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  • Windows Media 9 Series Official Screening Format of Sundance Film Festival


    By Jim Hu Staff Writer, CNET January 17, 2003, 8:17 AM PT

    Microsoft plans to screen four independent movies at the Sundance Film Festival with its Windows Media 9 Series software, as part of the company's ongoing efforts to warm Hollywood to its technology.

    The software giant's media playback technology will be used with four films, "Masked and Anonymous," "The Maldonado Miracle," "A Foreign Affair," and "Milk and Honey."

    Sundance, which began Thursday and runs through Jan. 26 in Park City, Utah, will also use Windows Media 9 to deliver short films on its Web site.

    Microsoft has been wooing Hollywood for years in hopes that the industry will adopt its multimedia playback technology when offering their films on PCs. The company unveiled Windows Media 9 in September at a star-studded presentation featuring "Titanic" director James Cameron, Beatles producer Sir George Martin and musician LL Cool J.

    Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates described that launch as another step in the company's vision to deliver digital media to a host of PC-like devices in the home. Hollywood, however, has remained noncommittal and has continued to support Windows Media rivals: RealNetworks and Apple Computer's QuickTime.

    Meanwhile, Microsoft faces competition from MPEG-4, a standard for compressing large digital files into smaller formats that can be delivered over the Internet. Many consumer electronics companies have supported MPEG-4, partially out of concern that Microsoft's operating system dominance would further spread into digital compression.

    Earlier this month, Microsoft said it will charge licensing fees to device manufacturers that do not support Windows but want to use Windows Media 9. Proponents of MPEG-4 criticized the move, claiming that license fees would create unfair competition and limit consumer choice.

  • Sharp Introduces Four New Mini DV Camcorders

    From Sharp press release

    LAS VEGAS, January 9, 2003 Sharp electronics today announced its new line of camcorders for 2003. The four new camcorders (the VL-Z1U, 3U, 5U and 7U) comprize the "Z" line of Viewcams.

    The palm-sized "Z" cams feature a unique swivel-body design, designed to make them easy to carry, and easy to operate with one hand. Each model includes a 10x optical zoom lens and a 2.5" flip-out CG Silicon view screen.

    "Our new Z series Viewcam line has been ergonomically designed using feedback from our customers to provide a user-friendly style that will conform to the user's hand placement making this camcorder perfect for capturing life's important moments," said Bob Pleyer, Senior Marketing Manager of Video Products for Sharp Electronics.

    Pleyer told Videomaker Managing Editor Chuck Peters that the CG Silicon display is designed to provide extremely high resolution viewing for moving and still images, even in bright sunlight.

    The VL-Z3U, 5U and 7U are equipped with an SD slot ans USB ports for digital still imaging. The VL-Z7U boasts a 1.3 megapixel imaging chip.

    The VL-Z7U will be available in Feb 2003 for a suggested retail price of $899. The Z5U will be available in March for $799. Look for the Z3U ($699) and Z1U ($599) in April and May of 2003.

  • Samsung Shows New Duo Cam

    From Samsung press release

    Las Vegas, NV -- Samsung Electronics America, Inc., is shaking up the world of digital imaging and motion video, by announcing the innovative Duo Cam SCD-5000, a single advanced camcorder that combines the best of both worlds. It utilizes two dedicated lenses to deliver no-compromise performance and convenience. The SCD-5000 has a 680K Mini DV system for digital video and a 4.1 megapixel Schneider optics lens for still photography that can be stored on memory stick. The DuoCam SCD-5000 is on display at Samsung booth (# 12016 Central Hall LVCC) during the Consumer Electronics Show, January 9th - 12th, 2003.

    "The SCD-5000 is the perfect device for consumers seeking both performance and convenience in digital imaging. No longer will they have to worry about fumbling between two cameras or having to carry them both. The Duo-cam's dual lens design delivers enough performance to satisfy the most demanding camera enthusiasts says, JR deSouza, Marketing Manager of Digital Video, Samsung Electronics America. "Its convenience provides a solution to parents who want to spend their time enjoying the moment, not trying to capture it."

  • Samsung Introduces Gadget Camcorder

    From Samsung press release

    Las Vegas, NV -- Samsung, a leader in the camcorder, digital still camera and digital audio player industries, presents the latest "must-have" device for 2003, the ITCAM-7 "Gadget" camcorder. Samsung's diminutive ITCAM-7 Gadget camcorder measuring an amazing 2.48" W x 1.32" D x 4.06" H, creates a new product category offering great convenience and versatility to video, photography and music. The Gadget camcorder is on display at Samsung's Booth (# 12016) at the 2003 Consumer Electronics Show, January 9th - 12th in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Central Hall.

