Video News

  • Webcasters Seek Entry Into Video Rental Market

    The release of Microsoft's video and music downloading system has sparked an urgency for Internet webcasting businesses trying to convince movie studios to supply them with videos at the time that video rental stores get them.

    If a deal happens between webcasters and a major studio, it would effectively change the basic structure of the home video rental market., is one of the first companies to provide downloadable movies on a pay-per-download basis. They're targeting college students and had their first Internet premiere with the popular art-house flick, Pi, at $2.95 per download.

    It's not clear yet how the Internet will affect the home video stores or how far studios are willing to go to protect video stores. At the moment the movie industry relies on the home video market for significant revenue. As the downloading and webcasting technology continues to improve and the subsequent demand for content increases, studios will be hard pressed not to turn to the Internet as an additional outlet.

    Meanwhile, webcasting Internet businesses are positioning themselves for what they're betting will be the inevitable: major movie titles for pay-per-download.

  • NAB Roundup

    The Annual and much anticipated National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention wrapped up in Las Vegas. Videomaker sent a team for up-to-the-minute dispatches on the latest products and developments by the major players in the video industry. Here's the major news they found:.

    Blossom Technologies showed a Casablanca-style standalone turnkey nonlinear editor. They call it the PVA (Personal Video Appliance). In addition to it's MPEG2 editing ability, it is being marketed as a DVR (digital VCRlike Replay TV)--offering instant replay, slow motion, time lapse and record scheduling.

    In addition, Blossom Technologies plans to make it an expandable system that you can upgrade and make into a DVD player, set box top, Internet browser (web & email), telephone answering device with caller ID, home automation control device & satellite download device.

    The unit is scheduled for a September 1999 release and will retail for about $2995.

    Blossom is also highlighting their show with the DaViD, a complete turnkey DVD authoring system. The entry-level model has a suggested price of $19999.

    Applied Magic demonstrated their own stand-alone editing system a la Casablanca, called ScreenPlay. It features real-time effects and is said to be very user friendly and very cool. Applied Magic expects to start shipping ScreenPlay sometime in the Fall. Spokespeople for Applied Magic said the system will retail for about $4000.

  • Streaming Media Guide Gets Real Update

    RealNetworks' RealGuide is back up and running with a new complete listing of all streaming media on the web except for media in competitive formats like Microsoft's Windows Media.

    RealNetworks released the new version of RealGuide last month. The updated guide lists over 1,700 TV and radio stations and 3,000 Web sites with streaming media content.

    Not only does the RealGuide showcase Real content but it also serves as a money making venture for RealNetworks. With advertising and sponsorship, RealNetworks looks to create a profitable cash stream as the Internet's equivalent of TV Guide.

    Unlike other content providers like that host its own content, RealGuide is strictly a directory service that points users to other sites that contain RealNetwork compatible media formats.

  • Serb Filmmaker Takes Story into Own Hands

    Whatever streaming audio and video technology lacks in quality, it more than makes up for in diverse and interesting content.

    While CNN flooded television screens all over the world with haunting images of Albanian refugees fleeing their war torn country and Serbian news showed the devastation caused by NATO bombings, a Serbian filmmaker used a Sony Hi8 and a Panasonic DV camcorder to shoot and broadcast a documentary of the crisis via streaming video over the Internet.

    Armed with a Sony Hi8 and a Panasonic DV camcorder the filmmaker (named A.G. to protect his identity) documented the initial bombing crisis in three video shorts. There are no dead bodies, exploding bombs or otherwise graphic images in the shorts. Instead A.G. depicts the day-to-day life of ordinary people caught in the throes of war.

    The first short, documents the escalating crisis just days prior to the first NATO bombing. The second clip, Nicolai Doesn't Look at The Sky, focuses on a three-year-old child and his mother as they leave their home to seek a safe haven. The third short takes place in a bomb shelter during an air raid.

    The filmmaker works at a Belgrade radio station that broadcasts over the Internet. He took advantage of the digital editing facilities and Internet access he had there and used Adobe Premiere to edit the shorts along with FAST's AV Master to digitize and capture his video clips. A.G. then posted them to Webcinema, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the Internet as a way to "finance, create, produce, distribute and market independent films.

    You can view the streaming videos and read the accompanying written journals at

  • Dual-Purpose Camcorders Take Center Stage

    The big three camcorder manufacturers, Panasonic, Sony and JVC, each recently unveiled camcorders at the Photo Marketing Association Show in February with still frame capture capability and removable memory cards, marking a new trend in camcorder features.

    Sony and JVC opted for all-digital models, while Panasonic went with two analog models that capture digital stills.

    Sony's model (DCR-TRV10) uses a miniDV cassette tape for motion capture and a Memory Stick for digital still capture.

    Meanwhile, JVC introduced their model with a new flash memory format called MultiMedia Card(MMC) by San Disk. The MMC is sleek and slender; about 1/5 the size of CompactFlash cards.

    The Panasonic VHS-C models (PV-L759 and PV-L859) use SanDisk's Compact Flash system, which had until now only been used with digital camcorders. Panasonic will ship their new dual camcorders with 2MB removable CompactFlash cards.

