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  • dvGarage and Electric Image Offer Mac-Based 3D Toolkit Training System

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Targeting Mac users who work with video, multimedia and print graphics, dvGarage and Electric Image have teamed up to develop an integrated training system designed to teach 3D principles and techniques.

    3D Toolkit will be available in July for $199.

    The 3D Toolkit will include a DVD-based training hosted by Alex Lindsay, who created 3D for Star Wars: Episode 1 and other films with Industrial Light & Magic. The 3D Toolkit also includes a full version of Electric Image's 2.9 software, which originally sold for $2,295, and was used to make Star Wars and other major productions.

    The 3D Toolkit is designed for a wide-range of artists who want to integrate 3D visual effects into their projects. 3D Toolkit proponents said that in the past, other such training kits have been too expensive, too complex or too simple for budding 3D artists to get into 3D and progress to the professional level. Rather than describing each button on the software's user interface, the 3D Toolkit will endeavor to teach essential building blocks of working in 3D though tutorials, instructional video and community projects. The 3D Toolkit will also offer high-end tips and tricks for established 3D artists who want to take their work to the next level, regardless of what 3D application they are using.

    The 3D Toolkit includes an overview of modeling, animating and rendering, as well as both basic and advanced tutorials. It also includes a collection of texture maps, models, surface settings and more to help artists get started quickly. To further build on its integrated training platform, later this summer dvGarage will release six additional components to its 3D Toolkit system. They are camera mapping, texture mapping and animation for technique training and pre-visualization, broadcast and print for professional specialization.

  • The Scour Beta Video and Audio Exchange is Open

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Scour is back. Running a beta version with admittedly limited content, the online peer-to-peer video and audio trading service, this time fully legal, is open for business. And for now, the exchanges are free.

    Via Windows Media Player (version 7.0 or higher), users can now download music and video files from Scour Exchange. The Windows Media format is based on MPEG-4 technology. With the help of the MPEG-4's file-compression properties, the file sizes are more manageable. And the quality is excellent. Movie trailers, like an 11MB, licensed Shrek preview, are delivered at near-VHS, full-screen quality. MPEG-4 is similar to other media files, such as MP3 or MPEG files, but allows the use of DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology. DRM ensures artists' intellectual property rights have been satisfied, and also, with no crummy bootlegs being traded, you can expect high quality music and videos.

    Scour expects the free beta exchange to last several months, at which time it will turn into a pay service. Scour says costs at that time are expected to be nominal.

    While video and audio choices number only in the dozens now, as record labels, artists and movie studios come on board, Scour predicts that users will eventually have access to over 100,000 music selections and hundreds of video files. Full-length feature films are expected in the future, with one price to view them in a one-time streaming experience, and another price to download a full-length movie to your hard drive.

  • Canopus' StormEncoder Offers Video Editors Quicker Encoding Times

    Reprinted from a Canopus press release:

    Nonlinear editing solution provider Canopus Corporation recently announced StormEncoder, a powerful, real-time MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 hardware encoding module for use with the company's real-time NLE DVStorm. With StormEncoder, DVStorm customers are able to quickly encode their edited video productions directly from Adobe Premiere or Canopus StormEdit timelines while maintaining exceptional video quality.

    StormEncoder is based on the MN85560 MPEG encoder chip from Panasonic in combination with Canopus' MPEG audio encoding technology to deliver the high-quality video and audio output required for DVD authoring and video streaming. StormEncoder encodes footage in real-time (and in near real-time when encoding directly from the timeline) using Main Profile at Main Level MPEG-2 (MP@ML). While other MPEG-2 systems use I-frame or IP-frame only, MP@ML provides true IBP frame format. Encoding in MP@ML provides the highest quality at the lowest bandwidth.

  • New Deal Bundles Videometry Images with eZediaMX Multimedia Software

    Reprinted from aVideometry press release:

    Videometry Inc., digital content creators and producers of Imagery + Motion X Digital royalty-free stock footage, recently announced a license agreement with eZedia Inc. to license Videometry imagery for eZediaMX multimedia integration software. The license and bundling deal allows eZedia to include up to 25 of Videometry's media clips in newly released eZediaMX version 2.1. A collection of Videometry imagery will also be made available on the eZedia website as a free download.

