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  • Attacks on America: The Camcorders Were On

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    As the United.States attempts to return to normalcy after recent tragedies in New York City and Washington, D.C., it's hard not to notice the prevalence of amateur videographers.

    More than ever, a significant portion of the video footage delivered to our living room TVs and streamed to our office computers stemmed from amateur videographers.

    One such piece of camcorder footage that quickly emerged caught the first plane strike on the World Trade Center, before any network news teams could scramble to focus on the site. A video camera operator, making a firefighter training tape nearby, heard a low-flying jet, and pointed his lens up at the tower, catching the first impact.

    Several other amateur videographers recorded high-quality footage of the second plane attack, as well as aftermath footage, including fleeing pedestrians, grief-stricken victims and proud volunteers who sifted through the rubble. Much of this video footage, some shot with consumer-grade camcorders, was later broadcast to the world.

    United States astronaut Frank Culberton also contributed footage with his own camcorder as he and two Russian cosmonauts made a pass over the U.S., one day after the tragedy.

  • Akamai Technologies Co-Founder Among NYC Victims

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Streaming media and Internet solution provider Akamai Technologies is mourning the passing of Daniel Lewin, co-founder, chief technology officer and company board member.

    A company statement said, American Airlines confirmed that he was on board the Boston to Los Angeles flight that crashed in New York City (Tuesday). Danny was 31 years old and is survived by his wife and two sons.

    Based in Cambridge, Mass., Akamai's FreeFlow Streaming network supports live WebCasts and streaming media on demand. The company also supports two streaming media applications.

    Akamai Conference, according to the company, is a fully-automated event system that allows customers to brand and deliver high-quality, high-volume audio and video Web conferences.

    Akamai Forum, an interactive Web broadcasting solution providing businesses with communication solutions, offers the ability to create and manage live and on-demand interactive programs, the company said.

  • Canons Elura has Allure

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Canon is keeping the Mini DVs coming with its October release of the Elura 20MC. Touted as being about the size of a cell phone, the diminutive Mini DV will feature three shooting modes, FireWire connectivity, image stabilization, a 10x optical zoom lens, progressive scan CCD image sensor and digital stereo sound.

    Canon says that, in extended recording mode, the Elura 20MC will deliver four hours of video on a single 80-minute Mini DV tape. It will also record still photos. To manage, retrieve and download digital photos, the Elura 20MC accepts the MultiMediaCard, as well as the Secure Digital Card.

    Canon expects fashion-conscious videographers to gravitate to the Elura 20MC because of its petite size (two inches wide by four inches high), as well as its versatility, according to a company press release. With the Elura 20MC, Canon continues the never-ending quest of pushing the limits of electronic miniaturization one step further, yet still attempting to meet a variety of still, motion and multimedia image capture needs.

    The Elura 20MC will carry a list price of $1,499. It's sister model, the Elura 10MC will include all of the 20MC's performance features, but will not contain the removable media card capabilities. It will list for $1,299.

  • FireStore Proclaims Productivity Breakthrough for Video Producers

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Focus Enhancements has released Videonics FireStore, which it claims is the first DV product that allows users to record footage directly to their FireWire hard disk as edit-ready files from a DV-based camcorder, without the use of a computer.

    FireStore is said to give users the ability to edit immediately after shooting, eliminating the time it would take to capture video. FireStore also can allow users to record two identical versions of their footage, simultaneously to disk as well as their camcorders' tapes.

    FireStore converts any IEEE 1394 hard drive into a high-performance digital disk recorder/player. Imported, edit-ready files can be used immediately by most DV-based editing system, the company said.

    To edit video clips, users can either cable their FireWire disk drive directly to their computer (via a standard IEEE 1394 card) or alternatively use the bypass mode, which allows the hard disk drive to mount to the computer through FireStore.

    FireStore is said to be supported by FireWire disk drives that have FAT 32 disk volumes, making it compatible with Windows 98SE, 2000, Me and Mac OS 9 operating systems.

    FireStore, the company said, is set up to allow most FireWire based DV camcorders' record and record pause modes to be triggered by the press of the camcorders Record Start/Stop button. Upon each Record Start, FireStore creates a new clip on the disk drive. FireStore also features many other functions, including play, reverse play, stop, multi-speed fast forward and rewind, single-frame forward and backward, next track/previous track and still record.

    Videonics FireStore is available now for a MSRP of $995.

