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Information Today, Inc.

March 26, 2007

Table of Contents

Book Review: Hal Landen’s Secrets of Producing and Selling Successful Videos: How to Make Money with DVDs and Streaming Video
Zacuto.com Announces the Z-Release System for HD Video Cameras
Apple TV Now Shipping
Stock20 Releases 100th Song Theme
OConnor Delivers New 120EX Fluid Head
Convergent Design Introduces Low-cost HDMI/DVI to HD/SD-SDI Converter
Telestream Introduces Pipeline Network Encoder
TDK Ships Printable Surface Recordable Blu-ray Discs Featuring Durabis Hard Coating
Artbeats Scores a Hole-in-One with New Golf Collections

Book Review: Hal Landen’s Secrets of Producing and Selling Successful Videos: How to Make Money with DVDs and Streaming Video

I must say I would never have expected to find Veggie Tales, Jane Fonda, Michael Moore and sex mentioned in the same book. However, in his newest release, VideoUniversity founder Hal Landen has done the unimaginable … and succeeded. Weighing in at over 300 pages and chock full of information, Secrets of Producing and Selling Successful Videos: How to Make Money with DVDs and Streaming Video, truly has something for anyone interested in producing and marketing videos—especially special interest videos (SIVs).

I admit to thinking that Landen's sales copy for this book sounded a bit overboard. It states, "This book will help you bootstrap your own video publishing business without investors or loans ... Discover how others with no equipment or video experience have published successful video series, not just single videos … If you are a video producer, you'll discover that special interest videos are a perfect sideline that can overcome the limitations of the video service business … For pennies a day, you can have your own storefront that sells your line of videos 24/7. Or you can have others do it all for you and send you monthly checks." (Now that's my idea of work!)

As it turns out, he wasn't kidding—or even overselling. Fifteen chapters of comprehensive information—including how to find talent, choose music, create a discount schedule, acquire a UPC and ISBN number, form a business, hire a videographer and editor, pick a topic, research your market, develop a website, write a script, sell via the Internet … it's all there. Additionally, an extensive appendix includes numerous distributor lists, legal forms, a glossary of terms, and other valuable resources.

Landen also provides a "bonus" chapter, "Guide to Making Money with Web Video." Available as a pdf, it will be updated as the medium evolves. A good idea, since every day, something's new in the video publishing biz.

Lest you think of this as a textbook, dry as dust and thick as mud, let me reassure you—it is not. One of the first things I noticed, aside from its "THUD!" factor, was how easy on the eyes it was to read. I realize that typesetting and design layout are rarely mentioned in reviews, but typesetter/designer Rick Altman (thanked in Landen's acknowledgements), has to be acknowledged here for helping make Secrets of Producing and Selling Successful Videos inviting where it could easily have appeared intimidating.

From the overview on, the tone is conversational. Landen mixes instruction and advice with some interesting case histories and stories. He offers numerous examples of success and also presents real-life experiences where things didn't turn out quite as well as planned, some of these being his own. He also provides interesting and instructional case studies, such as the stories behind Veggie Tales and Fred Levine's classic kids' video Road Construction Ahead.

Landen does offer this bit of caution: "Believe me, this is NOT a get-rich-quick business. For many it's not even a ‘get-a-decent-living -slowly' business. Anyone who tells you that you'll make a million dollars in this or any other business is not telling you the whole truth. This is a business—and every business involves risk."

If you're at all interested in building a profitable business through producing SIVs, your first step toward risk reduction should be to buy this book. Even if SIVs aren't your bag, it's still a valuable and inexpensive resource to have on hand. It's available online via Amazon and VideoUniversity.com.

Steve Yankee is an EventDV contributing editor, columnist (Strictly Business) and founder of The Video Business Advisor.

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Zacuto.com Announces the Z-Release System for HD Video Cameras

Zacuto, a leading provider of HD video camera accessories, will be announcing its much anticipated Z-Release system for mounting accessories and equipment on your HD video camera package. Visit Zacuto at NAB, booth C11413.

The Zacuto Z-Release System is the new standard for mounting accessories and equipment on HD video cameras that offers the following advantages:

  • Quick Release!
  • Rock solid stability
  • Nothing can loosen or unwind
  • Mount or un-mount with the flip of one lever and in seconds
  • No more winding expensive monitors onto a screw
  • Shorten setup/pack up time
  • Save wear and tear on your equipment

The Zacuto Z-Release http://www.zacuto.com/zrelease.htm line includes the following:

  • The Zamerican Large and small articulating arms, the new standard in articulating arms
  • The ZicroMount is for mounting monitors or hard drives to articulating arms giving you quick release action.