    The new eZedia multimedia integration product brings presentation graphics software into the 21st century with its easy to use interface and powerful media object tools, says Videometry president and CEO Steve Gianfermo. With eZedia software and Videometry imagery, you can create dynamically rich multimedia presentations with the click of a few buttons.

    The collection of digital content from Videometry provides users of eZediaMX with more ways to creatively communicate and connect with others, says Art Monk, CEO of eZedia. We are extremely pleased to be able to include this broad selection of video imagery with our 2.1 release for use in a wide range of eZediaMX digital productions.

  • Sonic Goes on Tour with DVD Technology Seminar Series

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Sonic Solutions announced recently the launch of a 46-city seminar series entitled "DVD Fundamentals" to be offered June through September this year. The seminar is designed to help creative professionals learn about the latest developments in DVD technology, with a special focus on automated DVD production, web-enabled DVD production, and developing DVDs for distribution on multiple formats including DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, DLT, CD-ROM and the soon-to be-introduced DVD+RW drives. To register or to learn more about the seminars, attendees can visit the Sonic website at

    Designed to assist video post production facility owners and managers, corporate communications groups, video production managers, multimedia publishers, and DVD title authors, the latest seminar series by Sonic will introduce attendees to all of the steps involved in authoring DVD titles and integrating DVD content with the Web. In addition, the sessions will cover how to leverage cDVD technology to create DVD titles that play from CD-ROMs on virtually any PC. DVD project workflow will also be discussed, covering configurations from a single computer workstation to distributed workflow models across a workgroup for further efficiency and productivity.

    Special attention will be taken to explain how DVD producers can create high-quality DVDs by seamlessly converting video from Avid, Media 100, or other non-linear editing systems into interactive MPEG-2 video and Dolby Digital audio. Other topics covered at the event include approaches to tap the entertainment power of DVD, methods of creating DVD-based products for their clients, ways to find and keep DVD customers, keys to understanding todays market and customer demographics, project planning strategies, and rethinking facility design for DVD production.

  • Feature-Packed Boris FX 6.0 Available Later in June

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Boris FX 6.0, a major upgrade to the company's visual effects and image processing application, was announced June 6. New features include natural effects filters such as Fire, Rain, Snow and Stars; advanced particle effects such as Stars and 3D Image Shatter; lighting filters; compositing tools such as apply modes, displacement maps and motion blur; audio support and support for third-party video plug-ins.

    Boris, the first company to bring 2D and real 3D compositing to nonlinear editing, said that its Unparalleled Integration remains a crucial advantage in Boris FX 6.0. The company touted that 6.0 is the only effects solution that allows such a range of features directly inside non-linear editing applications.

    Boris FX 6.0 offers Open GL and Dual Processor Support on both Windows and Macintosh computers for fast creation and rendering. It also features Altivec enhancement on Macintosh G4 computers.

    Boris FX 6.0 will be availablelater this month for a MSRP of $495. Boris FX Professional 6 has an MSRP of $995. Upgrades from previous versions of FX and FX Professional are $199.

    Here's a more detailed list of Boris FX 6.0 features: Natural Filters: Clouds, Fire, Rain, Snow, Comets, Sparks, and Stars are all auto-animated filters, allowing users to quickly create effects. These filters offer a wide variety of interaction and compositing options using alpha channels.

    Lighting Filters provide simulated extrusions, bump maps, and gel and matte effects with user-defined shapes.

    Compositing Tools include 27 Apply modes for each layer in Boris FX, motion blur, displacement maps, advanced particle and lighting filters, and Smart View to dynamically update views of animated parameters in the timeline.

  • Compaq Bundles DVD-Authoring Software with Japanese Presario 5112JP

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Following Compaq North America's announcement that it would bundle Sonic Solutions' Sonic DVDit! with its MyMovieStudio editing package, Compaq announced that DVDit! will ship with its Presario 5112JP computers, making it possible for video enthusiasts will be able to author their own DVD Video discs.

    On the Compaq, DVDit! will allow users to select personal video clips and graphics, preview their project, then record it directly to a DVD disc in DVD-Video format. The discs will be playable on DVD-equipped PCs and set-top DVD players.