  • Pinnacle Express DVD-Authoring Software Begins to Ship

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Pinnacle Systems has begun shipping Pinnacle Express video editing software, which it says will make it easy for users to convert camcorder tapes and digital still photos into DVD player-compatible discs.

    Pinnacle says users can import video directly from a Digital8 or DV camcorders, via FireWire interface, or by dragging and dropping video file thumbnails into the Pinnacle Express application. In addition, the software includes a variety of menu layouts and backgrounds as well as the flexibility to type in a title for each scene. Finished videos can be output on CD-R and CD-RW discs or on DVD-R discs in the DVD format.

    The software, according to Pinnacle, automatically creates scene-index menus for easy, pinpoint navigation. Additionally, viewers can jump to the scenes they want to see, repeat scenes or even freeze the action, all with their DVD player's remote control. Users can also trim, split, combine, delete or re-order scenes within the menus, Pinnacle says.

    In an effort to make the new software more user-friendly, Pinnacle said, it eliminated the tricks-of-the-trade that users in the past, had to learn in order to index, plan and layout DVD navigation.

    Pinnacle Express DV, including the Express software and a FireWire card has a MSRP of $79.

  • Sonic Solutions MyDVD to Ship with HP DVD-Writer Drive

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    A proprietary version of Sonic Solutions MyDVD application will be bundled on Hewlett-Packard's newly introduced HP DVD-writer dvd100i drive, Sonic announced August 20. Co-branded as HP MyDVD Video by Sonic, the home DVD authoring software enables customers to record, edit and share video content when using DVD+RW and CD-R/RW media.

    HP MyDVD Video by Sonic, incorporating a new technology called DVD editing, is said to be the first application that allows consumers to transform custom home videos directly to DVD+RW. It burns videos from a camcorder or VCR to the HP DVD-writer.

    The process is simple and fast, the companies say. After connecting a camcorder or VCR to a PC, hitting the "Record to DVD" button in the applications wizard sets the process in motion. The software automatically converts the video and audio into the correct DVD format, adds menus and navigation, and records to a DVD+RW disc viewable on many DVD players and PCs with a DVD-ROM drive. Projects can also be recorded to CD-R/RW media and played back on most multimedia PCs. HP MyDVD Video by Sonic also enables users to re-edit recorded discs by changing menus and adding or deleting videos.

    In authoring mode, interactive DVDs can be created by dragging and dropping different types of multimedia elements into a DVD project - video from camcorders, video files on hard disk in .avi, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 formats, audio and graphics data. HP MyDVD Video by Sonic includes a built-in transcoder that automatically converts all incoming video formats into those compatible with DVD players, freeing the user from the headaches of determining DVD file compatibility.

    HP MyDVD Video by Sonic is built on Sonics Hollywood-standard DVD formatting engine, ensuring that DVDs produced with the application, in conjunction with the DVD+RW format, are playable on the widest range of consumer DVD players.

  • ShuttlePRO Multimedia Controller Offers Precise, Customizable Editing Control

    Reprinted from a Contour Design Inc. press release:

    WINDHAM, NH, August 14, 2001 Contour Design, Inc. announced the release of the ShuttlePRO multimedia controller for Microsoft Windows 2000. The USB-based ShuttlePRO has thirteen buttons, a jog wheel and a shuttle knob that are fully programmable to any keyboard shortcut. The shuttle knob is the outer ring that facilitates fast forward and rewind for quick access of digital frames. The jog wheel is the internal portion of the knob, which provides precise frame-by-frame control. The device is supplied with easy to use software that allows users to customize the device for their favorite audio, video, and multimedia applications.

    The ShuttlePRO comes with application settings for today's popular editing software applications including Premiere, Cubase, Boris RED, After Effects, ProTools (TDM Systems), VideoStudio, MediaStudio Pro, VideoWave, and many others. Users may customize commonly used commands such as mark in, mark out, frame advance, scroll, fast forward, rewind, and/or any other keyboard shortcuts they want to define. Not only will users who perform video and other multimedia editing benefit from the advanced functionality of the ShuttlePRO, but users of software applications that support multiple key combinations (e.g., UnReal Tournament, Quake Team Arena, Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator, and Windows Media Player will realize enhanced productivity with the ShuttlePRO's programmable controls.

