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March 05, 2007

Table of Contents

Who Needs Remote Control? Grizzly Pro and the Videographers Who Use It
Disc Makers Launches ReflexBlu Line of Blu-Ray Tower Duplicators
Sony Takes Anycast Station To The High-Def Level
Music 2 Hues Announces Additions to Flagship Product Line
Genetica Texture Pack 3 Released
Corel Announces Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus with HD DVD and Blu-ray Support
wondertouch Releases Three New Motion Graphics-Themed Libraries in Popular "Professional Emitters" Series
LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling Launches Simple Labeler

Who Needs Remote Control? Grizzly Pro and the Videographers Who Use It

At his WEVA Expo seminar on multicamera shooting, Minneapolis videographer Ron Schmidt claimed an unofficial (and possibly uncontested) world record: 45 seconds to deliver a three-camera wedding video. How did he do it? Using remote-controlled cameras and live switching.

Schmidt is a stalwart remote-control, multi-cam man. He has been shooting event videos for over 25 years and has experimented with various remote systems as well as with crews of camera operators. "I will never go back to doing a wedding as a human being again," states Schmidt. "How many times does the officiant say ‘You can't stand there,' even if you don't move your camera?" With his elevated remote cameras, Schmidt says, "I get front views of both the bride and the groom that many times no one else can get, and how many meals do the remote control units eat?"

The system that Schmidt currently uses is called the Grizzly Pro r-Three—an ensemble built by Grizzly Systems LLC upon modified Bescor pan-tilt units, a remote control unit shaped like a videogame controller, and a single, lightweight cable instead of coaxial. Schmidt positions the cameras on Bogen camera brackets, and then mounts them seven feet or higher to beams, door frames, poles, or balcony railings.

Setup time is about three hours, because he runs cables from the three cameras to his Grizzly Pro remote control console. Instead of using the Grizzly Pro's switcher option, Schmidt uses a Focus Enhancements MX Pro video mixer. That lets him occasionally add effects such as picture-in-picture (PIP). The output of the switcher and audio mixer then goes to a master videotape recorder. Meanwhile, he runs tapes in each of the cameras as a backup.

figure 1Remote Control with a CAT-5 Cable
The Grizzly Pro is a remote control system that connects to the LANC or Panasonic-type remote port found on most camcorders. The system comes in configurations for controlling one, two, or three cameras, with an optional basic switcher. Unlike other multi-cam systems that use thick camera-control cables, the Grizzly Pro is unique in that a single Ethernet-type CAT-5 cable handles video, power, and remote control. This CAT-5 cable is thinner than coaxial, and it terminates in an RJ-45 plug—the same kind that Ethernet systems use. Other camera remote systems are not only more expensive, but they also use thick cables or require multiple cables. The CAT-5 carries the video signal from the camcorder to a monitor bank, and also sends power to the pan-tilt unit and remote instructions for pan, tilt, zoom, exposure, and focus. Another unique feature of the Grizzly Pro is the ergonomic remote control console—it is patterned after videogame controllers.

In December 2005, Grizzly Pro was was named an EventDV Editors' and Columnists' Pick as one of the best products of the year. Of the Grizzly Pro r-Three, Ed Wardyga (a frequent r-Three user on his stage-event shoots) wrote, "Not only does it allow the control of up to three cameras from a single control, but a new plug-in allows you to switch those three cameras with either a cut or dissolve. All this via one CAT-5 cable to each camera . . . with distances up to 600 feet! For event video, this could be just the thing to up your productions from a single camera to multi-cam and increase your income. You'll start to see a return on your investment in as little as two or three productions."

In the December 2006 issue, Gear and Now columnist Lee Rickwood reported on the Grizzly Pro and other remote control devices available for camcorders. The other professional pan-tilt mounts he wrote about include the Birdy from Innovision Optics, priced at $4,950, and the Glidecam Vista, designed to be mounted on a crane or jib arm and priced at $1,999. Grizzly Pro prices range from $1,200 for a single-camera system to $3,399 for a three-camera system with live-switching.

