If you have a hankering for Old West and American Frontier stories, round up videotape in any of the following categories: Theatrical Motion Picture, Television Feature Film, Factual or Fictional Drama, Documentary or Docudrama, News Featurette or Factual Narrative. Acceptable formats: 3/4- or 1/2-inch videotape. Non-fictional entries must be factually correct. It must have been released, published or aired between January 1 and November 30, 1994. And it doesn’t cost a thing, so giddy-up and get goin’. The deadline is November 30. For more information, call (405)478-2250; or write Western Heritage Awards c/o National Cowboy Hall of Fame, 1700 Northeast 63rd St., Oklahoma City, OK 73111.
A “gateway” festival for the Oscar competition, the National Education Film & Video Festival is now accepting entries for its 25th annual competition. They accept 12 categories, including: live action shorts, animation, training/instructional tapes and student-made documentaries and narratives. Any video, film and multimedia programs are eligible if completed between January 1, 1993 and December 1, 1994. Fees are $85 and up, depending on length. Students entry fees are $30 and up. For details, contact: the Competition Director, National Educational Film & Video Festival, 655 Thirteenth St., Oakland, CA 94612, (510) 465-6885.
- Monterey Peninsula Underwater Videographers & Photographers, 17675 Riverbend Road, Salinas, CA 93908
- Professional Videographers Association of Michigan, 3926 Robertson Drive, Warren, MI 48092-4116
Seeking Group or Will Organize
- Barney Parrella, 1450 Sharps Point Road, Annapolis, MD 21401
- Michael Reaves, 18112 Coltman Ave., Carson, CA 90746
User Groups: let us know you’re out there. For inclusion in our listings, submit your request to “User Groups,” c/o Videomaker, P.O. Box 4591, Chico, CA 95927. For a list of existing user groups and/or videomakers seeking or willing to organize a group in your area, send a stamped self-addressed envelope to the same address.
ZOOM IN ZOOM OUT
Colby Systems has introduced the first portable digital video recorder using MPEG-1 compression for direct-to-disk recording and playback. The DR-3000 allows broadcasters to send news packages from any location, providing instant playback at 30-frame-per-second quality with sound. At $50,000, the unit is pricey, but similar, cheaper products for the consumer market are bound to follow.
109 Philips has leaked details of its high-density CD (HDCD) technology–supposedly capable of accommodating a minimum of two hours of MPEG-2 compressed digital video on a single 5-inch CD. The technology achieves more tracks and greater data density by replacing infrared lasers with shorter wavelength red lasers. HDCD exploits variable bit rate technology, and uses more efficient error correction codes. New discs supposedly won’t play on existing CD players, but existing CD software will play on new players.
109 For the first time in any model year, camcorder sales have exceeded 3 million. The EIA also reports that VCR sales have jumped 4.6 percent–making this the second best year on record for VCRs.
101 EMC^3 is soliciting the cooperation of 13 manufacturers to develop a standard for an electronic video rental system, with the goal of showing a prototype at Winter CES in January. The company has been previewing equipment developed by Hitachi to implement system, designed to transmit full-length films in short 5-minute bursts for playback on modified VCRs. Though made to distribute over satellite, phone lines, videotape and recordable disks, the first systems will probably use modified standard analog VHS recorders as home storage devices.
102 Micron Display Technology is showing Japanese camcorder makers a prototype of a new non-LCD color viewfinder display it claims costs less and delivers higher quality, consumes less power and works better in extreme cold. The 0.7-inch field emitter display (FED) features phosphor coatings similar to those used in picture tubes. The FED’s development was underwritten by a $10 million grant from the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). According to Micron, the technology yields much larger displays; the next prototype will reportedly measure 14 inches.
103 Canon has expanded its ES line; two lower-priced 8mm models priced at $899 and $999 join the current $1900 ES-1000 Hi8 model. Both new models feature 12x zoom and a built-in 0.7x adaptor which supposedly provides the widest angle of any 8mm camcorder. Other features include: LANC remote terminal, built-in light, 5 programmed exposure modes, digital signal processing titler and fade. Two more ES models are expected by year’s end.
Former NewTek Staffers Team Up With Digital Creations and Progressive Image Technology
Three pioneering desktop video groups have come together to create Play, Incorporated–a new company set on “redefining the desktop video market for PCs.”
Play’s principals are Digital Creations, Progressive Image Technology and a group of eight former senior staff members from Video Toaster manufacturer NewTek. The group from NewTek includes former veep Paul Montgomery as well as NewTek’s past directors of sales, marketing and software development.
“Helping create the Video Toaster–and with it the desktop video industry–was a fantastic seven year adventure,” says Montgomery. “Now we’ve found the perfect partners to take the desktop video revolution to the next level.”
Working separately, the three groups launched and dominated the successful desktop video market on the Amiga computer. By joining forces in this new firm, the companies hope to duplicate their success on the PC platform.
Based in Sacramento, California, Play plans to ship the first of its PC video products by year’s end.
–Paula Munier Lee
VIDEO WHIZ KID BEHIND BARS WINS AWARD
Sixteen-year-old Wendy Creiglow of Ventura, California made an anti-drug video that captured a number of local awards–including a five-week scholarship to the University of Southern California’s film school.
Called “Flatlines,” the stark PSA features the flat line of a drug addict’s absent pulse after dying of an overdose.
Unfortunately, Wendy’s currently incarcerated at a California Youth Authority and could not accept the honors.
–Paula Munier Lee
Move Over, Wayne and Garth
Wayne’s World is alive and well in Philadelphia. Except that it’s not Wayne and Garth hosting the low-budget videotaped show, it’s Emily and Julia and Marisa.