  • DPS Ships Version 2.5 of dpsReality Software

    Reprinted from a Leitch Technology Corp. press release:

    Markham, Ontario - August 14, 2001 - DPS, a business unit of Leitch Technology Corp., announced today that version 2.5 of the dpsReality Studio Digital Disk Recorder software is now shipping.

    The dpsReality 2.5 software upgrade enhances the ultimate tool for animators, compositors, and post-production professionals. New features in version 2.5 include enhanced numerical editing, split edits, EDL import and export, enhanced QuickTime and Windows Media Format exporting, interface refinements including assignable hotkeys, and the ability to remote control timeline playback and proc amp settings over a network. dpsReality 2.5 also features integration with eyeon's included Digital Fusion DFX+ compositing and advanced effects software, the expandable successor to the DFX software previously bundled with dpsReality.

    Existing dpsReality users have two options for upgrading to version 2.5 - a Basic or Full upgrade.

    The dpsReality 2.5 Full Upgrade includes the new dpsReality 2.5 software and an upgrade from eyeon's DFX to DFX+, all at a special upgrade price of $265 (for registered dpsReality version 2.0 users) or $415 (for registered dpsReality version 1.5 users). Pricing may vary internationally.

    The dpsReality 2.5 Basic Upgrade, which includes only the new dpsReality application itself, is available to registered users of dpsReality 2.0 as a free download from the DPS web site.

    Full Upgrades are available from a worldwide network of authorized DPS resellers. Those users located in the USA can also order DPS software upgrades directly from the DPS web site e-Store, at

  • New Panasonic Digital Palmcorders Pack High-performance into Compact Package

    Reprinted from a Panasonic press release:

    SECAUCUS, NJ (August, 2001) -- Designed to appeal to a wide audience, Panasonic's latest Palmcorder digital camcorders combine sophisticated features, compact design and easy handling. New suggested retail prices help make them extremely affordable. New model PV-DV701, available this month, has a suggested manufacturer's retail price of $999.95; and model PV-DV351, scheduled for September, has an MSRP of $899.95. Both high-quality, high-performance digital camcorders double as digital still cameras.

    Model PV-DV351 features a 2.5-inch color LCD monitor. Model PV-DV701 increases the monitor size to 3.5 inches, and adds analog in and an IR remote control. Other than these differences, both camcorders offer the identical advanced features.

    The PV-DV701 and PV-DV351 combine two versatile digital imaging products in one, giving users two ways to capture their precious memories. A 680,000-pixel CCD produces ultra sharp video images with up to 460 lines of horizontal resolution. Plus, the built-in PhotoShot digital still camera function takes high-quality digital still photos. A compact, ergonomically designed chassis makes either model ideal for travel and family vacations.

    Both camcorders feature Panasonic's exclusive Dual Digital Electronic Image Stabilization feature. It compensates for hand and camcorder movement while recording, and can also be used in the playback mode to help remove additional jitter from previously recorded video. Other key features include: 3-way PC link, 10x high-definition zoom and new 500x digital zoom, color viewfinder, new MagicPix Images feature for color recording in low light, MagicVu IR Filter for recording video in total darkness, Movie Messenger System for easy video sharing, easy cassette eject, and included photo editing software.

  • Electric Rain's RAViX II Technology to Supply Strata 3D Software with Flash Export

    Reprinted from an Electric Rain Inc. press release:

    BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 9 -- Electric Rain, Inc. announced the signing of an agreement to license their proprietary RAViX II vector-rendering technology to Strata, makers of Strata 3Dpro, the popular modeling and animation software application. RAViX II will provide a future release of Strata 3Dpro with the power to export to Macromedia Flash (.swf), Adobe Illustrator (.ai), .eps, and the latest XML-based vector format, .svg.

    Working as a Strata 3Dpro Power Module, RAViX II will render Strata 3Dpro scenes with complete accuracy, while staying true to colors, lighting, camera views and animations. RAViX II will provide Strata 3Dpro users with an extensive array of vector output options including 3 levels of outlines, five levels of cartoon shading, two levels of gradient shading, shadows and specular highlights. RAViX II is able to handle models containing well over 200,000 polygons and the resulting files are fully optimized.

    The agreement with Strata marks the first time that the RAViX II technology has been integrated into a third party application via a licensing contract. Through this agreement, Electric Rain's brands and technology will be promoted to the rapidly growing community of Strata 3D software applications around the world, paving the way for similar licensing deals in the future.