Microsoft Corp. is staging an aggressive bid to help Windows NT land the plum role as the video editing platform of choice. Not content to be typecast in corporate environments, Microsoft turned in a stellar performance with NT at a recent broadcasting trade show. The traditional marquee stars in this field are the Macintosh and high-end workstations from Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI).
At the National Association of Broadcasters conference held in April in Las Vegas, 93 nonlinear editing systems were
unveiled. Fifteen of those were NT-based, 10 were based on the Macintosh, and 16 were centered on SGI wares.
In 1995, Sony held the top rank in camcorder market share with 26%, while Matsushita (Panasonic) held second
place at 17%. In third and fourth place were RCA (15%) and Victor Company of Japan (JVC, 12%).
A handful of companies dropped out of the camcorder race entirely. Among these were Sanyo, Fisher, Philips and
The top four companies divided a portion of the absent companies’ share of the market, gaining 1-2 percentage points each
over their 1994 rankings. The fifth-place company, Sharp (8%), lost half a percentage point of its market share; this is
perhaps due to the company’s focus on high-end ViewCam models.
DraCo Systems, makers of a high-end Amiga-based nonlinear editor of the same name, is putting the finishing touches on
its latest product: Casablanca, a stand-alone, single-box nonlinear editing solution. The device will include composite and S-Video
inputs, digitizing hardware, a SCSI-II drive bay and simple controls, all in a portable VCR-style box. The editing interface will appear
directly on the monitor screen; no additional hardware is necessary for full nonlinear operation. It supports three stereo tracks of
audio, and an optional IEEE 1394 “Firewire” serial interface. The unit is scheduled for release in late 1996 in the United States; the
Firewire option should be available in early 1997. Suggested retail price (without drives): $2995.
Minolta has introduced eight new camcorders–four each in the 8mm and VHS-C formats. Palm-sized VHS-C models start
with a 14:1 zoom, 270,000-pixel, B&W viewfinder version at $833; a 12:1-zoom model with color viewfinder goes for $902; a
14:1 with color viewfinder is $1038; the top-of-the-line model with 14:1 optical zoom, 2x digital zoom and color viewfinder lists for
On the 8mm front: a basic 12:1-zoom model with 2x digital enlargement plus 1.5x instant zoom, color viewfinder and fuzzy
logic system goes for $970; the same with image stabilization is $1217; a Hi8 with similar features (but with B&W viewfinder)
and 410,000-pixel CCD sells for $1361; the same with color viewfinder is $1548.
“Print-it,” a digital video printer that uses photographic paper to print from a camcorder, has been introduced by Fuji Photo
Inc. Priced at $700, the unit comes bundled with Adobe Photo Deluxe software for on-screen image manipulation before printing. The
device will print and manipulate images from any video source, including PCs and Tvs.
Packard Bell Systems, makers of multimedia computer solutions, will be offering VDOnet‘s VDOPhone Internet
video telephone system on its upcoming Platinum series of computers. This will enable people to contact other VDOPhone users
worldwide and carry on audio/visual conversations in real-time. The VDOPhone uses VDOnet’s unique technology which offers video
compression for use on regular phone lines and which is optimized for the Internet, since it adjusts to the available bandwidth on-the-
Cyber Film School
This delightful site contains a wealth of information on the topic of film/video production, from contract-winning screenwriting tips to plans for making a simple dolly out of a skateboard. Includes a wide range of media-related links and a comprehensive bibliography of movie-making materials in print. This first-class, award-winning Web site provides plenty of information and entertainment for hobbyists and experienced videomakers alike.
Sony’s Business and Professional Division has released two complete digital production systems for the business and
industrial markets–the EditStation ES-7 and the EditStation ES-3. The former runs on Microsoft’s Windows NT operating system,
while the latter is a Windows ’95-based product; both are complete Pentium-based nonlinear systems incorporating the DVCAM
format, Sony’s downward-compatible professional version of the consumer DV format.
Incorporating DVCAM VTRs with 4x video loading, two to four input channels, true hybrid design and (in the near future)
1394-based DV I/O, the EditStation systems will offer all-digital, broadcast-quality editing at a much lower cost than existing
For the consumer/prosumer videomaker, this means that footage from a $2500 home camcorder will be easier than ever to
incorporate into industrial or broadcast productions.
PC by Sony: A/V Convergence
Not content to be the world leader in camcorder sales, Sony has announced its entry into the multimedia computer market with two Pentium PCs, the PCV-70 and PCV-90. Incorporating Sony’s new VAIO (Video Audio Integrated Operation) design, the two systems
will help to bring about the company’s convergence between analog (television/camcorder) and digital (internet/multimedia)
technology. The VAIO symbol itself , according to Sony art director Teiyu Goto, is a graphical interpretation of this
convergence, moving from a sine wave to the binary 101010.
