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  • Free Web-based Personal Slide Show Debuts at RealNetworks Conference '99


    Mslide.com announced a new free web-based application for building and broadcasting music enhanced streaming slide shows at the RealNetworks Conference '99 held in San Francisco last week.

    The Mslide.com application, which utilizes RealNetworks' streaming RealSystem G2 technology, allows users to sample their favorite CD, upload up to 25 digital photos and watch as Mslide Builder creates their personal Mslide and posts it to the Mslide.com high bandwidth streaming network.

    Users can then email friends, family or business acquaintances with the Mslide address to view the newly created slide show.

    The convergence of on-line music and digital photography will revolutionize the way people share memories, said Dan Hobin, founder of Mslide.com. Now anyone can capture a moment, jazz it up with their favorite music and instantly share it with friends and family around the world.

    The application is free and simple to use, following Mslide's step-by-step slide show builder. Mslide.com receives revenue from advertising, so there is a fair amount of targeted advertising banners to put up with.

    In addition to the slide show, Mslide.com offers e-commerce capability, allowing users to buy the music CDs that they chose for their slide show.

  • Media 100, Inc. to Acquire Terran Interactive, Inc.


    MARLBORO, Mass. -- Targeting the fast growing Internet Video and DVD markets, Media 100 announced yesterday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Terran Interactive, Inc., a leading supplier of software tools for high-quality Internet and DVD video.

    Terran has grown rapidly since its founding in 1995 by supplying film studios, news organizations, game developers, video post-production houses and corporate Web site designers with tools for formatting and encoding high-quality video for playback from CDs, DVDs and Web sites, John Molinari, CEO of Media 100, said.

    Dana LoPiccolo-Giles, president of Terran Interactive, said that Terran's expertise in the video encoding and streaming market coupled with Media 100's experience in real-time video processing will introduce accelerated versions of Terran's products for faster and easier delivery on Web sites and DVD.

    Molinari said Media 100 plans to operate Terran as a wholly owned subsidiary of Media 100.

  • RealNetwork Conference '99 Gets Under Way


    Among the products exhibited are a number that can help independent videographers distribute their work on the Web. RealNetworks' CEO Rob Glaser kicked off the event with a keynote speech which introduced RealJukebox, a product enabling downloading and playing of customized high-quality music playlists. Streaming video of his talk is available on the RealNetworks Web site.

    RealNetworks is showing, among other products, RealProducer G2. This is the latest update to the previous RealPublisher product. RealProducer encodes digital video clips, such as those in .avi and .mov formats, into RealMedia clips. It also holds a few basic SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) authoring features. These allow the Web video producer to add hyperlinking text, graphics and still images to streaming video presentations. RealPublisher comes in three flavors:

    RealProducer, RealProducer Plus, and RealProducer Pro.

    RealProducer is free. It supports two bit rates for SureStream encoding. RealProducer Plus costs $149 and supports more bit rates as well as MPEG and MP3 encoding. The $500 RealProducer Pro offers an option of using the TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) protocol for streaming instead of the standard UDP(Universal Datagram Protocol). This helps those video producers who have trouble streaming their productions past firewalls. With supported video capture cards, such as the preferred Osprey 100, all versions of RealProducer can encode live video on the fly. This makes live Web casting possible in the RealNetworks format. RealProducer is available in Linux versions as well as those for Windows and Mac OS.

  • Stream Anything, Anywhere


    Sonic Foundry, makers of the popular audio editing program Sound Forge, introduced a free beta version of Stream Anywhere, a new streaming media authoring tool, at Internet World this month. Stream Anywhere works on the Windows platform and lets both novices and experienced Web developers to prepare audio, video and synchronized media for distribution over the Internet.

    What's unique and exciting about Stream Anywhere, Sonic Foundry representatives said, is its flexibility to encode multimedia content in either the Microsoft Windows Media Technologies version 4.0 or the RealNetworks RealSystem G2 format. It also allows users to take QuickTime, MPEG-1 and MP3 files and convert them into streaming formats.

    One of the appealing features that Stream Anywhere provides is complete authoring option from capturing video through the Web page generation.

    Stream Anywhere features an advanced user interface with visual timeline for synchronizing audio, video, and metadata events. It also boasts a number of other convenient preprocessing functions that allow users to enhance the source media prior to streaming for optimum viewing and listening experience.

    According to press releases, the versatile Stream Anywhere can capture video from digital cameras and video capture boards, making it an attractive possible solution for a number of Web-based applications..

    Stream Anywhere also includes pre-defined, yet fully customizable HTML layouts that can be used as examples for incorporating streaming media into a Web page.

    A free beta version of Stream Anywhere is currently available at the Sonic Foundry Web site at www.sonicfoundry.com.

  • Hitachi Ships New Affordable Multimedia Camera


    Hitachi began shipping a consumer version of its popular M2 camera/recorder last week. Dubbed the M2L, the new multimedia recording camera costs $999, less than half the price of the M2. Like its predecessor, the M2L records video, audio and still images.

    It has a 1GB expandable card that allows up to two hours of video capture in the MPEG-1 format, 16 hours of audio in MPEG and 12,000 JPEG images.

    Other features include optical, digital and macro zoom and a 1.8-inch color LCD screen. The new camera is not available in stores yet but will arrive soon.

  • 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. Sightsound.com, 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 Broadcast.com 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 www.webcinema.org/war_diaries.

  • 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.

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