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Copyright © 2004 -
Information Today, Inc.

November 27, 2006

Table of Contents

Studio Time: Luis Ponce's Treasure Image and the LAPVP
WEVA Announces Wedding & Event Video Expo 2007 Set For August 13-16
Synk Audio Announces Musicbed DV 1.6 plus Seasons 1 and 2 Bundle
Just in Time for Christmas: RoyaltyFreeHolidayMusic.com
Final Draft Scripts Next Act with Acquisition of Script Magazine
ProCon Announces HD Digital Video Recorders for Panasonic AJ-HDX900 Camera
Apricorn Launches EZ Bus Desktop Combo for Mac Users
ADS Tech Launches New Instant Video To-Go--Industry’s First Hardware-based H.264 Conversion Solution for Consumers

Studio Time: Luis Ponce's Treasure Image and the LAPVP

Some 1,300 miles (and 22 years) separate Luis Ponce from his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, but the 37-year-old videographer has long since made a new home—and a new name—for himself in Southern California. His story, like that of many videographers, begins with a casual interest in electronics and a random opportunity that would prove to be a defining moment in his professional evolution.

Ponce's first years in the United States were difficult, to say the least. He moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1984, at age 15, and spent a year studying at Jefferson High School before dropping out to work full time. "I needed to work to help my family pay the bills," he explains. His first job, at a local clothing company, paid $30 a week for more than 60 hours of work. Better-paying jobs eventually followed, and by 1990, he had saved up enough money to open a video rental store.

It's been said that opportunity knocks when you least expect it, but Ponce says you have to be willing to accept those opportunities in whatever form they may come. One day, a customer came into his store asking if it offered videography services. "I didn't even have a video camera," he recalls, "but I said yes. At that time in my life, whatever service or product a customer asked for, within a week we were providing it. I had often dreamed of having a video camera and producing something with it, and this was my chance. All I did was accept the challenge."

The challenge came on a Thursday and the event in question—the customer's daughter's Quinceañera—was taking place that Saturday. (In Hispanic cultures, the Quinceañera—"quince años" is Spanish for "15 years"—is a formal event celebrating a girl's transition from childhood to womanhood, culturally analogous to a "Sweet 16" party.) "I basically had one day to buy a camera and to learn how to use it," Ponce continues. "I charged $100 for the job and handed over the tape that night without any editing."

Ponce's ambitious acceptance of that random job changed the course of his career, though he didn't really see it that way at first. "I'd always liked to take pictures and to play with electronic devices, so it was more like a fun job than a business," he says of his early photography and videography work. But by the mid-1990s, Ponce owned several pieces of equipment and was doing business as Filmaciones Guadalajara (a name he later changed to Luis Ponce Photography and Video Services). When his Amiga 2000 broke down, Ponce went looking for a repair shop and discovered The Lively Computer, a full-service computer supply dealer for animators and professional videographers in San Diego. "The store had a user group that met the third Thursday of every month, so I decided to join," he says.

By 2000, Ponce had tired of the monthly drives to San Diego and decided to create his own support network in Los Angeles. The group he founded, now known as the Los Angeles Professional Photographers & Videographers Association, began having weekly meetings "because there were a lot of people interested" in sharing information, he says. Involvement in WEVA soon followed.

No Man is an Island
Ponce's WEVA activities and his networking with other videographers informed his work over the next few years, and ultimately led to yet another evolution. In 2004, Ponce decided to change his company name yet again, to establish a trademark that didn't have his name in it. "I needed a brand name," he says. "My wife, Isabel, came up with ‘Treasure Image,' and when we saw that the domain name was available, Treasure Image was born."

In 16 years, Filmaciones Guadalajara/Luis Ponce Photography and Video Services/Treasure Image has shot roughly 800 events and a small number of music videos and corporate projects. "We try to do one project a week, and we do everything in-house," he says of the script-to-screen services his four-person staff learned on the fly and continues to refine.

figure 1 Ponce estimates that 90% of his customers are Hispanic, and he takes enormous pride in the fact that nearly all of his work comes from previous customers and their referrals. "We treat our customers as friends—before, during, and after their events—and we always stay in contact with them," he explains. "If you keep your customers happy, they will always return to you. And so will their families and friends."

