Matsushita, parent company of Panasonic, has announced that it will make its
DVCPro equipment downward-compatible with Sony‘s new DVCAM format. Both formats are
extensions of the consumer DV (digital videocassette) format, modified for professional use.
“We view DVCPRO as a superset of DV that is downwardly compatible both DV and DVCAM
products,” said Phil Livingston, Director of Product Management and Engineering for Panasonic Broadcast
and Television Services.
Analog Devices, a leading manufacturer of integrated circuits for signal processing, has
developed a wavelet-based video compression/decompression chip. Their new ADV601 Video Codec chip
boasts improvements over the current M-JPEG industry standard for PCI-based video capture devices.
While currently available M-JPEG boards (like the miroVideo DC20, Fast FPS-60 and
Truevision Bravado 1000) deliver VHS-quality compression at 15 minutes storage per gigabyte,
the ADV601 promises 25 minutes per gigabyte at a lower price than previous silicon codecs.
Quadrant International, one of the ADV601’s first customers, has announced that their new
VideoWave board will use the new chips to provide high-quality PCI-based video capture and playback for
This year’s Orlando CES (Consumer Electronics Show) promised to deliver the “Digital
Destination,” though some sectors of the digital frontier showed cloudy skies at last May’s show. Though
many companies (like Panasonic, Thomson Consumer Electronics and Toshiba)
mounted large displays, many others reduced their floor show space at the last moment to cut costs.
PC/TV convergence was a major theme, with a number of established television manufacturers
(Zenith, Curtis Mathes) offering Internet capabilities in their newest models. PC manufacturers
(Compaq) crossed over in the opposite direction, showing home computers designed to be
“watched” in the living room with full-featured television and computer capabilites.
Though several manufacturers were expected to christen new lines of DVD (Digital Video Disc)
players at Orlando, the ongoing debate over copyright protection for digital video took the wind out of the
show’s sails. Motion Picture Arts Association president Jack Valenti, speaking at the show’s
keynote address, had this to say about digital anticopy legislation: “Without it, we are doomed to
melancholy tomorrows. With it, we unlock the door to a most congenial future. Anyone who doubts that is
not in the game.”
NBC‘s WRC-TV has been selected to become the first model HDTV (high-definition television)
broadcaster. The Washington, DC station will deliver HDTV signals “before fall,” according to station
director James McKinney. The audience at first will consist mostly of consumer electronics equipment
manufacturers, who will use the broadcasts to test equipment, provide demonstrations and train
Camcorder sales have posted a four percent increase in sales for the first four months of 1996 over the
same time period in 1995, according to a recent CEMA (Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association)
report. Overall video equipment sales, however, were down 10 percent in April 1996 compared to April
Why the discrepancy? According to Sharp spokesman Bob Scaglione, the increased
quality of the average camcorder has something to do with it. “Today’s more advanced camcorders are
easier to hande and operate,” he said. “They can take truly exceptional, crystal-clear pictures.”
Mega Media Links
The site’s name says it all–a huge, all-inclusive list of Web links in the media industry, indexed and categorized for easy access. This ever-growing resource includes an easy way to add your own media-related Web site to the list. An essential bookmark for video hobbyists and pros alike.
TAO Media Systems, long known for their popular Editizer computer-based edit controllers, has
announced that its products will provide increased support for DV-format camcorders in the near
Specifically, the existing Editizer product (which already has the ability to control Sony and
Panasonic DV camcorders through LANC and 5-pin ports) will soon provide machine control via JVC’s
JLIP (joint level interface protocol) editing interface. The JLIP interface currently exists only on JVC’s
GR-DV1 Mini DV camcorder and its identical twin, RCA’s CC900D.
TAO is also considering ways to implement the IEEE 1394 “Firewire” interface in a future
nonlinear product. Though it’s not yet clear what the nature of this product will be, Gary Meyer of TAO
states that it may involve a method for “batch digitizing” (copying selected shots to the hard drive) in the
A.K.A. Don Bonus: A Video Diary
In 1979, three-year-old Sokly Ny and his family fled war-torn Cambodia, traveling through the jungle on
foot in the dead of night to escape the wrath of the Khmer Rouge. Now an 18-year-old high school senior
with a new American name, Sokly “Don Bonus” Ny turned a Sony camcorder on himself for a year to
create A.K.A. Don Bonus, an unflinchingly honest, gripping and deeply personal video self-
Made under the guidance of veteran filmmaker Spencer Nakasako, the video offers viewers an
unprecedented inside look at a Southeast Asian immigrant family’s struggles to make it in San Francisco’s
The project grew out of a class on video techniques that Nakasako was providing for a group of
at-risk teenagers. “Don stood out in the group,” Nakasako recalls. “He was totally interactive with the
camera in his hands. He could never stay out of a scene.”
