Will Sony be on your “must-see HD” list? You'll want to stay tuned; it's just two months until the company fills the mid-range of its HD capture and record product line with the rollout of the XDCAM HD family at NAB. The camcorders and decks build on considerable momentum — Sony claims 9,000 standard-def XDCAMs have sold worldwide since their 2004 debut. (Sony touts the SD rig as the favorite of more than 20 reality TV shows.)
The two camcorders and two decks in the family employ the Professional Disc (PD) format for recording MPEG-2, long-GOP signals. By pricing them from $16,800 (PDW-F330) to $25,800 (PDW-F350) with zoom lenses, Sony is targeting price-sensitive producers who need more image control than HDV rigs offer, yet blanch at the thought of paying for high-end HD gear such as the HDW-F900 CineAlta HD camcorder.
But it's some of the very capabilities found in the CineAlta line that may help to set Sony's new offerings apart. For starters, Sony confers the CineAlta moniker on the four new XDCAM HD products to indicate the new chops on board. Camcorder operators, for example, can shoot 24p/25p/30p in HD or SD and even over-crank (create slow-motion effects) and under-crank (to deliver that frenetic Keystone Kop look) with the F350. Users can up-rez, down-rez, or employ the Slow Shutter function to shoot in very low light while creating sexy blurs.
Digital signage is providing solutions in a growing number of applications, from retail merchandising and corporate communications, to information display and sports and entertainment environments. The technology can help you reach a growing number of people with a range of more current, meaningful information. This year's NSCA Expo offers a chance to learn in-depth about this technology through demonstrations and courses.
Free educational sessions at the Digital Signage LIVE Showcase Technology Pavilion will explore current digital signage hardware and software options, while another group of courses offers perspective on all aspects of digital signage. Creative designers, content managers, and IT and network operations managers can take tailored introductory courses on the subject. Other courses at the show offer a look at the digital signage market and where it's going, and practical advice on maximizing your digital signage network.
For more information on this and other educational opportunities at the upcoming NSCA Expo, visit Sound & Video Contractor's NSCA Preview at svconline.com/images/06NSCApreview.pdf.
Available Digital Signage Courses:
Thursday, March 16
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Digital Signage: The Exploding New Market
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Digital Signage 101 for Creative Designers and Content Managers
3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
The 3 D's of Digital Signage
Friday, March 17
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Digital Signage Design: Maximizing your Network
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Digital Signage 101 for IT and Network Operations Managers
3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Optimizing Digital Signage Networks
Apple DVD Studio Pro 4
Santa Monica, Calif.
Larry Jordan, a well-known digital media expert and Apple-certified DVD Studio Pro instructor, teaches this two-day, hands-on workshop in DVcreators.net's newly remodeled, all-G5 classroom. With enough G5s for each student, the class will allow you to author three DVD projects yourself. The workshop also comes with the Apple-certified book and DVD by Adrian Ramseier and Martin Sitter.
Adobe Premiere Pro for
Charlotte, N.C. (3 days);
Atlanta (2 days)
$1,195 (Charlotte); $895
Novices and experienced users alike will find something to take home from this course, which will help you understand and work with basic and advanced concepts and features of Premiere Pro. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., students will run through a typical series of steps for creating and editing several video pieces, and will learn many tips, tricks, and special exercises.
The Soundcraft DVD Guide To Mixing, Soundcraft
Roadblocks, New Ideas in Video-on-Demand Biz
by John Borland
ZDNet News: Oct. 21, 2005
Distribution of Profits in the Networked Digital Home: Owning the Control Points
by Predrag Filipovic, Ph.D.
The Diffusion Group
Request free copy/read summary:
Digital Filmmaking Handbook, Third Edition
by Ben Long & Sonja Schenk
Charles River Media
In most houses, the workshop is kept out of view — in the basement or the garage. For Chris Magid, principal at Renaissance Television and Film (gortvf.com), the converted Dallas house that plays host to his video postproduction business is all workshop. (Besides, of course, the mandatory comfortable living room and stocked kitchen.)
Supporting five editing and graphics suites, a Facilis TerraBlock serves as the storage backbone of the facility. Since migrating more to corporate work over the last few years, Renaissance has seen its volume of work expand, and that's put demands on the storage infrastructure. Housing and protecting a library of source material, the TerraBlock affords Renaissance volume-level sharing of up to 6TB. That means that no baseband video has to be routed through the house — it's all data.
The turn toward computer-based video editing has allowed nontraditional spaces to be used as postproduction facilities, and data-based video has made it possible for Renaissance's smaller house (1,800 square feet) to serve as a workshop. “Now with the TerraBlock we can maximize our space because at each seat we do not need to duplicate a lot of bulkier gear,” says Magid. “There doesn't have to be a VTR at every seat.”
Renaissance has five full suites, four of them Avid stations and one a graphics system with Combustion and After Effects. The two Avid Media Composers have I/O capabilities; the two Xpress Pros do not.