Word of Ponce's enormous success within the Hispanic community has spread among videographers in recent years, and today he is seen by many as a go-to guy for advice on how to tap into this burgeoning market. (Four months ago he presented—in Spanish—a session on weddings and events in the Hispanic market at the WEVA Expo.) When asked about the nuances of serving this demographic, Ponce is circumspect. "The Hispanic community works in the same way as any other culture," he says. "As long as you deliver a professional service, you'll have a lot of work. There are millions of Hispanic people already in the United States, and all of them are celebrating Quinceañeras. Many of those ladies will ultimately get married, so if you do a good job on their Quinceañeras, there's a good chance you'll be doing their weddings too."

Group Think
After years of working from home, Ponce opened a small office in Los Angeles in 2004 (the same year he adopted the Treasure Image moniker). "It did a lot of good," Ponce says of the move, "because customers would come to the office and focus all of their attention on the work I was showing them rather than on the distractions at the house. That 300-square-foot office helped me double my prices."

It ultimately inspired a much grander idea too. The business idea Ponce conceived involves shared office space and a customer-allocation model that resembles the distribution of work that occurs in many barber shops. Eager to expand into a larger space, Ponce extended an open invitation to other videographers who were attending a weekly industry association meeting to join him in an enterprise that would bring 10 companies under one roof. "I wanted to open a 1,500-square-foot office with a video room, conference room, photographic studio, lobby, and private office space," he explains. "I figured, ‘If we're doing this well with a 300-square-foot office, imagine what we could do with 1,500 square feet.' The problem was that I couldn't afford that type of investment on my own—$70,000 down, plus the monthly bills and the $1,500 rent payments. It was almost impossible for one person to do, but it's a completely different situation if you divide that among 10 people."

Ponce pitched his idea in August 2005, telling meeting attendees that he was looking for "honest" people who were "willing to do whatever it takes to be successful," and that he would share more details in a follow-up meeting a few days later. "Nine people showed up," he says, "and all nine accepted the challenge." It took five months to get the consortium they'd formed off the ground, but by January 2006, they were collectively doing business as Los Angeles Professional Video Photographers (LAPVP).

figure 1Their office space, on West Whittier Boulevard in Montebello, California, houses the following companies: Treasure Image; Dan Yeniz Photography (Oney Ayala, proprietor); Trujillo's Photography & Video (Cudberto Trujillo, proprietor); Magic Dreams Studio (Jesus Segura, proprietor); Orlando's Photography (Orlando Vasquez, proprietor); BRG Digital Photo & Video Services (Martin Rodriguez, proprietor); My Discovery Studios (Norberto Garcia, proprietor); Blue Image (Carlos Flores, proprietor); and Lavin Video (Alfredo Lavin, proprietor).

(The original tenth partner—Oscar Ponce, proprietor of Shooting Star Photography—left the L.A. area and thus the LAPVP earlier this year.)

"Each of us has his own business name in the office; the only thing we're sharing is the space," Ponce says of the arrangement. "My customers are still my customers, and the customers of the other guys still belong to them. We have a secretary, Pilar Flores, who works full time for all of us and handles all of the appointments." On any given day, some of the videographers will be out of the office doing a shoot or delivering finished products to customers; others remain on site to network with other vendors or meet with prospects.

Many of the customers who come in are seeking the services of a particular videographer, but there are plenty of walk-ins too. For them, the partners have devised a unique rotating system. "On Monday, for example, every walk-in who enters the office belongs to me," Ponce explains. "If I'm already booked that day, it goes to the following partner. On Tuesday, another partner gets the walk-ins, followed by another partner getting Wednesday's. It goes on and on like that until each of us gets a full day with the walk-ins and then we start over again."

Most of the photo and video packages the partners are selling fall in the $5,000 to $7,000 range, and Ponce says they're hoping to offer $10,000 packages in 2007. As the partners mark the consortium's one-year anniversary next month, they'll continue the traditions they've established in its first year—the rotating schedule, the Tuesday night "family meetings" to address problems in the office "before they get too big"—but they'll also look to expand, just as Ponce did himself. "The consortium's goal is to open another nine studios, with all of us helping," he explains. "Then each of us will get to keep one studio without sharing anything between us. We'll try to do one new office every year; that way, within 10 years we'll reach our goal."