These three high school juniors are the main attraction on “Saturday Chat,” a local call-in talk show on public access Channel 7.
On the show, the girls banter with callers on such subjects as AIDS, race relations and why parents care if you make out.
Videomakers with a hankering to host their own TV talk shows should check out their local public access and leased access channels.
–Paula Munier Lee
SKYSURFING, VIDEO STYLE
There’s more than one way to shoot interesting video–as some daring young videomakers are finding out.
These video parachuters fly through the air, performing and shooting in what’s billed as the world’s first interactive video sport.
Each skysurfing team consists of a performer and a camera flyer, whose helmet holds a camcorder. Together they choreograph and record three-dimensional mid-air maneuvers, from sky-surfing to gymnastics. They start at 13,000 feet, freefalling at speeds of more than 160 miles per hour while the video camera records the performance.
Over 100 of the world’s best skysurfers from 18 nations recently competed in the 1994 WFF Freestyle Skysurfing Championships in Eloy, Arizona. Judges viewed the videotapes to score each team’s presentation on video–a type of judging unparalleled in organized sports.
Judging begins the moment each team enters the air. Each team falls for an average of 65 seconds, and is judged for the first 50 seconds for skysurfing and the first 45 seconds for freestyle teams. Each team falls at an average speed of 120 mph–often exceeding 160 mph.
To do well, each team must combine the artistic flair and synchronicity of figure skaters, the high speed instincts of grand prix racers and a split-second videographic sense.
If you’d like to give video skysurfing a try, contact Pete McKeeman of the World Freestyle Federation, (214) 492-8293.
The next time you drop by your local greeting card store to pick up a birthday card, think video.
The BASF Corporation of Bedford, Massachusetts has introduced a new line of video greeting cards called VideOccasions. Billed as the “world’s most personal greeting cards,” these gift packages include: a ten-minute blank VHS video cassette, a festive gift box, a cassette storage sleeve, decorative labels, a tear-off greeting card and shooting tips.
You buy a tape for the appropriate occasion, take it home and slip it into your VHS camcorder. Tape your ten-minute message, write a note on the decorative label, and send it off to your lucky recipient.
The gift packages retail for $7.99 each; it’ll cost you $1.90 to mail it first class.
–Paula Munier Lee
HI8 VJs WANTED
If you’ve got a Hi8 camcorder, you may want to volunteer for CamNet, an alternative news show airing on The ’90s Channel.
Founded by video journalists Judith Binder and Nancy Cain of Venice, California, the hour-long program is often as offbeat as it is insightful. The show focuses on what Cain calls “the other news”–from high school students selling condoms to John the nude handyman.
Video clips are provided by volunteer VJs across the country. If you’ve got some interesting footage, send it along to CamNet for review. Just remember CamNet’s two rules of thumb: no tripods and no talking heads. For more info, call (310) 399-3775.
–Paula Munier Lee
Hitachi and WTI Introduce Digital Processing Camera
Multimedia products developer Workstation Technologies (WTI) and Hitachi Home Electronics America (HHEA) have announced the DigitalMedia Camera–the first camera to offer complete digital processing functions and a dual position lens for wide-range and close-up viewing.
The camera’s digital capabilities eliminate the numerous adjustments that analog-circuit cameras must perform. It analyzes the varying conditions, and self-adjusts hue, saturation and over 35 other image attributes. As a result, it yields less noise and fewer image adjustments.
“The signal clarity is critical for compression and transmission functions,” says Kirk Hasegawa, chief engineer for HHEA’s MultiMedia Systems Division. The efficient compression allows the DigitalMedia Color Camera to meet the needs of desktop video applications such as video conferencing and CD-ROM Multimedia video recording.
A distinctive feature of the camera is its dual function lens. Cost limitations has meant that until now cameras for desktop video have used fixed lenses.
Tim Dubes with WTI could not pin down the camera’s price. According to Dubes, the camera is usually “integrated into $2500-$3000 systems, such as a desktop video conferencing systems.” WTI sells the camera to manufacturers for the quantity price of about $300 to $350 each, when bundled in a package of ten. The OEMs and system integrators may chose customized options–audio input jack, sliding lens shutter and video controls via RS232/Serial port–which may also affect the price tag.
Call WTI at (714) 250-8983 for details.
Woodstock Beams Out
In the 1960s, Woodstock drew people from across the United States, but things have changed. Nowadays Woodstock beams out to the people on the Woodstock Now TV show, which airs on local public access Channel 3.
Much of the TV show’s recent activity has centered around the Woodstock 25th Anniversary, held in August. Promoter Shelli Lipton and video producer Nathan Koenig shot 48 hours of footage featuring local musicians, artists and local Woodstock personalities. They invited viewers to order the one-hour tape and a raffle ticket–for $19.94–for a chance to win entrance to the festival.
To further promote the Woodstock festival, Lipton kicked off a station logo design contest. The winner, Eva Rodgers, received $100 in art supplies. Her logo, made to symbolize the Woodstock station, is reminiscent of the 1960s, with hand-written, loose block letters and a finely doodled background, very flower child-esque.
Now that the festival is over, Lipton and Koenig hope to capitalize on Woodstock’s renewed fame with a one-hour tape featuring best of the 48 hours of footage previously aired. They’re distributing the tape via satellite; look for Woodstock Now on satellite networks soon.
Lipton and Koenig will continue to use the Woodstock footage to help build a “grass roots movement” for public access TV in their community and surroundings.