The Z-Mount is for mounting articulating arms to Baseplates, Zgrips or any 15mm rod giving you quick release action. Zuds retrofit existing articulating arms giving you quick release action on both ends of your arm. Tighten the Allen screw and the Zud cannot come loose, as well, whatever is mounted into it can't move.

The Zround Mount is a retrofit to allow Zacuto DoubleMounts & MiniMounts to accept Zuds or Zamerican arms giving you quick release action on your Double or MiniMount. The Zdapter comes with Zacuto Z-locks in 15mm (lightweight rods), 19mm (studio rods), 5/8" (Panavision rods, as well as light stand spuds & C-Stand arms) Z-locks mount on the Zdapter Backplate vertically or horizontally. This lets you make the Zdapter do whatever you need.

The Wireless Plate screws onto the wireless bracket. Either a 15mm Z-lock (lightweight rod), 19mm (studio rod, 5/8" (Panavision rod) adapter also screws into the wireless bracket. Slide the whole wireless unit onto the appropriate rod and lock tight.

"With Z-Release virtually anything can be mounted to this style of camera allowing you to completely customize your HD video camera setup, stated Zacuto Marketing Director Steve Weiss." "This is going to change the way people mount gear."

"What's unique about the new Zamerican articulating arm is that Zacuto has done away with the screws on either end of the arm, stated Zacuto Director of Operations, Jens Bogehegn "An innovative 15mm rod is used to connect items to the arms. Plus you can then use Zacuto's 15mm rod extensions to extend the arms to any length. If you own an existing arm with 1/4 20" or 3/8 16" screws, just add a Zacuto Zud ¼ 20 or 3/8 16, your arm is now ready for Z-Release."

 See Zamerican and the whole Z-Release line of Zacuto products ($60-$215) at NAB booth C11413 or Zacuto www.zacuto.com.

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Apple TV Now Shipping

Apple is now shipping Apple TV, an easy to use and fun way to wirelessly play all your favorite iTunes content from your PC or Mac on your widescreen TV, including movies, TV shows, music, photos and podcasts. With Apple TV's stunning new interface, anyone can quickly browse and view their entire collection of digital media from across the room using the simple and intuitive Apple Remote. Apple TV easily connects to almost all modern widescreen televisions.

"Apple TV is like a DVD player for the Internet age—providing an easy and fun way to play all your favorite iTunes content from your PC or Mac on your widescreen TV," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Apple TV allows you to wirelessly play your content from your PCs or Macs using your existing WiFi network as well as the newest and fastest version of WiFi—802.11n."

The seamless integration of Apple TV and iTunes lets users choose from over 400 movies and 350 TV shows in near DVD quality; over four million songs; 5,000 music videos; 100,000 podcasts; and 20,000 audiobooks from the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com). Users can also watch their favorite movie trailers right on their widescreen TV, listen to their favorite music on their home entertainment system, and view slideshows of their photo albums in high definition resolution. Apple TV makes it easy for users to explore their entire media collection with an easy to use and intuitive new interface. With the Apple Remote, consumers can easily browse through their favorite movies, TV shows, music and photos from up to 30 feet away.

Apple TV has a 40GB hard drive to store up to 50 hours of video, 9,000 songs, 25,000 photos or a combination of each and is capable of delivering high-definition 720p output. Apple TV is easy to connect to a broad range of widescreen TVs and home theater systems and comes standard with HDMI, component video, analog and optical audio ports. Using high-speed AirPort® 802.11 wireless networking, Apple TV can auto-sync content from one computer or stream content from up to five additional computers right to your TV without any wires.

Apple TV, which includes the Apple Remote, will be available beginning this week from the Apple Store (http://www.apple.com ), Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $299 (US). Apple retail stores will also offer hands on workshops and demonstrations of Apple TV's features. Apple TV requires iTunes 7.1 or later running on a Mac with Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later, or a Windows PC with Windows XP Home/Professional (SP2). An 802.11b/g/n wireless network using AirPort, AirPort Extreme® or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking is required. Internet access is required and a broadband connection is recommended.

Apple TV requires an enhanced definition or high-definition widescreen TV. iPod games will not play on Apple TV. The iTunes store is available in the US and select countries.

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Stock20 Releases 100th Song Theme

Since its launch fifteen months ago, Stock20 has quickly developed a customer base of well over 7000 registered users and a growing library of 100 song themes. Each song theme includes numerous versions with variations in length and structure; adding up to a collection of almost 800 tracks in a variety of styles.