Ponce is confident in his 10-year plan. When the consortium first assembled, Ponce says, "there were a lot of people who told us that what we were doing was wrong or impossible to do. Of course, once we put it together, those same negative people wanted to join in." Isn't that always the way?

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WEVA Announces Wedding & Event Video Expo 2007 Set For August 13-16

"Wedding & Event Video Expo 2007, the WEVA 17th Annual International Convention & Trade Show for Professional Wedding & Event Videographers will be held August 13-16, 2007," said WEVA International Chairman Roy Chapman, who made the announcement Tuesday evening in Philadelphia, PA where he served as a video competition judge for the GPVA 3rd Annual Film Festival, presented by the Greater Philadelphia Videographers Association.

Chapman announced that WEVA EXPO 2007 will be held at Bally's/Paris Las Vegas located in the center of famous Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas, NV. The 2007 convention, open to both WEVA members and non-members, will officially kick off Monday night August 13, 2007 with a grand-opening dinner reception planned for videographers at "An Evening in Paris" in the glittering ballroom of the Paris Las Vegas hotel where the winning videos in WEVA's upcoming 17th Annual Creative Excellence Awards Competition will be announced and screened. All WEVA EXPO 2007 conference sessions and new technology exhibits will be held in the Bally's Las Vegas Convention Center, which directly adjoins Paris.

"Over 70 cutting-edge technical and creativity Seminars, ‘Camera Clinics,' New Equipment Demonstrations, product-specific Editing Workshops (Avid, Apple, Adobe, Canopus, Vegas, etc.), "Battle Of The Videographers," Video-On-The-Web, Production Technique Workshops, plus new Wedding Video Marketing Strategies and top Business Sales Boosters will be presented by leading wedding and event videographers from across the US and worldwide, and by other top industry experts," said WEVA International's Director of Educational Development John Zale.

"Guest room rates will be only $104 per night at Bally's, and just $139 per night at Paris. Hotel reservation operators will start accepting room reservations for WEVA EXPO 2007 next month by toll-free numbers and online. More details will be posted soon on the WEVA website," said Dan Argenas WEVA's Director of Association Communications.


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Synk Audio Announces Musicbed DV 1.6 plus Seasons 1 and 2 Bundle

Synk Audio, a leading innovator in adaptive music, announces version 1.6 of their Musicbed DV music soundtrack generation software with Mac Universal Binary support, new music generation features, new surround music features and more than double the amount of royalty-free music content.

Musicbed DV is an easy-to-use Mac program for generating custom music soundtracks that match the mood and timing of video and audio projects. Users are offered a unique set of versatile controls for adjusting musical intensity, complexity, dynamics and more, all in real-time. Control curves may be used to add musical builds and punctuation that underscore and accent the emotional movement of projects. Music soundtracks of any duration may be generated without compromise and exported with a wide variety of options, including stereo and surround music.

Designed for video and audio creators who may not have the time or desire to create professional music soundtracks from scratch, Musicbed DV is perfect for video and film projects, Podcasts, DVDs, or any project that calls for a music soundtrack. Musicbed DV 1.6 is now bundled with new music packages in many genres and genre-mashups, more than doubling the available music content.

The Musicbed DV Bundle includes the Seasons 1 and 2 customizable stock music libraries, adding thousands of music theme variations and an unlimited number of time-based variations using Musicbed DV's unique music style and texture control curves. Combined with the new Music Package Swap feature, which allows the mood, genre and instrumentation of music in the timeline to be changed independent of timing and control curves, the creative possibilities for music soundtrack creation are vast.

This new version also contains a number of music generation enhancements, including Keyframe Snapshots for taking snapshots of music style and texture customizations, making it even easier to create and manage musical builds and punctuation. Keyframe Generation creates keyframes with varying values that hit markers or periodic time locations, which can be used for quickly generating musical textures that evolve over time.