Shooting from the Altar
The Grizzly Pro got a workout last year when video legend John Goolsby hired a crew to shoot his daughter's wedding. The church would not allow a camera at the altar, but Goolsby knew the necessity of capturing camera angles from there. So he asked videographers Mark and Trisha Von Lanken of Tulsa's Picture This Productions to use a two-camera Grizzly Pro system.

"[Grizzly Pro developer and company president] Phil Jensen shipped the system to us at our hotel room, and we didn't even have a tripod to test it the night before," Mark Von Lanken says. "But once we set it up at the church, it was easy to use. I like to use manual settings and never dreamed the Grizzly Pro would let me get all the shots we got." Using the Grizzly Pro, Mark was able to zoom in tight and tilt up from the bride and groom's hands to their faces. He performed rack-focusing between the bride and a bridesmaid, and between a groomsman and the parents sitting in the congregation.

"I was able to manually operate the camera as if it were in my hands," Mark says, "I was amazed!" Mark reports that he was also able to manually adjust exposure for the white wedding dress. He points out that the Grizzly Pro will not control the iris, but it does allow control of the gain or shutter speed. "I lock the iris wide open and lock the gain. Then, during the ceremony, I darken the picture by increasing the shutter speed." Von Lanken admits that the first shoot was a little "hit and miss" for him, but by the second wedding he was able to perform a smooth tilt up the subjects' bodies at 12x zoom. He says the true test was the accuracy of the pressure-sensitive rocker switch for solid zoom control.

The Von Lankens now use the Grizzly Pro in their intensive two-day Tulsa Training Workshops that include hands-on instruction in a local church. Their 17-year-old son is a master at the controls, according to Mark, because of his extensive experience with Sony's PlayStation.

Mark Von Lanken tells the story about a time he was operating the Grizzly Pro from the side room where the groomsmen and minister await the wedding coordinator's instructions to enter the sanctuary. The minister usually gets his cue via a phone call from the coordinator. This time he was able to look over Mark's shoulder into the monitor to see everything in the sanctuary. "This sold the pastor on our continued use of the Grizzly Pro, and since then three other churches have said they like the quiet, stealth approach with it."

figure 1Mounting Camcorders Up High
We tracked down one of the first users of the Grizzly Pro, Nick Xanttopulos of northern California's Signature Videography. Xanttopulos shoots over 100 weddings a year, and half get recorded with at least a single- or dual-camera Grizzly Pro. He mounts Sony Z1 HDV camcorders atop 10' Studio One monopods that he positions in DJ speaker stands. "I wanted to get the camera up high," says Xanttopulos, "and the Grizzly Pro lets us get shots we previously could not get without a crane, such as a shot of the groom from the left side of the altar." Xanttopulos had experimented with his own modified pan-tilt-zoom units, but his systems became cumbersome with cables. He said that Jensen's use of the CAT-5 cable perfected what he was trying to do. He uses a 12 V Bescor battery and a 7" LCD monitor from Markertek. (The image at left shows a high-mounted, Grizzly Pro-controlled camera that captures live concert video at B.B. King's Blues Club in Los Angeles.)

The largest church in town was so pleased that Xanttopulos used unstaffed cameras near the altar that they let him run CAT-5 cable under the carpet when they did a remodel. He sits in a pew near the front, just in case he needs to move the rig. From his seat he operates the game-like control pad, and says that he sometimes gets stares from guests. Xanttopulos has been using the Grizzly Pro for more than three years and says it has worked like a champ every time. It took him 10 minutes to learn how to operate the system and maybe a couple of weddings to get really smooth with it.

Another early Grizzly Pro adopter is Pennsylvania's Brian Klock, who was so excited when he saw a demo at a WEVA Expo that he bought the prototype. Klock says he has used it so much during the past three years that he nearly "wore it out."

