers. It uses advanced robotics to transport discs from the four integrated input bins into and out of the burning and printing mechanisms of the Bravo II or BravoPro.

With ADL-MAX, Bravo II's capacity increases from 50 discs to 325 discs. BravoPro's capacity increases from 100 discs to 350 > discs.

The ADL-MAX Disc Autoloader is priced at US$1995 MSRP and is available > immediately through Primera's resellers and distributors in more than 85 countries.

www.primera.com

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TechSmith Licenses iZotope DSP Technology

Izotope, Inc. announced today that TechSmith Corp. of Okemos, MI has licensed iZotope's VocalEnhance and AudioRestore technologies for use in the latest version of Camtasia Studio. Camtasia Studio is a complete solution for recording, editing and sharing rich screen video presentations.

Pairing a powerful feature set and intuitive controls, it is well suited for beginners and professionals who need to work quickly and efficiently to create video presentations for use on the web, CD, or portable media players. By controlling sibilance, plosives, and rumble and creating a smooth, radio announcer sound, iZotope's VocalEnhance greatly improves the quality and intelligibility of voiceover recordings in Camtasia Studio. Additionally, the AudioRestore suite intelligently removes unwanted noise from consumer-grade microphones and office environment sounds like cooling fans and air conditioners. The combination of these technologies allows users to get excellent audio results with little or no interaction.

For more information on Camtasia Studio, visit http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp.

For more information on iZotope's licensing program, visit: http://www.izotope.com/tech/.

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Panasonic Announces Availability of 1080P HD Pro Plasma Displays

Panasonic Broadcast, the market and technology leader in professional plasma displays, has announced the availability of its new line-up of 1080 progressive scan full HD pro plasmas. The 65" TH-65PF9UK is available now and will be followed by the 103" TH-103PF9UK (the world's largest plasma) by month's end and the 50" TH-50PF9UK in November.

With an impressive 2.07 million pixels (1,920 x 1,080) of resolution, these 1080p HD pro plasmas offer about twice the resolution as standard high-definition models, and produce the entire color range specified in the HDTV standard (ITU-R, BT709), for ultra-accurate, natural-looking images that remain truly faithful to the original HD source. The 1080p HD models feature a high contrast ratio of 5,000:1 and 16-bit processing to reproduce super-crisp motion pictures with an astounding 4,096 steps of gradation.

For the full 1080p models, Panasonic has developed a Super Cinema mode, whereby the Digital Color Reality feature accurately reproduces the warmth of light and delicate shading in each scene by continuously adjusting the white balance and performing gamma correction as the image changes. Digital Color Reality is four times more precise in the digital control of color and brightness compared with standard HD plasmas. "

Harris added that Panasonic 1080p HD plasmas are already drawing rave reviews, as two pre-delivery 103" TH-103PF9UK plasma displays are playing an integral role on NBC's new Sunday evening Football Night in America studio show. From production studios to command and control, presentations to digital signage and from videoconferencing to media facilities, customizable terminal boards for the Panasonic 1080p units allow these displays to become super-flexible, "all-in-one" installations.

The 1080p plasmas have three interchangeable multi-function slots (on the back) to equip the units with a wide range of terminal boards to assure their usage in virtually any AV, PC, or interactive environment. Each 1080p HD model comes standard with the new TY-FB9HDD UXGA / WUXGA compatible DVI-D board and 1080p compatible TY-42TM6A Component Video terminal board. A new option is the TY-FB9HD, an HD-SDI board that supports 1080p 50/60 formats and is ideal for production studios and post-production screening applications.

Additional advanced technologies incorporated to allow the 1080p plasmas to deliver their phenomenal image quality include a new Motion Pattern Noise Reduction system to provide a consistently sharp image across the entire image during fast-paced scenes, a Contrast Management system that perfects the color of each individual portion of the image displayed, and a 1:1 pixel mode, which maps the 1920 x 1080 one-to-one to 1080p pixels to display 100% of the original content.

The 1080p HD plasmas can display a full range of HD/SD signals including 1080/60p/50p, 1080/60i/50i/24p/24sF/25p/30p, 1080/50i, 720/60p/50p 480/60i/p, and 575/50i/p. The 1080p models also feature Advanced Dual Picture Mode, which allows users to combine video/audio clips with text from a computer in picture-in-picture and picture-out-picture modes for presentations. For easy setup of multi-screen systems, the 1080p plasmas feature a built-in image-enlarging functions to enlarge images up to four times normal size vertically and horizontally while maintaining image quality, and can be configured in a variety of different combinations (from 1x4 to 2x3, up to a 4x4 construction).

Also, with the new PLUG-VC251 PC board, Panasonic's 1080p plasmas can become a turnkey computer system. With the PC board, these large screen displays can be updated with content and controls instructions from a centrally located system. The PC board is compatible with Windows XP and XP-embedded operations systems and a wide variety of Windows-based applications software. In addition, for long distance transmission, a new CAT5e transmitter with a switcher function (model KE811CT) allows a user to send high-resolution video signals to a 1080p plasma up to 500 feet away from a separate command center, as well as to control up to 128 plasmas simultaneously from a single location. A new CAT5e switcher allows the user to change the plasma display's input from presentations to live video and more, reducing the cost of set-up time and allowing greater flexibility in placement. When equipped with the HD-SDI board, the 1080p plasmas can be easily integrated into broadcast systems that use HD-SDI in their studio or control rooms.

The 65" TH-65PF9UK is available now at a suggested list price of $10,995. The 103" TH-103PF9UK will be available by the end of the month at a suggested list price of $69,999.95. The 50" TH-50PF9UK will be available in November at a suggested list price of $5,995. From the industry's highest picture quality to the industry's most versatile application options, Panasonic professional plasmas offer seamless integration in virtually any AV, IT or interactive environment with an ultra-stylish design that looks great even when the panel is turned off. Only Panasonic offers the widest range of plasma sizes, from 37" to the world's largest plasma panel at 103". With the introduction of its new 1080p HD plasma line, Panasonic continues to remain at the forefront of the plasma display industry.

www.panasonic.com/proplasma

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