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  • Two New Panasonic Palms


    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Panasonic has released two new, fully-equipped Palmcorder Mini DV cams for under $1,000. The PV-DV701 (MSRP $999) and PV-DV351 (MSRP $899) offer Panasonic's Dual Digital Electronic Image Stabilization to compensate for camcorder movement and the MagicPix Images feature to allow for low-light recording. Both include 10x optical zoom lenses, 680,000-pixel CCDs and built-in PhotoShot digital still-camera functions. In addition, their three-way PC link allow desktop connection via IEEE 1394, PHOTOVU LINK and CARD LINK. Both camsl also come bundled with photo-editing software. In addition, the PIP (picture-in-picture) feature lets users insert a small still shot over the video being recorded.

    According to Panasonic release, the main difference between the two camcordersis the size of the LCD screen. The PV-DV351 will offer a 2.5-inch LCD monitor while the PV-DV701 will come equipped with a 3.5-inch LCD.

  • FireWire DV Direct-to-Disk Debuts


    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Two recently-released interface devices are said to convert any FireWire (IEEE 1394) hard disk drive into a digital disk recorder/player. The units, Videonics' FireStore and Advanced Technologies' MasStor, should allow users to record and play back digital video directly to and from a FireWire hard drive without the need for a PC. They both let video be input or output as a DV video stream through the device, which reads or writes a DV data stream from a FireWire disk drive.

    Both products also offer the ability to simultaneously record to hard disk as the DV camcorder records to its tape, thereby producing two copies. Since the units can record digital video to removable hard disk cartridges, almost unlimited storage is possible by using multiple cartridges.

    FireStore comes with an MSRP of $995.

    The MasStor makes use of its own line of Digital AV Packs, soon-to-be-available in 20-minute to 140-minute capacities. It's designed to run on a detachable, rechargeable lithium battery pack or AC adapter. The MasStor's MSRP is $2,499.

  • Swift 3D 2.O Offers 3D Export to Flash


    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Electric Rain recently unveiled Swift 3D 2.0, a stand-alone which should allow users to design and render 3D scenes to several formats, including Macromedia Flash (.swf), Adobe Illustrator (.ai), .eps and .svg. Swift 3D has been synonymous with 3D vector tools, but now, the company said, Version 2.0 should bring 3D design for Flash to a whole new level.

    New Swift 3D 2.0 features abound. For modeling, the new version, according to Electric Rain, offers extrusion and lathe editors, PostScript font support, targeted cameras and lights, automated timeline scaling, numerical positioning of objects, non-uniform scaling of objects and the ability to animate materials.

    When it comes to rendering, Swift 3D 2.0 uses the RAViX II rendering engine, which the company says offers the fastest, most versatile 3D-to-vector conversion available.

    New rendering capabilities include faster rendering; a previewing system to view and edit rendered scenes before writing to a file; full-color cartoon fills that extend the list of shading options; shadow rendering for plane and object shadow casting, and line weight, color and detail settings for full control over wireframe output.

    Available now for Windows and Mac, Swift 3D 2.0 carries a MSRP of $159. For more information, visit www.erain.com or www.swift3d.com.

  • RealNetworks Introduces RealOne Platform


    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Internet Media delivery stalwart RealNetworks on Sept. 24 unveiled a new integrated media platform called RealOne. The RealOne Platform, the company anticipates, will allow Web content creators to extending their current Web sites to create an immersive multimedia experience which features audio and video playback with contextual information.

    The RealOne Platform is expected to be compatible with a wide-range of development tools and services that enable users to create secure, digital media content.

    At the center of the platform is the new RealOne Player, which is said to combine and reinvent the ubiquitous RealPlayer and RealJukebox and adds to them a powerful new media browser to give consumers "an unmatched, multi-dimensional media experience."

    More than 150 content providers and technology partners worldwide have already announced their endorsement of the RealOne Platform, the company reported. They include ABC News, CBS.com, FeedRoom, MLB Advanced Media, MGM Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Weather.com.