"I can put cameras where I can't put people," says Klock. Specializing in corporate event videography, he sometimes mounts his cameras with the pan-tilt heads on a lighting truss over the stage. Almost exclusively shooting live events and big bands, Klock adds, "I don't record anything anymore; I almost never have a tape in a camera." And about 90% of the multi-camera events he shoots by himself. Rather than incorporating the live switch option of the Grizzly Pro, Klock uses a NewTek VT[4] for the switcher. His cameras are Sony PD 170s.

Prior to purchasing the Grizzly Pro, Klock used teleconferencing cameras with integrated pan-tilt heads. He says he still uses them, together with the Grizzly Pro, when he needs to control more than three cameras, such as when he shot a recent fundraising gala with eight cams. The teleconferencing cameras lack the smooth motion of the Grizzly Pro, but they have an advantage: They allow the operator to pre-set movements. Pans, zooms, and exposure can be pre-programmed, but the teleconferencing cameras move into position at a quick, robotic pace. The only cameras he will move when they are live are the ones on Grizzly Pro pan-tilt units.

Pan-Tilt Control
Phil Jensen built the Grizzly Pro pan-tilt apparatus by modifying a Bescor MP-101 pan-tilt unit—replacing the electronics to provide smoother movement. One of the reasons he chose CAT-5 cable was to enable videographers to run it through doorways and even out a window.

Jensen, a professional wedding and event videographer himself, said he came up with the idea for the Grizzly Pro because he wanted to enable a single videographer to produce a multi-camera production without the overhead of camera operators and postproduction. According to Jensen, "This leads to improved profit margins for the small video operation. Grizzly Pro has also been proven useful in religious productions and in music venues where the availability of competent operators is minimal."

Jensen worked for 25 years at Hewlett Packard, learning system design and marketing of imaging products. He explains that the CAT-5 cable, with its sets of twisted pairs of wires, cancels electromagnetic interference (EMI). Co-ax, he says, can act as a capacitor—dropping high-frequency video. The Grizzly Pro system includes active drivers at camera and receiver ends that are designed to minimize interference.

Game On
The game console-like remote control unit contains exposure control, auto/manual focus, power on/off, record start/stop, and time code displays. The system includes status lights to let the shooter know when the cameras are recording. The motion controls of pan, tilt, and zoom are designed to be independently configured to a constant speed, a linear speed, or a customizable ramp. The system sends a composite video signal to the director to monitor the remote cameras.

figure 1The r-Three-LS System includes a system controller, an interface box with live-switch circuitry, three PZT (pan/tilt/zoom) heads, 100 feet of cable per PTZ head, and a 12 V power supply. The system uses standard 4-pin XLR power connector, and it may be powered by a 12-24 V battery belt.

The live switching option works in only a composite mode, offering a level of video quality similar to VHS recording. "In order to keep the cable small and low-cost," Jensen says, "it was necessary to send back only composite video. This signal runs at the same resolution (number of horizontal lines) as the camera can send out of the S-video port, so the only signal degradation is from combining the luminance and chrominance. Most people will be hard-pressed to see the difference in the unswitched video. The PTZ head (pan-tilt-zoom) contains an active differential driver to send the video signal up the CAT-5 cable. Since the receiver sees only the difference in the signals, any noise that is introduced on the cable, which affects both wires equally, will be ignored at the receiver. Unlike systems that only use a passive transformer to send the signal (Balun transformers), the r-Three uses an active driver, which results in a significantly better signal."

The r-Three requires 12-16 V DC at three amps. Many battery belts can supply that amount of power. Jensen recommends a battery that supplies around 14 V DC at five amps or 60 WH (watt/hours) for a one-hour shoot. He says that using a Marshall monitor bank will allow you to easily power the system from this same battery source.

The wattage input to the r-Three is approximately 24 W with three heads and two monitors. The r-Three will flash an indicator when your battery is getting low but will only do so reliably if sealed lead-acid batteries are used, according to Jensen. The single-camera r-One doesn't have the support for battery operation and must be run from an AC power source.