    With JVC's introduction of the MMC that allows for ever smaller camcorders, it looks like the memory-card-format war is underway.

  • Laundromat, Fotomat... Streaming Videomat?

    Remember the old Kodak drive-thrus? Well, eEncoding .com, a successful Web site that converts film and digital clips into streaming media files, is developing a site that capitalizes on the Fotomat idea with a twist -- clients will be able to drop their digital media files on the Web site, and have them automatically converted to a streaming format.

    The new Web site, called, will convert download-only media files like those in the AVI, WAV or QuickTime formats, to streaming media files that can be played on streaming media players like RealPlayer or Windows Media Player. is positioning itself as an automated streaming media encoding service. Clients can upload their digital files to the site and will transcode(change one digital format into another) files without having anyone touch any kind of film.

    Although individual users can take advantage of the service, Tom Plaster, product manager for said the service is aimed more at small to medium-sized businesses with a large volume of digital files to have transcoded, thus bypassing the usual in-house production mess that accompanies the transcoding process.

    The service will be officially unveiled at the RealNetworks Conference in San Francisco this May.

  • Pinnacle Announces New MPEG-1 Capture Device

    Adding to the Studio family of video products, Pinnacle Systems announced the release of Studio MP10, an advanced MPEG CD authoring tool.

    The Studio MP10 is essentially a capture device that plugs into the computer's printer port and allows users to capture compressed MPEG-1 video from a number of sources including camcorders, VCRs and DVD players. Then using the Studio's software, users can add audio, special effects then edit it and output the finished video to a CD, video tape or the Internet.

    For those who want to create videos with DVD-like menus, Studio MP10 gives the user the power to be creative by capitalizing on the interactive capabilities designed for creating CD-ROMs.

    The Studio MP10 leverages our video capture and editing expertise and creates a complete solution for users that want to turn their videos into interactive MPEG CDs for the home or office," said William Chien, senior product manager at Pinnacle Systems.

    Pinnacle Systems will showcase the Studio MP10 at the NAB show in Las Vegas this April.

  • Canopus Corporation Announces a Hardware-based 3D Effects Engine That Offers "Near-real-time" Rendering

    Canopus corporation recently announced shipment of Rexf/x ($699), a hardware-based 3D effects engine that offers "near-real-time" rendering of over 40 high-quality pre-set effects, including cube, tube, mosaic, double doors, spinning cube and environmental effects including haze and lighting. In the coming months, Canopus will offer additional effects modules that include more transitions such as picture-in-picture, titling effects and special-effects filters. The first add-on effects module will be available free to Rexf/x users in February.

    Canopus also announced in January that their DVRex and DVRaptor FireWire video capture boards will now support Adobe Premiere 5.1. New drivers are now available on the company's Web site ( --Joe McCleskey

  • Meda Corporation Announces VideoRaid scsi for Macintosh

    Continuing to expand upon its VideoRaid family of disk arrays, Meda Corporation today announced VideoRaid scsi, a RAID storage solution for Macintosh, SGI and Windows-based nonlinear editing systems. With sustained data transfer rates of 18 MB/second and 36 MB/second, VideoRaid scsi products are targeted at video editors who require very high data transfer rates and copious amounts of storage for long-format projects. The two-drive versions of VideoRaid scsi offer up to 34 GB of storage and sustain an 18 MB/second data rate. The four-drive versions offer up to 67 GB with sustained data transfer rates of 36 MB/second. --Joe McCleskey

  • 1998 Videomaker/Panasonic Contest Winners

    We rolled out the red carpet for over 100 entries ranging from action-oriented feature-length movies, documentaries and music videos, to dramas and industrial training videos. Since there were no category or time constraints placed on the contest, it was extremely difficult to choose only a few winners. However, we felt that those that did win gave more attention to lighting, audio quality, directing, editing, shot selection and framing. The combination of technical quality and creativity put these winning videos above the rest. Unfortunately, we couldn't select everyone as a prizewinner. However, those who entered should be very proud of their accomplishment. What stood out and made us most proud was that the production standards definitely rose over the last few years. All the entrants demonstrated good fundamentals, techniques and creativity. This means that you have been paying attention to all those Videomaker articles and tips. The pre-ceremony hype and suspense is over, and we've selected this year's best videos. Thank you to all who entered, and congratulations to this year's winners. As mentioned, the competition was fierce, but our judges felt that the following videos deserved the highest honors. The envelope please

    Grand Prize
    Panasonic PV-DV710 Digital Palmcorder ($2,500 value)
    Art Nelson
    Oakhurst, NJ
    Beach Rich, Fish Poor

    First Prize
    Videonics MXPro Digital Video Mixer ($1,799 value)
    Chris Cosgrave
    Niagara Fall, NY
    Hands like Suitcases

    Second Prize
    Elite Video BVP-4+ Video Processor ($995 value)
    Wayne Cook and Liz Massey
    Pimalco Video Dept.
    Chandler, AZ
    Mandrel Rod Change Procedure

    Third Prize
    Iomega Buz Multimedia Producer and Jaz 1GB Drive ($500 value)
    Kristin Atwell
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Slave to the Coffee Cup