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November 05, 2007

Table of Contents

A Day On the Job with Joel Peregrine
NewTek Ships VT[5]
Panasonic Expands Professional AVCHD Product Line with New AG-HMC70 Shoulder-Mount Camcorder
ikan Introduces Two New Products: the V2500e 2.5" LCD Monitor and SH8HD Sunhood
Tiffen Announces Steadicam PILOT with IDX E-7S Battery System for Video Production
Next Generation Aleratec Desktop LightScribe DVD/CD Publishing System Enables Faster Disc Labeling and Copying
Toshiba Broadens Personal Storage Line with 250GB Portable External HDD and Internal Upgrade Kits for Mobile PCs
Samsung Debuts World's Fastest DVD Burner with 16X Dual-Layer Recording and LightScribe

A Day On the Job with Joel Peregrine

I’ve always been a big Prince fan, and one of the things that amazed and mystified me most about His Royal Badness when I first heard his music in the early ’80s was the rumor that when he recorded his albums, he played all the instruments himself. On some of those records, the rumor turned out to be true, although—thanks to the magic of overdubs—it didn’t happen quite as I pictured it. That is, Prince didn’t strap on some futuristic one-man-band apparatus that enabled him to play a full drum kit, scorching lead guitar, bubbling funky bass, and ever-present synth and keyboards simultaneously. But that’s certainly how I imagined it at the time.

Here in the wedding videography world, among the legions of mom-and-pop shops we’ve also got our share of one-man-bands, but none quite so legendary (in the how-in-the-world-does-he-pull-that-off sense) as Joel Peregrine of Milwaukee-area studio Wedding Films. Although Peregrine has never attended (let alone spoken at) a WEVA or 4EVER Group convention, he’s built a national reputation in the wedding video business through his contributions to VideoUniversity forums and his successful training DVDs, as well as the AAEV accreditation program he developed with fellow Milwaukee-area videographer Darrell Boeck several years ago.

But what has set Peregrine apart from the crowd is the one-man-band legend, reports that he routinely pulls off 5, 6, 7-camera shoots entirely unassisted, which brings to my mind visions of a tireless videographer dashing from camera to camera across a crowded church so rapidly he seems to be in 5 or more places at once—and, possibly, with Prince-like virtuosity, stopping briefly en route to toss off a few tasteful licks on the church organ. Of course, no one ever imagined Prince pulling off his all-instruments act in front of a live audience, which is exactly what Peregrine does 25 Saturdays a year, especially when there’s a wedding-day edit involved. But given that few videographers have actually ever watched Peregrine work, who really knows what’s the truth behind the myth? Naturally, I had to find out for myself.

Saturday Morning, Coming Down
My day begins with bad Mapquest directions, and swearing that if working weddings were a regular habit of mine and not the occasional (self-imposed) reporting assignment, I’d join the majority of sensible videographers I know and outfit my vehicle with a GPS. Fortunately, I’m looking for a rather noteworthy landmark, and my request for directions at a convenience store somewhere in farm country northwest of Milwaukee brings immediate recognition. And much as the teenage clerks said it would, the Holy Hill Basilica of Hubertus, Wisconsin rises high out of the wilderness like an LDS temple or eastern Connecticut’s Foxwoods casino. Its founders, a very ascetic Catholic order known as the Discalced (literally, "shoeless") Carmelites, certainly know how to make a statement.

Fortunately, my bad directions don’t make much difference because even though I arrive 15 minutes after my 11:15 call, there’s a morning mass still wrapping up in the church (they do a brisk business, even on Saturday), and the bride isn’t due until 12:30. I climb three flights of stairs from the Monastery Café and meet Peregrine just outside the church doors. I’m 12 weeks into a marathon training cycle at this point and even steep stairs like these don’t leave me winded, but as I step into Joel Peregrine’s wedding shoot routine, I get a feeling of breathlessness that will follow me the rest of the day.

We exchange a quick greeting, and Peregrine resumes preparing his gear, narrating as he goes. He shows me a new Manfrotto 560B monopod he’s just added to his kit, which is noteworthy because its fluidhead is on the bottom rather than the top, which allows it to rotate and pivot from floor level instead of just under the camera.

figure 1We head into the narthex (i.e., the church lobby) and there I see, neatly arranged, the five Sony VX2000s he’ll be shooting with today, along with three Manfrotto 3246 tripods and a Glidecam 2000 Pro. He’s equipped every device with the same tripod plate so any camera can go on any support.

