Search EventDV

2010 Awards Show
2009 All-Star Team
2008 All-Star Team
2007 All-Star Team
2006 All-Star Team

Streaming Media Producer
Streaming Media


Copyright © 2004 -
Information Today, Inc.

February 11, 2008

Table of Contents

Cradle to Grave: Bye Bye Buy
Apple Drops Out of NAB 2008 Expo Booth Line-up
NewTek Announces TriCaster PRO FX Featuring LiveSet Live Virtual Sets, Integrated Character Generator and Broader File Format Support
Panasonic Shipping Native 1080i AK-HC3500 2/3" 2.2M 3CCD HD Studio Camera
Chicago Digital Post & Great Lakes Digital Media Consolidate into Chicago Digital
FirstCom Music Announces Migration Toward Complete Electronic Delivery
New Century HD Lens Accessories for Sony PMW-EX1
New Petrol Camlap Trolley Bag
Levelpod Video Stabilizer Upgraded for Heavy Professional Camcorders

Cradle to Grave: Bye Bye Buy

2008 marks my 20th year as a professional videographer. One of the struggles I have had to deal with over the years was the temptation to buy the latest and greatest video gear. And today, with the many new cameras and editing systems available, that temptation is greater than ever. It is important to have the right equipment in order to do a professional job, but that doesn’t mean you have to purchase the equipment. Welcome to the world of renting.

Recently I sat down with Jeff Lind and Mark Eggert from the rental department of Alpha Video in Edina, Minnesota (www.alphavideo.com). Between the two of them they have 32 years of experience in the rental field. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

I began by asking, "Why would you encourage videographers to rent instead of purchasing equipment?" They pointed out that renting is a great way to go because you can have access to the latest and greatest equipment without having to personally keep up with all the changing technologies. It’s also a good way to try out equipment before you actually buy it. Even if you live far away from a rental house, it’s still possible to rent the equipment and have them ship it to you, although it means planning ahead time-wise and budget-wise.

If anything should happen to the equipment, it is covered by insurance. It’s standard practice for a rental facility to add a 5% fee on all rentals unless a certificate of insurance is on file. But the greatest insurance for the videographer is the knowledge that the equipment being rented is in good condition. Most rental houses will make sure an item is in good working condition before sending it out. They also have a service department to make sure the equipment is well-maintained, and most will have a 24-hour emergency number you can call for support. But because they make sure the equipment works before you take it out, there seldom is a problem.

One of the benefits of renting equipment is that you have a clear understanding of how much to add to a project because of the actual rental cost. This is a great way to think through your pricing structure even when using your own equipment. It is also helpful in explaining a proposal to a client once they see the breakdown between your time and the equipment needed for a job.

In the same way that we as videographers have a network to draw upon, so do rental houses. That means that not only do you have the equipment that is in their catalog, but you have access to their network of other rental facilities—both locally and nationally—and therefore are almost guaranteed that the equipment you need will be available to you.

Recently I rented the new Sony PMW-EX1 solid state camera. Not only could I read what others thought of the camera, but because of being able to rent it locally, I was able to try it out and evaluate it personally for a possible purchase in the future. And even if I don’t purchase it right away, I know that in the near future it will become available (at a very good savings) for purchase through Alpha’s Rental Department because they try to make sure that the equipment they rent out is relatively new and in great condition, and they always have a list of items for sale. I’ve purchased many of the items I own (including my most recent editing system) at a great price from a rental house with the knowledge that, because of the rental house’s maintenance standards, they were also in great condition.

It is fun to get the latest and greatest—but it is even more fun to know you can afford it because you have been wise in the acquisition of equipment. We need to have good business sense when deciding which piece of equipment we really need. Just because it is new and everyone has it doesn’t mean you need to own it. There is a time to buy—and a time to sell—but also a time to rent. One of the greatest resources we have is our local rental center. I would encourage you to find out what resources you have and then begin taking advantage of them.

I would also encourage you to consider renting out your equipment to clients and other videographers. We are in business to make money, and if our equipment can add to our revenue by making it available for rental, then that is a good use of our resources. One of the items I rent out on a regular basis is a video projector and screen. Not only is it a way to make more money, but customers are impressed that you can provide them with all of the equipment they need. If we don’t have it personally, then by being familiar with rental facilities in our area, we can at least have a place to recommend to our clients.

We need to learn to make equipment decisions with our heads and not just with our hearts. When a piece of equipment has outlived its usefulness, get rid of it, either by selling it at a reasonable price, or by donating it to an organization that will give you a receipt that can be used for tax purposes. When it comes time to replace equipment, or to add new equipment, ask, "Will this enable me to do a better and faster job for my clients, and will it allow me to make more money?" Just because something is fun to play with doesn’t mean it is a good business investment. And we especially need to ask, "Is it available for rent?"

