Viewer Beware! Don’t Get Stung by DTV Upgrade from Your Cable Company


We recently spotted a story from Consumer Reports about how some cable TV companies are trying to take advantage of the confusion going on over the DTV conversion on February 17th. Consumers Union, the parent company, writes that some channels that viewers enjoy on their current cable tier are being scrambled and placed on a higher tier, requiring the viewers to rent set-top boxes for every TV in the house to watch them. The CR report goes on to say that the February 17 digital TV transition change affects only those people who are watching TV via an antenna only, and that this is a deceptive excuse for a rate hike. The story adds, “If the cable company says the channel changes are due to DTV conversion mandated by the feds, notify your state’s attorney general. They’re not.” (Consumer Reports, November 2008). Meanwhile, if you’re wondering how the digital change will affect you as a video producer, read our feature, Digits Over the Air: The End of Analog.

More Free Stuff! proDAD Adorage and Vitascene Effects

Many software programs provide a free trial download, allowing users to try before they buy, but proDAD is giving full starter kits of its popular Adorage and Vitascene Effects software free, no strings attached. These starter kits have up to 170 effects and plug-ins that are compatible with most editing applications. Got a wedding video to edit or that holiday compilation? Now’s a good time to check it out.

The Adorage Starter Kit is a compilation of transitions and effects that include sports-related media, wedding effects and other family and celebratory themes. The kit includes plug-in support for Adobe Premiere Pro and Elements, Avid Liquid, Canopus Edius, Sony Vegas and Vegas Pro, Ulead MediaStudio Pro and Magix Video Deluxe 15 NLE applications.

The Vitascene Effects kit has many professional-grade effects that include film look and text effects. Upgraded users will find support for Adobe Elements and Premiere Pro; Avid Liquid 7.x, Xpress 5.x and Media Composer Adrenaline 2.x; Canopus Edius 4.x, 5.x and Neo 1.x; Magix Video Deluxe 2008 and Deluxe 15; and Sony Vegas 5.x, 6.x, Vegas Pro 7.x and 8.x.

Of course, proDAD hopes that you enjoy the starter kits so much that you’ll upgrade to its paid versions, which include many many more effects. See the full review from Videomaker‘s October 2008 issue.

Adorage Starter Kit
Vitascene Starter Kit

Free HD Video-Sharing Site

We discovered a new video-sharing site producers might enjoy. Share My HD by Motionbox is geared towards sharing, storing and editing HD video… free. Motionbox recently upgraded storage from 300MB to 1GB, which could be up to 2 hours of footage, depending on your format. Not too bad for free storage. Upgrading to a Motionbox Premium account for about $30 gives you unlimited storage, a nice plus for video producers working in a small town like Videomaker‘s headquarters who need to share videos with their L.A. partners.

Users of the free account have an unlimited sharing capacity and online editing, while the upgraded program allows for larger file uploads and unlimited high-quality downloads, along with nice high-quality playback. You can keep your account private, share it with a select few or share with the world; it’s your choice. We did a quick test upload and found the site and directions easy to follow and very intuitive. Motionbox sent us an email to verify that our upload was complete. We then compared the same video with one we put on YouTube, and the quality was pretty darn nice. You can edit your videos from the site and allow users to mashup or edit them, too.

Even if you’re still shooting only standard def, the quality of your videos on this site beats the low-level grade of many other sharing sites. Motionbox says this is because they convert your videos automatically to H.264, a high-quality codec, before they play them back on the web, while also using a higher bitrate.

Along with forums about Motionbox and how to use it, you’ll find within the site Ask Eric, a video tutorial guru that walks you through the steps to creating your account and uploading. It’s quick and easy for even the most webphobic videographers.

Share My HD is definitely worth a look for a free sharing site for high-definition video or for any video producer who is looking for something better than the lowest common denominator.

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