Still packed in a sturdy rolling case is Peregrine’s MacBook Pro. We enter the basilica’s stunning, capacious nave and he sets up the laptop in a dark corner near the back of the church. "I’ll start capturing the pre-ceremony right here during the ceremony," Peregrine tells me. "Then we’ll have a 45-minute ride to the reception. I’ll get one or two more tapes captured in the car on the way." With five cameras shooting and all footage in contention for use in the wedding-day edit, which he says he’ll show during dessert, Peregrine will need to use all available time to capture the footage he gets.

Shortly before noon the groom arrives and tells us the bride won’t arrive until 1 p.m., even with the wedding scheduled to start at 1:30. She’ll be fully dressed when she arrives at the church. With this news we’re back in the nave, mid-way back, left side, and Peregrine mounts a camera on a tripod extended maybe 16 feet from the floor. "I’m setting up a shot I’ll use in the wedding-day edit," he says, "where I dissolve the people in [from an empty to a full church]. I’ve been doing it for 15 years and people still ask, ‘Can you do that for us?’" Peregrine explains that this wedding is unusual for him for several reasons. For one, he just met the couple last night at the rehearsal; they live in Boston, and booked him by phone after seeing his work online. And unlike most of his couples, they didn’t book bridal prep, which he finds a little disappointing. "I like to get the prep—the chatter gives you a story of the day, a sense of who they are. One advantage of having a second shooter," he concedes, "would be the pre-ceremony. I’d be able to get shots of different people at once. But I’ve always worked alone, and I can’t imagine doing things differently."

Beating the Backlog
As with many one-man-band videographers, working solo really creates issues for Peregrine on the editing end, with the mounting backlog, he explains as we await the bride’s arrival. "Where I really need help is the editing, getting through the backlog. I’ve got someone helping me with some of it, but not the creative stuff."

Peregrine says that these days he tells most brides "9–12 months" for turnaround time. "I’ve got myself hemmed into a time-intensive style that I’m trying to get out of." The solution, he believes, will come in shifting his approach for some weddings in a way that won’t affect Wedding Films’ reputation for cinematic, creative videos produced in that "time-intensive style." In 2–3 months, Peregrine says, "I’ll be launching a new documentary-style-only company." Taking this approach, he says, won’t mean "compromising quality; just a different style. There’s a market for that. Not everyone wants a romantic edit—just a clear record of the day. I enjoy what I do now," he goes on, "I like the way it looks. But the time demands are too much to do it for every wedding. When I get brides who want the documentary style, I could get in the situation where I’m referring myself."

Part of the issue, he says, is making sure all his weddings are profitable, and taking jobs that involve more in-camera edits and simpler and less demanding work in post will be more cost-effective than doing all his work in a cinematic style. "I have a pie graph I show people. ‘This slice is where you see me,’ I tell them. ‘The rest of the pie is editing and DVD authoring.’"

figure 1Pre-Processional
With no prep to shoot, Peregrine gets as many usable pre-ceremony shots as he can, grabbing shots of the groom and other guests in the balcony just outside the main church with its 40-mile view, plus Glidecam shots of the altar. At 1:00 p.m. he’s installing an iRiver on the podium for the readings and mic’ing the groom, then setting up and adjusting two altar cams, placing another VX2000 halfway back on the left side of the nave, and another in the narthex pointed down the aisle.

The bride arrives at 1:15 and Peregrine gets some quick arrival shots, including a nice shot of her walking down a dramatically lit hallway to the room where she’s supposed to make her final preparations, although at the end of the hall she finds a locked door (naturally, this shot will be used to suggest a different outcome in the wedding-day edit).

As the guests arrive, Peregrine kicks into full whirling-dervish mode, grabbing shots in front of the church and in the narthex, more crowd shots from the front of the church using the VX2000 on the pivoting Manfrotto 560B, then going handheld, switching lenses (he stows the wide-angle lens in a pouch on his belt), and capturing the women lighting the candles. At 1:35, he drops off the first tape in the Panasonic palmcorder that’s attached to the MacBook Pro, which he’ll use for capturing all his footage today. At 1:37, he’s shooting the groom rolling out a white carpet in the aisle for the bride. As he adjusts a camera just off to the side about 30 feet from the altar, elevating it to around 8–10 feet, he tells me, "That’s for the groom’s reaction when he sees the bride. I’ll start it up when the groom comes in."

figure 1Go-Time
As the processional begins at 1:42 to (what else?) Pachelbel’s "Canon in D," Peregrine tweaks the groom-reaction camera then grabs some moving shots with the Glidecam 2000 Pro from stage left, just below the altar, then positions himself squarely in front of the aisle to capture the bride’s approach. At 1:50, he rushes out to the narthex and retrieves the camera that’s been shooting on tripod there and re-positions it half-way up the right side of the nave, then makes his way back to the MacBook Pro to start capturing the now-rewound pre-ceremony tape. "I’ve got about 12 minutes of prep," he tells me. "Usually I have about 45."