Explaining the composite quality of the switcher, Jensen says, "The system includes a low-cost VHS-quality switcher that allows the user to perform cuts and dissolves. It has found a following in the religious television environment, but it probably isn't high enough quality for the event videographer." He says to watch for an improved switcher—one of several improvements of the next-generation system, slated for release at NAB 2007.

Smooth at 20x Zoom
The Grizzly Pro works with cameras that weigh six pounds or less and have LANC- or Panasonic-wired remote ports. Ron Schmidt says the Canon GL2 camcorders are the best choice of camera to use with the Grizzly Pro for two reasons: Their 20x zoom capability gives you a wide zoom range, and the GL2's capacity to send a signal even after the tape runs out. Schmidt says that even at the full magnification ratio, pans and tilts with the Grizzly Pro are smooth and fluid. "I can follow the bride and groom all the way up and down the aisle," says Schmidt.

He rarely uses tripods, but if he can't find a beam or doorway to clamp to, he will mount a camera on a tall light stand with a threaded top for the pan-tilt unit. To stabilize the stand, Schmidt rigs strands of nylon twine from the top of the stand to each of the three legs and pulls them taut. Otherwise the panning and tilting on a light stand would result in wobble.

The powered pan head has a 180-degree capability. Sometimes when panning that wide an area, parallax can result (the room looking tilted at the end of the pan). To avoid this parallax problem, he places a wedge between the camera and the pan-tilt unit.

Schmidt goes to the rehearsals to discuss with the officiant or coordinator where he would like to mount his cameras. Many times the locations are where camera operators would not be allowed. On the day of the wedding, after all the cameras are set up, Schmidt asks the officiant if his camera locations are acceptable; many times they can't locate them. When they learn that there will be no camera operator and no tripod, they rarely object. His goal is for the officiant to tell him after the wedding, "I didn't know you were even there. Come back real soon!" With guests not being distracted by camera operators, they can focus on the wedding rather than the videographer, Schmidt argues. He adds that most guests don't even know the wedding is being videotaped.

Schmidt usually sits in the sanctuary, in back to the right side. He tells the story of a time when he had to set up his gear in the nursery down the hall; his only view was from his monitor bank, and the event still came off without a hitch. Talk about unobtrusive wedding videography!

What is the downside to using the Grizzly Pro? Schmidt admits you can't change tapes when the camcorders are mounted on tall stands. Also the long setup time can be a problem if you are working in a church that schedules back-to-back weddings. When another wedding is scheduled just before his, Schmidt asks if he may videotape the first wedding on spec. "This gives me a chance to practice on their ceremony, before I have to shoot my client's wedding. If they like the video, I offer to sell it to them at a greatly reduced fee."

Schmidt says that three remote-controlled, high-mounted cameras "give the best complete ceremony coverage. With this style there is little chance that the bride and groom will be disappointed."

Camera Compatibility
To work with the Grizzly Pro, a camera must have a LANC or Panasonic-type remote plug (Control L), weigh six pounds or less, and have a composite video output. Supported cameras include the following:

  • Sony PD 170, 150; VX 2000, 2100; HVR Z1U, A1U (but no exposure control)
  • Panasonic HVX 200, DVX 100, DVX 80, DVC 60 (DVC 30 not supported)
  • Canon GL1, GL2 (XL H1, XL1, and XL2 not supported)
  • JVC cameras are not supported

Stu Sweetow runs video production company Audio Visual Consultants in Oakland, CA. He taught video production at UC Berkeley Extension, was associate editor of Wedding and Event Videography, and is a contributing editor to Camcorder & Computer Video magazine.

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Disc Makers Launches ReflexBlu Line of Blu-Ray Tower Duplicators

Disc Makers, a leading manufacturer of CD and DVD duplicators, today launches its first Blu-Ray compatible tower duplicators, the ReflexBlu2 and ReflexBlu4. The competitively priced ReflexBlu line gives users the ability to create, edit, and duplicate customized Blu-Ray discs (BD-Rs), DVD-Rs, and CD-Rs all in one piece of equipment.