To celebrate the release of their 100th song Stock20 is offering unprecedented discounts at numerous levels. Headlining these discounts is a blowout pricing structure on the purchase of their entire library. This collection of 100 song-sets, almost 800 tracks, is delivered on 21 CDs or 3 DVD-Rs (loaded with uncompressed CD quality .wav files).

Purchased as individual song-sets this package would total $700. Until April 10th this expansive library will be available for $280 (discounted 60%). At less than $3 per song, Stock20 offers the perfect opportunity to develop a large and versatile library of production music at an extraordinary value.

Customers choosing delivery on 3 DVD-Rs will receive free shipping (worldwide). To spark the celebration, Stock20 will allow the first 15 purchasers to obtain this extensive collection for just $100. The next 40 customers can take advantage of a $180 purchase price. The 60% discount ($280) will be available for all customers until the 10th of April. This special pricing will begin at 9am Pacific Standard Time (US) on March 27th.

Garnering several positive reviews from industry publications, Stock20's founder and creative director believes that this online production music library is just getting started, "We will continue to focus on developing a steady supply of fresh, broadcast-quality music. We are fully committed to the standard of 100% customer satisfaction. If a customer isn't thrilled with our product, we make it right, make it better than right, or we refund their money."

Stock20 offers a virtually unlimited and unending royalty free license with each track. And every instrumental selection is available via instant download for just $7 (including multiple length versions). For customers already holding a large amount of Stock20 content, various discounts and free offers will be posted to the site daily until April 10th.


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OConnor Delivers New 120EX Fluid Head

OConnor, a Vitec Group brand is now delivering the all-new 120EX Extended Capacity Fluid Head. The 120EX raises the camera package payload bar with a revolutionary counterbalance mechanism that provides support to 120 lbs in standard mode and up to 240 lbs in EX mode.

OConnor's engineers developed EX technology to address the heavy payloads often required for some of today's film and electronic cinematography systems when fully loaded. With its continuous counterbalance system and ultra-smooth pan and tilt fluid drag, the 120EX is custom designed for film-style shooting. This patented head delivers counterbalance through the full +/- 90° forward and backward range for camera packages weighing from 30 lbs. to 120 lbs.

As counterbalance for a camera package in excess of 120 lbs. is cranked into the head, it automatically begins limiting the forward and backward tilt range. At 147 lbs., tilt is limited to +/- 80°, at 188 lbs. to +/- 70°, and at 240 lbs. to +/- 60°. The 120EX is the perfect match for the OConnor Cine HD Tripod. Additionally, all existing accessories for the popular 2575C and 2060HD fluid heads are fully compatible with the 120EX.

For further information, go to www.ocon.com.

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Convergent Design Introduces Low-cost HDMI/DVI to HD/SD-SDI Converter

Convergent Design announced today their low-cost ($495) HDMI/DVI to HD/SD-SDI (video + audio) converter box known as nanoConnect, aimed at HDV and AVCHD camcorders/decks and other unencrypted HDMI/DVI sources. HDMI, built on DVI technology, transmits uncompressed digital HD or SD video (YCbCr 4:2:2 or RGB 4:4:4) and up to 8-channels of PCM audio over a single cable at resolutions exceeding 1080p.

HDMI, with projected worldwide shipments of over 100 million devices this year, is the new consumer-electronics standard for interconnecting flat panel screens, set-top boxes and DVD players. In addition, Sony, JVC, Canon and Panasonic offer HDV and/or AVCHD camcorders/decks with HDMI output, thereby bringing HDMI into the professional video market.

nanoConnect, built on the highly successful HD-Connect MI, also from Convergent Design, accepts uncompressed HD/SD video (and digital audio) from an unencrypted HDMI source, and multiplexes the video + audio into an HD/SD-SDI stream. This highly versatile converter accepts a wide range of formats including 1080i60/59.94/50, 1080p30/29.97/25/24/23.98, 720p60/59.94/50, 480p/576p and 486i/576i resolutions. Utilizing 100% digital processing, nanoConnect produces noticeably better resolution, lower noise and no luma/chroma shifts as compared to the component HD analog solution.

nanoConnect offers this improved video/audio quality at a lower price compared to most analog solutions and is far simpler to set up -- one HDMI cable replaces 5 analog cables (3 - video and 2 or more audio cables). nanoConnect offers professional features such as automatic color bar output on loss of HDMI input, low processing latency (60 uS), and low power-consumption (2.5W). The small size (4.5" x 3.5" x 1"), makes the nanoConnect a perfect companion for live-event and studio projects.