Brevity is anything but the soul of a Catholic wedding ceremony, but Peregrine continues on his perpetual motion path for the next hour, switching his attention from one tripod-mounted camera to another, grabbing one monopod here or another there, going handheld to follow the bride and groom into a small confessional area during a rousing rendition of "Ave Maria," eventually setting up a tripod at full extension near the back of the nave to capture the recessional. Intermittently he dashes to the MacBook Pro to capture another tape. At 2:51, just before the recessional begins, he’s captured his second tape.

Peregrine briefly mans the tripod-mounted aisle cam during the recessional, then follows the couple out with a monopod to capture the reactions on the balcony outside as they leave the church. "Videographers always work so hard to get the recessional, they miss all the hugs and high-fives outside," he says. "I try to get out as soon as I can, because that’s what people want to see."

figure 1Break Time
One Wisconsin wedding tradition the seems to transcend religion, national origin, or other cultural extraction is the protracted intermezzo between wedding and reception, which the bridal party typically spends bar-hopping to get a head start on evening’s festivities. There’s a 45-minute drive from Holy Hill to the reception venue, Milwaukee’s elegant University Club at Veterans Park on Lake Michigan. That hardly accounts for the two-hour-plus interval that separates wedding from reception, but it gives Peregrine ample time to work on his wedding-day edit, and he’s done capturing and beginning to edit when I arrive at the University Club just before 5 p.m., after a quick stop to eat on the way.

I find Peregrine in a small function room adjacent to the main reception area, where the DJs have also set up. Two things Peregrine has already told me about this evening’s video presentation: his WDE will be preceded by a 19-minute slideshow created in PowerPoint by the maid of honor, and the audio track that will accompany his WDE is Josh Groban’s dirge-like "You Raise Me Up." The bride and groom’s choice, he assures me, not his.

Interestingly enough, I never hear one note of the song until the WDE is nearly finished. Because there’s no beat to the song, Peregrine says, he doesn’t have to worry about timing his edits to the music, choosing instead to let the video dictate its own pace. The only variables the music brings into play relate to duration. He’s done two edits of the song, and will choose one based on how long the WDE turns out. Given that he’s only got 12 minutes of prep footage in all to work with, he expects to use the shorter edit.

And at this point he’s not even working on the prep footage. "I build these from the back," Peregrine says. "That way, the prep can be any length I want it to be. All the real-world stuff I need to include—I can’t control that—but the prep can be anything."

Peregrine says he did his first WDE in June 1999. (Incidentally, "Wedding-Day Edit" is is his preferred term for these productions—"I own WeddingDayEdit.com," he tells me. "I sold SameDayEdit.com to Dave Williams.") Taking advantage of the long post-ceremony interval on that 1999 shoot, he says, "I edited it at home on my G3. Shot one camera, added the vows, added the audio."

In this instance, he says, "Because of the song they chose, I didn’t promise the vows"—always an attention-grabber with WDEs—"but there’s one 30–40 second segment where I can put it if I have time."

Peregrine says roughly half his brides take the WDE option (which starts at $3,595). For the rest, because his turnaround time is typically 9–12 months for the final production, "I do a next-day highlights on Sunday so they have something. Then I leave a one-third balance payable on delivery of the final edit."

For his WDE brides, Peregrine says, "Just so they won’t leave and say, ‘I got nothing,’ I always give them something right away. I burn the WDE and photo montage, rings, and vows on DVD, and send them home with that."

In contrast to the perpetual-motion show he put on at the wedding, Peregrine is the picture of calm as he produces the WDE. Working by feel, with little visible structure to his work, Peregrine actually makes this high-pressure edit look pretty easy. After breaking to grab a few shots of the reception venue (detail shots of the chandelier and the cake, for instance), at 6:25 he’s back at the MacBook Pro and tells me he’s "almost ready to render." The most important step that remains is white balancing the interior shots used in the WDE. "Instead of taking time before the ceremony to manually white balance," he says, "I put all the cameras on the tungsten setting. With the color-correction filter in Final Cut Pro, I simply take the eye dropper and click it on what ‘should be’ white, and it adjusts the white balance accordingly. This filter is then copied and pasted to all camera angles from the ceremony. This way, all I have to do is color-correct one indoor clip for it to be applied to all the indoor shots in the WDE."