The 6TB capacity of the TerraBlock allows the company to keep projects online for longer than it otherwise would be able to. Because all machines are cutting from the same material, there haven't been any bottlenecks — and therefore the facility's projects can be turned around more quickly.
Renaissance's TerraBlock is composed of 24 SATA drives connected by 2Gbps Fibre Channel. To each seat, TerraBlock looks like a SCSI device. The volumes are striped and mirrored for RAID-like parity. It cost the company about $32,000 two years ago.
The storage infrastructure currently in place at Renaissance makes it cheaper for the facility to add a seat if that becomes necessary — Magid figures it would be about $5,000 total for Renaissance to add another Xpress Pro suite to the facility. That would help the company keep up with a docket of work that, in a typical-to-heavy week, might demand 12 spots to be edited and finished.
Q What trends are emerging in AV and IT?
A Streaming media, webcasting, digital signal processing, wireless applications, and AV-related software. Currently, more than 80 percent of all AV systems use LAN, and wireless connections are becoming the norm for these systems in boardrooms, classrooms, public spaces, and other environments.
The advent of streaming media has opened up options for small to mid-size companies. Although large corporations have used videoconferencing for decades, companies of all sizes are adding streaming media capabilities because of the financial and visual benefits. The bandwidth cost associated with streaming video is half that of videoconferencing and the smaller bandwidth has no impact on video quality or clarity. Beyond transmission costs, the smaller bandwidth requirements also reduce demands on the client's LAN.
Streaming media is a great vehicle for providing training videos directly to an employee's desktop. Digital signage is bringing AV into supermarkets, post offices, retail stores, and other places where AV has never appeared before. It combines high-resolution digital displays with dedicated computers and software to deliver targeted messages over a network to viewers and customers in public spaces. What makes digital signage a growing trend is its flexibility — a networked digital sign can easily change its message based on its location, the season, time of day, inventory levels, or special events.
— Randal A. Lemke, executive director, InfoComm International
Do you Jadoo? You may soon if you go on location and need a ready supply of power for camcorders and other gear. Jadoo — a Hindi word for “magic” — is Jadoo Power Systems, a Folsom, Calif.-based company that introduced the first hydrogen fuel cells pegged for video production.
On-the-run productions like fuel cells because — unlike batteries — the cells offer a virtually infinite shelf life when charged.
Now, at last month's CES exhibition, Jadoo introduced more consumer-friendly versions of its NABII power unit, N-Stor methane fuel canister, and FillPoint refill station aimed at a variety of new uses, including field-ready laptops.
In today's chaotic production and postproduction environments, the need to better manage one's time, tasks, and assets is more critical than ever.
Here's a simple example: How do you keep track of client tapes or FireWire drives in your possession, and where each is located in your facility?
Or consider a postproduction landscape where teams of creatives are all working on the same project, at exactly the same time. That project often resides on a server, networked to creatives performing their individual skill — design, titling, color correction, sounds, etc.
Such environments require global and accurate client billing as well as tracking the progress — or lack of progress — of your talent pool, staff members, and freelancers. Tracking multiple tasks on one — or 20 — projects can be enhanced with user-friendly database software applications, such as FileMaker Pro.
From a business management point of view, facility managers can buy into existing database applications, or customize databases that manage the complexities of their unique operation. As businesses grow and adapt, using databases to manage and track people, tasks, time, multimedia — and even your ideas — will ideally lead to a more robust, creative, and profitable environment.
The diligent use of a custom database does more. As a sort of “mini historical document,” the database can become a map and guidepost for your business, revealing to you at any point and time where you've been and where you are as a company.
From a production point of view, databases can be used to create a better product and tell a better story. While more people are shooting more film and video and doing so with greater speed, the actual result of this footage onslaught has led to a general decline in quality storytelling, especially with beginning filmmakers.
Why? It's logical that if there is more film and related data to sift through and organize, it will be a harder challenge to craft the best story possible. Here's another place where a flexible and easy to implement database program like FileMaker Pro is a great tool for bringing order.
For example, inspired by the visceral editing approach of renowned editor Walter Murch, and his handcrafted storyboards and color-coded scene cards, we decided to develop our own hybrid approach. We created a FileMaker- based database that digitally replicates Walter's physical process. We've found his approach a useful method for addressing and managing the sheer volume of data that film editing projects generate.
Using this database, we're able to assign primary and secondary color categories to our footage, organize and re-organize them in countless ways, and print out our scene/picture cards so we can tape them on our wall to get a good overall look at what we have.
We're able to digitally mirror Walter's editing process because inherent to FileMaker Pro 8 is the ability to easily store, collate, and retrieve large numbers of data types, including digital movies, music, icons, and pictures.
Using databases such as FileMaker Pro, facilities, filmmakers, consultants, indeed anyone, can partake in ambitious endeavors with the ability to track all activities. By better managing the complexities of their business environment, database users will more easily reach the milestones and gain the results they desire.
Los Angeles-based DigitalFilm Tree (digitalfilmtree.com) is a post facility specializing in consulting and workflow design. Credits include
Cold Mountain, Napoleon Dynamite,