When operating in live-camera mode, the user can enjoy the ultimate video quality attainable from a given camcorder, since this video stream has never been compressed (it's straight off the CCD/CMOS sensor). Furthermore, green-screen applications are enhanced with the full 4:2:2 color resolution from the live-camera capture.

Video professionals can now affordably add HD/SD-SDI to their existing HDV decks and camcorders. For example, JVC BR-HD50 users can add HD/SD-SDI and utilize the existing RS-422 built in the deck. Editors employing the Sony HVR-M25 deck, on the other hand, can use the 1394 from their NLE for deck control and batch captures. For lowest-cost ingest of HDV/AVCHD material, nanoConnect will accept the HDMI stream directly from the Sony V1U/E, HC7/5/3 camcorders, as well as the new Canon HV20. (Deck control is enabled via a direct 1394 connection from the NLE to the camcorder). Additional system cost reductions are realized by utilizing the built-in ability to perform 1080i/720p cross conversion or downscale to SD. DV tapes can also be played-back as a SD-SDI stream.

nanoConnect is also an ideal companion for HDMI/DVI to HD/SD-SDI conversions directly from a desktop or laptop computer. Users can now affordable stream video/audio out of their PC/MAC into the professional HD/SD-SDI format. Unlike HDMI, which is typically limited to 10 meter cable lengths, HD/SD-SDI cables can typically run out 150/350 meters, respectively. HDV and AVCHD editors now have affordable tools to convert long-GOP compressed formats into easily editable I-Frame-based CODECs such as DVCProHD and DNxHD. These real-time conversions can eliminate all the headaches and long render times associated with native-format editing. Rather than changing their workflow, users can simply upgrade their connection.

nanoConnect carries an MSRP of $495 (USD) and will be available in early April. nanoConnect can be seen at the Convergent Design NAB booth: SL10830. More information as well as a technical white paper on HDMI is available at http://www.convergent-design.com.

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Telestream Introduces Pipeline Network Encoder

Telestream, the leading global provider of media encoding workflow solutions, today announced a new hardware product that offers a novel approach to the way video professionals ingest tape-based media into file-based workflows. Pipeline is an industry-first network encoding device that provides SDI ingest into Telestream's FlipFactory® and Episode™ applications as well as 3rd party products, including Apple's Final Cut Pro.

The encoder is accessible to multiple users over the network, providing a more reliable and cost-effective alternative to traditional PC capture card solutions. A series of Pipeline products are being introduced today to meet the needs of broadcast, post-production and new media workflows.

"Telestream dramatically changed the way the professional video industry delivered media with the introduction of our first hardware appliance, ClipMail Pro, eight years ago," said Dan Castles, Telestream CEO. "We're changing the game again by bringing hardware encoding to the network. Pipeline offers a more flexible, efficient alternative to conventional PC capture solutions."

Pipeline is comprised of a series of network-accessible video capture products that provide hardware encoding and decoding of serial digital video and audio. Two models, single-channel Pipeline and multi-channel Pipeline Quad, will be introduced at NAB to address a variety of professional encoding needs. Pipeline is also designed for direct integration with 3rd party products and workflow solutions. Pipeline provides real-time, frame-accurate video capture and encoding to multiple formats, including DV25/50, IMX 30/40/50 and MPEG-2 I-frame (PAL & NTSC). File transfer begins while ingesting from tape to provide fast throughput and accelerate users' workflows.

Shared network access and RS-422 deck control enable access to the tape deck by multiple users. Pipeline is software configurable to provide the output formats users need. It is network-upgradeable to easily add new features and formats, like H.264 and Windows Media, as they become available from Telestream.

Telestream's shared network resource approach provides significant advantages over conventional server/capture card solutions. Pipeline eliminates operating system and driver incompatibilities as well as host processor bottlenecks. It also removes the need to use an expensive broadcast server channel to ingest media into file-based workflows. Designed for the desktop, initial offerings include single-channel Pipeline for Apple's Final Cut Pro editing application and Telestream's FlipFactory and Episode transcoding products.

Pipeline for Final Cut Pro includes all the advantages of other models. Real-time media encoding to DV 25/50 and IMX 30/40/50 provides more choices than conventional video capture solutions. In addition, Pipeline intelligently detects and delivers formats required by the Final Cut project bin.

For Telestream's FlipFactory transcoding workflow automation and Episode media encoding products, Pipeline provides a fast, efficient means to capture and ingest media from tape or live sources. Importantly, media transfer to FlipFactory and Episode begins immediately while encoding in Pipeline, to enable faster job processing. Transcoding into proxy or other formats happens simultaneously during the encode process, greatly improving overall workflow throughput.