At 6:30 the maid of honor brings us word: "Five minutes to the Grand March." And with that Peregrine’s back to shooting—two cameras this time.

At 7:13, he’s putting the finishing touches on the WDE. Sizing up the relative dearth of pre-ceremony footage (and no prep) he has, he says, "I’m going to try something I’ve never tried before—not show the bride until the processional. Kind of a surprise—‘Here she is!’" Then the maid of honor returns: "You’re on after the cake-cutting. In 10 minutes. You ready?" This means 20 minutes earlier than anticipated, and no time for soundcheck. Only time enough to plug into the RCA jacks on the DJs’ sound system, write to tape, and play. As Peregrine rolls the tape, I hustle back into the reception room and position myself on the far wall opposite the projection screen, sitting on a windowsill between two tables. The questions from the gallery start during the slideshow—"Did you do this?" "No," I whisper, pointing to the maid of honor, who’s a few feet to my right, "It was Aruna."

Some 19 minutes later, when the WDE kicks in, the questions stop, replaced by the occasional ooh and ahh. Peregrine’s gorgeous moving-camera work and dramatic splashes of light and color command the room. Afterwards, I’m flame to the moths once again—I’m surrounded by guests, while only the bride and groom seem to find their way to Peregrine. "That’s the most beautiful wedding video I’ve ever seen," says one guest. "Do you have a business card?" "Did you do that?" one incredulous guest asks.

"No," I reply, pointing to Peregrine. "He did."

"But you’re his assistant, right?"

"No. He works alone."

To see the wedding-day edit described in this article, click here.

Stephen Nathans-Kelly is editor-in-chief of EventDV.

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NewTek Ships VT[5]

NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading video and 3D animation products, today announced the shipment of VT[5]™ Integrated Production Suite. The VT[5] features live switching and Web streaming of up to 24 cameras, and now includes LiveSet™, NewTek’s proprietary live virtual set technology that allows users to implement multi-channel virtual sets in a live environment with unprecedented realism and video quality.

VT[5] also includes advanced new keying capabilities, integrated SDI switching support and automated clip playback, with simultaneous output to video, projector and Web stream. VT[5]’s extensive HD post production capabilities include sophisticated real-time, non-linear editing, video painting and a full-featured animated character generation package. VT[5]’s real-time, uncompressed video processing with component and SDI output delivers unsurpassed video quality. The optional Serial Digital switcher adds an additional eight SDI inputs and SDI routing functionality to the new VT[5] system.

" VT[5] represents the most significant upgrade our engineering team has ever created," comments Andrew Cross Senior VP of Software Engineering. "This latest version gives users the benefits of all of our new technology from proprietary virtual sets to multi-format editing including HD. We've devoted a great deal of effort to making VT[5] a tremendous new tool that producers will value."

Live Virtual Sets
NewTek's proprietary LiveSet™ system in VT[5], allows separate virtual sets to be assigned independently to all switcher inputs, including all cameras and DDRs. In addition, each input has an independent LiveMatte™ matting module that eliminates the need for expensive hardware for each source connected to the system. Each virtual set supports virtual cameras with multiple angles and zoom levels, with support for secondary video sources for on-set virtual monitors. All effects are rendered with unprecedented photo-realism, including reflections, refractions, shadows, bump maps, and sophisticated filtering. Additionally, the advanced new keying capabilities included in the LiveMatte technology enable refined previews of mattes for the precise isolation of color, edge and spill for the sharpest possible results.

Pricing and Availability
The VT[5] system is available through the NewTek Authorized Reseller channel at an MSRP of $4,995US. Current owners of any previous version may upgrade their software for $1,495US and are encouraged to view the NewTek web site for extensive information on enhancements, features, technical specifications, upgrade benefits and details.

For further information please visit http://www.newtek.com.

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Panasonic Expands Professional AVCHD Product Line with New AG-HMC70 Shoulder-Mount Camcorder

Panasonic announced the expansion of its professional AVCHD product line with the introduction of the AG-HMC70 AVCHD camcorder. As the industry’s first shoulder-mount AVCHD camcorder, the HMC70 records high-quality 1080i images onto readily available SD/SDHC memory cards.