After the class ended, Nakasako approached Bonus about making a video diary. “At first I thought
it’s gonna be simple,” Bonus said at the beginning of the video, “but it turned out to be very difficult for
P.O.V., broadcast television’s only continuing forum for independent non-fiction film, aired
A.K.A. Don Bonus in June on PBS stations nationwide. As for Don, he’s currently pursuing the
California Institute of the Arts’ summer intensive film/video art program on a full scholarship.
For more information on this and other P.O.V. programs, point your Web browser at
Camcorder Sales in the 90s
According to a recent CEMA (Consumer Electronics Manufacturing Association) report, the current
decade began with a slump in camcorder sales. In the past year, however, the widespread availability of
inexpensive point-and-shoot models has breathed new life into the industry.
In the future, we can expect new digital technologies (such as DV and DVD) and falling prices to
keep the trend moving upward, according to the CEMA report.
Digital Delivery–After Hours
A new company called Digital Delivery Inc. has offered an interesting new way to deliver video clips over
Currently, if you want to download a digital video clip from the Web, you have to sit there and
wait while the file transfers to your machine. And this can take a while–ten minutes or more for a one-
megabyte clip on a 28.8 kilobaud modem.
Digital Delivery approaches the problem differently. Subscribers to their service will receive daily
video feeds on specified topics automatically, in the early morning hours when Internet traffic is at a
minimum. To conserve hard drive space, each new video would replace data received on previous
The quality of the video isn’t great–only five frames per second, compared to broadcast’s 30-
frame-per-second standard–but the service looks promising for independent programmers who want to
target a specific audience.
For more info, contact Digital Delivery at http://delivery.reach.com.
by David Brott
The Video Camera Operator’s Handbook
Peter Hodges (1995, Focal Press, 313 Washington St., Newton, MA 02158-1626, 115 pp.,
The Video Operator’s Handbook explains video operation in basic and easy-to-understand
language. The book is a well-organized discussion of video systems, covering topics from video signals
and lenses to lighting and shooting for special effects. Every camera operator will benefit from this well-
written, non-technical guide to video principles.
The author is Peter Hodges, a freelance trainer and consultant. He operates his own Moving Image
Masterclasses that teach the fundamentals of video from a “visual base.” In this book, Hodges describes
how a video system influences image quality, composition and final production.
The Video Camera Operator’s Handbook contains valuable information on television and
television cameras, video signal and measurement analysis and equipment preparation. Unfortunately, the
glossary featured in this handbook lacks substance and detail. Overall though, the handbook offers quick
and informative instruction for basic camera operation. 3
Advanced Television Systems, Brave New TV
Joan M. Van Tassel (1996, Focal Press, 313 Washington St., Newton, MA 02158-1626, 416 pp.,
Television technology and programming continue to evolve at lightning speed. For videomakers
interested in making the leap to programming, it’s important to understand the television industry and
future developments regarding policy and signal technologies. Advanced Television Systems
provides a comprehensive and cutting-edge explanation of new TV technology and its future
Joan M. Van Tassel received her doctorate at the Annenberg School for Communications/USC.
She is an educator and author on new communication technologies. She writes a comprehensive and
interesting examination of the television industry, including how media corporations influence the
implementation of new technologies.
Advanced Television Systems covers high-definition, digital, interactive, compressed and
satellite technologies in an easy-to-understand language. The book also includes a term-intensive
glossary with an organized index. Overall, it’s a superior discussion of television, communication and
emerging media technologies. 5
Media Forum Educational Series
Sony Electronics Recording Media and Energy Product Group (1995/96, Sony RMEG, 680
Kinderkamack Rd., Oradell, NJ 07649; $59.95)
The Media Forum Educational Series videotapes from Sony RMEG provide
videomakers with advice on tape usage, specifications and troubleshooting in the studio. The five-part
series also covers the tape manufacturing process, fundamentals of magnetism and how to read and
decipher tape specification sheets to better locate the right tape for a given production. Each instructional
tape contains an average of 10-12 minutes of basic tape theory and technology.
Sony RMEG produced this Media Forum series as an educational platform designed to give
customers, studio technicians and videomakers a better understanding of tape-based recording media. This
basic tutorial series uses a combination of audio and visual information to better explain tape-based media,
including suggestions for cleaning equipment and preventing recording and playback problems before they
The Media Forum Educational Series consists of five 10-12 minute videotapes: The
Troubleshooter’s Guide, The Tape Handler’s Guide, Manufacturing the Magic, Magnetic Magic, and
Magnetic Tape by the Numbers. This series offers quick and informative instruction on tape-based media
for videomakers and studio techies just starting out. 3
KEY TO RATINGS: 5-excellent, 4-very good, 3-good, 2-not so good, 1-poor