The multi-channel Pipeline Quad offers additional features, such as confidence monitoring and redundant power supplies, for higher volume needs. It is especially useful for the capture of multiple live feeds and tape ingest into digital libraries. With four channels in a single rack unit chassis, Pipeline Quad provides unparalleled encoding density, saving valuable rack space and power for broadcasters and content owners.

Pipeline applications include batch ingest from an EDL file which allows users to encode multiple clips from a single tape. It streamlines digitization of tape for ingest into archives, online libraries and digital asset management workflows. Since Pipeline is bi-directional, it can also be used to print clips to tape for sharing with clients and colleagues. A complete Software Development Kit (SDK) provides easy integration with 3rd party products and destination applications.

Pipeline will be demonstrated in Telestream booth SL-9214 at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas, Nevada April 16-19. Priced at $1,950, single channel Pipeline will be available shortly after NAB through Telestream's direct sales and worldwide resale channels as well as from the Flip4Mac online store at http://www.flip4mac.com.

 For more information, visit http://www.telestream.net and http://www.flip4mac.com.

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TDK Ships Printable Surface Recordable Blu-ray Discs Featuring Durabis Hard Coating

TDK, a world leader in digital recording solutions, today announced that it has begun shipping ultimate performance recordable Blu-ray Discs with printable surfaces. The two new products are the BD-R25PWX25CB ($24.99) for inkjet systems, and BD-R25THX25CB ($24.99) for thermal systems. Both incorporate exclusive surface coatings to deliver professional quality printing results.

The discs utilize TDK's exclusive DURABIS technology to offer legendary durability. TDK's proprietary printable surfaces yield the highest quality output from a range of devices including Microboards, Microtech, Primera (including the Primera Accent II Disc Laminator), Rimage Everest and TEAC. The BD-R25PWX25CB for inkjet systems features a blank, matte white surface, and the BD-R25THX25CB for thermal systems features a blank, glossy white surface. Both allow printing all the way to the disc hub, to maximize visual impact.

"With the launch of these two new Blu-ray Discs, TDK is reaffirming its role as a leader in the format's advancement," commented Sethu Palat, TDK Director of Marketing. "TDK's new 25GB BD-R printable surface media products deliver the exemplary performance and durability required for professional applications. Not only do the discs incorporate TDK's award-winning recording and hard coating technologies; they also offer optimal printing results with specially formulated print to the hub surfaces designed for inkjet and thermal systems."

As a leading developer of Blu-ray Disc technology, TDK has realized many of the format's greatest innovations. From pioneering the spin coating manufacturing method, to developing DURABIS, the world's first hard coating formulation, TDK has proven its leadership time and again. With the introduction of leading quality printable surface recordable Blu-ray Discs, TDK has reached another milestone.

TDK 25GB BD-R printable surface Blu-ray Discs are exclusively manufactured at TDK's state-of-the-art technical center in Japan. The use of this facility helps ensure ultra-stringent quality control. For commercial recording applications where errors can't be tolerated, TDK printable surface Blu-ray Discs are the wise choice. TDK's Blu-ray Disc media is widely recognized for its unsurpassed performance and quality.

At the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, TDK received a CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), honoring TDK 25GB BD-R Blu-ray Disc media. As the only media company that is a founding member of the Blu-ray Disc Association and a Blu-ray Disc Association Board of Directors member, TDK continues to play a key role in the format's advancement.


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Artbeats Scores a Hole-in-One with New Golf Collections

Grab your clubs, hit the links and tee up with Artbeats' newest lifestyle collections, Golfing and Golfing Elements. Featuring serene footage of spectacular fairways, a foursome playing a round of golf, close-ups of classic golf swings, carts and more, these new royalty-free titles offer the same pristine, high-quality footage that has made Artbeats a favorite among industry professionals.

Artbeats' award-winning library of 487 titles, 197 of which are HD, feature superior technical and visual quality footage that can be used for broadcast, feature films, commercial, multimedia design, game development, independent production and more.

Artbeats' Golfing collection contains 34 royalty-free clips; Golfing Elements boasts 32 royalty-free clips. Both collections are available now on the Artbeats' website at www.artbeats.com. Artbeats' footage is available in HD-1920x1080, D1 NTSC-720 x 486 or D1 PAL-720 x 576 resolutions. Pricing for Artbeats' HD collections range from USD $799-$899; standard definition collections range from USD $399-$699.

To learn more about these new and fun collections or view clips please visit http://www.artbeats.com/prod/new_releases.php.

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