Like Panasonic’s full production quality solid-state P2 HD recording system, this AVCHD camcorder eliminates the need for and cost of a special deck, as well as the time required to transfer content from a tape or optical disc to a PC for editing or content distribution. Since it uses a standard SD or SDHC card, the HMC70’s recording capacity will increase and media cost decrease as the industry announces new higher capacity cards.

Joining the small hand-held AG-HSC1U in Panasonic’s AVCHD camcorder line-up, the HMC70 utilizes the industry standard H.264-based Advanced Video Codec High Definition (AVCHD) video format to deliver crisp HD images. AVCHD delivers twice the recording efficiency of older MPEG-2 codec technologies like HDV, and it is supported by a growing number of nonlinear editing packages including Apple’s Final Cut Pro Version 6.0.1 and i-Movie, Grass Valley EDIUS Software Version 4.5, Pinnacle Studio Plus 11, Nero 7 Premium Reloaded, Ulead Video Studio 11 Plus and Ulead DVD Movie Factory 6 Plus.

The HMC70 features three native16:9 progressive 1/4" CCDs to record, or provide a live feed of, widescreen 1440 x 1080 HD resolution images of weddings, sports, concerts, or other events. It can be used by law enforcement agencies for training or surveillance, by schools for use in video production, live staging and documentation, or by broadcasters and newspapers for web journalism. The camcorder is equipped with a 12X 38.5mm to 462mm Leica wide-angle zoom lens, one-push auto focus, and integrated Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) that ensures stable images, which are most critical when displaying high definition video. The camera also provides excellent color reproduction and inherits the exceptional color rendition of Panasonic’s other professional HD cameras.

The camcorder brings the benefits of solid-state recording to budget-conscious professionals. Like digital still photography, recording onto an SD/SDHC card offers a fast and simple IT-compatible workflow, and ensures ultra-reliable performance because the HMC70 uses no moving parts (unlike tape or disc-based camcorders) in the recording process. The HMC70 is resistant to shock, vibration, temperature change and extreme weather conditions and because it is solid-state, users have instant access to the recorded footage without the need to ingest or digitize. In addition, SD and SDHC memory cards are inexpensive, widely available, and can be reused repeatedly. Since AVCHD records video as digital data files, content can be transferred and stored on affordable, high-capacity hard disk drives(HDD) and optical storage media and transferred to new ones as advanced technology is introduced in the future.

The flexible camcorder provides professionals with continuous record time for long-form HD video production. With just the touch of a button, users can choose to shoot in one of the camera’s three recording modes – 6Mbps, 9Mbps or 13Mbps. Using the new 16GB SDHC memory card (available in November 2007), the HMC70 can record for up to 360 minutes at 6Mbps quality and up to 160 minutes at 13Mbps, the camera’s highest quality mode.

The HMC70’s lightweight, shoulder-mount design facilitates stable shooting and better balance during long recording sessions. The camcorder’s 3-inch 16:9 LCD monitor offers thumbnail display of recorded images so videographers can monitor or delete clips. Professionals can also capture 2.1 Megapixel still images with the camcorder onto the SDHC memory card – even during video recording. The SD card content can be played back directly on a growing number of large HD flat screen displays, front and rear-screen projectors, and PCs that offer an SD card slot with AVCHD decoder software. AVCHD content also can be played back on the Panasonic DMP-BD10AK Blu-ray Disc™ Player and on the PlayStation 3 game system. Using NLE software, content can also be rendered in various formats and delivered on a wide range of media.

Unlike entry-level cameras, the HMC70 offers professional audio capabilities including two XLR Mic/Line switchable inputs with attenuation, +48V Phantom Power, and both Auto & Manual level with Rec level dials. This allows flexible high quality audio recording using a wide range of wired and wireless microphones and mixers.

Professionals can instantly transfer content from the HMC70 camcorder to Mac or PC computers with an SD/SDHC card reader or by connecting the camcorder directly via its USB 2.0 interface. Other connectors that provide even greater flexibility include HD/SD component and composite (BNCs), HDMI and RCA audio jacks.

The HMC70 will be available in April 2008. Options will include a VW-VBG6 5,800-mAH Battery, VW-W4307H Wide Conversion Lens, and VW-T4314H Tele Conversion Lens.


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ikan Introduces Two New Products: the V2500e 2.5" LCD Monitor and SH8HD Sunhood

ikan has introduced two new products for video producers: the V2500e 2.5" TFT LCD Monitor and the SH8HD Sunhood, designed for use with Panasonic's V8000HD camcorder.