    Already a recipient of an "Innovations 2003 Design and Engineering Showcase Honoree" award, the ITCAM-7 is expected to create a new portable device category. The unit is the perfect companion for consumers and professional on the go, offering the ability to record up to 1.5 hours of video using the new MPEG-4 video format.

    "Samsung is once again rocking the industry by capturing the consumer's imagination and interest with an exciting new product category" said, JR deSouza, Marketing Manager of Digital Video, Samsung Electronics America.

    Samsung ultimate portable combination device features a 2 GB HDD that stores over 30 hours of MP3s, thousands of digital still pictures or up to an hour and a half worth of MPEG-4 video. The unit's exclusive technology compresses video with a resolution of 640x480 at 30 frames per second (VGA) ensuring a great balance between video performance, and recording time.

  • Sony Introduces Two New Digital8 Camcorders

    From Sony press release

    LAS VEGAS, (CES, Booth #N109), Jan. 8, 2003 A recent independent study revealed that a staggering 75 percent of Americans regret not having a camcorder to capture spontaneous, everyday life moments and that almost half that don't own a camcorder perceive they're a luxury item rather than an affordable, everyday device.

    Sony Electronics today introduced two entry-level Handycam camcorders for those wishing to test the digital video waters, and capture those everyday moments they're missing now.

    Sony's two new Digital8 Handycam camcorders, the DCR-TRV250 and DCR-TRV350 camcorders, expected to sell for about $400 and $500 respectively, are Sony's most affordable digital video camcorders for 2003.

    Both models offer Sony's advanced Worry-Free Recording features, such as SteadyShot Picture Stabilization to compensate for camera shake without compromising image quality, and NightShot? O Lux Recording system for capturing video in total darkness.

  • Sony Breaks the Mini DV Camcorder Mold

    From Sony press release

    LAS VEGAS, (CES, Booth #N109), Jan. 8, 2003 Sony Electronics asks the question, Can your camcorder do this? with today's introduction of seven new Mini DV Handycam camcorders that host a bevy of first-time features for Sony and the camcorder industry.

    Despite their surprisingly small size, the DCR-TRV19, DCR-TRV22 and the DCR-TRV33 are packed with performance features such as a touch-panel 2.5-inch SwivelScreen LCD display for easy access to the entire camcorder menu and super SteadyShot picture stabilization. Measuring in at approximately 28 percent smaller and 22 percent lighter than last year's models, these super-compact units are designed to fit comfortably into a small bag and an active lifestyle. If a larger screen size is preferred, the DCR-TRV38 model affords all of the features of the DCR-TRV33 camcorder and adds a 3.5-inch SwivelScreen LCD display.

    The DCR-TRV19 model will be available in March for about $600. The DCR-TRV22 model will be available in February for about $700. The DCR-TRV33 model will be available in February for about $800. The DCR-TRV38 model will be available in February for about $900.

    Users can check out their favorite Web pages or shoot a friend an e-mail without turning on a computer with Sony's latest Network Handycam camcorders, the DCR-TRV39, DCR-TRV70 and DCR-TRV80 models. All offer Internet connectivity without a PC through the use of an optional USB adapter with either Ethernet or analog connectivity.

    The DCR-TRV39 model will be available in February for about $1,000. The DCR-TRV70 model will be available in March for about $1,300. The DCR-TRV80 model will be available in March for about $1,500.

  • Sony Unveils New DVD Camcorders

    From Sony press release

    LAS VEGAS (CES, Booth # N109), Jan. 8, 2003 Sony's new line of DVD Handycam camcorders, introduced here today, advance the simplicity of making and sharing videos. The three new camcorders produce DVD recordings that play back in most current home and PC DVD players, as well as most later releases of PlayStation2 game consoles.

    As the DVD home player market continues to boom with U.S. household penetration surpassing 40 percent, Sony's new DVD camcorders, the DCR-DVD100, DCR-DVD200 and DCR-DVD300 models record on 3-inch DVD-R and DVD-RW media.

    All three models feature a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens producing more true-to-life color clarity in videos and still images and 10X optical/120X precision digital zoom that brings the action up close.

    The entry-level DCR-DVD100 model is expected to be available for under $1,000. The DCR-DVD200 unit adds a one-megapixel imager and both models have 2.5-inch SwivelScreen LCD displays. For those looking for a larger view during recording and playback, the DCR-DVD300 model steps up to a 3.5-inch SwivelScreen LCD display. All three models will be available this summer.