    A RealOne Platform developer preview is available now for download at www.realnetworks.com. Within 60 days, the company said, it will also launch RealOne Service, an expanded version of its successful GoldPass media subscription service. RealOne Service is expected to be built upon the RealOne Platform and would offer a wide range of content and services, including downloadable and streaming major-label music from MusicNet.

  • Pinnacle Systems Acquires Video Software Business from FAST Multimedia


    Reprinted from a Pinnacle press release:

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA., and IBC, Amsterdam, Netherlands, September 13, 2001-Pinnacle Systems Inc., a leader in professional and consumer video solutions, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of FAST Multimedia, a leading developer of innovative video editing solutions, headquartered in Munich, Germany. Pinnacle Systems plans to integrate FAST's products into its family of industry-leading video, authoring and streaming solutions.

    Pinnacle Systems will acquire all intellectual property, software rights, products, other assets, and certain liabilities of FAST Multimedia. The purchase price will be approximately $15 million and will be paid for in a combination of cash and Pinnacle Systems' stock. The transaction will be accounted for as a purchase, and is expected to close in early October.

    Mark Sanders, President and CEO at Pinnacle Systems said, Pinnacle Systems is delighted to have the FAST Multimedia team join Pinnacle Systems. This acquisition furthers Pinnacle's expanding family of software applications and solutions to provide higher value-add for our customers. FAST's advanced software for video content creation fills an important gap between our consumer editing software products and our high-end broadcast systems.

    FAST Multimedia is pleased to be joining forces with Pinnacle Systems, said Matthias Zahn, Chairman and founder of FAST Multimedia. Our customers and products will benefit greatly from the combined resources of the two companies.

  • Azden Announces New $200 SGM-1X Super-Cardioid Shotgun Microphone


    Reprinted from an Azden press release:

    Franklin Square, NY - Monday, September 24, 2001 Following up on the enthusias-tic reception and booming sales of its' top-of-the-line SGM-2X, Azden Corporation has introduced a shorter version, designed specifically for use by today's smaller professional digital video cameras. Designated the SGM-1X, it is a single barrel hyper-directional super-cardioid shotgun microphone, approximately 4" shorter than the SGM-2X but using the same heavy-duty professional integrated shockmount, which can be attached to a camera shoe or mic stand.

    The SGM-1X has a wide frequency response (80-18,000Hz), exhibits low noise and ac-cepts up to 110dB SPL input levels. It uses a single AAA battery that will last over 1000 hours due to the mic's extremely low current drain. It has balanced low-impedance XLR output (no cable provided), windscreen and includes the above-mentioned pro-prietary shock-mount holder which isolates camera motor noise from the microphone. Although it is a wired shotgun mic, the SGM-1X is easy to convert it for wireless use by attaching one of Azden's UHF or VHF plug-in transmitters.

    The SGM-1X has a suggested retail price of $200 and becomes available in mid-September.

  • MSNBC & FeedRoom Execs Relay Unprecedented Sept. 11 Video-Streaming Tales and Numbers


    Exclusive quotes gathered by InteractiveTV Today. Reprinted by Videomaker with permission from Tracy Swedlow, InteractiveTV Today.

    InteractiveTV Today (itvt.com) recently published the following accounts of how MSNBC.com and The FeedRoom, a 24-hour Internet-driven VOD news-feed service, which enjoys strong broadcast partnerships with NBC, Tribune Media, and GBC, were able to capture the New York City crisis as it unfolded last week.

    The FeedRoom - CEO Jon Klein's account of how the company managed to broadcast its VOD service remotely:

    "Until Tuesday, our office windows were filled with a vista of the twin towers. Our staff saw and heard the first impact, then the second, then the collapses. Being news people, we immediately rolled a video camera after the first plane hit, and posted that clip within minutes of the first impact. Our building was evacuated at 11AM, because it sits atop the Holland Tunnel, a prime potential target. But five of us stayed for three more hours to make sure that WNBC's (the NBC-owned station in NYC) live coverage was streaming on all 26 local FeedRoom sites that we run for NBC, as well as on the main FeedRoom site.

  • 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.

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