The V2500e is the successor to ikan's popular V2500. It features several enhancements, including higher resolution, a threader insert for camera/stand mounting, separate video and audio inputs, and color, contrast, and brightness controls. The monitor carries an MSRP of $99.95.

The SH8HD sunhood, now available for the Panasonic V8000HD, is also compatible with the V8000W. Shooters can customize the length of the SH8HD by attaching a second SH8HD with the integrated velcro strips. The new sunhood, available now, lists for $34.95.


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Tiffen Announces Steadicam PILOT with IDX E-7S Battery System for Video Production

Based on the innovative and award-winning STEADICAMâ features, a new version of the PILOTâ system is introduced. Through a strategic alliance with IDX System Technology Inc., this new system is shipped with two E-7S batteries and a special version of the VL Dual 60 Watt charger. Through this arrangement a special system price is offered that is very beneficial to the Steadicam user.

The PILOT with IDX battery system provides the user with a complete system. Through the addition of the users camera and a SteadiSTAND or similar balance stand the unit is ready to use. The IDX E-7S battery is based on the V-Lock mounting system and will provide power for the on board monitor and any optional accessories. Should the camera have a 12 volt input or a converter for 7.2 Volt operation the IDX battery has sufficient capacity to power both the camera, monitor and accessories. The special VL Dual charger is only available with this STEADICAM PILOT system. It provides sequential charge for two batteries. The charger and batteries are not available as a separate option. Specific battery operation parameters may be found here.

The PILOT 2-10 pound weight range will work with a wide array of cameras. This new Battery System feature is in addition to the Pilot’s other advanced capabilities. They include its patented Iso-Elastic Articulated Stabilizer Arm, proprietary Arm/Vest Connector and Carbon Fiber extendable post with new patented Gimbal, all designed by the inventor of Steadicam, Garrett Brown.

The Iso-Elastic arm is an articulated "No-Tools" design that can be adjusted while supporting the camera. This patented design allows the Steadicam operator to effortlessly place the arm in any position. This is especially useful for "lock-off" shots.

The new Standard Definition Color 16:9/4:3 monitor, provides good contrast from dark to light situations, as a necessary part of the overall system design. The monitor weight and location on the sled assures the operator perfect balance and ease of operation. The monitor has provision for standard definition NTSC/PAL and the 5.8 inch size affords an easy angle for viewing.

Utilizing a True Three Axis Gimbal Assembly the operator has the ability to capture the fluid movement that only Steadicam can provide. No-tools precision camera stage establishes a solid base for the camera and facilitates smooth adjustment ease from side to side plus fore and aft.

The Carbon Fiber post and interface to the stage form a solid bond to assure no jitter in the picture, as the operator captures those unique scenes. It also has the ability to extend the post to change the "way the rig fly’s" or to adjust to a wide range of cameras.

The PILOT System includes a self-instructing SK videotape with Quick Start manual to permit the user to become familiar with the set-up and operation of the system. A new training DVD specific to the system will be available soon. It is the latest of the Steadicam Professional models available for cameras from 2 to 45 pounds.

According to Tony Iwamoto, IDX Marketing and Sales Manager, "This is a natural progression for IDX in alliance with Tiffen to offer our customers a high performance battery and charger system at the introductory package savings. We are pleased to be involved in the PILOTâ System Introduction.

According to Frank Rush, "The new PILOT System is a real value for our customers. The system model designation is PILOT-VLB and will sell for $4,595.00, available from Tiffen dealers worldwide."


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Next Generation Aleratec Desktop LightScribe DVD/CD Publishing System Enables Faster Disc Labeling and Copying

Aleratec Inc., leading developer and manufacturer of "Prosumers' Choice" solutions for the Blu-ray, DVD/CD, USB duplicating, and DVD/CD publishing markets, announces the next generation of its 1:2 Desktop LightScribe Publishing system, the innovative new Aleratec 1:2 DVD/CD Copy Cruiser LS, High Speed Edition. When connected to a PC via USB 2.0, the Aleratec 1:2 DVD/CD Copy Cruiser LS, High Speed Edition, is a 1:2 DVD/CD Duplicator that enables small and medium businesses to simply, conveniently and affordably burn or LightScribe label two CDs or DVDs at once. The new DVD/CD recorders are the fastest available, burning DVDs at up to 20x write speeds.