"The addition of these new duplicators gives Disc Makers customers the broadest range of manual duplicators available anywhere," said Disc Makers President Tony van Veen. "If you need the high storage capability of Blu-Ray discs, our ReflexBlu duplicators are the most competitively-priced duplicators available."

Blu-Ray discs (BD-Rs) have five times more storage capacity than DVDs: Single layer BD-Rs hold up to 25GB and Dual Layer BD-Rs up to 50 GB. The ReflexBlu2 -- priced at $2,999 -- has a throughput capacity (duplication capacity) of 2 full BD-Rs per hour, 4 full DVD-Rs per hour, and 7 full CD-Rs per hour. The ReflexBlu4 -- priced at $4,999 -- has a throughput capacity of 4 full BD-Rs per hour, 8 full DVD-Rs per hour, and 14 full CD-Rs per hour. Each unit also includes a complete disc creation software suite, USB connectivity allowing access to one drive for mastering and playback, and a 250GB hard drive that can store up to 9 full BD images.

To learn more about Disc Makers' complete line of hardware, visit www.discmakers.com/duplicators.

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Sony Takes Anycast Station To The High-Def Level

Sony is introducing a high-definition version of the Anycast Station system, a portable "all-in-one" studio for live content creation. The new HD-only version of the system (model AWS-G500HD) retains the original multi-functionality of its standard-definition predecessor. It combines into one package the capability of a six-input video switcher and six-stereo channel audio mixer, special effects generator, LCD screen for GUI control and preview/program monitor, control of Sony PTZ robotic cameras, RGB connection for PC and projector display, and an encoder and Web server for delivering streaming media, as well as a still store, character generator, scale converter and frame synchronizer. However, the new system comes preconfigured with an HD analog component interface module (BKAW-560) and an HD-SDI interface module (BKAW-590).

"The system's internal signal processing has been HD-ready since day one," said Tatsuro Kurachi, marketing and business development manager in Sony Electronics' professional audio/video group. "With the latest software, end users can easily migrate from analog to digital or SDI to HD simply by swapping out various modular interface cards. And professionals ready to begin HD production can keep their operating costs low by avoiding the SD modules they may not need, while increasing their connectivity options to our professional line of HDV camcorders, decks and displays."

The third interface module slot on the new version is left empty, giving users the option for adding specific boards based on their individual needs. This slot can be configured with any of the available system modules, including the BKAW-550 PC RGB module, BKAW-570 SD video interface module or BKAW-580 SDI interface module, as well as either of the two new HD boards. Since it was first introduced in 2004, Sony's Anycast Station system has been enhanced, with several software upgrades adding new functionality.

Capabilities that have been added include a multi-language GUI, the ability to record program output on an external hard disk, exporting edit decision lists to other devices, chroma key, picture in picture, VTR control via an iLINK IEEE-1394 digital connection, video switching by an RM-BR300 Remote Commander unit and VOD file creation, among many others. According to Kurachi, the Anycast Station system can be an invaluable tool for production crews and broadcast organizations with heavy live event schedules. The system can be used to record events and also to produce broadcast feeds more easily or stream content live over the Internet. With the Anycast Station system, live event logistics become easier, potentially even reducing the number of personnel needed to operate individual pieces of equipment.

The system's ability to control robotic pan-tilt-zoom cameras—such as Sony's EVI series of cameras or the BRC-300 and BRC-H700 units—helps crews capture shots that wouldn't have been possible with camera-operated personnel, while still allowing them to remain unobtrusive. Cameras can be positioned on rafters or other out of the way places that would be hard for human operators to work in.

The system's "all-in-one" design can also remove many of the headaches traditionally associated with live production, specifically during set-up and tear-down, allowing crews to focus on the event itself, rather than technical logistics. The HD-only AWS-G500HD model is now available at a suggested list price of $19,500.