Alan Naumann (alan at memoryvision.tv) recently published The Complete Course on Funeral Videography, an updated an expanded version of his popular Business Everlasting training DVD. A featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2004–7 and a 2006 & 2007 EventDV 25 honoree, he is based in Minneapolis.

Back to Contents...

Apple Drops Out of NAB 2008 Expo Booth Line-up

Following on the heels of rival Avid Technology's previous announcement to pull from NAB 2008, Apple Inc. announced today that there will be no Apple Inc. booth on the expo floor of NAB 2008.

Apple Inc. told TV Technology magazine on Thursday, February 7, 2008 that they'd not be attending NAB 2008.

According to TV Technology, Apple's departure from NAB 2008 comes as part of the company's decision to pursue other ways to reach out to its customer base.

"Apple is participating in fewer trade shows this year," said Apple spokesman Anuj Nayar. "Often there are better ways to reach our customers. The increasing popularity of our retail stores and Apple.com Web site allows us to directly reach more than 100 million customers around the world in innovative new ways."

When asked if they intended to return to NAB 2009, Apple officials declined comment.


Back to Contents...

NewTek Announces TriCaster PRO FX Featuring LiveSet Live Virtual Sets, Integrated Character Generator and Broader File Format Support

NewTek, manufacturer of industry-leading video and 3D animation products, today announces the introduction of its latest portable production and virtual studio system, TriCaster PRO FX™, with the company’s proprietary LiveSet™ live virtual sets, integrated character generator, broader file format support and increased storage among many other new features. TriCaster PRO FX is available as a new product or as an upgrade to the TriCaster PRO™ and TriCaster 100™ models.

TriCaster PRO FX is the fourth product in NewTek’s TriCaster™ line, joining the TriCaster STUDIO™, TriCaster PRO and TriCaster 100. NewTek’s addition of TriCaster PRO FX assures a portable production solution to address the needs of all market segments.

"Our TriCaster family of portable production studios has quickly become a production mainstay in an array of organizations, from professional broadcasters to churches, schools and businesses throughout the world. TriCaster PRO FX incorporates many of the features which had been exclusive to our more expensive TriCaster STUDIO™, plus several previously unavailable enhancements, making it an important addition to our line," said Andrew Cross, NewTek’s senior vice president of software engineering. "Instead of following a ‘good, better, best’ approach with our TriCaster offerings, we present each model as the best solution available for any given market or application."

TriCaster PRO FX has an easy-to-use interface designed for use by a wide range of producers with or without a professional video production background, making it straightforward for anyone to produce quality live presentations, Web casts and video. TriCaster PRO FX allows the user to bring dynamic live elements to their presentations within minutes of opening the box. In addition to enabling users to produce presentations that have the impact of live television, TriCaster PRO FX allows simultaneous distribution to video, Internet and projectors.

TriCaster PRO FX features include the following:

  • More than 20 hours of video storage capacity
  • Full support for both 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios
  • LiveSet™ live virtual set technology
  • Improved overlay (supports text, picture and animation with alpha channel)
  • Full-featured character generator, including scrolls and crawls, and the ability to easily produce title templates for live production
  • Titles that can be placed up-stream of every input individually
  • New on-screen preview monitor display mode
  • iVGA™ with the functionality of high-end scan converters, enabling the integration of full motion screens from remotely connected computers
  • An iVGA underscan button that allows control over whether or not a VGA input takes the entire video frame.
  • Improved keying and ease-of-use with an optimized LiveMatte™ engine
  • A Y/C across BNC option that allows users to create long cable-runs on site using two shielded BNC cables (which is sturdier and more cost-effective than using an S-Video cable)
  • Video editor improvements based on SpeedEDIT™ 1.5, with new video effects, audio filters and other features * Numerous CG templates for easy creation of titles
  • Live streaming to the corporate Intranet or the Web without licensing or per-seat fees
  • Virtual VCR that cues digital video clips and plays them back the instant they are selected for live output, boosting the production value of presentations
  • Integrated real-time video editing for on-site changes and client approvals
  • XGA projector output that ensures graphics are presented at the highest possible resolution and that video is up scaled to match
  • Output to video, S-Video or composite
  • The ability to archive presentations to hard drive for later playback, editing or on-demand streaming

Pricing and Availability
TriCaster™ PRO FX is available as a new product for a suggested retail price of $8,995US. Previously purchased TriCaster PRO and TriCaster models can be upgraded with the TriCaster PRO FX feature set for $1,995 and $3,995, respectively. For upgrades to TriCaster models, NewTek will replace them with a new TriCaster PRO and the additional software. That hardware trade-up also adds component video, balanced audio, and the ability to simultaneously stream and record video of a live event.