"Making high performance desktop DVD/CD disc publishing truly affordable and simple for SMB and SOHO customers has always been a goal for Aleratec," said Perry Solomon, President and CEO of Aleratec. "The Aleratec 1:2 DVD/CD Copy Cruiser LS, High Speed Edition with two LightScribe drives effectively cuts disc copying time and disc labeling time in half compared to single recording drive solutions, and it is 25% faster than its predecessor. All businesses can benefit by having custom DVDs and CDs custom labeled with vivid silkscreen quality. With the Aleratec 1:2 DVD/CD Copy Cruiser LS, High Speed Edition, businesses are empowered with total control of the disc publishing process: from disc content to custom labels to quantities and schedules."

LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling is an integrated system that combines LightScribe enabled DVD/CD recorders with specially coated LightScribe media and the powerful Aleratec Disc Publishing Software Suite to produce precise, laser-etched, silkscreen quality labels with superior sharpness and clarity. LightScribe creates professional-looking CD and DVD labels right in the drive -- no messy markers or additional printing supplies required. Just burn your images or data onto the disc, flip the disc over, and burn a customized label. Small and medium businesses can burn a few discs or many, and label each with descriptive titles, content lists, graphics or company logos.

"Small businesses look for affordability, quality and convenience. LightScribe delivers on all fronts," said Kent Henscheid, Marketing Manager for LightScribe, a business unit of HP. "The Aleratec LightScribe publishing system enables businesses to create impressive and professional-looking CD and DVD labels right in the office."

The Aleratec 1:2 DVD/CD Copy Cruiser LS, High Speed Edition (Aleratec Part No. 260171) is proudly assembled in the U.S.A. from components sourced globally and it is the latest Aleratec LightScribe DVD/CD Desktop Publisher. The Aleratec 1:2 DVD/CD Copy Cruiser LS, High Speed Edition is a remarkable value with the estimated retail price of $329.

The full line of Aleratec DVD and CD recording solutions, duplication solutions, and accessories is featured at 4SURE.com, AAFES, Adorama, Amazon.com, B&H Photo Video, Best Buy, Buy.com, CDW, Circuit City, CompUSA, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett Packard, Insight, J & R, Mac Connection, MacMall, Micro Center, NewEgg, Office Depot, PC Connection, PC Mall, PC Nation, ProVantage, Quill, Ritz Camera, Staples, Target, Tech Depot and Wal-Mart in addition to other leading retailers. Government and Education customers may purchase from Government and Education Specialists including AAFES, B&H Photo Video Gov, Best Buy Gov/Ed, CDW-G, CompuCom, CompUSA, Daly Computer, EnPointe, Fed Tek, GCI, GE IT Solutions, GovConnection, GOVPLACE, Green Pages, GTSI, Horizon, Insight Gov, INTELLI-TECH, PC Mall Gov, Pomeroy, Sarcom, Sayers, Shi.com, Softchoice, Sparco.com, telcobuy, TIG, and Unisys. All products are available to resellers in the U.S. through D&H Distributing, DBL Distributing, and Ingram Micro; in Canada through D&H Canada and Ingram Micro Canada.

Complete information available at http://www.aleratec.com.

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Toshiba Broadens Personal Storage Line with 250GB Portable External HDD and Internal Upgrade Kits for Mobile PCs

Toshiba Storage Device Division (SDD), the industry pioneer in small form factor hard disk drives (HDDs), today added a 250GB1 USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - the highest capacity available in this form factor - to its lineup of personal storage devices and introduced a new line of internal notebook HDDs for mobile PCs to meet the growing demand for personal storage solutions.

Addressing the explosion in digital video, music, photos and information content, the new 250GB 2.5-inch portable external hard drive is capable of storing up to either 71,000 digital photos, 65,000 MP3 music files, 110 hours of DVD videos or 29 hours of high-definition videos. Toshiba's click-free, switch-free and button-free backup solution is bundled with the award-winning NTI Shadow™ software, enabling even digital novices to easily embrace data backup and enjoy peace-of-mind in knowing critical and cherished digital files are protected.

Toshiba also has added a retail line of internal notebook HDDs to augment the growing demand for storage capacity in mobile PCs. Available in 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 200GB and 250GB capacities, Toshiba’s new notebook HDDs offer consumers a wide range of options to enhance existing hardware.

"Consumers are generating an astronomical amount of digital content as new applications, channels and tools continue to expand personal digital libraries," said Maciek Brzeski, vice president of marketing, Toshiba SDD. "These new personal storage tools give consumers more capacity to house and protect valuable personal memories and information, and provide an affordable and easy enhancement for investments in current PC products."