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Music 2 Hues Announces Additions to Flagship Product Line

Music 2 Hues, a leading supplier of Production Music & Sound Effects to the Pro Sound, Film, Video & Multimedia Industries, released today a new addition to its Flagship Series production music line. Andy Wells, president of Music 2 Hues adds, "With the addition of this new release we are providing our content developers with new and exciting music selections."

The new title, Adrenaline Crush, is now shipping worldwide. "This release satisfies the needs of our clients who have been asking for a CD of aggressive, high-energetic grooves," Wells said. 

Also added this month are three new Sound Effect categories to Music 2 Hues' Instant Download Center. The Instant Download Center provides all the music from the Flagship Series CDs for immediate download. Over 1,000 music tracks and 500 sound effects are offered in the download center.


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Genetica Texture Pack 3 Released

Spiral Graphics Inc. has released the third installment of its popular line of free seamless texture packs. The new pack comes with over 150 materials, bringing the total number of available royalty-free textures to about 450. The new pack, which has a crystal and liquid theme, can be downloaded from http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/packs/.

In addition to JPEG previews, the new textures are provided in the GTX procedural texture format, and are therefore open to full modification using the professional seamless texture studio, Genetica. With a flexible node-based system, hundreds of presets, and thousands of sliders and options, Genetica provides a flexible platform from which countless original and realistic materials can be created. A downloadable demo of Genetica is available from http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/download_gen.htm.

The GTX-format textures also include embedded effect maps that can be used in bump and specular channels of popular 3D applications. For artists without access to Genetica, the free Genetica Viewer will render the desired effect maps for these textures, as well as render the textures at different resolutions. Genetica Viewer is available at http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/viewer/.

Spiral Graphics Inc. is a software development firm focused on creating innovative software tools for the computer graphics community. Additional information is available at http://www.spiralgraphics.biz.

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Corel Announces Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus with HD DVD and Blu-ray Support

Corel Corporation today announced the release of Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus, available in English, with German and French versions to follow next month. This latest release of the award-winning consumer DVD authoring package is the first consumer entry-level product to offer HD DVD burning capability and is also the first new product to be launched since Corel completed its acquisition of InterVideo and Ulead last December.

Packed with features to breathe new life into videos, photos and create Hollywood-style menu motion effects, Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus maintains the ease of use and affordability associated with previous versions. Requiring very little time or effort, users can produce fun and creative DVD projects with a professional-looking feel in either HD DVD or standard DVD format.

For high-definition video enthusiasts choosing the Blu-ray Disc format, DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus also includes the ability to record HD video directly to Blu-ray Disc. It also comes complete with a free version of InterVideo WinDVD, the world's number one DVD and video playback software, and a free version of InterVideo DVD Copy™ enabling users to copy their videos and music in three easy steps.

Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus comes complete with enhanced "Edit Room" video editing tools that allow users to polish camcorder footage for more professional-looking home movies. One-click theme templates instantly create sophisticated opening sequences with animated overlays. Easy-to-use Storyboard and Timeline editing let users personalize titles, music and other project elements. Users can capture digital media from numerous sources and start creating artistic, original-looking video and slideshow discs. Content ranging from TV transmissions and downloaded video to photos and camcorder clips can be incorporated into creative projects.

The MovieFactory interface guides users through straightforward steps to guide them through the disc creation process. The comprehensive application supports all of the latest industry formats allowing users to import, edit and convert HDV, DivX® or AVCHD and output in HD DVD, Blu-ray or traditional DVD-Video. Rounding out the package, DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus also includes a complete set of tools for burning data to CD, DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc as well as options for creating audio and MP3 CDs and DVDs.

New features in Corel Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus Version Among the range of exciting new features, Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus introduces the Edit Room, allowing users to edit captured video on an intuitive timeline with overlays, titles and music tracks. For video editors that demand more from a DVD authoring application, Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus includes comprehensive menu templates, and the facility to work with HDV, DivX or AVCHD, and output in HD DVD, Blu-ray, DVD-Video or legacy VCD.