Back to Contents...

Panasonic Shipping Native 1080i AK-HC3500 2/3" 2.2M 3CCD HD Studio Camera

Panasonic announced the immediate availability of its full native resolution, 1080i AK-HC3500 2/3" 2.2M 3-CCD high definition studio camera. The HC3500 is equipped with exclusive image processing and color reproduction functions for the highest quality in 1080/59.94i and 1080/50i image acquisition.

Designed for direct-to-air broadcasting applications, the high-performance HC3500 camera delivers the purest native image in its class. The HC3500 features three 2/3" 2.2-megapixal IT-CCDs with an advanced single-channel transfer system, 14-bit A.D converter, an advanced 38-bit digital signal processor LSI and spatial offset processing for exceptional sensitivity, resolution (1100 horizontal lines), as well as reduced aliasing. Its digital signal processor also features a dynamic range function that assures detailed, high quality images even when shooting scenes in a high contrast environment. The HC3500 maintains an impressive signal to noise ratio of 60dB at F10.0 sensitivity and has a vertical smear level of less than -130dB.

The HC3500 produces unsurpassed quality HD images with the ability to control skin tone and smoothness in real time. The camera features a skin-tone detail function that allows users to easily adjust sharpness when focusing on on-screen talent and subjects in various lighting environments. Two different types of skin tone can be defocused independently. It offers versatile gamma settings including real-time Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS), which varies the gamma correction to match the contrast within the image, and a cine gamma curve to capture warm, film-like quality images.

Additional features include dynamic detail, programmable gamma, a 12-vector variable masking circuit that allows for the precise adjustment of hue and saturation separately, and an EBU color matrix preset that ensures similar color response between high definition and standard definition applications for seamless inter-mixing of footage.

The HC3500 is designed for comfortable day-to-day operation. When configured for studio use, the 10.4-pound camera easily slides into the optional build-up unit with a "one touch," cable-free setup. Studio-style lenses can be mounted on the build-up unit. Additional convenient features include a backlight on the rear operation panel for improved operation in dark settings, an adjustable, slip-resistant shoulder pad for stable EFP shooting, and an SD memory card slot for storage and retrieval of various camera settings.

The HC3500 also features a wide range of auto-setup functions, a teleprompter and program video as well as data trunk function with two RS422 links for control of pan-tilt systems, lens, or robotic studios. The camera requires no external frame synchronizer to provide return video from an asynchronous source. The HC3500 has two HD SDI connections as well as HD monitor, teleprompter, and AUX outputs. Input connections include microphone, intercom and Gen-lock (BB/Tri-level Sync). The camera also features dual optical filters and has a low power consumption of 30W (without viewfinder).

The HC3500 is available now at the suggested list price of $56,000. Available options for the HC3500 include: the AK-HBU3500 build-up kit, SLP of $21,000; the AK-HRP931 remote operating panel, SLP $5,050; the AK-HCU931 camera control unit, SLP $27,000; the AK-HVF931A color LCD viewfinder, SLP $14,500; the AK-HHD931 HD-SDI output card, SLP of $4,400; and the AK-MSU935 master set up unit, SLP of $19,700.


Back to Contents...

Chicago Digital Post & Great Lakes Digital Media Consolidate into Chicago Digital

Chicago Digital Post & Great Lakes Digital Media have consolidated into the midwest media powerhouse of Chicago Digital. Chicago Digital Post & Great Lakes Digital Media joined forces in early 2007 to bring together a full service production, post production and multimedia service center under one roof. Headquartered in the Chicago market, Chicago Digital Post and Great Lakes Digital Media provides services to Studios, Networks, Corporations and Producers nationwide.

"Now that we have completed the consolidation of the two divisions," says Tim Montague, CEO, "we are now an even greater resource than before. We have trimmed down to our core services, and have established a number of B2B relationships with non-competitive, regionally diverse service providers to expand the availability of our services through indirect channels across the country."

Prior to the consolidation Chicago Digital Post’s core services centered around post-production including Audio Post, Authoring, On/Offline Editing, and light disc manufacturing, while Great Lakes Digital Media’s services focused upon Live Production, Multimedia, including Interactive & Flash Development, and Disc Manufacturing Services.

Chicago Digital’s service offerings now focus upon three core areas including ‘Live Production – SD & HD Event and Traveling ENG Crews’, ‘Post Production - Editorial & Authoring services for SD / HD / Blu-Ray’ and ‘Multimedia - Disc Manufacturing & Packaging, Macrovision RipGuard-MOD Recordable DVD Copy Protection Services and Interactive Disc Development’.