    The Presario 5112JP model is part of Compaq Computer Japans 2001 summer lineup and features an Athlon 1.3GHz processor, 80GB HDD and 128MB RAM. It will be available in Japan later this month for 239,800 yen (approximately $2,000 US). The Presario 5112JP is being hailed as one of the first affordable DVD-Recordable equipped PCs available in the Japanese market, giving users the power to record, edit and publish their own videos in the popular DVD-Video format.

  • CyberLink's New 'Power Director' Software Boasts Rendering That's 10-Times Faster Nearest Competitor

    Reprinted from a Cyberlink press release:

    May 28, 2001----Taipei, Taiwan----
    CyberLink, a leading developer of digital video and streaming multimedia software applications, today announced the upcoming release of PowerDirector, a revolutionary new video editing software program. PowerDirector is a total solution software program that can produce professional-quality videos. Featuring a state-of-the-art advancement in video editing called Smart Video Rendering Technology, PowerDirector is able render edited video notably faster than other leading video editing software products on the market, and won't degrade the quality of the original un-edited video segments. In addition, PowerDirector offers superb special effects, an easy to use storyboard interface, the ability to input video from, and output to, numerous sources, and much more. It is a total video editing solution for the PC.

    Derived from CyberLink's extensive R&D in the area of MPEG-1 and 2 Video, PowerDirector offers a revolutionary breakthrough in video editing software with its Smart Video Rendering Technology (SVRT). This advanced technology has the ability to render edited portions of video at a rate of almost 10 times that of the nearest competitor (based on internal studies). This is due to the fact that with SVRT, PowerDirector only needs to render the sections of video that have been edited, whereas as other products need to render the entire length of video. Yet time is not the only thing that SVRT saves. By only needing to render edited video portions, the remainder of the video is preserved in its original quality!

  • Windows Media Player 7.1 for Pocket PC Supports Wireless Digital Audio & Video Access

    Reprinted from a Microsoft press release:

    REDMOND, Wash. - May 22, 2001 - Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate availability of Microsoft Windows Media 7.1 Player for Pocket PC and announced a preview of a new wireless digital media guide for mobile users, Mobile.

    Windows Media Player 7.1 for Pocket PC is the first all-in-one media player to support wireless access to digital audio and video for Pocket PC users,* as well as playback of downloaded audio and video content. The player also includes breakthrough Windows Media Audio and Video 8 codec technology providing the best-quality audio and video in the smallest file size.

    The new preview of Mobile provides mobile users with access to top-quality Windows Media audio and video content, which can be streamed to a Pocket PC over high-speed wireless Internet access such as Metricom's Ricochet Network or 802.11 Wireless LANs.

    "The future of wireless streaming is here today with information and entertainment just a click away for Pocket PC users," said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. "The launch today of these two key innovations for mobile users is a critical milestone in the goal of delivering digital media any time, any place on any device."

    Windows Media Player 7.1 for Pocket PC - The First All-In-One Mobile Media Player

  • Pinnacle Express lets CD-R Owners Produce DVD Player-Compatible Discs

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Set for a July 15 release date, Pinnacle Systems new Express software offers video producers and hobbyists new versatility by allowing them to create DVD player-compatible discs, using inexpensive CD-R drives and media. Not only can users record DVD discs with DVD-R and DVD-RW drives, but Express incorporates technology that allows existing CD-R owners to create up to 20 minutes of DVD-quality video that can be played on 90 percent of DVD players. It can also record up to 30 minutes in S-VCD format (VHS or slightly better quality), viewable on approximately 60 percent of DVD players.

    While the world inevitably moves from CD-R to DVD-R technology, Express offers consumers who've yet to switch over the ability to use their existing CD-R drives to save their DV or Digital8 videotapes in a DVD-friendly format. It can also create slideshows. Another feature is disc customizing, as Express automatically creates chapter menus so users can quickly go to specific scenes with their DVD player's remote control. Express also offers several organization, background and title-authoring options. Users can re-organize and title each scene, and re-order the scenes themselves.

    Express has a $149 suggested retail price, and is expected to be included in Compaq Windows XP machines this autumn.