Along with a bonus copy of WinDVD and DVD Copy, Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Plus offers a number of new key features and major enhancements, including the following:

Smart Video Editing

  • Exciting Theme Templates - Users can select a suitable theme which will add opening, titling and transition effects to enhance video clips.
  • Storyboard Mode - The easy way to get an overview, rearrange, and include transitions between all the scenes or video clips in any production
  • Timeline Mode - Edit captured video on an intuitive timeline with overlays, titles and music tracks.
  • Fade-in and Fade-out Video - Video clips can be edited to fade in or out at the click of a button.
  • Overlay Tracks - Users can add interest to movies with overlay frames and objects.
  • Transition Effects Between Videos - An extensive range of transition effects for a professional look.
  • Insert Images to Video - Editors can create mixed-media "clipshows" by combining video clips and photos on the timeline.
  • Capture and Edit HDV - Editing and exporting HDV is now just as easy as working with standard DV video.
  • Auto Subtitle Track - Select to display video file name, date, time, and EXIF (photo) data as a subtitle track.

Smart Menu Options

  • Button Moving Paths - Menus come to life with templates that contain animated menus, titles, navigation buttons, or other decorative objects.
  • Distort Menu Objects - Users can rotate, stretch and angle menu motion buttons to fit into frames or other background elements.
  • Extend Background Video and Image - Allowing editors to change from 4:3 to 16:9 widescreen.
  • Customize Slideshow Pan and Zoom - This advanced tool offers customizable curved paths, transparency and zoom ratios.

Support for New Formats

  • AVCHD Camcorder Support - Now users can import and edit high-definition footage from AVCHD camcorder discs, and convert to standard definition formats.
  • DivX Support - Users of all levels can now combine downloaded DivX movies with subtitle .srt files, and burn to DVDs.
  • Auto Detect Disc Type - The correct program for the disc type will automatically open for authoring, editing or burning.
  • Support 16:9 Widescreen PC Monitor - DVD MovieFactory's user interface and layout will automatically adjust to fit widescreen monitors.
  • Blu-ray Movie Discs - The software now includes the option to capture high-definition video from a camcorder or HDTV and burn to Blu-ray discs
  • Dolby® Digital 5.1 Support New Output Options
  • Supports 16:9 Widescreen PC Monitors - DVD MovieFactory's user interface and layout automatically adjusts to fit widescreen monitors.
  • Burn HD DVD folders to HD DVD Disc - Now users can easily open and import HD DVD folders and burn them to disc for viewing on set-top players.
  • CD Extra - adds data files to music discs
  • Secure Burning on Data Discs - Now users can password-protect videos, photos, documents, and any other data from unauthorized access and viewing.
  • Output to HD DVD-R/RW and Blu-ray BD-R/RE Discs

DVD MovieFactory 6 Standard Edition provides many of the same award-winning features found in the Plus version, but is designed to address the needs of new users working with standard definition video.

The English version of Corel Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 Standard and Plus editions is available to buy from all major resellers or direct from www.ulead.com. Suggested retail pricing is $49.99 USD SRP for the standard version, $79.99 USD SRP for the Plus version. An upgrade version is available for users of previous versions. German and French versions of both Standard and Plus editions of Corel Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 will be available in March 2007.


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wondertouch Releases Three New Motion Graphics-Themed Libraries in Popular "Professional Emitters" Series

wondertouch, a leading software developer of high-performance particle effects creation tools, today announced the release of three new libraries in its Professional Emitters (Pro Emitters) product line for particleIllusion 3.0 software. Each library contains 30 emitters that are thematically geared to providing sophisticated, ready-to-use, motion graphics style particle-based effects. The latest addition to the Pro Emitters collection has been developed by Tom Granberg, senior technical artist at Rainbow Studios (http://www.rainbowstudios.com/), an early adopter of particleIllusion and beta tester to the wondertouch development team. The wondertouch Pro Emitters libraries are available for purchase individually or as a complete set on both the Windows and Mac platforms.