Toshiba's USB 2.0 portable external HDDs are available in 120GB, 160GB, 200GB and 250GB capacities and have been designed with convenience and portability in mind. Along with NTI Shadow™ software, Toshiba has incorporated a special patent-pending shock mounting system into its personal storage solution to deliver extra protection against normal wear and tear. In addition, the drives' ventilated and sleek black aluminum housing provides a stylish complement to other digital devices, while helping dissipate heat more efficiently than similar products on the market. This easy-to-use solution is ideal for any home or small business.

Manufacturer suggested retail prices (MSRP)2 are as follows:

  • 250GB: $189.99
  • 200GB: $169.99
  • 160GB: $139.99
  • 120GB: $109.99

Toshiba’s notebook HDDs are compatible with every major brand of Serial ATA-enabled mobile computer and feature Toshiba’s proven, state-of-the-art perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology, native command queuing (NCQ) and tunnel magneto-resistive (TMR) head recording for increased capacity, reliability and performance. These new drives also include the following:

  • Intelligent Serial ATA interface
  • Read/write cache for increased performance
  • Low power consumption with adaptive power modes and Serial ATA DIPM
  • Internal shock detection and ramp loading technology to help protect the drive
  • Compatibility with Windows XP and Vista as well as Mac OS X and Linux

Manufacturer suggested retail prices (MSRP)2 are as follows:

  • 250GB: $189.99
  • 200GB: $159.99
  • 160GB: $129.99
  • 120GB: $99.99
  • 80GB: $79.99

Toshiba's 250GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive and line of internal notebook HDDs for mobile PCs are now available at www.toshibadirect.com and through major retailers and online outlets. For a complete list, visit www.wheretobuy.toshibastorage.com.

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Samsung Debuts World's Fastest DVD Burner with 16X Dual-Layer Recording and LightScribe

Samsung Electronics Ltd., the worldwide digital consumer electronics and information technology leader, announces the world’s fastest DVD burner with 16X dual layer recording and LightScribe technology, the Super-WriteMaster SH-S203N. The SH-S203N is a 20X Serial ATA (SATA) DVD burner offering 16X dual layer recording, and support for all CD/DVD discs including DVD-RAM. The SH-S203N can back up 8.4GB of data or video to a disc. The industry recording standard is 10-12X and Samsung’s new SH-S203N dual layer recording speed offers a 30-40 percent improvement recording time for dual layer drives.

The versatile drive also features powerful LightScribe technology that lets users engrave labels, photos, and designs right onto the CD and DVD discs with no hassle at all. The result is a professional look with no worries about labels falling off or sloppy marker smudges. The drive’s label making software is pre-loaded with an array of designs and labels for users who choose not to create their own label.

"Samsung strives to enhance the consumer experience by offering the latest technologies and innovations in one affordable package," states Richard Aguilera, western regional sales manager, Samsung Storage Division. "Samsung’s new SH-S203N is an all-in-one powerhouse that provides not only the fastest recording speeds on the market, but also built-in labeling technology that saves time and expense over the life of the drive."

The SH-S203N features: 16X DVD+R Dual Layer recording, 20X DVD±R recording, 12X DVD-RAM recording, 12X DVD-R Dual Layer recording, 8X DVD+RW recording and 6X DVD-RW recording. Samsung’s first 20X DVD drive with LightScribe supports the SATA interface, with SATA PCs now dominating the PC market. With its SATA interface, the SH-S203N eliminates the need for Master/Slave jumper settings and provides thinner data cables, improving airflow and cable routing.

The SH-S203N’s LightScribe technology is easy and simple to use. After users record their preferred data – music, photos, or text – they just turn the disc over and the SH-S203N imprints the chosen label, design, or photo onto the disc. This one-of-a-kind technology focuses light energy onto a thin dye coating to produce labels. Only LightScribe-ready CDs and DVDs can be inscribed by drives with LightScribe technology.

The SH-S203N, like all Samsung WriteMaster DVD drives, offers multiple high-end technologies providing best-in-breed performance including: Speed Adjustment Technology, to match the speed to the functionality of the disc; Tilt Actuator Compensation (TAC) for preferred writing condition when interacting with the objective lens; and Double Optimum Power Control, which balances the laser power on the sides of the disc for a better writing performance. Buffer Under Run Error is avoided by the power save attribute. The Automatic Ball Balancing System (ABS) further reduces vibration and noise. The drive is also eco-friendly and is RoHS compliant.

The SH-S203N is shipping nation wide with a street price of $79.99.


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