Features of the PCV-70 include a 166 Mhz Pentium processor, 16MB of RAM, 2.1 GB SCSI hard disk, 28.8kb modem,
“Sony Tuned” MPEG decoding, 8x CD-ROM and a comprehensive software bundle. The PCV-90 substitutes a 200 MHz processor,
32MB of RAM and a 2.5 GB hard disk. Both units should be available by early fall ’96 for between $2,000 and $3,000.
From Mosaic to Vosaic
There’s a serious new contender in the category of Internet streamed-video products: These clever software devices (such as
VDOnet’s VDOLive and Xing’s StreamWorks) have the ability to deliver video from a Web page via dial-up connections in real
time–without the hassle of forwarding the entire file and storing it on the receiving end before it can be seen.
This brand-new market has been dominated for the past year by VDOnet’s VDOLive server and Xing’s StreamWorks. But
recently, a joint venture between the University of Illinois and Chicago startup Digital Video Communications (DVC) has come up
with Vosaic, a product designed to make the task of video streaming easier. By developing their own protocol called VDP (Video
Datagram Protocol), DVC hopes to overcome problems that previous developers have experienced with using TCP/IP, the standard
protocol of the Internet.
The company is readying two products based on the technology: a multicast version designed to broadcast digital video over
the Internet (similar to the MBONE), and a point-to-point, video-on-demand client/server product. The client will operate as a free
Netscape Navigator plug-in, while the server will run on Windows NT, Linux, SGI, IRIX, Sun Solaris and HP/UX systems. The
server (available in late summer ’96) will sell for $100 for a single video stream and $1500 for a complete package.
by Joe McCleskey
Video Made Easy
Janet Endijonas and Brian Magnuson (1995, Triumph Books, 644 S. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60605; 212 pp., $19.95)
This 200-page work is divided into five sections: VCRs, Camcorders, Home Theater, Using Your Camcorder with
Style, and Getting Creative. The first three parts cover the whole of home video technology in around one hundred
pages–no mean feat, but whenever you boil all that technology down to so few words, you’re bound to have
problems. Parts four and five deal with basic production techniques and simple video projects to get the beginner
Video Made Easy is a book for the beginner, plain and simple. Its bare-bones, on-the-level style will appeal
to many, but beware: the information presented within its pages is not one hundred percent accurate. The section on
white balance, for example, doesn’t mention a single word about color temperature. It is possible to over-simplify
some technical concepts, and this book does so at almost every page.
The second half of the book, however, is very valuable. Videomaking families will enjoy preparing and shooting
these simple projects. 3
A Video Tour of the Videonics Titlemaker
(1995, Video-Cam Productions, 3264 W. Stephens Place, Chandler, AZ 85226; 60 min., $34.95)
This is a well-executed tour of Videonics’ popular Titlemaker and Titlemaker 2000 stand-alone character
generators. The tape casually displays all relevant information for the operation of the Titlemaker in a simple,
straightforward manner. Designed to be easily cued to the proper point in the tutorial, it describes the Titlemaker in
a fast-paced graphical style and simple, down-to-earth language. The tape itself was produced in its entirety using
the Titlemaker 2000, giving the viewer a constant reference point to work from.
The only thing lacking in this technically proficient tape is viewer interest. Even though most training tapes of this
sort are dry as dust, they don’t have to be. A little bit of humor or maybe a slightly off-beat approach would go a
long way towards improving this and other video training tapes’ watchability.
For the most part, though, you can’t go wrong with its simple, informative style. It’s a great tape to consider
purchasing along with the Titlemaker itself. 4
Classroom in a Book: Adobe Premiere for Windows
Adobe Systems Incorporated (1996, Hayden Books, 201 W. 103rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46290; 260
Like other titles in Adobe’s Classroom in a Book series, this work does an excellent job integrating CD-
ROM multimedia instruction with hands-on, workbook-style exercises. With a comprehensive series of short
Quicktime audio/video clips, the inner workings of this popular nonlinear editing software are laid bare.
The written material refers the reader to a number of lessons and demonstration tools located on the CD-ROM. In
one lesson, for example, the book instructs the reader to grab a short video clip off the CD; then, the lesson presents
various specific ways to manipulate this clip on Premiere’s timeline interface. This gives hands-on experience
adding titles, making edits and otherwise manipulating the software.
Though a bit expensive–and understandably focused on Adobe’s software
offerings to the exclusion of all others–this book is an excellent introduction to the confusing world of nonlinear
KEY TO RATINGS: 5-excellent, 4-very good, 3-good, 2-not so good, 1-poor