Back to Contents...

FirstCom Music Announces Migration Toward Complete Electronic Delivery

FirstCom Music, a leading provider of music services is pleased to announce their migration toward complete electronic delivery via their website and alternative delivery options. "The industry has known for some time that the CD is in the final phase of its life cycle and that it will soon be history. As industry leaders, we believe that their is no better time than the present to move toward a future that is both environmentally friendly, as well as convenient and cost efficient f! or our clients," says Carol Riffert, Vice President / General Manager for FirstCom Music.

In 2005 FirstCom Music started this migration with the release of online only discs and the launch of the very popular Director’s Choice compilation series, which is available exclusively online. FirstCom Music will now take their environmental commitment a step further by utilizing reusable USB drives for their new release demos. This will eliminate the need for over 30,000 demo discs each year.

"Of course all of our libraries are currently available via CD as well as in earth-friendly alternative options. Many of our clients have already taken advantage of efficient electronic delivery and we fully expect this trend to continue," says Riffert. Their hope is that clients will embrace this step towards the future as not only a convenience, but also as a good environmental measure.

FirstCom Music has traditionally been environmentally conscious, implementing recycling programs, and ordering quantities based on demand. "Our company has always been environmentally conscious, largely in part to our employees’ commitment to global issues. Over the years we have collectively developed ways to save paper, recycle office supplies and in general be responsible for our resources. Migration away from CD demos is just another way that we can do our part for the environment," says Riffert. FirstCom Music will continue to support clients who require or prefer the traditional CD delivery as long as the CD remains an industry standard.

While the complete migration to electronic delivery will take several years, FirstCom Music clients who are interested in online only or hard-drive delivery options should contact their FirstCom Music representative. FirstCom Music will arrange to replace their library with an alternative delivery option and at no cost to the client have their FirstCom Music CD library returned and recycled.


Back to Contents...

New Century HD Lens Accessories for Sony PMW-EX1

Schneider Optics introduces a new line of Century HD lens accessories created especially to complement Sony's new PMW-EX1 camcorder. These top-of-the-line optical attachments provide unprecedented image clarity, while enabling the camera to go wider, reach further, and move in closer than the lens alone will allow.

Available in March 2008, new Century accessories for the Sony PMW-EX1 include the .6X HD Wide Angle Adapter (#0HD-06WA-EX1), .75X HD Wide Angle Converter (#0HD-75CV-EX1), 1.6X HD Tele-Converter (#0HD-16TC-EX1), Super Fisheye HD Adapter (#0HD-FESU-EX1), and the Extreme Fisheye HD Adapter (#0HD-FEWA-EX1).

Produced by the top maker of professional add-ons, Century Pro Series HD lens accessories employ state-of-the-art optics to produce high-resolution images with low distortion, and superior contrast edge to edge. Multi-coated glass elements provide sharp images free of unwanted distortion or chromatic aberration. Units are equipped with a bayonet mount for quick and easy installation and removal from the front of the camera lens.

U.S. MSRP starts at $490.


Back to Contents...

New Petrol Camlap Trolley Bag

Petrol, a Vitec Group brand, introduces the Camlap Trolley Bag for professional camcorders. This versatile new roll-away camera bag features three separate padded chambers for maximum storage and equipment protection.

The front main section has room to hold a Sony HVR-AU1, Canon XH G1, Panasonic AG-HSC1, or similar size camera. A cushioned rear pocket easily holds and cradles a laptop computer with up to a 17" screen. The bag's lower compartment, equipped with four removable dividers, is ideal for stashing important accessories. Other features include zippered side pockets for additional storage, an exterior front pocket with personal organizer, Petrol's smooth-gliding wheel and tote assembly, and a convenient top rubber carrying handle. The exterior is constructed of heavy duty blue and black Cordura and ballistic nylon.

U.S. MSRP for the Petrol Camlap Trolley Bag (#PCTB-2) is $259. For further information on other Petrol products please go to http://www.petrolbags.com.

Back to Contents...

Levelpod Video Stabilizer Upgraded for Heavy Professional Camcorders

Levelpod has been redesigned for optimal control over heavy professional camcorders like the Panasonic HVX200, Canon XH G1, Sony HVR-Z7U and the new Sony PMW-EX1.

Improvements include a higher maximum weight limit of 18 lbs, a taller monopod that goes to over 80", and a faster one hand adjustment. Levelpod converts the unstable ergonomics of most camcorders into a perfectly balanced shoulder mounted and handheld system.

Levelpod is sold exclusively from the manufacturer and is patent pending. The price remains at the same low price of $399.95 and includes the popular Levelcam.


Back to Contents...