Music Clip Overlay/Overwrite is a new preference that lets the user specify whether adding music to the timeline overlays or overwrites existing music. Music in the timeline may freely overlap, allowing for seamless transitions between different music themes. Musicbed DV 1.6 also contains new surround mix presets for various surround music usage scenarios.

Narrative projects may benefit from the theatrically oriented surround mix preset while entertainment projects may be enhanced by the preset for an immersive surround music presentation. Music packages contain hundreds of non-linear audio tracks under-the-hood, all of which are mixed according to the desired preset for a true surround music mix.

Musicbed DV is a standalone Mac application with extensive import and export options for easy integration with Apple iMovie and GarageBand all the way up to Final Cut Studio and Logic.

The Musicbed DV plus Seasons 1 and 2 Bundle is available now at an introductory price of $249. For product screenshots, please visit http://www.mtechmarketing.com/SYNK_112106_MBDV16.html. For more information, please visit http://www.synkaudiostudios.com/.

A fully functional trial is available at http://web.synkaudiostudios.com/musicbed-dv-download/.

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Just in Time for Christmas: RoyaltyFreeHolidayMusic.com

As a response to numerous customer requests, Stock20.com secured the rights to several Holiday compositions and will be making them available under their generous unlimited license, through a partner site: www.royaltyfreeholidaymusic.com.

Each track will be available for a onetime buyout of $14 and will include multiple length versions. Half of the license fees will go toward the composers, supporting independent artists.


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Final Draft Scripts Next Act with Acquisition of Script Magazine

Final Draft Inc. has announced that they have acquired the assets of Forum Publishing, publishers of Script magazine, and all of its ancillary businesses, including the Scriptwriters Showcase, Take A Meeting and ScriptXpert, as well as all related web sites and domains. Terms of the acquisition are confidential. The addition of Forum Publishing positions Final Draft, Inc. as the premier end-to-end resource for the scriptwriter, offering education, software and support, as well as publications, events, access and public recognition.

"We couldn't be more excited about this acquisition," said Marc Madnick, CEO of Final Draft, Inc. "We've had a long relationship with Shelly Mellott and her team at Script. This will be the keystone in our efforts to provide tools, support, services, access and recognition for scriptwriters. We'll provide everything they need, from A to Z."

Final Draft's first initiative as part of the acquisition is a complete redesign and re-launch of Script magazine in January 2007. The new look features more pages, UV gloss coated cover and streamlined design throughout, including high-end photography and more full-page ads. New content features will include columns written by working writers and development executives, industry news and trend reports, television and new media coverage, new scriptwriting technology and tools, guides and tips for success in pitching, selling and management.

Script's experienced editorial staff will remain in place to help shepherd the transition and relaunch under the guidance of Editor in Chief of twelve years Shelly Mellott and Managing Editor of five years Andrew J. Schneider. Mellott will serve Final Draft, Inc. as Vice President of Events & Publications, overseeing the magazine, events, conferences and web forums and blogs. Most long-time staff writers will remain on board to realize the new vision for the magazine and new hires will help redefine the magazine and its goals.

"Script has been a family business since 1989," said Mellott. "We would never have sold our company to anyone but the Final Draft family. We share a unified vision for the future of Script. The publication can now realize its full potential as part of the Final Draft brand. We look forward to growing along with Final Draft and becoming the source that scriptwriters turn to for information and inspiration."

In addition to newly acquired tools and services, Final Draft, Inc. publishes Final Draft, the world's best-selling scriptwriting program, as well as the award-winning Final Draft AV software, the only dedicated multi-column script processor specifically designed for writing commercials, corporate videos, documentaries, presentations and DV shorts.


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ProCon Announces HD Digital Video Recorders for Panasonic AJ-HDX900 Camera

ProCon Digital Systems has announced that the CitiDISK HD is now fully compatible with the new Panasonic AJ-HDX900 camera. CitiDISK HD connects via FireWire with the HDX900 for simultaneous camera-controlled recording of both DVCPRO100 HD video as well as DVCPRO50 and DV25 SD video.

CitiDISK HD records DVCPRO100 HD, DVCPRO50, DVCPRO25 and DV from respectively equipped video cameras. CDHD-80: Price is $999, CitiDISK HD 80 Gigabyte Digital Video Recorder providing 90 minutes of DVCPRO100, 180 minutes of DVCPRO50 or 360 minutes of DV25 recording time.