wondertouch introduced the Pro Emitters collection in February 2006 with six individual libraries to include real-world effects such as explosions, auroras, and breaking glass; motion graphics and artistic backgrounds; and, text and abstract effects. With today's library additions, the collection now offers a total of 270 particleIllusion 3.0 emitters arranged into nine themed libraries that allow a particleIllusion user to supplement the already impressive selection of more than 1800 different preset emitters that ship with particleIllusion 3.0 (as well as the additional emitters that the company releases free-of-charge each month) with a set of ready-to-use, extremely high-quality particle emitters.

As with all of the company's particle emitter offerings, every emitter in the collection is completely customizable and can be tweaked to create a slight variant, or turned into a completely new emitter, affording limitless variations with little effort.

"Due to the popularity of the Pro Emitter Libraries that we released a year ago, we are pleased to offer this expanded collection of advanced artistic effects geared to motion graphics users and are confident that artists of all skill levels will benefit from the enhanced productivity that each library has to offer," said Alan Lorence, wondertouch president. "Tom's mastery of particleIllusion's simple, yet powerful, engine in creating this new collection features hands-down some of the most original, spectacular and incredibly intricate particle effects ever developed for the application. I think our customers will be very, very pleased!" 

Each Professional Emitter Library contains 30 emitters that reflect Granberg's stylistic influences as follows: Graphics Elements 1 contains "numbers and counters" and "data gizmos." Graphics Elements 2 contains "energy" emitters like atoms and pulsars, "readouts and displays", and "texture" emitters to be used as backgrounds. Extreme Graphics contains a wide variety of high-energy emitters: "nightmare", "Xrays and scans", and "letters and text."

The new wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries - Graphics Elements 1, Graphics Elements 2 and Extreme Graphics - are available for individual purchase for $39.00; the three libraries are available together for $90.00. wondertouch also offers the `Professional Emitters Complete' - a collection of all nine libraries offered - Graphics Elements 1, Graphics Elements 2, Extreme Graphics, Abstract, Text and Logo, Artistic Backgrounds, Graphics and Distortions, Eclectic 01, and Eclectic 02, for $249.00. The Pro Emitter Libraries are compatible only with wondertouch particleIllusion 3.0, on both the Windows and Mac OS X platforms.

The Professional Emitter Libraries are available directly from wondertouch at http://www.wondertouch.com/default.asp?loadContent=pro_emitters.asp.

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LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling Launches Simple Labeler

LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling announced today that the LightScribe Simple Labeler, an intuitive labeling tool designed to enhance customers' initial CD and DVD labeling experience, is immediately available for free download and is also bundled with many LightScribe-enabled PCs and aftermarket drives. LightScribe customers can now label discs in a few easy clicks.

Anyone owning a LightScribe-enabled drive can simply download the LightScribe Simple Labeler and immediately create and customize a CD or DVD label in three fast and easy steps:

  1. Put in a LightScribe disc in the drive label-side down
  2. Enter text using a desired font and select a border from the choices provided
  3. Preview your label and burn

The Simple Labeler can be downloaded at www.lightscribe.com for free and works on computers running Windows (Vista/XP/2000), Mac (OSX 10.3.9 or later), and Linux (Linux kernel 2.6 and RPM). The Simple Labeler for Windows is currently available in 21 languages, including Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, German, Greek, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovakian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

"Once customers have embraced the elegance of LightScribe, they often become avid users of the technology," said Kent Henscheid, marketing manager for LightScribe. "It's so easy. First-time customers can use the Simple Labeler to LightScribe their disc in three quick clicks."

LightScribe, the only widely available embedded disc labeling technology, is licensed to over 75 optical drive and media manufacturers, software developers, media and computer brands worldwide. LightScribe-enabled CDs, DVDs, software, desktops, notebooks, aftermarket optical disc drives and duplicator systems are available at major retailers worldwide, as well as through most leading brands online.


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