  • Sony Announces Giga Vault Portable Hard Drive

    Reprinted from a Sony press release:

    Sony's new Giga Vault portable hard-disk media packs 40 GB of digital data storage - for holding large amounts of DVD-quality video, digital images and digital music - in a device that can easily fit into a shirt pocket or handbag.

    Offering instant `plug-and-play' capabilities, Giga Vault hard-disk media connects via the USB 2.0 interface to a Windows Operating System-based computer, allowing users to quickly and easily transport large data files from one computer to another. The high-speed USB 2.0 interface provides a transfer rate that's up to 40-times faster than the USB 1.1 interface. An i.LINK IEEE 1394 digital interface for Mac computer users is expected to be available shortly.

    "Giga Vault portable hard-disk media is specifically designed for users who want to carry their personal library of digital files wherever they go," said Michael Lucas, director of consumer and convergent media products for Sony Electronics' Business Solutions and Systems Company. "With its spacious 40 GB capacity, the unit can store a variety of rich media files such as Microsoft PowerPoint presentations with graphic-intensive content, high-resolution digital photos, video clips and other multi-media files."

    Designed to be extremely portable, the unit weighs only 10 ounces and also sports a shock absorbing body that helps protect the integrity of files when in transport. The unit also features an innovative form factor in which the hard-disk media and the USB 2.0 interface adaptor "cap" can be purchased together or separately. According to Lucas, this scalability enables users to purchase the components that best meet their needs. Customers can purchase additional hard disk media as their storage requirements grow, or buy an extra adaptor cap for a second computer, enabling them to carry just the media between their PCs.

  • Datavideo Introduces Intervalometer and DV Bank

    Reprinted from a Datavideo press release:

    Until today's introduction of Datavideo's Intervalometer, creative single frame time-lapse camera effects were unattainable to videographers who didn't have a Betacam deck that could perform single frame edits.

    Datavideo's new Intervalometer, recording at DV 25 quality, adds new functionality to the DV Bank, offering a complete range of creative video opportunities for the producer and videographer, regardless of whether they're using a mini DV or analog video source

    For the creative producer, the Datavideo Intervalometer / DV Bank system is an affordable new tool to help captivate and motivate audiences. With the Intervalometer / DV Bank system, producers can creatively animate the operation of machines, maps and charts, story boards, games, titles or anything else that an assignment requires. Producers can create unique compelling animated real-object video images without having to resort to complex computer-animation programs.

    The powerful Intervalometer / DV Bank system enables the technical producer to effortlessly make traditional time lapse images of sunsets, sunrises, flowers, construction sites, traffic flow, etc. Datavideo's capable duo opens up a new world of possibilities for security and surveillance applications, as well.

    The Intervalometer is easy to use. Just set the number of frames to record, then set the time interval between recordings (in seconds, minutes and hours). The Intervalometer can also be externally triggered through a contact closure (GPI ) connection and attached to a wide range of switches or sensors. The Intervalometer and DV Bank work effortlessly with 'MOCO' software, without the traditional high cost and additional processing time of film.

  • Arboretum Systems Announces Montage Editing Software for the Macintosh

    Reprinted from an Arboretum Systems press release:

    Arboretum Systems is pleased to announce its entry to the consumer video/audio market with Montage, the first media software that lets creators work like they think. Montage features a groundbreaking "trackless" workspace that allows the free manipulation of video, audio, stills, and text in an infinitely expandable window.

    On display at the NAMM Show, January 16-19 in Los Angeles, Montage is the crystallization of Arboretum's desire to change the way computers are used for video, film, multimedia, and music production at all levels.

    The only consumer-priced alternative to Apple's iMovie software, Montage was built for OS X from the ground up and is 100% Cocoa native. "Montage was created for aspiring movie makers who literally think 'outside the box,'" said Arboretum CEO, Georges Jaroslaw. "If you can see a movie in your mind, you can easily create it in our software by editing and placing clips in the workspace. The user interface is completely transparent."

    Media clips can be imported or captured in real time from a FireWire DV camera using remote machine control, then freely arranged in the workspace to make movies.

    When video clips are dragged on top of each other instant dissolves are created -- clicking on the resulting connection graphic brings up a selection of fully editable professional compositors, transitions, and wipes. In addition, over a dozen video effects including edge detection, emboss, film noise, and color tint are available and can be applied to any video clip; a realtime preview box takes the guesswork out of adjusting effect parameters. Text boxes can be placed over video clips or keyed against an editable background with adjustable duration for scrolling.