CDHD-100: Price is $1099, CitiDISK HDV 100 Gigabyte Digital Video Recorder providing 115 minutes of DVCPRO100, 230 minutes of DVCPRO50 or 450 minutes of DV25 recording time.

CDHD-120: Price is $1199, CitiDISK HDV 120 Gigabyte Digital Video Recorder providing 135 minutes of DVCPRO100, 270 minutes of DVCPRO50 or 540 minutes of DV25 recording time.


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Apricorn Launches EZ Bus Desktop Combo for Mac Users

Apricorn today announced further expansion of its EZ Bus Desktop Storage and Backup line with Apricorn's award winning Data Protection Suite for Mac. Providing powerful backup, synchronization and encryption tools, Apricorn's Data Protection Suite contains ShirtPocket SuperDuper!, Qdea Synchronize! X, and Apricorn's Encryption Utility.

The EZ Bus Desktop FireWire/USB 2.0 Combo (EZ Bus DTC), featuring a combination FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 interface is the ideal external hard drive for backing up data or adding extra storage to any notebook or desktop Mac. The plug-n-play and hot swappable features make hard drive capacity expansion simple. With up to 500GB of additional storage in a high performance 7200RPM drive, users can backup their entire systems and safely store large files including digital photographs, emails, music and video files.

To ensure optimal operating temperature and to protect stored data, the EZ Bus DTC was designed with an ultra-cool fan and aluminum enclosure to dissipate heat. Apricorn's EZ Bus DTC hard drive models are available in 80GB-500GB sizes and come with a vertical stand. Additional features for the EZ Bus DTC include a 7200RPM drive with FireWire/USB 2.0 interface, 6 to 6 pin FireWire/1394 cable, 4 to 6 pin FireWire/1394 cable, USB cable and AC adapter.

The hard drives are also bundled with extensive backup, synchronizing, and encryption software: ShirtPocket SuperDuper!, Qdea Synchronize! X and Apricorn Encryption Utility for Mac.

Apricorn's EZ Bus Desktop Storage and Backup Solution for Mac users is currently available in the US, Canada and online at www.apricorn.com.

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ADS Tech Launches New Instant Video To-Go--Industry’s First Hardware-based H.264 Conversion Solution for Consumers

ADS Tech today announced Instant Video To-Go, the industry's first hardware-based H.264 conversion solution for PCs. Featuring the superior quality encoding that has made ADS Tech's growing line of mobile player accessories so popular, ADS Tech's new video transfer accelerator provides the convenience of USB 2.0 connectivity in a small, compact device.

The hardware accelerator incorporated in Instant Video To-Go enables consumers to convert videos for playback on Apple iPods, Sony PSPs and other portable video players up to five times faster than real time. With Instant Video To-Go, a 100-min./2GB MPEG2 or VOB video file can be converted into high-quality (320x240), H.264 video in approximately 20 minutes. The same video would require about 5 hours to convert with software encoding.

A complete hardware/software solution, Instant Video To-Go includes ArcSoft Media Converter 2 software, a simple two-step application that converts the most popular media formats. MP4, MP3, AVI, WMV, MOV, RM, JPG, and TIFF formats are supported as well as the Microsoft Media Transfer Protocol (MTP). Combined, ADS Tech's video accelerator and ArcSoft Media Converter 2 provide consumers with a fast, easy solution for converting, enjoying and sharing favorite videos, TV shows and sporting events any time, anywhere.

ADS Tech offers a complete line of Mobile Player Accessories for recording and converting video and music to the iPod/MP3/mobile player formats. In addition to Instant Video To-Go, ADS Tech offers DVD Xpress DX2, Instant Music, Instant Music for Mac, and Instant FM Music.

Instant Video To-Go is available from leading video dealers, e-tailers and distributors with a MSRP of US$79.95. A complete hardware/software solution, the USB 2.0 video transfer accelerator is compatible with Windows XP systems. The external device comes with a 6-in. USB 2.0 extension cable and a CD containing device drivers and Arcsoft Media Converter 2 software, as well as a quick start guide.


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